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First, the back story:
As an estimated 25,000 people flooded the vicinity of the Wisconsin state Capitol on Thursday, Democratic lawmakers fled the state to prevent a vote on a law that would limit the collective bargaining powers of public employees.
The stakes are high nationwide. Wisconsin is the first in a long line of states considering big changes to pay, benefits, work rules and the bargaining power of government workers.
The Wisconsin measure would force public employees to pay more for pension and health benefits while limiting their union’s power to negotiate.
The sergeant at arms was searching for Democratic state lawmakers who had not shown up for a vote on the sweeping legislation, and one Democratic lawmaker said he and his colleagues had left the state.
Sen. Jon Erpenbach told the Associated Press that he and his fellow Democrats hoped to force negotiations over the Republican-backed bill, but he would not say where the group had gone. The state Senate Democrats did not show up when they were ordered to attend a midday vote on the legislation. Though Republicans hold a 19-14 majority, they need at least one Democrat present to vote.
It’s an absolute zoo in the state capitol as the “Gimme mine, and yours, too” union thugs and their mindless followers are standing their ground while Senate Democrats are … AWOL. We’ve seen this pathetic game played before by juvenile elected Democrats at the state level, haven’t we?
And the “civility” of this standoff? Well, watch and see for yourselves:
As you can see/hear, the Hitler references run wild, and there are several scenes where death threats are made against Republican Governor Scott Walker. Where’s the outrage?
So much for the “New Tone.” Will we see the national media saturate their airwaves, newspapers, and Internet sites with the hateful scenes from this “workers rights” stand off? Don’t count on it. It doesn’t fit with their established narrative.
Local Wisconsin columnist Patrick McIlheran hits the nail on the head (bolded emphasis added by me):
Say you generally liked Gov. Scott Walker’s move to rein in government labor costs but had a few doubts on his method. The last few days should have cleared that up nicely.
The public-sector union tantrums, meant to make lawmakers wobble, have an inadvertent message for the rest of us: Voters can vote all they want. We can elect a cheapskate governor and a Legislature to match. But come the moment, unions will have the last, loudest word.
They’ll have it if takes marches. They’ll have it if it takes what amounts to an illegal strike, with so many Madison teachers calling in sick Wednesday that the district closed schools. If it takes showing up for a we-know-where-your-family-is protest on Walker’s Wauwatosa lawn while he was at work, the unions are sure they can outshout any election result.
This is exactly why Walker is right to limit the unions’ power over government spending.
Walker, remember, is not removing unions’ fundamental power to bargain for wages. He is demanding that state workers put 5.8% of their wages toward retirement and that they cover 12.6% of their health care premiums, which would still have them paying more than $100 less a month than the average schmoe. He is also proposing that elected officials determine the shape of employee benefits without having to bargain them, and this as much as the added cost has unions crying “unfair.”
Walker’s moves are prompted by the state’s vast deficit. The alternative, he says, is to lay off thousands. Nonsense, charge the marchers: Just raise taxes. Unions and allies have for years been demanding more sales taxes, new business taxes and higher taxes on other people’s incomes, all to keep the state flush and generous. We’re taxed enough already, said a voting majority in November. Not yet, insist the unions that have become the largest players in Wisconsin politics precisely to counter any such voter sentiment.
As I wrote just a few days ago:
Never is the duplicity of the Democrat mantra of “caring” so transparent as it is when it comes to union workers and contract negotiations. Union fat cats don’t care about the worker – the big bosses care about increasing the percentage of their slices of the pie while maintaining (or growing) their high positions of influence. And the workers? They just “want theirs” – no matter who foots the bill. Who cares about the many non-union folks who want jobs but do not want to be a part of any union, anyway? Certainly not the party and not the liberal labor orgs, both of who falsely claim to be so passionately on the side of the ”middle class.” It’s all about political payback and power at the expense of the evil private sector, all the while fostering a “gimme mine” mentality amongst rank and file union members.
At the expense of hardworking taxpayers like you and me – and our families. To use a favorite tactic of Democrats, why do union workers in Wisconsin want to take food out of the mouths of babies so they can continue to enjoy “free/cheap” health care and other uber-expensive union benefits while other families have to pay higher taxes while still finding it hard to make ends meet?
These people are nothing but contemptible. Absolutely contemptible.
Wish I could say I was surprised but I’m not. This is what Democrats do when they don’t get their way. Gov. Christie would be having a field day right now if this were happening in his state. I hope Americans – especially those in pro-union states – are paying attention to what’s happening in Wisconsin and wake up to the reality that in order for states and the federal government to get back into the black, hard decisions are going to have to be made by legislators at all levels, and sacrifices will have to be made – even by pampered union employees who think they are owed everything.
A new theme is emerging across America thanks to the 2010 elections, especially in states controlled by Republicans: The era of Business As Usual is Over. It’s about time.
Update – 6:22 PM: Astroturf alert! From Politico – DNC playing role in Wisconsin protests