Free Markets, Free People

Madison equals Cairo? Not even close

It’s a cold day in hell here as I favorably quote someone who I usually savage.   And I have to revise my thoughts on the left not getting irony – apparently some do.  Who am I taking about?  Joe Klein.  Yup that Joe Klein, TIME’s Joe Klein.  He actually gets it:

Revolutions everywhere–in the middle east, in the middle west. But there is a difference: in the middle east, the protesters are marching for democracy; in the middle west, they’re protesting against it. I mean, Isn’t it, well, a bit ironic that the protesters in Madison, blocking the state senate chamber, are chanting "Freedom, Democracy, Union" while trying to prevent a vote? Isn’t it ironic that the Democratic Senators have fled the democratic process? Isn’t it interesting that some of those who–rightly–protest the assorted Republican efforts to stymie majority rule in the U.S. Senate are celebrating the Democratic efforts to stymie the same in  the Wisconsin Senate?

An election was held in Wisconsin last November. The Republicans won. In a democracy, there are consequences to elections and no one, not even the public employees unions, are exempt from that.

I know … you’re wondering, “what did they do with the real Joe Klein”, but hey give the devil his due (keeping with the cold day in hell metaphor) – he’s exactly right.

The other Klein, the Ezra type, not so much.

Let’s be clear: Whatever fiscal problems Wisconsin is — or is not — facing at the moment, they’re not caused by labor unions.

That, sir, is irrelevant.  Whatever “fiscal problems” are present need to be solved by having across the board spending cuts and that’s the point of requiring public service labor union members to pitch in a little more on their benefits.  Essentially what Wisconsin is trying to do is put state employees on an even par with private employees in terms of benefits.P1-AZ544_UNIONS_NS_20110217194803

Here’s the bottom line of what is triggering these protests:

Besides limiting collective-bargaining rights for most workers—excepting police, firefighters and others involved in public safety—it would require government workers, who currently contribute little or nothing to their pensions, to contribute 5.8% of their pay to pensions, and pay at least 12.6% of health-care premiums, up from an average of 6%.

Wow.  No more free lunch.  Can’t imagine that, can you?  You know, actually having to pitch in for your pension and health-care?  Privately employed citizens have been doing that forever.  So why are the public sector folks exempt?  Well that’s the dirty little secret isn’t it?

Let’s go to Matt Welch for the answer:

We are witnessing the logical conclusion of the Democratic Party’s philosophy, and it is this: Your tax dollars exist to make public sector unions happy. When we run out of other people’s money to pay for those contracts and promises (most of which are negotiated outside of public view, often between union officials and the politicians that union officials helped elect), then we just need to raise taxes to cover a shortfall that is obviously Wall Street’s fault. Anyone who doesn’t agree is a bully, and might just bear an uncanny resemblance to Hitler.

There is Wisconsin in a nutshell – distilled as well as you’ll find it anywhere.  These deals were mostly pay for play and the state’s taxpayers were sold down the river.  I noted some months ago that the Democrats have become the party of public service unions instead of the party of the blue collar worker.  They are dependent on the money and machine those powerful unions provide to stay in power.

And when that machine falters?  Well, you get tantrums like this.  Remember the union protesters in Illinois a few months ago clamoring for the governor there to raise taxes instead of cutting their benefits?  Just like Ezra Klein they want to lay off the fiscal mess on others instead of recognizing its reality and understanding that the free ride has come to an end.  It doesn’t matter if the unions had anything to do with the mess – the mess says everything is on the table.  That’s the only way out of the mess.

But, this is Armageddon for the Democrats and their stakeholders.  If states succeed in breaking the hold public service unions have on government, Democrats stand to lose substantial power.   That explains why President Obama has entered the fray.  While he wouldn’t back the protesters in Iran because it might be seen as meddling in the internal affairs of the state, he has no qualms whatsoever of meddling in the internal affairs of the state of Wisconsin.   Apparently elections only have consequences when he wins.

What has the unions so terrified of the Walker plan?  Well here’s the plan:

His plan allows workers to quit their union without losing their job. He requires unions to demonstrate their support through an annual secret-ballot vote. He also ends the unfair taxpayer subsidy to union fundraising: The state and local government would stop collecting union dues with their payroll systems.

Under that plan, union membership would be an actual choice instead of a mandated requirement to hold a job.  Horror of horrors.   How dare a governor advance something which actually enhances freedom (choice = freedom) – why that makes him a dictator, of course and akin to Hitler.

Make no mistake, these protests in Madison aren’t about democracy, freedom or liberty.  They’re about the left’s power and something they love to project on the right and Wall Street – selfishness.  The protests are a collective tantrum from adolescents who refuse to acknowledge that their special-interest Candyland no longer exists and while it did, it existed on the back of the tax payers who were made to unwillingly subsidizing their way of life.

This is the wrong fight, in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Democrats are on the wrong side.  Public sector unions are not popular and despite Ezra Klein’s denial, are held responsible for some of the fiscal problems the states face (like pensions):

A new poll from the Washington-based Clarus Group asked:

Do you think government employees should be represented by labor unions that bargain for higher pay, benefits and pensions … or do you think government employees should not be represented by labor unions?

A full 64% of the respondents said "no."

That includes 42% of Democrats, and an overwhelming majority of Republicans. Only 49% of Democrats think public workers should be in unions at all.

So, as you watch these “protests” keep them in context.  They’re an astroturfed attempt, orchestrated from the highest office in the land,  to keep the power current structure in place that underpins the political power of the Democrats.  This isn’t about rights or liberty or freedom, this is about power and money.  And it has finally unmasked the left in this country and revealed what it is really all about.



31 Responses to Madison equals Cairo? Not even close

  • TEA Party supports democracy.
    Flee party prevents democracy.
    Really, that simple and demonstrable.  The Collective cannot tolerate majority rule…unless they are winning.

  • 946.12 Misconduct in public office. Any public officer or public employee who does any of the following is guilty of a Class I felony:
    (1) Intentionally fails or refuses to perform a known mandatory, nondiscretionary, ministerial duty of the officer’s or employee’s office or employment within the time or in the manner required by law; or
    (3) Whether by act of commission or omission, in the officer’s or employee’s capacity as such officer or employee exercises a discretionary power in a manner inconsistent with the duties of the officer’s or employee’s office or employment or the rights of others and with intent to obtain a dishonest advantage for the officer or employee or another;

    For those curious about what criminal law might be in play.

    • Does this apply to Congress-critters ?  I mean, late Henry B. Gonzalez spent his last years in Texas, when he just could stand to be a minority member anymore (till his son could replace him).  He died a year later, so many he claimed illness or something.

    • The “Badger 14”: Escape From Wisconsin
      At 8:12 p.m. yesterday this blog posted (see below) the following:
      Important — The Janesville Gazette reports today that Sen. Timothy Cullen expects “the Democrats [will] be back in the Senate chamber around noon Saturday.” Here.
      In an interview with Frank Schultz of the Gazette, Sen. Cullen stated that he supported only “one more day of holding out”: “‘I think we made our point, and I think it does give people another day or so to find out what’s in the bill, if they care to find out,’ Cullen said.”

      • Translation “Polls are in and running from our responsibility is not helping our re-election chances.”

  • Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald said he decided to adjourn the Assembly this evening because Gov. Scott Walker called minutes before lawmakers took the floor to tell him to get his caucus members and staff out of the building because their safety could no longer be assured
    The GOP Assembly leadership — Speaker Fitzgerald, Majority Leader Scott Suder and JFC Co-chair Robin Vos — have issued a statement reaffirming their commitment to pass the bill next week.

    • AWOL Wisconsin Senator Democrats are hiding at the McCormick Place Hotel in Chicago.  In 28 more days, these wayward Democrats establish their Chicago residency … and can then run for mayor !!

  • Steven Malanga details the rise of the public employee union empire in his book ‘Shakedown.’ It’s not a long book, but it’s almost more than you can take. This book was anticipated by his earlier ‘The New New Left,’ which I also have but haven’t yet taken a serious look at. It details the spiral staircase that led to the current situation with these unions.

    Public employee unions are insulated from market forces and must be distinguished from private sector unions, whatever you might think of those. In the case of the latter, no one forces you to buy a Buick. But, for the former, everybody is forced to buy the public schools. So, all you have to add to that is continuously growing power over legislatures, who can fix the rules for you, and that’s how you get contracts that pay you twice the median income and pension and health benefits into eternity.

    In the annual budget vote in my town, the voters get a choice between “more” and “more more.” Never “less” to conform with, ah, what they can afford. The local district here ran their budgets right the hell up on the back of residential real estate values. Next up is what I beleive will be a move in Albany to fob its unaffordable share of school funding off onto local property taxes, and that will be hailed as reform. People will get to vote on new budgets that are nominally more than the existing budget and just a little bit higher than a “rollover” budget, and a no vote will kick in what’s called an “austerity” budget, just a percent or so above the previous year. But that will come with a decrease in the state’s contribution, with a consequent rise in property taxes to cover the new shortfall.

    All of this has been fixed in legislative stone in Albany and its an absolute killer for homeowners, especially when homes have lost, around here, roughly 25% of their value, in some cases more. The assets have deflated in value, but not the taxes.

    That is the “market” that public employee unions face.

    • I personally think one of the killer provisions in the Wish-consin law is that raises in pay are tied to inflation…OR a state-wide referendum.
      See, as you suggest, public sector unions OFTEN “bargain” with the same people in government they got elected.  That is clearly a conflict of interest, but it happens continuously.
      I am for private-sector unions in principle, they being an example of freedom of association…with which I am cool.  BUT I would take away the MANY special exemptions they have in state and federal law which apply to all other entities, such as anti-trust law.  They, of course, would find that anathema.
      There is no excuse for public-sector unions in light of civil service law.

      • Most of the problems of the private sector unions come from the incestious method of electing national leadership with the votes of local leadership.  The rank-and-file have no control over the national level leadership, not even a vote.  A good example: CWA (Communication Workers of America).
        Meanwhile we have the hybrid union, the UAW.  It now has both hats: company and workers.  With a new contract up for next year, it could get ugly.  It will be interesting if Obama shuns these folks after giving them the store.

    • Just in case it’s not clear, when I refer to “the annual budget vote in my town,” I mean the annual school budget vote.

      Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

  • Ah, now the outlaw Collective is adding medical fraud to the mix!!!
    Not content to lie by calling in “sick”, the union pukes…perhaps worried about CONSEQUENCES…were getting “notes from a doctor”…whose practice is conducted under a protest sign.
    Does the flee party have ANY integrity???

  • Although the union is spearheading the protest nonsense, I would guess the compensation issue is not exclusively a unionized public employee issue as much as a public employee problem.
    At the federal level, union employees only represent about 30% of federal employees.  I would bet in most cases the remaining employees have the same or better compensation that is equally disproportionate with the private sector these days.
    Everyone needs a haircut.

  • I forget where I heard it, but I wonder with Obama all about supporting the Madison/Cairo alleged protesters, would he resign if a couple hundred thousand people showed up at the Whitehouse to protest his presidency?

  • Here is a question in all seriousness–
    Is the conduct of the President in organizing the shut-down of a state government by lawless acts an impeachable offense?
    If not, why not?

  • There are reports of doctors on street corners in Madison handing out “excuses.”  But in what might be the most unkind twist of all, “Crooks and Liars” is claiming these “doctors” aren’t doctors at all, but in fact are stooges working for Andrew Breitbart.  Any teacher showing up back at school with one of these “excuses” is toast.

  • [Walker’s] plan allows workers to quit their union without losing their job. He requires unions to demonstrate their support through an annual secret-ballot vote. He also ends the unfair taxpayer subsidy to union fundraising: The state and local government would stop collecting union dues with their payroll systems.

    Ohhhhhh!  NO WONDER the thugs are so upset!  I wonder how many of their own members don’t really like the union and would be perfectly happy to vote them out.  I also wonder how much the union dues are each paycheck.  O’ course, one would never know any of this from MiniTru coverage, which is limited to ensuring that that crowds look huge and energized, that Walker is an intransigent prick who won’t even talk to the union, and that his only goal is to break the unions and he’s just using an alleged fiscal crisis (there’s ALWAYS more money to be had; just raise taxes) to fire teachers.

    I happened to see C-BS’s “Sunday Morning” yesterday.  It was a neat bit of propaganda: they started out with a story (an apt term here) about the situation in Wisconsin that completely avoided any mention of how much the teachers make or even what the governor wants from them.  Money quote [paraphrasing]: “I’m afraid that, if we lose the union, I won’t have a job!”  It was followed by a story about a little town an Alabama where, because the city is broke, they haven’t paid retiree pensions in over a year; this ended with a roll call of pensioners who’ve died since then with the implication that they died because the greedy government wasn’t paying up.