Follow the Dues

by Rich Lowry

As has been noted in this space over the last few days, the most important of Scott Walker’s proposals is to stop the automatic collection of public-sector union dues by state government. With this proposal, Walker wants to do public workers a favor — they can decide whether they want to hand over a portion of their paycheck to the unions or not. What’s not to like? Walker is offering freedom of choice and potentially a substantial savings — roughly $1,000 a year for teachers — to public workers. I write about this today:

When the Wisconsin General Assembly voted to pass Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill, the Democratic legislators made themselves indistinguishable from the protestors surrounding the assembly floor.

They wore the same pro-union orange T-shirts. They behaved in the same sophomoric way, breaking out in a noisy, finger-pointing demonstration. They chanted the same ubiquitous word: “Shame!” They might as well have brought guitars onto the floor for a Woody Guthrie sing-along and touted “Walker = Hitler” signs.

In Wisconsin, it’s less that Democrats act to protect a special interest than that they belong to a special interest. A complete identification has long existed among state government, the public-sector unions, and the Democratic party. By seeking to break up this powerful, self-dealing nexus, Walker is “assaulting,” in President Barack Obama’s formulation, a partisan political machine dependent on the state for its functioning.

The Corner

The one and only.