The Corner

Gov. Walker’s Strategy

I admire Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s refusal to back down on a fight the country needs to have and from which too many have shied away. But as long as he’s in it, and the Obama/Alinsky Left has demonstrated to an appalled country just how ugly they intend to make things — thug leaders calling for blood in the street, the Nazi/Mubarak/Mussolini rhetoric, lawmakers abdicating their duty and shutting down the legislative process when they can’t get their way — why not try to win it, right here right now?

Seems to me that Governor Walker is asking for adjustments that are way too modest and would leave in place — perhaps solidify — a situation that is only marginally less unjust and untenable than what Wisconsin has now. Under his proposal, citizens working in the private sector would still be paying more for public-employee pensions and substantially more for public-employee health insurance than those citizens pay for their own comparable benefits. He would exempt many public employees from even these modest adjustments. (And for what? Did you see the firefighters out there yesterday, joining the taker-class’s demonstrations against the public?) Furthermore, Walker is being very cagey when asked whether his goal is to break the public-sector unions — he won’t say yes, but his statements have an undertone of “wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world . . .”

There is a simple, compelling case that public-sector unionization should never have been permitted in the first place, that FDR’s predictions that such a system would be rife with corruption have been realized in spades, and that the arrangement has the country on the fast-track to bankruptcy. Moreover, despite the rate and pace at which public-sector unions have lined their pockets over the past quarter century, the quality the public gets from its “servants” decreases in direct proportion to the public unions’ ever-inflating sense of entitlement.

The case was forcefully made just yesterday by Jonah here and by Peter Ferrara at Pajamas. And they demonstrated that proponents can advance the case while illustrating that they are not anti-union, that we appreciate the contributions to a decent society that private sector unions have undeniably made. This is not a pro-corporate fat-cat argument; it’s a pro-us argument.

The public-sector employees work for us — they are not beaten down by “the man,” “the system,” or whatever bogeyman the lefties are using today. The only “collective bargaining” they should be permitted is the regular legislative process that everyone else who wants something from the public purse needs to go through. And I can tell you from personal experience, having worked in the public sector for over two decades — and having felt honored to represent the public in court despite making a lot less money than I could have made as a private attorney — that the real public servants understand this. The people driving this train, and driving us into bankruptcy, are left-wing activists whose power hinges on maintaining this perverse system in which unions effectively sit on both sides of the negotiations, passing piles of public money over and under the table.

Governor Walker is a very persuasive fellow and he has a soapbox he will probably never have again thanks to the dreadful behavior of the opposition. This is not a time to go for incremental improvements. This is a moment when the game is there for the taking.

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