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.