The Brawl that made Wisconsin famous

by nkronos on February 18, 2011

The deal is going down in Wisconsin.

If you thought the solution or yielding to America’s fiscal problems could be resolved without taking arms against this sea of troubles, think again. Throughout the nation disjoint factions have heard the call and now rush at one another in a tumult similar to that memorably described in Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach”:

And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

The National Endowment for the Arts and public television are two such interests.

Republican governors in several states–Chris Christie in New Jersey, Florida’s Rick Scott, perhaps Bill Haslam in Tennessee, John Kasich in Ohio, and, in the crucible itself, Scott Walker of Wisconsin–have chosen to oppose these troubles in hopes of ending them. Or at least holding them at bay. Meanwhile, President 0 would sleep–perchance to dream of accounting standards in which debt interest matters not to proper bookkeeping because his new high-speed choo-choo trains must need be paid for. He would doze, preferring to spend waking hours concentrating on his golf stroke and securing another four years as lecturer-in-chief, but like Charlemagne at Roncesvalles, he hears the trumpet alarum from his hard-pressed allies.

Obama and his cronies always expected this signature day would come—that the United States as it was known for the first 230 or so years of its existence would not go gentle into that good night. Not without a rage against the dying of the light. And so they have portrayed the Tea Party and any others who would stand in the way of Change with a capital “C” as reactionary, racist extremists. While proposing the most provocative of amendments to our social contract—mandating to us what we must buy, how we must seek medical care, and proposing to tell us what we must eat—they have reserved the right of anger to themselves. Obama and his minions compare opponents to Nazis, talk about Republicans holding the American people hostage, and engage in demonstrations like so, all while claiming it is conservatives who are responsible for the loss of civility between the people and those who would dictate to them.

Above all, the political class and its bed-time partners believe they know best how to spend the wealth created by American citizens. In Wisconsin this arrogance has come to a head, as state employees refuse to accept who works for whom and compare the lawfully elected governor to Hitler because he…asks they make a 5.8 percent contribution to their own retirement fund and pay 12 percent of their health insurance premiums. Ironically, it is the state employees (teachers) who have commandeered the children entrusted to them in a move reminiscent of Nazis and the Hitler youth, taking their students out of class to help protest Governor Walker’s actions.

As the Chicago Tribune continues in its editorial:

Public sentiment is changing. There is a growing sense that public-sector unions are not battling for better, safer workplaces. They’re not battling unscrupulous employers. They’re battling … the common good….Governments don’t operate under the constraints of market forces. They operate under political forces. Public unions play an inordinate role in the selection of management — witness the heavy union support for Gov. Pat Quinn’s election last year. In Illinois, labor and management, Republicans and Democrats, have been complicit over the years in over-promising wages and benefits. In negotiations, they essentially sit on the same side of the table: Public officials who generously compensate workers tend to reap votes, contributions and campaign work from those same employees and their unions.

It is a vicious circle in which taxpayers are at the center being screwed. It is the spoils system of urban machine politics.

Meanwhile, President 0 knows that unions are his and the Democratic Party’s shock troops. He calls the restrictions on collective bargaining an “assault” because they threaten the entrenched city politics Obama and the Democrats would like to see enlarged nationally.

The president’s political machine worked in close coordination Thursday with state and national union officials to mobilize thousands of protesters to gather in Madison and to plan similar demonstrations in other state capitals.

Their efforts began to spread, as thousands of labor supporters turned out for a hearing in Columbus, Ohio, to protest a measure from Gov. John Kasich (R) that would cut collective-bargaining rights.

By the end of the day, Democratic Party officials were working to organize additional demonstrations in Ohio and Indiana, where an effort is underway to trim benefits for public workers. Some union activists predicted similar protests in Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Shameful, despicable, unconscionable behavior on Obama’s part. Where does it lie under the responsibilities of his office to enter into the budgetary negotiations between a state and its employees? He is sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States—not the collective bargaining agreement of State Workers Local 207.

Obama says:

I think everybody’s got to make some adjustments, but I think it’s also important to recognize that public employees make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens.

Hopefully, the employees do, but their unions do not. It is not the job of the unions to do anything but represent the interests of their members. As former President of the United Federation of Teachers Albert Shanker famously said, “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”

The government is supposed to represent those school children and, in fact, all the people—i.e., citizens are the nation’s stockholders and Obama and the rest we elect are management. When Obama sides with the unions, he is forfeiting the trusts and responsibilities of his office. Likewise, when the Democratic members of the Wisconsin state legislature flee the state and hide in a hotel to avoid conducting the people’s business, they too betray their real constituents in favor of union special interests.

Both are participating in the continual mugging of the tax payer, the unsustainable devouring of our nation’s health.

As one Republican representative in Wisconsin says:

I spent two years in the minority, and I came to work every day, even when I didn’t like the bills the majority was passing. I thought it was my job.” The Democrats, he says, “have relinquished their duties. The people sent them here to do a job, and they are refusing to do it. They’re in hiding. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Nor are the unions and their foot soldiers content to use process maneuvers to foil the wishes of the majority elected government. Historically, unions attempted to equalize the power between management and labor. Today they are goons willing to employ any tactic to make sure their beaks keep getting dipped, regardless of the consequences to the rest of American society.

In any case, public sector unions represent a conflict of interest with the citizenry. For that reason the duly elected government has no impetus to recognize them and certainly should never align with them, as Obama has, against the public itself.

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