Isn’t it amazing how quickly civility is thrown out the window when the tables are turned? It has been 72 years since the GOP controlled the legislature and the Governor’s office in Wisconsin so it shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody, including President Obama, that Governor Scott Walker is making good on his campaign promise to fight collective bargaining by public unions. He’s simply following his mandate. The voters have spoken and the time for change has come. This isn’t the change Obama was hoping for when he was elected and when he created the website Organizing for America that is helping the pro-union protests.
Are the people of Wisconsin being treated with civility when President Obama says the following to a Milwaukee TV station? “Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain, generally seems like more of an assault on unions” No, Mr. President, this is a fight for freedom. The 14-point victory you had in 2008 in the Badger state is no longer there.
The President also referred to this being about police and firemen. It has nothing to do with them. It is about limiting collective bargaining rights for most workers except them. Wouldn’t you think he’d get the facts right before fanning the flames of discontent? Walker is proposing government workers contribute 5.8% of their pay to pensions and at least 12.6% of healthcare premiums. Both figures are below the private sector average contributions. Governor Walker’s proposal should not be a surprise to anyone; including the Democrat members of the legislature that have been M.I.A.
What about the jobs saved? Isn’t President Obama all about jobs saved? The Governor is trying to save or not layoff 5,500 state jobs and 5,000 local jobs. The private sector has lost jobs and those still employed are keeping this house of cards afloat with $137 million deficit in the current budget and a projected $3.6 billion in the next two years.
The people have spoken and it’s up to politicians to act on the mandate demanded of them just like the vote that should be going down in Wisconsin. The cozy relationship between union leadership and politicians has to stop. Voters have had it. Opensecrets.org, which follows campaign money, reported the following: “In the 2008 cycle, unions gave 92 percent of a total $74.5 million to Democrats and spent another $80 million on independent broadcast advertising, mail and internal advocacy to help elect Democrats or defeat Republicans.”
In addition to Wisconsin, over a dozen other states around the country are standing up to union leadership. Here in New England, specifically in New Hampshire we could be the 23rd state to become a right-to-work (RTW) state. The last state to become RTW was Idaho back in 1986. This week the NH House passed a RTW law by a vote of 221-131 and isn’t far from the super majority needed to override a veto promise by Governor John Lynch. (Read my recent report on the muni crisis and how Right to Work laws can protect states and towns: A Threat to the Muni Union)
Thanks to JFK and Governor Jerry Brown for the collective bargaining mess we’re in around the country. JFK gave federal workers the power in 1962 and Brown did the same for state workers in 1978. Now it’s up to the people to demand that their politicians put an end to this government overreach.