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Posted at 5:54 PM ET, 02/17/2011

Tyranny in Wisconsin, part 2

By Charles Lane

Harold Meyerson persists in claiming that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has been wielding the state's National Guard against workers in the manner of governors from days gone by. That's an improvement of sorts over his previous piece, which likened the actions of the elected chief executive of an American state to communist dictators in Eastern Europe; Meyerson has abandoned that offensive analogy. Still, Meyerson's reading of Walker's statements remains a gross distortion; it's no defense to say, as he does, that Walker's words were "widely interpreted" to convey an armed threat, since the wide interpretation in question took place mainly on Web sites linked to unions and their political allies.

But don't take my word for it. Take a look at this fact-check from the St. Petersburg Times's Politifact.com Web site, which completely debunks Meyerson's view of the matter. There was no "rhetoric" from the governor, fast-and-loose (Meyerson's phrase) or otherwise.

Meyerson elaborates on his view that an end to collective bargaining for Wisconsin's public employees is Step One down the road to national ruin, but he succeeds mainly in muddying his analysis even further by suggesting a link between low wages in the private sector and the inability of unions in the public sector to demand more, more, more.

He questions my belief in the right of private-sector workers to bargain collectively, so let me help him with that one, too. I absolutely believe that private sector workers have and should have the right to organize and bargain collectively. This can, indeed, be in the public interest, for various reasons. But there is an obvious distinction between public and private sector workers. The demands of the former are constrained by the competitive market; it's not in their interest to bargain their firms out of business (or so one hopes). The demands of public sector workers, however, face no such market discipline. Government services are generally a monopoly. When governments try to pass higher labor costs along by means of higher taxes, the public has no choice but to pay up. When you add union political clout to the mix, neither party to public sector contract talks has an incentive to hold down costs. I repeat: This is not collective bargaining. It's political log-rolling. And it's a formula for fiscal ruin, as states from coast to coast have learned.

Meyerson brands me a Scrooge (better than being an East German commie, I guess), but the reason I feel so strongly about this is precisely because the corrupt nexus between public sector unions and Democratic politicians is destroying the progressive values I cherish. The first of these is democracy, which suffers when union political consultants stifle internal party debate and control party nominating processes -- or when bureaucrats and pols team up to seize control of government services from the voting public. The second is equality, which suffers when a privileged class of well-connected insiders use their clout to secure better benefits than everyone else -- at the expense of everyone else. "Tax the rich!" the unions and their apologists cry. But you could confiscate the wealth of every hedge-fund manager in the country and still not have enough money to meet the unfunded liabilities with which public-sector unions have saddled the states and local government.

How sad that the progressive political cause has been delivered into the hands of these bureaucratic special interests and their apologists.

By Charles Lane  | February 17, 2011; 5:54 PM ET
Categories:  Lane  | Tags:  Charles Lane  
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Next: Scrooge-ism in Wisconsin, part 2

Comments

The Republicans & T-Bags are turning our country into a police state. The Republicans are quick to cut social programs & education, what about their bloated salary & benefits ? IT'S TIME FOR POLITICIANS TO TAKE A PAY CUT

Posted by: wasaUFO | February 17, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

If private sector unions were fomed to protect workers from greedy capitalist; why were public sector unions formed?

Posted by: Ampleforth | February 17, 2011 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin is doing what every other state need to do. Union intimidation should not be tolerated. We are not France even though the unions would like to think we are. This selfishness on the part of unions at the expense of the taxpayer who is paying for the pandering of previous state government contracts. Unions are now the "haves" and the taxpayer are the "have nots." This cannot stand. Unions should not be in government. Public servants should not have union membership. Thank you Wisconsin for taking the lead to end the bandrupcy policies of unions and stopping the ripoff of the American taxpayer. Long live the Republic.

Posted by: lhudson828 | February 17, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, when school boards stop trying to constantly screw teachers out of a fair wage and benefits package, then you won't need a strong teacher's union.

Seeing as my dad was the union rep for his district, I can unequivocally denounce your categorization of him as being a "bureaucratic special interest." He's probably one of the hardest working people I've ever met in my life and lives an incredibly modest lifestyle - one afforded to him by a decent salary he has earned every penny of.

It's time to stop the petty, reductionist "union = greedy parasite" philosophy dominating our dialog these days. It flies in the face of everything our country stands on and grossly mischaracterizes a vast majority of hard-working, middle class Americans.

Posted by: nickprzy | February 17, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse

When he is done there I wonder if he would like to be governor in Illinois.

Posted by: alltaxedout | February 17, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Unions are now the "haves" and the taxpayer are the "have nots
-----------

Funny. I'm in the private sector and make nearly double what my dad does, who is a career teacher/union rep. You're naive if you think the wage difference only boils down to union vs. non-union, private sector vs. public. It's more due to skill and education, and what's valuable to our society in the 21st century. If you don't have an in-demand commodity to offer the workforce, then you don't have any leverage. Market economics, plain and simple.

Posted by: nickprzy | February 17, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Wisconsin for taking the lead to end the bandrupcy policies of unions and stopping the ripoff of the American taxpayer.
-----------

Union members pay taxes, too.

Posted by: nickprzy | February 17, 2011 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Warning! Warning! Warning! Adolph Hitler Elinated All Labor Unions After Becoming Germany's Dictator.

Posted by: jimhamm1951 | February 17, 2011 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Warning! Warning! Warning! Adolph Hitler eliminated all Labor Union after becoming dictator of Germany.

Posted by: jimhamm1951 | February 17, 2011 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Until Walker came along, Wisconsin was expected to have a huge $120 million+ budget surplus this year. His actions, during his short time in office, in handing out cash to corporate special interests, have turned this huge surplus into a $137 million deficit in just a short time.

Walker is the problem, not the public sector unions.

Posted by: chi-town | February 17, 2011 6:36 PM | Report abuse

"Until Walker came along, Wisconsin was expected to have a huge $120 million+ budget surplus this year."

Really, where's your source?
This article suggest otherwise:
http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/109275069.html

Posted by: aaronboucher | February 17, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Teachers are our most valuable asset as it is THEY who train the next generation.
We need to be offering the income needed to attract the highest level of talent or we're going to 'get what we pay for'.
It becomes even more lopsided when we begin to take a look at what CEO's in Amerika make - as in Millions per year - while it is the far lesser paid who do the real work and are told 'be grateful for having a job'.
Can you say 'third-world-country'?
What a sad and sick joke Amerika has become and it is WE who are to blame.

Posted by: jlsdev | February 17, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

"But you could confiscate the wealth of every hedge-fund manager in the country and still not have enough money to meet the unfunded liabilities with which public-sector unions have saddled the states and local government."
Think so? How about the hedge funds in the caymans?
And do you think it is a fair comparison to start with: A retired sanitation worker and a hedge fund manager?
This is the way you all argue isn't it?
A world economy nearly collapses and the best you can come up with is "Damn those pensions! A pox on unions!"
How's the wealth differential narrowing lately, now that Bush's tax gifts were renewed? How grand was the job-creating impetus that was "gonna kick in if we only get another two years"?
Labor may be fighting a losing battle, but that doesn't make self-satisfied lapdogs like yourself right; it only makes you lower on the list of folks being crushed.
And the public sector/private sector distinction is, as you know, nonsense.
A worker is a worker. Screwing them is wrong no matter who is doing it. The distinction really only provides cover for your lot to rip into working folk.
Great sport that, no? And always in season.

Posted by: adelaide1 | February 17, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

This is an excellent op-ed. I'm a registered Democrat who also strongly supports private sector unions, while opposing public sector unions, for precisely the reasons so cogently expressed in the op-ed. Public sector employees have sufficient protections and benefits through the civil service and political systems and do not require unionization. The Democratic Party betrays its ideals all too often through its knee jerk support of virtually all issues favored by public employee unions.

- Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA

Posted by: lweisenthal | February 17, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

The GOP has turned into the American Nazi Party, it's time to ban them forever!

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | February 17, 2011 7:11 PM | Report abuse

You've made some points, but once again, your conservatively influenced ideas are not weighted properly, and in an effort to trick and confuse those to dim to see through your smoke screen of influence.

Teachers wages and health packages aren't anything special, even in the good(blue) states. The real wage abuses always happen towards the top. And it's not crying when people like myself "cry" about the rich fleecing TRILLIONS of potential tax dollars every year, both legally and illegally using tax loops/havens.

And outlawing Unions? I know you've got a hard time criticially analyzing situations Charles,you think your being convincingly tricky, and acting like you are for the many, but this is the place where you parallel East Berlin with Wisconsin. So quit using your tiring Socialist accusations, they hold no water in the face of truly critical intelligence.

This is the place where democracy turns to a State/Federal plutocracy if passed, and that's what is truly important here. Maybe Unions have taken things too far in some places, unfortunately the Public sector is the last place you should be looking. I never thought I'd see the day when the little guy would be stupid enough to destroy their tax breaks and their collective bargaining ability willingly, and all for the influence of peoples who are utterly responsible for the S##T this country is sinking into.

Posted by: ElPavoReal | February 17, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I do not think there should be ANY public employee unions. The mere existence of such unions today makes mockery of the idea of " public service.". One of the best example of the folly of allowing " collective bargaining" for public employees is the defined benefit pension, for which taxpayers are stuck regardless of changes in economic conditions in the community. Even though everybody knows such pension plans are folly, whereas the defined contribution plan remains viable in any "future" while leaving the responsibility for the size of the contribution with the employee, unions keep demanding the former. Strike against the people, against the nation, the state, the county!? Teachers unions, the NEA, no longer aid or advance education, but serve as political action committees often against the interests of children and the public in general.

Posted by: Eagle-Ed | February 17, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

The protest is about the right to work law. Are Unions not about rights? We all have a right to work do we not? If I want to work for the government and do not want to join a union do I not have that choice? This is America is it not? Do I not have a right to bargain for my own wages? All this law does is give a person a right to join or not join a union. What this law does is takes control away from the union. What the union does not like is losing control over people. If Obama believes in Human rights he should pass a law that makes America a RIGHT TO WORK country.

Posted by: texasoil | February 17, 2011 7:25 PM | Report abuse


Nothing is more destructive to a free market system than unions which distort the basic economics to grab a greedy share of money in return for less work then they otherwise would of done. There is no need to have teachers on the public payroll. Most kids could be self taught on the internet these days, and the high end children could go to a limited number of private schools funded by the parents, not taxpayers.

Posted by: ToddPollard | February 17, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Like the ATC, fire the union. The strike is illegal and the contract is void.

Then, hire teachers.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | February 17, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Watch out for the mis-named 'Right-To-Work'.
More like 'Right-To-Be-Abused'.
Lower wages for the workers - Same grossly higher for high management.
Be careful what you ask for - You might get it!

Posted by: jlsdev | February 17, 2011 7:53 PM | Report abuse

On Wisconsin! Let's hold the line and show the rest of the nation that Wisconsin hasn't yet abandoned its long time progressive heritage to become another ignorant redneck state. Take that, Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Ron "Plastic Man" Johnson, and Rep. Paul Ryan! We'll run your pathetic sorry a$$es out of the state!

As for the rest of you empty-headed Republicans and Teabaggers, you're overplaying your hand and are marching yourselves into the history books where you belong alongside the Whigs and Know Nothings.

Forward!

Posted by: pjs1965 | February 17, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Amazing. Organizing for America - you know Obama's political machine - is the group sending the bus loads of protesters in and organizing the "revolt", "tyranny".

People wake up. We are broke. We can't afford it. Get the facts. This measure is not to DISBAND the union but to allow teachers, etc. to make a choice of whether or not to join the union. What liberal would be agaisnt free choice? Only a liberal pretending he wants free choice but what he really wants is a nanny state.

I can't believe our President would encourage tyranny but he is.

I knew it was coming. On his campaigning a week and 1/2 ago at universities, he was telling college students it was young people's time a young generation praising the uprising in Egypt. Don't believe me? Go to his facebook page "Students for Barack Obama" and see what he's posting.

I knew America would not be far behind the riots with Obama leading the pack. Didn't think it would be this soon though.

Posted by: debmries | February 17, 2011 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Pigs squeal when shooed away from the feed trough.

Posted by: Jakesterman | February 17, 2011 8:57 PM | Report abuse

A lot of places have passed laws which forced public-sector workers to make concessions without any negotiations. But in this case, there are also measures included which could have the effect of making the unions themselves disappear.

Sure, the concessions being asked for now don't sound unreasonable. But if getting rid of the unions is part of the package, you've got to ask what's going to come next.

Posted by: quadibloc | February 17, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

As for the people that were taught history the way democrats and the unions wanted it taught should really think before they talk. The NAZI party is short for The national socialist workers party. A union. Adolph Hitler was an organizer that rose up through the ranks to become party leader before their party won elections. he too believed in social justice. that is why he was popular with the progressive party in Europe and American. The New york Times, Washington post and a few other news organizations loved him and Mussolini. So when you start throwing around Hitlers name you might want to do some research first. try checking out the man that help put FDR into office. Father Charles Coughlin. He too supported Hitler and hated the Jewish bankers.

Posted by: texasoil | February 17, 2011 10:49 PM | Report abuse

TYRANNY????? STUPID F-K-N-G DEMOCRATS. YOU'RE F-K-G PRESIDENT JUST RAMMED AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL HEALTH CARE LAW DOWN OUR THROATS THAT FORCES ME TO BUY SOMETHING.

TYRANNY?

SHOVE A F-K-N-G CATTLE PROD UP YOUR A-S-S JERKOFF

Posted by: TonyV1 | February 17, 2011 11:27 PM | Report abuse

TYRANNY????? STUPID F-K-N-G DEMOCRATS. YOU'RE F-K-G PRESIDENT JUST RAMMED AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL HEALTH CARE LAW DOWN OUR THROATS THAT FORCES ME TO BUY SOMETHING.

TYRANNY?

SHOVE A F-K-N-G CATTLE PROD UP YOUR A-S JERK-OFF

Posted by: TonyV1 | February 17, 2011 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Lane claims:

The second is equality, which suffers when a privileged class of well-connected insiders use their clout to secure better benefits than everyone else.

Gee, this sounds like what happened to the whole United States in 2008. The well-connected insiders were Wall Street traders, privileged goes without saying, and the better benefits was the bailouts that left them with even more millions of dollars while millions of Americans were losing their homes.

Of course, Lane means middle-class teachers, who he wants to move to the lower class. Lane should spend some time there and see if he still thinks it's a great place for people.

Posted by: garbage1 | February 18, 2011 12:19 AM | Report abuse

Put a republican in office and you can always expect the fascist to use Nazi-like remedies to make all matters worse.

Posted by: tuonela | February 18, 2011 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Lane's right-wing orientation grows more tiresome with each passing column.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | February 18, 2011 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Lane identifies himself as a progressive, yet all his columns indicate he is actually conservative.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | February 18, 2011 6:40 AM | Report abuse

Thank God somebody at the Post recognizes that Harold still thinks he's living in the 1930s Dearborn or West Virginia or 1917 Russia.

His union story is an old one which he repeats each week. Wisconsin gave him a chance to use it twice in the same week.

Shrinking middle class- not enough union wages, loss of manufacturing jobs- low worker unionization, widening gap between rich and poor- lack of unions, unemployment- lack of unions to force hiring, layoffs- lack of unions to fight changes, China's labor advantage- lack of unions to enforce safety, wage and benefit increases.

But if Harold could think rationally, and that's a stretch, the issues are more fundamental than a union card. Why shouldn't public sector employees pay for some of their health care insurance, pensions, and get unpaid sick days just like the private sector (if they even have health care and a pension at all). Why can't this be on the table? Because they are a union?

This is America- one is expected and respected if one fights for the best job, the best education, the best benefits, and what's best for his family That goes for the taxpayer as well.

Posted by: flyover22 | February 18, 2011 8:04 AM | Report abuse

This story should be front page news. I only heard about it on the radio and in the editorial sections of Wash Post and NY Times.

Posted by: cococo | February 18, 2011 8:47 AM | Report abuse

There are lots of deer hunters in Wisconsin. They should take their deer rifles to Madison and show them to the governor. If he sees more muzzles than butts, then he wins. Of course, he needs to stay around long enough to count.

Posted by: PA_Observer | February 18, 2011 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Thank You Scott Walker! As for the teachers being so valuable! I don't want the idiots like the ones on the streets in Wisconsin teaching my Granddaughter! There is a quick way to fix this problem; fire every one of them unless they return to work by Monday morning! The idiot in Washington needs to keep his wet noodle for a back bone out of the Wisconsin business! Hell he can't take care of what he is suppose too. Tell him to get his people out of Wisconsin. As for chi-town; where did you get your numbers and information about the budget in Wisconsin. Do you really have any idea the amount of money your flapping your jaws about. From 120 million surplus to a 137 deficit. This equates to 257 million dollars. Typical left wing idiot; flapping your jaws and don't have any idea of what your talking about. TYPICAL! The real problem with the left wing and the idiot unions is that:they have pushed and pushed and it's time for the other side to push back! You are like the old saying; they can dish it out but can't take it! Go SCOTT!

Posted by: tmay33 | February 18, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I apologize for the error.

There are lots of deer hunters in Wisconsin. They should take their deer rifles to Madison and show them to the governor. If he sees more butts than muzzles, then he wins. Of course, he needs to stay around long enough to count.

Isn't this new world wonderful.......

Posted by: PA_Observer | February 18, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"Dr. Walker, Dr. Walker, you are needed in Emergency in the State of Massachusetts. Patient slipping in and out of coma."

Could you Wisconsinites let us borrow him for a spell up here in Mass? Please?

Keep strong Governor. This is the Union's Armageddon and they know it.

Posted by: JammyJam1 | February 18, 2011 9:50 AM | Report abuse

What nonsense. If you are so utterly fond of Walker then you ought to pay attention to what Walker says, which is that there simply isn't money enough to pay the state workers what they've been paid. That being the case all the workers could possibly do, in collective bargaining, would be to participate in deciding just how their pay is to be cut.

And you claim that progressive and democratic values are favored by weakening the political power of large numbers of people? I don't have to compare you to anybody anywhere else for it to be starkly obvious that you misuse and undervalue progressiveness and democracy. Once that is seen any such comparison will spring automatically to mind in the alert reader.

Progressive. There was a Progressive Party in the 20th century. Started by a Republican (note well) from Wisconsin: Robert "Fighting Bob" LaFollette. LaFallotte also founded what is now the Progressive Magazine, which is published right there in Madison, Wisconsin. Pick it up and read it: you might learn what "progressive" means.

Posted by: hewhoasks | February 18, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Progressive: The term used by liberals who are duly and rightfully ashamed of the term liberal. Walker should be commended. Senators decamp and flee like babies to Illinois, taking their cues from the union fatcats. "Teachers" call in "sick" but yet magically appear to protest -- and get PAID doing it. Ha - what a deal. Prefab signs, help from DC, pinky rings...it is time for public-sector unions to heed the advice of FDR and go. They are dinosaurs living in this century and yet wreak havoc on state budgets.

Posted by: JammyJam1 | February 18, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

If these union members had a care for their state/country they'd accept these minor cuts and offer up some more. Then the police and firefighters should get involved and show they want to save their state also by offering to take the same cuts being asked for from the teachers.

This is a prime example of greed run amuck...

Posted by: wrr123 | February 18, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The unions did not cause Wisconsin's deficit. The Governor did with his tax givaways and experimental private health savings accounts. Now he wants to make the unions pay for his stupidity.

The state actually had a surplus until the republican idiot got into office. Sound familar? The people of Wisconsin have been duped and are about to be screwed.

The autor of this article is a pig.

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

You republican pigs sticking up for the pig governor should actually learn the facts. The pig governor caused Wisconsin's defict. NOT THE UNIONS!!!
But you won't hear that from the pig author. Nope just more unions are bad BS.
You pigs can thank the unions that we have a 40 hour work week, lunch breaks and vacations. But I'm gussing you are all too stupid to realize that.

pig idiots.

Posted by: strictly_liberal | February 18, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

strictly_liberal writes:

"The autor of this article is a pig."

strictly_liberal, you're not exactly helping your cause with such venomous personal attacks.

As for the situation in Wisconsin, those of us in the private sector who have to pay our own health insurance premiums and contribute to our own IRA's have little sympathy for government employees resentful over making even modest contributions toward their benefits and pensions. If these employees think they're going to evoke public sympathy through their sense of entitlement and their disruptive behavior, they are seriously mistaken.

Posted by: jjlc125 | February 18, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

If I may break from the spit-throwing, name-calling, red-faced indignity of the remarks below, Charles Lane's essential argument is exactly correct: in the private sector, unions have an interest in seeing the organization economically healthy, and therefore an upper bound of reasonableness can be set and agreed upon.

But in the public sector, there is no such thing as an organization that could go bankrupt. The economic health of the organization is not a concern to anyone. So what's the upper bound of union demands?

I am pro-union, and I don't mind government workers earning decent middle-class wages. What government employees must give in return, however, is the same labor flexibility that the private sector has, which means that if you're not doing your job, you are entitled to a couple of warnings but then you're fired.

This is the biggest failure of public-sector unions -- they've bargained employment security to the point where it is nearly impossible to fire them for incompetence. The public sees this every time they have to deal with the bureaucracy, and it ticks them off. That's why you won't find a lot of national support for the folks in Wisconsin.

If the unions had just stuck with pay and benefits and didn't constantly cover for inept and incompetent people, we might not be having this discussion.

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

Word "TYRANNY" is not appropriate in Wisconsin,just like in the Nation;s capital.Obama can print money,but Wisconsin has no such alternatives.Either Tax the businesses or sink in debt,assuming they can borrow.Unions should help in rebuilding the State and not hinder.Pain is every where and luxury is hard to come by.
Why have a democracy, just unleash the power of the Unions on the people of Wisconsin,just like what is happening in Middle-east.Other States are also suffering the same malaise.The Media is lagging in educating the people

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

there's blama aplenty to go around. States offered public employees better benefits IN LIEU of higher wages because the cost would show up in some later governor's budget. Their salaries are lower than they would otherwise be, and lower than they would be in the private sector with the same qualifications with lower benefits. And unions would have been happy to accept higher salaries instead of piling up the massive unfunded benefit liabilities that politicians created instead. That would cost more in the short run, but current expenses are more readily addressible to respond to exigencies than are contractual liabilites.

Posted by: JoeT1 | February 18, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I believe that the Republicans are digging a hole for themselves regarding the middle class who have been pushed around by the GOP since President Bush. They want inordinately low taxes for the rich and regressive taxation on the middle class. Doesn't anyone get it? To bridge the budget gap we need to bring the unemployed back into the work place inorder for them to pay taxes. The problem is that for 20 years we have been expording jobs with the consent of government in order for business to increase their profit margins. There are no jobs now for our middle class. They are in India and China, and business still wants tax cuts and more wealthfare from there GOP brothers to stick it to the middle class and destroy us. So much for patriotism.

Posted by: willin46 | February 18, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin, like New Jersey, is facing economic reality.

Layne understands this.

Public sector unions and their political stooges do not.

Posted by: ravioliman6666 | February 18, 2011 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"Thank you Wisconsin for taking the lead to end the bandrupcy policies of unions and stopping the ripoff of the American taxpayer.
-----------

Union members pay taxes, too."
---------------------

Not really. They pay taxes with tax money which makes it a wash and a net drain on the private sector.

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

Breitbart has called out his followers to come to madison to counter protest the union supporters on saturday. These are the ones who bring guns to rallies. eeeeek.

Is walker bright enough to call out the national guard--NOW? Probably not. He thinks he has a mandate.

Posted by: tafffy | February 18, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

ON WISCONSIN. liar in chief interfering with ur states rights for political gain. planning for retirement is not free,nor is health care. take ur credentials into the private sector if u are unhappy fools. another opetion is run for office and join the hill gang for all the freebies u could ever want. union thugs are ready to do anything for power and $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.go on strike and leave the children that u profess to care for up the creek without the paddle. air controllers tried it with reagan and did not work. if ur depending on odumbo DONT. even this fool will not support u when a push comes to a shove.

Posted by: pofinpa | February 18, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse


LANE's CONTRIBUTION , with all that's going on in the world,

is to take a poke at another WAPo columnist! (who isn't one of the neocons, of course).

Maybe a little on Israel's fool Avigdor, Lane? The WaPo couldn't keep talking (lying) about it yeesterday. Today zip.

Posted by: whistling | February 18, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

But you could confiscate the wealth of every hedge-fund manager in the country and still not have enough money to meet the unfunded liabilities with which public-sector unions have saddled the states and local government.
------------
What a ridiculous statement. How can this be edifying in any way: the inequality of the wealth of the super-rich is not limited to hedge fund managers (who control $2.5 trillion, BTW), or any other strawmen. Meaningless hyperbole through spurious reasoning based on uncheckable statistics.
Equally ludicrous is the contention that public sector jobs are market-independent. It's just a different market with far more factors. Trying to equate schoolteachers with steelworkers denies the added value to society of the public service they provide.
It always amazes me that the right wing justifies throwing any amount of money to defense contractors because of the ostensible public service they offer, yet sees education as a dispensable "entitlement". The sadder attitude, echoed from Reagan until today, is that other public services from trash collection to health care to the support required to keep it afloat are sniffed away as teeming with abuse and fraud when it has consistently been proven that public sector jobs are far more efficient with their funds than the private sector. The cynical distrust of our government is nauseating.
I do get the point. Here in DC our disgraceful city schools are the direct result of a too-powerful union and a board bent on pandering to the public at any cost. But the real issue here is the lying, willful ignorance of the politics involved. This whole thing is another neocon worm trying to appeal to his base and has nothing to do with budgets. The unions are simply the enemy camp.

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

What consertives want to say but instead use code words is that they feel anyone who works for state government must be lazy and hateful to the public. Something that I have never found true of state workers. Or in the case of teachers, they must be in the profession because they love kids and therefore should do it for free. Except for police and fire services all employees need to be able to have a union.

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

But don't take my word for it. Take a look at this fact-check from the St. Petersburg Times's Politifact.com Web site, which completely debunks Meyerson's view of the matter. There was no "rhetoric" from the governor, fast-and-loose (Meyerson's phrase) or otherwise.

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

Great smackdown of that viscious lie. Also since the St. Petersburg Times is one of the most liberal newspapers in the country, Myerson is turning form hack to complete jackwagon.

Posted by: bbface21 | February 18, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JoeT1

States offered public employees better benefits IN LIEU of higher wages because the cost would show up in some later governor's budget. Their salaries are lower than they would otherwise be, and lower than they would be in the private sector with the same qualifications with lower benefits.

___________________

Incorrect for teachers. Salary surveys indicate just the opposite.

Posted by: deanowade | February 18, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

You republican pigs sticking up for the pig governor should actually learn the facts. The pig governor caused Wisconsin's defict. NOT THE UNIONS!!!
But you won't hear that from the pig author. Nope just more unions are bad BS.
You pigs can thank the unions that we have a 40 hour work week, lunch breaks and vacations. But I'm gussing you are all too stupid to realize that.

pig idiots.


Posted by: strictly_liberal

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

Oh well, so much for that civility thing.

Posted by: bbface21 | February 18, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

To the extent unions are voluntary associatons of working people seeking to cooperate with one another to better their lot in life, unions may play a beneficial role.

When unions want to coerce non-union members into paying union dues and then give their dues to bribe corrupt politicians into spending taxpayer money, unions are an abomination.

The Wisconsin legislation, would make paying union dues voluntary, which is reasonable and restores rights to workers who do choose not to support unions.

Union activists will never convince me they are fighting for worker rights by requiring workers to pay dues against their will.

In this case, the unions are in the role of dictators oppressing both workers and taxpayers.

Down with the union dictators.

Posted by: jfv123 | February 18, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Scott, you're wrong. Give it up.

Posted by: ExConservative | February 18, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Republican Governor Scott Walker is trying to diminish the right for state workers, i.e, teachers to collectively bargain and before long other states that are now being goverened by Republican Governor's will be trying to do the same thing.

The is one of the Republican's strategy's to get rid of and demolish the Public Education in the U.S. Once Public Education is diminished, their next step is to get rid of the Dept., of Education altogether.

So, go stick a rag in it, Lane!

Posted by: lcarter0311 | February 18, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

To the extent unions are voluntary associatons of working people seeking to cooperate with one another to better their lot in life, unions may play a beneficial role.

When unions want to coerce non-union members into paying union dues and then give their dues to bribe corrupt politicians into spending taxpayer money, unions are an abomination.

The Wisconsin legislation, would make paying union dues voluntary, which is reasonable and restores rights to workers who do choose not to support unions.

Union activists will never convince me they are fighting for worker rights by requiring workers to pay dues against their will.

In this case, the unions are in the role of dictators oppressing both workers and taxpayers.

Down with the union dictators.

Posted by: jfv123 | February 18, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

OK, WaPo, you need to prominently publish that the state unions made a proposal for the reduction of union worker compensation that closely approached the sum Walker is cutting. Then they would have, as has long been the weay things are done, gone into negotiation. This is not about greed, it is a lie to say the unions are acting in order to loot the public purse (or any words to the same effect.) It's a lie, a lie used to cover the real purpose of what Walker wants to do.

But sure, OK, if you want to union bust go ahead and make your case. Just abandon that lie. After all, look how much better off we were after 8 years of Bush. Clearly the Republicans are our saviors.

(I have never registered as anything other than a Republican; I think I stopped voting for them after Nixon. I don't vote in party primaries.)

P.S. The PROGRESSIVE Party spun off from the Republican Party.

Cast about as many slurs as you want about liberals, progressives, Democrats. I'm an American, I care about my country. Slur that, too, if you want. You will get the respect from me that deserves.

Posted by: hewhoasks | February 18, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

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


Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, whose bill to kill collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions has caused an uproar among state employees, might not be where he is today without the Koch brothers. Charles and David Koch are conservative titans of industry who have infamously used their vast wealth to undermine President Obama and fight legislation they detest, such as the cap-and-trade climate bill, the health care reform act, and the economic stimulus package. For years, the billionaires have made extensive political donations to Republican candidates across the country and have provided millions of dollars to astroturf right-wing organizations. Koch Industries' political action committee has doled out more than $2.6 million to candidates. And one prominent beneficiary of the Koch brothers' largess is Scott Walker.

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 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Anyone notice the T.V channels covering this. CNN covered the Tea Party constantly. I watched MSNBC last night but I turned on Anderson Cooper to see if they were covering this story and CNN wasn't. I find that CNN has been leaning torwards the Republicans for a long time now. After Pres. Obama's State of the Union I watched some of the comments made by their panel but there were only two on the panel that were giving neutral or positive comments about President Obama the rest were all negative from the rest of the panel and the panel was not evenly presented. Gergen is the worst he finds fault with President Obama no matter what. CNN also let the Tea Party speak after the speach (Republican) and a Republican speak which was brought up by one of the panel members that was more neutral. CNN is losing my trust. I am starting not to watch it at all other then to check things like this. I have also started to check newspaper coverage at it is buried in small print if they even cover it. It appears they also want to break the unions.

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

The unions did not saddle the states with unfunded liabilities, the states refused to pay what was required. And the market tanked. But markets tank periodically--that should be part of an investment strategy.

Posted by: Nuancematters | February 18, 2011 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Bravo Charles

Posted by: bruce18 | February 18, 2011 2:29 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 our union card.

Posted by: apspa1 | February 18, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Stop the Governor, Obama has got it right. Everyone should be in a union. Why, it should be the law that everyone is in a union, no exceptions, or it’s off to jail or camps for retraining for those who don’t comply. Once everyone is in a union, then we all will have our full civil rights just like all government employees, and we too will be entitled to more pay and less work every year forever.

And if you think you aren’t getting the fair share of everything that you deserve , then you can strike and shut down everything, stop all planes, trains, buses and trucks, shut down telephone and internet service, close all schools, hospitals and government office, let the trash pile up and threaten the parents with charges of abusing their children because they won’t pay to keep the schools open. Nobody will dare cross a picket line, and boycotts will spread the stoppages to everyone. Sooner or later the bosses will give in or everyone will starve (an obvious humans rights violation). It will be Union Nirvana.

While we are at it, the minimum wage, salary or stipend, should be no less than $100,000.00 per year for life, adjusted of inflation, whether you really work or just pretend to. The Federal Government can afford this, all it has to do is print money, lots of it, and taxes don’t have to go up a cent. So what is the problem???

Posted by: droberts57 | February 18, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

It's a simple test: would you allow Democrats to negotiate with public unions over how high your taxes need to be to cover public union costs?

The obvious answer is, of course not.

Posted by: dknight12345 | February 18, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Remember when Nancy Pelosi called the spontaneous Tea Party demonstrations "astroturf?"
Will anyone in the media now call her on this, when the democrats are purposely fueling the
demonstrations in Madison with national democrat party money, organization and operatives?

Remember when the democrats smeared the Tea Party as "racists?" And we were all told to act more civilly after the shooting of Rep. Giffords which the democratic smear machine tried to blame on Sarah Palin?
Will anyone now call the protestors in Madison "hateful" for carrying around placards picturing Gov. Walker as Hitler, or "dangerous extremists inciting violence" for posters with the Gov. in rifle crosshairs?

Where is President Obama urging civility?
Of course, he is helping to organize and egg on the protestors with only more criticism for the elected Gov. of WI.

Got it--civility is for the other side only.

As usual, nothing but rank hypocrisy from the left.

Posted by: blackmage | February 18, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane:

You are finally learning why big government is evil! The power it wields inevitably begets corruption. The government employees soon believe the government exist for them. They become the ruling class, the elites, the arrogant communists, telling others how to live while they themselves fleece the treasury.

Fire them all.

Posted by: rwyoung | February 18, 2011 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Well done Mr. Lane.

The hysterical liberal bed-wetters are already lining up with their mindless Nazi and police state rhetoric.

Do liberals think these union arrangements in the various strapped states can continue in perpetuity?

Are any adults or clear thinkers liberals? Or all they all whiny, self-absorbed infants who scream and cry to have all their needs taken care of.

Our Islamist enemies must look at these puffy, weak-willed and spineless people and lick their chops at the prospect of fighting these "men" and these "women".

God help us.

Posted by: churchill99 | February 18, 2011 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Well done Mr. Lane.

The hysterical liberal bed-wetters are already lining up with their mindless Nazi and police state rhetoric.

Do liberals think these union arrangements in the various strapped states can continue in perpetuity?

Are any adults or clear thinkers liberals? Or all they all whiny, self-absorbed infants who scream and cry to have all their needs taken care of?

Our Islamist enemies must look at these puffy, weak-willed and spineless people and lick their chops at the prospect of fighting these "men" and these "women".

God help us.

Posted by: churchill99 | February 18, 2011 11:12 PM | Report abuse

We always hear about how the Union employees abuse the system but we never hear about how non Union companies have abused their workers for Centuries. I would bet you can count non one hand the number of major companies in America that treat their employees with the respect they deserve. Why do you think Employee protection laws are in place today? Certainly not do to the grace of the Employers. Getty even regretted in his old age his ruthlessness. His philanthropy is based on his own guilt of the greed fueled abuse or his workers.

Posted by: Americacares | February 20, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

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