Staving off Europe - for now

Wisconsin voters barely keeping ruin of socialism at bay

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Barely and temporarily.

That's how Wisconsin voters last week turned back attempts by public unions to put the state back on the unsustainable path toward Greece and Britain.

Voters in the Badger State kept Republicans in control of the state Senate, but by a hair. Democrats, doing the bidding of bullying and insatiable public unions, were able to stage recall elections for six Republican senators - to punish them for going along with Gov. Scott Walker's plan to reduce public-union bargaining powers in order to save the state financially. The unions needed three of the six Republicans to lose, and only two did.

But the unions vow to be relentless - tens of millions were spent on the recall effort - and Wisconsin voters will no doubt be tested again.

The outlook, we fear, is grim. Special interests have always been focused, fierce and unyielding in their perpetual quest for more tax money, but never more than now. Meanwhile, taxpayers - who are busy making a living, while working under the assumption they live in a fair society - are much more diluted, distracted and detached, and not as able to defend their flanks as special interests are to attack them.

It's the age-old problem of "diffuse costs and concentrated benefits": The benefits are enjoyed by a concentrated group that is active in seeking them, while the costs are spread out among a larger population that's not as engaged.

Add to that the fact that Democrats have encouraged a mob mentality; remember the assault on the capitol in Madison. Even the president, sad to say, took the side of the unions, lecturing Wisconsin voters that public employees are their friends and neighbors.

Absolutely they are. It's just that they're taking to the streets to protect their grip on their friends' and neighbors' wallets. States have several billion dollars in unfunded public-employee pension liabilities and, in Wisconsin especially, the unions are fighting like badgers to keep them, regardless of what it does to the host.

And, oh by the way, many public pensions are infinitely more generous than what the private-sector taxpayers who are paying for them are getting. Wisconsin's public-employee unions also are being asked to pay pennies on the dollar for health care and retirement co-pays, compared to what their private-sector "friends and neighbors" pay for theirs.

But if Wisconsin's or any other state's voters require more impetus than their own wallets in order to stand up to the public-employee unions, they merely need to watch the news emanating from Europe. Greece's ongoing problems with civic unrest at having to scale back fat public benefits to stop from going under are now legendary. And now Britain is aflame.

Yes, the riots touched off in London had several other flashpoints - including race, after police shot a man allegedly affiliated with gang activity. But the area was already a tinderbox of discontent from unemployment and the austerity measures needed to prevent Britain, too, from failing.

"In late June," writes
CNBC.com, "half the public schools in Britain were closed by a massive protest over public pension cuts, including three major teachers' unions, customs and immigration officers, and air traffic controllers. Some 750,000 people took part in the protest."

Wisconsin's future? Other states'?

The unions' irrational message: Keep spending no matter what! But it goes beyond that: The message now is, keep spending no matter what, or we'll try to have you fired!

In a time of frightening signs, that's one of the most alarming.

Comments (24) Add comment
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allhans
24964
Points
allhans 08/14/11 - 10:39 pm
0
0
I'm not a prognosticator, but

I'm not a prognosticator, but my guess is that the unions will lose big time if they continue their assault on the hard-working people in this country.
Unions are over bearing and unfair.
They have had the country at their mercy for way too many years. Times have changed but they tend to ignore the fact that shake-downs are no longer a way of life.

Brad Owens
4914
Points
Brad Owens 08/15/11 - 03:07 am
0
0
There will be blood.

There will be blood.

thewiz0oz
9
Points
thewiz0oz 08/15/11 - 03:43 am
0
0
Public. Unions should be

Public. Unions should be significantly restricted - their employer is the t.ax payer, not elected politicians. Benefits & salary should never exceed what is paid in the private sector for comparable work. Legislators elected by the people buy votes by giving public unions more than is fair & affordable knowing sometimes in the future the moment of reckoning will come. Guess what? That moment is here.

Riverman1
94245
Points
Riverman1 08/15/11 - 04:08 am
0
0
Retired Army, San Francisco?

Retired Army, San Francisco? Doesn't that tell you something. If that liberal bastion is getting fed up with the excessive wages and benefits, how can you expect other places not to be?

The fact is every society needs blue collar people being competitive and not relying on cushy union jobs that are unproductive. Capitalism 101.

southernguy08
532
Points
southernguy08 08/15/11 - 05:18 am
0
0
RETIRED, you're all for
Unpublished

RETIRED, you're all for lawful assembly when its liberals who assemble. Get some "tea party" members together, and liberals are screaming racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. Yeah, I'm laughing.

southernguy08
532
Points
southernguy08 08/15/11 - 06:30 am
0
0
Shutting down communications,
Unpublished

Shutting down communications, Retired? Kinda like the "Fairness Act" demand on conservative radio stations?

seenitB4
98477
Points
seenitB4 08/15/11 - 07:37 am
0
0
RA...If a gang of hoodlums

RA...If a gang of hoodlums are burning down the city..yes I want their communications cut off...they should have been tougher in the beginning of this riot & maybe more business & buildings wouldn't be lost.
The businessowners didn't cause their problems but they will pay dearly for this mess.

allhans
24964
Points
allhans 08/15/11 - 08:36 am
0
0
Would it be possible to just

Would it be possible to just once in a while not blame "racial" .

If a cops stops me from breaking the law, its because I am breaking the law. If they chase me down it is because I ran.
If it happens to some others it is racist...

harley_52
26074
Points
harley_52 08/15/11 - 08:52 am
0
0
***Would it be possible to

***Would it be possible to just once in a while not blame "racial" .***

If you're sick of it now, wait until the 2012 election is over.

You'll be in Intensive Care by then. (I mean unless Herman Cain is the Republicans' candidate for President).

For the lefties, the "race card" is nothing more than a tool. An indispensable one at that. Something to be pulled from the bag and used whenever the situation permits.

You wouldn't expect a golfer to give up his sand wedge, would you?

Democrats, with no ideas and no programs to run on must rely on their old standbys. Race, class, wealth, age, sexual preference, fear, personal destruction, etc. these are all tools to be used to build and feed hatred and resentment which are their overall strategies. The next fifteen months will see them all on display whenever the democrats get the chance.

NewHere
0
Points
NewHere 08/15/11 - 11:32 am
0
0
The race card get used when

The race card get used when you guys make racist remark, and then acussed of being to politicaly correct.

harley_52
26074
Points
harley_52 08/15/11 - 11:50 am
0
0
Please define "you guys."

Please define "you guys."

allhans
24964
Points
allhans 08/15/11 - 12:29 pm
0
0
Democrats are in all the low

Democrats are in all the low places right now. One "on the scene" reporter actually said that Palin had arrived in town (Ames, IA) in her "cattle car". After Palin heard about it she told Jake Tapper (?) when he asked her a question that he would have to wait until she answered a question from a heifer.
This thing could turn out to be fun in spite of the serious situation we are in.
Yee-haw!

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 08/15/11 - 12:53 pm
0
0
NewHere, will you please

NewHere, will you please define "racism" for us; then apply the definition to comments you have deemed racist?

Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 08/15/11 - 12:57 pm
0
0
Riverman-"My point is that if

Riverman-"My point is that if we allow our freedom to be curtailed in any manner for any reason then we open the door to Big Brother..................." I want you to remember those words..........

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 08/15/11 - 01:04 pm
0
0
theWiz, you are spot on about

theWiz, you are spot on about restricting public employee unions. I believe unions provide a useful service to workers in collective bargaining. workplace conditions, worker protections from vindictive supervisors and so on; but striking is something else. Private companies may have to deal with that, but shutting down any public/government service should be out of the question. No way, no how. You participate in an unofficial strike like a sick-out, you best have a verifiable Dr's note, else you are fired on the spot.

harley_52
26074
Points
harley_52 08/15/11 - 01:29 pm
0
0
Vito45, unions operating in

Vito45, unions operating in the private sector used to provide a valuable service, until labor laws made them unnecessary. Now they serve no purpose but to fund democrat campaign coffers and inflate prices for consumer goods to the point where they are not competitive in the market place.

Public sector unions are now and have always been a horrible idea. Public sector employees work for the taxpayer. They are paid with taxpayer funds. A "strike" by public sector employees endangers taxpayers and generally holds them hostage to union demands. Now we're getting to where the real problems occur.

Union demands things that only politicians can provide them. Politicians know that if they don't capitulate to union demands their campaign coffers will suffer. Pretty soon union dues become a condition for employment in a public sector job and those mandatory dues are used to bribe politicians into further capitulating to union demands no matter the cost to the taxpayer.

Please note I said "cost to the taxpayer," not cost to the politician. To the politician, there aren't any costs. It's your money they're giving away. It becomes a self-sustaining, symbiotic relationship. Unions demand more, politicians give it to them, politicians get re-elected. The only loser in this relationship is you, the taxpayer.

Government unions don't negotiate for more corporate profits, they negotiate for more tax money. Politicians, unlike corporate owners, have no "skin in the game" and will give them whatever they want.

Public sector unions should be outlawed.

harley_52
26074
Points
harley_52 08/15/11 - 01:48 pm
0
0
Let me go one step

Let me go one step further.

Public sector unions exist mainly for the purpose of driving governments into bankruptcy. Their goal isn't to improve conditions for employees, but rather to create chaos in society.

It's all part of the plan.

harley_52
26074
Points
harley_52 08/15/11 - 01:58 pm
0
0
And a step further

And a step further yet...

It's no coincidence that the economies of Western Europe and the United States are suffering from the symptoms of the same disease.

Think about it.

socks99
250
Points
socks99 08/15/11 - 02:08 pm
0
0
The outlook is not so grim

The outlook is not so grim once prognosticators realize that the 'pro' and 'anti' union activists are united in a common economic fate. And while many continue to imagine our current politics is a 'make-or-break' fight with dire consequences, I'd point to an entirely different conclusion: The reality of falling government revenues and associated spending cuts is not one founded on political differences; it is the predictable outcome of the bursting of the latest and greatest asset bubble in the U.S. economy. What's next? Increasingly, the pro and anti folks will realize:
1. The pensions, incomes, health-care benefits, wages, and 'all the rest,' of the neoliberal actors are 'on-the-table' in the very same way that all the 'benies' of the tea party folks, the GOP'ers, and even the Ron Paul folks are on the table.
2. The pro union folks, then, cannot 'save' their own personal economies simply by defeating the anti-union folks; nor can 'public spending' overcome or superceed the larger economic reality. ALL of the cuts, heretofore, and ALL of the nascent anti-unionism were a result of the economic fallout of an asset bubble crash and NOT simply because of the rise of a more conservative conventional wisdom.

As citizens, democrats, republicans, and all the rest, increasingly realize the bottom-line of our present economic realities, then I'd expect much more unity and, perhaps, a consensus on how the U.S., the states, and their citizens, can formulate a policy response that effectively deals with the current economic problems. That's the only way out, imo. Highlighting simplistic political differences is but a temporary diversion shortly to be replaced by a broader tolerance and understanding.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 08/15/11 - 02:36 pm
0
0
H

H

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 08/15/11 - 02:36 pm
0
0
Harley, I didn't mean to

Harley, I didn't mean to imply that current unions as structured DO provide a useful service. My intent is that collective bargaining, due process for employees, etc are useful functions that workers can benefit from. All too often those functions take a backseat to corporate shakedowns, PACs; and particularly lining the pockets of union officials. The sheeple paying the dues just can't see that.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 08/15/11 - 03:03 pm
0
0
Socks, I believe you are

Socks, I believe you are dreaming. I just don't see that 50 years of entitlement mentality development will go quietly into the sunset at the negotiating table. I WANT MINE AND SCREW EVERYBODY ELSE is the prevailing attitude among the blue hairs, and this sector makes and breaks elections. The Dems are also fanning the flames of class envy, putting up the strawmen "The Evil Rich" need to pay more, quit subsidizing corporate jet owners (savings is a tiny drop in the debt bucket), "Bush Tax Cuts for the rich are the problem".... All mannner of symbolism the sheep gobble up with absolutely no substance on real solutions. Dems and Pubs alike are guilty of not having the courage to make substantive changes, for fear of getting kicked off the gravy train.

I have a solution for that.(if they would even agree to that) Have a 10 person bipartisan commission of people not in elective office. Have a far leftie in the mold of Bernie Sanders, and balance that with a far rightie in the mold of ______. Pick a couple of ex legislators from each side that are more moderate, and then pick some private sector people like Jack Welch, Warren Buffet, Donald Trump, and Bill Gates who represent a broad politcal spectrum of successful businesspeople. Put them in a room and let them hash out a plan that the majority agree on. Bring it out and put it in place. Every elected politician can then throw their hands up and say "not my idea, but I was bound by their decisions."

I'm serious as bone cancer. The last bipartisan commision had some GREAT ideas but no one in Washington had/has the cajones to implement it because it involved SS and Medicare reform. Give them an out; take it out of their hands.

allhans
24964
Points
allhans 08/15/11 - 03:17 pm
0
0
Vito..I like that idea.

Vito..I like that idea.

harley_52
26074
Points
harley_52 08/15/11 - 03:19 pm
0
0
Socks99, I think you're

Socks99, I think you're assuming once all of us realize the state we're in we'll be able to agree on a rational solution and work together to achieve it. I'm sad to say I don't share your confidence. Further, I can't think of any prior situation that would give me any such confidence.

My belief is that this entire "bubble" was a manufactured one. And so will be the solution, if those who manufactured it in the first place are to succeed. Where all the world's wealth and all the world's power is at stake, I simply cannot get myself to believe all these economic upheavals around the world are simply the result of lots of accidents and coincidences all occurring at the same time. Further, with the rational solutions to the problems so readily apparent, I can't make myself believe all those folks in leadership positions around the world are blind to the causes, or so consistently wrong in their attempts to solve them.

What's going on here and around the world is kind of a Cloward-Piven strategy on steroids that's achieved via the tactics outlined by Saul Alinsky. Simply stated it's a strategy of overwhelming governments by getting them to promise more and more benefits to more and more people until they simply crumble of their own promises. As they crumble, get the people to be as organized, violent, and ruthless as necessary to bring about conflict, confusion, and chaos within society to get "the people" their fair share.

The reason I don't see a simple, sane, rational solution is that the population of those who perceive themselves as "downtrodden" has been so expanded and so maliciously defined by community organizers that any attempts to solve the problems are viewed as further repression by the "lucky ones," the "greedy," the "rich," and the very same oppressors who've caused all the problems in the first place.

harley_52
26074
Points
harley_52 08/15/11 - 03:34 pm
0
0
Vito45, I like your idea as

Vito45, I like your idea as an exercise in academic theory, but you know it can never really happen, right?

Who would set it up? Who would pick the committee members? What makes you think they would ever agree on anything? Do you really think the citizenry would be happy with the results? and finally...Find a reference to any such committee so empowered authorized by the U.S. Constitution.

Vito45
-2
Points
Vito45 08/15/11 - 03:44 pm
0
0
1. President 2. The two

1. President
2. The two parties; 5 each with senior party leader in each house being spokesman.
3. No, but they would have to live with it; because it is the best solution that the brightest non-partisan, broad spectrum people could come up with.
4. They have bipartisan committees for for recommendations on a broad variety of issues. Their findings are not binding, but if agreed that they will be in advance, congress can implement them.

harley_52
26074
Points
harley_52 08/15/11 - 03:49 pm
0
0
1. Which President would

1. Which President would that be?
2. They'd never agree on anything.
3. See #2 above.
4. True, they do use committees a lot. Too much, in fact. It's easier that way. And their findings are NOT BINDING as you point out. Even if they agree up front, they still know voters will hold them personally responsible for their votes to implement the committee recommendations (if any are really achieved). They'll still be afraid to vote against the desires of their constituents most of whom are wanting to keep their "free stuff."

Don't get me wrong here, I like the theory. It's the implementation I don't see happening.

Riverman1
94245
Points
Riverman1 08/15/11 - 06:25 pm
0
0
"-"My point is that if we

"-"My point is that if we allow our freedom to be curtailed in any manner for any reason then we open the door to Big Brother..................."

If it ain't Big Brother already here taking my money with taxes and threatening to take everything I have if I don't pay him or put my hard working buttocks in jail, I don't want to be around when Big Brother gets here.

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