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Posted at 1:30 PM ET, 02/18/2011

Tyranny in Wisconsin, part 3

By Charles Lane

I'm out sick today, but I must drag my ailing body back to the keyboard for one more salvo in the battle of Wisconsin. My colleagues E.J. Dionne and Ezra Klein have come to the aid of Harold Meyerson, who has unleashed another retaliatory strike of his own. Harold seems finally to have stopped charging GOP Gov. Scott Walker with military union-busting, after being confronted with evidence that the claim wasn't true. Instead, he, like E.J. and Ezra, has retreated to what he hopes will be a more defensible line: That what's really going on in Madison is an attempt to weaken the public sector unions' political power.

E.J: "This is an effort by a temporary majority -- I use the term because in a democracy, all majorities are, in principle, temporary -- to rush a bill through the legislature designed to alter the balance of political power in the state." Ezra: Walker's "attacking the right to bargain collectively -- which is to say, he's attacking the very foundation of labor unions, and of worker power." Harold: "Walker not only strips a category of workers of rights they've held for half a century, he also reshapes the electorate to his liking. It's a partisan power grab that reconfigures much more than state budgets."

To which I answer: (A) well, duh; and (B) what we have here, apparently, is a clash between two very different concepts of American democracy.

In my view, the voters get to pick their government every few years, and then that government gets to make policy until the next election, as free of special interest influence as possible. There is no eternal, Metternichian "balance of power." Statutory arrangements can be changed after 50 years, if they're no longer in the public interest. I realize it's a bit idealistic, but we can aspire, can't we?

In different ways, each of my colleagues wants to carve out a special exception to this rule for public employees who, they seem to believe, are entitled not only to their own individual votes in elections but also to permanent group leverage over the government payroll, the delivery of government services and the tax burden. Despite their obvious conflicts of interest, public sector unions should be able to wield this clout regardless of what the voters - "temporary majorities," as E.J. refers to them - might say from time to time. Elections may come and go, Ezra implies, but "worker power" in the public sector must last forever. All hail the glorious blogger-proletarian alliance! Otherwise, warns Harold ominously but implausibly, the electorate will be too white and too rich.

Never mind the fact that public employees are, themselves, a permanent minority. Never mind that Walker has not said a word about curtailing the rights of private sector workers. I readily concede, as I have from the beginning, that Walker's plan is as much about long-term political reform, necessary to long-term budget reform, as it is about a short-term financial issue. Unless Wisconsin's governmental machinery, and that of many other states, can be liberated from the undue influence of the interest groups that have captured it, then our state budgets will indeed be condemned to a permanent series of crises, cutbacks and patchups.

As I've said before, what the unions and their supporters really fear is not the loss of benefits or even bargaining. Those provisions of Walker's bill, though annoying, are not what has sent progressives into transports of incivility - mobbing the legislature; demonstrating outside Republican legislators' homes; absconding to Illinois; closing schools through illicit teacher "sick-outs"; depicting Walker as Mubarak or Hitler; chanting "kill the bill"; lying about the governor's alleged use of the National Guard. And E.J. thinks Walker has "overreached"!

No, what the public sector unions really can't abide is the legislation's requirement that public employees vote every year on union representation, coupled with an end to the automatic dues check-off on state paychecks. For the first time in decades, these organizations would actually have to prove on a regular basis that they're voluntary; and they would have to collect their own political war chests, instead of relying on the government to extract the cash for them.

In other words, it would make them play by more democratic rules. And that's what they can't stand.

By Charles Lane  | February 18, 2011; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Lane  | Tags:  Charles Lane  
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Comments

Who is this teabagger nitwit Lane? The whole "Crisis" is a manufactured con, which the right wing extremist governor is now using to do a little union busting. It's the opening salvo of a whole new assault on the middle class by the GOP.

CHEERS to the brave working men and women of Wisconsin who are standing up to teabagger attacks, and republican attempts to steal their rights, and their livelihood!

You are heroes!

Posted by: losthorizon10 | February 18, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

It is refreshing to see so much interest in both Madison, home of the University of Wisconsin Badgers and Wisconsin, home of the World Champion Green Bay Packers.

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

Important article!

The fact pointed out is that this is PUBLIC SECTOR UNIONS, not "unions" that are being called excessive.

No one cares if a trade union puts a big rat up outside a construction site if the contractor gets stingy with them. But one hopes that the naked demonstration of power to shut down a state will scare voters into understanding why the governor is taking this actions -- it's not just that these folks are getting fat pension checks sent to their home in Florida, it is the ability and whim to tell the state what to do. You got that? -- an organization has told the state to conduct its business its way or the highway! No ballot box, no lobbying, just "we will physically stop you from conducting state business until you do it our way"! I guess that's why the article is entitled "tyranny".

But it ain't "unions".

Posted by: tommariner | February 18, 2011 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Lane,

I usually read the WP oped's for the entertainment value of the silly ideas and even weaker arguments. You have demolished EJ, Harold, and Erza inre government unions. Great writing! I look forward to more of your opinions.

Posted by: mgrantham2 | February 18, 2011 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, we get it, lane. You love Hitler. Duh.

Posted by: thomasmc1957 | February 18, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Labor Unions don't provide anything to workers, employers or states.

High School Diploma doesn't mean High Dollars Paid, but some lazy Americans beleive that is the case and they run to useless labor union and complain and then they get fired and then they claim unemployment which I beleive was another "fake" right that Democrats stand for.

Posted by: DigestivePolitics | February 18, 2011 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Excellent piece Chuck. For the public service unions, Democracy apparently only works when we agree with them. Public Service means that the general public is there to serve the public service union folks. One glimmer of this recent economic downturn is that we're all realizing how much better the union workers have it than the public that pays for it!

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

" Who is this teabagger nitwit Lane? The whole "Crisis" is a manufactured con, which the right wing extremist governor is now using to do a little union busting. It's the opening salvo of a whole new assault on the middle class by the GOP.

CHEERS to the brave working men and women of Wisconsin who are standing up to teabagger attacks, and republican attempts to steal their rights, and their livelihood!

You are heroes! "

Here-here! :=)

Posted by: saltwn | February 18, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Hey where are my rights to not join a union? If I want to move to Wisconsin and stay in the trade I am in should I be forced to join a union? Unions talk about rights but all they do is think about them self. If Obama the great believes in rights he should end this discussion and make Right to work national. It is hypocrisy at it finest to listen to these Democrats talk about rights. They are soooooo far from it and the American people are starting to realize it.

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

This is an attack on the structure of unions and the ability of workers to organize, nothing less. Dionne has it right, this is not simply about one issue or another, it is the collection of them together which comprise a systematic attack on public employees and their unions.

Union members already have the power and right to vote on their leadership, their dues, their civic or political activities. Union members don't need Charles Lane or their other enemies to protect their interests.

I support right-to-work; it requires unions to prove themselves to workers and prevents the leadership from getting lazy. If Lane was really concerned about voluntary membership, that would suffice - but no, he wants to kill unions and he wants us to believe he's doing it in the interest of workers and that he knows what they really want better than the members.

Sod off.

Posted by: j3hess | February 18, 2011 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I guess you're not a "working family" unless your family belongs to a union....how's that civility thing working for ya!

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

I'm dying to know what one of my good friends, who is a politically conservative state-employed property assessor thinks about all of this. Something tells me he would mildly disagree with his party's extremist rhetoric on this one. Like most conservatives do when their rigid, puritanical ideology comes into conflict with their own personal life circumstances. And you wonder why a lot of us politically neutral observers can't take the GOP seriously anymore. More than anything, this story shows how absurd and contradictory their own rhetoric is. Having the audacity to label school teachers as parasitic leaches for demanding a wage consistent with their education and skill levels, when it they, the conservatives, who want to leach off society by not paying for a public good. Don't want to invest in teachers or the public sector? Fine. But don't you dare whine when our country slips even farther behind in the Information Age, your roads are full of pot holes, and there's no one available to save your life when you need it.

Once again, ideology comes into conflict with reality for the extreme right. Time to back yourselves out of the corner and stop pretending you're John Adams. Unless you want to have the same standard of living he did in the 18th century.

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

@texasoil - You have every right to cut off your nose to spite your face. Moron.

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

Mr. Lane, go back to bed until you have something intelligent to say.

When a state elects a governor on a platform, then that governor comes into office, creates a budget deficit by giving huge financial concessions to out of state corporate donors in order to create a deficit, then decides to bust the unions in that state...none of which was in his election platform...then the voters have been hoodwinked. Looks to me like Wisconsin has a serious case of buyer's remorse, and rightly so. Walker is duplicitous to say the least.

Mr. Lane, you are thinking out of your ideological hole instead of with your brain and your heart.

Posted by: greeenmtns | February 18, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

The real tyranny is the democratic senators that have fled Wisconsin in order to SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT. Lose an election, and then instead of doing your jobs as the minority party, you run out of town. Real respect for the democratic process there eh?

Posted by: dhbarr | February 18, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse

The real tyranny is the democratic senators that have fled Wisconsin in order to SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT. Lose an election, and then instead of doing your jobs as the minority party, you run out of town. Real respect for the democratic process there eh?

Posted by: dhbarr | February 18, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

saltwn:
"CHEERS to the brave working men and women of Wisconsin who are standing up to teabagger attacks..."

So just to be clear, teachers breaking rules to call off sick and shut down schools make them 'heros'. But Tea Party sympathizers attending weekend rallies against health care reform on their off-days makes them the equivalent of Nazi's and Fascists?

By the way, your use of 'teabagger' illustrates your utter ignorance, or your contribution to the culture of hateful discourse. Which is it?

Posted by: dbw1 | February 18, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

@texasoil
clearly, no one is stopping you from being an idiot.

Posted by: goexplode | February 18, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

This argument completely ignores the over-riding power the government can have when it flexes its muscles. Anyone who's been around a union-busting effort knows the sorts of tricks that come to play to prevent individuals from forming collectives that could help them match their voices against the voracious interests of the (coal company, hospital chain...you fill in the blank). People are fired for trumped-up causes, rumors are spread, wedges are created between individuals. It goes on and on. To contrive a system in which unions must renew their fight each year to exist is ridiculous--such a system guarantees the union will not survive. Which is exactly what folks like the writer here believe should be the outcome: a system in which the big players have all the say, while the workers just take what they're tossed and better shut up if they don't want to end up on the street. What an incredibly backward philosophy in a democracy.

Corporations and government have proven again and again that what they perceive as their interests mean squeezing workers to the greatest extent possible. Having a union involved in negotiations is hardly the same anymore as slanting the playing field toward workers. With a few exceptions, at best these days unions negotiate from the blatantly unfair to the moderately unfair. All while the corporations continue to rake in record profits, on the backs of the people they scatter and dispirit. And make no mistake: busting a government-employee union is one tiny step from busting all unions, which are already limping along. And then we're right back to the excesses of the Industrial Revolution. But of course that's just the way the privileged class prefers it. They're very wistful about the soot-choked past.

To all you Tea Partiers who voted in the likes of Gov. Walker: this is the first tiny hint of what you're going to see. Pretty soon you'll have no indigent care, no job training, no childhood education, minimal road repairs, no financial regulation of any kind. Your fire protection will be minimal, as will your police protection. Folks like Walker don't want to pay for anything except war and chasing illegals back across borders (they're even cutting huge amounts from that effort). Your nation will soon resemble only slightly the USA you knew even twenty years ago. And the rest of the world will be laughing at us, claiming to be "exceptional" while providing almost nothing toward the "common welfare" enshrined in the Constitution that these incredibly self-centered idealogues claim to cherish. All coming soon to a community near you.

Posted by: yogi11 | February 18, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

greeenmtns:
"...that governor comes into office, creates a budget deficit by giving huge financial concessions to out of state corporate donors in order to create a deficit.."

The new governor of Wisconsin was handed a multi-billion dollar deficit by the previous Democrat administration.

Could you please explain your statement using facts and math to illustrate how this governor who has been in office less than two months created a deficit already with tax breaks?

Posted by: dbw1 | February 18, 2011 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm so happy to see the men and women of Education for the State of Wisconsin holding signs declaring their Governor as Hitler and standing directly behind their students whom have no idea why their teachers are using as human shields.
Let's just remember... all those highly paid union thugs who yelling and screaming obscenities while hiding behind other people's minor children, ARE DOING IT FOR THE CHILDREN.

Posted by: Poeboy | February 18, 2011 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"I readily concede, as I have from the beginning, that Walker's plan is as much about long-term political reform, necessary to long-term budget reform, as it is about a short-term financial issue."

Sure you do, just as Walker, assembly Republicans, congressman Paul Ryan, Speaker Boehner, and others have conceded. Oh, wait, they didn't, at least not until they were forced to by the media scrutiny that followed the Capitol protests and the Democratic senators fleeing the state - which was their purpose.

"As I've said before, what the unions and their supporters really fear is not the loss of benefits or even bargaining. Those provisions of Walker's bill, though annoying, are not what has sent progressives into transports of incivility"

Horse hockey, because the loss of bargaining power is the exact issue brought up by every union representative and Democratic Senator that I've seen interviewed on TV since the demonstration started. In fact, every one of them has stated that they understand that significant benefit loss is probably necessary and unavoidable (never mind that Wisconsin didn't have a fiscal crisis until Walker and the legislature cut taxes) and that if the Republican majority removed provisions changing bargaining power, opposition will drop away. Since I know multiple persons who are down at the statehouse protesting right now, and have also heard them express this opinion, I tend to give it greater credence than your fabrications above.

"In my view, the voters get to pick their government every few years, and then that government gets to make policy until the next election, as free of special interest influence as possible. "

I would give greater credence to the implied notion that Wisconsonians voted for union busting if there were any actual evidence to support it. But I don't think the issue of permanently weakening unions was why the voters installed the Republicans, because they haven't exactly been forthcoming about that intent until now.

Lying about the intent of this bill has been, very consistently, the Republican strategy, and you're continuing that strategy in this column.


Posted by: AnneNonnyMouse | February 18, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Hey losthorizon10: You forget your meds today or are you always this angry -- which, according to the likes of you, is the province of the "tea baggers", no? Anyway, you claim this is an assault on the middle class. I guess your definition of middle class does not include the taxpayers of Wisconsin who do not suck at the government teat? Please ask Daily Kos for a new talking point, that one is just foolish.

Posted by: kjhm85 | February 18, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"I readily concede, as I have from the beginning, that Walker's plan is as much about long-term political reform, necessary to long-term budget reform, as it is about a short-term financial issue."

Sure you do, just as Walker, assembly Republicans, congressman Paul Ryan, Speaker Boehner, and others have conceded. Oh, wait, they didn't, at least not until they were forced to by the media scrutiny that followed the Capitol protests and the Democratic senators fleeing the state - which was their purpose.

"As I've said before, what the unions and their supporters really fear is not the loss of benefits or even bargaining. Those provisions of Walker's bill, though annoying, are not what has sent progressives into transports of incivility"

Horse hockey, because the loss of bargaining power is the exact issue brought up by every union representative and Democratic Senator that I've seen interviewed on TV since the demonstration started. In fact, every one of them has stated that they understand that significant benefit loss is probably necessary and unavoidable (never mind that Wisconsin didn't have a fiscal crisis until Walker and the legislature cut taxes) and that if the Republican majority removed provisions changing bargaining power, opposition will drop away. Since I know multiple persons who are down at the statehouse protesting right now, and have also heard them express this opinion, I tend to give it greater credence than your fabrications above.

"In my view, the voters get to pick their government every few years, and then that government gets to make policy until the next election, as free of special interest influence as possible. "

I would give greater credence to the implied notion that Wisconsonians voted for union busting if there were any actual evidence to support it. But I don't think the issue of permanently weakening unions was why the voters installed the Republicans, because they haven't exactly been forthcoming about that intent until now.

Lying about the intent of this bill has been, very consistently, the Republican strategy, and you're continuing that strategy in this column.


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

Corporations should have to get the approval of a majority of stockholders for every political contribution. This follows from Lane's logic.

Posted by: garbage1 | February 18, 2011 3:22 PM | Report abuse

The vast majority of commenters on this board are showing either A)Their own sheer ignorance on how teacher unions actually fundtion, or B) How miserable their own standards of living are.

First off, since teacher pay is controlled mostly at the LOCAL level, union participation and leadership is locally based. Meaning there are no "fat cats" coming in and extorting public money and union dues to finance their mansions in Florida. The real power lies in the hands of district union presidents, who are usually over-worked teachers themselves that make a measly stipend to ensure they and their fellow colleagues aren't getting ripped off by the school board. Which the latter inevitably tries to do every time contract negotiations happen. Hence the importance of collective bargaining.

If you do grasp those nuances and still think teacher salaries/benefits are "bloated" and that teachers are upper-class elitists, it makes me wonder just how poor you must be to have that kind of perspective. Seeing as most teachers make barely the national medium when it comes to salary, yet have to invest about $50K of their own money to finance their OWN education, just to enter the career field.

In either case, your perspective would benefit by getting some more education of your own. In the case of A, it would remedy your ignorance as the role/reach of teacher's unions. In the case of B, it would help you to get a career that's relevant in the 21st century, and to stop being so bitter towards those of us who have the in-demand skills that enable us to make more money and have better benefits than you currently enjoy.

Basically, stop whining and do something about your lot in life. You know, the whole individual responsibility garbage you're always preaching.

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

The GOP (greediest of politicians) traditionally side against unions and workers. The actions of the GOP should be no surprise to anyone.
If the GOP had their way, we would all be "wage-slaves" and treated as peons.

Posted by: abbydelabbey | February 18, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse


SIR LANE: So, you're out sick today, huh? Does that mean that you have health insurance? Are you hanging out at your palatial home in the suburbs? Or do you have a pricey Georgetown townhouse?

After graduating from Harvard and Yale, did ever have to worry about a paycheck or how to buy groceries or to pay for your kid's dental bill?

Do you have any idea how the other half lives? Or do you spend all your time palling around with plutocrats like Joe Lieberman and his corporate cronies? Did you know that average net worth of a U.S. Senator is $15 million? Does that mean you are part of the club? Or do you have some catching up to do?

Enjoy the acclamation of your wealthy and powerful friends as you turn thumbs down on the working stiffs and those who would aspire to have affordable health care. But you might want to avoid crowds in Madison, Wis.

Posted by: motorfriend | February 18, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

.

OK - listen carefully:

If Wisconsin does nothing about the massive deficits the state faces, it will go bankrupt and there will be far fewer government jobs than there are now.

Government employee unions have bargained very cushy deals for their members and are major contributors to Democrat politicians, in what can only be described as a relationship of corrupt copulation at the expense of taxpayers.

Those who work in the private sector would be delighted to enjoy the benefits these pampered bureaucrats enjoy.

It's past time to bring some real parity into the benefits of working in the public sector versus the private sector.

Far from union busting, the course being taken in Wisconsin is reasonable, rational and fair.

.

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

Well, the "next election" could come in as short a time as a year plus the time it takes to set up the election machinery.

And you sure have a weird view of collective bargaining, engaged in by the people doing the work.

What would be wonderful would be that you would have the grace to state that the unions made an offer that would have cut their compensation (if accepted as offered) by $100 million. In collective bargaining, which has been the way up to now, they might have conceded more. Or, what the heck, I can take your sort of line and say that they also might have demanded 100% increases. But the fact is that they made an offer that would cut their pay. Do facts matter?

Posted by: hewhoasks | February 18, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

yogi11:
"To all you Tea Partiers who voted in the likes of Gov. Walker: this is the first tiny hint of what you're going to see..."

While I'm not a Tea Partier, I think we can all band together and hope your statement is true. The last thing that is ever going to fix our states or country's fiscal situation is MORE government, MORE bureaucracy, MORE taxes, MORE entitlements....you know, the Democrat Party platform. So hopefully there will be more legislation coming from both states and Congress to reduce the size and role of government in our lives.

I think Gov Walker is channeling Reagan. I bet somewhere in a bottom desk drawer he has a paper that has a target of the concessions he hoped to attain from the teacher unions. But the proposal he put forth doubled those targets, liberals are reacting in predictable hysteria, he'll come back with something that only asks for half of what you see today (i.e., what he really is targeting), and Wisconsin liberals will trip over themselves to sign it and declare victory standing up to the GOP....while Gov Walker walks away having achieved what were his goals all along.

Posted by: dbw1 | February 18, 2011 3:26 PM | Report abuse

P.S. Get well.

Posted by: hewhoasks | February 18, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The taxpayers should have the final say because they pay the bill. If public union employees don't like their salary/benefits, they are free to resign and seek employment elsewhere. Teachers who protest rather than go to work should be fired. The senators who are in hiding should be dismissed and replaced. Those folks look like 'Greece.'

Posted by: windmill3 | February 18, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Charles, but you should have stayed in bed--this column demonstrates that your brain is as weak as your body. For starters, nowhere do you acknowledge, let alone rebut, the following factual points that your three colleagues have made:

1. If Walker's objective is only to balance the state's budget, then why exempt the unions representing police and firefighters from the measure? Their pay and benefits are just as generous as those teachers, nurses, et al., receive.

2. To the extent there is a fiscal crisis in Wisconsin at all, it is the fault of the governor and GOP-controlled legislature. The massive tax cuts they just slopped into the already-overflowing trough of the rich account for the entire current account deficit!

3. Let's assume for the sake of argument that it's legal for the state government to unilaterally abrogate current contracts simply because the GOP has the votes (which is manifestly not true, but leave that aside for now). Then how can it possibly be illegal for Democratic state senators to refuse to enable that initiative by being present?

4. There is no evidence that a significant number of public sector employees want to leave their union. So why is requiring them to reassert their desire to continue the status quo so urgent?

When you answer these questions, then I'll take your position seriously, Mr. Lane. Until then, all you are doing is enabling bullies like Scott Walker to walk over his state employees. Shame on you both.

Posted by: DCSteve1 | February 18, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I had NO IDEA that the guys who drove the trucks to clear all that #$%#$% snow off the highways were "pampered bureaucrats." Egad, that's cushy.

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

Without wishing to drag him out of his sickbed again, I feel compelled to ask whether Mr. Lane or any of those agreeing with his comments have any support to corroborate his final two paragraphs -- that what the unions and their supporters really care about are the dues? Have Governor Walker or any of his supporters proposed a bill limited to the dues/checkoff issue to test that hypothesis? So far the evidence on the ground suggests that it's the Republicans who are much more motivated by expected effect on political contributions than are the protesters.

Posted by: hayesvbr | February 18, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Walker did this in the wrong order. He should have fired those 6000 workers first, then presented the legislation in such a manner as a job-restoration bill.

Let the public union protest against that!

The trouble with compassionate conservativism is that leftists pretty much practice totalitarianism. As a rule, they are bullies, and one needs to deal with bullies in a particularly brutal way, because that is all they truly understand and respect.

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

So just to be clear, teachers breaking rules to call off sick and shut down schools make them 'heros'. But Tea Party sympathizers attending weekend rallies against health care reform on their off-days makes them the equivalent of Nazi's and Fascists

------------

No, just ideologically-rigid, self-contradictory dolts with no real in goal in mind. You want less government and scream about entitlement reform, yet go around screaming "Keep your hands off my Medicaid." You decry bridges to nowhere and wasteful pet projects, yet one of your most visible leaders (Boehner) voted last week to keep the F-35 engine project alive for the benefit of his home state, despite even the JCOS saying it was wasteful. And you have the audacity to call teachers "leeches," when it is you who does not want to pay for a public service. Need we mention every marital and homosexual scandal amongst the "family values" party. You're a joke.

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

Nice argument and I appreciate the logic toward public unions. But Walker is targeting only the unions that worked against him in the election. The public unions that supported him are exempted from the legislation. It's hypocrisy.

Posted by: allknowingguy | February 18, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Replying to:
"Corporations should have to get the approval of a majority of stockholders for every political contribution. This follows from Lane's logic.

Posted by: garbage1 | February 18, 2011 3:22 PM"

Exactly right! But can you imagine the spittle that would fly from Mr. Lane and every Faux News commentator if any state dared to introduce such a measure? And given the current composition of the Supreme Court, whose majority (to paraphrase Will Rogers) never met a corporation it didn't like, the chances of it surviving are between slim and none. After all, corporations are people, right?

Posted by: DCSteve1 | February 18, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Fire them all and give them to people who appreciate them The unions are dragging the country down.

Posted by: farmsnorton | February 18, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

'As I've said before, what the unions and their supporters really fear is not the loss of benefits or even bargaining.'
*********************
For those of us not lucky enough to be part of the elite, 'benefits' mean we can eat while indoors, with heat, and pay for the transport that gets us to the place our master's demand we work, shop and live. We pay to try and be healthy enough to pay the cost of holding a job.

Bargaining is a means of sharing the costs of production.

Between contractors and Reaganites, almost 100% of the cost of labor now falls on the worker, not the corporation, in the form of insurance, rent, health care etc.

However, the corporation, not labor, reaps the benefit of not having to invest anything in labor.

Government employees have a decent standard of living because they have not been thrown to the profit-oriented sector. Yet.

This is the next goal, while distracting the uneducated with religious tripe.

We fought this in the 1920-30s. Tour the coal mines of West Virginia to see what happens to people under the thumb of corporations. Once again, we will all owe our souls to the company store.

I can see far right anti-labor people hiring Halliburton and XE to enforce corporate wishes. They can call themselves "Pinkerton's" again.

Posted by: Robynmarigny | February 18, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Good article. The days of rigid, unflexible
3-yr. contracts for unions is over, or, Should be Over.
The world has changed, with technology and a global economy -- both government and companies must be able to quickly make changes.
Unions are Dinosaurs.
I'm so disappointed in the Teachers; I don't want these type of teacher that we see in Wisconsin - teaching my children.
Its a very, very bad example for our kids.
I cannot believe Obama is taking sides with the union, either; but it shows how out-of-touch he is with the real world.

Posted by: ohioan | February 18, 2011 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Walker did this in the wrong order. He should have fired those 6000 workers first, then presented the legislation in such a manner as a job-restoration bill

-----------

Yeah, then he can just truck in a bunch of Mexicans from Labor Ready to take their spots. It's just that easy, right? Teachers are completely expendable. After all, who doesn't have their MA in Education and a WI teachers cert? Moron.

Posted by: nickprzy | February 18, 2011 3:36 PM | Report abuse

"I'm out sick today" is an ironic way to start this rant. + ... Do you think you'd have paid sick days if it weren't for unions?

Posted by: j-willie | February 18, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

nickprzy:
"If you do grasp those nuances and still think teacher salaries/benefits are "bloated"...."

I shared this example on another board today. I work for a Fortune 500 company. A 6-figure-salary manager in my building shared with me that he forgoes the health insurance offered by our employer, because the insurance offered by his wife's employer is much better.

Whereas we have ever-growing deductibles, and we have to share the cost of monthly premiums 25/75 with our corporate employer, his wife's coverage has a nominal annual deductible, includes all medical/dental/vision, and requires 0% employee contribution. His wife's employer? The public school.

If you think public worker benefits have not become bloated vs private industry, you just aren't very well informed.

Posted by: dbw1 | February 18, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I guess your definition of middle class does not include the taxpayers of Wisconsin who do not suck at the government teat?

------------

Go tell that to a cop, snowplow driver, construction worker, ambulance driver, paramedic, or teacher. You're a f-ing joke, and your arrogance proves just how detached from the real world you are.

Posted by: nickprzy | February 18, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I keep reading so many comments by middle class private sector workers who are hung up on fairness and how they are unhappy that other people, i.e. middle class public workers, have better insurance and nice pensions. A few questions: Since you advocate for a merit based system in which you earn more based on your individual efforts and competitive edge, why are you so upset over not having what others have? Are you not then responsible for your own individual successes and failures? If you haven't EARNED a raise and better benefits in the past several years wouldn't that be a result of you sucking at the job that you do? How does what I have and what I do make you suck at your job? And if it's about others having too much that leaves too little for you to gain from in your private job, then isn't it your boss who is not rewarding you for your efforts? Is it my fault then that your boss sucks at his job and can't afford to pay you more and offer you better benefits and salary? Wouldn't your energy be better spent by doing a better job for yourself or getting after your boss to reward you for your good work (if you don't actually suck at what you do)?

How about we start calling this for what it is? This is an attack on the working middle class. Our government is selling our voices out for private interests which will only empower those unappreciative, greedy bosses, either public or private, to reduce our wages, benefits, and terminate our jobs without just cause. High wages and worker's rights are obstacles that stand in the way of businesses coming to our state. Rather than raising the standard of living and quality of treatment in the workplace for the middle class workers, this bill will create menial jobs and low end wages so that the powerful and wealthy few can maintain control over the masses. This bill and its ramifications will put an end the middle class.

Stop pointing fingers and your fellow middle class workers. Go back to the real cause of the recession and how the government working for businesses created this mess we're in. It was not the middle class worker, either public or private, who created this situation. This is a struggle for our entire class in a highly stratified society. Greater efficiency with only two classes of citizens. It's rich versus middle class for now, but that will become rich versus poor if we don't stop this tyrant and his special interest cronies. Unions keep the greedy wealthy in check so us sane people can live peacefully. Don't allow this to separtate our class... you know, the people who actaully work everyday.

God Bless America!

Posted by: nevets2sherwoo | February 18, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

And you call those greedy Teachers’s Union honest? They refuse to attend schools, lied about being sick, and are shown in front of cameras standing at the capitol. If our childrends miss school deliberately, the parents get ticketed and are then summed with their child to court. They should be stripped out of their jobs. And students should boycott the schools until every one of those Union Teachers be terminated and replaced by non-unions. While they teach our sons and daughters, these liberals expect the private sector citizens to survive with less and make the sacrifice to fix the budget while they unionize their fat coffin with more and more pork-money. Money does not grow on threes… Union is the Cancer of our Nation…

•Yet more proof Democrats only support democracy for so long as it supports their ideals...if it does't, they turn to instant traitors to the democratic process... If they lose the vote, so they run off like children...pathetic..
•If they won't take a 20% pay cut then layoff 20%. Just like private employers do it!

Posted by: jzak100 | February 18, 2011 3:44 PM | Report abuse

@dbw1-- Sorry for you. I work at one of the world's largest advertising firms. My blue cross costs about $60 a month with no deductible. I'm not in a union, just talented.

Do you realize your argument is self-defeating? If anything, it shows why us in the private sector should be unionized. Then again, wouldn't want you to actually put yourself out on a limb and do anything about it, like what's happening all over the Arab world right now. It's much better to safely whine about your plight on message boards and hate on everyone who has it better than you.

Posted by: nickprzy | February 18, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

From my childhood discussions on Labor Union politics were a constant subject of debate in our family. With a grandfather who was a union leader and ultimately, the Assistant Commissioner of Labor for Texas under two governorships, discussions ranged from the power of the unions (When do they have too much influence?) to the question of relevance (When are they obsolete?).
We have legislation on a national, state and local level requiring certain standards be met by an employer regarding safety, hiring practices, privacy issues, and minimum compensation- see OSHA/EEOC/HIPPA.
For those of us in the private sector, we must market our abilities, negotiate fair compensation-including benefits, develop and utilize the skills necessary to do our job-often at our own expense-and continue to increase production/performance in order to retain our employment.
Do I need a union rep for that?
If I fail a task or make a critical error, am under-qualified or become incompetent at my job, do I need a union rep for that? No. I am an individual who prefers to negotiate for myself, determine my own path and understand the laws provided as a guideline. As with most issues in this nation, if something needs to change, we have a voice and a vote and laws to protect those rights.
Interesting that this issue would cause such intense reactions. For years bullying and manipulation were the very stereo-type that the unions were attempting to dispel. Now it appears they are exhibiting the very image they claim to have shed.

Posted by: TKG7 | February 18, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

How is it the government's job to create jobs and to promote business? The last time I checked the government wasn't a private entity. Government officials are not CEOs. In a free market, the government should not have its hands in the operations of private business. That's why it's called private. Yet, Walkwer kicks $140,000,000 to tax breaks for businesses like he's the CEO of Wisconsin Inc. As a shareholder, I want him removed.

Posted by: nevets2sherwoo | February 18, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

You can tell the author knows next to nothing about Wisconsin. This all goes back to when Tommy Thompson was Governor and raided the State Pension fund to balanced the budget. The state employees went to court and the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled against the Republican Legislature and Governor. The justices pension was part of the fund. Also unlike most Pension Funds, the Wisconsin Pension fund is more than 97% fully funded. In other words they have enough cash to pay the bills. Not like most companies and other states. Also the State was projected to finish in the black this year with it's current budget, after all it has an unemployment rate of 7.5%. Check out the numbers your self, too bad the rest of the country isn't in as good shape as Wisconsin.

Posted by: johnturkal1 | February 18, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

nickprzy:
"You want less government and scream about entitlement reform, yet go around screaming "Keep your hands off my Medicaid." ...And you have the audacity to call teachers "leeches'...You're a joke."

Are you a 12 year-old, or do you just talk like one?

I'm fairly confident I've never told anyone to keep their hands off "my Medicaid". I'm also pretty sure I have never called teachers 'leeches', since I have immediate relatives who are, in fact, teachers. But even they won't deny the lavish nature of their benefits compared to their contemporaries in the private sector.

My question to you is, do you ever actually have any facts or coherent arguments to offer? Or are we just in for more of the same talking-point rants you've demonstrated above?

Posted by: dbw1 | February 18, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I think you loud mouths should spend one full day with a teacher any grade and stay all day and see what what its like to teach 30-40 kids day in and day out I dare you you gutless wonders I dare you and you will wonder how they do it come on try it I did and after a full day with 5th graders I thought they should be getting one hell of lot more money. they have my backing and I don't hear those republicans taking a pay cut.

Posted by: bocky250 | February 18, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Charles Lane wrote: "I readily concede, as I have from the beginning, that Walker's plan is as much about long-term political reform, necessary to long-term budget reform, as it is about a short-term financial issue."

Change the words "I readily concede" to "I readily fabricate" and your anti-union polemic would at least have the veneer of a trace of honesty.

As has been well-documented -- and made readily available to anyone who wants to read it (http://www.businessinsider.com/where-is-the-budget-crisis-2011-2), the impending Wisconsin budget deficits are entirely the creation of Scott Walker himself. It was Walker who signed legislation calling for various tax breaks and tax credits to cronies which will amount to a short-term deficit of $137 million and a long-term deficit of $3.8 billion. The Wisconsin state employees' wages and benefits play absolutely no factor in either figure.

And yet here we have yet another Beltway flunky (in this case, Charles Lane) attack the public unions for budgetary problems caused solely by a Republican's special interest giveaways.

Mr. Lane likes to portray his anti-union apologetics as a struggle between him and his WP colleagues, but he should realize that its also his WP readers who are wise to his dishonest reasoning.

Posted by: henry_blankett | February 18, 2011 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Way to go Scooter! Could you also introduce legislation to ban ALL union activity? While you’re at it eliminate child labor and minimum wage laws and occupational health and safety programs. All these are huge drains on business. You could also throw your support behind the great American companies who recently announced they would not hire anyone who is unemployed. We don’t want these loafers in the workforce anyway.

Feel free to quote Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto’s line from the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."

p.s. Obviously you don't understand – the sleeping giant is the workers – not just public employees but all of us.

Posted by: mgkaok | February 18, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for nothing teabaggers.

More proof that Republicans are for the rich and wealthy.
- First the extension on tax cuts for the rich
- Second eliminating tax cuts to businesses who outsource jobs to other counties
- Third trying to eliminate unions rights all together.

BRAVO to those of whom who voted Republican. Thanks a lot for possibly ruining my generations future.

Posted by: generationpolitics | February 18, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Typical Democratic philosophy; "My way or the highway."

Vote Republican - the responsible party.

Posted by: chauffeurkp | February 18, 2011 4:02 PM | Report abuse

This logic would make sense if not only the republicans just blocked anything blockable using the filibuster, they are simply getting their own medicine.....
also it's apparently completely lost on the governor and on you that if you starve a big part of your population and put them against the wall they will revolt, Egypt and history demonstrated this over and over and over again...I am actually surprised that blood hasn't been flowing already...

Posted by: biglio | February 18, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

johnturkal1:
"Also the State was projected to finish in the black this year with it's current budget..."

Actually, I did check it out and cannot find your claim anywhere. Wisconsin ran $2B+ deficits in both 2009 and 2010. And the debate over 2011 seems to be over exactly how big the projected deficit was going to be.

Democrats claim they 'only' turned over a looming $2.2B deficit to the GOP governor. The GOP says they've found the projected deficit Gov Walker inherited is more like $3.3B, after discovering the out-going Democrat assumed Walker would make $1.1B in spending cuts and claimed credit for them in his 'projected' budget.

But regardless of the size of the projected deficit in Wisconsin, I can't find a single source that supports your claim that they were projected to 'finish in the black' before Gov Walker came along.

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

Nov-2010 - "Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's administration on Friday told Republican Governor-elect Scott Walker that he would have to cope with a $2.2 billion deficit in the state's upcoming two-year budget, but this brighter-than-expected forecast contained more than $1 billion in hidden pain.

To arrive at the favorable estimate, the Doyle administration's estimate assumed that Walker and lawmakers would make spending cuts that have yet to actually happen."

Posted by: dbw1 | February 18, 2011 4:06 PM | Report abuse

The author left out quite a lot, but I was struck by this quote, "can be liberated from the undue influence of the interest groups that have captured it, then our state budgets will indeed be condemned to a permanent series of crises, cutbacks and patchups." Is he referring the Tea Party people and the current representatives in office Wisconsin? For if he is, he has hit the nail on the head. I am sure that I am not the only one who is tired of all the lies by Republicans, as if the state could just not say no to all or any of the concessions they have made in the past. It is hypcritical to manufacture a crisis and target a scape goat that you do not agree with politically and then hide behind an imaginary conviction that the majority of the people want and expected this kind of action by their government. If they did, then they deserve what they are getting here. Wisconsin is one vote short of a police state. Bring in the National Guard. I can just see them doing social work or teaching kindergarten. Please, lets be real in terms of how we deal with problems.

Posted by: rryder1 | February 18, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Excellent article and analysis of the current and future situation.

My feeling too is that striking automatic dues and requiring regular union votes is what is fueling the protests.

The public unions are using taxpayer dollars to fund re-election campaigns and union boss salaries. They see their gravy train running out.

Posted by: Cryos | February 18, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse


Down with unionist extortion schemes!

.

Posted by: ZZim | February 18, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

At last, The proletariat rises up and tells the bourgeoisie that they have been raped, pillaged, and plundered enough. When they rise in anger over the rich taking their homes, which is their only form of wealth allowed by the capitalist republican, no amount of pentagon budget will protect them from the wrath of those they have victimized. Money made4 worthless by the actions of the republicans over the last 50 years will not protect then or their new world order from the fall out of rage no longer caged by moral democratic promise. Little of the total agner world wide is realised by those who have walled themselves off in their ivory towers of self gratifacation. Not that the working taxpayers have saved them from extinction they again line their pockets as they choose to deny that same worker health care that is expected by all who surround the chosen few at the end of their self created gravy train. I fully expect that this year they will become dog food should they continue to pour salt on open wounds!

Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | February 18, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Nice argument and I appreciate the logic toward public unions. But Walker is targeting only the unions that worked against him in the election. The public unions that supported him are exempted from the legislation. It's hypocrisy.

Posted by: allknowingguy | February 18, 2011 3:34 PM
=================
I see it more as fire and police actually endanger their lives to do their job.

Kind of like military versus other government service. I consider it like hazard pay.

Being out in the field deserves more just compensation, especially medical, than jockeying a desk.

Posted by: Cryos | February 18, 2011 4:14 PM | Report abuse

At last, The proletariat rises up and tells the bourgeoisie that they have been raped, pillaged, and plundered enough. When they rise in anger over the rich taking their homes, which is their only form of wealth allowed by the capitalist republican, no amount of pentagon budget will protect them from the wrath of those they have victimized.
Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | February 18, 2011 4:13 PM
========
Lol please. A bunch of overpaid bureaucrats expecting luxury for doing a substandard job is not some worker victory.

Let me guess you're some nutty leftist who worships Che Guevara.

Posted by: Cryos | February 18, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

When the union workers realize that the unions are stealing from them and giving their money to the Democrats maybe they will have something to be outraged at!!

Posted by: CayC | February 18, 2011 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Unsupported blather.

Mr. Lane should be ashamed. If he has a point, he should support it.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | February 18, 2011 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Once the unions are busted and workers have lost all bargaining power, all you union haters out there better watch your own backsides. The same folks who bust unions are going to cut your pay and benefits, too, if not send your job over to India because there's no one left to fight them on it. You're only going to realize that unions have been helping you, too, when you get the same bad treatment they've been fighting against for decades (actually, it's probably already happened to you, as real wages have gone down since Reagan--sure, deny it's true. And then go check the stats). Just keep rooting for management and voicing your disdain for those who actually do the work, and see where your own paycheck ends up in a few years.

Of course, those who root for the people who stomp on them suffer a peculiar psychology that prevents them from recognizing who is really on their sides. You shout to end financial regulation and then lose your 401k, and you STILL root for the bullies who took it away. You rail against taxes and then cry when your house burns down because they've cut your firefighters, and then you're back at the polls next time to re-elect the guy who cut your fire department staff. Amazing.

Here in Flagstaff, our mountain burned last year, a flood resulted, and suddenly all our right-wing neighbors were talking about how grateful they were that the tax dollars they'd been "robbed of" were available to create berms and gullies to keep them from getting flooded again. Of course, they didn't say it like that. They merely INSISTED that the county "get out here and protect us." I don't think they could see relationship between their ideology and actual flood protection. And I would bet they'll vote for the tax-cutters again next time around. Gee. I hope we don't have another flood....

Posted by: yogi11 | February 18, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

The State kicked out the democrats.

This is DEMOCRACY... the unions and democrats are saying "listen to the people" yet are hypocritical themselves.

The people voted them out and voted in the governor FOR THIS REASON.

Democracy isnt just for when it serves your interests!!

Posted by: jabberwolff | February 18, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Nice argument and I appreciate the logic toward public unions. But Walker is targeting only the unions that worked against him in the election. The public unions that supported him are exempted from the legislation. It's hypocrisy.

Posted by: allknowingguy | February 18, 2011 3:34 PM
=================
I see it more as fire and police actually endanger their lives to do their job.

Kind of like military versus other government service. I consider it like hazard pay.

Being out in the field deserves more just compensation, especially medical, than jockeying a desk.
========================================

Cyros:

Then give them hazard pay, just like the military. But he has clearly created a sweetheart deal for them. They are exempted not only from the cuts, but from ALL other provisions. It begs the questions: If the other unions had supported him, what would this plan look like? Is this fiscal responsibility, or just political patronage and payback?

Posted by: allknowingguy | February 18, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

There's some tyranny in your defense of the state taking peoples rights away. I don't think there's medicine to fix the sort of sickness you have. That's because it's a moral illness borne of privilege, stupidity, malice & greed.

Posted by: Nymous | February 18, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Schools, an idea case for privatization. If the students don't show adequate improvement, no award fee. This would be an perfect time to start. The teachers that called in sick but were not should be fired. Students might have to repeat a year but that's no big deal.

Posted by: wonderingstevie | February 18, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

One side of the class warfare going on here may not even realize what they are perpetuating.

Had the gop been more supportive of increasing the tax rate on at least on people making over 1-2 million dollars a year back in december, you would not see this level of anger. Both sides have to be reasonable, After the election, the gop could have extended their hand but instead chose to repeat another failed experiment, in turn, giving the dems more ammo to shoot at them. To pretend that this is not about class warfare is completely assinine. If the gop really cares about continuing this ridiculous experiment of capitalism, they are just going to have to accept that it simply will not continue while 10 percent of the population controls 90 percent of the wealth. Had the gop shown more interest in holding big corps and big banks accountable, and finally grasped the fact that your quality of life cannot possibly improve after the first 5 million, you would probably see more cooperation here with the unions.

If we want to be successful, we have to go back to a time when we were, and the gop doesn't seem to want to go there. If they think that starving the government is somehow the solution, maybe we should let them so they can see that they are signing their own death warrant.

It is interesting to note that both forms of government in the 20th century seem to be leading up to the same results, with capitalism the eventuality seems to be leading up to a dictatorship of the bourgeois, controlling all the resources and capital, and communism, dictatorship of the proletariat, where there is no gradual buildup, which explains why the ussr did not last quite as long. Maybe we should searche in another place for the solution to this problem, like maybe redefining how we measure how much something is worth. We can start with the labor theory of value and cost the limit of price.

Posted by: bruce_wayne | February 18, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

"Typical Democratic philosophy; "My way or the highway."
Vote Republican - the responsible party.
Posted by: chauffeurkp

The only truth in the above quote is "the responsible party". That Freudian slip of the tongue says it all from old Prescott Bush and George Walker and the Nazi's right up through Richard (I'm not a crook)Nixon and Spirew T. ( I am a crook) Agnew to (little King George) Bush and Richard (water board torture) Chaney. Perhaps the working class should show the republicans just who does the dirty work around here like dying in real combat when the rich start wars of imperialistic greed or simple revenge for "my dad". Should we simply retake our homes from the American invaders of the republican bankers association. I shouldn't say "our" homes since the republicans can't afford mine and it's paid for anyway but unlike many with money, I will stand and fight the oppressors of my fellow AMERICANS regardless of their social stature in the pecking order for my friends come from all over the social strata and I have learned from almost all of them along the way.

Posted by: anOPINIONATEDsob | February 18, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I just don't understand how public employee unions are a more dangerous interest group than corporations, who exert even greater influence on elected officials. But conservatives will go to any length to preserve their right to pour as much money as they can into the political process, for which they get untold riches in preferential treatment by government officials.

Posted by: mrmau | February 18, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

It's a con alright, just as the Republcans have been conning the middle class for years but when you look at their actual voting records you will see that they're in the pockets of the wealthy and well-connected and done't give a damn about the middle class or workers in general.

Another Republican con game if you're stupid enough to believe them then you get the government you deserve. Oh wait, we already have that especially with the new hookers in the house, led by Bag-man Boehner being bought and paid for better than the old hookers ever were.

Posted by: affable100 | February 18, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Give way to the Independence Party, listen up America,.. we have trillions of dollars debt and as expected everyone wants everyone else to tighten their belts,.. Unions, just like everyone else must do more for less and despite Mr. Obama giving out waivers to whoever,.. waivers to belt tightening do not exists,.. everyone gets to participate,.. including unions,.. and while we are on the subject,..

Congress, listen up! Everyone knows about the 1.5 Billion dollars given to Egypt every year,.. that is just the tip of the iceberg,.. exactly how much American TAX dollars are given to foreign countries for whatever the reason? How much? During this time of economic crisis all the other countries in the world can belt tighten too and learn to live without American taxpayer money.

Just how much is Congress giving away every year to the rest of the world?

It is time to stop foreign aid.

Posted by: RadPost | February 18, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

The Democrat lawmakers who are "IN HIDING"
should LOSE THEIR JOBS., they should be kicked out of office for not showing up.
This is also an example of BAD BEHAVIOR,
and there should be consequences.
So, we have teachers shutting-down schools
and Democrat lawmakers "on the run".
Liberals/Democrats have real work issues: doing their job, showing up for work,
making hard decisions-- don't they????

Posted by: ohioan | February 18, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

"In my view, the voters get to pick their government every few years, and then that government gets to make policy until the next election, as free of special interest influence as possible."

Is this a humor piece? SO citizens don't have a right to collectively assemble, petition their government for redress, or organize to promote their interests? Only in election years? WHo's funding the Tea Party and do you imagine it may be possible that 'special (koch) interests' are involved?

Posted by: petenflux | February 18, 2011 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Since the Republicans seem hell bent on taking the country back to the 1880's, I'm just wondering how soon they'll propose bringing back slavery and indentured servitude.

Missouri State Senator Jane Cunningham just introduced legislation to repeal all child labor laws.

Welcome to the Republican Vision of America’s Future.

Start work when you are 13 or 14. Work until you are 69 and retire without health care or Social Security.

Posted by: affable100 | February 18, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The Independence Party funds the Tea Party.

Posted by: RadPost | February 18, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Since the Democrats seem hell bent on taking the country to poverty, join the Independence Party and save America from bankruptcy.

Posted by: RadPost | February 18, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic senators in Wisconsin must not believe in democracy. There was an election in November that resulted in a GOP governor and legislative majority. This effort to halt the process of state government is disgusting.

Posted by: rwe123 | February 18, 2011 4:54 PM | Report abuse

If I had to legislate alongside a pack of wild-eyed Tea Party nutjobs advocating a return to the pre-Industrial Age, I'd need a vacation, too. You guys enjoy yourselves over there. Kick back, hit the pool, have a few drinks, go see a movie. We understand. Really we do.

Posted by: yogi11 | February 18, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

up until a couple years ago the productive part of the economy ignored the self serving activities of federal, state and local politicians and bureaucrats as if they did not affect the life of the average American.
As more and more people have been becoming aware that these bureaucratic monsters are suffocating the real economy, we have observed initially a vocal backlash in the spring of 2009 and increasingly a voiced dissent among the electorate.
Last November's elections are an inkling of what is to come.
The democratic party over the last 20 years or so has been able to corral the vote of a number of special interest groups through the largesses of governments in the form of high salaries excessive benefits, useless grants, pervasive nepotism.
As the money for such largesses has become depleted, they will not be able to retain the loyalties of interest groups. As these are mercenaries after all, they can be easily bought.
The productive part of America instead is motivated by principles instead, and, although the GOP is also a corrupt organization, is less so then the DNC. This is why we are seeing a flight of independents to the right, and to the right of the GOP i may add.
This trend is inescapable, we have tried easy street and did not work, now comes the paying back of the excesses.
A vast philosophical change is underway in America. For the better of course.
Walker may well be the next Christie , just better ( and slimmer)

Posted by: Aldol | February 18, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Nice argument and I appreciate the logic toward public unions. But Walker is targeting only the unions that worked against him in the election. The public unions that supported him are exempted from the legislation. It's hypocrisy.

Posted by: allknowingguy | February 18, 2011 3:34 PM
=================
I see it more as fire and police actually endanger their lives to do their job.

Kind of like military versus other government service. I consider it like hazard pay.

Being out in the field deserves more just compensation, especially medical, than jockeying a desk.
========================================

Cyros:

Then give them hazard pay, just like the military. But he has clearly created a sweetheart deal for them. They are exempted not only from the cuts, but from ALL other provisions. It begs the questions: If the other unions had supported him, what would this plan look like? Is this fiscal responsibility, or just political patronage and payback?

Posted by: allknowingguy | February 18, 2011 4:34 P
==========
Twisting it to your view doesn't make it true. "Give them hazard pay" is the type of ridiculous response I'd expect from someone like you.

The "sweetheart deal" is things like collective bargaining power for benefits. That makes sense for fire and police as is tied to job hazard. It doesn't make sense for some overpaid paper pusher.

The union bosses and democrats are just mad because their tax payer driven free living and re-election campaigns are in peril. Meanwhile you gullible foot soldiers get used like tools.

Posted by: Cryos | February 18, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I am not running for office and don't intend to, so I'll go ahead and say it: to get ourselves out of this hole, we simply need to raise taxes moderately. When a family's income goes down and it's time to pay the rent, the whole family chips in. Why is it different with a country? We could balance our budget in a week if everyone kicked in sixty bucks a year or so. We wouldn't have to sacrifice anyone's poor grandma or let transplant candidates die (as they're doing here in AZ)--we could still be a "great country" that actually takes care of its citizens. I'm really not sure if it's sixty bucks, but that's probably not far off the mark. So, when did contributing to the common good become a negative value in this country? Oh, yeah, Reagan.... god,he had nice hair.

Please don't make lame noises about taxes stifling job creation. GW Bush tried that over the past decade. We all know how many jobs his tax cuts created. They did, on the other hand, pay for some really nice second homes in Switzerland and the Bahamas.

This segue actually does relate to Gov. Walker and his union busting, by the way. It's all one big package: union busting, drowning the govt. in the bathtub, etc. It's like a flu virus: call them what you want, they all give you fever, achy joints, and a really lousy attitude.

Posted by: yogi11 | February 18, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Wow . the lefty sheep seem to have developed a fascination with a certain German politician from the 1930s-1940s. they seem to see him everywhere and in everything. Yet only a year ago , the same sheep were bleating about the tea party invoking the name of the same dictator in reference to St Obama. AH is somewhere chucking in his beer that he is so popular and has been embraced by one and all .

Posted by: ejhickey | February 18, 2011 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Charles Lane, you get an A for writing about the real reason the teachers are protesting. No, what the public sector unions really can't abide is the legislation's requirement that public employees vote every year on union representation, coupled with an end to the automatic dues check-off on state paychecks. For the first time in decades, these organizations would actually have to prove on a regular basis that they're voluntary; and they would have to collect their own political war chests, instead of relying on the government to extract the cash for them. In other words, it would make them play by more democratic rules. And that's what they can't stand. WOW! Talking about kicking a field goal.


Posted by: houstonian | February 18, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin is the proving grounds for new policy that may domino accross the country. As globalizations economic transistion imposes dramatic budget cuts, diminishing public services, and social programs that benefit the general population. The State Goverments are becoming more Totalitarin, and Autocratic. They do so knowingly, these crisis's have been obvious outcomes of revenus shortfalls, that occurred by alderman allowing Big Business interests supercede the general welfare of the public. These budget shortfalls were predictable years ago, by simple mathmatics of which apparently an educated ? govern body could not forsee the enevitable outcome. This is not only evident with Wisconsin, this is evident within the entire governing body of the country.
What is sickening, is that beyond a shadow of a doubt, this example of Man dominating Man to his own injury, is a premeditated assault on their fellow citizens. How so? Here are some coincidence's you might want to ask yourselves. In 2007 the goverment changed the Bankruptcy Laws , Mr. Bernake is appointed head of the Federal Reserve, his coledge PHD is in the Great Depression, Global Warming impacts are deliberately censored by the Bush/Chenny Administration to forstall any realistic preparation.The bailout of the Wallstreet, allows the redistribution of risk properties that are jeapordy due to global warming under the disquise of a financial meltdown( remember AIG, i.e. global risk), while deferring the debt to the U.S. general public.
The average wage scale in competing countries is far from U.S. workers , the only way Goverment can manipulate competitive wages is by destroying unions , and collective barginning. There are few Unions in China, or India. These are Totalitarin Regimes. Their influneces within our goverment has grown to influence now our own policies. Their investment protocals are determined to destroy the workers rights to the benefit of a few. Their interests are to obtain our natural resources sureptitiuosly through bribing unscrupulous public servents, take the lake in Sitka Alaska sold to India, and arrange to be shipped by tankers provided by Texas Corporation. For that matter new dicussions being introduced to allow China to invest in the U.S. infrastructure. i.e. railroad, roads and more.
People like Gov. Walker are just another mouth peice for the disecting of America, under the ruse of duress, imposed by quess who? Our Own Elected Officials.
Everyone in Wisconsin should really review the intire budget, and scrutinize what areas of pork belly spending is evident, as well as stand for rights that were established for long acknowledged principles to give workers a decent ability to withstand unfair opression. That is why unions were established in the 1st place. The disgusting greed of employers surpassed the need for human decency of the public. By all things observed, history is repeating itself, only thu a very cunning and baffling means. Don't give in

Posted by: graymatter11 | February 18, 2011 5:15 PM | Report abuse

[@ 4:13 PM on February 18, 2011 anOPINIONATEDsob Posted: "At last, The proletariat rises up..."]
= = = = = = =
Ah yes, the old 'proletariat rises up' SOSOS. What half of the *ss that's left of the proletariat do you consider yourself, 'b? The stupid half that is allowed to live and work any *ss you still have left after the 'revolution' off, and all of the bourgeoisie have been unceremoniously disposed of, or the half of the proletarian intelligentsia that also are nearly always wiped out as well? Which is it stupid survivor, dead no-longer useless idiot, or, or, maybe a closet bourgeoisie? Ah yes, can't wait for the Bolsheviks to rise to power and wrong every right that has ever been righted. We could call it the Bolshevik Brotherhood. Maybe 'b stands for Bolshevik, eh?

Posted by: RichNomore | February 18, 2011 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I concur with Houstonian on Mr. Lane's A grade for defending the overlords. If A stands for Avarice.

Wait, I have an idea. Let's all hate on teachers for a few rounds because a few might not be that good at their jobs. Stupid teachers. Hate em, spending all day in the classroom instructing our children for wages a third to half of what the guy who fixes your toilet gets. Hate em to pieces. This world would be better off if there were no teachers at all. Stupid teachers and their stupid A B Cs.

I say turn the hoses on them.

Posted by: yogi11 | February 18, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Your revolution is over, progressives. Condolences.

The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sir.

The bums will always lose. Do you hear me, Lebowski? The bums will always lose!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBFaaDmpieI&feature=related

*Hippies Smell*

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | February 18, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I went overboard in my last response so sorry about that but throwing out ideas like "just give them hazard pay" not well thought out are how the US got into its predicament today.

It is a possibility that the fire and police unions are a "kickback" however there are many other reasons why it makes sense.

Also if he tried making it apply to fire and police I can already predict the emotional responses from liberals. "Evil republicans want to endanger your life and property by underpaying the people employed to protect you" and the usual emotional attacks.

Posted by: Cryos | February 18, 2011 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I concur with Houstonian on Mr. Lane's A grade for defending the overlords. If A stands for Avarice.

Wait, I have an idea. Let's all hate on teachers for a few rounds because a few might not be that good at their jobs. Stupid teachers. Hate em, spending all day in the classroom instructing our children for wages a third to half of what the guy who fixes your toilet gets. Hate em to pieces. This world would be better off if there were no teachers at all. Stupid teachers and their stupid A B Cs.

I say turn the hoses on them.

Posted by: yogi11 | February 18, 2011 5:31 PM
==========
Teachers in that state are making $50k+ a year for the most part. That isn't exactly pocket change.

There are also some nice vacation windows inherent in a teaching job.

Posted by: Cryos | February 18, 2011 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Charles Lane, you get an A for writing about the real reason the teachers are protesting. No, what the public sector unions really can't abide is the legislation's requirement that public employees vote every year on union representation, coupled with an end to the automatic dues check-off on state paychecks. For the first time in decades, these organizations would actually have to prove on a regular basis that they're voluntary; and they would have to collect their own political war chests, instead of relying on the government to extract the cash for them. In other words, it would make them play by more democratic rules. And that's what they can't stand. WOW! Talking about kicking a field goal.

Posted by: houstonian | February 18, 2011 5:13 PM
==================
Yep my thoughts exactly.

Posted by: Cryos | February 18, 2011 5:47 PM | Report abuse

It's a con alright, just as the Republcans have been conning the middle class for years but when you look at their actual voting records you will see that they're in the pockets of the wealthy and well-connected and done't give a damn about the middle class or workers in general.

Another Republican con game if you're stupid enough to believe them then you get the government you deserve. Oh wait, we already have that especially with the new hookers in the house, led by Bag-man Boehner being bought and paid for better than the old hookers ever were.

Posted by: affable100 | February 18, 2011 4:42 PM
==========
You are conned into not seeing the forest.

Foreign competition have DEEP pockets and are buying out American politicians to take over markets and buy out American companies.

Your simplistic "corporations versus the people" in reality is "American corporations versus state owned foreign corporations." For example do you really think the Chinese and Russian state owned oil companies are either
1. Not a factor
2. Care more about American than American companies.

I hope you're not that gullible. Obama like Clinton has eased the export of high technology and dual purpose goods which is how countries like China got competing products to imitate in the first place.

Posted by: Cryos | February 18, 2011 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Teachers in that state are making $50k+ a year for the most part. That isn't exactly pocket change.

There are also some nice vacation windows inherent in a teaching job.
-----------------
50k. Is that too much for an experienced teacher? That means they take home maybe 30k, which is what entry-level teachers get in WI (so they take home something in the low 20s). Are you saying teachers in WI are too wealthy? What's a teacher worth? Do you have kids, by the way? I feel like if they have to buy books and other materials out of their own pockets for their classrooms, which teachers do in most states run by GOPers, 50k is definitely not too much.


The only reason they're getting 50k is because they've had a union to keep them from getting 30k. Take their union and you'll take any hope of a decent, livable wage in the future, and WI children will suffer--especially with people like Ranger "kick-em-down" Walker in charge. Because he'll undoubtedly cut education funding, too. It's a mindset. Of course, he'll give plenty more tax cuts to businesses, who will busily continue to not hire people and invest the money instead.

As the Tea Partiers like to shout, "I hardly recognize my country anymore." Greed rules, like it always has, but way more. Just keep pinching those pennies and see where it gets us. Probably near-last among industrialized nations for innovation, education, and quality of life. USA RULES!

Posted by: yogi11 | February 18, 2011 6:06 PM | Report abuse

[5:15 PM on February 18, 2011 graymatter11 Posted: "...globalizations economic transistion(sic)...Goverments(sic) are becoming more Totalitarin(sic)...outcomes of revenus(sic) shortfalls...simple mathmatics(sic)...alderman...enevitable(sic) outcome...beyond a shadow of a doubt...Mr. Bernake...coledge(sic)...PHD is in the Great Depression...that are jeapordy(sic)...investment protocals(sic) are determined...due to global warming under the disquise(sic) of a financial meltdown...China, or India. These are Totalitarin(sic) Regimes...The disgusting greed of employers surpassed the need for human decency of the public..."]
= = = = = = =
Astonishing, just astonishing. Wonder if spell checker would correct Kaczynski if misspelled?

Posted by: RichNomore | February 18, 2011 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Teachers in that state are making $50k+ a year for the most part. That isn't exactly pocket change.

There are also some nice vacation windows inherent in a teaching job.
-----------------
50k. Is that too much for an experienced teacher? That means they take home maybe 30k, which is what entry-level teachers get in WI (so they take home something in the low 20s). Are you saying teachers in WI are too wealthy? What's a teacher worth? Do you have kids, by the way? I feel like if they have to buy books and other materials out of their own pockets for their classrooms, which teachers do in most states run by GOPers, 50k is definitely not too much.


The only reason they're getting 50k is because they've had a union to keep them from getting 30k. Take their union and you'll take any hope of a decent, livable wage in the future, and WI children will suffer--especially with people like Ranger "kick-em-down" Walker in charge. Because he'll undoubtedly cut education funding, too. It's a mindset. Of course, he'll give plenty more tax cuts to businesses, who will busily continue to not hire people and invest the money instead.

As the Tea Partiers like to shout, "I hardly recognize my country anymore." Greed rules, like it always has, but way more. Just keep pinching those pennies and see where it gets us. Probably near-last among industrialized nations for innovation, education, and quality of life. USA RULES!

Posted by: yogi11 | February 18, 2011 6:06 PM
==========
So what is your proposed "fair" wage for teachers?

So why should good teachers or teachers in technical subjects be making the same wage as bad, tenured teachers teaching softball subjects?

Posted by: Cryos | February 18, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

I think teachers ought to make at least as much as plumbers, and more than politicians. Actually, it sounds like teachers are at a pretty fair wage in WI. Must have had some Dems in charge for awhile, before the anti-intellectuals took the reins. Unions definitely helped. But it won't last if the state is run by Tea Party fanatics whose mantra is "cut taxes, no matter who gets hurt, as long as it's not me or my wealthy friends."

I don't know what a "softball subject" is. Is that a code word for "subjects that liberals respect?" Is science a softball subject? English? So English teachers should be paid less than, say, Wood Shop teachers? It is amazing how every thing--everything--has taken on this partisan edge. We really are at war, aren't we. It's the hippies vs. the jocks, all grown up.

Posted by: yogi11 | February 18, 2011 6:19 PM | Report abuse

It may be harsh measures are to be called for,,as the islamic communist protestors in Bahrain were stopped by the force of the Govt. .perhaps the same with the communist workers and labor unions rebelling in Wisc. Law enforcement and the power of the state may have to fire upon these types to save our country.

Posted by: schmidt1 | February 18, 2011 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I think teachers ought to make at least as much as plumbers, and more than politicians. Actually, it sounds like teachers are at a pretty fair wage in WI. Must have had some Dems in charge for awhile, before the anti-intellectuals took the reins. Unions definitely helped. But it won't last if the state is run by Tea Party fanatics whose mantra is "cut taxes, no matter who gets hurt, as long as it's not me or my wealthy friends."

I don't know what a "softball subject" is. Is that a code word for "subjects that liberals respect?" Is science a softball subject? English? So English teachers should be paid less than, say, Wood Shop teachers? It is amazing how every thing--everything--has taken on this partisan edge. We really are at war, aren't we. It's the hippies vs. the jocks, all grown up.

Posted by: yogi11 | February 18, 2011 6:19 PM
==============
"Hard" subjects are technical subjects like science and math that take significant education and intelligence

Art, literature and other subjects do not require the same intelligence and education to teach yet unions insist that being a breathing human being, not skill or ability, are the determining factor in wage.

FYI the states are bankrupt.

Posted by: Cryos | February 18, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

[@ 6:06 PM on February 18, 2011 yogi11 Posted: "...out of their own pockets for their classrooms, which teachers do in most states run by GOPers..."]
= = = = = = =
Well there you go again, footloose and fancy free with civil reason, yogiii. What do teachers do in most states run by DNC'ers, freedom and just school supplies for all? Why do you people always narrow the focus when you need scope, and pan the horizon looking for any way to ignore the absolute truth of a situation, when it is staring you in the Facebook, snapping at your posterior? Show me a state that has been for any period of time, in any way dominated by Union Building, Progressively Progressive Progressivism, and there you will find a Republican now trying to pick up the pieces of a broke and broken down infrastructure, that has been so eloquently described by Chris Christie (NJ) as the roots of selfishness, watered by the gardeners of withered vines, fallow ground: Organizing for America | BarackObama.com, Organize America | Gather, and the willing Media Partners of these Arms of the Democrat Party.

Beautiful little secret, yogiii, there will always be those wealthier than you think they should be, those less wealthier than you think they should be, those who are more powerful than you think they should be, those who are less powerful than you think they should be, and no matter how much rage and outrage you throw at that reality, you are but a cypher in the grand scheme of things, so get over it and get over yourself, you will be a whole lot more useful to you, and to the society as a whole.

There is no right or left anymore, just up or down. WE choose up. What say you?

Posted by: RichNomore | February 18, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Power to the bureaucrats! They're entitled to better pensions and benefits than we, the people, are and it's our obligation to pay for them.

Thank you, special interests, for all the wonderful sacrifices you make for us. With our blood and with our lives we will defend your sacred sinecure to the end!

Posted by: DJ_Spanky | February 18, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse

RichNomore: I say it'll take a week or so to decipher the truths you're shouting at my truths. Wish I had the time.

As for Repubs "picking up the pieces," who do you suppose it was who drove us into our recent economic meltdown? Who was in charge when most of it happened? Clue: Walkerites. This isn't to say there weren't some greedy Dems involved in the financial legislation that left us all unprotected, but it was mostly GOPers who slashed the regulatory apparatus, and it was definitely GW who pushed the greedhead philosophy behind it. And you gotta know most of those greedy bankers bundling risky loans were not Al Gore supporters. And Clinton balanced the budget, by the way. An inconvenient fact your side usually pretends to forget.

Saying "That's just the way it is" in regard to income disparities might work for you, but if yours was the general philosophy, we'd still be pulling 8-year-olds out of school to work in the factories, to cite one of a thousand examples. Here's a truth to chew on: Comfort + lack of empathy = "That's just the way it is."

Here's a shoutout to Cryos for explaining to us which subjects require the most intelligence to teach. Maybe RichNomore can explain to him that sometimes that's just the way it is, that those dumb Literature teachers sometimes make more than Engineering teachers, and you just have to live with it. On that topic, did you hear about recent research demonstrating that liberals have higher IQs than conservatives? How do you square that finding with your theory on who teaches what? Political slant doesn't determine academic path? There's also evidence that most scientists--a "hard" subject--lean liberal (thus the evil global warming conspiracy(. Makes the head spin, don't it?

I'd love to stick around and continue to argue ideas that neither of us will ever accept, but adios. Gotta get my bell bottoms to the seamstress. She's putting flowers on the cuffs!

Posted by: yogi11 | February 18, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

RIGHTIST THUG GOVERNOR WALKER CREATED THE BUDGET CRISIS IN WISCONSIN OUT OF THIN AIR !!!


Walker and the new Republican-controlled state legislature in Wisconsin largely created the deficit problem they claim must be solved on the backs of public servants.


Walker claims that the state is broke. However, the Wisconsin Fiscal Bureau, a sort of in-state CBO, disagrees with Walker and projects a net positive balance of 56 million for the state by the end of June, 2011. Further, the Bureau argues that the state would have had an additional $139.7 $202.8 million to work with over the next two years if not for the tax cuts already passed during Walker’s brief administration. Yet further, as recently as February 1st, Walker did not announce his plans on how to pay for those cuts:


The measure joins three others Walker has signed in his first month in office that he said will send a message that Wisconsin is more business friendly. Walker, a Republican, has seen his legislative agenda speed through the Republican-controlled Legislature even though he has yet to explain how he'll pay for everything in light of the state's projected $3 billion budget shortfall.


WALKER IS EXAGGERATING AND FUELING WISCONSIN'S FISCAL CRISIS AS AN EXCUSE TO BUST UNIONS !!!


http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/wisconsin-gov-walker-ginned-up-budget-shortfall-to-undercut-worker-rights.php


The top salaries for gov't workers in Wisconsin would include Walker and his Republican pals, who are currently taking a sh^t on their lower wage counter parts.


Why isn't anyone demanding that Walker and Co take a severe pay cut and give up their benefits?


There is no budget crisis in Wisconsin, that's why.


Walker created this "crisis" out of thin air just for the opportunity to bust Wisconsin unions.


PASS IT ON, DEMOCRATS !


LET'S TAKE BACK OUR FREEDOM FROM THE DICTATOR RIGHTIST GOONS !!!


IMPEACH MULLAH WALKER AND THE RIGHTIST TEABAGGER THUG GOV'T IN WISCONSIN !!!


.

Posted by: DrainYou | February 18, 2011 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I want to take exception to some of the people who tell us that we workers have voting rights within the Union.
We might get to vote, but the Union very often decides whether or not to honor that vote. I have been in several unions over the last 43 years, and everyone of them reserves their "right", to ignore the workers vote on any ballot that is not literally witnessed by a Federal Official.

Posted by: kesac | February 18, 2011 7:24 PM | Report abuse

It's not about political reform, budgets, fiscal responsibility or even about unions. If it were, the police and fire unions would be subject to the same legislation. It's about rewarding your friends and punishing your enemies, while creating smoke so that those who can be fooled all of the time believe you're standing on principle.

Posted by: BuddyK | February 18, 2011 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Why unions are afraid of going private. I am an employer. I have over a dozen people that work for me. I go through more then a dozen ever year until I find the ones that make me a profit. That is the reason i am in business to make profit. That is the reason anyone goes in to business period. The ones that make me a profit I pay well above union wage because I want to keep them period. The ones that do not make me a profit they are either let go or ran off by the other employees because they realize that if I don't make a profit they don't have a job Period. The unions are full of the people that cant make it in the private world so they resort to extortion to make some one to give them a job period.

Posted by: texasoil | February 18, 2011 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Herr Lane
What is democratic about an outside group insisting that a different organization must have votes on an annual basis, and must have a different method of dues collection. These are decisions for the organization to make for itself. That is democracy, the Union members saying we want to have annual election for representation so our leaders must perform or we quit, we want our dues collected direct from our checks because its easy. What you propose is a true nanny state, the elites setting the rules for the powerless.

Posted by: Panzerfaust | February 18, 2011 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Wisconsin is the proving grounds for new policy that may domino accross the country. As economic globalization transistions impose dramatic budget cuts, diminishing public services, and social programs that benefit the general population. The State Goverments are becoming more Totalitarian, and Autocratic. They do so knowingly, these crisis's have been obvious outcomes of revenus shortfalls, that occurred by aldermen allowing Big Business interests supercede the general welfare of the public. These budget shortfalls were predictable years ago, by simple mathematics of which apparently a educated ? govern body could not foresee the inevitable outcome. This is not only evident with Wisconsin, this is evident within the entire governing body of the country.
What is sickening, is that beyond a shadow of a doubt, this example of Man dominating Man to his own injury, is a premeditated assault on their fellow citizens. How so? Here are some coincidence's you might want to ask yourselves. In 2007 the goverment changed the Bankruptcy Laws , Mr. Bernake is appointed head of the Federal Reserve, his coledge PHD is in the Great Depression, Global Warming impacts are deliberately censored by the Bush/Chenny Administration to forstall any realistic preparation.The bailout of the Wallstreet, allows the redistribution of risk properties that are jeapordy due to global warming under the disquise of a financial meltdown( remember AIG, i.e. global risk), while deferring the debt to the U.S. general public.
The average wage scale in competing countries is far from U.S. workers , the only way Goverment can manipulate competitive wages is by destroying unions , and collective bargining. There are few Unions in China, or India. These are Totalitarian Regimes. Their influences within our goverment has grown to now impact our own policies. Their investment protocols are determined to destroy the workers rights; to the benefit of a few. Their interests are to obtain our natural resources sureptitiuosly through bribing unscrupulous public servents, take the lake in Sitka Alaska sold to India, and arranged to be shipped by tankers provided by Texas Corporation. For that matter new dicussions being introduced to allow China to invest in the U.S. infrastructure. i.e. railroad, roads and more.
People like Gov. Walker are just another mouth peice for the disecting of America, under the ruse of duress, imposed by quess who? Our Own Elected Officials.
Everyone in Wisconsin should really review the intire budget, and scrutinize what areas of pork belly spending is evident, as well as stand for rights that were established for long acknowledged principles to give workers a decent ability to withstand unfair opression. That is why unions were established in the 1st place. The disgusting greed of employers surpassed the need for human decency of the public. By all things observed, history is repeating itself, only through a very cunning and baffling means. Don't give in

Posted by: graymatter11 | February 18, 2011 9:10 PM | Report abuse

So what is your proposed "fair" wage for teachers?

So why should good teachers or teachers in technical subjects be making the same wage as bad, tenured teachers teaching softball subjects?

Posted by: Cryos |

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

Michelle Rhee tried and pretty much failed in DC to reward the smartest and most inspiring teachers. She offered to pay the best up to $140,000 a year in exchange for giving up tenure. The unions of course said hell no.

Posted by: bbface21 | February 18, 2011 9:15 PM | Report abuse

for richnomorefrom graymatter11

Sorry about the missed spelling, I am somewhat of a phonetic talker, however the points that were made are worthy of investigation.

Some of the comments that suggesta communist manifesto are ridiculous. The facts if inquired on will bear witness to the truth.

The possibility that those that critized are concerned about the ideas having some validity, and therefore spinning it down over actually looking at the message, might do well to look at the history before making opinionated rhetorical bellowing.

WE own 3 bussiness's , and i have closed millions of dollars worth of contrcts.
I have been the blue collar guy, and the company man. Unfortunately the ehtics that I grew up with being a product of the baby boomer generation, far exceeds the thinking of bottom line neanderthals that exist today. If they came from our generation , they have not progressed past the Hawkish war beuracracy of the Vietnam era. The pundunts that they are , still throwing their dis information grenades, hoping to confuse everyone while they steal them blind.

This debate is really about the Rich taking from the average, or poor. The rich saying this is the way it's gonna be , and the poor saying , you got another thing coming.

The rich are have been training the National Guard to take care of the any resistance. Years ago we didn't have them fighting our wars over seas, that wasn't their purpose. We are building our own cages.

I can prove my assertions, I predicted with my posts years ago what is occuring now. I am not happy that those predictions are true, simply because my friends and family are the recipients of this squander of American resources, of putting each and every citizen owing tens of thousand of dollars that they recieve no benefit from.

Emerson once said, "if you can control education, you can control society" , well can't think of a better place to start than with the teachers.

Listen to me now, understand me later.

Coming to a theater near you.

Posted by: graymatter11 | February 18, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Lane, I don't want to believe that you are a dim witted putz, but you keep writing crap that is breaking down my defenses. The American people did not elect the low life who is now the "governor" of Wisconsin, corporate America, aided by the low lives on the supreme court, elected the putz. The same can be said about the 2010 elections. Maybe it is your illness that makes you nuts for now.

Posted by: tuonela | February 18, 2011 10:19 PM | Report abuse

I'll give Messr. Lane credit. This has nothing to do with the phony budget crisis. It's an attempt to destroy any unions that support Democrats. Convenient how police and firefighter unions are exempted, no?

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | February 18, 2011 10:35 PM | Report abuse

When Republicans get hold of some power to abuse, they always do the same thing: declare war on the American people. The victims are too numerous to list.

It's worth remembering where Joe McCarthy came from.

Posted by: rbmurals | February 18, 2011 10:40 PM | Report abuse

After decades of Private sector union busting cutting your pay, retirement and benifits all so the Big Bosses and investers can rake in oversized rewards, you guys want to drag the Public Sector unions down to your level, instad of going after the people who put you there. What a bunch of Maroons

Posted by: notthatdum | February 18, 2011 11:34 PM | Report abuse

dbw1,

Try as you might, you can't change the fact that Scott Walker inherited a $123 million surplus and in a single month turned it into a $137 million deficit (I've seen $141 mil cited). Walker did it by giving handing out cash and tax breaks to corporate pals. Our state pensions are 97% funded, the unions conceded $100 million in the last round of negotiations, and many corporations in Wisconsin pay no tax at all.

Where are you getting your 'facts'? Because I'm getting mine from Wisconsin State Representatives currently on-scene, who've been participating in these events. And from local alders, mayoral candidates and deep-in-the-weeds newsmen.

Your 'projected 2-year deficit of several $billion' is wrong. Check out last link below for details. Meantime, this'll cure you of the lie that Walker inherited

http://m.host.madison.com/mobile/news/opinion/editorial/article_61064e9a-27b0-5f28-b6d1-a57c8b2aaaf6.html

"Walker keeps talking about how the state is broke, yet he had no problem making $3.8 billion in campaign pledges to the wealthy to reduce the state's tax collections," Pocan charged, citing figures estimated by the liberal advocacy group, One Wisconsin Now. "Furthermore, he later promised an additional $1.5 billion pledge to repeal the corporate income tax."

http://markpocanwi.blogspot.com/2011/02/scott-walkers-manufactured-crisisaka.html

Posted by: TPaine_PHenry | February 19, 2011 12:00 AM | Report abuse

I have one fundamental critique of Mr. Lane's commentary. He claims that the real reason for this uproar is not the diminishing of bargaining rights or benefit cuts, but rather annual voting for the union. He establishes the inference that the public sector unions would have to begin to develop their own fundraising initiatives to achieve their political financing goals. My critique is this. The 30,000 people demonstrating are not labor leaders or union bosses. They are workers and concerned citizens. This isn't about union self-preservation as Mr. Lane claims it to be. It's about justice for the working class and public servants.

Posted by: reine185 | February 19, 2011 12:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm laughing at the Public Sector Unions... THEY'RE GOING TO LOSE, GUARANTEED... the reason they're so angry and desperate is they see their power body surfing straight down the toilet.

YOUR DAY IS DONE UNION LEECHES, R.I.P BLOODSUCKERS

Posted by: TonyV1 | February 19, 2011 12:41 AM | Report abuse

@TonyV1, I don't think so.

Posted by: AnneNonnyMouse | February 19, 2011 2:12 AM | Report abuse

I have to admit I was wrong.

I assumed that public employees chose having very good health and pension benefits in place of higher pay. I thought they took this lower risk path for personal security.

Turns out that it was actually the states who preferred increasing benefits in place of pay.

My mistake.

Posted by: timothy2me | February 19, 2011 6:20 AM | Report abuse

When Republicans get elected they beat up on public sector workers; that is what they do to divert attention away from the real villians in the country, thier wealthy cronies that are providing them all the funds for campaigns and lavish perks they are provided. It is predictable. Easier to beat up on school teachers than the wealthy corporate managers who will give them lucrative jobs when they retire. And the gullible fall right in line and applaud like the good little sheep they are.

Posted by: withersb | February 19, 2011 7:49 AM | Report abuse

How embarassingly silly. Charlie Lane thinks the real story is that the Wisconsin unions are afraid of annual decertification elections. It's not about their members' basic democratic rights to organize and bargain collectively. It's not about their ability to resist being forced to pay for the budget crisis caused by Wall Street and years of reckless tax cutting. No, he wants us to believe that it's about the annual elections. Please.

Gov. Walker has proposed to strip the unions of the ability to bargain at all -- even "negotiable" base wages cannot rise more than inflation. That is, he has proposed to make the unions totally powerless and a waste of money -- virtually assuring they will be voted out in annual decertification elections. Walker is pursuing the agenda of his corporate backers to destroy the labor movement and Lane wants to pretend otherwise.

Come on Charlie, you can do better than that. Just admit it, you don't think working people should have any say about their pay and benefits. You disapprove of the unions' opposition to the business agenda in America. Just say it, don't treat your readers like idiots.

Three decades of Washington Post editorials have successfully aided and abetted the destructuion of the private sector labor movement. I guess its the public sector's turn -- and Charile is doing a bang up job of attacking public workers at every turn in the editorials he writes. The plutocracy he advocates is all but realized.

Posted by: algonac1 | February 19, 2011 7:51 AM | Report abuse

"I think you loud mouths should spend one full day with a teacher any grade and stay all day and see what what its like to teach 30-40 kids day in and day out I dare you you gutless wonders I dare you...."

A situation brought to you by teachers unions and school boards alike as well as the parents who believed they had their kid's best interests at heart.

Two pillars of education in this country are teachers unions and tenure, both of which have turned our schools into a joke amongst industrialized nations.

Pretty soon they will be asking how many Americans it takes to screw in a light bulb.

Union professions should be treated like any other profession. Some of the highest paid workers in America don't require "collective" bargaining to get ahead. They rely on their own skills, education and intelligence.

The only unions that make any sense today are trade unions to help kids get from high school to a career via an apprenticeship program and those are the ones that are mostly gone.

Replaced by unions who offer very little value to the American worker beyond their rarefied realms of influence and complete protection from the consequences of their actions.

Like bus drivers who routinely run people down in DC and never lose their jobs.

Posted by: JasonEverettMiller | February 19, 2011 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. Lane, for a common sense view of this matter. Naturally it stings those who don't want to hear it. The state government in Wisconsin is trying to righten a listing ship in the way it deems most sensible. Period. Nothing illegal, unconstituional, or unethical is involved, let alone a crime against humanity. A differently constituted government would have gone about it another way. The purpose of elections is to decide who gets to decide.

They whiners and hysterics never grew up. Maybe they needed better teachers.

Posted by: Roytex | February 19, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

So workers have no right to organize? Only industry can organize. The first tycoon Vanderbilt said that anytime there's a social gathering with business leaders, it is never good for the public but there is no prohibition of them gathering.

Posted by: guyachs | February 19, 2011 9:54 AM | Report abuse

The Republicans are waging war against the middle class? Well, good luck to them. President Obama cares so much about middle class folks that he gave them to FECKLESS JOE BIDEN. No longer must anyone in the middle class worry.

Posted by: sailhardy | February 19, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

$300,000,000.00 Fund Raiser for """Obama Proof of Eligibility""" Right now millions of Americans want to donate money to any group who will go after Obama and produce all his records? Upwards of 100 million people are demanding his records and willing to pay to see them, even large amounts of money woudl be donated some say by individuals? One person said, "Real long term success and greatness in our country are founded upon the principles that people do not lie, cheat, or steal but Obama does not know the meaning of these words. Our nation is neither succeeding nor is great at this point in time because we have allowed Obama's voice to grow and spread throughout our society. Shame on us, we shuld have said stop the lying long ago...
Our nation does have the potential to be a fabulous nation again; however, let’s stop kidding ourselves in thinking that we are a great nation currently. How is it that America has lost its greatness? One word, Obama!!!!

Posted by: Richie5 | February 19, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

$300,000,000.00 Fund Raiser for """Obama Proof of Eligibility""" Right now millions of Americans want to donate money to any group who will go after Obama and produce all his records? Upwards of 100 million people are demanding his records and willing to pay to see them, even large amounts of money woudl be donated some say by individuals? One person said, "Real long term success and greatness in our country are founded upon the principles that people do not lie, cheat, or steal but Obama does not know the meaning of these words. Our nation is neither succeeding nor is great at this point in time because we have allowed Obama's voice to grow and spread throughout our society. Shame on us, we shuld have said stop the lying long ago...
Our nation does have the potential to be a fabulous nation again; however, let’s stop kidding ourselves in thinking that we are a great nation currently. How is it that America has lost its greatness? One word, Obama!!!!

Posted by: Richie5 | February 19, 2011 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Tea baggers??? isnt that hate speech???

oh no only if a conservative utters it outts his pie hole??

the left never ever resorts to hate.....

Bottom line: Why should I have to contribute more to my pension or health care and STILL pay less than my neighbor,,who privately employed, when I can parade my kids, show that after the Cairo mob, the Tunisian mob..

we can have our OWN mob in midwinter!

Just as long as I get mine..who gives a rip if my other union "brethren" get laid off by the boatlaod

I got MINE!!!!

RIP

Posted by: Leopard71 | February 20, 2011 2:50 AM | Report abuse

Remember after 9/11 when these rightwingers were falling all over each other in support of first responders? Fire fighters, cops & EMT's could do no wrong. My, times have sure changed! Now they're ready to throw them under the bus to advance their corporate anti-union agenda. Hypocrites? Liars? Who knew!

Posted by: valeoftheoaks | February 20, 2011 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Lane! yet another right wing nit wit. Where does the Post dig up these know nothings?
Who ever heard of him?

Posted by: Barbi520 | February 20, 2011 9:00 AM | Report abuse

"what we have here, apparently, is a clash between two very different concepts of American democracy "

Yes. One is the idea that only rich people and big business should be allowed to influence politics, so organized labor needs to be neutered in any way possible. That's the view you've attached yourself to. And, seeing as how it is the view backed by the guys with the big resources, from a atrict make-a-buck perspective, you've chosen wisely.

As to calling that "a concept of democracy", however, I think you flatter yourself a bit.

Posted by: sembtex | February 22, 2011 1:22 AM | Report abuse

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