Wednesday, February 16, 2011


The teacher's unions in Wisconsin are protesting Governor Scott Walker's proposed stripping of their collective bargaining rights.  This is due to the contract running out - it's the state's prerogative to not renew it, and it would basically turn Wisconsin into a right to work state overnight.  There is also a proposal in the budget that would require union members to contribute to their own pensions and health care plans like the rest of us.   Educators have gone so far as to do an illegal "sick-out" two days in a row.  Numerous districts have had to close schools for two days running because more than 40% of their teachers called in sick in protest.  Thousands of children are having their education neglected by their own teachers so that those teachers can go demand more special treatment at taxpayer's expense (and claim it's for the kids!). 
There were also students in attendance, many brought to the festivities by their teachers.  Let's hope they got their permission slips signed first!  This so-called "solidarity" is bogus because many of the students don't know why they are there or what they are protesting.  Being teenagers, they just jumped at the chance to play hooky and hang out with their friends at a rally:

Fox News commentator Mary Katherine Hamm put it best when host Stuart Varney asked if this behavior was causing public opinion to shift against unions:

"I think it is, and I don't think it helps unions to be skipping their jobs and coming out and getting paid to protest to get more taxpayer money while being paid taxpayer money.  I don't think that works for them. It's not a great argument."
Using their students as human shields isn't such a great idea, either.   HotAir's Ed Morrissey sums the issue up nicely:

Most of the students marching with their teachers had no idea of the finer points of Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to bring teacher pension contributions in line with the private sector, a position the union called “slavery” just a couple of months before conceding the point.  Nor do they understand the budget gap that Walker faces, or the nuances of economic policy, tax burdens, and growth policies.  All they know is what their teachers told them — and that speaks to political indoctrination conducted in public schools by activist teachers, and the inability of parents and communities to weed out inappropriate politicking in classrooms.

Why are parents and communities unable to weed out these politically motivated teachers?  Because unions make it nearly impossible to fire a tenured teacher, and our democratic leaders block any legislation that might tie the hands of their union cronies fundraisers.  And what do we get for it?  We spend more than 5% of GDP yearly on education, and in return we enjoy a global ranking of "average".  Out of 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and  a seriously disheartening 25th in math. 

To add to the chaos, Wisconsin state senate democrats snuck out the back door, boarded a chartered bus and are currently holed up in a Best Western in Illinois.  Seriously, I kid you not.  I sure hope they aren't using their state credit cards for this little...junket. Cowards.  Meanwhile, back in Madison, the grownups republicans were unable to make a quorum to vote on the budget due to a complete lack of democrats and so were forced to go home. 

This is what one might call a "government shutdown".  You may have heard that term recently, because congressional democrats for some reason have been saying it's allegedly what republicans are planning on doing.    Please note that the only party either talking about or doing it is the one on the left side of the aisle.  Not only do they refuse to make the hard decisions, they refuse to allow anyone else to, either.  The democrats who fled to Illinois have announced their solidarity with the unions over the greater good of the state and have, with their dereliction and defection, effectively gone on strike and should be held accountable for their actions.

Our esteemed President has also weighed in on the subject - three guesses on which side he's taking!  The DNC also apparently has a horse in this race, because they are organizing their little guts out in the Madison community these days.  Twittering twit Michael Moore has also piped up, of course, likening Wisconsin to the New Cairo, and called Gov. Walker "Mini-Mubarak".  There are plenty of "Recall Walker" signs to support Moore's idea, but it's highly doubtful Walker will resign over this, so hopefully they aren't getting their hopes up too high.   Fascinating how they are all working together, no?  Obama, unions, and the DNC all in lockstep arm in arm - how cozy....

No doubt there will be more protests tomorrow, and the democratic delegation in exile doesn't seem too keen on growing backbones and coming back and dealing with the $3+ billion budget gap their state elected them to deal with any time soon.  How in the world are we supposed to get out of the looming fiscal ruin we are facing not just in individual states but nationally if no one is willing to make the cuts?

We are all going to get hit by austerity measures eventually - on both federal and state levels in most cases, and that has to include our heretofore untouchable union members.  To paraphrase President Obama, "they are our neighbors, they are our friends" - so maybe they should chip in and help shoulder the burden instead of hold us hostage, dontcha think?  You know, as neighbors and friends?   Obama says that this is an attack on the unions.  You bet! Public sector unions have become too powerful and too expensive.  Other states are watching this closely to see if they, too, can bust the unions and save themselves.  Bottom line, unions should not have the ability to shut down a government and hold it hostage until their demands are met.  That is what the mess in Wisconsin really boils down to. 

In order to work in a public position in Wisconsin you are required to join a union.  Once you join that union, you are required to pay dues to said union - they are automatically garnished from members wages.  And yet they call being asked to kick in for their own pensions to take some of the burden off the taxpayer "slavery".   Breaking the collective bargaining agreement will break the union stranglehold, allowing members to opt out if they so choose.  Considering how membership is already slipping nationally, no doubt the unions are really sweating this prospect.  It might mean losing untold numbers of members, which, of course, means fewer dues.  This translates into smaller donations to democrat fundraisers.  Unacceptable, in other words.

What originally started out as a small protest by teachers has blown up into a near revolt by the public unions and their democrat supporters.  They should proceed carefully, however because this could really backfire in a big way.  Disapproval of unions is on the rise, and these demonstrations and shutdowns could well be a tipping point, and not in their favor.  

Taking hostages is always a tricky proposition.  It's also usually a sign of desperation - something Walker and the GOP senators should keep in mind as the pressure is applied to them.  Time for a counter protest!



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