18 February 2011

Wisconsin

I find this simultaneously hysterical and disturbing.  Now that I think about it, that's how I find most of politics.  This is just extra hysterical and extra disturbing.

Fleeing the state?  Really, Dem legislators?  Really?
Houston Chronicle / AP | Scott Bauer | Wis. lawmakers flee state to block anti-union bill

MADISON, Wis. — Faced with a near-certain Republican victory that would end a half-century of collective bargaining for public workers, Wisconsin Democrats retaliated with the only weapon they had left: They fled.

Fourteen Democratic lawmakers disappeared from the Capitol on Thursday, just as the Senate was about to begin debating the measure aimed at easing the state's budget crunch.

By refusing to show up for a vote, the group brought the debate to a swift halt and hoped to pressure Republicans to the negotiating table.
Those would be negotiations to reach a "compromise," which in this case means "giving us what we want (even though we're in the minority)". Curious they're suddenly so interested in negotiations, seeing as how the unions refused last month to renegotiate compensation with the State.

Jon Erpenbach, one of the legislators-on-the-lam said he was fleeing because his constituents "hadn't been heard on the issue yet." I think they were heard pretty loud and clear last election day. But maybe mobs of special interest groups are a better way of "hearing" the citizens than are general elections.

Don't get me started on people comparing Walker to Mubarak. Really, protestors? You're chanting "Freedom, Democracy, Union" while trying to block a vote from occurring. Do you have any sense of irony?

Some of the more militant libertarians need to be reminded that being asked for your license and registration when you're pulled over for speeding does not make America a "papiere, bitte!" fascist nation. They need to be reminded from time to time to have some perspective.  Not everything that doesn't go your way is the end of the world.

So let me give the same advice to all the protestors in Madison: GET OVER YOURSELVES! Being asked to contribute 1/17th of your pension costs and 1/6th of your health care premiums is not a mortal affront to your dignity, liberty, or perpetual honor. It's a better deal than millions of your countrymen are getting. Look around you. There are legions of people who would love to have the offer you are fighting against.

For that matter public employees in most other states don't even have it this good, to say nothing of the private sector. Half of states don't allow collective bargaining at all. And those that do have only allowed it in the last few decades. This is hardly some basic human right that's being infringed here. Even FDR thought public sectors unions were a bad idea. Hell, the first president of the AFL-CIO thought they were a bad idea!

The War Over Government Spending will be one of the few defining conflicts of my generation. This is the first battle in that war.

PS Obama's Organizing for America has a big hand in ginning this up. I'm so glad we're living in a "post-partisan America" now.  All politics is special interest politics.

PPS Let's cue up some film of C.Christie:
Policeman: “My salary went up 2%. And after the increase in my healthcare costs went in, do you know how much my check went up Sir? $4. How am I supposed to live on that?”

Gov. Christie: “Here’s the difference. You’re getting a paycheck. And there are 9% of the people in the state of NJ who are not.”

2 comments:

  1. Now, I know this kind of thing grinds your gears but the more important line from the article you linked to is this one:

    "Mr. Walker's very modest proposal would take away the ability of most government employees to collectively bargain for benefits."

    Ending collective bargaining rights is not a "modest proposal." It is quite obviously the beginning of a none-too-subtle slippery slope that will end the Teachers Union there.

    You don't like Teachers and other public sector unions; I feel fairly agnostic on them, but people in those unions are very much in favor of them. So much in favor of them that people unaffected by the wage and pension cuts are out in support of those that are because of the principle of the thing.

    Discounting the opinions of ~20k folks and telling them to go home, while saying of them that they are undemocratic because they are delaying (not stopping) a vote has its own irony. Public demonstration is a stock event in democracies. Public outcries are how The People make their opinion heard when their reps (who you routinely mention you despise) aren't doing their jobs correctly.

    Now, the fleeing Dem officials? Eh. Shrug...that's just showboating, trying to goad Walker into saying something else they can publicly refute. It's a spectacle. Glad it isn't my elected reps, but probably wouldn't care much if it was. They'll be back, the vote will happen and Walker and his team of Republicans will either consider the importance of these protestors or they won't. But, I know something of Wisconsin and there's more than a handful of Republicans in that crowd.

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  2. You had to comment right before I leave town. Now this is going to be banging around in my head the whole time I'm motoring up 95.

    I probably wasn't being very generous to the protestors because I'm cranky, especially about budgets right now. But I think I can offer a wider defense of my position with respect to public sector trade unionism, and I hope to when I get back to town.

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