Wisconsin Republicans Turn Up the Heat, Labor Stays Cool

by Steven F. Hayward

Wisconsin Republicans are slowly turning up the heat on Democrats, like the proverbial frog being slowly boiled (a trope that is untrue, by the way). Stopping direct deposits of paychecks and per diem payments (how can legislators collect per diem expense payments if they aren’t on the job?) is nice, as is the threat to pass a photo ID requirement for voting. But if Republicans really want to turn up the temperature, they should consider fast-tracking two other measures: easy and quick alternative certification for new public-school teachers, who could then replace striking teachers, and expanding school choice.  

Another note: One of the signs that Reagan was going to succeed in breaking the air-traffic controllers’ strike in 1981 was when other labor unions offered only verbal support. No other labor union observed the striking controllers’ picket lines at airports. Of course, there are no picket lines to cross in Wisconsin, but have there been any of the usual threats to boycott Wisconsin cheese, cancel conventions, and otherwise make the state a pariah, as happened when Arizona passed its anti-illegal-immigration measures last year? So far, all you’ve seen from the AFL-CIO’s Rich Trumka is his best imitation of a thug.