June 08, 2012
The Lessons from Wisconsin
First, ending the government unions' collective bargaining privileges is not merely good policy, it's necessary policy to preserve a functioning democracy, where government works for the citizens and not the other way around. Walter Russell Mead:
A Democratic Party dominated by its public sector unions is a party married to government and to bureaucracy. To the degree that the public unions shape its agenda, the Democrats become a lobby for the servants of the state. For the unions who represent its employees, the bureaucratic, civil service state is a solution permanently in search of new problems to solve and new worlds to conquer. The power of the public unions within the party pulls Democrats much farther to the left than they would otherwise go.
To the extent that these unions shape the Democratic agenda, Democrats aren't just the party of government; they are the party of inefficient, expensive, unresponsive, bureaucratic government. They are the party of government workers first and foremost, and if there is a clash between the interests of the providers of government services and their consumers (between, for example, unqualified, unmotivated life-tenured public school teachers and kids), the unions come at these issues from the standpoint of protecting workers first, others second.
Read the whole thing.
Second, the Wisconsin reforms turned out also to be good politics. No matter how worked up the government unions and their allies got, no matter how stridently the liberal media across the country accused Gov. Walker of "overreach", and despite the tens of $ millions that the unions spent campaigning to restore their privileges at the ballot box, Wisconsin's voters overwhelmingly supported Gov. Walker, his allies and their reforms. When the unions made the state Supreme Court race a referendum on collective bargaining, conservative Justice Prosser was re-elected. The unions succeeded in recalling only 3 of 10 Republican state Senators where the recall attempts made it that far. Gov. Walker and Lt. Gov Kleefisch were retained in a blow-out, with 200,000 more votes and a wider percentage margin than they were originally elected with in 2010. The unions' only consolation prize -- now a 1 vote majority in the state Senate, which will never convene before the November election.
Now, even the same Seattle Times editorial page which last year accused Gov. Walker of "overreach", now writes:
The voters of a Democratic-leaning state have backed a program of dramatic economy in state government. Politicians here will take notice, even if they say it is no big deal.
Politicians here will take notice only as long as we voters insist that they take notice.
All of the big problems we face in running the state -- from bloated underperforming schools to inefficient transportation "solutions" to the Legislature's chronic defiance of the will of the voters -- are either caused or exacerbated by the government unions' outsized privileges in the political system. For all intents and purposes the government unions are an unelected and unaccountable fourth branch of government. Before we can effectively address any of the other challenges that face state government, we citizens and taxpayers need to restore a level playing field. We need to end the government unions' privileges to bargain collectively and to launder tax dollars into campaign funds through mandatory union dues.
Between now and November, the first question we need to ask each and every candidate for statewide office or state Legislature is not if but how they intend to emulate the Wisconsin reforms and end government union collective bargaining here. Their answers on this issue should be the single most important data point to inform our votes and our priorities for enthusiasm, donations and activism.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at June 08, 2012
11:25 AM | Email This
1. One of the things Governor Walker did was end the forced taxpayer-funded collection of union dues by the state. That should be one of the top items for Washington's politicians to address. There is no reason the taxpayers should have to bear that cost. Let the rich union bosses pay for that themselves. It only makes sense.
2. Let me take that a step further, Monterey: public sector employees SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO ORGANIZE TO BEGING WITH. Even FDR recognized that this was a really bad idea, so it's no surprise that Wisconsin -- ground zero for ALL bad ideas (recent election excepted) -- is where the noxious weed was first allowed to sprout. They must be ENDED.
Do you think that the subjects are beginning to see that the Emperor (Owebama) has few clothes, maybe just a fig leaf now, as he is unconsciously exposing who he really is, like cowering away from campaigning in WI prior to the recall election ?
The curtain was accidentally lifted up which exposed him wearing his fig leaf and we weren't supposed to see that..
I do agree with you on this occassion. While there is a place for the unions, the unions in this state have overreached, like in Department of Ecology where they require all employees to contribute a significant amount, even if they are not members.
Just curious...is the removal of public employee collective bargaining "rights" a proper topic for an initiative?
If something like what happened in Wisc. is possible,it could happen just about anywhere.
6. Main lesson from Wisconsin: conservatives are no longer ROLLING OVER for liberals. We're in it to win it. (sorry for the tired cliche.)
7. Outstanding post, Stefan! Keep it coming.
And yet, McKenna has already telegraphed that he's not going to do a thing to bring the PE unions to heel.
Which is why, among other reasons (Like calling what Walker was doing "terrorism") I will not ever vote for the man.
9. @8 Yeah, I'm sure you'll be so much happier with uber-leftist Inslee in office. It's attitudes like that which will keep Republicans from being elected to state office here. If you've got a conservative candidate you like better, then work to get that person nominated. Otherwise, there's two clear options in this election and if you don't support the most conservative one, you are helping to elect a liberal.
10. @8 - I agree with @9. You are helping the progressive cause, as well as your own self-gratification.
11. I agree with #9, as well. If you've got a choice between a VERY good good but not absolutely in line in every way with your views (McKenna) and absolutely awful and airheaded (Inslee), by all means please go with the very good candidate. Goes without saying the state will be so much better off for it.
Too old and too beat up to ever vote for the "settle for" candidate again.
At the end of the day, you'd support a governor who would continue to allow the public employee unions to screw us and drive us further into debt; who rather bizarrely views collective bargaining as a RIGHT, who viewed Walker's actions as "terrorizing the unions," who, in fact, rather proudly proclaims "I am not Scott Walker" when he desperately needs... and WE desperately need him to be just that; who opposed I-1125 that those of us in Clark County both supported and needed to have passed to help kill off our horrific bridge project...
Exactly what is "Republican" about McKenna?
We are unlikely to EVER have a better chance to get rid of the cancer of "collective extortion" and this guy SUPPORTS it as a RIGHT?
At the state level, Inslee would sprint us off a cliff.
The difference between the two is that McKenna would take us off the SAME cliff... just at a slower pace.
I'm not going to vote for either.
Gee, is Mike The Mover on the ballot for governor?