Don't fall for the recall

Wisconsin can become Greece, but not on our dime

There’s an effort to recall the governor of Wisconsin for his decision to rein in public employee unions. Here’s why you should care, regardless of what state you live in.

For one thing, it’s a cautionary tale for every state and hamlet: Tighten up your recall laws!

It’s an absolutely horrid idea to overturn an election result simply because you disagree with a few decisions, however significant. Election campaigns already appear to be nonstop; if we go back to the polls every time a public official chaps our hides, we’ll live in constant political turmoil. A stable country and financial and business sectors need more predictability than that. It’s the kind of chaos you see in Third World nations or countries with 15 viable parties constantly jockeying for power.

Recall elections should be available only in the case of malfeasance or dereliction of duty. Just to be clear: Disagreeing with you is neither.

For another thing, it’s quite likely that states that don’t rein in their spending – and end up in dire straits – will come knocking in Washington for a bailout. In essence, those states that act responsibly could be asked to subsidize those that don’t.

It’s more than likely that Georgia and South Carolina would be among the “donor” states.

If you think such a scenario far-fetched, just look at Western Europe, where the more successful states have been working overtime to prop up the out-of-control spenders such as Greece. What makes anyone think it couldn’t happen here?

Indeed, even while watching the crisis in Greece on their televisions, leaders in Washington and some state capitals are blithely spending their constituents down the same road.

Public benefits and pensions, which far outpace those in the private sector that pays the tab, are responsible for much of the crisis in Europe, and they’ve exacerbated things in the U.S. as well. That’s what people such as Gov. Scott Walker have been trying to prevent in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states.

The public unions don’t like the loss of power and money, and are determined to keep us on the road to Greece.

We hope the people of Wisconsin don’t fall for it; any union triumph over common sense is likely to ripple far beyond Madison.

In any event, we would urge Congress to pass a law expressly forbidding any bailout of any state that has spent itself to ruin.

What Wisconsin does with its politicians is its business. But what the rest of the states do with their taxpayers’ money should be theirs.

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