We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
In the romantic liberal vision of this union uprising, determined workers are standing up to the powerful. But there's no fat-cat owner wanting to pocket more profits here. The unions' target in Wisconsin is the taxpayer.
Those statehouse Republicans want to bust up that longstanding sweetheart deal in which public employee unions elect Democrats, who turn around and give the unions anything they want.
This arrangement between the unions and Democrats has led to unfunded liabilities for pension and benefits for retirees that now total $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion among the states.
I think the backlash is going to be harsh, and the Presidents' joining the fray is going to hurt him with the middle class. Too many taxpayers feel left out of the equation and resent the apparent greed, childishness, anger, bullying, and inflexibility of the people who are in their employ. It's understood that there is much - if not everything - at stake for the government unions who currently seem to own the Dem Party. However, by making such a conspicuous and unappealing spectacle during a time when so many are out of work, underemployed, or plain hurting, far more people are becoming aware of the sorts of generous deals these unions have made with their Dem patrons in the cities and states.
Only government employees get pensions these days, and many governments have switched to normal 401-Ks.
As Gov. Walker commented, the people of Wisconsin are saying "Hey, where can I sign up for this deal?"
I think people are most appalled by the teachers' behavior. People want to admire teachers. They are damaging their reputations and damaging their cause, so I suspect they will evoke little sympathy regardless of whatever justice may be in their cause.
Hats off to Gov Christie, TigerHawk's "Governor Awesome," for having shown the way to sanity and responsibility.
This economist seems to have understood the situation long before, basically the problem with retirement benefits is driven by the union driving up labor costs and therefore inflation:
"The greatest danger to an adequate old-age security plan is rising prices. A rise of 2% a year in prices would cut the purchasing power of pensions about 45% in 30 years. The greatest danger of rising prices is from wages rising faster than output per man-hour.... Whether the nation succeeds in providing adequate security for retired workers depends in large measure upon the wage policies of trade unions."
-- Sumner H. Slichter (1892-1959)
So it would appear that the unions are on the wrong side of the whole issue.
Anyone who has ever worked in a large organization has encountered people who never learned this rule: one way to lose the war is to insist on winning all the battles. Those are people who collect enemies, other people who, when they see an opportunity, do what they can to terminate the offender's career.
Unions are like those short-thinking bullies.
If I were in charge of the world I'd build a monument to the Reuther brothers who organized the car workers in the USA.
I'd place that monument outside the biggest auto manufacturing plant in China so that the Chinese workers can tip their hats to the people responsible for the shift of work from our country to theirs.
The union leaders in Wisconsin are risking the wrath of the many millions of Americans (the majority) who do not belong to unions. I, for one, will never buy an automobile manufactured in a union plant. When given a choice of shopping at Kroger (unionized) or WalMart (non-union) I always go to WalMart.
If we ever reach an anti-union tipping point and millions decide to never patronize unionized businesses these dinosaurs will finally face their demise.
Unions were a great idea ... in the 1930s. They've become bullies and deserve our fear and hatred.
Jesse Jackson bussed his ACORN crew into Madison to support the union, while the WI Democratic senators hid in Illinois, the mother state of Obama, Daley, Ayres, Alinsky, Hillary Clinton and a billion dollar public debt. Hmmm...me thinks a win for Gov. Walker bodes badly for the Illinois unions.
Seems odd that Obama, who compared himself to Reagan a few months ago, is calling out support for the WI unions. Wasn't it Reagan who fired the striking air traffic controllers?
More of that "smart diplomacy" by Obama. He could have offered his good offices to get the WI parties together to talk and perhaps compromise, but instead he "acted stupidly" once again, thereby encouraging the unions to harden their position. Is it any wonder that the negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, for example, are going nowhere with this sort of clumsy approach the White House always resorts to? Whenever Obama gets involved, he polarizes the situation beyond all possible redemption and becomes a danger to the entire world.
Carney is so right when he concludes "At bottom, this is the unions versus the people."
The Unionized worker gets to vote on who sits on both sides of the table. For example, gets to vote on who gets elected to the local School Board and then, depending on how democratic his teacher union really is, gets to vote on whom to represent his interests in negotiating with the local School Board.
Same thing happens at the State Level. Unionized worker gets to vote on whom will become Governor and Legislature who ultimately decide on the "management" position and strategy at the bargaining table and also gets to vote on whom will represent the other side.
A nuance I didn't fully grasp 40 odd years ago when I was a negotiator for the University of Wisconsin's first two labor contracts with its public employee unions.