Our first last-stand?

All eyes are on Wisconsin as battle for fiscal sanity shifts to state

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ABC's Christiane Amanpour looked at the Tea Party movement and saw "extreme." Now she looks at the union protest in Wisconsin and sees "people power."

Andy Manis/AP Photo
On the sixth day of large-scale protests, opponents to the governor’s bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers demonstrated in the rotunda of the Capitol in Madison, Wis., on Sunday.

We hope the people of Wisconsin and other cash-strapped states are smart enough to see past such incredibly biased reporting and discern the truth: The Battle of Madison is a fight for the taxpayer's wallet, pure and simple -- a fight between greedy and inflexible unions and new Republican leadership at the Capitol that truly is fighting for the people.

It's not just about the fact that public employees in Wisconsin (and most other states) have grown fat on sweetheart benefits provided by private-sector taxpayers who have had their own benefits shrink to near-nothing in recent years.

Rather, this battle is for the real systemic change that is necessary to save the states and the country.

Public-sector unions are eating the country alive.

If this society is going to survive the leaner times that are surely ahead, it absolutely must shed the very nice but overly burdensome and unrealistic benefit cushions in the public sector.

Just one example: Increasingly, private-sector workers, if they have any retirement program at all, are enrolled in "defined contribution" plans -- 401(k)s -- which are, as the moniker implies, defined by how much money is contributed to them. That's how much you have to live on in retirement.

Many public employees are enrolled in "defined benefit" programs that, again, are defined by the benefits: They get a certain amount per month for as long as they live, without regard to how much money is available.

That's why so many pension plans are "underfunded" for a growing population of retirees who may expect to live longer than previous generations -- driving up pension costs all the more.

It's not sustainable. And even if it were, it would still mean that private-sector employees would, in the future, be asked to do with even less in benefits and wages in order to support the unchecked wages and benefits of public workers.

So, to media liberals like Amanpour, those backbreaking, out-of-step demands of public workers on their "friends and neighbors" who support them with taxes are some kind of heroic "people power."

Meanwhile, in the case of the teachers' unions, it's becoming clear that throwing all that money at public education hasn't resulted in soaring results. Indeed, the unions, despite all the talk about "doing it for the kids," exist to protect teachers, good and bad.

They certainly threw the kids under the school bus to take time off to protest.

We may see in Wisconsin just how much power the people really do have. They need to rally behind their state leaders in the fight to take back control of the public purse.

The rest of the states are counting on it: With the federal government even more out of control, and a former "community organizer" in the White House blithely backing the unions, the war to save America from financial ruin has shifted to the state capitals.

Wisconsin could be our first last-stand.

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mike1sc
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mike1sc 02/22/11 - 11:01 am
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Great commentary here. Only

Great commentary here. Only issue I have is even in these posts, you can go in and point to Democrats and then to the Republican posters. I spent several years investigating employees charged with misconduct or crimes, and it was always amazing to me the blind eye the Unions would take to the vial behavior of their union "brother or sister" and always defending them to the very end at all costs.

Kinda what's wrong with our Education system nationwide. The national education union is flush with money and power...which keeps those non-performing less than acceptable teachers on the payroll....and safe.

Kudos to the Wisconsin Governor...its my hope that he stands his ground and it will be a nice example to the rest of the country.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 02/22/11 - 11:07 am
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Naomi Klein Twitters on

Naomi Klein Twitters on facebook: "Great intw w @mtaibbi on @democracynow today. Connects the dots between Wall Street and attack on labor." I opine that military pensions and benefits be cut along with politicians' government subsidized heath care. See how that lead balloon flies. FYI, the Koch brothers financed Gov. Scott Walker's campaign. Wisconsin is a battleground against the billionaire Kochs' plan to break labor's back. Doubly ironic that right-wing media have managed to split the American middle class and pit working class Americans against each other.

Chillen
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Chillen 02/22/11 - 11:58 am
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"The Battle of Madison is a

"The Battle of Madison is a fight for the taxpayer's wallet"

Well said.

It is also a fight for the progressive left's agenda and for the government "entitled" worker's benefits. They are unwilling to sacrifice like the rest of us in a miserable economy.

Chillen
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Chillen 02/22/11 - 12:14 pm
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Liberals, what horrible

Liberals, what horrible working conditions do you think exist in the govt workplace that warrant union involvement?

Are they being forced to work 80+ hours per week? Are they underpaid? Are they lacking benefits? Are their working conditions dangerous? Are their working conditions filthy and horrible? Most importantly, do govt workers generate profits?

No is the answer to all of the above, just in case you wondered. None of these things have ever been an issue for govt employees - before or after unions.

Unions have NO PLACE in the govt and govt employees have no business striking & wasting hard earned taxpayer money. They are just taxpayer money extorters.

Even big govt, liberal-loved hero Franklin Roosevelt said so. He was anti-union in the govt workforce. (say it isn't so, I've destroyed the image of FDR for so many liberals) He was especially worried about govt unions striking.

F.D.R. said this was “unthinkable and intolerable.”

justthefacts
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justthefacts 02/22/11 - 12:17 pm
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Like George Soros, the Koch

Like George Soros, the Koch brothers can put their money into to any cause they see fit. At least they are American.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 02/22/11 - 12:40 pm
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"(CNSNews.com) - Two-thirds

"(CNSNews.com) - Two-thirds of the eighth graders in Wisconsin public schools cannot read proficiently according to the U.S. Department of Education, despite the fact that Wisconsin spends more per pupil in its public schools than any other state in the Midwest." Forest for the trees comes to mind.

aureliusdios
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aureliusdios 02/22/11 - 12:48 pm
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So now are all government

So now are all government workers the enemy? Just got my new statement for my military retirement & wow another 50.00 in federal withholdings.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 02/22/11 - 12:55 pm
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aure, I hope not. But, we

aure, I hope not. But, we have reached the point where we have to face reality. And reality bites.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/22/11 - 01:16 pm
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robaroo>> "Breach of

robaroo>> "Breach of Contract - There's a big problem with eliminating pensions for those who have been earning them so far. That was part of their pay package, so Wisconsin can't just decide to eliminate the money already earned."

I see you took no time to read about the issue. No one is eliminating pensions. The law will require workers to contribute 5.8% of salary to pension and 12.6% to health care. That's still sweet. Add in 50-60k salary for 9 mos work.

Amazing how much clearer things are when you find out facts.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/22/11 - 01:17 pm
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Retired, as for your "good ol

Retired, as for your "good ol smokestack industry days" rant. We don't have time or space or the topic to address that (again) today.

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 02/22/11 - 01:19 pm
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The dominos are falling, get

The dominos are falling, get ready.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/22/11 - 01:39 pm
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Retired, your "first

Retired, your "first amendment" concern is included in Gov Walker's bill also. It will allow union members to OPT OUT of the union.

Perhaps you've heard interviews over the past week with "anonymous" union members who don't toe the union line. Strange how members are hesitant to publicly disagree with the union.

At least when one political party is in the minority, in theory, it can still compromise with the majority and have a voice.

In the righteous unions, it's one way, one voice, no choice, shut up and take it.

How's that for 1st Amendment objectivity?

TheFederalist
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TheFederalist 02/22/11 - 03:01 pm
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So....the students of

So....the students of Wisconsin have been given a real life lesson in Democracy and life by their beloved teachers. Whenever in life you are confronted by adversity, by some political issue that you disagree with, it is perfectly fine to take whatever action you want in protest. Better yet, you don't even have to play by the rules and if you feel the need, go ahead and shut down the democratic process so nothing can be done. Just go run and hide out in another state so the process is halted till you get your way. No problem. Further, don't worry about tone, rhetoric, or even common norms of behavior, and it is also just fine to blast your opponents, compare them to Hitler and every other evil mass murderer in history. Oh, almost forgot. If afterwards, you are confronted by your employer for taking several unexcused days off from work, and completely shutting down your school, it is also just fine to lie, and give a fradulent excuse to prevent any disciplinary actions. All just fine, and I'm sure their students will always remember this wonderful lesson. Take any action you feel is necessary, as the only thing that matters is getting your way. Yep, what a wonderful object lesson for these youngsters about the way to conduct yourself in life. Shame is truly dead in this country, but a shame nonetheless.

TheFederalist
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TheFederalist 02/22/11 - 03:30 pm
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Btw, who was the nimrod that

Btw, who was the nimrod that thought it would be a good idea to allow the public sector workers to unionize anyway? Oh yeah...JFK.
Let's see....in the private sector, unions bargain with the business owners, and if they agree to pay too much, the business flounders and the company closes. The union workers loose their jobs. They are bound by common sense and the free market system to keep benefits reasonable. Not so with the public sector. The unions take dues and make enormous contributions to elect union backers into office, who will agree to outrageous and unsustainable union contracts, and the taxpayer gets to foot the costs. Pretty sweet eh? No downside or risk ever. A long time ago the public sector worker made much less than comparable jobs in the private sector, to even the score, but even that has flipped now. Nope, now no risk whatsoever, no downside ever. Pretty darn sweet. Oh..except for the poor taxpayer, who doesn't ever get to collective bargain. Well, the party is over, and that loud noise you hear is the unions gnashing their collective teeth as the struggle to pay the piper continues. The union calls what Governor Walker in Wisconsin is trying to do to balance the budget as busting up the public sector unions. I say, "Bout time", and long overdue!

socks99
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socks99 02/22/11 - 05:11 pm
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Given the problem with state

Given the problem with state pension plans around the country, one wonders why no one in the GA legislature has said word one about the state of GA's Teacher's Retirement System.

As for fiscal responsibility, clearly conservatives share as much blame as do liberals. David Stockman, in The Triumph of Politics, explained in detail how President Reagan actually saw the country move from a creditor nation to a debtor nation; and from there, it has been 'off-to-the-races.' The reasons, then, are what we see today in Wisconsin: Politicians are afraid to make the cuts that put budgets on a sustainable basis.

Fiscal minded conservatives need not consider WI as a 'last stand.' They will see months and months and years of similar confrontations that will eventually lead to downgrades of the debt by ratings agencies. Next, bond vigilantes will show-up and wrest fiscal control away from legislatures and put states and even the entire U.S. on austerity measures a la the World Bank and IMF in regards to Greece or any other debt scofflaws.

At this moment, politcal leaders may be able to get a grip on the issues. Failing that, the public purse will become much more austere while living standards fall and debt is repaid.

rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 02/22/11 - 06:27 pm
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Look no farther than the
Unpublished

Look no farther than the Atlanta Public School system to see the abuses. If you are a public "employee", accountability to the public appears to be non-existent. Entitlement is THE priority.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 02/22/11 - 06:40 pm
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RA, you can still buy clothes

RA, you can still buy clothes made in America. I bought a pair of jeans at Nordstom's last week. The label said proudly made in CA. Paid $168 bucks. They are nice.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/22/11 - 06:58 pm
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RA>> "If I say nothing about

RA>> "If I say nothing about what I consider the teachers of WI exercising their 1st ammendment rights, "

The only people denying teachers in WI their 1st Amendment rights is their own union.

Again, a minority of the affected and legions of bussed in aggitators were protesting with signs fomenting Hitler and Mubarack.

The right's response? That it was their "right" to do that. The populace of Wisconsin's response? Anger, shame. The majority of the union folks in WI stayed home and on the job. The radicals will always get attention from the media, not the silent majority.

Stay smug in your blanket of ignoring consensus RA. Get a clue, get a grip.

Meanwhile, we'll tiresomely await your LTE on how the USA can bring back manufacturing jobs.

Beck Tears
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Beck Tears 02/22/11 - 07:02 pm
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Oh usapatriot.... "The

Oh usapatriot.... "The radicals will always get attention from the media, not the silent majority". Weird how I have heard so much from Sarah Palin and the Tea Party the past couple years....

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/22/11 - 07:11 pm
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socks, I will say you are

socks, I will say you are wrong. What is happening is Governors and state legislatures voted in last Nov are starting to take back fiscal responsibility abandoned by Democrats and their union cohorts.

Over 700 state seats were lost by Democrats. Gov seats was a net 12 gain for GOP. The people spoke.

Gov Walker campaigned on this very issue in WI. It was no secret. Liberals and the media want you to think he just pulled this out from nowhere last week. It was a campaign promise and he was elected.

As Obama said, "I won, you lost." The will of the WI voters needs to move forward. IN, OH, NY, NM are next.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/22/11 - 07:12 pm
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TheFederalist, good comments.

TheFederalist, good comments.

Gov.Palin
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Gov.Palin 02/22/11 - 07:16 pm
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Beck Tears, ‘‘Weird how I

Beck Tears, ‘‘Weird how I have heard so much from Sarah Palin and the Tea Party the past couple years....’
We conservative are very concerned about the path this country is taking. We have an unqualified community organizer in the WH. But you ain’t seen nothing yet.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/22/11 - 07:16 pm
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Glad you pay attention Beck.

Glad you pay attention Beck. So, what part of the WI voters that voted Walker in to do just this job did you miss? Where did you see news reports of WI union members opposed to the protests, sick outs and use of students in these protests?

Under what circumstances was Sarah and the TEA Party reported? Glowing, I'm sure. Was it followed by Democrates call for civility, followed by another report on union signs with Hitler moustache on Gov Walker and refereences to Mubarack?

Was that report followed by how thugs and aggitators were being bussed in to WI by Obama's legacy groups in Chicago?

Please, Beck, find some facts to bring to a truth fight and leave the emotions at home.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/22/11 - 07:17 pm
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For heaven's sake, what does

For heaven's sake, what does the TEA Party and Sarah Palin have to do with Wisconsin?

You're really reaching, aren't you?

Gov.Palin
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Gov.Palin 02/22/11 - 07:58 pm
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uspat, ‘Please, Beck, find

uspat, ‘Please, Beck, find some facts to bring to a truth fight and leave the emotions at home.’
You are really asking a lot from a liberal.

bushwhacker
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bushwhacker 02/22/11 - 09:51 pm
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if only republicans were in

if only republicans were in charge.........oh yeah , they are in georgia and south carolina!

Beck Tears
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Beck Tears 02/22/11 - 10:12 pm
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“Over 700 state seats were

“Over 700 state seats were lost by Democrats.” I’m not 100% sure what you are talking about- I hope it’s not state representatives you are referring too, which only house 435 seats…
The state of Wisconsin has a population of over 5.7 million people, and only 1.1 million voted for him. The person he ran against received a little over one million votes. Yes, Gov Walker won, but either you forget or don’t care that 48% of those who voted, didn’t vote for Gov Walker. So, some might say he doesn’t have the voice of the entire state- just like I would say President Obama won the Presidency, however it would be foolish to say he speaks for everyone. You can read comments in this thread that people do not agree with Pres. Obama. Basically, I’m not sure if you want to play the game of “We won, so suck it.”
Having it so obvious though that Gov Walker does not have 100%, or even 48% of the voters support- it’s just surprising to know that he refuses to negotiate with the evil teachers and public workers. These people have already agreed to lower pay and benefits. This is proven. They just want to hold on to their ability to collective bargain. Actually, it’s not surprising, since Gov Walker believes that women should have to carry the child of their rapist. If he can’t have any sympathy for a woman in that situation…
I have no idea what you are referring too about thugs and agitators being bused in by Obama legacy groups. And I agree that the few people who have Hitler signs in this protest provide nothing of value- this includes people of other rallies, such as the tea party rallies. This includes commentators and faces of a certain “news” network. It’s a disservice. And I hope in the future, I hear you condone when others call Pres. Obama Hitler.
I think Retired Army has eloquently stated everything I wanted to say. So I encourage everyone to re-read his posts.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/22/11 - 11:30 pm
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"he hasn't any moral or legal

"he hasn't any moral or legal standing in this fight."

"he's wrong and the only thing that will teach him that is some real life experience other than military service. "

RA, what the heck do you mean?

When I say I believe something is wrong or right, I will make the case for it. You, sir, seem to think something is so because you say it is.

And please remember that a rule of this forum is to stay on topic. The topic is Wisconsin and the union.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/22/11 - 11:36 pm
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Beck>> "Over 700 state seats

Beck>> "Over 700 state seats were lost by Democrats.” I’m not 100% sure what you are talking about- I hope it’s not state representatives you are referring too, which only house 435 seats…"

I'm not the moron. Like you typed it, STATE SEATS. Like I typed it, state legislatures.

And like the USA voters voted, Conservative.

Walker is the Governor of WI. It's a state issue. He's running the show. Just as conservatives will dismantle Obamacare, WI will have an opportunity to revisit this should it be the disaster Obamacare has turned out to be.

Too little too late for "bargaining". It's clear to the public in WI and many other states that unions feeding from the public trough is over. I anxiously await the "opt out" provision of their law. It will be interesting to see how many union members decide to keep their dues money.

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/23/11 - 12:08 am
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"Teamsters Local 237, which

"Teamsters Local 237, which represents various city workers, intends to "bus a couple hundred" members to Madison - possibly this week, deputy director Pete Gutierrez said."

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/02/21/2011-02-21_new_yorks...

Here's the link for "Go Rally Bus". You click on what state you're in (IL, IN, IO, MI, MN, WI) then what city and you get the bus sched to go to WI.

No charge, tipping the driver suggested.

http://wisconsinworkers.gorallybus.com/

Wonder who's funding that.....Maybe Organizing for America?

"The Democratic National Committee's Organizing for America arm -- the remnant of the 2008 Obama campaign -- is playing an active role in organizing protests against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's attempt to strip most public employees of collective bargaining rights."

http://nation.foxnews.com/wisconsin-protests/2011/02/17/dnc-caught-organ...

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