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Posted at 11:27 AM ET, 02/17/2011

Tyranny by the lake?

By Charles Lane

Don't look now, but a new dictatorship is rising -- not in the Middle East but on the shores of Lake Superior. Or so says Harold Meyerson, who wrote yesterday that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's effort to rein in that state's public-sector labor unions amounts to a latter-day version of "Mubarak's Egypt or communist Poland and East Germany."

Meyerson's histrionics affront all the workers who did suffer under the very real tyrannies he mentions -- places that bear little resemblance to Wisconsin, which just last November freely elected Walker, a Republican, along with GOP majorities in both houses of the state legislature. The new powers that be are subject to being turfed out at the polls in a few years if the voters don't like the results. Sounds pretty democratic to me.

But that's not all: Meyerson accuses Walker of threatening to call out the National Guard "if protesting workers walked off the job or disrupted state services." According to Meyerson, this would be strike-suppression "by force of arms." Never mind that the job actions with which Meyerson preemptively sympathizes might not even be permitted under Wisconsin law.

What the governor actually said, according to the Chicago Tribune, is "that he hasn't called the Guard into action, but he has briefed them and other state agencies in preparation of any problems that could result in a disruption of state services, like staffing at prisons." Given that noisy public-employee union backers are swarming the state capital in Madison, and that teachers have staged a mass "sick-out," he's just being prudent.


No doubt Walker's proposal is strong medicine. Under the legislation, which may pass as early as today, most public-employee unions would lose the right to bargain collectively over anything except limited wage increases. I suspect what union leaders hate most, though, is the provision that would guarantee the rank and file an annual vote -- starting this April -- on whether or not they still want union representation at all. This is rather more democracy and accountability than public-sector union leaders are accustomed to. It might make them think twice before blowing their members' dues money on political campaigns like the not-so-successful one they waged against Walker last year.

Indeed, Walker is out for political payback against the Democratic Party's most powerful constituent group. But Meyerson acts as if this is some sort of mad tyrannical action, rather than a tough but perfectly predictable response to the unremitting hostility the public-sector unions have shown Walker and his fellow Republicans for years. They played hardball with him. Now he's playing hardball with them. Get over it.

All Americans have a constitutional right to free association. But public-sector employees do not have a "fundamental right," either moral or legal, to bargain collectively, as Meyerson claims -- for the very good reason that they work, ostensibly at least, for the people, not for profit-making private corporations. Federal labor law specifically excludes public employees and leaves it up to the states to expand or contract collective bargaining for their workforces as they see fit. The man who signed that measure into law, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, disapproved of public-employee unionism.

Public workers in Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia, among other states, do not have the right to bargain collectively, and it's not clear that any of these jurisdictions has become "an economically stagnant plutocratic utopia," the union-free nightmare Meyerson preposterously conjures. By some measures, in fact, they are doing better than union-friendlier neighbors.

Furthermore, by getting tough on public unions, Walker is trying to address very real financial problems -- including a $3.6 billion two-year budget shortfall -- that stem in part from unsustainable benefits that public employees have extracted in the past. Until now, Wisconsin public employees have contributed next to nothing to their pensions and far less than many private-sector employees to their health benefits. His bill would change that unfair situation, too.

Meyerson instructs Walker to sit down and talk it all over with the unions rather than confront them. And no doubt this would be gentler and more time-consuming -- though it begs the question of why the unions did not agree on more sustainable compensation when they had the chance in past negotiations.

The truth of the matter is that "collective bargaining" in the public sector is too often a parody of the real thing. For years, public-employee unions have used their dues money to help elect pliant politicians -- usually Democrats -- who, in turn, award the unions what they want at contract time. The taxpaying public's only role in this costly cycle is to foot the bill. It's not democracy when citizens lose control over the pay and benefits of the people who work for them. It's not progressive when employee compensation takes finite resources away from Medicaid, parks, roads and libraries. And it's not collective bargaining when union representatives sit on both sides of the table.

Like Hosni Mubarak, the public-sector unions counted on citizen passivity to enable their reign. Just as Mubarak went down whining about "stability," a teacher union leader in Wisconsin now accuses Walker of "unraveling more than 50 years of labor peace." But apparently, like the people of Egypt, the voters of Wisconsin are no longer content with peace at any price.

By Charles Lane  | February 17, 2011; 11:27 AM ET
Categories:  Lane  | Tags:  charles Lane  
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Comments

Well said, Mr. Lane. Meyerson's piece was a lopsided partisan hatchet job that had nothing to do with fact, and everything to do with his political agenda. I'm glad to see someone else called Meyerson out.

Posted by: RichmondGiant | February 17, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

This post was definitely needed to counter the most stupid and insulting column I've read in a long time.

Myerson and his Marxist wannabees keep making that asinine comparison but Lane wrote the truth about the Governor's orders to the National Guard.

Besides Myerson's butt, what other source has suggested that the Guard would be used for a more sinister purpose?

Posted by: bbface21 | February 17, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane:
As a paid, professional writer your job is to keep up. You are sorely behind. Whatever Wisconsinites voted for - they want to retract. Excuse me, recall, like the governor, for example. It is obvious now that many people who should have voted in the 2010 election didn't. The crack pots may have won the vote, but that doesn't guarantee they will hold their positions. We are so looking forward to Scott Walker's recall.

Posted by: cougartonyusa | February 17, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Exactly what do you base your thoughts on Mr. Lane? I live in Wisconsin, am not a teacher nor have I ever worked for a govt. agency or a union but what Walker is doing is mean spirited and driven by his debt to the out state sources that funded his campaign. In many ways what Walker is doing will dilute Wisconsin's proud progressive history. My prediction is that in a very short time Mr. Walker and his cronies will be targeted for recall. I personally await the day it occurs with great anticipation. Incidentally Walker is a college drop out, a reborn fundamentalist,and a water carrier for those who own him.

Posted by: jacksprat1 | February 17, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Firstly, the decline of unions in the private sector is one of the main reasons why compensation for all except the top 1% has been flat or declining for the last 30 years. The private sector, instead of wanting public sector workers to face declining salaries as well, should be pro-union, instead of acting like crabs in a barrel, bringing everyone down to the lowest level.

Second, the governor of Wisconsin is engaging in union-busting, a very undemocratic action. Just because he was freely elected does not give him the right to do anything. Just as he cannot outlaw newspapers that criticize him, so he cannot outlaw free associations of people to form unions and have those unions represent them collectively.

Third, the rich are very much undertaxed in this country. To expect health care to be covered and to have a middle-class salary IS progressive - and any policy that states that it is acceptable for people to have unaffordable health care and poverty wages is NOT progressive. Salaries and benefits for government employees represent a tiny percentage of tax revenue, and an even tinier percentage of GDP. There is plenty of funding for parks, libraries, Medicaid, and so on. What Lane leaves out (because he is opposed to it) is that progressive taxation can easily take care of these needs. The rich do not want to pay their fair share, and try to act like public employees are the problem, when it is the refusal of the best-off of society to pay adequate taxes that is the real problem.

Posted by: AnonymousBE1 | February 17, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I don't think the threat of calling the national guard, being made when only teachers aren't showing up to work, was mischaractarized. How did the state get to the point where an increase from 0.2% contributions for pensions need to go up to 6.5%? That points to a failure in negotiations by politicians, not just some massive theft from the unions. Even in this economy do Republicans really think, if this became some Reagan air traffic moment, they have 40k+ competent replacements for their teaching staff? Dubious.

Posted by: Dremit97 | February 17, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I guess your Boss didn't get his money's worth out of this column. Generating no interest. You failed in your attempt at Partisan cover. I guess Democracy is only for the middle east. And re-peal is just for Obama Care Huh? What you call prudent is recognized the world over as Dictatorial. You FN GUY'S!!

Posted by: minco_007 | February 17, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Wow, talk about a lopsided partisan hatchet job that had nothing to do with fact, and everything to do with your political agenda, Mr. Lane. I'm happy to see that folks like AnonymousBE1 are calling you out on your right-wing bias.

Unions in general are like any other organization -- flawed and imperfect. But without them we would not be the strong democracy with individual rights for all that we are today.

I understand that you wrote an op-ed, but I still hope that in the future you'll do some unbiased research before revisiting this issue.

Posted by: AlienKitty | February 17, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

In all seriousness the WI protestors were more obese than the enormous Greeks who were televised, last year, waddling away from their government's riot squads last year.

Has anyone called to the golf course to get a statement from the President?

Posted by: dokadow | February 17, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

This piece is the sort of thing that passes for "sensible" opinion? "the voters of Wisconsin are no longer content with peace at any price." The unions have really held the state hostage in the extreme manner you suggest, "at ANY price"? I mean, honestly, what do you know of the history of public employee unions in the state, and about what measures have been taken in recent years and what have been not? My guess is virtually nothing other than what you've read in the last couple of days. One of the big failings of our contemporary society is pontification by poorly informed editorialists, both the opinion yesterday and now this one being examples. I agree that Walker has been misrepresented with regard to "calling out the National Guard." But you don't seem to realize that state workers ARE taxpayers, and that the social contract does not create two categories, servants and masters. We are all, in a proper functioning society, servants to our fellow citizens. But in a democracy, we are also all masters. You fail to recognize that Walker has summarily rejected ANY voice for public employees who were working long before he showed and will be around long after he's gone (which I hope is soon--we will work on this). And here the universal quantifier ANY applies. He claims he has nothing to bargain with, but one of his first acts was to give a tax break to business that is more than double all that will be gained by imposing these new conditions on state employees. This is "political payback" as you say. You know, here's the thing--we don't think that way. We don't see our state as a zero-sum game the way you and so many others do, a plum to be gorged upon by whatever party gets into power. Of course you know nothing about our state, to either agree or refute such a claim.

Posted by: minogaade | February 17, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse


Lane's geography is as muddled as his other comments on Wisconsin. While Wisconsin abuts Lake Superior (most famously connected to the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald) the reason that Wisconsin is known as a state by a lake is due to Lake Michigan. Wisconsin also has 20,000 internal lakes, twice the number of Minnesota.


Posted by: bloggersvilleusa | February 17, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Excellent piece.
Expect all those who worship "Social Justice" to squeal loudly...they have convinced themselves sociology, rather than math, is the best method to use when developing government budgets.

Posted by: BluePelican | February 17, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

To Wisconsinites applauding Gov Walker, all I have to say is "Be careful what you wish for." His plan to balance the budget is to make the middle class pay for it. Public employees are only the first group affected. You may be in the private sector, but, trust me, you will pay, too. Other employers will see how easy it was, and they'll jump on the bandwagon. Walker's action will impact everybody. Just give it a little time. Only the very wealthy will end up getting a free pass - just like they always have.

Posted by: 2gr8kids | February 17, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

So anyone who helps elect Democrats is bad, but anyone who helps elect Republicans is good. I hope your employer cuts your pay. You deserve it.

Posted by: chucko2 | February 17, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Teacher's Union and those who still support this neo-socialist cabal have thumbed their collective noses at students and Americans for the last time.

Left-wing teachers proselytizing secular humanism instead of teaching kids HOW TO LEARN for themselves need to be fired and replaced by fresh young teachers who will not be so inclined to become a shill for the failed democrat public school experiment.

Posted by: ruralamericans | February 17, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

?Left-wing teachers proselytizing secular humanism instead of teaching kids HOW TO LEARN for themselves need to be fired and replaced by fresh young teachers who will not be so inclined to become a shill for the failed democrat public school experiment"
_______________________________________
LMAO, good luck finding replacements with enough intelligence to replace the "sick" teachers. Just what Wisconsin needs, a few more blocks of chedder leading the class....as your hero GWB once said, "are our children learning" ?

Posted by: dem4life1 | February 17, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the right wing extremists in this country have really embraced banana republic tactics, haven't they:

This is a naked power grab designed to make the current right-wing control of our state government permanent.

It's telling that the only unions exempted from the sweeping provisions are firefighters, police and state troopers - all of which endorsed Walker in the elections. In true dictator style, Governor Walker has threatened to call in the National Guard to suppress resistance if necessary.

This is an unprecedented assault on worker's rights, and the working people of Wisconsin are fighting back.

This bill is being rammed through the legislature at top speed; it was only announced on Friday and the governor wants a vote on it by tomorrow.

In their determination to pass a bill that they know the vast majority of the Wisconsin public is against, the Republican leadership has repeatedly abused their powers to limit public input to the voices they want to hear. The only public hearing, scheduled for Tuesday morning, was announced late Monday by posting a piece of paper in the Capitol building. Seriously, a piece of paper. No notice was given through the website nor any other modern method of communication.

Oddly, however, by the time that paper was hung in the Capitol, the right-wing Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth had reportedly already reserved buses to bring their members to the state capitol to testify.

Right-wingers were also given VIP treatment at the hearing itself. "Reserved" signs were used to hold open about 30 seats in the small, packed room until the public testimony was about to start, at which point a crowd of right-wing activists waltzed in to testify in favor of the bill. When grilled about this breach of procedure, the Republican leadership claimed that they were just trying to "accommodate" people's schedules. However, those of us who had already waited nearly three hours in line and in the hearing to testify against the bill weren't given any such "accommodations".

Despite repeated assurances that the hearings would be kept open until everyone had a chance to testify, last night the Republicans decided that they'd heard enough from the public, even though hundreds of people were still signed up to speak. This triggered mass pushback, as people jammed the halls chanting loudly and demanding to be heard.

Stay strong, Wisconsin! This is the opening salvo for the republican's new offensive in their war on the middle class!


Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 17, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The real tyranny by the lake is the support of Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin for the Patriot Act.

He was a strong proponent of the Bush Administration's War on Terror and the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act is more of a War of Terror instead of a War on Terror. He is totally blind to the erosion of freedom, since he is one of the original authors of this terrible piece of legislation.

Posted by: alance | February 17, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm a WI resident, and I find Mr. Lane's statement that "the voters of Wisconsin are no longer content with peace at any price" extremely offensive. Madison (the capitol) is a beautiful, lively place, and its residents respect the peace and harmony its teachers and other public employees bring. To insinuate that those here who support the collective bargaining rights of their friends and relatives who are teachers and other public employees are against peace is as insulting as it is ignorant of the people of Madison.

I am a freelancer, so I'm about as "private sector" as it gets. But those with eyes to see will understand that Scott Walker's efforts to destroy organized labor in Wisconsin are not a budget saving measure, but rather a direct attack on the middle class, another attempt mug them and give their money to the wealthy robber barons who funded the campaigns of people like Scott Walker.

Posted by: MiddleClassJoe | February 17, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

When will the trolls crawl back under their rocks and let America be great again? People who pick on teachers are slugs. Teachers in general understand that what they do is a form of charity work. They need a lot of education and can expect about half of the compensation they would get in the private sector. They teach because they want to do something good. Cops and fire fighters do what they do to help their communities. The good people of Wisconsin voted this loser in but they probably didn’t realize he was going to break the moral fabric of the state. What gets broken next, the minimum wage?
It’s all an effort to break the middle class so the rich get richer and the rest of us get a cardboard box on the side of the street. Mr. Lane your belief that it is no big deal to take away the rights of the workers is pretty messed up.

Posted by: SETinVA | February 17, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

This article is pure right wing crap. Lane doesn't understand a g** d*** thing about this situation other than what he heard on that BS interview Walker had with Van Susteren on faux news. The following is from a Cap Times editorial, a local paper in Madison.

The facts are not debatable.
Because of the painful choices made by the previous Legislature, Wisconsin is in better shape fiscally than most states.
Wisconsin has lower unemployment than most states.
Wisconsin has better prospects for maintaining great schools, great public services and a great quality of life than most states, even in turbulent economic times.
Unfortunately, Walker has a political agenda that relies on the fantasy that Wisconsin is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
Walker is not interested in balanced budgets, efficient government or meaningful job creation.
Walker is interested in gaming the system to benefit his political allies and campaign contributors.
To achieve that end, he has proposed a $137 million budget “repair” bill that he intends to use as a vehicle to:
1. Undermine the long-established collective bargaining rights of public employee unions, which have for 80 years been the strongest advocates for programs that serve the great mass of Wisconsinites, as opposed to wealthy elites and corporate special interests. As Racine’s Democratic state Rep. Cory Mason says, the governor’s bill is designed not with the purpose of getting the state’s finances in order but as “an assault on Wisconsin’s working families and political payback against unions who didn’t support Gov. Walker.”
2. Pay for schemes that redirect state tax dollars to wealthy individuals and corporate interests that have been sources of campaign funding for Walker’s fellow Republicans and special-interest campaigns on their behalf. As Madison’s Democratic state Rep. Brett Hulsey notes, the governor and legislators aligned with him have over the past month given away special-interest favors to every lobby group that came asking, creating zero jobs in the process “but increasing the deficit by more than $100 million.”

The state doesn't need this bill. It is union busting, period. It is a power grab. It is actually more government intervention not less. It is pure teabag stupidity at work. Walker was elected governor not dictator. He is trying to ram this through without discussion, that is not democracy Lane.

Posted by: arkadie7 | February 17, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Union thugs die hard.

Posted by: robtay12003 | February 17, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see the Wisconsin governor showing real leadership and taking action to save the state. Public unions haven't shown the flexibility to respond to revenue changes and the education crisis. They had numerous chances and now drastic action is required. This type of action is desperately needed in California where public unions have huge power and are destroying the economy of California.

Hopefully Governor Brown can learn from Wisconsin and save California educational system from impending ruin.

Posted by: sarno | February 17, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

In case nobody has noticed, 10 and 12 year-old kids no longer work 15 hour days in sweat shops here in the U.S. Unions were a great idea at one time, but were commandeered by thugs like Jimmy Hoffa much as Islam was commandeered by Muslim terrorist thugs.

Posted by: robtay12003 | February 17, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

So much for a country founded on an idea.
There is no specific contract that any US citizen signs on to ... to claim to be a US citizen, if born here.
The budget deficit in 2001 that D-Jim Doyle inherited is the same amount that Walker has inherited recently, 10 years later. A "budget neutral" result.
Why such histronics NOW from Walker and the GOP? Why not with R-Tommy Thompson's deficit in 2002?
So far, this gauntlet throwing smack down by Walker reeks of rhetoric... 'cheesey' comes to mind.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | February 17, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Layne you are dead-on correct.

It's not anti-union to ask public sector employees to ante up some money for their pensions and health care.

If there was no budget shortfall I might have sympathy for the PS unions.

However, when states have no money, how can PS unions continue to ask taxpayers to pay for services it can no longer afford?

Posted by: ravioliman6666 | February 17, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin is doing the right thing and the left wing hysterics from the leeches is deafening and amusing. New York and California are getting ready to do the same thing but no noise about that from the left.

It is time to realise the government is now instead of for the people by the people it is for government by government and the rest of us are serfs. Well the serfs are saying enough is enough.

Posted by: Pilot1 | February 17, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm an ex-Wisconsinite and I couldn't figure out at first what the title of this article meant - "Tyranny by the Lake." Then Lane goes on to mention Lake Superior as being Wisconsin's lake. But I usually associate Wis with Lake Michigan or Lake Winnebago or the three lakes around Madison. But aside from the muddled geography, Lane has it all wrong. Granted Wisconsin voters elected this dumber than a box of rocks governor, but I don't think they thought they would get a dictator. Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit -- it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January. If the Legislature were simply to rescind Walker’s new spending schemes -- or delay their implementation until they are offset by fresh revenues -- the “crisis” would not exist. Scotty boy needs to be recalled like they did in California 9 years ago.

Posted by: missingwisc | February 17, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Wow. American workers standing up for themselves instead of just bending over and taking it? Outrageous! An insult to Ronald Reagan's memory. That's cetainly not the kind of passive America the GOP or K Street wants to see. Will they issue live ammo to the National Guard?

Posted by: SoCal | February 17, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

God save America from right wing idiots.

Go over to CNN and watch the video of the protest: fire-fighters, cops, teachers, workers, all standing strong together against their republican dictator, er, I mean "governor."

The middle class in Wisconsin is standing up to the GOP's attempts to tear them down to subsistence laborers. They are fighting mad and they are taking it to the streets.

It's beautiful!

Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 17, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Public sector employees everywhere take note. The rape of the taxpayers is over, your largess exposed the game is over. Wisconsin is the leader of what will become a huge movement to take back government and give the power to the people not the leeches.

Posted by: Pilot1 | February 17, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

First, what seems astounding is how Walker et al can claim a mandate by election for a policy so sweeping as the elimination of collective bargaining for public employees. That was never an issue debated in the campaign.

Second, this legislation is not about saving the budget. That can be done by negotiation. This is about destroying the unions. The budget deficit, while real, is a ploy, a strawman, a red herring.

"Taxation without representation" is the same as "forfeiture by decree" I suspect few in the tea party movement would recognize Walker's legislation as just that.

Posted by: ArtM72 | February 17, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Several of you commented that if there was no deficit you might have more sympathy for the workers. Read my earlier post. There is no budget deficit in Wisconsin. It has been trumped up by this teabagger without a college diploma. He has forfeited over a billion dollars in federal money and rejected the propect of 24,000 new jobs because he is a stupid teabagger, not because Wisconsin is in debt. Get your facts right if you want to comment or go away.

Posted by: arkadie7 | February 17, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Since I live in West Virginia, I'm not conversant with all the issues in the dispute between Walker and the public employee unions (that's almost certainly true for the vast majority of persons writing here . . .).

So I'll ask a simple, albeit hypothetical, question: is it not possible to agree with Walker that compensation packages for state employees must be reduced to reflect current realities AND still disagree with his changing the law regarding collective bargaining?

Just asking . . .

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | February 17, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Gov. Walker is playing hardball here. He's trying to bust the union. Republicans hate unions because that is the only mechanism workers have to exert any control over their work environment. Those 30,000 people protesting are pushing back. Hooray!!!!

It's interesting that Mr. Lane thinks it's a good idea for the unions to have go to their members every year and convince them they need to keep the union. How do you think they would do that? Most likely by demanding higher and higher wages and benefits, and becoming more aggressive in demanding whatever their members want, smaller class sizes, safer working conditions, shorter hours, etc. All in all it would create a lot of constant tension in the state. Yeah, just what we need, right?

The real irony here is how hostile people are to workers who teach their children, and who are on call 24/7 to respond to an emergency. Why are so many Badgers hostile to the hard-working middle class while pampering the very wealthy? I read that 2/3 of Wisconsin's businesses pay no tax. If true you should be ashamed of trying to squeeze more out of your employees.

If working to dismantle the beleaguered middle class in America is what being a conservative is all about, don't expect many people to join your movement!

Posted by: Trakker | February 17, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The unions agreed to 100 million dollars in concessions in December, that was on top of taking 16 unpaid furlough days over the past two years, a 3-5% pay decrease. This attempt to kill the unions is being done unilaterally by the governor without regard to the fact that Wisconsin is in relatively good financial shape. This has been a long term goal of the right wing corporate interests in the state and Walker is their bagman. This is about union busting, not finances.

Posted by: arkadie7 | February 17, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone listened to the moronic comments of the "student" protesters? They are completely clueless. Wisconsin should fire all the teachers and close the schools if the best they can do is produce a generation of cretinous robots manipulable by any crackpots that come along/

Posted by: jpost1 | February 17, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Without unions, the democrat party/ponzi scheme is dead..

Posted by: wewintheylose1 | February 17, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Most people in our society do not belong to a union or work for a government type agency, federal or local, so they do not have easy jobs that are secure and do not have the overly generous benefits that those who do work for the aforementioned have.
The reason that people in the private sector do not have wages and benefits that are up to those in those union and government jobs has to do with the fact that their companies have to live within their means or go bankrupt. If a private company is unable to keep its expenses below its ability to generate revenue they will go out of business. They cannot just raise prices and expect to generate more revenue because of completion and people being able to make a cost benefit assessment before they spend their money on the product or service. There are also competitors that keep quality high and prices reasonable. Not so for the government type jobs and teachers, police and firemen. When the government types need money to support their unreasonable pensions, health benefits and salaries, which in no way are worth what they get, they just force taxes to be raised on those who are less fortunate and have to live within the means of the organizations they work for. If the teacher or other government worker is not good and the services stink we still have to pay them. Essentially, the product the government produces is not worth the price that we pay.
What should we do?
We should bring the government into line. The government is not supposed to be the "boss". The non-government people, who significantly outnumber the government types, are supposed to be the bosses. However, when we elect people to represent us, they always seem to side with the Unions and the government type workers. I should say that when we elect Democrats that happens. In Wisconsin, a Republican Governor wants to bring fiscal sanity to his state. Who is against him? Obama and his socialist ideas and the unions. If Obama wants to be like Reagan, I suggest he recommend that all the teachers be fired if they are participating in an illegal strike or whatever. We the people are tired of being black mailed and forced to do things that are against our better judgment.

Posted by: nychap44 | February 17, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Do you realize the extremeness of what you're saying here: "cretinous robots manipulable by any crackpots that come along"? This is the sort of thing you would prefer to be said?! I don't get this anti-public attitude, what are you so afraid of? "Secular" humanism or just any humanism?

Posted by: minogaade | February 17, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

If you're writing and article and the geographic facts are not exactly correct it makes it hard to believe in the other "facts".

Posted by: rlj1 | February 17, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Union thugs die hard.
===

The Pinkerton Company can help with that.

Posted by: mason08 | February 17, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

It is disturbing how few people who are waxing philosophical on the subject of WI know ANYTHING about the economics of the state. Despite the typical "make the rich people pay!" solution posed by every liberal I know, this simply will not work in WI. Why? Because they already have one of the highest tax rates in the US, not just income tax, but also corporate and property taxes. High corporate taxes, coupled with a hostile attitude towards corporations, has led to an exodus of companies from the state. It has led others to build plants and developments in nearby states, such as IN, and MO,which have created incentive programs for companies to come and build there. If companies leave, jobs leave. If companies leave, tax revenues leave, while the need for services increase. While the sentiment that "good, decent, hard working people" should never have to pay their own pension funds, or health care is nice in theory, in the words of Margaret Thatcher "the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other people's money." Who precisely is going to pay for these luxuries that no individuals in the private sector get for free? That is my question to all the individuals who can do nothing but throw around terms like "right wing loon." You have a state with extremely high taxes,a shrinking tax revenue one could argue because of this, and an extremely high budget shortfall. You also have a federal government that will not be able to bail out states if they default on loans. So, where is the money going to come from? Oh and spare me the notion that Union bosses are not thugs. They are at least as corrupt as the politicians they work with, and they wield as much power on the political landscape as corporations. It is absolutely stunning to me that Americans who claim to be educated can look at Europe right now, shrug their shoulders, and think we can continue doing the same things here with no consequences. I voted for Scott Walker, and I think what he is doing is painful, but necessary. And for the morons who throw the word "fascist" around,please buy a dictionary,and a history book, because you over/misuse that term constantly.

Posted by: jmh1979 | February 17, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Do you realize the extremeness of what you're saying here: "cretinous robots manipulable by any crackpots that come along"? This is the sort of thing you would prefer to be said?! I don't get this anti-public attitude, what are you so afraid of? "Secular" humanism or just any humanism?

Posted by: minogaade | February 17, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Nice article. As a self avowed Socialist, I guess Meyerson is just being true to his beliefs but little else. I just continue to wonder why Meyerson appears on this web site. Is his an opinion we need to hear?

Posted by: hz9604 | February 17, 2011 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I agree with jmh1979 that the solution in Wisconsin to fiscal problems should not be to raise taxes, as they are already above the national average. But it is wrong to say that state workers are getting something "for free." I don't understand the logic here--benefits are part of an employment agreement, and the jobs are open to all to apply for. I've seen a million analyses of pay and benefits of state workers relative to private sector, and basically I've come away convinced that give or take, they're certainly in the same ballpark, factoring IN benefits. A real problem in a democracy is the ignorance of the electorate, and in this country, it's honestly very hard to find the truth because we've created this zero-sum rhetorical hysteria that passes for discussion. Funny that the web engenders a kind of rhetorical equivalent of road rage. But it does no good. We need to listen to each other. All I can say is that that is NOT what Walker has done with state employees. What is alarming is that there are so many people who think this fine, because they agree with his policies. That is really your idea of government of the people?

Posted by: minogaade | February 17, 2011 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Sir, when do the wealthiest 1% get to start their part of the shared sacrifice?

Posted by: petesnydero | February 17, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Nice article. As a self avowed Socialist, I guess Meyerson is just being true to his beliefs but little else. I just continue to wonder why Meyerson appears on this web site. Is his an opinion we need to hear?
Posted by: hz9604

Ask the 10,000 protesters if they're socialists as well. hz9604, everything and anything to the left of your far right-wing ideology doesn't make it socialistic.

Posted by: petesnydero | February 17, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I had to comment on this.

Wisconsin Teachers Union is a joke. I used to work for their benefits company. THEY ARE WHINING CRY BABIES!!!

They get the best benefits in the nation.
Full health insurance in every combination you can imagine, great pay. On top of that they get a pension contribution that is around 10-15% of wages, and this is a pure employer contribution, it is a total State give away!!!

These people have a lot of nerve, someone please expose these spoiled rotten government employees.

Posted by: joshmw | February 17, 2011 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Walker thinks because he got the support of the firemen and police unions in the elections that he's in the clear--rioters need police and firemen for the chaos. But the police and firemens unions have joined the demonstrations also.

The divide and conquer tactic won't work. Oh, they WILL lose their right to collective bargaining, but the police will never support Walker. Mubarak learned this, and now our nations governors are about to learn it. Walker will have to call out the national guard, and then all hell will break lose.

Surely, it would have been much easier in the long run just to tax the rich for a change.

Posted by: tafffy | February 17, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

And in case you did not know, I can assure you that the WI teachers union IS AN EXTENSION TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

It is governed by the WEAC council, insurance company is WEA Trust. Look it up, these people are just footsoldiers for the democratic party. Ignore all of their commotion.

Posted by: joshmw | February 17, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The American buffalo is more relevant than Harold Meyerson, who represents a dying breed of old school lefties that are less relevant by the minute.

As a lifelong Wisconsinite, I'm embarrassed for my fellow citizens.

Thank you Mr. Lane for a coherent article about this and a cautious thanks to WaPo for being at least a little circumspect about deficits and debts.

Liberals, inexplicably, want us to become like Europe and this at a time when Europe and the EU are crumbling before our eyes, burdened beyond salvation by a misbegotten entitlement mentality.

Posted by: tom75 | February 17, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Thank goodness this writer is not forced to survive by his wits alone. I was mildly anti-union and really anti-teacher union. Not anymore. Walker and the Republican legislator is abrogating contracts. If he was doing this to business contracts you'd be shouting Lenin and Stalin at the top of your lungs, but because it's union contracts what's the big deal? These contracts expire. If you want to change the rules you change the rules for the next contract. But all Walker cares about is union busting, not the sanctity of contracts, and that is what's suffering. Speaking of rules, education is not all state based. There are school employees paid with by federal dollars. Some of his changes conflict with the terms of the federal dollars. Do you support losing teacher's aids, who are not paid with any state or local dollars, because Walker is too busy union busting to be bothered with the details of money he's taking?

And I like your use of VA, NC and IN as economic paradises. They're doing better than their neighbors? Their neighbors are Appalachia and OH. Ohio has been devastated by the recession and need we say more about Appalachia?

And public sector union negotiations are a parody because of compliant Democrats? You are aware that WI state law already limits teacher raises to a max of 3% a year? I agree with the ticking timebomb of public sector pension obligations, but why no mention of compliant Republicans and the financial sector? That cozy relationship is the reason for our the Great Recession. If WI was to treat the public employee unions (except police and firefighters, you'll notice they were exempt from Walker's righteous sword) the way Washington treated the financial sector after the meltdown we'd give the teachers a one-time bonus of three times their wages and extend the school year by ten minutes.

The one benefit I see of Walker's efforts is exposing the police and firefighters for the Judas's they are. At least I'll know whose testimony cannot be trusted the next time I'm called for jury duty.

Posted by: caribis | February 17, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

"Under Walker's plan, state employees' share of pension and health care costs would go up by an average of 8 percent.

Unions still could represent workers, but could not seek pay increases above those pegged to the Consumer Price Index unless approved by a public referendum. Unions also could not force employees to pay dues and would have to hold annual votes to stay organized.

In exchange for bearing more costs and losing bargaining leverage, public employees were promised no furloughs or layoffs. Walker has threatened to order layoffs of up to 6,000 state workers if the measure does not pass. "

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9LEMP280&show_article=1

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | February 17, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

'Just as Mubarak went down whining about "stability," a teacher union leader in Wisconsin now accuses Walker of "unraveling more than 50 years of labor peace." But apparently, like the people of Egypt, the voters of Wisconsin are no longer content with peace at any price.'

Except for the 10,000 protesting.

It's fun reading a Conservative spin into this. Yea, those civil servants lapping it up in luxury at the expense of everyone else, usurping the financial means of the common folk of Wisconsin.

Of course, the 30-year Conservative dismantling of the U.S. manufacturing infrastructure doesn't have anything to do with it.

Get ready for a lot of state protests in the coming months. There's a big one coming up in Michigan. Tonight the new nerd governor, who outsourced thousands of jobs to China while a CEO of Gateway, is going to announce his budget cuts. Call out the guard.

Posted by: petesnydero | February 17, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

The American buffalo is more relevant than Harold Meyerson, who represents a dying breed of old school lefties that are less relevant by the minute.

As a lifelong Wisconsinite, I'm embarrassed for my fellow citizens.

Thank you Mr. Lane for a coherent article about this and a cautious thanks to WaPo for being at least a little circumspect about deficits and debts.

Liberals, inexplicably, want us to become like Europe and this at a time when Europe and the EU are crumbling before our eyes, burdened beyond salvation by a misbegotten entitlement mentality.

Posted by: tom75 | February 17, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

So where does this anti-union bias of yours come from, Mr. Lane?

Have you always felt this way, or is this something you came to as an adult?

Posted by: scrim1 | February 17, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Just wain until the National Guard is called on to beat teachers. Then we'll talk.

Posted by: jeffc6578 | February 17, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to Gov. Walker for having the grit and courage to stand up to the corrupt, bullying unions.

Some in the press portray this as a direct attack on unionism, but it is more an attack on unfettered greed.

Public workers unions are bankrupting states, counties, cities, and towns across America, while at the same time doing the same at the federal level.

Civil Service regulations and other labor laws were already in place to provide worker protection, but this was not enough. There is simply too much money and power at stake for union organizers to pass up the opportunity.

Posted by: r_loveland | February 17, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Typical of the democRAT party, when the going gets tough, the dems run and hide. Must be in their blood!

Posted by: LostKenyanIdiot | February 17, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

So where does this anti-union bias of yours come from, Mr. Lane?

Have you always felt this way, or is this something you came to as an adult?

Posted by: scrim1


Unions are and have always been a menace to society!

Posted by: LostKenyanIdiot | February 17, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin is the exact OPPOSITE of Egypt.

In Egypt people protested against the corrupt Gov't.

In Wisconsin, the corrupt Gov't is protesting against the will of the people.

Posted by: pgr88 | February 17, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that in articles like this where people bash the big , bad unions that nobody ever even mentions the mismanagement of money that is done consistently by out politicians? Do you really think unions are the problem?
Then you argue that we need to support medicaid...Really? I'll support the working man who happens to be in a union before I'll lose any sleep over someone who doesn't care to bother working ( and yes, I realize that is not always the case).

Posted by: Mary64 | February 17, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that in articles like this where people bash the big , bad unions that nobody ever even mentions the mismanagement of money that is done consistently by out politicians? Do you really think unions are the problem?
Then you argue that we need to support medicaid...Really? I'll support the working man who happens to be in a union before I'll lose any sleep over someone who doesn't care to bother working ( and yes, I realize that is not always the case).

Posted by: Mary64 | February 17, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Well Wisconsinites, you will get what you voted for. When the quality of your teachers slips and when the quantity of your teachers slip your educational system will be fobar.
Who will want to become a teacher? And for those of you who complain about teachers and their salaries, just try staying in a classroom with 30-40 kids in it when teachers are cut from the staff and class size goes up. Most of you can't handle the one to three kids in your own household. Back in the 60's there was such a demand for teachers because of poor pay and poor benefits that state governments had to do something to encourage people to become teachers. So lets go back there and see how your kids will fare.
Of course the police were not touched nor the firemen but just wait and see. And when your roads don't get plowed and millions are spent on private contractors, oh well.
The Republicans have been and always will be against the Unions and now they have a so called reason to deny them the right to collective bargaining.
As for those of you in other states that voted Republican/Tea Bagger, you may get what you want but it will not be what you need.

Posted by: beachbum1938 | February 17, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Just wain until the National Guard is called on to beat teachers.
Then we'll talk.

Posted by: jeffc6578 | February 17, 2011 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Is the State of Wisconsin going to provide the liability insurance for teachers that the union now provides? You need it to teach.
(p.s. Mr. Lane -- everyone has the moral right to collective bargaining. Freedom of assembly.)

Posted by: polysciprof | February 17, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Mr. Lane. The more apt comparision is with Greece where overpaid government employees rioted. This from the Madison (WI)news:

The highest paid city government employee last year wasn't the mayor. It wasn't the police chief. It wasn't even the head of Metro Transit.

It was bus driver John E. Nelson.

Nelson earned $159,258 in 2009, including $109,892 in overtime and other pay.

He and his colleague, driver Greg Tatman, who earned $125,598, were among the city's top 20 earners for 2009, city records show.

They're among the seven bus drivers who made more than $100,000 last year thanks to a union contract that lets the most senior drivers who have the highest base salaries get first crack at overtime.

And there was a lot of overtime - $1.94 million last year, $467,200 more than the bus system budgeted for and the most ever for the system - as employees exhausted sick leave and took advantage of unpaid leave through the federal Family Medical Leave Act, officials said.

"That's the (drivers') contract," said Transit and Parking Commission Chairman Gary Poulson . . ..
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/ ... 002e0.html

Posted by: HoaxChains | February 17, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Unions don't belong in education...........PERIOD!

Posted by: LostKenyanIdiot | February 17, 2011 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Obama is making veiled threats against WI. He should keep his nose out of it but won't because the Unions are one of the main sources of his financial support. The Unions give the money to Obama and not to their members who they take it from in the first place. When it comes to politics Obama is right on it but when it comes to the business of the President Obama doesn't have a clue.

Posted by: mlbduffy | February 17, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

More information to counter the teabagging crap coming from people who supposedly live in Wisconsin. If they do, like all teabaggers they don't know what they are talking about. This is from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel April 2010.

At the end of last year, one Midwestern state emerged carrying its lightest total tax burden since the early 1960s.

Only six states nationwide saw a bigger drop in the percentage of taxpayer income taken for government spending over an eight-year period.

Once labeled a top 5 tax hell, the state's spending level dipped below the national median after years of restraints on schools and local governments under its past three governors.

The state is Wisconsin.

If that surprises you, welcome to the bewildering world of tax-and-spend politics. It's a twilight zone where facts often are obscured by ideological battles and special-interest agendas.

Fact: Wisconsin ranks 26th in total spending by all levels of state and local government based on the latest figures (as compared with 20th in population, 24th in Gross Domestic Product and 24th in personal income for the same year).

Fact: Wisconsin ranks 14th in total tax burden.

Why the gap between spending and tax rankings?

Wisconsin relies less than many states on user fees, including things such as tollways, school activity fees and garbage collection charges. It leans much more than most states on property and income taxes.

And it lags in the amount of federal money it receives. That's a lost opportunity to offset state and local taxes.

Walker is a liar. The state does not have a deficit. The state lags in federal money because red states take far more federal money than they contribute. Teabaggers start learning some facts before you run your mouth and expose your ignorance.

Posted by: arkadie7 | February 17, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

You wish. And working Americans need to remember their place and just be grateful if they have a job. Unlike the Egyptians.

Posted by: SarahBB | February 17, 2011 2:27 PM | Report abuse

That's almost as powerful as says you. You teabaggers are so articulate. Must be the home schooling. Workers made America. I don't recall being grateful for work as part of the citizenship requirement. Next time you need a cop or fireman I'll bet you'll be the one who is grateful.

Posted by: arkadie7 | February 17, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Republicans claim the wealthy shouldn't be expected to sacrifice because "it's THEIR tax cuts!" - and by golly, if they want to invest them in companies moving middle class jobs overseas - so be it!

Republican mantra - cuts to Social Security benefits and tax cuts for billionaires!

Posted by: angie12106 | February 17, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Replying to:
"It's telling that the only unions exempted from the sweeping provisions are firefighters, police and state troopers - all of which endorsed Walker in the elections. In true dictator style, Governor Walker has threatened to call in the National Guard to suppress resistance if necessary.

Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 17, 2011 12:17 PM |"

Exactly right! I'd be willing to bet that the exempted unions don't contribute any more money to their pensions, health coverage, etc., than teachers and the other groups Gov. Walker has targeted. So much for the spurious claim that this move is simply about budgetary savings.

Rather, as Mr. Lane himself acknowledges, "Walker is out for political payback against the Democratic Party's most powerful constituent group." So it sure looks to me like what Lane denounces as the unions' "hostility" to Walker and his GOP cronies was completely justified.

Posted by: DCSteve1 | February 17, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

The state lags in federal money because red states take far more federal money than they contribute. Teabaggers start learning some facts before you run your mouth and expose your ignorance.

Posted by: arkadie

Then why is it that only libs are whining about the costs of health care, eh dork?

Posted by: LostKenyanIdiot | February 17, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Republicans claim the wealthy shouldn't be expected to sacrifice because "it's THEIR tax cuts!" - and by golly, if they want to invest them in companies moving middle class jobs overseas - so be it!

Republican mantra - cuts to Social Security benefits and tax cuts for billionaires!

Posted by: angie12106 |


Still acting like a child, eh Angie? How does it feel to be on the rag 24/7?

Posted by: LostKenyanIdiot | February 17, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Comparisons to Mubarak have been occurring to many here in Wisconsin. Although grounded in law and not the constitution, public sector bargainComparisons to Mubarak have been occurring to many here in Wisconsin. Although grounded in law and not the constitution, public sector bargaining has been part of Wisconsin public services for 50 years. These statutes pre-date the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of the 1960s.

In that context, there is more than a flavor of tyranny in Walker's actions. What has worked for 50 years through Democratic and Republican administrations is abandoned unilaterally, and yes, dictatorially, overnight.

Why? To fulfill unrealistic campaign promises made to pander to the fears of voters, and to fulfill them off the backs of ordinary workers, most of whom are teachers.


Posted by: tomasidaquino | February 17, 2011 2:42 PM | Report abuse

A leftist is a leftist is a leftist, whether it's Wisconsin, Cairo, Cuba or California. They're all equally worthless..

Posted by: wewintheylose1 | February 17, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Obama's website is promoting this march in Wisconsin. The DNC is promoting this horrific mess too. It is calling all union thugs to go to Wisconsin. So Obama and his little cronies think they can scare us. So what? What part of "we do not have it" do these retards not understand?
Who do these corrupt evil men think they are? I am a licensed teacher and find dragging their kids out there when many did not even understand when interviewed why in the world they were there, is just plain sick. We have the worst President ever in the WH. It is makes me sick to think someone so evil is defaming the noble people who have graced those halls.

Posted by: greatgran1 | February 17, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

For all those cheering Walker, if you are not a plutocrat, not among the top 1% getting 24% of the nation's wealth, not having been born with the silver spoon, then you are foolish at best. You and the teachers you claim are so well fed are just fighting over the scraps. Did you really picture your employer raising your benefits because the Wisconsin legislature has cut public employee benefits? More likely yours will be cut again under the justification that with the public employees accepting more pain you must also. Get real about what's happening.

Posted by: jreed11665 | February 17, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

For all those cheering Walker, if you are not a plutocrat, not among the top 1% getting 24% of the nation's wealth, not having been born with the silver spoon, then you are foolish at best. You and the teachers you claim are so well fed are just fighting over the scraps. Did you really picture your employer raising your benefits because the Wisconsin legislature has cut public employee benefits? More likely yours will be cut again under the justification that with the public employees accepting more pain you must also. Get real about what's happening.

Posted by: jreed11665 | February 17, 2011 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that in articles like this where people bash the big , bad unions that nobody ever even mentions the mismanagement of money that is done consistently by out politicians? Do you really think unions are the problem?

Posted by: Mary64 |

========================================

In the case of public sector unions yes, I do think they are the problem.

For years these union provided money, volunteers and votes for politicians and in return for being in the union's back pocket they signed off on unaffordable contracts and in bad times rarely asked for cutbacks. Since it was the taxpayer footing the bill nobody cared about the cost.

Posted by: bbface21 | February 17, 2011 3:25 PM | Report abuse

When you see a President and his party call up the union thugs to march in the street, we seriously have problems. Folks this is showing us we are really in trouble. Obama is showing us outright the radical he claims he is not. He is a radical and his agenda is dangerous to our very way of life.
Wake up America. We have the President of the US calling out his union thugs to run and riot in the streets. Obama is a know nothing who came out of no where and seems to answer to dangerous people who think rioting and running away to hide is the way to get what they want. Well they do not scare me and let them know these little thugs do not scare you.

Posted by: greatgran1 | February 17, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

This is BS, there is some justification for not letting police and fireman strike, but that only group which gets full free association rights.
The author's idea that is okay for Republicans to strike out against Unions because they do not support them is classic right wing nut insanity. Even a Republican Governor is governor for all people in the state, and striking out at his election foes is like the worst of third world countries.
He should be impeached tomorrow.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | February 17, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The SEIU is a pack of Brownshirt thugs.

Remember them terrorizing that executive's teen-aged son in his own house?

What a brave pack of mob-violence practicing thugs.

Posted by: JustJoe3 | February 17, 2011 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin Schools must be pretty good, Wisconsin is the eight best educated state in the country.
# 1 Vermont: 17.58
# 2 Connecticut: 15.88
# 3 Massachusetts: 14.48
# 4 New Jersey: 12.55
# 5 Maine: 9.33
# 6 Minnesota: 8.97
# 7 Virginia: 8.47
# 8 Wisconsin:

In percentage above 8th level in Math
= 1 Massachusetts: 43%
= 1 Minnesota: 43%
# 3 Vermont: 38%
= 4 Wisconsin:

Since i went to school in TN for HS and BS, its lucky that I can type this sentence apparently. The New Republican Gov will put Wisconsin down with the other red states soon, and we in the Blue will have another deadbeat state to support.
Website
http://www.statemaster.com/graph/edu_ass_sca_sco_gra_4_mat-scale-score-grade-4-math

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | February 17, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I see you posters nodding your heads in unison. Soon, though, it will be something in your state, or your town, which threatens you personally, and then you will change your tunes. Fact is, Gov. Walker has enriched his corporate buddies and created a deficit so he can justify breaking the unions. Apparently, from the 10's of thousands in the streets of madison, this is not going to fly, and I say more power to them. This isn;t about ideology folks, it's about people. Get your heads out of your ideological holes and start thinking about people.

Posted by: greeenmtns | February 17, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Put a republican in office and you can always expect the fascist to use Nazi-like remedies to make all matters worse. And now it's time to use a typical repugnican't slogan: For all those who like what the Fascist gov is doing in Wisconsin, why don't you move there?

Posted by: tuonela | February 17, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin and Egypt have both been visited by the Virgin Mary.

Posted by: jimward21 | February 17, 2011 3:58 PM | Report abuse

2 things 1.) the governor in WI has created the deficit by pork barrelling 3 special interests which backed his campaign
2.) "Public workers in Indiana, North Carolina and Virginia, among other states, do not have the right to bargain collectively, and it's not clear that any of these jurisdictions has become "an economically stagnant plutocratic utopia""

Righto because the neighboring states DO have collective bargaining and the workers can move. If all 50 states were right to work your weekend/retirement/and what is left of healthcare would last about 15 min.

Posted by: bob29 | February 17, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Very good article Mr. Lane. As someone who lives another state held hostage by Public Unions-California I can assure you we're all watching the situation in Wisconsin.

Posted by: gregdn | February 17, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

We really need to support the Governor of Wisconsin. I hope he will do what Pres. Ronald Reagan did to the striking FAA workers. Fire all the teachers and tell them they can re-apply for their jobs, that these jobs will not be union jobs and for anyone who does not wish to re-apply, that there are many people unemployed who would like to have their jobs. The new Governor of New Mexico has done that with all State employees and they will also be vetted and drug tested. Its time to get serious about Government Union workers.

Posted by: Straightline | February 17, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Can we call the Orkin man to take care of all these darn socialists?

Posted by: richard36 | February 17, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

O Mr. Lane, wait a minute, O Mr. Lane, Wisconsin state workers contribute ZERO towards their pensions??? WOW, even under the old Civil Service Retirement System, it was a giant rip-off of the taxpayers, it is being phased out since Christian year 1983, even under that system, Federal bureaucrats contribute seven percent (7%) of gross pay toward their pensions, U.S. taxpayers contribute the employer's other 7%, Sean Hannity agrees that Federal bureaucrats are overpaid, but even these overpaid bureaucrats, they have to contribute 7% toward their pensions, meanwhile in Wisconsin, by the shores of Lake Mendota and Lake Monona (not Lake Superior, O Mr. Lane!), Wisconsin taxpayers contribute 10% to 15% toward workers' pensions, workers contribute ZERO, Nichts, nada, rien??!!! This is a worse taxpayer rip-off than even the Federal civil service rip-off!

Benefits for existing state workers, pension benefits, these are a Contract, US Constitution says no State shall make any law impairing the obligation of a Contract, so Governor Walker cannot cut the fat pensions for existing state workers, all he can do is make them contribute, say, 6.5% of gross pay to their pension fund, this makes their pensions less of a rip-off than the Federal civil service pension rip-off, so All Power to Governor Walker and the State Legislature in Madison, just say no to mob rule.

Posted by: abu_ibrahim | February 17, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

This point is must be made endlessly. We Wisconsin state workers made an agreement with our employers at the time we were employed, that laid out our salaries and benefits. I am a Wisconsin state employee, but not a member of a union. Presumably all of you who are employed (the few, the proud in the new America) made SOME KIND of agreement when you took your job. Would you now accept your boss showing up and telling you, Wait a minute, in Mississippi they make less than you do, so you have been a criminal all of these years! There is just such foolishness in understanding how benefits relate to employment benefits. For so many, if it isn't cash, it's not "legitimate" compensation, and so can simply be taken away at will. I guess this will happen, and anyone who accepts say, health insurance, as part of their employement benefits, is an idiot.

Posted by: minogaade | February 17, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I am a union teacher. I work hard teaching kids about how they are victims of race, sex, economics - you name it. I teach them class-envy and how to question and doubt everything about America, especially the Constitution. Moreover, I must do this hard work 7 hours a day (except for lunch hour), 186 days a year.

Some of our Leftist ideas are so wacky, so out of the 19th Century, even these gullible kids don't believe them. Turning bright kids into dull, Democrat adult voters is indeed a hard job, and for the pay and pension we receive, I sometimes doubt that it is worth it.

Posted by: pgr88 | February 17, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Tin soldiers and Walker coming...

Posted by: BuddyK | February 17, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

As sponsor of the USA Patriot Act, I believe F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI) should be arrested and tried as a traitor to our nation and a willing pawn in the destruction of our Republic: http://ironboltbruce.com

Posted by: watchingfrogsboil | February 17, 2011 6:03 PM | Report abuse

It seems obvious form reading the posts of some readers that ignorance is bliss. Unfortunately your arguments are both morally and logically wrong.

Here are the facts, as an educator I am required by the state DPI to complete certification every five years. This year I borrowed $8,000 to take the college courses require for the 316 license necessary to keep my job as a reading teacher.

I make less per hour than my sister-in-law who works at Wal-Mart distribution loading trucks. She has no job related expenses required by her employer.

Last year I spent $1,586 on classroom supplies because the school district refused to buy copier paper, books, and pencils. This does not include the personal funds spent on attending mandatory teacher conventions and workshops.

Go ahead and bash the teacher's union and the millions of educators raising your children. That's right WE RAISE YOUR CHILDREN. NOT YOU. Children spend more time per week in the classroom then with their parents. Over 43 percent of the children in my school have parents who don't even bother to attend parent/teacher conferences.

So think long and hard before you attack the people paying to take care of your children - teachers.

Posted by: mrbillybaater | February 17, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

THINKING LONG AND HARD IS SOMETHING THE RIGHT WING IS INCAPABLE OF DOING. The right wing must be destroyed not tolerated.
If thry want a war maybe we have to consider the propect.

Posted by: arkadie77 | February 17, 2011 11:25 PM | Report abuse

THINKING LONG AND HARD IS SOMETHING THE RIGHT WING IS INCAPABLE OF DOING. The right wing must be destroyed not tolerated.
If they want a war maybe we have to consider the propect.

Posted by: arkadie77 | February 17, 2011 11:25 PM | Report abuse

That giant whooshing sound you hear is every somewhat capable education major in the nation changing majors. Treating teachers like crap is a pretty strange way to get ahead in the emerging information economy. Congrats, Repubs, you will eventually get what you want: a nation so stupid that it will fall for your unfounded propaganda every election, not just every other one. And then America can continue its slide into third world status, while the "socialists" in Europe continue to enjoy the benefits of first-world life - the main of which is a thriving middle class.

Posted by: NomoStew | February 18, 2011 6:55 AM | Report abuse

We don't have many unions in Texas.

We're all doing just fine without them.

Last time I checked, we have LOTS more folks moving here than moving away.

Can't say that for Wisc, Mich, Cali, etc.

Disregard the predictions of doom from the fading union loyalists. They're just using a little hyperbole, as usual.

Come to Texas and see for yourself. It's all good here.

Posted by: txdon | February 18, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't the conservative "Citizens United" ruling giving the rights of citizenry to corporations enough!?!

In the world according to the GOP: The Unions backing a candidate that adheres to their values is unjust. But a Republican governor is justified in removing a constituency with which he disagrees because it might be expedient in clearing up a budget shortfall he and his cronies created by giving tax breaks to private sector businesses.

It's always funny to see Unions portrayed as domineering and always getting their way. Even in the few places they're allowed to remain, they don't.

It's for-profit, corporate America with all the money. And the too often the GOP does their every bidding in return for their showing them the money.

Posted by: mas92102 | February 18, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

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