Saturday, February 19, 2011

On Wisconsin! What is Going On?

Below is an article by Michelle Malkin giving the background and some commentary on the Wisconsin situation. I put my commentary at the end of it.

Welcome to the reckoning. We have met the fiscal apocalypse, and it is smack dab in the middle of the heartland. As Wisconsin goes, so goes the nation. Let us pray it does not go the way of the decrepit welfare states of the European Union.

The lowdown: State government workers in the Badger State pay piddling amounts for generous taxpayer-subsidized health benefits. Faced with a $3.6 billion budget hole and a state constitutional ban on running a deficit, new GOP Gov. Scott Walker wants public unions to pony up a little more. He has proposed raising the public employee share of health insurance premiums from less than 5 percent to 12.4 percent. He is also pushing for state workers to cover half of their pension contributions. To spare taxpayers the soaring costs of Byzantine union-negotiated work rules, he would rein in Big Labor’s collective bargaining power to cover only wages unless approved at the ballot box.

As the free-market MacIver Institute in Wisconsin points out, the benefits concessions Walker is asking public union workers to make would still maintain their health insurance contribution rates at the second-lowest among Midwest states for family coverage. Moreover, a new analysis by benefits think tank HCTrends shows that the new rate “would also be less than the employee contributions required at 85 percent of large Milwaukee_area employers.”

This modest call for shared sacrifice has triggered the wrath of the White House-Big Labor-Michael Moore axis. On Thursday, President Obama lamented the “assault on unions.” AFL-CIO and Service Employees International Union bosses dubbed Walker the “Mubarak of the Midwest” while their minions toted posters of Walker’s face superimposed on Hitler’s. Moore goaded thousands of striking union protesters to “shut down” the “new Cairo” while the state’s Democratic legislators bailed on floor debate over the union reform package.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan spurned the opportunity to condemn thousands of Wisconsin public school teachers for lying about being “sick” and shutting down at least eight school districts across the state to attend capitol protests (many of whom dragged their students on a social justice field trip with them). Instead, Duncan defended teachers for “doing probably the most important work in society.” Only striking government teachers could win federal praise for NOT doing their jobs.

Yes, the so-called progressives truly believe that bringing American union workers into the 21st century in line with the rest of the workforce is tantamount to dictatorship.

Yes, the so-called progressives truly believe that by walking off their jobs and out of their classrooms, they are “putting children first.”

If ever there were proof that public unions no longer work in the public interest, this is it. Big Labor dragoons workers into exclusive representation agreements, forces them to pay compulsory dues that fatten Democratic political coffers and then has the chutzpah to cast itself as an Egyptian-style “freedom” and “human rights” movement.

Meanwhile, union leaders elsewhere are quietly forcing their low-wage members to share the sacrifice in order to preserve teetering health funds. In New York state, Skidmore College campus janitors, dining service workers and other maintenance employees received late notice from the SEIU that 4.15 percent of their gross earnings will now be deducted from their paychecks to cover the cost of the health plan provided through the behemoth 1199 SEIU Greater New York Benefit Fund. (If the name sounds familiar, it’s because this is one of several privileged SEIU affiliates that has received an Obamacare waiver.)

These workers are forced to join the union in order to preserve their jobs, and unlike non-union workers, they are locked into a single health plan. The SEIU has now decreed that they must pay new fees to include spouses on their plans and has hiked employee co-pays for doctor visits and prescription drugs.

What’s necessary for New York union workers is necessary for Wisconsin union workers — and for the rest of the protected union worker class in bankrupt and near-bankrupt states across America. The “persuasion of power” so ruthlessly and recklessly exercised by the SEIU and its thuggish allies must be broken by the moral courage of fiscal discipline. It’s now or never.


This issue is coming to a head in other states as well: Ohio, Indiana, Florida (I think), and others. This fact is adding a lot of energy to the union side. They know that if they don’t pull off something extraordinary, their goose is cooked. Right now, people are standing overwhelmingly with the Wisconsin governor.

The masses on the governor's side are slow to mobilize but when they do, watch out. I’ve read of two such measures. Two of the Democrats that bussed themselves across the border to Rockford IL are now likely to face recall. The recall procedure has been started in their home districts.

The fact that the Democrat legislators would not stand and argue their case says mountains about who they are and how they feel about their case. I do not think they understand the power of reason – if you have a reason. On the other hand, maybe they, at least at some level, know the power of reason and that's why they ran.

Many a man has been persuaded to abandon his position via reason and go with the one that provides for his future. That is what is happening here. The teachers themselves, as evidenced by letters from some of them, are not in 100% solidarity with the unions and when they start peeling away, we will see only those who would gain from naked power, at the expense of reality, left in that group.

I think this may be the final blow to Obama’s power. He characterizes the will of Wisconsin as anti-union. The people of the state elected the governor by a hefty margin to clean it up. Since when has standing for a plan dealing with the reality of the circumstances been anti-union? It's no law of nature that they be idiots. They just hold a false premise or two.

He has put everything into his political base – the unions. He abrogated the right to contract in the case of GM when he took GM investors’ money and gave it to the unions in a naked redistribution of wealth. He exempted the SEIU from Obamacare. Over and over he has been openly partisan – i.e., practiced favoritism rather than its opposite, equality under the law which is justice.

Obama considers unions as manna from heaven. He cannot resist manipulating circumstances in their favor. He got into trouble with ACORN and now he is doing it again. He will (he is) pay for this and no one will be able to stop this. He messed with the laws of human nature (as do all socialists), and Mother Nature doesn’t abide that. Obama's only hope (and I must say that counter to his campaign, he is a man of shrunken hope) is that he has the power to fool all of us all of the time. Only a post-modernist could believe that tripe.

Another commentary On Wisconsin appears at Robert Villegas' blog here.

And while the politics ticks on, so does the clock.

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