Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wisconsin in Turmoil

Facing a massive budget deficit and the undeniable necessity to cut taxpayer costs, the Governor of Wisconsin has at last stepped forward and - with the help of conservative legislators - put forth a plan to trim costs.  What he is doing takes courage.  When Evil Prospers applauds these measures and encourages the Governor to stand firm and do the people's business, no matter the threats and bully tactics that are being directed his way.

The main target of his cuts are the public sector unions, a glutton of taxpayer dollars for decades.  Actions like this have been needed long before now and it's refreshing to see a group of politicians finally step forward with tangible action to shrink the bloated bureaucracy that has crippled the taxpayers for years.

In response, the public sector workers - namely teachers - have shut down the school system, abandoned their students and gathered in massive protest at the state capitol.  Their battle cry is "Freedom! Democracy! Unions!".  Well, I guess two out of three aint bad, with a nod  to Meatloaf.   These people don't believe in freedom in any way, nor do they support democracy, but they very much believe in unions and they are showing it. 

Freedom?  Does freedom mean coercing students to join your protest?  Packing the capitol building with hopes of disrupting the process?  Does freedom mean demanding more from taxpayers while giving them mediocre schools and education in return? 

Democracy?  The Governor and legislature were elected by the people and are therefore in office to do the people's business.  You can protest all you want, but seeking to shut down the democratic process and silence your opponents by shouting them down is NOT democracy, nor does it represent freedom.  And in yet another nod to tyranny, the democrat senators of Wisconsin have reverted to fugitive tactics and fled the state in order to avoid a vote and, yes, shut down the democratic process.  They will not vote unless the law is changed, unless the Governor bends to will of the "workers", whether or not such action is supported by the majority of voters.

This is the union's idea of freedom.  This is the democrat party's idea of democracy.  Submit to our will or we will cripple the system.  Damn the voters.  Freedom! Democracy! Unions!  Che Guevara would be proud, as would Karl Marx, Fidel Castro, Kim Jung Il, Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin.

And just what is it that has the American Soviets so upset?  The Governor is ending their collective bargaining (read: bullying) power, so that children in the public education system can no longer be held hostage by threat of teacher strikes and holdouts.  He is requiring public workers to contribute to their own retirement plan (like the rest of us must do); he is requiring them to contribute to their health care plan (like the rest of us must do) and he is requiring ANY pay raise that exceeds the inflation rate to be approved by voter referendum.  Imagine that, the people who foot the bill being given a little say-so in how much they have to pay!  These measures will save the state a lot of money and go a long way to bridging the massive budget gap the people of Wisconsin face. 

Unacceptable, say the Soviets.  They want that budget gap closed by tax hikes, namely by hikes on those of us who are already asphyxiated by taxation so they can continue to draw their cush retirements, golden-plated health care benefits, ironclad job security, all while herding our kids through crappy, drug-infested schools and graduating them with barely enough ability to read and write, yet plenty of knowledge about Marxism and a "workers of the world unite" mentality. 

I say it's about time something like this was done and I give the lawmakers of Wisconsin a standing ovation, and follow that by asking why is Texas not doing the same?  I guess I'll be contacting my state senator soon.  Until then, stand firm Governor!  Let them protest.  Let them threaten.  Let them fight all they want, but whatever you don't let them intimidate you.  We - the people of America - have had it with these bully tactics of the public service unions and we'll be bullied no more.  Their days of gluttony on the backs of people like me are over.  God bless you all, and be strong!!



Doctor John!- Thank our lucky stars, you're back in the saddle!

Most folks are unaware of the powerful influences of the big union bosses over elected officials. The Service Employees International Union, SEIU Boss Andrew Stern tops the list of frequent visitors to the oval office since the presidential inauguration on January 20, 2009, and George Soros has easy access too.
The UnitedAutoWorkers outrageous demands are pricing us out of world markets, and how many really know or care about the details?

You stated that "Wisconsin in Turmoil {post}...the public sector unions (are)...a glutton of taxpayer dollars for decades."

Here's the fact-based evidence as reported by the MacIver Institute:

Marty Beil, ExecDirector of AFSCME made $161,847 in 2008, and Assistant Director Jana made $138,553 and Rich Abelson $106,122 in 2009. Compare these figures with Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker, he makes considerably less than Marty Beil at $144,423. Whew, Stinko! And 'cush retirements', perks & bonuses are probably the rest of the story.

Welcome back, John.

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Anonymous said...

The issue of contributions to pensions of public employees is serious and ongoing. That said, John, I think it would be helpful if you chose to inform yourself b/f posting an opinion. Check out Ezra Klein's 2.19.11 article in the The Washington Post together w/ the links contained therein.

Wisconsin faces a $137 million it budget shortfall for the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2011. B/c of the tax cuts spear headed by Gov. Walker thta were passed last year, for the next biennium, July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013, the shortfall is expected to be $3.6 billion.

I cannot speak as to why the good people of Wisconsin elected Scott Walker but I doubted they did so to exacerbate existing problems which he seems to be doing.

He and you would do well to remember that the underpaid civil servants who are protesting his actions and policies are tax payers too.

You know, if you live in Wisconsin, or Colorado, or any other place where it snows, there is nothing to remind you of the effect of decreased government revenue like the snow plow not arriving until long after noon, way too late to allow you to go to work or your children to go to school.


John Washburn said...

Loop, this is an old disagreement that you and I will never settle. You hold Mr. Keynes in much higher esteem than I and because of that the two of us will never see eye to eye on these matters.

But for the readers I will say that simple economics and US history have proven that you cannot achieve long term economic success with tax increases. Never in our nation's history has this occurred. Tax increases always lead to stagnant business, slow growth, economic slowdown; which leads to layoffs and high unemployment, and lower business receipts. Ultimately that leads to low tax receipts because those who don't work can't pay taxes on zero income; and the businesses don't make as much money and therefore don't owe as much tax. Thus, high taxes essentially lead to LOWER tax revenue.

Contrast that to tax cuts and you free up capitol for business to reinvest in the economy, grow, and eventually hire. This leads to low unemployment and fatter bottom lines. More people are in the workforce paying taxes and businesses are bringing in bigger profits, thus paying more in taxes despite the lower rates. Therefore, low taxes mean HIGHER government revenue. This has been proven time and again despite the talking points from those who wish to impart more and more class warfare.

George W. Bush's tax hikes led to record...RECORD government revenues, eclipsing those seen under Reagan. That's a fact.

So using the tired argument that tax cuts caused this problem won't work anymore. At last the people are waking up to this reality.

Obviously, a tax hike will temporarily boost revenue but that is only temporary. Perhaps our government can impose higher taxes to close these current budget gaps and the problem would be temporarily solved, only to be revisited in 3 or 4 years when the effects of those tax increases begin to manifest. That would be irresponsible. Even President Obama knows this which is why he wouldn't revoke the Bush tax cuts.

No. Instead, if you want to close a short term budget gap AND ensure long term economic prosperity then you must cut spending immediately and drastically while also cutting taxes. It's the only way.

What Gov Walker is asking of these people is more than reasonable. I must pay a portion of my health care and my retirement fund, as do the VAST majority of American workers. Asking the public sector unions to do the same is modest at best. The alternative - that I pay my healthcare premiums AND theirs - is getting really old really fast. I don't mind pulling more than my fair share of the weight here, but by God they should be pulling SOMETHING!

So despite your incinuation, I am well versed in the topic at hand. Budgets must be cut. Taxes must be cut. To do otherwise would only lead to more problems for my children and yours. Personally, I'm for cutting ALL programs in the interest of fairness, including public worker entitlements. This is a good start and I stand with the Governor and the people of Wisconsin (who were well aware of his intention). May other states follow suit.

As for the snow plow operator, if he feels that his job does not pay a fair wage or provide enough benefits, then I'm sure there are many out there dying to find work who would gladly climb in plow the streets for what the government is offering. Same can be said for all other public workers.

Auntyem said...

Hello, John, I see something got you back on your blog again.

Well, time will tell if Walker can balance his budget, and create the 250,000 jobs he promised. I don't see how limiting revenue will help matters any.

Cutting taxes since Bush was in office hasn't done much good, and things have been sliding downwards, and it is not the fault of those being scapegoated.

I already saw several signs in the Wisconsin crowd that read "A Republican no more". People are loyal until it affects their pocketbook or job security. Walker only won by 54% and his ham-handed way of dealing with the unions, threatening them with their right to assemble and protest and bargain, only started a fire.

I feel unions should be regulated like anything else, since workers sometimes suffer while laggards are absent, tardy, non-productive and the union reps (some extreme liberals) always take their side. Management has a right to manage, and workers have an obligation to respect and comply with their contracts.

You said that Kim and other dictators and communists would be happy with our demonstrators, but now that the people in some of their countries have had it, the leaders have taken to shooting at their "dear people" with fighter jets, hanging them, "disappearing" them. No, they would not be happy.

Unions still have a place, and any who think they will take a step backward might find themselves out of office. The Gov. should have shown true leadership and reasonably led all his constituents into the fold, not just those who voted him in. I think the unions know they have to tighten their belts in this economy, and the workers have been willing to be furloughed to do their part.

We are headed towards the model of the Northern European countries who have a balance of social programs and trade and employment similar to ours. The extreme conservatives cannot have it their way as neither can the extreme liberals.

If the Gov gets his way, he will really have to come up with the jobs, if not, the pendulum will swing back the other way.

Port Orchard, WA

John Washburn said...

Reb, thanks for the kind words and the loyal readership. I have been working on a few different projects, thus the absence. Plus, sometimes life just happens, you know.

But make no mistake, my radar is up, and I have been following events closely. Hopefully I can stay regular on the blog. I still have to finish the top 20 list I compiled a while back.

John Washburn said...

Em, thanks for the comment. To be clear, the Governor is not threatening anyone's right to assemble or protest. He is proposing to strip collective bargaining from the public unions. Why? Because he has promised that public jobs won't be lost if this bill passes. That promise can't be kept if unions are allowed to push local governments into a corner and regain the concessions that are detailed in the current bill. Should that happen, then local governments will have no choice but to layoff and furlough workers.

Plus, there isn't much point in passing a bill that asks for workers to contribute more to their own retirement and health care if those workers retain unbalanced power to reverse what's in the bill at the next contract negotiation. We just find ourselves back to square one.

Besides, I see no problem in the taxpayers approving a pay raise by referendum. How could anyone oppose this?

As for Europe, I will remind you that the nation's you speak of are in dire financial condition, with high unemployment and ballooning debt. High inflation is just around the corner. There is no "balance" there. The heavy weight of entitlement spending has only just begun to drag the EU down.

First, it was Greece. Interestingly enough, when the Greek govt tried to cut back on entitlements we saw a response similar to what's being seen in Wisconsin, only much more violent. For us, it's no different, we're just a few years behind them as far as the severity of the economic situation.

The jobs will come, so long as conservatives get this done without yeilding ground. It has been so in the past and will be so again, if the courage to change things remains.

As for unions, no they don't have a place in a free market society. They do little more than drive up the cost of labor (see GM and Chrysler) and thus the cost of goods and services for us the consumer, who are already paying for many of their "benefits" via taxation. It's de facto welfare and it is counterproductive on multiple levels.

In a free market, the merits of one's labor is what gains advancement and reward, not the threat and thuggery that comes with sheer numbers. Unions have been nothing but a detriment to our society and our economy and most Americans would agree with me. Fortunately, the percentage of unionized workers is steadily shrinking, so future is brightening a bit in that regard.

Good to hear from you again.


Doctor Washburn - John L. Lewis Union Power, UMW, got 10 yr old kids out of the coal mines and back in school in West Virginia many decades ago, and that was good.

Today's Unions are mostly gluttons, political monsters that swing a heavy hammer over the "rank & file" members, and over elected congressmen and women.

You join, or you're a "scab".

Ask your detractors why Service Employee International Union, SEIU Union Boss, Andrew in Obama's Oval Office, listed as the top visitor (once a week) since January 20, 2009.
Who the devil is really running this nation? It isn't grass-roots democrat or republicans any more.

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John Washburn said...

Reb, I've heard of the "noble" things done by unions in the past but, honestly, I don't buy it.

If you ask me, I'd say that when the unions targeted child labor they were just trying to eliminate competition for wages. I think it's a stretch to say the union bosses were sincere in their concern for the child workers.


Differing opinions are healthy...and that's good!

In a recent e-Mail, Loop Garoo (TLGK) suggested that Gov Sarah Palin..and "her ilk"...were a serious problem.

During the 2008 Campaign, I recall
the feisty Sarah suggesting that we should "Drill Now" if we want to maintain $2.00 per gallon pump prices.

Now, two yrs later, with the OPEC nations in bloody turmoil, and Saudi and Libya oil production in immediate jeopardy, we have $3.10 gasoline, and $3.60 Desiel. The 18-Wheel Trucker Fleet fuel prices are up, and they deliver our food, plus other 'goods and services'.

Alaska's ANWR..North Slope, and Off-Shore are lookin' better every day!

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