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Posted at 9:45 AM ET, 02/18/2011

Gov. Walker's Overreach

By E.J. Dionne

I have been following with great interest the spirited exchange between my colleagues Harold Meyerson and Chuck Lane over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's proposals going after the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions. I think Walker is wrong on this, and here's why.

Harold, Chuck and I, I think, can agree that when states, counties or localities face big budget shortfalls, it's not unreasonable for the politicians who lead those jurisdictions to ask for givebacks from public employees: Wage freezes, higher pension or health-care contributions, furloughs, which amount to wage cuts, or even, in dire circumstances, outright wage cuts. Yes, and there are always layoffs. We might disagree among ourselves over how much is reasonable to ask of public employees in various circumstances, but I don't think there's a disagreement of principle over the fact that big budget deficits can justify tough remedies.

But this isn't just about budgets -- or even primarily about budgets. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is drumming up a crisis to change the very nature of the relationship between public workers and the government. He would strip their unions of their bargaining rights on everything except wages. And, as The New York Times has noted, "any pay increase they win would be limited by the consumer price index." Whether you think the second is good policy or not, it essentially renders collective bargaining meaningless. Why shouldn't this be seen as a Republican governor and a Republican legislature looking for a way to strike a political blow against allies of the other party -- and using budget issues as an excuse?

There is also this: Wisconsin doesn't face a huge budget crisis in the way that, say, New York and California do.

In fact, its budget difficulties were, in large part, created by Walker and his legislative allies. As The Times pointed out this morning (in an editorial entitled "Gov. Walker's Pretext"), the governor "is refusing to accept his own share of responsibility for the state's projected $137 million shortfall." The editorial continued:

Just last month, he and the Legislature gave away $117 million in tax breaks, mostly for businesses that expand and for private health savings accounts. That was a choice lawmakers made, and had it not been for those decisions and a few others, according to the state's Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state would have had a surplus.

Sure, governors and legislatures have a right to make choices. But Wisconsin doesn't face an emergency that justifies forcing this bill through at breakneck speed.

If this were just about normal budget cutbacks, the political earthquake we're seeing in Wisconsin would not have happened. This is an effort by a temporary majority -- I use the term because in a democracy, all majorities are, in principle, temporary -- to rush a bill through the legislature designed to alter the balance of political power in the state. You don't have to be an "apologist" for "bureaucratic special interests," to use Chuck's words, to have a problem with that. You don't even have to be a fan of public employee unions. Walker engaged in overreach, and he's paying the price.

UPDATE 10:35 a.m.: Ezra Klein has an excellent post on this issue under the headline, "Unions aren't to blame for Wisconsin's budget." Ezra's bottom line:

If all Walker was doing was reforming public employee benefits, I'd have little problem with it. There's too much deferred compensation in public employee packages, and though the blame for that structure lies partially with the government officials and state residents who wanted to pay later for services now, it's true that situations change and unsustainable commitments require reforms. But that's not what Walker is doing. He's attacking the right to bargain collectively -- which is to say, he's attacking the very foundation of labor unions, and of worker power -- and using an economic crisis unions didn't cause, and a budget reversal that Walker himself helped create, to justify it.

By E.J. Dionne  | February 18, 2011; 9:45 AM ET
Categories:  Dionne  | Tags:  E.J. Dionne  
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Comments

Mr. Dionne is absolutely right. This is a temporary majority which has chosen a viciously adversarial stance against their own employees.

Posted by: Doing | February 18, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

A big part of our country's economic problems are wage inflexibility. As a higher and higher percentage go to work for the government the less flexible the workforce. Government employees want the best of everything like 100% healthcare, retirement, employment security, and constant pay raises.

Well I hate to break it to you, but it can go on much longer because the rest of us can't afford to pay it anymore. Just look at General Motors, the unions refused to budge until it became obvious they would go from making $30+ per hour to $0 per hour. Then they demanded the taxpayer bail their stubborn butts out. That is the situation our country is in today.

Posted by: Alethean | February 18, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

it takes 15 liberals to change a lightbulb...and only one conservative to change the same lightbulb...

Posted by: JWx2 | February 18, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I hate to say this but I hope the teachers win on this one. Then about 25% of them will be fired instead.

However, in this case the students may lose because the union contract allows the bad teachers to stay while good ones go. Again, this is the liberal way, reward sloth and penalize success.

Posted by: thehamptons1 | February 18, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

For years, teachers & other government workers have accepted lower salaries in exchange for good benefits. If that social contract is no longer in place, then I want to be compensated financially for my PhD--just like those of you in the private sector!

Posted by: Domermom | February 18, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

If you can't afford it, you can't afford it. Period. The policies weak legislators allowed to happen to buy votes previously has lead WI and most of this country down a clear and present danger of destruction.

Keep up the good work Gov. A man with brains.

Keep Obama's Organizing for America out. What a bunch of thugs.

Teachers work for the taxpayers - not the other way around and so do all civil servants.

Wake up people.

Posted by: debmries | February 18, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Bravo!

The current fiscal crisis both state and federal have been worsened by the "starve the beast" stategy of the conservative right. They don't have the votes to directly kill the entitlements they hate. But hey, everybody hates taxes.

Eighty years of continous carping about high taxes have led to an environmet where we will be lucky to have dirt roads and bridges that don't fall on our heads. Forget about health care and education.

The less well endowed economically will just have to go to the same witch doctors the Republicans use for their economics for heath care.

I applaud the Wisconsin public employees for standing up to the Oligarchs!

Posted by: JohnArmstrong52 | February 18, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

E.J. I think you've nailed this one. I guess this confrontation of Republicans Vs US workers was inevitable as the past 30 years (since Reagonomics) has been a clear case of class warfare. Wisconsin may finally stir up the entire middle class and lower class....and get this country to protect our jobs and economy and NOT just the oil and shipping lanes for countries who are stealing our jobs.

The private sector achieved open season on arbitraging US workers Vs Chinese and Indian peasant...a race to the bottom for the middle class. Now that private sector unemployed middle class is being convinced by the Republicans that government workers are the problem....hopefully the entire middle class will finally realize the truth from what's happening in Wisconsin!

Posted by: go2goal | February 18, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Alathean, you apparently aren't up on govt employment. In general it has been going down. How inflexible are you when someone wants to cut your wages and add to your work load? I have a brother in Michigan who is a very hard working manager in the health dept and a republican, but he is sick and tired of all the badmouthing people do of people who work in government.
When costs go up for businesses, they have two options cut costs or raise prices. They have cut plenty, now its time to raise taxes. And I will willingly pay them.

Posted by: phacd | February 18, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

When everything Republicans do 'just happens' to benefit the rich and Corporations while further diminishing the middle-class, at some point even the thickest have to start seeing the 'big picture'...

Good 'ol boy Union Members need to get their heads out of their ass...Republicans are NOT your friend...

Posted by: russcarter1 | February 18, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne is right and Alethean, this has nothing to do with wage inflexibility. The people of Wisconsin are willing to accept cuts as necessary, but they refuse the attacks on their unions. If fact, the key issue here is a Governor who sees himself above the people. He's supposed to be listening to them, they pay his salary and give him the charter for running their government. The Governor is not King, he is a state employee!!

Posted by: jhankl | February 18, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I agree with what Gov. Walker is doing. I hope he is successful and the policy spreads to other states. Public sector employees used to get paid much less than their private sector counterparts in exchange for great benefits and a life long pension. Now they get paid as much or more than those in the private sector and don't want to compromise on the benefit side.

The cost of running the government has gotten too high. With the exception of essential services (fire, police, EMTs, etc.) the only "product" that the government produces is bureaucracy.

Kudos to the Gov. for taking a stand for those of us in private industry who have to pay for this.

btw. If the public sector workers don't like it they can always quit and go to work in the private sector. I am sure there will be someone waiting in line to take their job, even with the newly proposed changes.

Posted by: durnik | February 18, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Just last month, he and the Legislature gave away $117 million in tax breaks, mostly for businesses that expand and for private health savings accounts. That was a choice lawmakers made, and had it not been for those decisions and a few others, according to the state's Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state would have had a surplus.
*******************************

No wonder Mr. Dionne and the NY Times are so opposed to what Gov Walker is doing. They're both Big Govt advocates and as such they continually fail to recognize that businesses don't pay taxes, they pass them on. They're also vehemently opposed to private health savings accounts since they empower individuals, by helping them make better informed health care decisions, and remove power and control from the hands of central government and it's bureaucrats.

Posted by: Fitz157 | February 18, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

This is not an "overreach", in fact it is his job. He is the state's chief executive and he is making executive decisions. It is his job to look at the whole state and make decisions based on what he thinks is best for the entire state, that is why he was elected. There are a lot of loyal union men in MI and WV who are out of work today thanks to bad advice from a union. Sometimes you need to make a hard choice for yourself and decide to I want a job or a union. Personally I applaud Walker for having the guts to make an unpopular decision, all too many in Washinton are much too fond of their cushy jobs.

Posted by: majiksea | February 18, 2011 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Clearly the union membership should confront tax-payers directly and force them, at gun point if necessary, to give them more money in the form of taxes or relinquish their vote.

I mean, who do these tax payers think they are electing someone like this?

And who do they think they are telling public service unions they have to deal with reality. Let's keep blaming it on not taxing the rich enough, and if necessary, outlaw them to.

Who do these people like Bloomberg and Walker think they are?

Posted by: tedso | February 18, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"This is a temporary majority which has chosen a viciously adversarial stance against their own employees."

So when Republicans are in charge, they should not do as they promised because they are a "temporary majority"? And that justifies the minority thwarting the will if the electorate by any means necessary, including leaving the state and staying in a luxury hotel in order to deny the majority a quorum? Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?

Posted by: FlyDiesel | February 18, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

But none of the "conservatives" want to pay for the electricity required to run it.


"it takes 15 liberals to change a lightbulb...and only one conservative to change the same lightbulb...

Posted by: JWx2 | February 18, 2011 10:13 AM "

Posted by: MBertolone | February 18, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I understand why cops and firefighters are unionized and need CBA rights since they can get killed on any given day of the job. Cops especially need unions since the Al Sharpton of the worlds unfairly target them for doing their job.

But can some lib explain to me why desk jockeys at the gov't building and those worthless people at the DMV are organized? What service do they perform that can't be easily replaced? None!

As a CA resident where we have over $500 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, I applaud Gov Walker. He is preventing WI from ballooning into a CA problem and the residents of his state should be thankful. We in CA should only be so lucky to have a real Gov like Walker.

Posted by: louisp3 | February 18, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

The easy way out.... blame the unions.... They should look at what they do every year, not pay into the retirement fund... give the big business tax breaks to hire employees. Those breaks cost everyone else. We are just taking from Paul to pay Peter, as the saying goes. Come on now, there is a downturn in the economy, we must ride it out and not cry wolf when it is only a mouse.

Posted by: bk1234 | February 18, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I totally agree. Read how Governor Christie of New Jersey handled having to cut pay and benefits for public workers versus how the Governor of Wisconsin went in heavy-handed with little regard for peoples' feelings.

Posted by: sharronkm | February 18, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne,

The 117 million was THEIR money. The government allowed citizens to KEEP their money. You see, one side, our side, is paying INTO the system. Your side is taking FROM the system. You and yours are not entitled to as much money from taxes and taxpayers as it takes to get what you want. Tax amounts aren't the issue. Spending is the issue. And, frankly, the amblyopic selfishness of liberals and union members on this issue - and the way it is being applauded - is completely backwards. The government of Wisconsin actually GAVE CITIZENS THEIR MONEY BACK in what you derisively call "tax breaks". And they are evil for it? Bollocks!

Posted by: cartmaneric | February 18, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

This sums it up nicely... http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908//vp/41655758#41655758

Posted by: scotinus | February 18, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne,

The 117 million was THEIR money. The government allowed citizens to KEEP their money. You see, one side, our side, is paying INTO the system. Your side is taking FROM the system. You and yours are not entitled to as much money from taxes and taxpayers as it takes to get what you want. Tax amounts aren't the issue. Spending is the issue. And, frankly, the amblyopic selfishness of liberals and union members on this issue - and the way it is being applauded - is completely backwards. The government of Wisconsin actually GAVE CITIZENS THEIR MONEY BACK in what you derisively call "tax breaks". And they are evil for it? Bollocks!

Posted by: cartmaneric | February 18, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

More than 2 million WI residents voted in the last election for governor. 52% of those people voted for Mr. Walker based in part on his campaign promise to do exactly what he is doing now.

EJ claims WI does not face budget problems like CA or NY. Wrong - on a per capita basis, our deficit mirrors theirs. If the public unions are not willing to help pay a larger share of their benefits, they face the likely loss of >6K jobs. Is that a victory those soon to be former employees can afford?

Posted by: bauerld | February 18, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Re: The problems we thought we were leaving to our children & grand-children...

If you think Governor Walker is guilty of "Overreaching", this factual synopsis of our predicament in "The American Thinker" is worth the five minutes it takes to read:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/02/a_tipping_point_is_nearing.html

For those who think Republican wins in the November election have made things safe for at least another two years, it's a mandatory read (much as I despise mandates). I also recommend reading some of the comments posted to the article. One in particular caught my attention (in part due to the grammatical quirks the author seems not to notice). I've included it here verbatim:

"We older people who survived the thirties and are still around ,may I say would think handle this mentality a little better. Not excluding the WWll babies who are now retiring as they had a taste of , may I say old America. They will be the hardest hit as most did not prepare for a financial smack of this magnitude. The 43 million on food stamps and welfare will be the problem. When you have been on the dole most of your life and it is taken away, panic sets in with turmoil all around and than rioting. People who never raised there fist in anger will be learning for the first time what it is like to defend one's self and not have a policeman available. This want a be Dictator in the WH will not try to stop it, his desire for power , and this is nothing more than a power play , will do all he can to flame it, and than that calls for martial law. As a young boy in the thirties, we watched it in Germany . I did not see it but saw and heard it thru the press. I did not witness it. At that time Germany was the most advanced civilization in the world. It may be the coldest winter we have had in over a century , but we had better worry about a very hot sumner in more ways than just the heat. If congress is ever going to be what it or was supposed to be, not is the time. The POTUS can by executive order every government worker to be armed and enforce the law. Frighting isn't it. Don't forget 48 percent of Americans don't pay income tax but still get a refund. These are Obama's soldiers also."

Posted by: thomas777 | February 18, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

It's overreach if you consider the current situation to be a good equilibrium. However, many people, including myself, think that there is an in-balance in the relationship between public sector unions and government and that is the relationship itself that needs to be changed. In the private sector there is a balance between unions and labor in that those that set compensation have a motive to keep wages down. In the public sector, where wages and benefits are largely influenced by legislatures, there is often no such balance because labor helps put into office the very legislatures that manage compensation. So, Walker's efforts to address this fundamental balance are not overreach, they are addressing the root issue

Posted by: mwc260 | February 18, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

High School Science teacher in Milwaukee....18 years experience.

Salary: $ 55 K per year (including what I earn by teaching summer school)
Family: 3 children and a wife who can now work with the kids in MS and HS
House: 1350 sq ft. and the mortgage consumes 50% of our take home pay
Food: Prices are starting to really hurt
Education: BA in biology and MSA in environmental science with a teaching certificate

Governor Walker wants me to take what will be a $ 3,800 per year pay cut. I got a 2.5% raise 3 years ago....

My family has zero in savings...we can barely keep food on the table.

I guess the Republicans views me as being over paid....and at the same time they give tax breaks that increase the deficit. The budget was balanced until Walker came in with his tax cuts...now I'm being demonized as the reason for our deficit.

Why do I teach...because I love working with kids and while the salary is less than what I could have earned by working for a corporation 18 years ago, the benefits package (retirement plan) made it possible for me to teach.

Who exactly do the people of Wisconsin think will be teaching in our schools if Walker's assault is successful?

Posted by: go2goal | February 18, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for shining the spotlight on the tax giveaways. Strange how this "little" fact is rarely reported by the majority of the MSM. It makes a huge difference in the tenor of the story.

Posted by: rlj1 | February 18, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Democrats in particular and government in general have created an entire protected class of citizenry.
while the rest of us are out here getting bloodied in a lousy economy, public employee union members (who supposedly work for us) are coasting thru comparatively unscathed....and demanding more!
Enough.
Let those who work for us work like us....and be subjected to layoffs, wage and benefit reductions and sharing the pain.

Posted by: curmudgeon555 | February 18, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

No over reach. As Obama, Pelosi famously said:
"Elections have consequences" ...and...
"We won!"

The difference here is that the governor is facing reality where the President and Pelosi were simply playing politics.

If you lie, you should pay the cosequences; if you dodge your responsibility, you should pay the consequences.

These teachers and legislators had their opportunity last November to make their feelings known. They were rejected by the people of the state. Now they want to use force and intimidation to get their way.

That is NOT the AMERICAN way.

Big IS bad.... because it destroys competition and fosters corruption.

Big government publics schools and public school unions deny parents choice and inflate the cost while shrinking the quality of education.... nationwide.

We must stop the trend toward every greater concentration of power in the hands of a few... equality demands the public sector unions live by the same rules as the rest of us and NOT abuse the trust we had placed in them !!!!

Posted by: Karl_Quick | February 18, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

No Mr. Dionne, I think you're wrong, and I'll tell you why. You said you had a problem with Gov Walkers proposal:"...to change the very nature of the relationship between public workers and the government."

What's wrong with that? What you fail to realize is that PUBLIC unions, along with collective bargaining do not have the taxpayers best interests at heart. The polticians see votes to maintain the status quo, or to improve or enhance the goodies they deliver to public unions as ways to stay in office. Who looks out for us taxpayers? Your posturing about how you want to balance the budget, but not like this is ridiculous. As far as the budget cuts to business you decry, what's wrong with giving a break to the producers? I have zero sympathy for the union protestors who enjoy benefits packages that far exceed anything in the private sector, along with retirement plans that pay quite handsomely compared to what each union worker contributed. This is wrong and has to stop, because the states are going broke trying to keep all these unsustainable promises.

Posted by: surferlou | February 18, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Democrats in particular and government in general have created an entire protected class of citizenry.
while the rest of us are out here getting bloodied in a lousy economy, public employee union members (who supposedly work for us) are coasting thru comparatively unscathed....and demanding more!
Enough.
Let those who work for us work like us....and be subjected to layoffs, wage and benefit reductions and sharing the pain.

Posted by: curmudgeon555 | February 18, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Through the years, the union has "overreached" to say the least. In the private sector, we pay 1/2 our HC premiums, and get WAY less coverage. How is it fair that they get BETTER coverage 100% free? The taxpayer is paying 50% of their own and 100% of someone else’s while BOTH continue to skyrocket no matter how much the government tries to fix it. We deal with layoffs and cutbacks on a daily basis. As a salesman my commissions got cut 50% a few years ago. I don’t get any chance to fight that other than (and any public employee has the same option) GO FIND ANOTHER JOB! Oh, but the private sector jobs are worse (and they know it) so they will continue to dig in and keep from bearing their fair share of this economy at the expense of the people. Well people if YOU were not so pushy and greedy, we would not be in this mess! Finally, someone is trying to equalize the field. About time, and I hope it sticks and is contagious! California needs this more than a duck needs water. But that’s just wishful thinking. Who has been in control of our budget? Unions… Who keeps them in power… Democrats… Who does the average Californian voter go for? Democrats.. And how is California doing? WONDERFULL! We’ll just raise taxes again,,, and again,,, and again,,, hey,, where did all our tax base go? How comb we have so many needy people asking for handouts? Oh well let’s just raise taxes again, and not look at our policies.

Posted by: thatavkguy | February 18, 2011 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Funny,I don't remember Mr. Dionne complaining about a "temporary majority" trying to ram through an unpopular health care package when the Democrats controlled Congress.

Posted by: sadpancho | February 18, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

It is OK for collective bargaining in private sectors as if the employees benefits and wages get too uncompetitive then the company may get priced out of the market and customers have other choices. But that must all be true for public employee otherwise it comes out of the tax payer or taxing businesses. Public employees are free to find employment some where else if they think they can get a better deal like everyone else. Their benefits should not exceed the average benefits of all other citizens who live in their community.

kamal

Posted by: kamal4 | February 18, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Dionne said:
"to change the very nature of the relationship between public workers and the government."

I agree with you completely. However, unlike you I believe it is the correct thing to do. This recession has hurt everyone. I'm in the private sector and still have a job, albeit at a 30% salary reduction. Hence I have minimized my 401 deductions so I still have the cash flow to pay the financial obligations (mortgage) that I accrued prior to the recession. The unions' childish behavior, their me, me, me attitude reminds me of a spoiled child. A strong adult parent figure has to show up to make things better. That's what the governor is doing and that is what the governor needs to do and the governors in more states need to follow suit.

So, yes he is changing the basic relationship. That is what needs to be done. I'm tired of my reduced salary paying for public employees ability to keep all of their salary and benefits. Even Obama says we all need to share the pain. Let the unions share.

Posted by: dnha | February 18, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Almost every state has turned to its work force as a way to cut costs, and not a single one felt it was necessary to destroy unions. I'd love to see them pass that they can't get raises above the CPI without a vote, and I'd love to see them pass the ban on forcing union members to pay dues. And all states are making members pay for health insurance and pensions these days. All that is fine, but it's the stupid little things that are devised to destroy unions that make this an attack on America's working class. Requiring unions to have a vote on whether they want to exist every year. What good does that do? Not allowing negotiations on anything but wages? How is that a negotiation? Let the unions function, just cut benefits for right now.

Posted by: PMul44 | February 18, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The Teachers are Over-Reaching when they
are allowed to Shut-Down Schools. Parents
have to stay home with their children, lose a day's work... because the Teachers are Throwing a Tantrum!
These are NOT the type of teachers I want my kids to have.
I've always defended teachers, but this crosses the line.
The liberal influence in our schools and universities is OUT OF CONTROL.
As Taxpayers, this is Wrong. Most taxpayers do Not belong to Unions, but we're paying for the ridiculous union benefits and pensions -- that we don't even have!
And, our kids are being brainwashed by flaky, liberal teachers. And believe me,
if every parent thinks back, they can probably remember a situation where they had to explain to their kids that business is Not bad; manufacturing companies are not all dirty and ruining the Environment,
etc., etc.
We have more of an education problem than we think...

Posted by: ohioan | February 18, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

If the confrontation between Republicans and American workers had inevitably to occur than let it begin in Wisconsin, which is and has been a far more alert state politically than most others - and for a long time.

And if the conflict is inevitable then let Walker be the poster boy for the Republicans: he does well represent the arrogance, dishonesty, and lack of thought that characterizes the Republican attitude.

Posted by: hewhoasks | February 18, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

If the confrontation between Republicans and American workers had inevitably to occur than let it begin in Wisconsin, which is and has been a far more alert state politically than most others - and for a long time.

And if the conflict is inevitable then let Walker be the poster boy for the Republicans: he does well represent the arrogance, dishonesty, and lack of thought that characterizes the Republican attitude.

Posted by: hewhoasks | February 18, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The teachers are acting shamefully, and that's the best can be said for their very public and reprehensible behavior.

They are demanding that they be protected from any effects of a poor economy. The past Democrat dominated spendthrift ways have brought the state to this juncture and the teachers' response has been "let them eat cake."

I hope Walker hangs tough and fires them all.

Posted by: darleenclick | February 18, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps we in WI should wait until our budget crisis reaches that of CA before our governor acts. My husband and I were both public school teachers here, and the benefits were unbelievable! When we decided to open our own business, our benefits vanished. We pay ALL our own health care expenses and ALL our own retirement. Public employees need to get over themselves and quit whining. Most of them have NO idea how blessed they are. They should try getting a job in the private sector or running their own business to get a dose of reality. While those teachers in WI walked off their jobs in protest, who took care of the children? How many parents were forced to lose their wages so these self-absorbed, over-paid "literati" could spend their time feeling sorry for themselves?
Go spend a week or two in ANY country in Africa - then come home and see if you still have the hubris to complain.

Posted by: runesnthistles | February 18, 2011 10:35 AM | Report abuse

The republicans do not have a "temporary majority>" They have been elected to a very real one. The voters believed the government unions overreached and replaced those legislators who made it possible. Its called democracy. Media, Political and hereditary elites always claim to be doing the right thing and trying to stop those who want change. Wisconsin is comparable to Egypt in a broad philosophical sense. The difference is that our potential revolution every four years is called an election.

Posted by: JohnLindauer1 | February 18, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Walker is a true leader. That is a concept liberals don't get. For decades we have put up with the corruption of public sector unions paying money to the people who decide the compensation of the bureaucrats. It it high time the playing field gets leveled. Walker gets this as do most Americans. The Chavez style tactics of the teachers and their thug cohorts won't work, they are creating a huge backlash and make complete hypocrites out of the E.J.'s of life who rant about civility but ignore the way over the top tactics of people they support. E.J. ignores the attack on the Republicans families and homes which is repulsive bahavior that is an order of magnitude worse than the imagined misconduct of the Tea Party crowd. It's great to be a liberal, huh? Only Conservatives can be uncivil. They have lost this battle in Wisconsin and this is just the beginning. It is time we knocked down the teachers' unions and put them in their place. Teachers are going to have to decide if they are riding on the wagon or pulling it like the rest of us.

Posted by: beachbum09 | February 18, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Wisconsin's tea birther of a governor and his cohorts in the republican party created a problem where there was none.

That said, what they are doing is a frontal assualt on the back bone of the democrat party. Destory the unions and they will have destory their nemesis.

And now my friends you know how republicans spend their time at their fancy retreats. The actions of the GOP in Wisconsin and the union busting currently underway in other states comes straight out of the GOP play book.

Posted by: BenAMarine | February 18, 2011 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Gov. Walker is doing the right and responsible thing. It is a shame that he is being condemned by those special interests who have acted irresponsibly and greedily in the past and want to continue to burden society.

Posted by: johne37179 | February 18, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Let's imagine for a moment there is a place where everyone was able work for government and get all the great benefits they wanted. This government was funded by taxes from its citizens. Now if all of the citizens paid taxes but were also government workers how long could this system function?

What most state workers do not understand is that their taxes do not support the government. It is income from the private sector. You need a healthy private sector so that you have a tax base from which to pay the public sector. You can not just keep sucking money out of the private sector without nurturing it and growing it.

Posted by: durnik | February 18, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"I understand why cops and firefighters are unionized and need CBA rights since they can get killed on any given day of the job."

Umm...that's not at all why they have unions. They have unions because they are working/middle-class groups that are used as political footballs and wish to secure their ability to do their jobs properly and make a fair wage, instead of having their livelihood kicked around for political points.

"Cops especially need unions since the Al Sharpton of the worlds unfairly target them for doing their job."

Teachers especially need unions since the Scott Walkers of the worlds unfairly target them for doing their job.

Posted by: bugmenot | February 18, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Re- comment above
"For years, teachers & other government workers have accepted lower salaries in exchange for good benefits. If that social contract is no longer in place, then I want to be compensated financially for my PhD--just like those of you in the private sector!"

Can you believe this mentality!!! You got to be kidding...wawawahaha...I'm a government worker and want you to pay me...regardless of what our country is going through...I don't care..I got my PHD at your expense ( TAX Dollars) even though it is a PHD in BS and want you to pay for my UNIVERSAL benefits!!!!

I say we have a broken GOVERNMENT enough blame to go around...we are going DOWN if we don't FIRE these fools....

LIBERALS...one question...what have you done for your country lately????

Posted by: jfbdesign | February 18, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

When Gov Walker entered office he had a 137 million shortfall after giving 140 million dollar tax credits to big businesses (the ones who outsource jobs.....). Before his lending spree to the Corporate Backers of the TParty/GOP/Gov Walker.... there was a surplus in Wisconsin's budget.

It's fair to say Unions need to be revamped. There are problems, and noone's shirking this, not even the protestors. However, it's not fair to target unions for the culpability of Wisconsin's at the expense of working and middle class.

This isn't about fiscal budgeting, this is about elections. Gov Walker and his TParty GOP clonies are backed by Big Business and Special Interest. The Democrats are backed by Unions. No secret there. Unions in the public sector are fair game and an easy excuse when you're hiding behind glass walls (giving kickbacks to billionaires) claiming "fiscal responsiblity."

Those who are protesting are bothe republicans and dems, they are not only teachers, they're fire fighters, janitors, policemen, street cleaners....the grassroots of our nation, the bottom of the barrell protesting against policies that affect all of us. Policies that in the end will only benefit the few...the top 2% (big business), that Gov Walker gave tax credits to, and are backing him (and the TParty.

Posted by: DonaldT1 | February 18, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

GotoGoal: Salary+Benefits+Pension, that's what we're talking about, not just your salary.
Most Americans DO NOT get 100% of their health insurance paid for them;
Many, many Americans DO NOT have a pension
at all.
And, I don't care how many degrees you have... You made that decision, and that should have No bearing on your salary.
I'm paying 100% of my kids' college education and I don't expect their employer or the taxpayers to increase their salaries because of that!
If all teachers think like you do... then we have a bigger education problem than
we realize!

Posted by: ohioan | February 18, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

"forcing this bill through at breakneck speed."

When Republicans are efficient, it's "forcing ...at breakneck speed." Heh.

One supposes that the cowardly Dems who fled to Illinois to avoid their duties are heroes to Mr. Dionne by slowing the process. Of course, their absence means their parliamentary prerogatives are not in play...

Posted by: rasqual | February 18, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

When Gov Walker entered office he had a 137 million shortfall after giving 140 million dollar tax credits to big businesses (the ones who outsource jobs.....). Before his lending spree to the Corporate Backers of the TParty/GOP/Gov Walker.... there was a surplus in Wisconsin's budget.

It's fair to say Unions need to be revamped. There are problems, and noone's shirking this, not even the protestors. However, it's not fair to target unions for the culpability of Wisconsin's at the expense of working and middle class.

This isn't about fiscal budgeting, this is about elections. Gov Walker and his TParty GOP clonies are backed by Big Business and Special Interest. The Democrats are backed by Unions. No secret there. Unions in the public sector are fair game and an easy excuse when you're hiding behind glass walls (giving kickbacks to billionaires) claiming "fiscal responsiblity."

Those who are protesting are both the republicans and dems, they are not only teachers, they're fire fighters, janitors, policemen, street cleaners....the "real grassroots" of our nation, the bottom of the barrell protesting against policies that affect all of us. Policies that in the end will only benefit the few...the top 2% (big business), that Gov Walker gave tax credits to (and the TParty/Gov Walker).

Posted by: DonaldT1 | February 18, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Here is he deal cut back now or have no funds for any teachers in the future. Silly People you still do not get it 15 Trillion dollars equals doomsday. Your entitlements, your overspending days are over. You either suck it up now for the future or you have no future. This is just a drop in the bucket compared to what needs to happen. Our representatives have bled us dry. That is why the people are voting the way they are. I think we should have fill in for those Democrats that do not want to come to work. So the vote can get done. You lost in November and now you are not doing the will of the People. Come election time you will pay again.

Posted by: Lanche | February 18, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

So what essential need do DMV employees provide that they need to unionized for? Being lazy?

Posted by: louisp3 | February 18, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Federal, state and local government employees represented by unions better wake up. The unions are screwing you and all the taxpayers who pay your salaries. We, the people, who pay the bills have had it; the mid-term elections was proof of our outrage and call for real change. It would be in your best interest to demand your union leadership to agree to the concessions or risk loosing your jobs and joining all the private sector workers who have been out of work for quite a while. You are pawns for the fat-cat union leadership and the Democratic Party; they are more interested in your vote than your well being. WAKE UP!

Posted by: beaufortbilly | February 18, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

This is not primarily about "jobs" or "taxes," but about the growing burden and injustice laid upon the citizens of the nation by the public employee unions. This really is not a partisan issue, unless your parties are free people vs. control by a few. As we approach the cliff's edge, it is time to draw back from control of everything by the few who run the "collective" bargaining and the state dictatorship. When everyone is employed by the government, who will be left to pay their dues and benefits?

Posted by: Eagle-Ed | February 18, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

2.8 million federal workers do not have bargaining rights. the demonrats have been buying state/county/city worker votes by giving them money they take from taxpayers. yes, it is much worse in CA, NY, IL, etc.

It is illegal for federal workers to engage in political activity, and it should be same for state. 40% of teachers do not report for work? air traffic controllers tried that and they were all fired.
If we can limp along with billions of dollars of aircraft, we can limp along without 40% of teachers until we can get some more.

yes, IT USED TO BE THAT fed and state workers got paid about 25% less than comparable civilian job. NO MORE. Pay and benefits for most workers in this recession depression have plummeted below fed and state, if they still have a job.

jan 09 Over 1000 Companies Have Recently Eliminated Employee Pensions. THE NATION AND STATES ARE BANKRUPT.

Posted by: pervleft | February 18, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

The concept of public employee unions makes absolutely no sense. Public employees are working for the public, i.e. themselves. Public services are overseen by politicians and political appointees who are representatives of the public - including those members of the public who work for and are paid by the public. There is something crazy about collective bargaining and unions in this situation, as though the government and elected politicians and public servants were exploiting the people they represent who work for the public that the government represents. There is some kind of endless loop here. There is no need for unions and collective bargaining for public employees - and it has become only too painfully clear that besides being redundant -for the government is the Mother of All Unions, and if public employees who work for their own government cannot depend upon it to do the right thing by them, we are in bigger trouble than we thought- public employee unions have actually become conspiracies by public workers AGAINST the public and the public treasury. They also, as everyone knows, interfere with rational hiring, performance evaluation, promotion, and termination processes, thereby adding to inefficiency in the public sector. The nation would be immensely better off without public employee unions of any kind. Those who wish to belong to unions are free to work in the private sector where unionization and collective bargaining, for all of the well-known faults and abuses, at least makes some sense. Public employee unions make no sense whatever from the standpoint of the public interest.

Posted by: Teleologicus | February 18, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Billionaires...lets see

Hollywood is about 90% Liberal - Democrats, living in mansions and producing what they call entertainment???

Last time I checked over 80% of our armed forces personnel vote CONSERVATIVE and they have an average salary of $40k????

George SOROS, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Warren Buffet....ALL LIBERALS....should I say more??

No my friends, our country is taking a wrong direction with a LIBERAL mentality, take a look at EUROPE...all SOCIALIST states have failed!!!

Lets put our pride aside and lets SAVE our great nation from this potential destruction!!!

Support the small businesses and stop taking put accountability, individualism FIRST and stop this SOCIALISM garbage!!

Posted by: jfbdesign | February 18, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

But Wisconsin doesn't face an emergency that justifies forcing this bill through at breakneck speed.

you mean like obamacare was?

Posted by: pervleft | February 18, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

hmmm thinking there are a ton of individuals who don't work in Wisconsin, and haven't the foggiest what's actually taking place there. The budget cuts are not about the corrupt Unions... Noones arguing that. We got that...Unions are corrupt and need fixing.

The reality in the current situtation is this: The buget policies are about corporate backers ....Big Government...that backs the TParty/GOP nominees for elections. Break the Unions and you win the election. See... Gov Walker isn't looking out for the common man. The common man is protessting because he recognized this. So in the next election it is Gov Walker and the GOP/TParty who should listen. We the People...are speaking now. Not Big Government or Business as Usual ...using public sector unions as an excuse for policial gain, . . . at the expense of the working/middle class. Ask Gov Walker to refund the 140,000,000 he lent out to Big Business who outsource jobs, creating the shortfall of 137,000,000. Unions didn't do this, Corporate GOP/TParty backing did.

Posted by: DonaldT1 | February 18, 2011 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Did you people even read the article? this is NOT about a shortfall due to excessive pay or benefits to workers. Its about an overreaching Governor who doesn't understand he represents all the people of Wisconsin, not just his campaign supporters. He took a budget SURPLUS and spent it in his first month in office and now is saying the state is in crisis. If this was an issue with overcompensating the employees, I would agree completely but that's not the case here. If you really cared about overspending then we can definitely talk. But you've shown yourselves to be biased, low information observers, as you skim the surface of a story and don't do your own research or find out what's really going on. Don't you realize you're being manipulated to hate your neighbors, teachers, emergency techs, and yes, even the person who works at the DMV? and funny thing, its working.

Posted by: mzteddy | February 18, 2011 11:00 AM | Report abuse

@mzteddy

You are so right. I guess my words are on deaf ears. There are a lot of people here who back a far-right agenda, no matter if it caused our economy to collapse. It so reminds me of Germany, and quite scary. I didn't think that could happen in America, but I guess it can.

I'm watching Gov Walker act like a complete Dictator, without regard to the people, not listening to them, after he caused the shorfall by giving tax credits away to the top 2%. There actually was a surplus before his gift giving to his backers took hold of Wisconsin's budget.

Posted by: DonaldT1 | February 18, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Public employees, paid by Taxpayers, have no business being Unionized or collective bargaining. ITS A MAJOR CONFLICT OF INTEREST.
Public employees were never meant to be unionized. If you look at history, FDR was
extremely opposed to unionizing public employees.
Taxpayers are paying for public employees,whose Unions are backing
Liberal Candidates, WITH OUR TAXDOLLARS.
This is a SCAM on taxpayers!

Posted by: ohioan | February 18, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

We are a step away from becoming greece and the PIGS countries, portugal, ireland, greece, spain, and all the rest of european countries are bankrupt.

US and the PIGS have spent themselves into debt and yet husseins budget INCREASES SPENDING over last year with 50 billion dollars going to fast trains. Ohio, wisconsin and florida said NO! I think this is sustainable.

Posted by: pervleft | February 18, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

A dictator who was democratically elected 6 weeks ago.

What happened to getting away from violent rhetoric and imagery? "Kill the bill" was chanted. "Kill" is a violent word.

Posted by: louisp3 | February 18, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Apparently we do not need elections anymore. The democratic, liberal, elite senators in Wisconsin have decided that the public had no right to elect a majority other than democrats. They therefore attempt to nullify the election results and refuse to do their sworn duty. Obamacare was implemented in a way that made a mockery out of democracy. Now the Wisconsin democratic senators are trying also to circumvent the election results.
The issue is not if you agree with gov. Walker. The issue is the democratic process. The senators on the run have every chance to vote according their beliefs.
Is our future going to be that if elected officials are not a majority of the democratic party we can have no government?
The liberal elite proves again that they have no interest in a democratic process.
We are rapidly approaching a liberal elite dictatorship.
All those demonstrating teachers have the best interest of the students in mind?
Who is tending to the students needs.

Posted by: duif100 | February 18, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

What we need are informed opinions from the opinion writers. Just because there is no "budget emergency" doesn't mean dramatic steps to rein in costs aren't needed now. If American taxpayers had any idea of the impact public employee pensions and health benefits will have on future taxes every elected official in the country would be voted out. Waiting for a "budget emergency" to take action is simply irresponsible. Instead of expressing an uninformed opinion do some research and report some facts. Tell your readers how many states and cities borrowed money to fund pensions, tell them how many borrowed money from the pension fund to cover the current year's funding requirement, tell them the value of a public employees pension and retiree health plan and contrast that to the value of the average taxpayers plans ( just arming taxpayers with that one piece of information will change the national debate), tell them how many states and cities are or in the next 10 years will be on the verge of bankruptcy primarily due to public employee pension and retiree health. Then ask them if they are willing to pay more taxes so that public employees can continue to enjoy a benefits package that makes their TOTAL pay considerably higher than private sector employees.

Posted by: AnotherPerspective5 | February 18, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

@dulf100....

you forget there are republicans, democrats, independents that include.... others who are fighting with teachers .... firemen, policemen, janitors.... this list goes on. the fight is about governor walker's inability to listen and negotiate with the people. And the reality that he created the budget shortfall of 137 mil by giving tax credits of 140 mil to the top 2% big business (who will not hire in state or in country...they'll outsource, which is what they're doing). that's the reality. good try though . . .

Posted by: DonaldT1 | February 18, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I wish some Gov of CA where I live did this in non-fiscal emergency. Maybe we wouldn't have over $500 billion in unfunded pension liabilities then!

Posted by: louisp3 | February 18, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Did you people even read the article? this is NOT about a shortfall due to excessive pay or benefits to workers. Its about an overreaching Governor who doesn't understand he represents all the people of Wisconsin, not just his campaign supporters. He took a budget SURPLUS and spent it in his first month in office and now is saying the state is in crisis. If this was an issue with overcompensating the employees, I would agree completely but that's not the case here. If you really cared about overspending then we can definitely talk. But you've shown yourselves to be biased, low information observers, as you skim the surface of a story and don't do your own research or find out what's really going on. Don't you realize you're being manipulated to hate your neighbors, teachers, emergency techs, and yes, even the person who works at the DMV? and funny thing, its working.
Posted by: mzteddy | February 1
-------------------

Public employee unions and collective bargaining for public employees are not in the public interest but against it, and in a number of ways. Inflated salaries and benefits are only part of the damage to the public interest resulting from the irrational existence of "unions" for public servants. Who are these "unions" fighting against? Why, the public, of course. Public employees should not be organized and in conspiracy against the public for which they work, which pays them, to whom they are accountable, and of whom, not incidentally, they are themselves a constituent.

Public employee unions are conspiracies against the public to extract higher wages and benefits than the public, through its elected and appointed representative, is able or desires to provide them. But such conspiracies also serve to thwart rational personnel processes, to retain inefficient or incompetent workers, and to make effective, non-politicized management difficult or even impossible.

Public employee unions contribute nothing whatever to the public good. They are a net loss to the public interest in every possible way. Would a private for-profit employer seek to set up unions against itself so that it would be compelled to negotiate wages and benefits and personnel practices? Of course not. Why then should the public do so? Whose interest is served by public employees unions? Not the public interest, which is consistently harmed by them.

The only people who could benefit from public employee unions are the employees, not the public that is their employer. I don't know how on earth such a counter-productive and self-contradictory thing as a public employee UNION got started and took root. It makes no sense whatever - and it is time to roll back this organized attack upon the public and the public treasury by, of all people, public servants.

Posted by: Teleologicus | February 18, 2011 11:19 AM | Report abuse

pensions aren't breaking us, giving to big business is. we should change the pension plans utlitmately, but first lets get big business that backs the far-right tparty gop in their rightful place. not around americans, hard working americans (many of whom don't have pensions as claimed).

Posted by: DonaldT1 | February 18, 2011 11:21 AM | Report abuse

pensions aren't breaking us

You should come out to CA and write for TV, you are funny.

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/apr/06/opinion/la-oe-crane6-2010apr06

Posted by: louisp3 | February 18, 2011 11:23 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans screwed the middle class during the Reagan-Bush-Bush regime and now they are trying to turn those who've lost their benefits then against the union people. Be not fooled. The Republicans are out to screw the middle class and the working poor.

Posted by: glenglish | February 18, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

The corporate wing of the Republic Party has long sought to bust unions and put the uppity middle class back in its place. Now, it seems, finally the middle class is pushing back. After all of Wall Street's looting, speculation and government subsidies on the backs of the middle class, people are finally telling them to stop.

Posted by: mongolovesheriff | February 18, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Republican Greed will destroy this country.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | February 18, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Republican Greed will destroy this country.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | February 18, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"For years, teachers & other government workers have accepted lower salaries in exchange for good benefits. If that social contract is no longer in place, then I want to be compensated financially for my PhD--just like those of you in the private sector!"

This is really annoying, many private sector jobs do not have fully paid pension plans, low or no employee funded medical plans, or guarrenteed tenure or raises. You are paid based on performance, and that performance is not soley dependant on your personal performance, but rather the company's performance. You can work your butt off every day, 10 or more hours a day and still get fired or laid off. Why? Because the company does not do well. Most private employers are "at will" which means you can be terminated at any time. Why don't public sector people understand that?

Posted by: mudd94 | February 18, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

We have a President that is fomenting Civil Unrest. A President that is a Paid Off Shill for Big Labor Unions. A President that is fueling Class Envy. A President that wants to Weaken America.

'12 CANNOT Come Soon Enough !!

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 18, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I DON'T WANT Teachers who are Allowed to Shut-Down Schools -- teaching my kids.
This is over the line, this is where
the flaky liberal Agenda has gone too FAR!
And those cowardly Democrat politicians who
fled to Illinois .... what is that?
Democrats are proving to be whiney, wimpy, limp people.
As a Taxpayer, I don't want to pay for UNIONIZED PUBLIC EMPLOYEES.
As a Parent, I don't want these-type Teachers teaching/brainwashing my kids!

Posted by: ohioan | February 18, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Dem Voters of Wisc. should be very proud of their elected Socialist officials. They hide from their responsibilities, go AWOL and send in naive brainwasehd school children to protest.

LOL !!

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 18, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that Walker goes after the teachers unions, who tilt Democratic, but not police and firefighters, who lean Republican. Just a coincidence?

Posted by: dclc | February 18, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Interesting that Walker goes after the teachers unions, who tilt Democratic, but not police and firefighters, who lean Republican. Just a coincidence?

Posted by: dclc | February 18, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse


Reward your friends and punish your enemies is the oldest dictum in the political playbook and one can expect the opposition to howl when it is implemented. Dionne howls when government unions, his political allies are skewered but is silent when the UAW is gifted with government purchase of auto companies.

Go figure.

BTW, the former saves money and the last costs money and we are currently in fiscal crisis.

Posted by: edbyronadams | February 18, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Face it Dionne you are as much of a hack for the Unions as Obama is. It is not right when the workers can vote themselves a raise or benefits. Public Sector employees should have 0 union representation, they work for the electorate. I hope that Gov. Walker and every other Gov. who has the stomach for the fight throws the unions out of their states. Private companies are a different story, unions should be able to present their case and allow the workers in the private sector to vote. My dad and grandfather were both union electricians, and I remember the strikes and picket lines of the 70's, there is no place for that in the government sector.

Posted by: jjlj | February 18, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Facts:

Before Governor Walker spent 140 mil on the top 2% Big Business/Special Corporate TParty/GOP Backers.....

There was a 121,362,000 surplus...

After his spending spree (140 mil) on the corporate rich who didn't & will not give back to our economy...

There was a 137 mil deficit....

That was in his short term of office.... he spent that much, then decided to go after Unions...

Sounds fishy. It is...There backing him in the next elections...and Unions are the way to defeat Dems.

Unfortunately, guess who's getting the stick....not everyone is receiving a pension in their Union benies... Perhaps they need medical for cancer.... or preventative dental for a daughter or son....

This is about greed and elections. Simple.

Posted by: DonaldT1 | February 18, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Facts:

Before Governor Walker spent 140 mil on the top 2% Big Business/Special Corporate TParty/GOP Backers.....

There was a 121,362,000 surplus...

After his spending spree (140 mil) on the corporate rich who didn't & will not give back to our economy...

There was a 137 mil deficit....

That was in his short term of office.... he spent that much, then decided to go after Unions...

Sounds fishy. It is...They're backing him in the next elections...and Unions are the way to defeat Dems.

Unfortunately, guess who's getting the stick....not everyone is receiving a pension in their Union benies... Perhaps they need medical for cancer.... or preventative dental for a daughter or son....

This is about greed and elections. Simple.

Posted by: DonaldT1 | February 18, 2011 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Hogwash Dionne.

Walker has taken a stand against the coercive left wing union and he has the support of millions of Americans. It's time to stop these socialist/communist unions and regain some sanity in this country's poor sick fiscal and economic structure.

Posted by: rplat | February 18, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Hey Wisconsin! YOU VOTED FOR THESE REPUBLICANS, remember that! Get a clue next time! THIS is what you get when you vote Republican, plain and simple.

Posted by: Hillary08 | February 18, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans screwed the middle class during the Reagan-Bush-Bush regime and now they are trying to turn those who've lost their benefits then against the union people. Be not fooled. The Republicans are out to screw the middle class and the working poor.
---------------

Such vulgar class warfare nonsense cannot obscure the truth, which is that it is the public employee "unions"(!) that are plundering the public treasury and thereby screwing the middle class as well as the public in general - including, indirectly, themselves.

There is not the slightest reason in the worst for public employees to need or belong to a union. Who do they think they are working for? Who do they think is trying to deny them their rights, a fair wage, benefits, etc.? Who do they think is paying for all that? To whom to they think they are providing services? Do they not understand what the term, public servant means? They seem, many of them, to think they are working for a private for-profit corporation that is trying to exploit them for selfish gain. They are working for their own government, the same government that exists to protect their rights. They do not need, and should not be permitted to have, union rights the same way employees of private business have and need to have. Public employee unions make no sense except as modes of advancement for public employees at the expense of the public they serve.

Government is the ultimate union, the guarantor of all rights, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. Government employees do not need unions - they work for the government, their own government! Their government does not exploit them to make a profit from their labor. The terms of employment, salaries, benefits, etc. for public employees are established by representatives of the public on behalf of the public. There are political means to address grievances related to public employment. Unions were developed to protect workers in private enterprise. They do not belong in government. There is absolutely nothing in the public interest from public employee unions, which are nothing whatever but conspiracies AGAINST the public interest. I am surprised such entities are legal. They should not be.

Posted by: Teleologicus | February 18, 2011 11:40 AM | Report abuse

If the Governors goal is the budget why is he excluding police, firefighters and state troopers? Its a farce, that's why. Cut it all and move on, if he is so concerned with the budget. Aside from that, my opinion is that ALL teachers across America should see this as a "noose" for them to be the scapegoat of what is to come with a Republican Governor or a Republican Legislative majority within their respective states. Education is always cut first in our society and we wonder why we are falling behind globally.

Posted by: hyphen_va | February 18, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

EJ you are totally right. This cannot stand. Budget cuts - fine. But NONE of this naked union busting.

Posted by: catherine3 | February 18, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"Did you people even read the article? this is NOT about a shortfall due to excessive pay or benefits to workers. Its about an overreaching Governor who doesn't understand he represents all the people of Wisconsin, not just his campaign supporters. He took a budget SURPLUS and spent it in his first month in office and now is saying the state is in crisis"

Yes and no, the state had a supplus and he did what most politians would do, invest into business and cut taxes. However, the problem is that tax revenues have dropped considerably and business aren't hiring. So, that choice ultimately backfired. Think about it logically, the state is running a surplus, any decent politician would want to give the money back to the state's citizens which ultimately lead to greater spending. Which did benefit the public sector people in the first place, since they are the same folks who paid taxes. Did any of these people give the money back in taxes because they thought the governor was being irresponsible?
Also, do public sector employee understand the number of people paying property taxes, income taxes, etc. have decreased? Do you all watch the news and realize that the person bringing the children to school is not likely making the same money they made two or three years ago? Seriously, do you understand that many of the same people paying taxes are being laid off? Why is their such a disconnect between you (public Sector) and Us (private sector)?

Posted by: mudd94 | February 18, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"Republican Greed will destroy this country."

Take a look. Is future tense proper?

And let us not forget nor exempt Clinton, who backed NAFTA.

Isn't it darkly hilarious that the party that finds Reds behind every door is so eager for US jobs to go to China? Darkly hilarious that the party that extols the virtues and strength of their perverted capitalism has been so instrumental in making the Chinese the economic success story of the 21st century?

Isn't it pathetic that in a country with millions of computers with millions of copies of spreadsheet software that nobody puts in the figures that reveal that shipping jobs out of the country ("because the union workers are so overpaid") has resulted in exactly what we now experience? OK, the spreadsheet isn't even needed: we can see it without.

Posted by: hewhoasks | February 18, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Note: Walker's plan does not include Fire and Police Unions because they supported his Election and those of other Republicans. This is only a Republican Attack on Democrats!

Posted by: ddoiron1 | February 18, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Walker will win in Wisconsin and the state will be much better for it. The Public employees will still enjoy very good benefits and pay that more than befits their output (which for most public employees is minimal). Once again EJ leaps to support the loony-left and once again he is on the wrong and losing side.

Posted by: Realist201 | February 18, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Re- comment above
"For years, teachers & other government workers have accepted lower salaries in exchange for good benefits. If that social contract is no longer in place, then I want to be compensated financially for my PhD--just like those of you in the private sector!"

Can you believe this mentality!!! You got to be kidding...wawawahaha...I'm a government worker and want you to pay me...regardless of what our country is going through...I don't care..I got my PHD at your expense ( TAX Dollars) even though it is a PHD in BS and want you to pay for my UNIVERSAL benefits!!!!

I say we have a broken GOVERNMENT enough blame to go around...we are going DOWN if we don't FIRE these fools....

LIBERALS...one question...what have you done for your country lately????

Posted by: jfbdesign
__________________
how dare someone with these qualifications demand to be paid to teach your kids? you're joking, right? states could pay the way most employers do, with comparable contributions to health coverage. they ASKED the unions to take better coverage INSTEAD of giving them salary increases over the years, to defer the cost to later budget years. That's not the union's fault, it's the state's. The unions would have gladly paid more for health care and gotten normal wage increases.

The governor could simply ask for givebacks instead of layoffs if he were just interested in closing the deficit he created. Whether taxes were too high or not, he created the deficit by reducing revenue. Again, even if justified, givebacks could be negotiated. that's not the subject.

this is all about the bill to cripple the union by legislating that they can't bargain about anything at all. bargaining about wages only, with a cap of the CPI, is a joke.

Walker is just a repub who ran on a unions are evil platform and is blaming unions for other people's misery.

no union ever got anything from a state that the state didn't offer it. That's a failure of leadership. Busting the union is politics, not leadership

Posted by: JoeT1 | February 18, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Dionne sees this as an attack by Republicans against "allies of the other party". In other words as an attack against Democrats. It's not. It's an attack against a POLICY (collective bargaining by public employees) that Republicans see as destructive to the public welfare.

Democrats, not everything is about you.

Regards,

Posted by: afwalker | February 18, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

E.J., thanks for encapsulating the situation so well. The Republicans are geniuses at ginning up crises so they can screw the middle class.

One need look no farther than the Republicans
demanding the the Bush tax cuts be extended for the very, very wealthy - and then acting in mock horror because the deficit is so big. Their solution? Budget cuts that would lay off approximately 650,000 federal workers!

Starve the beast only makes sense if it is a beast that you are starving. You might be starving your kids instead.

Posted by: Trakker | February 18, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Here is a personal example, I made almost 2K less in 2010 then I did in 2009 in the state of New Jersey, yet my property taxes increased from 4500 to 4800 dollars. Where does the money come from? I have had to struggle the entire year to make ends meet, but yet our teachers have been protesting the heck out of Gov Christie. I keep getting letters from the fire department and police asking me to approve property tax increase so they can keep their pensions and medical benefits. But what about mine? How should I survive with less income and higher taxes? But you can keep your pensions, medical, and tenure, but yet I can get fired or laid off at a drop of a hat?

Posted by: mudd94 | February 18, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Wow man. I guess Wussy's Gov just sent out the Highway Patrol to round up 'fleeing' Dem members of their house. Maybe 'Smokey' and the Bandit can loan them some fast Pontiac Firebirds.
Does this new development mean that baseball umpires this summer will have to be careful with the S word?

Posted by: deepthroat21 | February 18, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Walker will win in Wisconsin and the state will be much better for it. The Public employees will still enjoy very good benefits and pay that more than befits their output (which for most public employees is minimal). Once again EJ leaps to support the loony-left and once again he is on the wrong and losing side.

Posted by: Realist201
___________________
people who think all our problems are this simple are our problem. all public employees are lazy morons we could do without because they produce nothing. blame them for all our problems.

pathetic.

Posted by: JoeT1 | February 18, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

The Dem legislators have shown their contempt for Democracy, they ran away. "Elections have consequences" - Obama

Posted by: delusional1 | February 18, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I DON'T WANT Teachers who are Allowed to Shut-Down Schools -- teaching my kids.
This is over the line, this is where
the flaky liberal Agenda has gone too FAR!
And those cowardly Democrat politicians who
fled to Illinois .... what is that?
Democrats are proving to be whiney, wimpy, limp people.
As a Taxpayer, I don't want to pay for UNIONIZED PUBLIC EMPLOYEES.
As a Parent, I don't want these-type Teachers teaching/brainwashing my kids!

Posted by: ohioan | February 18, 2011 11:32 AM


You live in Ohio. What are you whining about?
Just another brain dead teabagger who once again brings nothing to the table. Cry ohioan, cry. whaaaa.
Pathetic.
Go Heels
KJO


Posted by: koneill8 | February 18, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

JWx2 said "it takes 15 liberals to change a lightbulb...and only one conservative to change the same lightbulb..."

Correction: it takes only one Liberal to change the lightbulb. But if you get 15 Conservatives together, they will decide the lightbulb is unnecessary, and then ban lightbulbs and give another tax break to the filthy-rich.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | February 18, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Of course Soetoro and his Socialist Party of Deceit support Tax Payer supported Public Unions. They derive a large chunk of Tax Payer money for their Political Campaigns via forced Union Dues. Re-Distribution of Tax Payer Money through Public Unions to the Re-Elect 2012 Soetoro Campaign.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 18, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Man, having liberals in this country is expensive. They take an estimated 80% of government salaries and 82% in government benefits. Who's on welfare? Likely a liberal voter. Who's on Wic and foodstamps? Likely a liberal voter. Who's in subsidized housing? Likely a liberal voter. Who's cashing the public employee health check? Likely a liberal voter. Who's suing corporations daily? Likely a liberal voter. Who's filling up the jails with crimes and the subsequent costs? Likely a liberal voter. Who's demanding higher and higher tax rates? Likely a liberal voter. For people always proclaiming their altrusim, you're the most selfish, controlling bunch of people on the planet.

Posted by: cartmaneric | February 18, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

obama's overreach.

gov has jurisdiction, clearly.

Posted by: docwhocuts | February 18, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Break the unions now before they get real power..

Posted by: wewintheylose1 | February 18, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I love how liberals sin things!

When Republicans vote the way their constituents elected them to vote they are called racists, Nazis and every other vile name they can pin on them.

When Democrats leave the state to avoid the legal democratic process to play itself out... they are talking non-sense while complaining about the issue.

Here's a clue by four libs...

The election is over, the people have spoken, now it's time for you to grow up. If the people of Wisconsin don't like what happened then they will fire them next election. You know that you're going to lose and that the representatives in Wisconsin and their Governor will be praised and you can't deal with it. Get a clue, grow some ethics and deal with it you irresponsible, lying liar, spoiled sorts, brats!

Posted by: peterlounsbury | February 18, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I love how liberals see things!

When Republicans vote the way their constituents elected them to vote they are called racists, Nazis and every other vile name they can pin on them.

When Democrats leave the state to avoid the legal democratic process to play itself out... they are talking non-sense while complaining about the issue.

Here's a clue by four libs...

The election is over, the people have spoken, now it's time for you to grow up. If the people of Wisconsin don't like what happened then they will fire them next election. You know that you're going to lose and that the representatives in Wisconsin and their Governor will be praised and you can't deal with it. Get a clue, grow some ethics and deal with it you irresponsible, lying liar, spoiled sorts, brats!

Posted by: peterlounsbury | February 18, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

It is curious how all the major news outlets are featuring this and other minor stories while burying the extension of the Patriot Act that was passed almost in secret last night.

Posted by: wakeupcall2 | February 18, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

mr dionne -- you are completly off the mark. this is not some right or left issue. this is taking control of the government local, state, federal in a very meaningful way.

look to tunisia, egypt, europe -- the change is in the air to revamp our "collective" and resoundingly say: Stop praying for an easy life and pray to be a strong person -- with individual responsibility for our life and how we live it.

Posted by: fngVP | February 18, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Dionne - since EVERYTHING you write is an extremist Leftist view how can anyone with half a rational brain take anything you say seriously? Most of us think that the public sector is both too large and over compensated. We voted to change this - it's called Democracy - obviously a concept that you and those who are assembling in Wisconsin know little about. You've joined a long established line of Leftist thugs and goons who resort to force, coercion, blackmail, and even violence to get your way. You are nothing but THUGS! We voted. You lost. We're going to put sanity into the system - so deal with it.

Posted by: Capitalist-1 | February 18, 2011 12:05 PM | Report abuse

@JWx2: Wrote: it takes 15 liberals to change a lightbulb...and only one conservative to change the same lightbulb...
___________________________________________

It take 15 liberals ro change a light bulb alright and 1 conservative and you want to know why? Thats b/c the conservative is on the liberals back doing all the work and taking all the credit. Just like a conservative, do nothing bunch a garbage eaters and trying to take all the credit. Its funny that idiots who anti-union really believe that billionaires and millionaires really give a crap about you..Conservatives are a joke...

Posted by: Realistic5 | February 18, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

it takes 15 liberals to change a lightbulb...and only one conservative to change the same lightbulb...

Posted by: JWx2 | February 18, 2011 10:13 AM
===========================================

That single conservative that attempted to change the burned out light bulb was named Bush and he plunged this nation into the hole for which your stupid pea brain continues to vote for that party.

If it take's a certain amount of liberal to make the correct decision, good! If your bragging about one right winger making a single decision, ask a 5th grader because they show a better ability to do the job than Republicans.

Where's the jobs Boehner promised?

Where's the jobs the GOP promised?

America should have given liberals the opportunity to create the jobs that Republicans destroyed.

Now after the hangover, buyer's remorse.

And it might say, if those who loose their jobs now that Republicans are in office and voted for the same idiots that wrecked this country (clue: eight years of Republicans raping our nation) you deserve it!

Send the Republicans where their investments are. China!

Posted by: rbraun2000 | February 18, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I deal with a labor union on almost a daily basis. NOT A FAN. I believe that unions in general have mostly outlived their usefulness. National labor laws are such these days that unions are now really only "bargaining" for perks. That is until some right wingnut thinks we can go back to the Pinkerton days. Dealing with unions is a choice, and people have the right to form them. Walker "Wisconson Ranger" wants play by his own rules. He'd better hope Chuck Noris doesn't find out and go all "Chuck Noris" on him!

Posted by: KJR1 | February 18, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

thomasmc1957,

You do realize flourescent light-bulbs are now banned due to liberal regulations, right? So, literally there are certain lightbulbs we will no longer be able to purchase. Your point in this vein seems odd. The good news is the new ones we are obligated to use are filled with Mercury. Your kids will love it. About the "filthy rich"...when I hear "filthy rich", I hear a person whose life didn't pan out exactly as they hoped and prefer to blame someone other than the one they see in the mirror every morning.

Posted by: cartmaneric | February 18, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Gender: Male

Marital Status: Married

Age: 31

Employer: Federal Government

Education: Law degree from big state school.

Salary: 51,630

Retirement: I contribute 12 percent per pay period, feds chip 3 percent and one half percent up to 5 percent.

Healthcare: I pay 150 a month...just for me. My wife has her own plan that she pays for.

Folks, I don't know what the benfits are like for public sector employees in Wisconsin, but as a federal employee, I can assure that my benefits were better in the private sector. I took this job because it gives me a sense of security. Now, you can complain about "average salaries" all you want, but the truth is, the government tends to have a lot of older workers with high education and high skills. There aren't any burger flippers or stock boys here. These same people would make more in the private sector and they would still be your boss. Railing against them will not do a thing to improve your status. Be lucky that they aren't competing against you because trust me, you wouldn't stand a chance.

Posted by: nsu1203 | February 18, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

All of the whining from Republicans and their fascist business lackeys. Public employees should get paid well, they are not like the lazy, shiftless private sector workers who are not as smart or talented as public sector workers. The reason most people are unemployed in this country is they are lazy and stupid and racist, they would rather not work than have to work under an African American president, the unemployed can rot as far as I am concerned

Posted by: stunninglycommonsense | February 18, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

@JWx2: Wrote: it takes 15 liberals to change a lightbulb...and only one conservative to change the same lightbulb...
___________________________________________

It takes 15 liberals to change a light bulb alright and 1 conservative and you want to know why? Thats b/c the conservative is on the liberals back doing all the work and taking all the credit. Just like a conservative, do nothing bunch a garbage eaters and trying to take all the credit. Its funny the idiots who are anti-union really believe that billionaires and millionaires really give a crap about them..Conservatives are a joke...

Posted by: Realistic5 | February 18, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

First of all collective bargaining was useful during a time when you didn't have OSHA laws, you didn't have child labor laws, you didn't have unemployment insurance, disability, over time pay, etc. Now that the government has pretty much forced all this on business, what else is there left to bargain?? MONEY!! THAT'S WHAT!!

The democrats talk about "fairness" all the time, yet their largest constituency, the unions are not interested in the health of the country. They are not interested in deficits. They are not interested in the market or if people are out of work. No, the only thing they are interested in is hearing that they don't have to contribute squat to their own pension or health care plans! This is someone else to pay for damn it! How dare the public not pay higher taxes so these poor union folk don't have to chip in a paltry 12% towards their own health care! Or God forbid, 5% for their pensions! And to think my company's health plan just went up 31%!! The suffering these union people are going to have to endure along with their guaranteed life time jobs! Whoah!!!

Unions are nothing more than spokes people for the lazy, the cheap, quite simply... the takers of society who somehow feel they just deserve. They deserve free health care, free 401ks, jobs for life, full salaries when they leave. Now, if a PRIVATE company wants to put up with this well then, that's their business. But being that this is a PUBLIC union, I don't have to pay taxes for it! They have to suffer the job market like every else!

Please, spare us the bull my democrat friends. It's quite obvious by now that the only thing unions care about are their wallets and nothing more. And the American public as a whole knows it! Its high time we all put an end to these disgustingly greedy and pathetic public unions who are raping our states' budgets and costing us all mega $$ at a time when we simply can't afford to fool around!

Posted by: emmitfitzhume | February 18, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I wish all of you liberal ex hippies would get out and protest the WAR!!!

gates wants 370,000 TROOPS!

what happened to ending the wars we can't afford?

oh yeah, teachers union in wisconsin,
22 sick days a year and a $132.00
employee contribution towards $7500 a year pension costs. the employer covers the rest, too bad the employer is the taxpayers of wisconsin who voted for Walker.....

what about democracy?
is it only good in far away lands?

Posted by: simonsays1 | February 18, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Graduated high school...college...etc. Maybe ended up with good jobs and nice houses. Instead...you want us to pay your way. Nobody said life was fair.To all of you putting this demonstration down. If you were state workers and had these benefits for years suddenly taken away.....you'd be down at the capital whining like little babies. Just because some are better off than you.... doesn't give you a reason to slam them. Should I be disrespectful like you have all been? Well perhaps some of you should have taken different routes in life. The latest video clips from TMZ http://fms.nu/ht8PXC I get the latest what happen. It will be helpful for them who want to keep in touch with updates always like me

Posted by: mastermind7526 | February 18, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Thankfully, we haven't tipped over with a government employee class, but we got close, before the money ran out. Sorry for the pain of sharing, the rest of us can offer some tips, since we've been living with this for the past three years.

Posted by: Gooddogs | February 18, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I am a bit confused with your article and your logic. The summation of your argument is this.....You admit that the state has a budget deficit but you say it does not have to be rectified now since it is not "dire" like California or New York, also, since the measure to rectify the budget has been expedited, it means the governor is seeking retribution. Also you claim the tax benefits he is extending to businesses that move to Wisconsin is part of the deficit, hence, he is complicit in the problem. Are you serious? when would you like for the 3.2billion dollar deficit to be rectified?...when it gets worse or some time in the unknown distant future?. Your logic is inconsistent and makes the typical assumption that it does not have to be done now. Besides the union members, do you see non-union citizens of the state protesting or do you see a majority of the citizenry protesting? (ohh by the way the majority voted for the governor and the legislative body). Unions are killing this country and you know it, I am not against unions but I am against using collective bargaining power to create inflexible positions (all benefits) that does not account for a decline in the economy and fiscal unrealities. If the unions had kept the union dues it collects from its members in a bank account and earn your typical 1% or so (don't invest it in the market or give it to a fund manager so you don't create another monstrosity ala the state pension funds) and simply dole it back out (to the rightful owners of the money)during harsh financial times (minus expenses) rather than spending it on political campaign donations maybe their members will be better off.
Also, how else do you intend to incent businesses to come to your state? Sure is not labor cost ala china and the whole of south east Asia, it is not less regulation ala china and the whole of south east Asia, it is not by hugs ala been friends...I think you get my point..using the state tax code to incent companies to invest in your state is reasonable, thoughtful, sensible and economically astute because it does something the UNIONS and yourself don't seem to understand, it creates jobs and in turn wages and a better economy. Once again your logic is egregiously flawed.

Posted by: eyanme | February 18, 2011 12:13 PM | Report abuse

It appears that the American Revolution II has begun. The arrogance of the public employees to think they can get healthcare and pensions with never contributing anything is surpassed only by the arrogance of the president of the U.S. -B. H. Obama- getting involved in the disagreement between the Wisconsin administration and the Wisconsin public employee unions. We must stand up and fight against Obama and his kind that think every tax payers wallet is also theirs. We don't need better than half of the government services that exist today. These people aren't there to provide a service to the country or their local constituents - they are there to live off the public doll and scr ew everyone else. We must stand up and fight and defeat Obama and his kind. They are turning America into a ghetto.

Posted by: AnAmerican5 | February 18, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

There needs to be a recall effort started on Walker. This is what happens when rightwing Tea partiers get in; goodbye to rights, hello to overreach and crisis precipitation.

Posted by: dudh | February 18, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Good 'ol boy Union Members need to get their heads out of their ass...Republicans are NOT your friend...

Posted by: russcarter1 | February 18, 2011 10:20 AM
-----------------------------------------
Could'nt have said it better myself. Now Wisconson has actually painted the piture. Time to pull the republican wool from our nation's eyes!

Posted by: KJR1 | February 18, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

A small majority in the state legislator, elected by about 40% of citizens eligible to vote, has decided that they want to reverse the 20th century.

We in America can now look to the Middle East for examples of what to do about tyrannical regimes who seek to eviscerate the rights of the people.

How sad. The United States used to be the world leader, in government, freedom, medicine, technology. Now we trail in every area thanks to the backward looking minority, a very very loud dangerous and well financed minority trying to drag us into being a 19th century nation with a 13th century government.

Posted by: John1263 | February 18, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I heard on the news that the WI gov wanted public employees to take anywhere form a 10 to 16% pay cut.
Is the WI state legislature going to take the same pay cut? Is the Gov? Why haven't they already done so? Oh yea. They got theirs and that's all that matters.
Bunch of cheeseheads.
Go Heels
KJO

Posted by: koneill8 | February 18, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Someone said, "PHD paid for with tax dollars." What planet are you living on, dude? I can show you a bill from Department of Education that says otherwise about my education being paid for by tax dollars. I borrowed money to pay for this education, just like you borrowed my money from the bank to buy your house. We both have to pay it back.

Posted by: nsu1203 | February 18, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

EJ logic- Wisconsin deficit isn't as big as California's or New York's so these efforts are unnecessary or unwarranted.

Well that may be so but it's not less significant to the people of Wisconsin. They have a smaller population, as a percentage of the budget and per resident it is hardly insignificant. It's their state budget and they're taking action.

Other examples of EJ logic are- 9% unemployment is not bad, it could be worse; current deficit spending is not that bad, it could be worse; the 2010 election were bad but could have been worse........

Posted by: flyover22 | February 18, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

E.J. Dionne is so out of touch with what is going on with the American people it is a surprise that he continues to find work. Oh! maybe he is represented by a Public Employee Union that makes sure he has a job no matter how bad he performs. If I recall they have similar agreements in the teachers unions. (It's why Gov. Bloomberg can't get rid of bad teachers in NY)

What a lot of people do not realize about the Gov. Walker proposal is that it not only makes good economic sense for his state, it also allows him to throw out all other road blocks to getting rid of bad teachers in his state. In the private sector if you did not perform well, you did not get promoted and were most probably let go. Now we might get some teachers who can stand up and be measured by performance.

The public sector has gotten out of control, and the cost has been shifted too much onto the shoulders of the private sector tax payer.

I am old enough to remember "Civil Service". That meant you were paid less but had better retirement and health care along with better job security. Earlier in our political history, after each election, to the victor went the spoils. Civil Service was meant to take much of the politics out of government jobs. With public sector unions it came back in. But in a different way. As they grew they now became large organized voting blocks that were sought after by the politicians who in turn assured the unions of more power if they voted right. (And they continue to grow.)

In the private sector unions declined as a function of normal market forces. If you forced your wages to high, the company either went out of business or went elsewhere.

Enough said. E.J. Dionne is dead wrong. It does not matter what your political persuasion is (Liberal, Conservative, Centrist) Public sector unions are not good for our country and need to be reigned in, or eliminated altogether.

I had reached a point where I had concluded our system of government was broken. And then I started reading the comments on Mr. Dionne,s article. Overwhelmingly the people who wrote in did not agree with his position and were very much in favor of Governor Walker taking on the public sector unions.

We need more "stand up and do the right thing" leaders in both parties. Unfortunately President Obama has taken the wrong stand on this issue. Based upon the response, I think he will pay a price come election time.

Posted by: donjeep1937 | February 18, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Democrats in particular and government in general have created an entire protected class of citizenry.
while the rest of us are out here getting bloodied in a lousy economy, public employee union members (who supposedly work for us) are coasting thru comparatively unscathed....and demanding more!
Enough.
Let those who work for us work like us....and be subjected to layoffs, wage and benefit reductions and sharing the pain.

Posted by: curmudgeon555 | February 18, 2011 10:28 AM |
=========================================

I don't feel sorry for you! You elected Bush/Cheney and the GOP into office in 2000 and then re-elected him in 2004! While this nations wealth was squandered and our country was lied to every right winger including you stood stupidly in denial while the rich raped this country with the blessing of Bush.

You reap what you sew. If you want a job, go to China, that where the CCC or China Chamber of Commerce and the GOP moved them.

What do you think unions have been yelling about since Regan?

Posted by: rbraun2000 | February 18, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Why should public employees have unions? State workers get paid by taxpayers and pay and benefits should be determined by the states. If they don't have the money, then there will be layoffs and reductions on pay and benefits. The union model doesn't show this flexibility needed to protest the taxpayers.

Posted by: sarno | February 18, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

So when Republicans are in charge, they should not do as they promised because they are a "temporary majority"? And that justifies the minority thwarting the will if the electorate by any means necessary, including leaving the state and staying in a luxury hotel in order to deny the majority a quorum? Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds?

Posted by: FlyDiesel | February 18, 2011 10:24 AM
---------------------------------------
Yes. It's all we've been hearing from the right since the day your current President was elected!

Posted by: KJR1 | February 18, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

"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."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/17/AR2011021705494.html?hpid=topnews

I find it disturbing that the President of the United States is involved with fomenting protests and strikes. He should be calling for calm and compromise, not encouraging civil unrest.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | February 18, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Once again, the Public Sector Unions are holding the taxpayer hostage. When are the tax paying majority going to protest the public sector unions? When?

Posted by: NO-bama | February 18, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Elections do have consequences. And the 10% or so who did not bother to go to the polls (the other 45% never can tear themselves away from jersey Shore re-runs) can see with no doubt what republicons want to do to you, to me, and to our nation. If you think that the 19th century was awesome, and America was a great place to live for working people during the 19th century you do not know much 'bout history. And make no mistake, this is what republicons propose. The very very few get to take everything, and the other 98% of us can be grateful for whatever scraps they feel benevolant enough to thrown on the floor for us to fight over.

Posted by: John1263 | February 18, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

@ nsu1203 : Very funny and you may have a good point and there is no way for me to prove or disprove your point. Here is my thing, I don't have or ever had anything against Federal workers. Federal workers include, NSA, GSA, Homeland Sec, FBI,CIA, and another huge spectrum of workers. See, republicans are dummying Americans down and trying to change everything almost into private sector jobs...And the reason is more complicated than their base can realize. If jobs go to the private sector, they can give the *contracts to their friends* and make them richer and thus stay in power. In return all regulations would be taken away and *the republican friends who stole the contracts* could treat workers anyway they wanted, over work them, not pay them OT and probably refuse giving them healthcare. But lets say all of sudden people who got these contracts decided to do the right thing. Either way, they would stick the tax payers with the *cost of providing healthcare* and still make a fortune and thus keeping republicans in power. Its not about cost or national debt, its about power, and money in their pockets. Once republicans screw unions and workers rights and take gov't jobs private, who do you think is going to benefit? That's right, republicans and their friends who got the contract and not the people or the workers.

So you see, this is above the base of the republican party to comprehend and that's why they follow blindly. They, the republican base can not think for themselves.

Posted by: Realistic5 | February 18, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

BTW - it's still a free country, at least for now, and if the Union Employee doesn't like that fact that the Gov is trying to balance his budget then they can quit and find a job just like everyone else.

Posted by: NO-bama | February 18, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

EJ Dionne Side With Unions.

STOP the presses!

Posted by: charlesbakerharris | February 18, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

A moron poster said this "Education is always cut first in our society and we wonder why we are falling behind globally."
= = = = =
Let me tell you something, moron, this country spends more on education than all other industrialized nations and our education system is STILL failing. Money is not the issue...Unions are the issue and the cancer within our society.

Posted by: NO-bama | February 18, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"Wisconsin doesn't face an emergency that justifies forcing this bill through at breakneck speed."

So how come you weren't saying this when Barry was ramming through Obamacare?

Posted by: elcigaro1 | February 18, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans screwed the middle class during the Reagan-Bush-Bush regime and now they are trying to turn those who've lost their benefits then against the union people. Be not fooled. The Republicans are out to screw the middle class and the working poor.
---------------

Such vulgar class warfare nonsense cannot obscure the truth, which is that it is the public employee "unions"(!) that are plundering the public treasury and thereby screwing the middle class as well as the public in general - including, indirectly, themselves.

There is not the slightest reason in the worst for public employees to need or belong to a union. Who do they think they are working for? Who do they think is trying to deny them their rights, a fair wage, benefits, etc.? Who do they think is paying for all that? To whom to they think they are providing services? Do they not understand what the term, public servant means? They seem, many of them, to think they are working for a private for-profit corporation that is trying to exploit them for selfish gain. They are working for their own government, the same government that exists to protect their rights. They do not need, and should not be permitted to have, union rights the same way employees of private business have and need to have. Public employee unions make no sense except as modes of advancement for public employees at the expense of the public they serve.

Government is the ultimate union, the guarantor of all rights, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness. Government employees do not need unions - they work for the government, their own government! Their government does not exploit them to make a profit from their labor. The terms of employment, salaries, benefits, etc. for public employees are established by representatives of the public on behalf of the public. There are political means to address grievances related to public employment. Unions were developed to protect workers in private enterprise. They do not belong in government. There is absolutely nothing in the public interest from public employee unions, which are nothing whatever but conspiracies AGAINST the public interest. I am surprised such entities are legal. They should not be.

Posted by: Teleologicus | February 18, 2011 11:40 AM |
========================================

Here's a news flash for your history revisionist attempt. Your vulgar Republican Party allowed the likes of Wall Street Bernie Madoff folks to rape this country and unions had nothing to do with the state of the countries finances. It is time to take back the tax cuts and cut the pay of elected officials and corporations as well as dividend being paid to share holders.
How many good paying jobs could be created if Wall Street was made to give back the money they stole and how well would state be run if the governor and their employee's took a 50 percent pay cut? Your "class warfare whining" is just what is is, whining!

Tissue!, you mambe pambe

Posted by: rbraun2000 | February 18, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Too funny- the posts from the inbred teabagger morons who hate working people in this country. They hate unions, which are full of normal middle class Americans, as well as firefighters and police. But they have their orders from Fox "news" and Rush "Oxycontin" Limbaugh, so they're out here spouting off against their own family's interests.

Too stupid for words.

CHEERS to the working people of Wisconsin for standing up to their lunatic teabagger dictator Scott Walker, and fighting against the republican War On the Middle Class!

Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 18, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I've got a modest proposal for Gov. Walker (not a snowball's chance in hell he'll consider it, but whatever . . .). It's modest because it probably won't cover the budget shortfall he faces, but it surely would help. Wisconsin should add to its income tax (or create one, if they don't have one) a tax increase on its wealthy citizens which exactly matches what was lost by extending the Bush tax cuts. Heck, those tax cuts were WRITTEN to expire by the GOP, and those folks won't be worse off than if the tax cuts had actually expired. I actually have no idea how much revenue would be realized (again, anything would help), but this much I do know: if Walker expects the overwhelmingly middle-class public employees to sacrifice a significant portion of their income (which includes adjustment for their benefits, obviously--see the discussion on some REAL numbers on PolitiFact.com--don't trust the pundits), it would be much more palatable for all if other Wisconsin citizens, particularly those most able to, would share in the sacrifice.

For the record, I think that the public employees will have to give back, and if they won't budge an inch, they're setting themselves up for a worse outcome. I think that we're going to have to move generally to a much higher proportion of defined contribution plans for public employees (they won't like that much, but hey, I deal with it myself . . .). The demographics which made defined benefit plans attractive and even reasonable no longer apply! And apparently it IS true that the current formulas are just not sustainable. But making public employees give it back in all at once in such (apparently) wrenching amounts is real hardship, particularly when Walker has parceled out tax breaks to others.

Beyond this, however, is the more important point: Walker isn't negotiating at all--he's depriving the persons affected of their right to negotiate. Many of you call Obama a thug because he's weighed in on the side of the unions (some of you call him a thug reflexively). Seems it takes one (Walker) to know one.

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | February 18, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Mr. Dionne missed this article that documented how the "surplus" in Wisconsin is actually a large deficit that the democrats were hiding with fraudulent accounting practices.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/109275069.html

Posted by: octopi213 | February 18, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Yet another case of people being unwilling to pay for services rendered. We all demand excellent schools with highly skilled teachers, we all demand police and fire departments that are highly trained and respond quickly to emergencies, we all demand shorter lines at the DMV, and yet so many people refuse to pay the taxes that pay these people who do these jobs. I get frustrated that the supposed fiscal conservatives get so bent out of shape about state governments living up to their end of employment contracts and dealing in good faith with the people on the front lines of public service, but who seem to have no problem constricting revenues to anemic levels and farming out sweetheart contracts to their buddies in "private" industry.

Posted by: prgeyer | February 18, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

First, Mr. Dionne's comment, "There is also this: Wisconsin doesn't face a huge budget crisis in the way that, say, New York and California do," is off the mark. On a per capita basis, the shortfall in Wisconsin is about $600, in California, it's about $660, or just 10% more.

Second, Mr. Dionne should look at his own employer's labor history, especially the violent strike of 1975-76, where the unions, especially the pressmen, felt they were holding all the cards. Mrs. Graham, the owner and a supporter of the labor movement, was forced to draw a line in the sand and stand for what was right and fair. She won, God bless her.

At that time, pressmen and printers were making over $50,000/year w/OT, got seven weeks "vacation" for a 35-hour work week, and had lifetime job guarantees. And they struck. It is the same now with public employee unions. The public are on the hook for way too much money, and we don't have it. For God's sake, why do cops and firefighters and teachers need a union anyway? Coal miners, absolutely. Cops????

Posted by: tmkelley | February 18, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

For the past two years, Republicans have been screaming about how Obama "rammed through" his "extreme agenda." Republicans know something about that, don't they? They just want it to be THEIR extreme agenda that gets rammed through. I lived in Wisconsin for many years and I can tell you it's unpredictable what the voters might do. They might elect a nut case like Joe McCarthy and then throw him out in favor of William Proxmire.

Posted by: rbmurals | February 18, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

A big dummy said "I heard on the news that the WI gov wanted public employees to take anywhere form a 10 to 16% pay cut."
= = = = = = = =
Hey dummy, did you hear about the 10 Million private sector employees who took a 100% paycut recently...you know, the UNEMPLOYED!! You freakin dolt.

Posted by: NO-bama | February 18, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

As a Wisconsin resident, let me clarify the protester position. Governor Walker introduced a bill (and scheduled a vote within just days) that, in addition to expected budget cuts, included completely unexpected legislation that essentially strips freedom to collectively bargain from targeted state employee unions - not all state employee unions. The unions that are exempt appear - at least on the surface - to be unions that supported his election. He has refused to provide meaningful explanation or adequate time to process, assess or debate the effects of such sweeping changes. He further threatened to call out the national guard before protests even began. His agenda seems unnecessarily extreme given our fiscal position and therefore is being viewed as political ambition rather than a budget issue by many. Whether you agree with the components of the bill or not - people should certainly understand that his methods have sparked outrage.

Posted by: addis60 | February 18, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Gender: Male

Marital Status: Married

Age: 31

Employer: Federal Government

Education: Law degree from big state school.

Salary: 51,630

Retirement: I contribute 12 percent per pay period, feds chip 3 percent and one half percent up to 5 percent.

Healthcare: I pay 150 a month...just for me. My wife has her own plan that she pays for.

Folks, I don't know what the benfits are like for public sector employees in Wisconsin, but as a federal employee, I can assure that my benefits were better in the private sector. I took this job because it gives me a sense of security. Now, you can complain about "average salaries" all you want, but the truth is, the government tends to have a lot of older workers with high education and high skills. There aren't any burger flippers or stock boys here. These same people would make more in the private sector and they would still be your boss. Railing against them will not do a thing to improve your status. Be lucky that they aren't competing against you because trust me, you wouldn't stand a chance.

Posted by: nsu1203
===========================================
What are you talking about? Many private sector employers don't match anything for the 401k. In mine I contribute 15% and they match 2%, I would love 3.5%. My wife's they match nothing so we don't participate. My healthcare is over $200 a month and I have to pay another $140 per month because they forced us into an HSA after Obamacare passed. On top of that I'm stressed to the max and I live in constant fear of being fired knowing that it is impossible to find a job if unemployed. We once hired a guy that had been working in the gov't for several years and he literally flipped out and quit after a couple months because he couldn't take the stress of people constantly asking if he was done with his stuff yet.

Posted by: peterg73 | February 18, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

GoToGoal Stated "Salary: $ 55 K per year (including what I earn by teaching summer school)
Family: 3 children and a wife who can now work with the kids in MS and HS"

Let's put this into perspective.

The median income in WI is 78,742
(Source:http://www.workworld.org/wwwebhelp/state_median_income.htm)

So assuming you wife has at least an entry level job making $12.50/hr you are at the median income level. Factor in benefits and you are ahead of the game.

Let's look at the 55k/y for a minute. The school year is 180 days. Teachers get the same vacations and snow days that students do. They also get summers off. In the northeast they also get 1 day a month for "teacher development" A day by the way that parents need to take a vacation day to be home with their kids.

Let's assume 200 days for teachers. That comes out to a salary of $275 per day.

A typical worker in the private sector gets 2 weeks vacation and 10 holidays off. That comes out to a work year of 240 days. A person making your same 55k in the pivate sector only makes $229 per day (gross). Now they have to contribute to Social Security and Medicare (7.6%). That worker also needs to save for their retirement pay a good portion of their own health care costs, etc.

So Go2Goal if you and your teacher friends think you have it so rough why do you come over to the private sector. I think you will soon realize how good you have it.

Posted by: durnik | February 18, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

an idiot said "CHEERS to the working people of Wisconsin for standing up to their lunatic teabagger dictator Scott Walker, and fighting against the republican War On the Middle Class!"
= = = = = = =
So, according to the socialist libturds, the Unions are now considered the "middle class"...I've got news for you, idiot, the war has just begun and you will lose. We, the tax payers, are the majority. We decide what we want to pay for an what we don't want to pay for. Just as you, the Uninon thug, can decide to work in the public sector or not. If these cuts are so bad, then quit. It's still a free country despite what you are doing to it.

Posted by: NO-bama | February 18, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

“Scott Walker didn't need to attack unions this way.”
First, the idiot gave millions of dollars in tax breaks to outside corporations, at the expense of the state revenues. Now his only alternative is to take away the hard-gained union rights.
Obviously the idiot doesn’t know that it was the unions that created the middle-class in America, not the corporations.
We are witnessing the beginning of the end of the short-lived gang of Teabaggers.
So be it!

Posted by: analyst72 | February 18, 2011 12:42 PM | Report abuse

The Governor of Wisconsin is a "Bully", as with most public and private Republican Conservative's. .

Just take look at the past and current Conservative Bullies.

Dick Cheney was/is a bully.
Karl Rove was a "behind the scenes" bully.
Sarah Palin is a bully.
The Tea Party are bullies.
Koch Brothers are bullies.
John "Bonehead" Boehner is a bully.
Mitch "Pig Nose" McConnell is a bully.
Michelle Bachmann is a bully.
Fixed News is a bully.
Andrew Breitbart is a bully.
Bill O'Reilly is a bully.
Sean Hannity is a bully.
Glenn Beck is a bully.
Rush Limbaugh is a "big fat" bully!

All Bullies and Tyrants!

Posted by: lcarter0311 | February 18, 2011 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Deliberately creating a crisis in order to enact right wing rules they could never get through otherwise seems to be a particular conservative talent.

When FEMA proved woefully inept managing Katrina, conservatives refused to accept blame for inept Republican government and instead used the crisis as an excuse to crow about the ineptitude of ALL government.

The so-called Social Security shortfall is another "crisis" largely manufactured by Republicans who couldn't destroy the program outright so have tried to get at it through the backdoor, by paying for their wars and tanks with the social security nest eggs of middle class citizens, while at the same time spending the Clinton surplus on tax giveaways for the rich. And now that they've spent the money, they're unwilling to pay it back, but instead want to claim that social security has become a drag on the national debt -- because they made it so -- which means benefits have to be cut.

Social security was a completely stand alone program with its own funding source until Republicans, who now want to cut benefits, deliberately turned the trust fund into part of the government's overall debt by borrowing middle class retirement contributions to spare the rich having to support the government that supports them so well.

Posted by: TedFrier | February 18, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

So you're saying it is better to:
- stand firm
- bankrupt the state
- stop ALL state provided services

all in the name of solidarity and an unwillingness to pay a meager share of benefits that thousands of unemployed people would love to have?

Sorry - you lose. The collective bargaining agreements that are in place were put there with no responsibility or insight as to how these committments would be met.

I find it sad that rather than vote o the item, the Democrats in Wisconsin have walked out. What a great way to show how spinless you are.

If you vote to allow the current, unstainable to be eliminated - you are not eliminating collective bargaining - only the current contract. You are voting to do the responsible thing to avoid state bankruptcy and shutdown of all services.

If you vote against the elimination of current contracts - you are voting to continue irresponsible practices that will bankrupt the state. You are voting to keep in place excessive salaries and benefits for a union who doesn't care about the results of their action - they only care about their pocketbook.

Posted by: Disbelief | February 18, 2011 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Public employees are citizens who work like you and taxpayers like you. In fact, they have to pay taxes to pay part of their own wages. Bet private sector workers don't have to pay for part of their wages.
Now they're not only being asked to give up part of their wages, they're being told they have to give up their rights. It's not going to happen.

Posted by: dudh | February 18, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Funny how Republicans love to wave the flag and chant about freedom and liberty but then want to deny people the right to collectively negotiate the terms of their employment. This is a bald-faced attack on the American working class. When the Republicans get their way and the unions are broken, you can say goodbye to the 40-hour work week, to a living wage, to health care benefits, to vacations, to pensions. All the things that the unions fought for back at the beginning of the 20th century will be gone. The conservatives will again be able to treat their workers like serfs. America will again be a third world country, run by an oligarchy. Too bad most Americans are too dumb to see what's happening.

Posted by: Chagasman | February 18, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Domermom - no one is holding you captive; please join the public workforce and the better compensation package you seek.

Posted by: Disbelief | February 18, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Public employees have No Business being
Unionized ---it doesn't make any sense that
Taxpayer dollars can be used by Unions to campaign for THEIR candidate.
I don't want these type teachers, who can
Shut-Down the Schools- to be teaching my kids, either.
Unions are paying people to protest, they're bussing people in to protest.
THIS IS NOT DEMOCRACY. ITS A STAGED, DECEPTIVE EVENT.

Posted by: ohioan | February 18, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Fascinating! I'm beginning to learn how the conservative mindset works. I'll share my findings.

1) Teachers create deficits. Firemen and cops do not.

2) Parents should not have to take time off from their pursuit of wealth to take personal responsibility for their own offspring. That's the job of the state nannies... the teachers.

3) The sanctity of contracts means nothing if you have the political power to toss aside that which was negotiated in good faith by 2 parties.

4)Conservative = weakling. Strong people don't feel the need to trample on the weak. Thus, firemen and cops are protected while teachers and other public servants are thrown under the bus.

Posted by: BuddyK | February 18, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

The stupidity of the Unions is amazing. They have no idea that they've strangled the golden goose. Note to Public Sector Unions: Without the tax payer, you have nothing! Bankrupt the tax payer, and you have NOTHING! The Unions are trying to beat the tax payers into submission and force them to be good little slaves...

Posted by: NO-bama | February 18, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Here is a fact for you people concerning govt workers vs private sector workers.

In 1995 I worked for a private sector company that was awarded a contract operate a govt lab. We replaced 25 govt workers with 15 company workers. All govt workers were reassigned to other positions at which they earned the same if not a better wage. It was documented that in our first year on the contract we produced at more than double what the govt workers had been doing. We were paid a very good wage had an ok benefits package and the company still made a nice profit.

Posted by: g30rg3544 | February 18, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Deliberately creating a crisis in order to enact right wing rules they could never get through otherwise seems to be a particular conservative talent.

Posted by: TedFrier | February 18, 2011 12:44 PM

~~~~

Ted you "Hit it on the Head" hard and center!

They did the same thing with their "bogus" Iraqi War and "terrorist" coming to get us all, and now they are deliberately trying to create a Deficit Crisis, stirring up fear and terror with their LIES, so that they can now attack the Middle Class.

Butt_Heads, always attacking innocent people just so they can fill their pockets with the "collective wealth" of the Middle Class.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | February 18, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JWx2 | February 18, 2011 10:13 AM

it takes 15 liberals to change a lightbulb...and only one conservative to change the same lightbulb...

***************************

Actually, the conservative wouldn't change the bulb, he'd argue that we should go back to candles.

That said, unions are inefficient and outdated and hurting our country.

Posted by: Bethesdan | February 18, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

not to worry fool,liar in chief will solve everything. perhaps the dope will stop supporting useless craphole places,take our military out of harms way and save big $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to give away to our jobless,homeless and one way ticket back to country of origin for the millions of illegals that are polluting our country

Posted by: pofinpa | February 18, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Note to Union supporting Libturds:
Public Sector employees ARE NOT PUBLIC SERVANTS!!! They are paid a wage and in fact, Tmost are overpaid underperforming tax sucking pigs. The fact that they are unwilling to pay for ANY retirement benefits, ANY healtchare benefits, ANY pension benefits tells me they are parasites that want to suck the life blood from the tax payers. Rapists, in other words.
You libturds better get on board or I promise you, you will have NOTHING when the majority, called the tax payer, wakes up and gets really pissed. You haven't seen anything yet.

Posted by: NO-bama | February 18, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

@durnik:

Your daily average salary assertion is a red herring. It's not that your math is wrong; it's that it's misleading.

I'm an educator (higher education, private institution in my case). Yes, I (on paper at least) have summers and semester breaks off (but more below). It would appear that my pay figured according to your method would seem princely as a daily wage. But the reality is that my work weeks average above 50 hours, so (assuming a 40-hour work week), I work an extra week every month. This means that I work at least an extra nine weeks or so. When you add in the time I do spend on work (often AT work and at home as well) during so-called vacations and in the evenings on regular work days, I'm working as many (maybe more) hours as your private sector employee. I like my job and I'm not whining about these hours--heck, I signed up for this. But let's get real about teaching being a cushy job. Ain't so, and the hours are probably comparable to other jobs.

Are there lazy teachers? Sure, just like there are lazy "Dilberts" in the corporate cubicles. But please, don't oversimply.

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | February 18, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Note to Union supporting Libturds:
Public Sector employees ARE NOT PUBLIC SERVANTS!!! They are paid a wage and in fact, Tmost are overpaid underperforming tax sucking pigs. The fact that they are unwilling to pay for ANY retirement benefits, ANY healtchare benefits, ANY pension benefits tells me they are parasites that want to suck the life blood from the tax payers. Rapists, in other words.
You libturds better get on board or I promise you, you will have NOTHING when the majority, called the tax payer, wakes up and gets really pissed. You haven't seen anything yet.

Posted by: NO-bama |

~~~

Do you actually believe that Public Sector employee's DO NOT pay taxes?

Do you actually believe that they are NOT the Taxpayer, too, GOOBER?

You need to pull your head out of that hole in your lower back, so you can think, Goober.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | February 18, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Funny how libturds love to wave the flag and chant about freedom and liberty but then want to deny employers and tax payers the right to manage their budgets. They'd rather the State and the tax payers go broke as long as they get everything for free and continue to get higher than average wages. This is a bald-faced attack on America.

Posted by: NO-bama | February 18, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Of course, EJ has no credibility on this issue, because where was he when the House and Senate Republicans were shut out on the healthcare bill?

The good news is that this will pass in Wisconsin and even if the Republicans get voted out it's unlikely the Dems will be able to restore bargaining rights. I'm glad to see logic still rules in some states.

Posted by: dknight12345 | February 18, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse


They just jumped the shark with Rev. Jesse Jackson showing up..."Gravy Train" is coming to an end folks!

Posted by: underthesea2 | February 18, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Another moron said "Do you actually believe that Public Sector employee's DO NOT pay taxes?
Do you actually believe that they are NOT the Taxpayer,"
= = = = = = = =
Nope never said that, moron. Interesting that you bring this up. Do you realize that the taxes the Public Sector employee pays is with money collected by the tax paying majority?? You dolt. Here's a question for you libturd; How long would the public sector employee be able to keep his/her paid job if the private sector employees decided not to pay their taxes?? Or, How much revenue could the public sector make and how many jobs could the public sector create if they were not subsidized by the private sector tax dollars? ...you parasite freak...

Posted by: NO-bama | February 18, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

E.J.: Do you think that the unions are blameless? Although I believe that unions are needed by most working people, the unions have done their part in being irresponsible. Only an idiot would negotiate a pension between a worker and an entity (the state), which is going bankrupt, or will go bankrupt based on the negotiations undertaken!
In my view, the unions should be made to contribute to the workers pensions! Make a deal whereby the state goes broke, and be responsible for the worker! Yes, unions should be made accountable....after all, they seem to have millions to donate to political parties! They can donate to the coffers of the bankrupt state!!!

Posted by: SeniorVet | February 18, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Hello fellow labor supporters. I think the governor didn't know what he was doing. This nation seems to be less in favor of unions recently and they have been losing in a lot of areas as jobs go overseas. But when you pick on the working man for wanting representation you better be ready for a real fight. This country is full of working people who understand the man is not their friend. Every now and then you get reminded of that and people come together . . . and organize!

Posted by: zebra22 | February 18, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Hello fellow labor supporters. I think the governor didn't know what he was doing. This nation seems to be less in favor of unions recently and they have been losing in a lot of areas as jobs go overseas. But when you pick on the working man for wanting representation you better be ready for a real fight. This country is full of working people who understand the man is not their friend. Every now and then you get reminded of that and people come together . . . and organize!

Posted by: zebra22 | February 18, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Ezra is a far sharper than EJ and Harold. The former just likes unions because its a Democrat thing and the latter thinks that unions are the sole reason we have a middle class.

Ezra is smart enough to acknowledge benefit reforms may be necessary, but he misses the point on collective bargaining. Public employee unions are not the same a private sector or trade unions.
If I need a electrician I know there will be a level of skill going though the union. If a union wants to bargain with their company or, as the UAW of old, their industry that's fine. If the price, quality or value of the product suffer I can buy from a different company.

Public employee unions are different. I pay their salaries but I am not at the negotiation table nor can I opt out of their product or service. Plus the state of Wisconsin, and I assume others, deduct their union dues as a payroll deduction for the union. A union which is political active to insure that they are on both sides of the negotiating table.

The taxpayer and user of the services deserves some representation. Let there elected officials be that representation. And if the unions can't work fairly within that environment collective bargaining must fall.

Posted by: flyover22 | February 18, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Do the exact opposite of what Dionne and his small minority are saying and everything will work out just fine.Just look at the fiscal problems California has and ever state that the progressive liberal Democrats with the same ideology as his run.They are crumbling like Greece.Poor progressives.

Posted by: votingrevolution1 | February 18, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

The middle and working classes tear each other apart in a race to the bottom while the plutocrats stoke the fire and profit from the fray. It's brilliant!!

Posted by: devinec | February 18, 2011 1:14 PM | Report abuse

walker should first be tarred and feathered in the Wisconsin Capital rotunda, then impeached and removed from office. What an arrogant, apathetic freak.

Posted by: mtravali | February 18, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Hello fellow tax-payer supporters. I think the governor knows what he was doing. This nation rejects the high cost, tax-payer raping, thugish Unions. Why do you think jobs are going over seas? Because Unions have bargained their members right out of the job market making it impossible for companies to make a profit in the USA. Hoepfully, they will release the working man from their slavish ideas or they may find themselves in for a real fight. This country is full of working people who understand the Union is not their friend. That's why only 8% of the working population is Unionized. Every now and then you get reminded of that and people come together . . . and organize called the Tea-Party!

Posted by: NO-bama | February 18, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm a "working man" and don't belong or 'rely' on Unions. Along with 315 other million tax paying workers. the Union 'Gravy Train' has come to an end.

Posted by: underthesea2 | February 18, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The Governor of Wisconsin is doing his job for the American people and the Senate must to their job to cut Obama’s wasteful spending programs. Americans do not want federal money when the taxpayer’s bank is broke.

A U.S. President should not be backing one side or the other. Obama loss of presidential power is bending his White House power to support protesters. The labor unions in public employment have turned into monsters “sucking” taxpayer’s federal and state funds regardless of debt and deficit spending.

The Governor and lawmakers in Wisconsin must take responsible action and require teachers and students to return to school or face suspension and disciplinary action. If Public Employee Labor Unions want to protest, write letters articulating your concerns and send e-mails. You are supposed to be intelligent and have writing skills to express your grievance. Try to act like professionals.

Posted by: klausdmk | February 18, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Scott Walker is a traitor to America

Posted by: ExConservative | February 18, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Scott Walker is a traitor to America

Posted by: ExConservative | February 18, 2011 1:23 PM |
---------------------------------
He's not a traitor to those in the state of Wisconsin who elected him to do exactly what he's doing.

In the words of Obama "Elections have consequences" Gravy Train is over!

Posted by: underthesea2 | February 18, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

LouisP3 says “...can some lib explain to me why desk jockeys at the gov't building and those worthless people at the DMV are organized?” To give you one example, look who died in the airplane assault in Austin a year ago and have you forgotten the many who died in the WTC were private and public sector employees? You must have forgotten about the Oklahoma bombing in 95. I worked in a welfare office for 30 years and on several occasions had my life threatened for doing my job. The policies and procedures were decided on by elected politicians. Why hat me when it's the politicos who make the policies? And yes, I was paid about 30% below equivalent jobs in the private sector.

Posted by: jpt51 | February 18, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

EJ, these republican governors are just competing with Cristie to prove that they are even bigger SOB's. This is what their base wants them to do. Tell the rest of their fellow Americans that they (GOP) are the ones in charge and in power. I even doubt that Wisconsin has the financial crisis that this jerk claims. It's like watching a bunch of really bad mimes. They obviously dont have any independent ideas or thoughts, let alone a vision for the future.

Posted by: ruthella10 | February 18, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: Funded by the Koch Bros.
— By Andy Kroll
| Fri Feb. 18, 2011 9:12 AM PST

According to Wisconsin campaign finance filings, Walker's gubernatorial campaign received $43,000 from the Koch Industries PAC during the 2010 election. That donation was his campaign's second-highest, behind $43,125 in contributions from housing and realtor groups in Wisconsin. The Koch's PAC also helped Walker via a familiar and much-used politicial maneuver designed to allow donors to skirt campaign finance limits. The PAC gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which in turn spent $65,000 on independent expenditures to support Walker. The RGA also spent a whopping $3.4 million on TV ads and mailers attacking Walker's opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Walker ended up beating Barrett by 5 points. The Koch money, no doubt, helped greatly.

The Kochs also assisted Walker's current GOP allies in the fight against the public-sector unions.

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/02/wisconsin-scott-walker-koch-brothers

Posted by: lcarter0311 | February 18, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse


We have a Radical President that is fomenting Civil Disobedience.

Impeach Soetoro !


Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 18, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Scott Walker is an honest man elected to do just what he is doing. What part of "we just do not have it" do these morons not get. Governor Walker had a huge deficit lopped in his lap by the previous Democrat Governor. Governor Walker is trying to save their jobs and these pawns of the union are being manipulated to demand what is not there to get.
We have the poorest excuse for a President. He and his party are manipulating these poor fools. States cannot print money like Obama is doing to us ruining our money. If they go broke all will lose their jobs. Do they not realize this? Fire those who showed up to the protest calling in sick. They are probably about to all lose their jobs anyway. There is just not enough to keep this charade going on anyway. But frankly, wouldn't you want to have a little less and have a job than no job at all? I guess they would rather be let by the nose by union bosses milking them then hear the truth.

Posted by: greatgran1 | February 18, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Who's been overreaching?
By Jennifer Rubin

Here's how the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's editorial board put it:

Democrats in the state Senate threw a temper tantrum Thursday - essentially they took their ball and went home.

Actually, they didn't go home. They apparently went to Illinois just out of reach of their obligations.

One leading Democrat - Obama was his name, as we recall - put it well after winning the White House in 2008: "Elections have consequences," he told Republicans at the time. Indeed they do. The Democrats' childish prank mocks the democratic process.

Overreach would be choosing extra-legislative means (flight) to prevent the voters' elected representatives from working their will.

Overreach would be threatening Republican officials in their homes.

Overreach would be a flurry of Hitlerian imagery (good for the National Jewish Democratic Council in denouncing the widespread signage, but where is the George Soros-backed Jewish Funds for Justice and the anti-Glenn Beck crowd when you need them?)

Overreach would be a massive sick-out, in essence a dishonest strike. (The schools should dock pay for anyone not actually ill who didn't show up.)

Posted by: pvilso24 | February 18, 2011 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Walker's just taking a page out of Raul's and the President's playbook...

"Never let a crisis go to waste"

The budget's in crisis so lets change everything else too. And ensure your side gets the goods and your opponents get this pain. How is this different than what the Dems did from 2008-2010?

Posted by: MadiganT | February 18, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

EJ - like your immortal buddy Obama said, "elections have consequences". Obama who is beholden to the unions needs to stay out of local issues.

Posted by: topgun97365 | February 18, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

so many gullible fools.
they refuse to see the shell game being played on them.
The rightwing and the treasonous Koch bros have been building this for decades.
They destroyed the private sector jobs with their bought pols with outsourcing and cutting the workers off at the knees.
Sent them to China and expect you to work for 5 bucks an hour and no benefits and be grateful.
Like sheep you dutifully swallowed it whole without question and even defended the billionaires who are trying to turn you into surfs.
They convince you with their media propaganda that your fellow citizens are the ones to blame. Not the multinationals and billionaires who sucked all your money with their form of income redistribution and you sat back and allowed and defended it.
You defended the indefensible Citizens United. It was planned to let the multis and the Koch, et. al. to try to finish off the opposition party.
They are at the last phase in doing a coordinated assault on the public sector and trying to make you be their thugs.
Go ahead and keep justifying your foolishess and keep doing so when you are under a bridge and starving.
Blame your fellow Americans and the unions that protected you for many years in the workplace even tho you were private sector.
And keep telling yourself it is not the wealthy and their bought pols (some who are democrats). it is the fault of unions and democrats because they are not your 'team'.
Grow up. realize that this is not a football game and its not your team vs. the other. this is real life.
and this is serious.
We are going to lose the last bit of democracy that still exists if they succeed in killing off the democratic party.
Then go talk about your constitution and dress up in stupid costumes thinking you are such patriots

Posted by: vwcat | February 18, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

If it's a budget issue, you would sit down with the unions involved to discuss and resolve that issue with both sides represented.

You don't have to remove their collective bargaining rights in order to fix a budget issue.

It is obvious to me that it's union busting. If successful in Wisconsin, other repub states will try the same thing.

It is essentially saying that you can't rely on the credibility of the state government and that they will attempt to change the rules after they have been decided already.

If I sign a contract, I have to live up to it.

It would be mighty convenient (and also dishonest) to negotiate a contract and then operate on that contract for a time, and then decide that one side can change the contract because they chose to spend state money on other political priorities.

You can't change the rules in the middle of the game.

If you are a state legislature, perhaps you can do it legally, but it's simply dishonest.

Posted by: RichRable | February 18, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

so many gullible fools.
they refuse to see the shell game being played on them.
The rightwing and the treasonous Koch bros have been building this for decades.
They destroyed the private sector jobs with their bought pols with outsourcing and cutting the workers off at the knees.
Sent them to China and expect you to work for 5 bucks an hour and no benefits and be grateful.
Like sheep you dutifully swallowed it whole without question and even defended the billionaires who are trying to turn you into surfs.
They convince you with their media propaganda that your fellow citizens are the ones to blame. Not the multinationals and billionaires who sucked all your money with their form of income redistribution and you sat back and allowed and defended it.
You defended the indefensible Citizens United. It was planned to let the multis and the Koch, et. al. to try to finish off the opposition party.
They are at the last phase in doing a coordinated assault on the public sector and trying to make you be their thugs.
Go ahead and keep justifying your foolishess and keep doing so when you are under a bridge and starving.
Blame your fellow Americans and the unions that protected you for many years in the workplace even tho you were private sector.
And keep telling yourself it is not the wealthy and their bought pols (some who are democrats). it is the fault of unions and democrats because they are not your 'team'.
Grow up. realize that this is not a football game and its not your team vs. the other. this is real life.
and this is serious.
We are going to lose the last bit of democracy that still exists if they succeed in killing off the democratic party.
Then go talk about your constitution and dress up in stupid costumes thinking you are such patriots

Posted by: vwcat | February 18, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin had a budget surplus until Walker came along. Nice scheme: hand out cash to your cronies and then punish your opponents for it.

Scott Walker is honest? Why is he exempting the unions that supported him from this measure then? He's only going after his opponents.

Manufacturing a crisis and then taking steps that don't even address it seems to be a GOP pattern. How many times are people going to continue to fall for it?

Posted by: chi-town | February 18, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

It's too bad that many on the right would call E.J. Dionne commie American hating pig. The right's propaganda arm (Rush, Wall Street Journal, Fox news, many many other outlets) have spent the past 20 years dehumanizing anyone who isn't very very right wing and very very angry. In my state Sen. Luger (who is a Republican) is being told to get out of office by tea baggers bacause he is reasonable and thoughtful. I haven't seen that thinking on the left against moderate Democrats. At a time that we need thoughtful solutions we are getting a mad rush by the extreme majority who know what they are doing was not what voters expected.

Posted by: Ralph_Indianapolis | February 18, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

The state is reaping what the whole country sowed by sitting out the election and letting these tea baggers in. We wuz dumb! Now what?

Posted by: frodot | February 18, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Collective bargaining is a necessary pressure valve that keeps unions and organized labor from having to call strikes and walkouts over routine disagrements with management. To try to subvert the fundamental right of workers to organize and bargain collectively is just wrong.

Unions, especially teachers unions, have shown a lot of flexibility in the current climate in accepting the reality of shrinking budgets. If the WIsconsin governor wants to see some real disruptions, wait until he sees what statewide wildcat strikes of public employee unions look like as aggrieved union members react to this latest attack against the union's basic functions.

Posted by: roboturkey | February 18, 2011 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, our writer doesn't have to balance a budget, or doesn't have to figure out whether to buy shoes or food for the kids.

Governor Walker must do what he thinks is right for his state. He gave tax breaks to keep industry in place, he sees public sector pay 30-40% higher than private sector for the same job, he has to do something! Does Mr. Dionne really think unions will give back when they are willing to sacrifice their own young to keep their outlandish benefits.

The governor of Connecticut took a different route, he proposed massive tax hikes to keep union raises coming. Perhaps he'll see a citizens protest in Hartford. The country is out of money, everyone is in a tight spot and unions are well-known for their take-take-take positions, happily kicking the 'how to pay for this' can down the road to our grandchildren.

It's time state governors stand up to protect the citizens. Next on the agenda, round up the missing lawbreaking democratic legislators. Pork filled democratic policies are hated by everyone who has been paying the bill, and all the union thug tactics won't change the publics mind.

Posted by: chicklet4 | February 18, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

So now we know.

The agenda of the Republican Party of No for the next two years consists of two goals.

The first is to keep the number of unemployed high which will hurt the re-election of President Obama.

The second is to weaken and/or destroy the middle class's only source of economic and political power, its right to form and belong to a union.

In the first instance, the Republicans and their sponsors, the haves and want mores, know any success Obama has in creating jobs and relieving the economic stress created by the Republicans and the greedy rich will help his being re-elected in 2012. If he does not succeed the Republicans will try to use it against him. That the middle class will continue to suffer is of no concern to the Republicans or the wealthy class, when workers suffer the rich get richer.

In the second instance, the Republicans and there sponsors want to eliminate the only organized counter to the massive amounts of campaign monies the corporations give to the Republican Party and other conservative anti-worker groups. The Unions played a decisive role in defeating the war-mongering and greed driven policies of the Republican Party of NO in the 2008 elections.

With this two-tiered attack on Obama - preventing any economic recovery and removing the largest and most effective support base he has - the Republican Party sees its chance of victory in 2012 and and the resumption of attacks on the living standards of middle class America.

But they have a problem.

Workers know how to fight back and when we are attacked we relearn the lesson of why the unions are so important to us.

We remember the power of unity.

We remember the the truth of the union slogan, "An injury to one is an injury to all".

Today in Wisconsin and Ohio we see the spirit of unity, the need for unity, is never forgotten, we keep it in our back pocket right next to out union card.

Posted by: apspa1 | February 18, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

When a business can't meet its financial obligations, it goes bankrupt.

When a state can't cover its employee payroll and benefits costs, it raises taxes.

It's wrong to tax wage earners with no benefits to cover the benefit costs of salaried public employees.

Posted by: blasmaic | February 18, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Democrats gave government employees the right to organize into unions and Democrats gave the unions the right to bargain collectively with the government. Those rights were given by politicians and politicians can take them away. The real issue is the power that unions give the Democrat Party at the local level and at the state and national levels. Without the employee dues that unions contribute to them Democrats would win few elections. In the meantime while teachers demonstrate their students miss class- teachers always say that their fight is "about the kids." Sure.

Posted by: mhr614 | February 18, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Democrats gave government employees the right to organize into unions and Democrats gave the unions the right to bargain collectively with the government. Those rights were given by politicians and politicians can take them away. The real issue is the power that unions give the Democrat Party at the local level and at the state and national levels. Without the employee dues that unions contribute to them Democrats would win few elections. In the meantime while teachers demonstrate their students miss class- teachers always say that their fight is "about the kids." Sure.

Posted by: mhr614 | February 18, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The teabaggers meet the labor unions.

Its a race to the bottom as the Wall Street bonus pool hits $144 Billion.

Democracy, wasn't it grand!

Posted by: gregnowell | February 18, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"And, as The New York Times has noted, "any pay increase they win would be limited by the consumer price index." Whether you think the second is good policy or not, it essentially renders collective bargaining meaningless"

BS!

You can increase pay by more than the CPI with the approval of the voters.

Posted by: krazen1211 | February 18, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone considered that revoking the collective bargaining rights of SOME public employees (but not others) and unilaterally increasing their retirement and benefit contributions may run afoul of the Contract Clause in the U.S. Constitution? A good place to start answering this serious question might be reviewing what the U.S. Supreme Court had to say in United States Trust Company v. New Jersey, 431 U.S. 1 (1977).

Posted by: ttkellyesq | February 18, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone considered that revoking the collective bargaining rights of SOME public employees (but not others) and unilaterally increasing their retirement and benefit contributions may run afoul of the Contract Clause in the U.S. Constitution? A good place to start answering this serious question might be reviewing what the U.S. Supreme Court had to say in United States Trust Company v. New Jersey, 431 U.S. 1 (1977).

Posted by: ttkellyesq | February 18, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Let's not sit around and act like the public employees unions are innocent bystanders in this, who only negotiate wages and benefits for government employees. For years they have acted as political agents, providing money to candidate who they felt would be favorable to their agenda. Using the dues collected from the people they were supposed to represent. Union members had little to no say in which candidates were supported or how their money was spent. The unions went hard after the new Gov of Wis. during the campaign and sometimes when you grab a tiger by the tail it turns around and bites you. The people I feel sorry for are the actual line level employees who just want to do their job and live their lives, not be pawns to corrupt unions or politicians.

Posted by: welangIII | February 18, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"Public employees are citizens who work like you and taxpayers like you. In fact, they have to pay taxes to pay part of their own wages. Bet private sector workers don't have to pay for part of their wages.
Now they're not only being asked to give up part of their wages, they're being told they have to give up their rights. It's not going to happen.


Posted by: dudh | February 18, 2011 12:45 PM"


The "tax dollars" that they are using to pay taxes were our tax dollars to begin with.

This is like a parent giving a child an allowance and the asking the child to pay the electric bill. When the child does not make enough money to pay the bill the parent then gives the child a "raise." This does not contribute to the family finances unless the child has an outside source of income like mowing lawns or delivering newspapers.

Posted by: durnik | February 18, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"This is an effort by a temporary majority -- I use the term because in a democracy, all majorities are, in principle, temporary"

Why use it at all, then?

It's like that National Lampoon Thanksgiving headline, "Woman cooks dead bird at temperatures hotter than the surface of Mercury, feeds to family."

When a business is no longer profitable due to labor costs, it shuts down. When a government is unable to meet its labor costs, it raises taxes.

Smash them to bits.

Posted by: blasmaic | February 18, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Everyone wants a free ride? Right? Why would Unions have the right to bargain? It is not 100 years ago when conditions were horrible.... now they are sucking the nation dry. It is time.... They are rapeing the country.

It is time....

Posted by: mjones1303 | February 18, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The President is engaged in Civil Disobedience.

Impeach Obama!!

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 18, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

@dobermom:
For years, teachers & other government workers have accepted lower salaries in exchange for good benefits. If that social contract is no longer in place, then I want to be compensated financially for my PhD--just like those of you in the private sector!

So, setup a website, publish your PhD, and include a rate-sheet listing the services you have to offer. If there are people out there willing to give you their money, in return for whatever it is you think you're good at, you will be compensated. That's how it works for us, why shouldn't it work for you?

Posted by: thomas777 | February 18, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

If wages are "sticky" because of labor contracts, the "stickiest" of all are ones created with labor unions. The truth of the matter is the wealthy (and by default are usually the purist of the free-market advocates) have been advocating for a more flexible way of controlling costs. Sure they can control a lot of the other factors of production costs, but wages are "sticky". To make that "less sticky" you get rid of the strongest glue that binds it, unions. Once you get rid of unions, you can decrease wages a lot easier and thus prevailing wages for the state itself. Thus, giving the producers the ability to reduce the wages for all workers in every sector, including non-unionized labor, everywhere in the state.

Okay, I'll buy into that labor cost argument if the CEO's are also willing to reduce their compensations as well. But alas they're not. In fact, reducing the costs of labor is only motivated by need to increase their compensation. I'd even buy into it if they can guarantee that the costs of goods and services would drop accordingly to the drop in the costs of labor. But we know that's not going to happen (e.g. haven't airlines kept in place the "fees" originally enacted to offset fuel costs even though fuel costs have gone down?). So, prices of goods would not change just because wages have gone down, until, of course, those whose wages have dropped drastically reduce their spending accordingly. And a reduction in consumption due to lower wages is much more fatal to the economy on the rebound than furture deficits can muster.

Simply put, putting people out of work and/or reducing their wages during a recovery period just so you can reduce debts will only send you back to a recessionary period, where paying your debts will be even more difficult.

Posted by: callosumlink | February 18, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I urge everyone to read the actual Walker proposal. It contains some very draconian changes to the existing system.

We keep being told its about money but the proposal removes all bargaining rights, for Home Health care workers, Family Child Care Workers, all employees of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics, as well as all faculty and staff of the University of Wisconsin. Many of the staff at UW Madison are world renown people and could just as easily take a job at Harvard, Yale, or Stanford. You can plan on these schools raiding some of these great professors.

This in addition to selling off the States power plants to private industry (think rates might rise?)

If this was about money he would have sat down with the unions and worked out a way to increase the pension and insurance payments of the members.

If this takes place here, plan on it taking place in many, many other states..

Posted by: gary943 | February 18, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

post_reader_in_wv. You state that you often work 50 hours per week so my math is misleading. Welcome to the club. I am many of my salaried co-workers often work 50+ hours per week. You stated that you are at a higher education facility. I would expect that you salary is higher than $55k per year.

How many of those 50+ hours per week are in support of your teaching responsibilities versus research, working on your book, fundraising, furthering your education, etc? How many classes to you teach each week? How many students per class?

As a professor are you allowed to take Sabbatical periodically?

I always hear how hard teachers work. Tey do work work. They also have a nobel role in our society. It is just to bad that many think that entitles them to a higher standard of living than their private sector counterparts.

Posted by: durnik | February 18, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

the Fourteen AWOL Wisconsin Democratic Senators that are in hiding are going to prison as soon as the state police find them. Since they are Democrats and not men they have refused to vote on the union bill in question. When duely elected officials refuse to show up and vote on an unpopular measure as they are required by our laws, Democracy dies. Simple as that.in Chapter 946 of the Wisconsin Statutes (CRIMES AGAINST GOVERNMENT AND ITS ADMINISTRATION). http://legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/Stat0946.pdf We are talking about felonies here. On the upside this all but guarantees the end of unions not just in Wisconsin but across America! What a great and historic day for all real Americans! For Obama not so much hey Stupid can you say one and done?

Posted by: Loxinabox | February 18, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse


"a reduction in consumption due to lower wages is much more fatal to the economy on the rebound than furture deficits can muster"

This theory doesn't work for the taxpayers who are having their paychecks reduced by higher taxes to cover the fringe benefits of state employees? From where did you think the state would find the money?

Posted by: blasmaic | February 18, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Hello fellow labor supporters. I think the governor didn't know what he was doing. This nation seems to be less in favor of unions recently and they have been losing in a lot of areas as jobs go overseas. But when you pick on the working man for wanting representation you better be ready for a real fight. This country is full of working people who understand the man is not their friend. Every now and then you get reminded of that and people come together . . . and organize
------------

"The man" is the public, the government, the citizens and taxpayers of the country - yourself, if you are among them. Public employees work for the public.

Repeat -since this seems to be hard to grasp- a public employee is someone who works for the public. The public is "the man."

Public services and government jobs are created by the public via their elected representatives and appointed officials. The public decides what services are to be provided, how they are to be staffed and operated, and how much public employees are to be paid, as well as what benefits they are to receive.

A union of public employees is a conspiracy against the public for the sole benefit of the employees. There is no public benefit, zero, from public employees unions. They serve no useful purpose for the public. Indeed, they are harmful to the public, not only in terms of manipulating the elected and appointed representatives of the public to dispense greater wage and benefit packages than they otherwise would, but by bloating the workforce, impairing efficiency, hampering productivity, undermining discipline, and lowering standards of performance.

Public employee unions are entirely against the public interest. They have absolutely no redeeming features so far as the public, their employer and paymaster, is concerned. None whatsoever. The public would be better off in every conceivable respect WITHOUT public employee unions.

There is no need for such unions. The government is the guarantor of rights, including economic and vocational rights. It makes no sense to have a union in opposition to the very guarantor of all rights. Government employee unions are private conspiracies against the public interest whose sole function is to advance the personal interests of the few against the public at large and to raid the public till for every dime that can be scrounged and extorted from it.

Unions for for employees of private, for-profit business. A government employee union is a contradiction in terms and an offense against the public as well as against common sense. I am entirely in favor of eliminating all such needless and harmful unions of public employees against the interest of the public they serve and to whom they should be accountable.

Posted by: Teleologicus | February 18, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

The Rules to Hide and Go Seek

Hiders can make a dash for Home Base, which is usually a landmark where whoever is it counts off. Touching the base area makes a hider safe, and the aim of the game is to touch base without being tagged. It continues to search for hiders and if he/she finds none then he is it again in the next game. If however, he finds and tags someone before they are able to touch base, he calls out in a loud and repeated fashion “All ye all ye outs in free”, “all ye, all ye, in come free”, or where the call has been changed and slurred “Olly Olly Oxen free!” which means a new it has been tagged and all the other hiders are safe to return to base.

Hey WI Democrat Senators – we found one of you OLLY OLLY OXEN FREE!

Report Post »

Posted by: 912anita | February 18, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for pointing out, that the state of Wisconsin is actually in better shape than it was 2 years ago when the recession hit. We balanced a budget then, when our deficit was twice what it is today. Is Governor Walker not capable of balancing a budget? Maybe if he actually had a college degree, he might know where to start in the process. Instead, he's a schoolyard bully or thug that got upset that the state workers tried to get their contracts passed before he took office, so he retaliates with this. He's a spoiled child and if you ever here him talk, you will realize it. There are many harmful things in this bill, not just the loss of collective bargaining for state workers. He plans to do away with Badgercare and other medical assistance help for low income families at a time when unemployment is still quite high in our state. One last thing to note, is that Wisconsin is one of the top states in education and it's partly because we attract good teachers and we treat them right. We may not pay them as much as they are worth and I hope that changes. Many teachers I know work second jobs, plus have to take classes for continuing education. They have to deal with physical and verbal abuse from students, gangs, crowded classrooms and parents that don't care. If we are going to cut their pay, so they have to take on a third job, shouldn't we at least make sure that they have insurance and a retirement package, since they can't afford to put money into a Roth IRA or 401K, because they need that money to live on now. I'm very proud that our state has always made education a priority and it was a sad day when Scott Walker tried to force this bill through and changed our state motto to Backwards, instead of Forward.

Posted by: Wisc | February 18, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Ah, on this most beautiful of mid-February days, where we are experiencing above average temperature(global warming, er excuse me Dimwits, climate change) a certain individual I know, a teacher I might add is at home in his driveway as I type, washing and waxing his cars.

Note that this is a Friday and it is in fact a work day for said teacher. But because his cars were dirty from the winter or climate change dirt, he decided to utilize one of his "accumulated" SICK DAYS which are in the hundreds now, and take advantage of the nice sunshiny day to Clean His Cars.

Now think about this Dimwits. This man already gets nearly 3 months off a year to keep his cars immaculate. He is being paid today by his school system although he is NOT at work and he certainly isn't sick.

The said school system had to hire and pay a substitute teacher to replace him today. Note who really is footing the bill for a couple of neatly waxed cars today, THE TAXPAYERS!

Oh, this particular teacher's total wage and benny package is well over $100,000. There should be rioting at lots of State Capitols today and it should be the "sucker" taxpayers for allowing this foolishness to have been foisted upon us.

Is this particular teacher waxing his cars because he "cares about his students" too! Only in Liberal Dimwit Wonderland. You Betcha!!!! Oh by the way, I stopped and asked him why he was OFF today and he told me "so he could clean his cars, he's using one of HIS sick days. When I mentioned this really wasn't a good use of "taxpayer" dollars he essentially told me to _uck-off. Just sayin!

Posted by: bobcatbuzz | February 18, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Stop this pathetic lying. Public workers do NOT make 30-40% more than their private sector counterparts. I've worked in both. Public employees know the deal, whether they be teachers or run snow plows or whatever: you will never get rich, you will never make as much money as you could get if you go private, but you will have solid health care and security. That's the deal. And as the Wisconsin CBO made crystal clear, if the Governor passed his business tax cuts (reducing those businesses who gave $$ to his campaign to an effective tax rate of 0%) then the state budget would go into deficit.

Posted by: Steve6 | February 18, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Walker is all for public union-busting, but not for his friends. He has exempted the police, state troopers and firefighters unions. They supported him in the election and now he is paying them back.

Posted by: allknowingguy | February 18, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Wonder how many republicans
took a pay cut willingly

or
refused taking a wage increase.

Why is it the Rich cannot pay their fair share of taxes.

and
more importantly why are they allowed to steal our money.

and
why are we not taxing what they stole.

Posted by: pdq5 | February 18, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Dionne and Klein have each hit the nail on its thick head. The moral implication is clear, but as political analysts they cannot state it: The Governorof Wisconsin is a political opportunist of the lowest and most repulsive kind, not merely a bad politician, but also a bad citizen, one who is indifferent to the consequences of his actions as long as he is satisfied that he is advancing his own career goals. Boehner is another example of the species: he is content -- "So be it" -- to promote legislative actions that will add another million workers to the relief rolls and shrink the economy by commensurate amounts as long as their suffering can be used to tar the president.

Posted by: morphex | February 18, 2011 2:38 PM | Report abuse

While Carter Obama is stuffing his face and smoozing with Silicon Valley entrepeneurs, his lackys and community organzers are orchestrating anarchy in Madison, Wisconsin. It's sad that democratic lawmakers are fleeing the state to avoid doing their jobs, but more outrageous is the conduct of teachers who called in sick to attend the rallies. Small wonder that today's students lack reading, writing, comprehension and math skills, but are proficient on placing condoms on cucumbers. Tea Party members have never acted like this unruly mob that has issued death threats and slurs. Madison needs to be renamed Cairo.

Posted by: nmg3rln | February 18, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Collective bargaining is a necessary pressure valve that keeps unions and organized labor from having to call strikes and walkouts over routine disagrements with management. To try to subvert the fundamental right of workers to organize and bargain collectively is just wrong.

Unions, especially teachers unions, have shown a lot of flexibility in the current climate in accepting the reality of shrinking budgets. If the WIsconsin governor wants to see some real disruptions, wait until he sees what statewide wildcat strikes of public employee unions look like as aggrieved union members react to this latest attack against the union's basic functions.
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Strikes against the public by employees of the public who provide services to the public and are paid by and accountable to the public should never be permitted. Public services are public services, not private ones. Public employees are not private employees working to make a profit for business. They are public servants doing the public's work. The very idea that that they have some sort of right to strike against the public, to harm the public in order to extort personal advantages from the public, is immoral and absurd. The public should fire or otherwise discipline such people without a moment's hesitation - just as it should, and will, fire and discipline elected officials who cater to the private interests of public servants who are acting against the interests of the public and refusing to perform the work for which they were hired and for which they are paid by the public.

There should be no public employees unions at all. People who want to join unions should work for private enterprise, where they abound and make sense. Public employees unions make no sense. The electorate is the union for everybody, including those who choose to work for the public. The government is the Mother of All Unions. Those who work for the government do not need a private union to protect them from the public government. Public employee unions are conspiracies against the public. They should be eliminated alogether.

Posted by: Teleologicus | February 18, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

While Carter Obama is stuffing his face and smoozing with Silicon Valley entrepeneurs, his lackys and community organzers are orchestrating anarchy in Madison, Wisconsin. It's sad that democratic lawmakers are fleeing the state to avoid doing their jobs, but more outrageous is the conduct of teachers who called in sick to attend the rallies. Small wonder that today's students lack reading, writing, comprehension and math skills, but are proficient on placing condoms on cucumbers. Tea Party members have never acted like this unruly mob that has issued death threats and slurs. Madison needs to be renamed Cairo.

Posted by: nmg3rln | February 18, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Thank you EJ, what you write makes sense. It wasn't the teachers that created this mess but the Governor just wanted to stick it to the teachers. Tax breaks for millionaires but stomp on the teachers. That ain't fair. I support the teachers and I hope they win on this one.

Posted by: DavidH3 | February 18, 2011 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I hope Maryland is paying attention? You are next.

Posted by: akhan4 | February 18, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

If they chose to strike, it would be the Governor who was harming the public, not the state workers. The protests in Madison have been very civil. There are always a few crazies, but the Tea Party wouldn't know about that, would they???? Also, there have been Republicans, Democrats, Tea Party members marching together, so get off your high political horse. This is affecting everyone!!!

Posted by: Wisc | February 18, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Almost 4 years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a "preview," sponsored by the Manhattan Institute, of this now widespread effort to discredit government employees and pit them against private scetor workers. The claim then as now is that govt employees are much more richly compensated than private sector counterparts. That's questionable, as recent research has shown. But even if it were true, the response of one govt employee attendee was interesting: "The problem is that so many private sector employers, with help from politicians, have kicked the hell out of their employees." But to make a point that (I hope) can be agreed is less partisan: the debate over what governments can afford to compensate their employees (and more to the point, retirees), like so many of our current debates, turns on one central issue in the future of the U.S.: how we will pay for our retired population, including their healthcare? As the recent history of 401(k) accounts shows, the "pension" part of the famed 3-legged stool is at best shaky for private sector retirees and now is being kicked at in the public sector as well. There's a lot of debate over the Social Security leg of the stool as well. Instead of devoting a lot of time, energy and rancor to the adjunct issues, our politicians had better grapple with this central issue before it's too late.

Posted by: hayesvbr | February 18, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

teh GOP playbook - create a crisis ( real or just ginned up) then use the "crisis" to change the rules to give you more power. Isn't this what Mubarak did in Egypt - I hope this idiot Gov reaps the whirlwind. I'm with the American worker! Kick his backside!

Posted by: sux123 | February 18, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Put it up to the voters with a state referendum with the following:

Do you want to continue paying all state workers health and pension benefits?
YES NO

Do you want to continue paying state politicians?
YES NO

Do you want state employees to continue to have the right of collective bargaining?
YES NO

Let's hear from the voters directly for a change and not follow the Washington D.C. model of governance.

Posted by: wesatch | February 18, 2011 2:58 PM | Report abuse

This is a war among the poor....."I cannot have it so you shouldn't too", while the rich Republicans laugh since they are not affected by all this, they already had their tax rebates....
As the Romans used to say: "divide at impera", never been more actual than in the present US, sadly.

Posted by: biglio | February 18, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Scott Walker is having his Ronald Reagan "Control Tower Moment". In my area of Wisconsin, the Tea Party has had rallies attended by thousands. In Racine, former cop, Republican Van Wangaard, who was just elected to the state legislature is in hiding while he decides how to vote. Racine teachers are picketing his house.

I'm glad that groups, other than the Tea Party have mobilized for something they believe in.

I keep wondering how Sarah Palin as President would have handled this situation--shoot the teachers, make some of her third-grade girl snotty remarks???

Posted by: foxtrot1 | February 18, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Almost 4 years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a preview, hosted by the Manhattan Institute, of this now widespread effort to dicredit govt employees and pit them against private sector workers. Then as now the argument was that govt workers are more richly compensated (at least when benefits are considered) than private sector employees. That's questionable, as shown by recent research, but even if it were true, the comment of one govt employee at the Conference is worth sharing: "Why is it our fault that many private employers, with the help of politicians, have kicked the hell out of their workers?" Another point that (I hope) all will agree is not partisan is that this debate over how much governments can afford to compensate their employees (and, perhaps more to the point, their retirees) is, like so many issues just a subset of a central question for the future of the U.S.: how will we pay for the support of our retired workers and other elderly residents, including their healthcare? Recent experience with millions of 401(k) accounts demonstrates that the "pension" part of the famed 3-legged stool for retirement income is at best shaky in the private sector, and is now being kicked at in the public sector as well. The future of another leg, Social Security, is also much debated. Rather than squandering time, energy and rancor on side issues, politicians at all levels must and should acknowledge that future support for our elderly is the true issue they must grapple with.

Posted by: hayesvbr | February 18, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama just doesn't understand when to "butt out" of states business. Obama interference will give him all the presidential votes from the teachers of Wisconsin in the fall 2012. Why else would he inject himself and the Democrats into something that most "adults' would prefer to be handled by the state of Wisconsin! People forget but he butted into Arizona's business for the last two years trying to use sock puppets Holder and Nappy to convince the world that there was no active drug cartel penetrating the Arizona border, these were poor thirsty field workers trying to get day labor jobs picking lettuce!

Posted by: Templeton62 | February 18, 2011 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Obama just doesn't understand when to "butt out" of states business. Obama interference will give him all the presidential votes from the teachers of Wisconsin in the fall 2012. Why else would he inject himself and the Democrats into something that most "adults' would prefer to be handled by the state of Wisconsin! People forget but he butted into Arizona's business for the last two years trying to use sock puppets Holder and Nappy to convince the world that there was no active drug cartel penetrating the Arizona border, these were poor thirsty field workers trying to get day labor jobs picking lettuce!

Posted by: Templeton62 | February 18, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Reading some of these comments makes me realize the government needs to give away about 5 million copies of "hooked on phonics." READ! The issue is NOT about money -- both sides agree cuts need to be the. The issue is that the Walker wants to take away the last shred of power from the middle class -- the right of many to bargain with one voice. Walker was a major receiver of campaign funds from the Koch bros. and as their minion, Walker will now complete the coup and achieve total subjugation of the middle class and usher in the plutocracy.

Posted by: polysciprof | February 18, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I completely understand the purpose of the union back in the days when rich people thought it was okay to pay workers a penny day and starve their workers once they got their fingers chopped off. But is a union really necessary for government workers in this day and age?

Posted by: forgetthis | February 18, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

The WI situation is the Democrats' national problem in microcosm. Defendants pretty much know only one way to appeal to likely supporters -- promise them the government will give them more money. (The lone exception is private-sector unions, which the Democrats promise will be given greater opportunity to have their private employers give them more money.) This doesn't have to be described in hyperbolic terms, but it most certainly is true.

Democrats support additional taxes so that when they control the government, they can direct the money to their constituents. I don't think the Dems were always this way, but over time, politics has essentially painted them in a corner.

Posted by: willdd | February 18, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Mullah Walker is getting what's coming to him.

Posted by: ExConservative | February 18, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

GOP = hates America

Pass it on.

Posted by: ExConservative | February 18, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I Guess WE THE PEOPLE....doesn't me anything to Repubs. Huh. I have no problem paying taxes for public servants. I'm grateful for the Fireman who risk their lives. Don't be ma= at someone with a State or Federal job just because you are personally having a tuff time. I love the illusion of how the private sector is some how much better that the government sector. Enron ring a bell?

Posted by: lemekdivine | February 18, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

It takes a tea-bagger republican to srew teachers to give away money to their fat cat friends!

Posted by: jeffc6578 | February 18, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I shoulda been a WI teacher. Better yet, I shoulda been a "community organizer". Then I could just drive busloads of thugs from Chicago over to all the neighboring states to raise heck while President Jarret and First Fool Obama funnel public money into my private coffers.

Posted by: Poeboy | February 18, 2011 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I strongly believe that the teachers and unionized workers did not create this country's financial woes!
It is the tax-cutting by the Politicians and their favors to Wall Street, that is responsible. When there are no revenues coming in, how do the politicians and especially Republicans, think of giving tax cuts?
All those, even in the Tea party, talk of cutting spending, but when it comes to their entitlements and benefits, that cannot be touched! If it is spending on the wars on Iraq or Afghanistan, it is okay!
In this Wisconsin saga, it is a clear cut case of benefits to the rich and not to the hardworking teachers and Government staff. Amazing and amusing at the same time.

Posted by: Grateful_American | February 18, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

The GOP in Wisconsin is paying back their political backers. The issue is not pay or the need for state workers to pay more for their benefits. The issue is one of political corruption - venality - one of the seven deadly sins - on the part of Gov Scott Walker and the GOP controlled legislature. They created the situation with their tax cuts earlier this year. They now seek payment with the soul of the middle class.

Posted by: stpaulmike | February 18, 2011 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The GOP in Wisconsin is paying back their political backers. The issue is not pay or the need for state workers to pay more for their benefits. The issue is one of political corruption - venality - one of the seven deadly sins - on the part of Gov Scott Walker and the GOP controlled legislature. They created the situation with their tax cuts earlier this year. They now seek payment with the soul of the middle class.

Posted by: stpaulmike | February 18, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

utterly amazing how some people can be fooled all the time.

equally amazing is how little they know that after they come after us, they undoubtedly will come for you.

economic slavery, this time, will cross all racial lines.

"bye, bye, miss american pie..."

Posted by: glenknowles | February 18, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The cartoon network is almost in full regalia. The "Rent a Mob" cheer captain aka Jesse jackson has arrived, & all we need now is "Crown Heights", "Hymietown" Al Sharpton.OF course no cartoon would be complete without "Code Pink". Aren't you proud of our post racial, post partisan, President? What a leader, I tell ya What a leader!

Posted by: pauldia | February 18, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Obama supports the “chicken liver” Democrats “hiding out” who have a duty to get back to their jobs in Wisconsin congress as elected lawmakers to fulfill their duties to public office. A respectable lawmaker would introduce an AWOL bill to empower the governor to remove lawmakers from public office due to non-performance and dereliction of duties.

Issue fines to Wisconsin protesters clogging public access to government offices and conference rooms. Fine each person who does not move $250 and the fines will help with government revenues.

We see a demonstration of Democrats as compared to Republicans. Democrats run away from their job while Republicans stand fast to their responsibilities to the people. Americans have respect for Governor Walker.

Posted by: klausdmk | February 18, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Here is some credible verifiable information from Madison Wisconsin...read this.

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/opinion/editorial/article_61064e9a-27b0-5f28-b6d1-a57c8b2aaaf6.html

Posted by: greeenmtns | February 18, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

There's no more arrogant group of workers than these public sector unions. To beg for some cooperation from them would be the usual pathetic gambit. Why not address the heart of the issue which is the imbalance of power in negotiations lying in their favor over and above the taxpayer? You can't present yourself as a defender of the middle class or friend of the working man while crapping on the taxpayer. It's a thug mentality to pretend that a COLA limit is beyond the pale.

Posted by: shuckandjive | February 18, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Obama supports the “chicken liver” Democrats “hiding out” that have a duty to get back to their jobs in Wisconsin congress as elected lawmakers to fulfill their duties to public office. A respectable lawmaker would introduce an AWOL bill to empower the governor to remove lawmakers from public office due to non-performance and dereliction of duties.

Issue fines to Wisconsin protesters clogging public access to government offices and conference rooms. Fine each person who does not move $250 and the fines will help with government revenues.

We see a demonstration of Democrats as compared to Republicans. Democrats run away from their job while Republicans stand fast to their responsibilities to the people. Americans have respect for Governor Walker.

Posted by: klausdmk | February 18, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

These young GOP governors and attorneys generals must live in another world where thy think just becasue they are elected and some members want stupid things well they should just go out and ask for them.

These village-idiot class proposals throw the general public off base because they leave out a lot of fine print and history.

Posted by: kencamarro | February 18, 2011 3:54 PM | Report abuse


Finally America is seeing the end of the union Gravy Train!

Posted by: underthesea2 | February 18, 2011 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Governor Walker has to admit his own complicity in this situation and his conversion to an extreme right-wing agenda that allows him to ignore a significant portion of the citizens of Wisconsin. Even though I have never been a union person, I understand the need for unions or groups that plead the case for workers. Since many CEOs are not benevolent dictators, workers have to have some rights. We abolished slavery many years ago.

This ia a very visible attempt by Republicans to divide the American people. They have polarized our politics and are now attempting to divide our country in ways that are very dangerous for our future survival.

Having seen how collective bargaining works, I have seen many times when workers have had to give back or go without so that the organization can move forward. It is too bad that the "bosses" do not mind taking theirs in spades while pushing the peons farther down the economic ladder.

Regarding the private sector, were it not for unions in many instances, legalized slavery would still exist. I am saddened when I see the obscene profits that big oil makes, yet big oil is subsidized by our government. WHY?

Posted by: EarlC | February 18, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Sir: I have heard significantly larger numbers stated for Wisconsin's deficit, but in any case Gov. Walker is making a difficult executive decision, one which Obama might consider emulating rather than denigrating.

Posted by: baltic | February 18, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

A politician owes loyalty to those who voted for, not against them. And policy making should "always" reflect this truism.

These protests are a manifestation of liberals who cannot accept they lost in November. This is what happens when your camp doesn't show up at the polls in numbers that guarantee a win. Marching in protest after the fact just makes for sour grapes.

Posted by: Homunculus | February 18, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Reading some of these comments makes me realize the government needs to give away about 5 million copies of "hooked on phonics." READ! The issue is NOT about money -- both sides agree cuts need to be the. The issue is that the Walker wants to take away the last shred of power from the middle class -- the right of many to bargain with one voice. Walker was a major receiver of campaign funds from the Koch bros. and as their minion, Walker will now complete the coup and achieve total subjugation of the middle class and usher in the plutocracy.
----------------------

There is no right of public employees to bargain with the public at whose pleasure they serve. Public employees are not private employees. The government is not a private, for-profit business. Worker unions are necessary in many private enterprises, though they have become bloated and harmful even there. There is no need and no justification whatever for a union of public employees. A union of public employees is a conspiracy against the public. There is no public benefit whatsoever to a public employees union. Public workers should not be permitted to bargain and strike the same way private employees do. Public employee unions are by definition entities whose sole function is to work against the public interest. The way to address and redress political grievances against the government is through elections and politics. The people who establish job descriptions and pay and benefits packages for public employees are representatives of the public. To unionize against representatives of the public is to conspire against the public itself. There should be no right whatsoever to strike or act against the public interest by public employees. Public employees are public servants. If they are not prepared to serve the public and operate according to the rules and regulations laid down by the public and its representatives they should not, repeat not, be working for the public.

Public employees are public employees. They are not private employers. Nor do they constitute the middle class, though many happen to belong to it. Public employee unions whose sole purpose is to gain private advantage for public employees at the expense of the public. They are unnecessary, irrational, immoral, wasteful of taxpayer money, and, as we see, potentially harmful to the public itself. I don't know what would be required to outlaw or ban them, but I am in favor of doing so by any legal means.

Posted by: Teleologicus | February 18, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I have to tell you folks, this is FANTASTIC reading, better than any novel I could have picked up. Its amazing how so many of the respondents don't actually seem to grasp what is happening in WI. Walker is doing exactly what he has been promising to do over the last year and a half prior to his election. He is doing what a majority of those voting in the last gubernatorial election wanted him to do. What is apalling is that the Democratic Senators have are skirted their responsibilites by fleeing town. Thanks Illinois for taking them and as far as I'm concerned you can keep them. I would like to know how many of the protestors actually voted in the last election.

Posted by: lah3 | February 18, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Reading some of these comments makes me realize the government needs to give away about 5 million copies of "hooked on phonics." READ! The issue is NOT about money -- both sides agree cuts need to be the. The issue is that the Walker wants to take away the last shred of power from the middle class -- the right of many to bargain with one voice. Walker was a major receiver of campaign funds from the Koch bros. and as their minion, Walker will now complete the coup and achieve total subjugation of the middle class and usher in the plutocracy.
----------------------

There is no right of public employees to bargain with the public at whose pleasure they serve. Public employees are not private employees. The government is not a private, for-profit business. Worker unions are necessary in many private enterprises, though they have become bloated and harmful even there. There is no need and no justification whatever for a union of public employees. A union of public employees is a conspiracy against the public. There is no public benefit whatsoever to a public employees union. Public workers should not be permitted to bargain and strike the same way private employees do. Public employee unions are by definition entities whose sole function is to work against the public interest. The way to address and redress political grievances against the government is through elections and politics. The people who establish job descriptions and pay and benefits packages for public employees are representatives of the public. To unionize against representatives of the public is to conspire against the public itself. There should be no right whatsoever to strike or act against the public interest by public employees. Public employees are public servants. If they are not prepared to serve the public and operate according to the rules and regulations laid down by the public and its representatives they should not, repeat not, be working for the public.

Public employees are public employees. They are not private employees. Nor do they constitute the middle class, though many happen to belong to it. Public employee unions whose sole purpose is to gain private advantage for public employees at the expense of the public. They are unnecessary, irrational, immoral, wasteful of taxpayer money, and, as we see, potentially harmful to the public itself. I don't know what would be required to outlaw or ban them, but I am in favor of doing so by any legal means. They are harmful, useless, expensive luxuries the country can no longer afford and ought not to tolerate.

Posted by: Teleologicus | February 18, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Funny how it was the Wall Street fat cats and the financial services industry executives that caused this economic crisis but now the public employees are being blamed for it! Public union employees definitely have great benefits but at the same time, they did not participate in the party that lasted nearly 15 years either. When private sector employees were being way overcompensated and taking fancy vacations all over the world and 25 year old kids were buying fancy condos because of thier inflated salaries and bonuses, public employee unions totally missed out on the party. Now they are being told they have to give up their CB rights because those formerly overpaid 25 year old traders caused a financial crisis? Not fair America. Besides, this is just going to lead a race to the bottom. If private sectors employees have lost their benefits and now public sector employees are being made to lose their benefits, pretty soon no one will have benefits. But that is how the corporations like it I guess.

Posted by: Munsen | February 18, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Funny how it was the Wall Street fat cats and the financial services industry executives that caused this economic crisis but now the public employees are being blamed for it! Public union employees definitely have great benefits but at the same time, they did not participate in the party that lasted nearly 15 years either. When private sector employees were being way overcompensated and taking fancy vacations all over the world and 25 year old kids were buying fancy condos because of thier inflated salaries and bonuses, public employee unions totally missed out on the party. Now they are being told they have to give up their CB rights because those formerly overpaid 25 year old traders caused a financial crisis? Not fair America. Besides, this is just going to lead a race to the bottom. If private sectors employees have lost their benefits and now public sector employees are being made to lose their benefits, pretty soon no one will have benefits. But that is how the corporations like it I guess.

Posted by: Munsen | February 18, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

LOL


Liberals are going Greek

What does a Public Service Employee Union member do when told they cost too much.........riot

Wisconsin School Teachers Union Closed Schools ... so Teachers could whine....while kids sat at home

Wisconsin Democrat Legislators ran away to prevent a vote.......ran

LOL....the fact that Liberalism is both too expensive AND a failed ideology is driving the NPR crowd bonkers

Posted by: georgedixon1 | February 18, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

You really sicken me, Dionne. You know full well the protesters are wrong, they are overpaid ($100,000.00 average per teacher), and they'll never be satisfied. Yet, you somehow contort your reasoning to rid yourself of massive cognitive dissonance. You have lost all credibility on everything you will write on any topic.

Posted by: Rehcab1 | February 18, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Walker is using budget issues as an excuse? If you can see Walker is using budget issues as an excuse,then you saw it when Obama used the economy as an excuse to take over health care and force all Americans into Obamacare. We can't have it both ways. As a matter of fact a day doesn't go by where Obama doesn't use something as an excuse to further force his social justice and the transformation of this country to socialism. You opened the door, now you live with what just walked in.

Posted by: houstonian | February 18, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

You really sicken me, Dionne. You know full well the protesters are wrong, they are overpaid ($100,000.00 average per teacher), and they'll never be satisfied. Yet, you somehow contort your reasoning to rid yourself of massive cognitive dissonance. You have lost all credibility on everything you will write on any topic.

Posted by: Rehcab1 | February 18, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Freedom of assembly and the right to dissent only applies in the Middle East these days. For all the whining that is done about the Constitution looks like Americans can't get it right. They know more about it(Democracy) in Islamic Nations than we do In America these days. Any Politician, pundit, citizen, that bemoans and demeans the right of assembly needs to go back to elementary school!

Posted by: minco_007 | February 18, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Most of these comments fail to understand the situation in Wisconsin which is the same as in many other states. The Wisconsin State budget earmarks cash for education costs to the local governmental subdivisions which negotiate with the teachers unions. Those unions have been in negotiations with many of these political subdivisions for over a year without agreeing to any contracts. The unions will simply not accept any reduction in their high price retirement or medical plans.

These assertions that the unions are ready to make concessions are simply P.R. baloney. They have no intention of giving up the goodies they have extorted or stolen with the collaboration of serial Democrat state governments. The only way the State legislature can pass a budget and know that the funds provided under that budget to the local governmental subdivisions will cover the cost of continuing education and other public services without layoffs, which is the part of this legislation that the unions like to ignore, is to limit the wage increases to cost of living and to reduce the state burden by demanding a contribution from the teachers for a small portion of their health and retirement plans. All the rest is union smoke and mirrors. Collective bargaining under this structure where the funding agency (the state) does not bargain directly with the unions, does not work. Thus the fiscal nightmare in which many states find themselves.

Posted by: hunsky | February 18, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

You are completely right, Mr. Dionne. The Wisconsin governor wants to shut the middle class up because he can now. He manufactured a crisis to make it happen when the people wouldn't have the representation they need to protect themselves.

America has experienced an employers' market for so long that people have forgotten that no state can run efficiently or well without state workers. Private companies will gouge the middle class to replace all those services.

No company can fulfill its goals without workers. I am someone who wishes I could afford an employee so my company can grow. This further blow to the middle class shrinks America's ability to grow and innovate. We might not be able to make up for the lost time. It won't be long before we forget the entire concept of a pension.

The Republicans blew their political bargaining chip on tax cuts for the rich and super rich. The tax advantages to the rich have not trickled down to greater prosperity for the middle class and won't. Democrats should not let Republicans get away with complaining about deficits. Every budget issue should be explained from the perspective: "If we hadn't given that tax break to the rich, we could [fill in the blank]."

Posted by: bperkins | February 18, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin and Ohio are only the tip of the plan to bust unions. Ads no doubt paid for by secret corporate money hit the air before the "tea party" attack. Wisconsin wants to take money from the public sector who makes between 5% and 10% less than the private sector and transfer it to business. Few corporations in Wisconsin are taxed. No one complains that the Chamber of Commerce organizes businesses and runs money-laundering ads to protect their members. Effectively the "reform" makes union negotiations illegal for both public and private sectors. Those who love private business and hate government are going to love USAInc. until they realize they need to walk like an Egyptian just to survive the multi-national corporations.

Posted by: LillithMc | February 18, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Awww, there sure are a lot of conservatives' diapers getting soaked out here because working men and women stood up to their idiot teabagger governor, who is doing his best to carry out the republican's war on the middle class.

CHEERS to the working men and women of Wisconsin for standing up to their teabagger wannabe-dictator and the GOP's attempts to steal their hard-earned pensions, and take away their rights! You are all heroes!

Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 18, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, let's see. The people of Wisconsin voted him in by a 52-46 margin. Obama was elected by about the same margin. Gov. Walker is doing the will of the majority of the state, and he is over reaching, yet Obama, when he ignores the will of the people, he is not over reaching.

That is some wacky liberal logic.\

And Obama has put forth yet more unsustainable spending for FY 2012.

The madness is ending now, and liberals hate it.

Posted by: thelaw1 | February 18, 2011 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Who would have thought that our middle class bus drivers should pay even a cent toward health insurance? After all, when they retire at 50- something. They still get their salary for life.

Posted by: jbratten | February 18, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

This article is pretty spot on in terms of how drastic this administration is going about the issue of public employees. The public employees are willing to have discussions and discussions will result in better solutions. Rights for the working class were after all one of the greatest accomplishments of the American people.

Although business tax cuts should not be blamed. In WI they were needed to keep businesses in WI. WI already loses the brightest students, for the most part to the East and West Coast or CO. The real issue with the entrepreneurs who agree with Walker is the ability for a public employee to become lazy in their cushy job. It's BS from an entrepreneur mindset.

As an entrepreneur you know that if you don't continue to learn and strive forward you will fall behind. What this means is in government we have a few bad apples allowing the working class to be blamed for budget issues not created by them.

Working class I say? Well yes the working class, they lose 50% of their pay check to taxes before even receiving it. Their benefits get invested into Wall Street. Where who knows what sort of back alley deals are being made with their "working" money. To part of the system that gives someone else a cushy life.

The part of the monetary system I like to call "the conspiracy". "The conspiracy" doesn't make it a bad thing. It's a learnable and teachable system. This system is not to blame and if the people learn it; the parts that need to be corrected will get fixed. The truth always comes out.

The solution is the working class learning the financial system, using the system, not just operating in it. The working class who do well in life invest in oil and real estate. Those investments use the money system. MLM is cheap investment and provides passive income for forming teams.

Imagine if the working class started setting the vision for America again, legalized hemp for farmers (paper, food, clothing, rope, oil, fuel), invested their retirement into high speed rail infrastructure, etc.

What if entrepreneurs got tax credits for creating rail infrastructure like oil investors get? Maybe those tax incentives should be the other way around?

I hope the 30,000 strong that have poured into the capital and the other thousands who have participated in the conversation on the internet and sites like FB don't stop. The people are the change America needs.

Only the people's financial knowledge of using money will provide that kind of peaceful change. Never stop learning America. Teach emotional intelligence (love) and financial education (a system). America can get back to what our forefathers started. The pursuit of happiness in the land of opportunity. The entrepreneurs of the future will love the world and all people.

Empower those around you!

Healthy American Politician

Posted by: stauffy2 | February 18, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Who would have thought that our middle class bus drivers should pay even a cent toward health insurance? After all, when they retire at 50- something. They still get their salary for life.

Posted by: jbratten | February 18, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Interesting situation in WI.

When it comes down to it, the Democrats (middle class workers)have the numbers and the will to hit the streets.

More power to them!

Posted by: gregnowell | February 18, 2011 5:03 PM | Report abuse

So who will pay the pensions? Interesting situation in WI?

Posted by: jbratten | February 18, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Wow, this is just amazing tripe. It is funny how in Meyerson's and Dionne's eyes, unions are sacrosanct and can do no wrong. I am all for limiting public service unions, who have huge conflicts of interest. Somehow, in the zany world that has become our government, it is necessary for unions to exist in the public sector in order to protect government workers from the government. Have you ever heard of Civil Service laws E.J.? I note that you speak of "fuloughs", "wage cuts", etc., but you do not mention firing public sector employees - why? - because it is almost impossible to do so. These same employees have de facto job security, guaranteed and somewhat outrageous pensions, almost free health care, agitate for wage increases even in economic times such as these, and on and on. While a lot of us hardworking folks in the private sector take huge haircuts, etc., there has been zero "sacrifice" by State, Local, and Federal employees. I laugh at this attitude that collective bargaining for public employees is sacrosanct. For instance, Virginia does not allow collective bargaining for State and Local employees. What is interesting about this is the results. In a piece by WAPO itself, comparing Fairfax County (non union) with Montgomery County (union), Montgomery County was excoriated for its budgetary recklessness and who unionization contributed to the situation. Fairfax, it turns out, spends almost one-half less delivering the same services with pretty much the same quality as Montgomery, easily adjusted its budget when the meltdown occurred, etc. while Montgomery faces recurring budget shortfalls in an already bloated budget. Articles have constantly appeared in WAPO regarding how the public service unions have intimidated Montgomery politicians into almost rubber stamping contract demands, yet this type of behavior is to be held as virtuous? The school superintendant demanded a 2% to 4% wage increase for Montgomery Counties unionized teacher in this year's budget while the rest of us work long hours to hope to tread water, and yet again you think this kind of behavior is virtuous? I pay plenty of my now reduced (due to economic conditions) income to shoulder an increasing tax burden in Montgomery, partially or maybe even wholly, because public service (which is becoming, in its own way an oxymoron) unions increasing demands for longer vacations, gold plated healthcare, free life insurance, guaranteed pensions, etc.

Posted by: fwillyhess | February 18, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

As an intelligent Conservative Republican, I have to say all the attacks on the average citizen benefits disgust me. I have worked for a state government for 10 years. Would you like to know how many raises and bonuses I have received in those 10 years???? NONE. I have never received a raise and we don't receive bonuses. All I have ever received was a 2% cost of living allowance 4 times in the past 10 years. We are supposed to receive this every year; however, all of our wonderful governor's, Republican and Democrat, have found a reason to freeze this allowance. So, taking into account only gas prices, gas has tripled in price per gallon since I started working 10 years ago, yet my salary has only increased 8%. Real fair. Did I mention my salary has been cut 2.5% for the last two years?? Any private sector employees out there taking pay cuts?

Furthermore, my deductions for health care, prescription coverage, dental, and retirement have all increased. The state has never forgotten to deduct my contributions, so all the Governors who have decided not to make the state pension payments (like that fat bag of wind in New Jersey) can take a long walk off a short pier. To add insult to injury, even though my dental premium has increased, not once has our wonderful state dental plan completely covered any work I've had done, and I'm only talking about a routine dental cleaning.

Why has everybody forgotten that this wonderful country's problems were caused by a greedy Wall Street, unscrupulous bankers and disgusting banking institutions. Yet what happens to them? NOTHING. They get bailed out and go right back to their 6 and 7 figure salaries with their 6 and 7 figure bonuses. The working people get crapped on and are left to fight for what they have earned. Don't forget, for every one worker who gets inflated benefits, there are dozens who do not. In fact, there are dozens who require multiple jobs just to make ends meet. So don't get mad at the public sector employees who, for the most part, are just surviving. We need to go after those who caused this mess instead of falling for this misdirection and misinformation about pensions and benefits being the cause. It's really not true.
I risk my life everyday I go to work (yes, I'm a police officer). When I'm finally able to retire, all I ask for are the benefits that I've earned. For all of the private sector employees who have a problem with that, I suggest you throw on a uniform and hit the streets with me. We'll see how you feel after a few shifts of belligerent people and motorists who don't seem to care if they almost strike you. Afterwards, we can compare salaries and benefits. They really aren't even close.
Oh, and about that whole registered Republican thing.... Screw 'em. I'm tired of both parties. They're all corrupt and self-serving. I am Independent and will listen to neither party of idiots. But I bet they can keep their benefits when they're gone

Posted by: gshack30 | February 18, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

hey JWx2,
that's where your wrong: there is no number of republicans that can change a light bulb because the only things they know how to do are push paper, cheat on their taxes and bugger someone else's spouse.
I'm sorry, it's true!

Posted by: michael5 | February 18, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Greedy public servants are the problem gshack. Not a political party. The average police officer does not fire his gun in a career. Nor does a toll both collector. Tell it to the Marines. They deserve your pension. You should be ashamed.

Posted by: jbratten | February 18, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

There are an awful lot of people in our country that don't think anything through. The Wisconsin governor is one. Many of those commenting here are wildly off the mark with the facts. Are they parroting the arguments Fox uses - because Fox makes up things and exist to promote big business's agenda. After these people bust all the unions, they'll dispense with the minimum wage. Pay attention people, because when this country loses more of its middle class, those of us that can afford it will hide away in our gated communities. The rest of you will just have to fend for yourselves.

Posted by: MNUSA | February 18, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

As an intelligent Conservative Republican, I have to say all the attacks on the average citizen benefits disgust me. I have worked for a state government for 10 years. Would you like to know how many raises and bonuses I have received in those 10 years???? NONE. I have never received a raise and we don't receive bonuses. All I have ever received was a 2% cost of living allowance 4 times in the past 10 years. We are supposed to receive this every year; however, all of our wonderful governor's, Republican and Democrat, have found a reason to freeze this allowance. So, taking into account only gas prices, gas has tripled in price per gallon since I started working 10 years ago, yet my salary has only increased 8%. Real fair. Did I mention my salary has been cut 2.5% for the last two years?? Any private sector employees out there taking pay cuts?
-------------

The traditional approach to the above complaints is of course to secure other employment with better pay and benefits. The poster is evidently a government or public employee and has a beef with their employer, the public. It may be a valid beef - but the fact is, the public through its representatives decides what jobs the public needs, who should do the work, how much they should be compensated, and what their performance standards are. The beef, therefore, is ultimately against the public and the taxpayer. The way to address this is through the political process. Unions have no place in the public sector because public employees work for the public and provide services to the public. A public employee union is nothing but a conspiracy against the public. There are no redeeming public benefits that accrue from public employee unions. If there were benefits to an employer from unions we would expect private for profit businesses to do their best to unionize. From the standpoint of the employer, unions are always and only bad. The public is the employer of public servants. A public that had any sense would never even dream of permitting public servants to unionize and engage in collective bargaining the way unions do with private employers. I think many Americans have until now simply not been fully aware of what a racket the public employee unions actually are. The shenanigans in Wisconsin and elsewhere are raising the consciousness of the public vis-a-vis public employees unions. This is not a smart move on the part of such unions, since the more Americans find out about the incredible bloat and perks and benefits such unions obtain for public employees, the less they are going to like it. This could be the beginning of a grass roots movement to eliminate public employee unions entirely. There is no need for them and the country can no longer afford them. Public employee unions are conspiracies against the public interest.

Posted by: Teleologicus | February 18, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"I have a brother in Michigan who is a very hard working manager in the health dept and a republican..."

There should be no Republicans working for government. Federal, state, or local.

The Republican philosophy: the less government, the better.

The first thing any Republican can do -- the very first thing -- to make government smaller is to leave their government employee and thus make it one less employee smaller.

Funny, though, it's always about the "other guy" making it smaller for them...

Posted by: sthomas1957 | February 18, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

MNUSA You bow to NPR. And are superior to the rest of us.

Posted by: jbratten | February 18, 2011 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I find it amusing that somehow this whole discussion becomes one about the "middle class". Private sector unions cover a mere 12% of private sector workers, public sector unions are now the greatest source of union members. So somehow, when you actually employ logicial reasoning, the vast private sector, therefore, has no one in the middle class and by definition, all State government employees are the middle class. Ergo, without all the State government employees, there would be no middle class. And, ergo, very few private sector workers are middle class, and ergo the private sector is only comprised of the well off and the poor. This simply illustrates how this middle class argument is ludicrous. This is not an attack on the "middle class" since by any sort of common sense reasoning, the middle class is not comprised solely of public sector employees or even unionized employees. If you accepted the premise that collective bargaining in the public sector equals the middle class, then I suppose all public service employees in Virginia are not middle class since they do not have collective bargaining rights in that State. Simply ridiculous. By the way, E.J., why don't you move to NJ where public service unions rule the State, resulting in a horrendous budgetary mess, not least of which is huge unfunded pension obligations. It is not coincidental that NJ also has the highest tax burden in the Country - I bet you can ask how NJ residents feel about collective bargaining - that is the ones who are not considering moving to another State. I am sure, since you so support public service employee unions, that you wouldn't mind moving to the Garden State and pay those taxes. So, why don't you give it a try.

Posted by: fwillyhess | February 18, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

"I have a brother in Michigan who is a very hard working manager in the health dept and a republican..."

There should be no Republicans working for government. Federal, state, or local.

The Republican philosophy: the less government, the better.

The first thing any Republican can do -- the very first thing -- to make government smaller is to leave their government employee and thus make it one less employee smaller.

Funny, though, it's always about the "other guy" making it smaller for them...

Posted by: sthomas1957 | February 18, 2011 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Well one good thing will come out of this...Obama will stop imulating Ronald Regan.

Regan would have fired these teachers...plenty out there to take there place in these economic times. Not to mention out children need them. Thank you to the teachers who are doing there job and recognizing every American is taking a sacrifice right now. I salute you as a veteran.

Posted by: underthesea2 | February 18, 2011 5:44 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty clear that it's the GOP strategy to give to the rich and rob from the not so rich. Giving by way of tax reductions, then taking away our services. They are scum, stupid or both.

Posted by: pdurand | February 18, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty clear that it's the GOP strategy to give to the rich and rob from the not so rich. Giving by way of tax reductions, then taking away our services. They are scum, stupid or both.

Posted by: pdurand | February 18, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Dionne like President Obama back Unions in Wisconsin ?

Again they pick the wrong side !!

A new poll shows that 64 percent of voters think that public employees should not be represented by unions, reports Politico's Ben Smith. That includes 42 percent of Democrats.

Posted by: pvilso24 | February 18, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

EJ is wrong.It is All about budgets.The burden that taxpayers are carrying because of the pay/benefit packages is not sustainable.The vile behavior of teachers and their union bosses in Wisconsin is a disgrace.It's about to happen in Ohio next.For our president to incite and make reckless allegations is also deplorable and adds to the lack of civility and respect.

Posted by: bowspray | February 18, 2011 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Funny how liberals can stand back and say now that republicans are in charge of WI they are a TEMPORARY MAJORITY and should not be able to change anything. Funny but two years ago I remember President Obama openly rebuking Eric Cantor telling him elections have consequences and WE WON.

It appears the Democrats Majority was only temporary but that didnt stop them from jamming health care down our throats.

Posted by: bjeagle784 | February 18, 2011 5:58 PM | Report abuse

@JWx2

"it takes 15 liberals to change a lightbulb...and only one conservative to change the same lightbulb..."
__________________________________________

With all the hatred directed toward Scientist of late, by conservatives, I'm surprise you even know what a light bulb is.

Posted by: morphylius | February 18, 2011 6:05 PM | Report abuse

These cuts are needed ,,no 20 year retirements and full pensions,health care etc,,police,fire fighters,,military coasting on these perks which our country can no longer afford,,no unions ,barganing is a thing of the past,,save our country,,no one forces these types to volunteer.

Posted by: schmidt1 | February 18, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Cops. Firemen. Teachers. Factory workers. Middle class people.

All standing up to their teabagger governor and his banana republic tactics.

Fight them now, or you're next.

CHEERS to the working men and women of Wisconsin who are fighting against the GOP's war on the middle class!

Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 18, 2011 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Nothing more than republicans attempting to steal workers pensions and benefits. Do you see the governor giving up his pension or salary because the state is "broke."?

Posted by: treefrog2 | February 18, 2011 6:29 PM | Report abuse


It sounds a lot like a Republican planned attack on public employees' wages.

So, Walker spent too much money (typical for Republicans) and then wanted to pick the pocket of public employees.

What all this amounts to is, the Republicans are so deep in the pockets of Big Business they're trying to back track on wages so that the American People are forced into slave wages with no benefits.


Posted by: lindalovejones | February 18, 2011 6:31 PM | Report abuse

TO: treefrog2 who wrote:
“Nothing more than republicans attempting to steal workers pensions and benefits. Do you see the governor giving up his pension or salary because the state is "broke."?”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Excellent point, and the article further states that, if it hadn’t been for Republican politicians (Walker himself) overspending, then the State would have a surplus.

Republicans are real, live crooks, and the only thing “conservative” about them is that they’re all out for themselves.

Posted by: lindalovejones | February 18, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

We have a President that is fomenting Civil Unrest. A President that is a Paid Off Shill for Big Labor Unions. A President that is fueling Class Envy.

'12 CANNOT Come Soon Enough !!


Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 18, 2011 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Cops. Firemen. Teachers. Factory workers. Middle class people.

All standing up to their teabagger governor and his banana republic tactics.

Fight them now, or you're next.

CHEERS to the working men and women of Wisconsin who are fighting against the GOP's war on the middle class!
--------------

It is an alarming and depressing thought that anyone could truly believe nonsense like the above. Yet the intellectual caliber of pro- public employees union posts is, as one might have anticipated, consistently low and vulgar. Not one single poster has been able to provide a rational justification for the existence of public employees unions. There is, of course, no such justification. Unions make sense in the private sector. They make absolutely no sense in the public sector. Who do union members think they are bargaining with and protesting against? Public servants are accountable to the public via the elected and appointed representatives of the public. There is a political process in place to deal with this. The whole idea of a public employee union is absurd and self-contradictory.

Trying to pass off government workers and public servants as the middle class is fooling nobody. We are talking about employees of local, state, and the federal government who have conspired and organized via unions to thwart the public will and to act against the public interest. There is nothing whatever good for the public in such unions, which are adversaries of the public that employs them.

The behavior and attitude of such unionized public servants is strong evidence that unionization is entirely against the public interest. No one is required to be a public servant and work for the government. Government employees do not create wealth but are pure drains on the public treasury. The theory is that at least some of such public servants contribute in some way to the conditions necessary to promote the formation of wealth - but government workers themselves produce exactly nothing. They are pure consumers, 100% red ink, all cost and no discernible direct productive benefit. One might go so far as to call public employees a kind of necessary evil, something the public has to have and pay for but which contributes nothing positive to the bottom line - which indeed is nothing but a financial burden to the public, whatever public services may be provided in exchange for salaries and benefits.

Government workers are not productive workers in the same way that workers in private, for-profit business are and must be for businesses to stay in business. Government workers do not produce anything, they consume resources and wealth produced and created by others, the public that they work for.

Posted by: Teleologicus | February 18, 2011 6:48 PM | Report abuse


Soetoro flew the Union Thug Trumka in on Air Force One.

Posted by: ChangeWhat | February 18, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

First of all, obama should keep his nose out of Wisconsin. He has screwed up the USA so badly, his "help" not needed for the states. Many of those government slugs, are too stupid to get real private sector jobs. Same applies to the clerks in the Federal Govt. They do not deserve raises unless they show initiative and more then average ability. It used to be that working for the government was a job of last resort. Idiot politicians gave these cretins raises, benefits for what. They are supposed to be working for the tax payers. If we decide they will have to pay their own health care costs, so be it. WE ARE THEIR BOSSES. Maybe we should riot in DC demanding Obama leave, since he was roundly defeated in the November elections and he keeps trying to shove his Marxist crap, even though losing the election rather handily.

Posted by: nomobarry | February 18, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

EJ--Heard you on NPR. You are right that this is union busting, but your points about comparing Wisconsin's deficits to other states like CA will not win over any Wisconsinites. We do have an issue here (not like CA, but...) and yes, it is partially a problem created by the tax cuts recently put forth by Gov Walker.

But, the main point that no one is getting at is that IF this is about Budgets as the Gov says and if we have to cut the cost of benefits by having employee union members pay more.......well, the state's largest union has said they would give in on concessions on benefits if they could keep their collective bargaining rights.

Gov. Walker turned him down today. The Gov is not interested in saving the money, he is interested in busting the unions and this is a stick it to them by the Republicans.

Posted by: kgb1 | February 18, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes I get really sick of reading about these people, in pious self righteousness, who tout about being fiscally responsible-"If we can't pay for it, we just can't pay for it-plain and simple". Yes, plain and simple for the simple minded! But hey, ya got to hand it to the GOP. They really tapped into a precious vein within the body politic that has been worth literally trillions-IGNORANCE! They, for the last thirty years, have been peeing on people and telling them "It's raining"! for so long that now they don't have to even use deception anymore to make the ruse work. The self righteous ignoramuses now apply the deception to themselves without prompting!(In fact this is the same type of conditioning applied to slaves to keep them under control! So now we have African-Americans trying desparately to overcome psychological dysfunctions passed down over three centuries, while whites ignorantly continue to say-"Why can't THOSE people get it together"!) But for them-the "regressives", up is down. Science has no relevance. Unions are bad for you, despite the fact that the USOA is a U N I O N! It's not okay to have an abortion, but kill all the innocence in a foreign land you want.

But the GOP and their minions-the "regressive movement" forgot about one most important thing-THE UNIVERSE DOES NOT GO BACKWARDS! You know, the old "You can fool some of the people all of the time but...

Posted by: D-0f-G | February 18, 2011 7:17 PM | Report abuse

RIGHTIST THUG GOVERNOR WALKER CREATED THE BUDGET CRISIS IN WISCONSIN OUT OF THIN AIR !!!


Walker and the new Republican-controlled state legislature in Wisconsin largely created the deficit problem they claim must be solved on the backs of public servants.


Walker claims that the state is broke. However, the Wisconsin Fiscal Bureau, a sort of in-state CBO, disagrees with Walker and projects a net positive balance of 56 million for the state by the end of June, 2011. Further, the Bureau argues that the state would have had an additional $139.7 $202.8 million to work with over the next two years if not for the tax cuts already passed during Walker’s brief administration. Yet further, as recently as February 1st, Walker did not announce his plans on how to pay for those cuts:


The measure joins three others Walker has signed in his first month in office that he said will send a message that Wisconsin is more business friendly. Walker, a Republican, has seen his legislative agenda speed through the Republican-controlled Legislature even though he has yet to explain how he'll pay for everything in light of the state's projected $3 billion budget shortfall.


WALKER IS EXAGGERATING AND FUELING WISCONSIN'S FISCAL CRISIS AS AN EXCUSE TO BUST UNIONS !!!


http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/wisconsin-gov-walker-ginned-up-budget-shortfall-to-undercut-worker-rights.php


The top salaries for gov't workers in Wisconsin would include Walker and his Republican pals, who are currently taking a sh^t on their lower wage counter parts.


Why isn't anyone demanding that Walker and Co take a severe pay cut and give up their benefits?


There is no budget crisis in Wisconsin, that's why.


Walker created this "crisis" out of thin air just for the opportunity to bust Wisconsin unions.


PASS IT ON, DEMOCRATS !


LET'S TAKE BACK OUR FREEDOM FROM THE DICTATOR RIGHTIST GOONS !!!


IMPEACH MULLAH WALKER AND THE RIGHTIST TEABAGGER THUG GOV'T IN WISCONSIN !!!

.

Posted by: DrainYou | February 18, 2011 7:18 PM | Report abuse

Solidarity to my brothers and sisters in Wisconsin!

It seems the teachers and their supporters in the Badger State have (re)discovered the best way to address an abusive majority who refuse compromise and power sharing. First get their attention!


From Gandhi to Joe Hill to Woody Guthrie to Martin Luther King and the Vietnam Protests (which began BTW in Wisconsin), non-violent protests have been shown to successfully high-light abuses of a majority who overstep their authority. And Certainly it is WAY past time that the GOP Infernal Machine was challenged directly by those who are being targeted to be ground down by it.

Remember, if you aquiese to tyranny it only encourages more tyranny. Good Bless.

Birddog

Posted by: birddog2012 | February 18, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Walker over reached?

Obama sent is OFA goons out to organize the thugs on ground to protest at the state capital AND to go to the homes of elected officials in a campaign to intimidate their families.

The President of the United States is sending union thugs to intimidate the families of elected officials and EJ's response is that Walker over reached.

Way to go EJ! You should be proud of this column.

Very Proud.

Posted by: TECWRITE | February 18, 2011 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh, you ain't seen nothin' yet! State and local government all across the country are going to be laying off millions of public employees. Joining them will be several million more veteran's from our downsizing military. All of them entering this jobless and hopeless economy. Job outsourcing is actually accelerating and the 10% plus inflation China and India are experiencing as a result of digest all of our jobs, technology, and money, is going to come home to roost, too. And, I am sure Obama;s meeting last night qith all of those hi-tech executives helped a lot. How many more American's will loose their jobs when the flood of new H1-B visas is issued? Add in the instability of the Middle East, that also largely due to sky U.S. commodity trader driven high food prices and job outsourcing. Textiles used to be Egypt's #1 export.... until Wall Street dismantled the factories there and shipped the jobs to China. This ought to REALLY worry Israel, too, because those textile jobs was the bribe we used to get Egypt and Jordan to sign onto the peace accords. No matter what the thugs in control do, no matter how many people they kill, they wont last for much longer and they will be replaced with people that hate our guts. So count on it, folks, sky high oil prices, food prices through the roof, and Wall Street on a feeding frenzy like you have never seen before. Then, and the socio-economic models are predicting this, large scale protests, riots, police actions and government "responses", a complete meltdown of the country happens here, THIS SUMMER.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | February 18, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Nothing funnier than watching liberals show their true colors. Entitled and self absorbed like little children, they actually are acting like children, throwing foot stomping tantrums because daddy is reducing bratinella's allowance. Liberals, one day people might have some semblance of respect for you if you could at least pretend to act like adults instead of entitled spoiled brats. This is too funny though. Libs every day lose what little credibility they may have had.

Posted by: scoran | February 18, 2011 7:30 PM | Report abuse

When a bunch of fools vote against themselves and vote into office an ignorant republican they get what they ask for. I couldn't be happier fo them,maybe next time they will think before they believe the tea partiers and republicans who all want to bust the unions

Posted by: LDTRPT25 | February 18, 2011 7:31 PM | Report abuse

It is the traditional political war being waged now into its 16th decade.

BIG BUSINESS and the right-wing political machine

versus

The American working class and the Democratic Party.

I do wish our team of Progressives had a level playing field to work with and some strong leadership to work for.

Posted by: PoliticalPrisoner2012 | February 18, 2011 7:44 PM | Report abuse

"let dissention from the rights of the state be considered treason", Hermann Goering,1941,a great and misunderstood military man,

Posted by: schmidt1 | February 18, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Today's Republicans are clearly following the path of yesterday's fascists. From a historical perspective, it could be interesting to see how far they will go. But we cannot be our own historians. So the question is: are normal, reasonable people going to stand up and throw the thugs back to the gutter they came from?

Posted by: Makhno1 | February 18, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Today's Republicans are clearly following the path of yesterday's fascists. From a historical perspective, it could be interesting to see how far they will go. But we cannot be our own historians. So the question is: are normal, reasonable people going to stand up and throw the thugs back to the gutter they came from?
------------

This would be funny if the stakes were not as high as they are.

Public employees are employed by the public. The public elects representatives who appoint public servants to administer public services. This is how wages and benefits are set: by representatives of the public, responsible to the public. Unions have no place in this. Unions of public employees are private conspiracies against the public welfare. There is absolutely nothing in the public interest that comes or could possibly come from unions of public employees against the public for whom they work and by whom they are paid.

Public employee unions are private rackets run by public employees against the interests of the public. They are attempts to bypass the political process that makes public servants directly accountable to the public for whom they work. There is absolutely no need for unions of public employees, who are, as members of the public themselves, members of the most powerful union in the world, the government. The idea that citizens need to unionize against themselves lest they exploit themselves is preposterous.

Public employees produce exactly nothing. Their entire pay and benefits packages are pure red ink for their employer, the public. They provide, one hopes, necessary services to the public. They produce nothing. They are drains on the public treasury. They add nothing tangible or quantifiable to the gross national output, though it is certainly to be hoped that at least some of them contribute in an indirect fashion to the factors that make wealth creation possible.

Somehow proponents of public sector unions manage to convince themselves that Marxist class warfare notions are applicable to the relations between the public and its employees. This is utter nonsense. There is no need for unions of public employees, for the sole function of such unions is to operate against the public interest on behalf of their members. Public employee unions do not serve the public interest, they harm it in every possible way. They extract higher compensation and benefits from the public than the public through its elected and appointed representatives would otherwise choose to provide, they interfere with hiring, promotion, disciplinary and evaluation processes on the the part of representatives of the public, they impair efficiency, promote waste, protect incompetence, and work in other ways to the complete disadvantage of the public. They should be completely eliminated. Public employees can communicate directly with their elected and appointed representatives in regard to employment issues. They do not require unions.

Posted by: Teleologicus | February 18, 2011 8:26 PM | Report abuse

The times have passed you by EJ; finally the disconnect between reality and dem's spin has created a world where you really don't have a clue. By the way, those tin foil birthers have a supreme court conference where it is possible they may insist on proof that Obama was born in the US, I think he probably was, but if this just another petty constitutional requirement he's ignored can you grasp what will happen if he wasn't?
President Biden? and oh yes, everything he's signed into law would be undone..
But don't worry EJ you stillhave that huge margin in the senate..lol.
Paybacks are hell

Posted by: Saladin3 | February 18, 2011 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey, the Wisconsin governor is just trying to give his greedy, lazy public sector group of fat-bottom loads the "parity with the private sector" they've been lobbying for over the last 60 years. Or is private sector parity suddenly not so sweet? Hey, public sector slobs. ANYONE can be a teacher. ANYONE can feed at the public trough. 99% of public sector employees couldn't hold a job in the profit-motivated private sector for 15 minutes. You folks NEED parity with the public sector, finally. Now tighten up your belts. LOSE some weight. And stop being greedy, slovenly lazy loads. Time for accountability.

Posted by: JamesChristian | February 18, 2011 8:33 PM | Report abuse

As for the Dem members of Wisconsin's House 'being on the run' .... so were the Founding Fathers back in the 18th century. ... For awhile.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | February 18, 2011 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I find it ironic all these people complaining that public sector workers have all these wonderful benefits and private sectors workers get nothing. Did you ever stop to think about why that might be? It's because private corporations destroyed unions, thereby driving real wages DOWN for most Americans. Now, conservatives like to talk about "rising tides lifting all boats." So the answer here is to spread the misery to public sector workers? How about, instead, the private sector workers figure out that the only way they can prevent their own wages and benefits from shrinking every year is to unionize themselves. It isn't like private corporations are voluntarily spreading the wealth around to their employees these days - or ever, for that matter. No, they are hoarding capital and investing offshore. The "giant sucking sound," as Ross Perot used to call it, is funneling good paying jobs to India and China while a handful of corrupt thugs collect their rents from the GOP-dominated government, aided and abetted by semi-literate idiots with tea bags dangling from their hats.

Posted by: ElrodinTennessee | February 18, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Ain’t it quaint? Republicans want the public sector's union (or not) wages/salaries and benefits to be about the same as the private sector’s gains, union won or not. The facts that are available show that in terms of wages and salaries, the public sector is paid less than equivalent employment pays in the private sector. But republicans complain that the public sector has better benefits than does the private sector. That's a great argument for more and better unions in the private realm. Don't blame the unions, putsy union hating republicans (that’s all of them), blame those incompetent nincompoops (redundancy intended), also known as management/owners/government, who negotiate with them. Can't handle negotiation, republicans? Then do your Fascist-Nazi thing in your true, criminal dictatorial fashion and create a national union of workers and management and employers in which national wage and benefit packages will be worked out for all labor, under the direction, of course, of your benevolent conservative fuhr…..oops, president. Ain't it a caution how republicans, besides being crypto-Nazis at heart, are also closet communists who want everyone to be paid, you know, sort of the same, union or not. "No," they argue, "we just want to be fair; you know, negotiating power for us but not for you, especially if you work for the government." Yep, take a little from the left and a little from the right and form a new political middle. How about calling it “The National Socialist Union of Employers and Workers”? Has such a nice sound to it, you know, “Sieg Hi....” Oops.

Posted by: tuonela | February 18, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Ain’t it quaint? Republicans want the public sector's union (or not) wages/salaries and benefits to be about the same as the private sector’s gains, union won or not. The facts that are available show that in terms of wages and salaries, the public sector is paid less than equivalent employment pays in the private sector. But republicans complain that the public sector has better benefits than does the private sector. That's a great argument for more and better unions in the private realm. Don't blame the unions, putsy union hating republicans (that’s all of them), blame those incompetent nincompoops (redundancy intended), also known as management/owners/government, who negotiate with them. Can't handle negotiation, republicans? Then do your Fascist-Nazi thing in your true, criminal dictatorial fashion and create a national union of workers and management and employers in which national wage and benefit packages will be worked out for all labor, under the direction, of course, of your benevolent conservative fuhr…..oops, president. Ain't it a caution how republicans, besides being crypto-Nazis at heart, are also closet communists who want everyone to be paid, you know, sort of the same, union or not. "No," they argue, "we just want to be fair; you know, negotiating power for us but not for you, especially if you work for the government." Yep, take a little from the left and a little from the right and form a new political middle. How about calling it “The National Socialist Union of Employers and Workers”? Has such a nice sound to it, you know, “Sieg Hi....” Oops
---------------------

For many Americans, however, the issue is the very existence of labor unions of public employees.

Public employees work for the public. Their jobs are created, defined, and reimbursed by the public. Everything about their work comes from the public and is, or ought to be, accountable to the public through its elected and appointed representatives. Public employees are themselves members of the public. It does not make sense to many people that public employees need labor unions in the same way that private employees often do. There is no benefit to the public in having labor unions of employees, just as there is no benefit to private employers in having unions. Labor unions are actually opposed to the public interest. Why should the public want or permit such things? They seek to raise wages and benefits beyond what the public desires to pay or can afford to pay. They interfere with hiring, firing, employee evaluation, promotion, efficiency and other things important to the public.

Labor unions of private employees working in for-profit business can make sense in many cases, problematic as they usually are. In the case of public employees, public servants, people who work for the public and only for the public, labor unions do not make sense. They are unnecessary - and they are against the public interest. A wise public would eliminate them.

Posted by: Teleologicus | February 19, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

jbratten @@ February 18, 2011 5:05 PM:

So who will pay the pensions? Interesting situation in WI?

Currently in Wisconsin, public employee pension coffers are 97% funded.

Ever wonder why they're going after unions in a state with its fiscal house in order? Ever ask why public workers are asked to take a hit, when not a single Wall Street banker is in jail? When hedge fund managers are still getting gigantic and un-earned bonuses?

Posted by: TPaine_PHenry | February 19, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

There has been a drastic downward trend in taxes on the wealthy and corporations over the last few decades, and largely as a result of that, the US has the most lopsided distribution of income and wealth of any wealthy nation. The wealthiest 1% have almost 40% of the nation's assets, more than the bottom 90% do.

The wealthiest 400 Americans could cover the budget deficit of all 50 states and still have 90% of their wealth left, yet somehow it's the fault of public employees--almost none of whom, other than politicians, are actually wealthy--that states are running budget deficits? Wake up, people! We've been getting soaked by the wealthy and their servants in elected office for decades now. Teachers, firefighters, and other hard-working public employees who are not politicians are not your enemy! The fat cats in Washington, state capitals, and corporate boardrooms are the ones responsible for the mess our economy is in, and they're laughing all the way to the bank as they manipulate you into scapegoating middle-class public employees instead of blaming the real culprits.

Posted by: meltonj1 | February 19, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Egypt supports Wisconsin -- even if Washington, D.C., does not.

http://twitpic.com/419nfm

How is it that people fighting for freedom halfway around the world understand what's at stake when our own American countrymen can't conceive of using a little fair play and a lot of honest math?

When did it become too haaard for Republicans (& Dems) to hold criminals and the incompetent responsible for their own actions?

Abuse of power by government and financial elites brought this economic catastrophe down on America. Not one Wall Street banker in jail, and no substantive change in policies or regulatory frameworks to fix the damage. Why should state workers who played by the rules pay the price for criminals who are still getting off scot-free?

Unions didn't do that -- and Wisconsin kept its fiscal house in order. So why should a state that has been fiscally responsible pay for the drunken excesses of those who killed the American economy? Unions in Wisc already made major concessions. Gov. Doyle balanced last years' budget -- and now it is Scott Walker has to do next years' -- he did not inherit a budget problem, it's his decisions that are fiscally unsound. Just view Rep. Mark Pocan's blog for details.

Posted by: TPaine_PHenry | February 19, 2011 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Egypt supports Wisconsin -- even if Washington, D.C., does not.

http://twitpic.com/419nfm

How is it that people fighting for freedom halfway around the world understand what's at stake when our own American countrymen can't conceive of using a little fair play and a lot of honest math?
---

If Egypt supports Wisconsin it will be through a call for mobs to disperse that are trying to obstruct the legislature and for elected officials who are trying to subvert the will of the people by hiding from their duties to return so that legislation can be passed.

The citizens of Wisconsin have elected representatives to carry out their wishes. A minority of citizens, not all of them by any means from Wisconsin, is attempting to interfere with the normal procedure of the state legislature. To support Wisconsin means to support the legally elected and appointed representatives of the people of Wisconsin and the established democratic procedures and rules for legislation. Mobs trying to obstruct due process and legislators who seek to thwart such process by refusing to participate in the legislative process are acting against the state of Wisconsin.

What is still worse, indeed, what is even absurd, is that public employees are ganging up and forming mobs in an attempt to thwart and harm the interests of the public for which they work and of which they are themselves a part. This behavior plainly shows the inherent contradiction of having unions of public employees, which are and can be nothing but conspiracies against the public interest.

It is simply astonishing how advocates of such private conspiracies against the public good manage to adapt Marxist class warfare rhetoric of envy and malice against their own government. The government, good and bad, is the representation of the public. Government employees work for the public. They have absolutely no business unionizing AGAINST the public in order to compel wages and benefits that the public through its elected and appointed representatives does not choose to or is unable to provide. When public servants conspire in such fashion they become public enemies.

That public sector unions have grown to their present size is incredible and can only be explained by the lack of attention most Americans have hitherto paid to such anomalies. There is absolutely no need for such unions, which are by definition against the public interest. Government workers are not private employees in a for-profit business enterprise. They have absolutely no need of unions or collective bargaining, for they have the same access to elected and appointed officials everyone else does. They already belong to the union of citizens of their state and nation which employs them. Private unions of public employees are rackets whose sole purpose is to promote the interests of members at the expense of the public for which they work. There is absolutely nothing good for the public in the existence of such unions.

Posted by: Teleologicus | February 19, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Egypt supports Wisconsin -- even if Washington, D.C., does not.

http://twitpic.com/419nfm

How is it that people fighting for freedom halfway around the world understand what's at stake when our own American countrymen can't conceive of using a little fair play and a lot of honest math?

When did it become too haaard for Republicans (& Dems) to hold criminals and the incompetent responsible for their own actions?

Abuse of power by government and financial elites brought this economic catastrophe down on America. Not one Wall Street banker in jail, and no substantive change in policies or regulatory frameworks to fix the damage. Why should state workers who played by the rules pay the price for criminals who are still getting off scot-free?

Unions didn't do that -- and Wisconsin kept its fiscal house in order. So why should a state that has been fiscally responsible pay for the drunken excesses of those who killed the American economy? Unions in Wisc already made major concessions. Gov. Doyle balanced last years' budget -- and now it is Scott Walker has to do next years' -- he did not inherit a budget problem, it's his decisions that are not fiscally sound. Just view Rep. Mark Pocan's blog for details.

Posted by: TPaine_PHenry | February 19, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Poor Teleologicus.

Getting elected does not entitle anyone to deploy anti-democratic tactics and methods. The point of making a stand now is so we don't end up like Egypt -- and believe, me that's exactly where Scott Walker wants to take us. He'd use the police to clear the streets in a split-second, if he could, but the state troopers, city police and firefighters are all on the state workers side. Private sector workers know they'll take a hit if public sector workers are denied a voice, denied their freedom of association -based bargaining rights codified into law 1959 and which kept the peace since then. Solidarity is valid and happens to be in the public good here in this country too.

You clearly know nothing about Wisconsin's unions or our fiscal situation. Those folks are what make our state competitive. And Scott Walker took the surplus he inherited to a budget deficit in under thirty days, while the 'projected deficit' arises only because he's giving billions away to his business pals. The notion we're broke is a fiction created by Scott Walker's political decisions, it's his corporate welfare giveaways that would create a budget deficit in coming years. That's on him. Scott Walker is intentionally killing Wisconsin's economy. Losing collective bargaining rights won't improve the state budget at all, and the Governor's ideologically-based decisions have determined this so-called financial crisis. So the guy who caused this condition should not be the only voice in choosing solutions, and that internal contradiction is very telling. Scott Walker caused this shortfall, yet somehow he should be able to exclude all other voices from informing the debate or coming up with a solution? That's not democracy; that's not in the public good. And that is exactly why unions are necessary.

So I ask you: why should workers pay for the billions in tax breaks Walker wants to hand out in corporate welfare to right-wing cronies? Businesses in Wisconsin pay only 12% of state tax revenue -- and many corporations pay zero in taxes at all. Why won't corporations pull their own weight?

Why should hardworking folks pay for the deregulation-prompted financial meltdown? You let $1Billion bonus 'earning' hedge fund managers turn Wall Street into a casino -- and nobody went to jail. Instead of accountability, you go after folks who did their job & earn less than their private-sector counterparts. You are why unions are patriotic, democratic, & codified as an American right.


Scott Walker is intentionally killing Wisconsin's economy. He's killing our ability to compete: killing high-speed rail wind energy, killing markets on which our small businesses depend. Recall Repub State Senators first. Then in one year, recall Scott Walker.

Posted by: TPaine_PHenry | February 19, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Those of you who are scapegoating public employees who know that the notion that they are to blame for budget shortfalls is a lie can take a long walk off a short pier. Most American workers are not fooled by your lies. Those of you who are true believers in this notion need to get the cobwebs out of your brain and stop watching so much Fox News.

As a public employee whose workplace isn't unionized, I can tell you from personal experience what can happen when there's no union to protect public employees' rights. I'm a college faculty member and, like the vast majority of those who teach for my institution, I work part-time with no benefits. I get $1800 a class. To make ends meet, I have another part-time job at a private, online university, where I make $130 per student (about $2600) per class. In a good year, when I teach over 20 classes and thus have average workweeks of well over 50 hours, I can make about $50,000, with no benefits. This year, when I'll probably have more like 16 classes and about a 40-hour workweek, I'll be lucky to make $35k. Those of you who are claiming that public employees can do just fine and not have to worry about being exploited by their employer either are lying or have no idea what you're talking about.

Honest American workers, don't let yourselves be fooled by the attempts of the right-wingers to divide working people against each other. The fact of the matter is that typical workers in other affluent countries have a better standard of living than either public or private employees in the United States, and a major reason why is their much higher rate of unionization. Believe me, I have no illusions about the fact that union bureaucrats (elsewhere as well as here) are corrupt as hell and are more interested in feathering their own nests than the interests of the workers they "represent," but the real value of unions lies in the fact that rank-and-file workers are able to fight for better wages, working conditions and benefits as a group rather than being isolated. Don't let these Fox News-watching, Tea Party-loving dittoheads fool you; unionization matters no matter what sector you are employed in. Walker's legislation, like that being considered in other states, is nothing less than an attempt to eviscerate public employees' unions. Let's not let it happen. The quality of life of all workers, public or private, is at stake.

Posted by: meltonj1 | February 19, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Those of you who are scapegoating public employees who know that the notion that they are to blame for budget shortfalls is a lie can take a long walk off a short pier. Most American workers are not fooled by your lies. Those of you who are true believers in this notion need to get the cobwebs out of your brain and stop watching so much Fox News.

As a public employee whose workplace isn't unionized, I can tell you from personal experience what can happen when there's no union to protect public employees' rights. I'm a college faculty member and, like the vast majority of those who teach for my institution, I work part-time with no benefits. I get $1800 a class. To make ends meet, I have another part-time job at a private, online university, where I make $130 per student (about $2600 per class). In a good year, when I teach over 20 classes and thus have average workweeks of well over 50 hours, I can make about $50,000, with no benefits. This year, when I'll probably have more like 16 classes and about a 40-hour workweek, I'll be lucky to make $35,000. Those of you who are claiming that public employees can do just fine and not have to worry about being exploited by their employer either are lying or have no idea what you're talking about.

Honest American workers, don't let yourselves be fooled by the attempts of the right-wingers to divide working people against each other. The fact of the matter is that typical workers in other affluent countries have a better standard of living than either public or private employees in the United States, and a major reason why is their much higher rate of unionization. Believe me, I have no illusions about the fact that union bureaucrats (elsewhere as well as here) are corrupt as hell and are more interested in feathering their own nests than the interests of the workers they "represent," but the real value of unions lies in the fact that rank-and-file workers are able to fight for better wages, working conditions and benefits as a group rather than being isolated. Don't let these Fox News-watching, Tea Party-loving dittoheads fool you; unionization matters no matter what sector you are employed in. Walker's legislation, like that being considered in other states, is nothing less than an attempt to eviscerate public employees' unions. Let's not let it happen. The quality of life of all workers, public or private, is at stake.

Posted by: meltonj1 | February 19, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

$300,000,000.00 Fund Raiser for """Obama Proof of Eligibility""" Right now millions of Americans want to donate money to any group who will go after Obama and produce all his records? Upwards of 100 million people are demanding his records and willing to pay to see them, even large amounts of money woudl be donated some say by individuals? One person said, "Real long term success and greatness in our country are founded upon the principles that people do not lie, cheat, or steal but Obama does not know the meaning of these words. Our nation is neither succeeding nor is great at this point in time because we have allowed Obama's voice to grow and spread throughout our society. Shame on us, we shuld have said stop the lying long ago...
Our nation does have the potential to be a fabulous nation again; however, let’s stop kidding ourselves in thinking that we are a great nation currently. How is it that America has lost its greatness? One word, Obama!!!!

Posted by: Richie5 | February 19, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

$300,000,000.00 Fund Raiser for """Obama Proof of Eligibility""" Right now millions of Americans want to donate money to any group who will go after Obama and produce all his records? Upwards of 100 million people are demanding his records and willing to pay to see them, even large amounts of money woudl be donated some say by individuals? One person said, "Real long term success and greatness in our country are founded upon the principles that people do not lie, cheat, or steal but Obama does not know the meaning of these words. Our nation is neither succeeding nor is great at this point in time because we have allowed Obama's voice to grow and spread throughout our society. Shame on us, we shuld have said stop the lying long ago...
Our nation does have the potential to be a fabulous nation again; however, let’s stop kidding ourselves in thinking that we are a great nation currently. How is it that America has lost its greatness? One word, Obama!!!!

Posted by: Richie5 | February 19, 2011 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Twitter from local radio station:
WORTnews
When teachers protest in WI, the crowds bring signs w/ hearts, chant "thank you", pick up trash. 60k today, no arrests. Incredible. #wiunion

from local alder:
mark_clear
Protesters: 60,000. Tea partiers: 1000. Problems: 0.

Those of you upthread throwing around the words like "mob rule" and "union thugs" have no clue, and your willingness to lie and smear folks looking out for the public good just speaks volumes.

Posted by: TPaine_PHenry | February 19, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

By law (s. 16.45), the Wisconsin Governor is supposed to introduce his budget on or before the last Tuesday in January of the odd-numbered year (January 25, 2011). Already, Walker has received one extension from the legislature, delaying the introduction to next Tuesday, February 22. Based on records compiled by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, Walker’s introduction of the budget would have been the latest in at least 34 years. (http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lfb/Informationalpapers/75_State Budget Process.pdf) Delaying the budget again, would add more to Walker’s record of tardiness.

http://onewisconsinnow.pnstate.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=14966&em_id=10922.0

Posted by: TPaine_PHenry | February 19, 2011 9:29 PM | Report abuse

This is why the 'budget hawks' upthread are wrong, in every respect. Here's why unions are patriotic and necessary, at least when they operate as they do in Wisconsin with great integrity -->

State Rep. Chris Sinicki, a Democrat representing the 20th Assembly District, wrote a guest editorial yesterday for the Bay View Compass about Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights. Here’s a snippet:

"Gov. Walker’s “budget-repair” bill is plainly just a vehicle he is using to assault the rights our forebears fought for, justifying it by suddenly declaring a “budget emergency.” It’s odd to find out that, though the economic sky has been falling for quite a while, extreme measures like eliminating bargaining rights are suddenly necessary to remedy the state budget shortfall. When past governors had to close periodic budget gaps, all of them—Republicans as well as Democrats—sat down at the bargaining table with workers. Time and time again, this give-and-take bargaining process delivered state contracts that protected taxpayers and workers, and kept state government moving, not paralyzed by threats and ultimatums. Bargaining was what helped solve such dilemmas, it was not the cause of them."

http://bloggingblue.com/2011/02/17/rep-chris-sinicki-on-gov-walkers-attack-on-public-employees/

Posted by: TPaine_PHenry | February 20, 2011 12:37 AM | Report abuse

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