Wisconsin Republicans Blame Unions For State’s Budget Woes

February 23, 2011

- See all 34 of my articles


In most elections it seems to use South Park as a reference, you have a choice of a giant douche or a shit sandwich. Unfortunately for the people of Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker seems to be both of them all rolled into one. Unless you have been hiding in a cave the past week or so you know that there have been daily mass protesting State Capitol building in Madison. This in reaction to Walker and his partners in crime bringing forth legislation to start the destruction of organized labor. That is what the legislation is plain and simple. Now it is being done under the guise of cutting spending and balancing the budget, but now that is a complete lie.

The legislation calls for most state employees to see cuts in pay and benefits, as well as seeing a large increase in the amount they pay into their pensions and health insurance. The other part of the legislation calls for unions to lose almost all their rights, by only allowing them to “negotiate” for pay increases that are fixed to the rate of inflation. There would be no other collective bargaining as it is referred to for work conditions, benefits, performance or longevity based pay increases and so on. Basically making unions be that in name only as they would no longer have any real function anymore. The legislation also denies members from having their union dues directly taken out of their paychecks as a way to try to prevent unions from receiving funding as well as requiring a closed vote to be taken place to whether the unions are to continue to exist on an annual basis. Now the latter two do not seem highly important to me, but the first causes them to become that way down the line. If the union becomes a union in name only, why would anyone voluntarily pay the membership fees or vote for the union to be in.

I guess Walker and his political advisers from Koch Industries and other of the like did not see this backlash coming. They figured there would be a little fuss and that would be it. Instead they got a mass outrage to deal with that has now spread to other states with Republican led legislative and executive branches wanting to adopt measures of the like.

As I mentioned this is all being done under the guise of budget cuts. For 2011-2013 the state is projecting about a $3.6 billion dollar shortfall. What is not discussed as much is that around $2 billion dollars of that is from the effect of unpaid for tax break for businesses. A new normal? Really!? Sounds like more of the same old same old to me. The same old same old mentality is also evidenced that Walker left police, firefighters, state troopers and inspectors and their unions out of the legislation. It is easy to deduce that this is because these are the unions that to varying degrees of extent supported his candidacy for Governor. However all these unions have come out on the side of the protesters basically stating why should us and our families be any better than the rest of these unions.

Also because of this legislation, the 14 Democrat members of the Wisconsin senate have gone on the lam to undisclosed locations to deny quorum to be able to vote on the legislation. In reaction to this Walker has sent out state troopers to find the “missing” Democrats and drag them back to the statehouse for the Republicans to be allowed to shove this legislation down the throats of Wisconsinites. Also Walker stated he would not be bullied into things based on these actions. But who is the real bully Governor Walker? I would say it is undeniably you. The unions without any ask to sit down to negotiate terms have given into your monetary demands to solve your budget crisis. However that is not enough for Walker. He says there will be no compromise on this unions need to be broken. In this Walker stating that things need to be taken from the haves as the have-nots businesses have been paying the bill for too long. No besides being a completely ludicrous statement in whole, when was the last time anyone considered a teacher a have or well off person.

Also Walker has threatened to starting next week start to fire public employees if his legislation is not passed as he wants it to be by then. Saying it will be the Democrats fault if he does not get his way. Like the legislation, I think Walker is miscalculating where the public will lie the blame if people start to lose their jobs over his dictatorial style of rule.

As for the protestors at the statehouse it is amusing how they are being portrayed by the right. The are almost all in state people fighting for their rights, while those on the opposition side of the demonstration are being bused in from around the county by political “subsidiaries” of Koch Industries and the like. The former are being referred to as bottom feeders and worthless people by the right while the later are the true patriots. It is quite sad, but amusing to see. Also sad is the commentary coming from the right on what should be done. Most notably a former Deputy Attorney General in Indiana, another state facing the same political backlash, now saying that live ammunition should be used to take out the demonstrators (the official was fired after making the comment). After all, he says they are their political enemies and deadly force should be used to take care of them in his opinion, Now he isn’t the only one on the right who has been thinking this way, numerous jokes have been made of the sort on taking them out, it’s just he is an official that actually is on the record stating that this is what should be done.

An interesting new note that has come up is that Walker will actually continue to experience shortfall in the budget if he continues his desire to bust unions. The state would be set to lose $46.6 million in federal transportation money this year and other federal money allocated in other areas as well. This is because of a provision in federal labor law that states risk losing federal funding should they eliminate collective bargaining rights that existed at the time the funding was granted. Then again it really isn’t about the budget is it Governor Walker?

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Martin Kelly
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 17:50:11

    There are a number of interesting point in this article. Right after an election the winning side trys to implement what they ran on. For Obamacare, this is right, appropriate and patriotic. For Wisconsin it is horrible, dispicable and treasonous.

    When an attorney gerneral (R) makes a stupid statement about using live rounds on protesters, he is fired, but this still shows that people to the right politically are homicidale maniacs. When thousands of peace rally participants hold signs with then President Bush with a gun to his head or handing from a noose, they are calmly expressing their disagreement with the president on his foriegn policy.

    The abandonment of their posts to prevent votes has been going on since the 80s when the killer bees hid out for several month in Texas to stop education reform. As far as I can tell, only democrates have used this tactic. This is called a defense of democracy. It may be a defence of the democratic party platform, but I thought that democracy involved voting not preventing voting. If these people are against the bill, then they have every right to vote against it. If they are refusing to do their job, why are they being paid?

    Why are the federal grant moneys assocaited with union support? Does that link make the projects more efficient or create more jobs? I am a strong union supporter, they have provided many safeguards for workers, including myself (a freeloader). The unions were are talking about here (teachers and state employees) have done nothing to protect workers from abuse, they did not come into existance until after those battles had be fought.

    When I was younger, unions were to fight against greedy corporations. What corporation are they fighting against now? The elected officials of the state?

    I can see the teachers complaining about what they may loose, but they have trotted thier students out there as well and are calling in sick. Take the risk and just protest. The teamster didn’t call in sick. The government can not fire all teachers and still provide the eductation that has been promised. If the union stays together, they will win, they cannot count on a couple of congressmen hiding out to prevent the vote.


  2. The Angry Squirrel
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 18:30:27

    Yes Obama did run on health care reform. He did not accomplish what he ran on about it but that is a different story. Please show me wher Walker ran on Busting unions and i would not care about the issue.

    The Indiana deputy AG did make a stupid comment but is exactly what he wants to see done and has said so as much in nymerous attempts for him to be able to pull a Palin and be able to state what they meant to say when they fuck up and let their inner dialouge be their actual speech. Never said those upset with Bush were peacefully expressing their views though with signs of that sort though…

    Well I thought Democracy also meant legislatire worked towards things instead of allowing no debate before vote which seems to be the case here.

    This is the first assault on ending all unions which is why all unions not just those affectedd here are in support here.


  3. The Angry Squirrel
    Feb 23, 2011 @ 18:44:12

    There are lots of things about federal government that don’t make sense but those provisions actually do. It is not just labor laws that are the case there are a lot of things that states can do that lose their federal funding when they go against the grain of things. Makes sense to me you can do what you want as a state but if it doesnt fly with government policies then, no soup for you! Or roads in this case.


  4. Martin Kelly
    Feb 24, 2011 @ 17:17:45

    I don’t see this as the first stage of busting all unions. Reagan fired all of the air traffic controllers back in the 80s with the effect of having a non-union air traffic controller staff, all government emoployees.

    As far as how democracy works, your defense of ObamaCare falls short. i just have to quote Nancy Poleosi “we have to pass the bill before we can know what is in it”. There was no real debate and even a year and a half later, most people, including the people who voted for and against it, do not really know what is in it. I must confess that I have read less than 1000 pages of it and comprehend less than half of that. Even if we consider the two activties as completely unrelated, the runaways are not engaged in debate, they have abandoned thier posts. It is simply childish.

    I agree on the federal rules. If thoses are the rules than the goverenor will have to face the loss of funds, I really just do not get the strings, including attaching a drinking age of 21 to get highway funds, just does not make sense to me. What I believe will happen is that if the funds are withdrawn, those projects will shut down since there will be no way to pay for them. The lawers will have to figure out if that provision only applies to the bargaining rights of the businesses involved in the funded project or any group with bargaining rights. I am just glad that the federal government doesn’t control my soup yet!

    Thanks for the spirited debate Squirrel. It is fun to discuss things with you.


  5. The Angry Squirrel
    Feb 24, 2011 @ 17:40:08

    Well to be fair with the amusement you have with the Pelosi quote what was meant by it was that until you pass something as law you cannot say exactly what it is going to be. No real debate on heathcare reform? Darn I guess all those months of debating the issue and all the coverage of such on CSPAN was a figment of my imagination. As for the Wisconsin 14 they have said as much they would love to debate this issue. The other side does not want that to happen which is why they left. The Governor said as much himself that he wants to find a way to trick them back to imediately vote it into law as soon as they were on tge Senate floor. Which also stated as much himself that he sees this as the first volley against getting rid of all unions. I personally don’t see that happening as thanks to the blogger from Buffalo the truth on the matter is out for all to see from the Governor himself.

    And to the subject of the air trafic controllers fired by Reagan really does not coorelate to well into the current situation and despite what Governor Waljer may think it had nothing to do witg the fall of the Soviet Union either.


  6. The Angry Squirrel
    Feb 24, 2011 @ 17:43:15

    Even though my droid is much better for comments than my old phone it still sucks sorry about all the typos. And yes I enjoy disgusing my posts with you and others as well.


  7. The Angry Squirrel
    Feb 25, 2011 @ 01:42:00

    Interestingly enough, Kansas joins the protest fray this weekend, It appears our house just passed bill banning unions from engaging in any political activity. Surprisingly enough the ruling I hate with a passion (CItizens United) makes this blatantly unconstitutional.

    It truly is silly season in legislation right now everywhere. Looks like now that South Dakota shelved their bill Nebraska and Iowa decided to take it upon themselves to legalize murder, truly pro-life aren’t they.

    Also there is that measure i Iowa that would allow discrimination against anyone whose marriage doesn’t comply with ones religious views. Funny thing is the intent is clearly for same sex couples, but is painted with such a broad stroke that it could lead to all kids of discrimination uses. I am sure there are plenty of people for who interracial marriage is against their religious views. What about marraiges between faiths that someone doesn’t see in sync with their views the allowable discrimination for this is almost endless. (well taken that it i against a married couple that is)


  8. kosmo
    Feb 25, 2011 @ 09:45:53

    So many things to comment on …

    I’m not much of a union supporter, but I also think it’s wrong to just gut their collective bargaining power.

    Also not a fan of standing in the way of voter, either by denying the body a quorum or by filibuster. There’s certainly a need for debate, but at some point, you need to have and up and down vote.

    I’m one of the few people who thought that the members of congress should have been able to read and understand the entire health care bill. Sure, it’s a long bill (although not as long as it appears, since the formatting resulted in a small amount of text per screen), but how quickly could you read 1000 pages if it was your job? 25 pages per hours (seem reasonable) X 8 hours X 5 day = 1000 pages in a week. Not to mention the fact that congressional aides exist.

    Complex language? Sure. But most of these people are lawyers, whose stock in trade is complex language.

    I really expect the gay marriage issue to be settled by SCOTUS in the next 5 years. Obama recently instructed the justice department to cease defending the constitutionality of DOMA. Justice is still ENFORCING the act, but if they aren’t actively defending the constitutionality, then it stands to reason that someone filing a suit claiming the act to be unconstituional needs only to present a prima facie case in order to win (still a signicant threshold, but much easier than winning against someone who is actuallyu presenting a defense.)


  9. Martin Kelly
    Feb 25, 2011 @ 18:24:40

    I am absolutly against the Kansas ruling. The constitution does not say you have freedom of speech unless you are in a union.

    I missed the legalization of murder in Iowa and Nebraska, you will have to elaborate for me Squirrel.

    I think the air traffic controllers is applicable because they were government employees just like the current targets.

    I really do not have a problem with public employees striking, I just do not like the methods these people are using; enlisting their students against parents wishes and calling in sick. By the same token, managment, in this case the governor and state legislature, have to deal with it, not the whole country. The only people I blame for making Wisconsin the topic for both right and left wingnuts is the congressmen who are taking extended vacations in Illinois.

    The complexity of the health care bill is not that it is too long or too much on the page or even the actual text, although all of these are bad enough. About every other page there is a refference to yet another bill (some not even passed) that range for 1000 to 3000 pages each. Such a bill, written by aides and never really peer reviewed can only be a hodge podge of pet projects and personal desires. The fact that they left out the standard language that the dismissal of any one part does not invalidate the rest of the bill shows that there was no real organized effort. That is the only reason that the “uncostitutional” ruling over rules all of the cases that cleared the bill. Until that ruling is overruled by a hire court, the bill is invalid.


  10. The Angry Squirrel
    Feb 25, 2011 @ 19:07:57

    The legalization of murder bit is about allowing those who kill in order to protect a fetus justifiable homicide.

    More on silly season though, Tennessee Tea Partiers in their house proposed legislation to make being a Muslim person a crime.


  11. Martin Kelly
    Feb 26, 2011 @ 20:47:16

    Wow, I had not heard about the fetus protection law. I thought you were talking about the home defense act. On the fetus protection law, I agree, that is a dumb idea. I was ready to argue the home defense act with you.

    The home defense act here in Iowa, matchs now with I believe 32 other states. Basically you no longer have to retreat from you own home from a home invader. You can use deadly force on someone forcably entering your house even if you have a route of escape. Up until January 1 of this year, if the family of the deceased agressor had a good lawer, you could go to jail. If they could find “any means of escape” from the invader, i.e. if there was an exit and you chose not to take it, you were guilty of man slaughter. Basically, you had to be cornered in a closet with the hatchet decending towards you head to fight back. Now, if the invader comes at you, you can defend yourself. The idea here is to have the police clean up the remains of the invader instead of the home owner. Texas and New Mexico have the limit as your propery line rather than the shell of your home, except in meteropolitan areas. In the city, the police will help you drag the body across the door thresh hold to tidy up any mistakes.

    If I have a chance to hold public office, I would love to have the ability to get silly laws removed. Our books are filled and as you point out, new silliness is going on all the time. How much longer should it be illegal for a man with a mustache to kiss a woman not his wife in public during daylight hours (Minnesota)? Some of the silly laws are actually scary, not just funny and out of context from the “problem” being address in the past.


  12. The Angry Squirrel
    Feb 26, 2011 @ 23:28:20

    I totatally agree with the home defense laws. But yes scary silliness is upon us for sure in legilatuon. In fact not that it will pass, but I saw that Georgia actually is trying to make a law to make miscarriages a crime punishible by death.


  13. The Angry Squirrel
    Mar 07, 2011 @ 00:38:24

    @bob please enlighten me as to what i am misrepresenting then. As far as the Wisconsin thing I am dead on, but just wondering what you felt was lacking intellegence. As far as bringing down site content I write once a month so I highly doubt my content affects the site too much either way. I think my conservative cowriters here with the political observers spout off utter crap as well at times but they have a different view than me so I wouldn’t expect to agree with the thoughts on a topic and have a discussion about it. Kosmo has political observers from both sides I think for just this, we aren’t trying to be Fox News afterall.


  14. kosmo
    Mar 08, 2011 @ 10:00:10

    Yes, let’s focus on specific issues of inaccurate information, where/if they exist.

    We have two liberal Political Observers (Squirrel and Zarberg) and two conservative ones (Crunchy and Squeaky). I don’t really expect unbiased articles from these folks.


  15. The Angry Squirrel
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 23:29:41

    Actually that is exactly what the law in TN said. If you practiced your religion you would be punished by up to fifteen years in jail i think. Sounds like making being Muslim a crime to me. And yes self defense is a defense for murder, however someone killing someone involved in a legal procedure is not self defense. Insanity that is another story all together…And yes errors get quite higher than normal for me in typing quick responses in replies especially doing it on my phone when I cannot see what is being typed in the box half the time and i hate typing on it to begin with. However, I will try my best to improve the care I put in my replies. I am fully grounded in political reality of what is going on I might use a more sensational flare in what I say, but in the end it is my opinion and interpretation of what is going on. And I feel fully grounded in reality to the two examples you brought forth.


  16. kosmo
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 07:59:45

    The lesson we’ve learned today is that name calling gets your comments marked as spam. We can be civil even when we diagree with people.

    (For those keeping score at home, this is the third instance of censorship in 2 1/2 years.)


  17. The Angry Squirrel
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 09:07:35

    And just in case ‘Bob’ reads this marking your posts as spam was all on Kosmo. I did not go to him and complain or anything like that. Just thought I’d throw that info out before you would decide to rant about getting censored.


    • kosmo
      Mar 10, 2011 @ 09:43:00

      Correct. In general, I ask that commenters refrain from name calling and personal attacks, Pointing out errors or providing an alternative viewpoint is fine, but calling someone “stupid” does nothing to further the discussion.


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