Friday, February 18, 2011

Bringing shame to the teaching profession

The behavior of the teachers and their union thug allies in Wisconsin is appalling. They're trying to persuade the Wisconsin public of their right to make deals with Democratic politicians to to keep generous benefits for teachers by skipping out of their jobs and bringing the children along with them to the protests.

They don't seem to have mastered any lessons on hyperbole and false analogies as they wave their signs trying to indicate that Governor Walker is somehow a new Hitler because he wants to limit public employee unions, something that FDR himself believed in. I guess that makes FDR a proto-Nazi. Check out these pictures of the signs that the Wisconsin union protesters are waving as they strain their Nazi imagery. To show their support for the "new civility" they are also waving signs with Walker's picture and a target on his face with the slogan "Reload.

As thousands crowded the Wisconsin capitol to protest having to contribute to their pensions and health insurance, the courageous Democratic legislators have fled the state to deny a quorum to the GOP-controlled Wisconsin legislature.

Just to keep up, these are the provisions that they are so upset about.
Mr. Walker's very modest proposal would take away the ability of most government employees to collectively bargain for benefits. They could still bargain for higher wages, but future wage increases would be capped at the federal Consumer Price Index, unless otherwise specified by a voter referendum. The bill would also require union members to contribute 5.8% of salary toward their pensions and chip in 12.6% of the cost of their health insurance premiums.
Ooh, now that is true Nazism. It's one step from there to the gas chambers. Come on! Why should public employees be allowed to evade the same sorts of provisions that workers in the private sectors are to pay.
If those numbers don't sound outrageous, you probably work in the private economy. The comparable nationwide employee health-care contribution is 20% for private industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average employee contribution from take-home pay for retirement was 7.5% in 2009, according to the Employee Benefits Research Institute.
At the core is the fact that the state is facing a $3.6 billion shortfall over the next two years. Something has got to give. But the public employee unions want to make sure that limits on their previous stranglehold on the state will not pass.

The teachers are exhibiting their true lack of concern over their students as they stage a sick out. Why the extreme response? The unions fear that this is just the beginning and more states will wake up to the reality of what the union between Democratic politicians and state employee unions has wrought.
Unions are treating these reforms as Armageddon because they've owned the Wisconsin legislature for years and the changes would reduce their dominance. Under Governor Walker's proposal, the government also would no longer collect union dues from paychecks and then send that money to the unions. Instead, unions would be responsible for their own collection regimes. The bill would also require unions to be recertified annually by a majority of all members. Imagine that: More accountability inside unions.

The larger reality is that collective bargaining for government workers is not a God-given or constitutional right. It is the result of the growing union dominance inside the Democratic Party during the middle of the last century. John Kennedy only granted it to federal workers in 1962 and Jerry Brown to California workers in 1978. Other states, including Indiana and Missouri, have taken away collective bargaining rights for public employees in recent years, and some 24 states have either limited it or banned it outright.

And for good reason. Public unions have a monopoly position that gives them undue bargaining power. Their campaign cash—collected via mandatory dues—also helps to elect the politicians who are then supposed to represent taxpayers in negotiations with those same unions. The unions sit, in effect, on both sides of the bargaining table. This is why such famous political friends of the working man as Franklin Roosevelt and Fiorello La Guardia opposed collective bargaining for government workers, even as they championed private unions.
President Obama neglected the opportunity to demonstrate his desire for civil and adult discussion of the nation's problems. As Jay Nordlinger writes,
We all get that President Obama is for the unions and against Governor Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans (and other Republicans). He has said so. Well and good. But his side is behaving despicably in Wisconsin, threatening the well-being of Republican legislators, who are merely doing the jobs the people elected them to do.

As you can see in the below interview, Republican senators are not saying whether they are sleeping in their own houses, and are working with law enforcement to keep themselves and their families safe.

Couldn’t Obama say something? Couldn’t he pretend he’s president — president of all the people — and say, “We have political disagreements, but we’re going to work them out peacefully and democratically. For example, massing at lawmakers’ homes, to shout and threaten, is out of bounds.”

Wouldn’t that be kind of . . . big of him? But in my observation — and he has been president for two years now — he is small. He was willing to speak out after Tucson. That was relatively easy. To speak out now would be exceptional, and exceptionally helpful. It would be helpful to Obama politically, too.

Who are the unionists going to support instead come ’12? Angela Davis?
But Obama couldn't bring himself to try to calm the waters out there. Instead he is allowing the DNC to help coordinate and organize the protests. In the Democrats' thinking, this is all part of their battle to regain control for Democrats across the country so that they can negotiate continued benefits for their public employee union masters.

These Republican leaders in Wisconsin and Ohio and other states seeking to rein in the public employees absolutely must stay strong. This is what they were elected to do. Without taking such actions, their states will be fiscally doomed. And they should take heart; I don't believe that the general public in Wisconsin or Ohio will look at these protests as they scramble to find child care for children who can't go to school because their teachers are waving Hitler posters at the state capitol. Just watching the news last night as video of the mob at the Capitol juxtaposed with demonstrated in Egypt was depressing enough. The public will support such common-sense reforms.
Whatever the political fallout from the collective-bargaining reforms, there may at least be wide public support for Walker’s pension-contribution push, a measure that he touted during his campaign. It proved wildly popular with voters: 76 percent of Wisconsin residents thought public employees “should contribute to their own pensions,” according to a poll commissioned by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute last summer.
The GOP has to be prepared for any sort of sleazy behavior from these Wisconsin Democrats.
Walker has also already won one important battle. In a letter in November, he asked outgoing Democratic governor Jim Doyle to refrain from finalizing contracts with state union employees. The governor nonetheless continued to negotiate the contracts, and when he finalized them, the assembly pushed ahead, even pulling one Democratic assemblyman out of jail (where he was serving a 60-day sentence for drunk driving) for a day so that he could cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the contracts. But in a surprise move, Democratic senate majority leader Russ Decker voted against the contracts. Outraged Democrats stripped Decker of his leadership position that same day, but it didn’t matter: The vote was a tie, and the contracts were not official.
People will respect leadership. Pulling an assemblyman out of jail or fleeing to a hotel in Illinois to avoid doing their jobs will not win Democrats more votes.

3 comments:

Stan said...

"Pulling an assemblyman out of jail or fleeing to a hotel in Illinois to avoid doing their jobs will not win Democrats more votes."

Actually Betsy, I expect that the nation's cemetery and mickey mouse vote will be inspired to vote by the millions.

Rick Caird said...

The Democrats have managed to turn this into a fight for the future of the country. It is a fitting metaphor that our President, unwilling to get involved in Iran and trying to have it both ways in Egypt, now has his election organization, OFA, involved in Wisconsin while the President verbally attacks the elected state government.

It is amusing to see the same people who were so quick to tell us "elections have consequences" after Obama and the Democrats won in 2008 are now trying to overturn the Wisconsin elections and pretend the 2010 elections should have no consequences.

it is also apt to find the Democratic legislators running away from the state they promised to serve. How appropriate.

Shane said...

Wow - after how the Democrats and their unions were able to neuter my California governor Schwarzenegger when he tried to reign in the crippling influence of government unions here, to read that Wisconsin senate majority leader Russ Decker alone bucked the party line and voted against passing the new contract in the lame duck session - that makes him a quality man in my book. I don't his stated reasons for doing so, I'll try to find out - but his decision there has opened the door to resetting relations with government unions for a generation. Amazing.

Thanks Betsy - you've revealed another twist to this story that makes it oh so much more delicious...