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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usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/23/11 - 02:10 am
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6 Aug 2010 "The Milwaukee

6 Aug 2010

"The Milwaukee teachers union has asked a judge to order the school board to include Viagra in its taxpayer-funded health insurance plans."

"The Associated Press says the filing by the union comes as the district faces layoffs of hundreds of its members..."

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2010/08/milwauke...

usapatriot
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usapatriot 02/25/11 - 03:14 am
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duplicate post

duplicate post

1941
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1941 02/23/11 - 05:34 am
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It is amazing that the south

It is amazing that the south can speak on the ''unions'' and what they represent, when they have never been in one. Could it be ''envy'', because the unions make sure that ''all'' the profits dont go in the companies pocket!! This is the reason that the south will always be fifty years behind the north. Every raise you get on your job in the south, if you get one, is decided by the ''boss'', most jobs in the south do not have paid hoildays, sick days etc.. You can be fired by the ''boss'' for any reason. Who represent the workers, for fair decisions to the employees?

Gov.Palin
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Gov.Palin 02/23/11 - 10:12 am
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uspat, ‘When I say I believe

uspat, ‘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.’
What do you expect? After all she/he is a liberal and that is mind set of most.

mar_1081
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mar_1081 02/23/11 - 10:46 am
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It is easy, my company did it

It is easy, my company did it last year. You earn the pension for the number of years of service to date and then you get defined contribution for the rest of your years at service. This changed my retirement planning drastically. Time that the public sector gets on board with the rest of us.

mar_1081
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mar_1081 02/23/11 - 10:48 am
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1941 - this isn't the

1941 - this isn't the companies pocket, this is the taxpayers monies being spent. Gov't is not supposed to opperate for profit....

PeterLRuden
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PeterLRuden 02/23/11 - 11:59 am
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Your editorial shows a

Your editorial shows a distinct lack of class by referring to the President of the United States as a 'community organizer'. How can anyone take your edtitorial positions seriously when your lack of respect for the office of the President, based upon partisan or ideological disagreement, is so readily apparent?

Furthermore, the fight in Wisconsin is not taking place because the public sector unions have refused to compromise. They have and they might be willing to compromise further. The real fight is about the proposal to gut their rights to engage in collective bargaining. Perhaps the governor would get more cooperation if he wasn't trying to turn the union into a union in name only.

If public sector unions are getting contracts that are too rich, then who is to blame? The unions that bargain on behalf of their members or the politicians ensconced in their own government jobs that cave in to demands that are not affordable? I think the latter is the problem, but unions always make a convenient target if you want to point a finger at someone else.

NrthAugustaSam
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NrthAugustaSam 02/23/11 - 02:46 pm
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The net result is that the

The net result is that the little guy loses $$. The budget is balanced on the backs of the working class. The governor still has a utility bill the size of most working class folks paycheck. The governor will still have a fleet of cars and servants. He'll still have satellite TV to watch Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Little guys get laid off and try to collect unemployment unless they cut that off too.

burninater
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burninater 02/23/11 - 04:49 pm
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I see, eliminating collective

I see, eliminating collective bargaining is a key step in balancing state budgets -- no wonder all the right-to-work states are dong so well!

Gov.Palin
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Gov.Palin 02/23/11 - 04:58 pm
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Peter, ‘If public sector

Peter, ‘If public sector unions are getting contracts that are too rich, then who is to blame? The unions that bargain on behalf of their members or the politicians ensconced in their own government jobs that cave in to demands that are not affordable?’
When the democrats are in power they give the unions almost anything they want because the unions will be giving back at the next elections. They are buying votes with taxpayer money.
WI got about $700 million stimulus money and about 75% of that went to keep government unions members on the job. The stimulus was basically the 'community organizer’s' slush fund for his friends.

Gov.Palin
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Gov.Palin 02/23/11 - 05:03 pm
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burn, ‘no wonder all the

burn, ‘no wonder all the right-to-work states are dong so well!’
The right-to-work states do not have the debt of the states without the right-to-work

PeterLRuden
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PeterLRuden 02/23/11 - 05:57 pm
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Gov. Palin, instead of

Gov. Palin, instead of reasoning through the issue you resort to labeling. Perhaps a serious look at the issue is warranted instead?

Again, this appears to be a 'stop me before I kill again' approach on the part of politicians. What is necessary is a refusal to agree to contracts that are budget busters, not a restriction upon collective bargaining--which very well might be unconstitutional.

In addition, many of the right-to-work states have billions in budget gaps too. It is not limited to states that have no right to work statutes. Georgia was furloughing teachers and professors. I doubt the governor's staff got similar furloughs. I don't know about you, but I want my kid's schools to be fully funded before the Gov and his staff.

The reason for the current problem in the states is quite simple: the economy tanked and the long recession has seriously disrupted the revenues that the states expected.

Many seem to know little about the stimulus legislation. The stimulus legislation was almost 50% tax breaks for individuals and businesses, so out of the $787 billion about $330 billion was in the form of tax breaks, not 'spending' of dollars. Out of the remaining the feds sent the states cash to shore up their safety nets such as food stamps, Medicaid and unemployment insurance, which were all being hit hard. Teachers and first responders were also targeted for funds, as were public works projects. But some say 'the community organizer' sent a present to his friends. Such is the level of discourse in the nation.

Perhaps some of us need to read up a bit.

Dan at The Scott Daily Post
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Dan at The Scott Daily Post 02/24/11 - 11:33 am
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People need to get a clue.

People need to get a clue. Collective bargaining is not being eliminated or destroyed. The proposed bill would limit public sector collective bargaining based on the consumer price index (an indicator of the value of someone's work).

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