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Thread: Wisconsin Democrats could stay away for weeks

  1. #1
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560

    Wisconsin Democrats could stay away for weeks

    Hiding - the new political technique LOL. How pathetic. Charges should be brought for dereliction of duty. That's mighty democratic of these democrats. The contituency has spoken, the government acts, and the democrats run away.

    Associated Press Scott Bauer, Associated Press – 5 mins ago

    MADISON, Wis. – Democrats on the run in Wisconsin avoided state troopers Friday and threatened to stay in hiding for weeks, potentially paralyzing a state government they no longer control.

    The party's stand against balancing the state's budget by cutting the pay, benefits and collective bargaining rights of public workers is the boldest action yet by Democrats to push back against last fall's GOP wave.

    But the dramatic strategy that's clogged the Capitol with thousands of protesters clashes with one essential truth: Republicans told everyone unions would be a target, and the GOP has more than enough votes to pass its plans once the Legislature can convene.

    Read the rest right HERE:

  2. #2
    Havakasha is offline
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    Dems Closed Much Larger Budget Shortfall In Wisconsin Without Destroying Worker Rights
    Brian Beutler | February 18, 2011, 4:09PM

    We know that Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker is framing his bid to roll back public sector worker rights as a necessary measure of fiscal austerity. And we know that's basically bogus. But how bogus? And how accurate are the dire warnings of fiscal crisis? And how standard are the tools Walker's using to address it?

    The answers in order: very, overblown, and unconventional.

    "Unconventional or nuclear, depending on your point of view," said Pat Kreitlow, a former Democratic senator in Wisconsin, who helped pass the state's current budget.

    There's been a lot of confusion about what Walker's doing -- but he's definitely not passing a budget. He's pushing optional legislation in a vehicle that's meant to tweak the budget in the event of a budget emergency. To the extent that there is an emergency, Walker essentially created it, giving him the chance to pass a bill that would permanently deny public workers collective bargaining rights, while he's still riding the wave of his own post-election popularity.

    Here's how it came down.

    In Wisconsin, budget season is two years long. The current budget window was opened on July 1, 2009, and will close on June 30 of this year. If for unexpected reason, the state finds itself faced with a severe deficit within a biennial window, the legislature must pass what's known a "budget repair bill" -- to close the gap with spending cuts or other emergency measures.

    The state has not crossed that threshold.

    The previous governor, Democrat Jim Doyle, passed a budget that left the state poised for a surplus this year. When Walker took office in January he chipped away at that surplus with three conservative tax expenditure bills, but not severely enough to trigger a budget repair bill. The current, small shortfall was "manufactured by Governor Walker's own insistence on making the deficit worse with the bills he passed in January," Kreitlow said. But Walker cited that shortfall to introduce a "budget repair bill" anyhow -- a fully elective move that includes his plan to end collective bargaining rights for state employees.

    "The trigger had not been reached prior to Governor Walker adding to the previous year's deficit by passing bills that didn't create a single job," Kreitlow said.

    Walker will soon have to introduce an actual budget, which will outline spending and revenue policy for the two years between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2013. And the state's Legislative Fiscal Bureau -- the official scorekeeper -- does project that he'll face a $3 billion shortfall. But Democrats faced a shortfall twice as large ahead of the previous budget cycle and managed to close the gap.

    "The $3 billion is a projection based on requests and forecasts, but it's the governor who has to do the hard work of putting together a plan," Kreitow explained. "it is just practically half of the projected deficit that we closed in the last budget bill, which we did by making serious cuts and some very deliberate choices. That's what we expect leaders to do." In 2009, Wisconsin Dems did get just over a billion in help from the stimulus bill, but they made up the rest by giving state agencies less money than they asked for, and through furloughs and other real austerity measures.

    "We know it could be closed again by making tough choices," Kreitow said. "But not included in those tough choices would be stripping away labor rights that have allowed there to be labor peace in Wisconsin for over 50 years."

  3. #3
    Atypical is offline

    Walker gins up ‘crisis’ to reward cronies

    Wisconsin needs to be fiscally responsible.

    There is no question that these are tough times, and they may require tough choices.

    But Gov. Scott Walker is not making tough choices. He is making political choices, and they are designed not to balance budgets but to improve his political position and that of his party.

    It is for this reason that the governor claims Wisconsin is in such deep financial trouble that Wisconsinites should view this as a crisis moment.

    In fact, like just about every other state in the country, Wisconsin is managing in a weak economy. The difference is that Wisconsin is managing better -- or at least it had been managing better until Walker took over. Despite shortfalls in revenue following the economic downturn that hit its peak with the Bush-era stock market collapse, the state has balanced budgets, maintained basic services and high-quality schools, and kept employment and business development steadier than the rest of the country. It has managed so well, in fact, that the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau recently released a memo detailing how the state will end the 2009-2011 budget biennium with a budget surplus.

    In its Jan. 31 memo to legislators on the condition of the state’s budget, the Fiscal Bureau determined that the state will end the year with a balance of $121.4 million.

    To the extent that there is an imbalance -- Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit -- it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January. If the Legislature were simply to rescind Walker’s new spending schemes -- or delay their implementation until they are offset by fresh revenues -- the “crisis” would not exist.

    The Fiscal Bureau memo -- which readers can access at -- makes it clear that Walker did not inherit a budget that required a repair bill.

    The facts are not debatable.

    Because of the painful choices made by the previous Legislature, Wisconsin is in better shape fiscally than most states.

    Wisconsin has lower unemployment than most states.

    Wisconsin has better prospects for maintaining great schools, great public services and a great quality of life than most states, even in turbulent economic times.

    Unfortunately, Walker has a political agenda that relies on the fantasy that Wisconsin is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

    Walker is not interested in balanced budgets, efficient government or meaningful job creation.

    Walker is interested in gaming the system to benefit his political allies and campaign contributors.

    To achieve that end, he has proposed a $137 million budget “repair” bill that he intends to use as a vehicle to:

    1. Undermine the long-established collective bargaining rights of public employee unions, which have for 80 years been the strongest advocates for programs that serve the great mass of Wisconsinites, as opposed to wealthy elites and corporate special interests. As Racine’s Democratic state Rep. Cory Mason says, the governor’s bill is designed not with the purpose of getting the state’s finances in order but as “an assault on Wisconsin’s working families and political payback against unions who didn’t support Gov. Walker.”

    2. Pay for schemes that redirect state tax dollars to wealthy individuals and corporate interests that have been sources of campaign funding for Walker’s fellow Republicans and special-interest campaigns on their behalf. As Madison’s Democratic state Rep. Brett Hulsey notes, the governor and legislators aligned with him have over the past month given away special-interest favors to every lobby group that came asking, creating zero jobs in the process “but increasing the deficit by more than $100 million.”

    Actually, Hulsey’s being conservative in his estimate of how much money Walker and his allies have misappropriated for political purposes.

    One Wisconsin Now, the progressive watchdog group that has provided the closest monitoring of Walker’s budgetary gamesmanship, explains:

    “Since his inauguration in early January, Walker has approved $140 million in new special-interest spending that includes:

    • $25 million for an economic development fund for job creation that still has $73 million due to a lack of job creation. Walker is creating a $25 million hole which will not create or retain jobs.

    “• $48 million for private health savings accounts, which primarily benefit the wealthy. A study from the federal Governmental Accountability Office showed the average adjusted gross income of HSA participants was $139,000 and nearly half of HSA participants reported withdrawing nothing from their HSA, evidence that it is serving as a tax shelter for wealthy participants.

    “• $67 million for a tax shift plan, so ill-conceived that at best the benefit provided to ‘job creators’ would be less than a dollar a day per new job, and may be as little as 30 cents a day.”

    State Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, sums up this scheming accurately when he says: “In one fell swoop, Gov. Walker is trying to institute a sweeping radical and dangerous notion that will return Wisconsin to the days when land barons and railroad tycoons controlled the political elites in Madison.”

    The bottom line is evident to anyone who cares to pay attention not to the spin but to the budget figures: Walker is manufacturing a fiscal “crisis” in order to achieve political goals.

    Walker is not addressing a fiscal crisis.

    He is not serving Wisconsin.

    He is serving his own interest and those of the lobbyists who represent his campaign contributors.

    Another repuke a-hole playing games with workers. A surprise - no, that's what they do.

  4. #4
    Atypical is offline

    Fox Slams WI Protests But Cheered Tea Party Protests

    Fox News' coverage of the Wisconsin protests over Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to eliminate public employees' collective bargaining rights, among other things, has been marked with repeated attacks on the protesters. However, by contrast, Fox has relentlessly promoted and even encouraged viewers to participate in tea party and "Tax Day" protests over the past few years.

    Fox Coverage Of WI Protesters Marked By Attacks On Union Members, Supporters
    Beck: WI Protests Are "About The People Looking To Create Chaos On The Backs Of The Worker." On the February 17 edition of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck said of the Wisconsin protests: "The unions claim that the cuts will affect teachers, but it's not the everyday teacher that this story is really all about. It's about the people looking to create chaos on the backs of the worker when the world's focus is on Egypt." [Fox News, Glenn Beck, 2/17/11]

    Malkin: Protesters Engaging In "Thuggery." On the February 17 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin attacked the protesters, saying, "If this brave Republican governor can stand up to the immense amount of power and thuggery, essentially, by these unions, it bodes very well for other states." [Fox News,Fox & Friends, 2/17/11]

    Napolitano Calls Wisconsin Protests "Union Temper Tantrums." On the February 17 edition his Fox Business show Freedom Watch, host Andrew Napolitano said, "This is the second day in a row union temper tantrums have ... deprived Wisconsin kids of their education." [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 2/17/11]

    McGuirk: Protesters Are "Act[ing] Like A Bunch Of Selfish Spoiled Europeans." On the February 17 broadcast of Fox News' Hannity, Fox Business' Imus in the Morning producer Bernard McGuirk said of the protesters: "For these guys, the people inWisconsin, these protesters to act like a bunch of selfish spoiled Europeans is almost embarrassing." [Fox News, Hannity, 2/17/11, accessed via Nexis]

    Beck Sees "The Beginning Of The American Insurrection" In Wisconsin Protests. On the February 17 edition of his radio show, Beck said that the Wisconsin protests are "the beginning of the American insurrection." He went on to add, "These unions are calling for Egypt-style protests on the street." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 2/17/11]

    Beck Cites WI Protests To Claim That "Evil [Is] Spreading Around The Globe."On the February 16 edition of his Fox News show, Beck stated that protests in Madison, WI, as well as in the Middle East and Mexico are part of "evil spreading around the globe." [Fox News,Glenn Beck,2/16/11]

    Fox & Friends Co-Hosts Dismiss Protesters' Demands, Say It's "Simple" To "Eliminate Collective Bargaining." On the February 18 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade discussed the protests in Wisconsin and dismissed the protesters' demands. Doocy said that Walker's proposal is "simple. He wants to eliminate collective bargaining, he wants public employees to pay half their pension cost and at least 12 percent of their health care coverage."

    From the show:
    KILMEADE: Wisconsin is a state, like many states in this country, that has a bit of a budget deficit, to the tune of over $100 million. So one way in which new Gov. Scott Walker wants to close that gap is to go revisit the public employee deals, government worker deals that have been cut between union workers and the state government. So, why not put that forward? Why not have them pay into their pensions? Why not have them pay into their retirement, health care, because we, together, have to balance the budget, and the people have spoken out in November. They want Republicans to do the cutting. And that was the easy part.
    DOOCY: That was the easy part. And now you're looking at these crazy pictures out of the state capital from yesterday. Twenty-five thousand people showed up. John Fund's going to join us in a couple minutes. Wait until you hear -- his sources are telling him these are not all union members who are showing up in these pictures right here. But the proposal -- it's simple. He wants to eliminate collective bargaining, he wants public employees to pay half their pension cost and at least 12 percent of their health care coverage. For a teacher --
    KILMEADE: Join the rest of the world.
    DOOCY: Right, that's still a good deal. It would amount to essentially 7 percent of their pay. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 2/18/11]

    O'Reilly: "Insurrection In Wisconsin" Means "Class Warfare" Could Be "About To Break Out In America." On the February 17 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, during his "Talking Points" segment, host Bill O'Reilly referred to the protests as the "[i]nsurrection in Wisconsin" and said, " 'Talking Points' believes that class warfare is about to break out in America":

    O'REILLY: Insurrection inWisconsin: That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points" memo. Thousands of state workers are objecting toWisconsinGovernor Scott Walker's call for an immediate eight percent cut in their benefits and things got nasty today.
    Well, the state ofWisconsinhas a $3.6 billion- short fall through 2013 and simply cannot afford to pay its bills. This is happening in many states and public workers are the first ones to take the hit. Obviously that's not going over well inWisconsin.
    But if state workers will not give back some of their benefits, there is no solution to the fiscal crisis anywhere. You can't raise taxes anymore. The folks are tapped out, right?
    Where I live on Long Island some elderly people are actually selling their homes because they can't sell the high property tax rate. The solution in bankrupt states is where these two agree to some kind of give back perhaps over a few years, that way they can look for other jobs in the private sector if they don't believe they are being compensated fairly in the public arena. I think that would be fair.

    "Talking Points" believes that class warfare is about to break out in America. Union benefits are strangling not only state budgets but also the private economy.
    Yes, workers do need protection. They need some kind of security in the marketplace. But, the cold truth is, that federal and state workers have reached the top of their earning pyramid. Bankruptcy looms in California and other states and give-backs are coming. The blow back to that will be nasty.
    And that's the memo. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 2/17/11, accessed via Nexis]

    But Fox Has Aggressively Hyped Tea Party Protests And Protesters

    Media Matters April '09 Report Found Fox Aired At Least 20 Segments And 73 Promos On Tea Party Protests In Lead Up To Tax Day Protests. In April 2009, Media Matters reported that Fox News had frequently aired segments not only covering tea party protests but encouraging viewers to get involved. An April 15, 2009, study found that from April 6-13, Fox had aired 20 segments and 73 in-show and commercial promotions on the tea party protests scheduled for April 15. Many of those segments aired during one of Fox's supposedly objective news shows, America's Newsroom. [Media Matters, 4/8/09, 4/15/09]
    Fox News Hosts Attended "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties." In the days leading up to the "Tax Day" protests, Fox repeatedly aired on-screen text describing protests Fox news hosts would be attending as "FNC Tax Day Tea Parties." [Media Matters, 4/9/09]

    Fox's Tax Day Coverage Promoted Protesters' Cause, Urged Viewer Involvement. As Media Matters has previously documented, Fox News and Fox Business also hyped the tea party during its coverage of the "Tax Day" protests on April 15, 2009. Hosts and guests on several shows, including the supposedly objective Happening Now and America's Newsroom, promoted the protesters' cause and urged viewers to join the protests and visit tea party websites. [Media Matters, 4/16/09]

    Hannity Scheduled To Speak At Ticketed Tea Party Event; "Furious" Fox Execs Forced Cancellation Of His Appearance. Leading up to the April 15, 2010, "Tax Day" tea party protests, Fox host Sean Hannity was scheduled to tape his April 15 show at the Cincinnati Tea Party's 2010 Tax Day Tea Party, which required paid admission. The appearance was promoted on 18 different editions of his Fox News program. On April 15, 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported that "[a]ngry Fox News executives" ordered Hannity to drop his plans to film from the rally. [Media Matters, 4/15/10]

    Fox News Hosts Participated In More Than A Dozen Tea Party Events. Despite News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch's statement that he didn't think Fox News "should be supporting the Tea Party," Fox News hosts participated in more than a dozen tea party events the week of April 15, 2010. [Media Matters, 4/15/10]

    Fox Repeatedly Promoted Glenn Beck's 8-28 Rally. Although Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy declared that "Glenn Beck -- not Fox News" was hosting Beck's August 28, 2010"Restoring Honor" rally, Fox hosts repeatedly hyped Beck's rally. [Media Matters, 8/24/10]

    The usual inflammatory lies, vicious propaganda, denigration of any opposing opinions and loads of hatred for anyone but their favored criminals. Those in charge of this vomit are psychopaths as are those that watch AND BELIEVE.
    Last edited by Atypical; 02-18-2011 at 06:15 PM.

  5. #5
    Atypical is offline

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: Funded by the Koch Bros.

    Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker, whose bill to kill collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions has caused an uproar among state employees, might not be where he is today without the Koch brothers. Charles and David Koch are conservative titans of industry who have infamously used their vast wealth to undermine President Obama and fight legislation they detest, such as the cap-and-trade climate bill, the health care reform act, and the economic stimulus package. For years, the billionaires have made extensive political donations to Republican candidates across the country and have provided millions of dollars to astroturf right-wing organizations. Koch Industries' political action committee has doled out more than $2.6 million to candidates. And one prominent beneficiary of the Koch brothers' largess is Scott Walker.

    According to Wisconsin campaign finance filings, Walker's gubernatorial campaign received $43,000 from the Koch Industries PAC during the 2010 election. That donation was his campaign's second-highest, behind $43,125 in contributions from housing and realtor groups in Wisconsin. The Koch's PAC also helped Walker via a familiar and much-used politicial maneuver designed to allow donors to skirt campaign finance limits. The PAC gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association, which in turn spent $65,000 on independent expenditures to support Walker. The RGA also spent a whopping $3.4 million on TV ads and mailers attacking Walker's opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Walker ended up beating Barrett by 5 points. The Koch money, no doubt, helped greatly.

    The Kochs also assisted Walker's current GOP allies in the fight against the public-sector unions. Last year, Republicans took control of the both houses of the Wisconsin state legislature, which has made Walker's assault on these unions possible. And according to data from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, the Koch Industries PAC spent $6,500 in support of 16 Wisconsin Republican state legislative candidates, who each won his or her election.

    Walker's plan to eviscerate collective bargaining rights for public employees is right out of the Koch brothers' playbook. Koch-backed groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Reason Foundation have long taken a very antagonistic view toward public-sector unions. Several of these groups have urged the eradication of these unions. In Wisconsin, this conservative, anti-union view is being placed into action by lawmakers in sync with the deep-pocketed donors who helped them obtain power. (Walker also opposes the state's Clean Energy Job Act, which would compel the state to increase its use of alternative energy.) At this moment-even with the Wisconsin uprising unresolved-the Koch brothers' investment in Walker appears to be paying off.

    __________________________________________________ _

    Notice how this works, folks? Never trust these a-holes!

    Oh, by the way, I am not condemning anyone's right to support any candidate - including the Kochs. It's how that support is used; what are their positions on issues that the(y) Koch's (and others) support. That's what important.
    Last edited by Atypical; 02-18-2011 at 08:39 PM.

  6. #6
    Atypical is offline

    WI Governor's Fake Budget Crisis: Gave Tax Breaks to Wal-Mart to Further Real Agenda

    Which Is Union Busting.

    I have been attending the rallies, watching the coverage, reading the blogs and comments and come to the conclusion that most people don't know the true horror of this bill. I have come to set the record straight particularly when I saw a Front Page Diary here on Daily Kos that, again, talks about this bill only affecting state workers.

    There is no fiscal crisis in Wisconsin. Governor Walker reports a nearly 130 million dollar deficit, but doesn't report that he caused it by giving a 140 million dollar tax break to large multinational corporations here in Wisconsin (e.g. WalMart). However, this cover story gives him an excuse to do the unthinkable.

    State workers in Wisconsin have been without contracts for some time. The latest agreement (containing major concessions) was not passed by the State Legislature last year due to political maneuvering which led one Democrat to vote against it (he was later rewarded with a position in the new Walker administration).

    But that's not really what I came to talk about. I came to talk about a so-called Budget Repair Bill to solve a fake budget crisis without addressing the budget at all.

    So, what's in the bill? Prohibition of any unions or collective bargaining for most state workers. Those that continue to have any union representation at all will be limited to bargaining for wages only which will have a mandatory limit which will be set annually by the State Legislature. So, basically, the boss will tell you how much you are permitted to ask for.

    No collective bargaining over insurance (so employees can be given high deductible junk insurance with no say in the matter), benefits, pensions, holidays or personal days, vacation, working conditions, adequate staffing, class size, worker safety issues, mandatory overtime, shift selection, requests for days off, etc.

    If that wasn't bad enough, union dues would no longer be collected through payroll deduction so the unions would have to collect the dues themselves member by member. On top of that, unions would need to recertify every year . This is the same process that is used when employees band together to form a union in the first place; a process already so onerous and difficult (therefore, profitable to the many union-busting firms across this country) that new unions and locals are rarely formed.

    Think that's bad? The real hidden horror is that Scott Walker didn't stop with state employees, but extended the impact of the bill to all city, town, village, and county employee in the State of Wisconsin. That's the real reason that thousands of public employees are in Madison. It's why non-public employee unions are supporting us. It's why students, patients, and citizens in general have joined us.

    I'm just a retired Milwaukee County Registered Nurse. My voice doesn't count. Sometimes I wonder if all my activism counts. But my voice and my activism count today as I join with thousands of proud Wisconsinites to protest the rise of a Dictator.

    I hope I've educated you to the realities of this bill. Thanks for all the support, comments, and love that we get here. Kossack love is like no other.

  7. #7
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    Simple diversion, nice tactic. In typical fashion I suppose.

    The guy ran on a platform and was voted into office. It is clear the majority of his constituents want "change" (In Led Zepplin fashion "remember change"?). The change is on the table, and the opposition party runs away. Did your loathed repukes run away from the Affordable Care Act that they loathed? Did your loathed repukes run away from financial reform? No, they went in, voted, and democracy was served. Or was it? I suppose that's the real discussion.

    You can post all the articles you want. It's a really simple situation, and candidly I love it. Let "Big Labor" get a taste of the real world. They're lucky to have jobs with a broke employer. Though I'm sure your loathed repukes will cave though they have absolutely no reason to. They have the power just like Obama and the democratically controlled house and senate did. If the WI dems were true, they would ask for no lube whilst........

    Fox Business News had coverage, and although they are clearly "conservative", I thought they actually did a decent job knowing the bias. Is Fox News that different?

  8. #8
    Atypical is offline

    Ah Yes, "Change" And Running Away...

    MADISON ( -- Republican support for Gov. Scott Walker's plan to remove collective bargaining right for public workers may be waning.

    Sen. Dan Kapanke of La Crosse told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he didn't know where Republicans stood on the proposal.
    His comments come after Republican leaders in both the Senate and Assembly said on Tuesday that there were enough votes to pass the bill.

    On Tuesday, it was estimated that 10,000 people showed up to rally outside the Capitol, with another 3,000 people estimated inside. No incidents were reported.

    A public hearing on the measure Tuesday lasted 17 hours, with hundreds of people spending the night in the Capitol. Thousands more are expected to converge on the Capitol Wednesday.

  9. #9
    Havakasha is offline
    Havakasha's Avatar
    Joined: Sep 2009 Posts: 5,358
    Ezra Klein :

    Let's be clear: Whatever fiscal problems Wisconsin is -- or is not -- facing at the moment, they're not caused by labor unions. That's also true for New Jersey, for Ohio and for the other states. There was no sharp rise in collective bargaining in 2006 and 2007, no major reforms of the country's labor laws, no dramatic change in how unions organize. And yet, state budgets collapsed. Revenues plummeted. Taxes had to go up, and spending had to go down, all across the country.
    Blame the banks. Blame global capital flows. Blame lax regulation of Wall Street. Blame home buyers, or home sellers. But don't blame the unions. Not for this recession.

    And Ezra :
    For all that, I actually wouldn't mind having a conversation over whether collective bargaining makes state government better or worse. But that is definitely not the discussion Scott Walker is having with his state. As both his State of the State speech and his proposal show, he's framed this entirely in fiscal terms. And that's an important difference. If he'd framed it in terms of governmental performance, he'd have to admit that he's trying to completely destroy the viability of the state's public unions, which is something he's been working hard to obscure. That's how you make government work differently.
    But Walker isn't prepared for that conversation. Rather, he's been masking his proposal in a milder argument about pension contributions. But even that's not such a sure thing, as plenty of states without collective bargaining are facing massive deficits -- including Texas, which is beginning to look almost California-esque in its budget projections.

  10. #10
    Havakasha is offline
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    Joined: Sep 2009 Posts: 5,358
    Lawmaker: Gov's plan has torn Wisconsin apart
    Dem state senator says Scott Walker's proposal to end collective bargaining for most public employees is "absolutely, positively wrong"
    By David S Morgan

    (CBSNews) Protests are continuing at the State Capitol in Madison against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proposal to eliminate public employee unions' right to collective bargaining, as well as increase employee health care premiums.
    In an effort to postpone a vote in the State Senate, 14 Democratic senators fled the state.

    State Senator Jon Erpenbach - one of the Democratic lawmakers - told "The Early Show on Saturday Morning" that the Republican governor's proposal "has torn the state of Wisconsin apart."

    "That's not the right way to go," Erpenbach told "Early Show" anchor Rebecca Jarvis. "The state employees have talked about the money and giving up the money, and that's fine. But what they have a problem with - and what a lot of us have a problem with - is the fact that Governor Walker is taking decades of union law and throwing it out the window and trying to bust the unions altogether, and that's just not the right way to go."

    When Jarvis asked if he were violating his state's constitution by refusing to attend a vote, Erpenbach said, "Oh, no, not at all. In fact we're actually doing our job. We're standing up for the thousands and thousands of people who haven't been heard on this legislation at all.

    "And make no mistake about it: Something's going to pass, we will take a vote. This budget actually ends on June 30. So we have plenty of time to slow things down, to talk it through and to see that the governor can come to the table and force some sort of compromise and move us forward."
    "The governor has crossed that line on something that made Wisconsin pretty strong, and certainly a leader in the nation over the last I don't know how many decades when it comes to collective bargaining," said Erpenbach. "For the governor to stand up and say to all those hard-working men and women in Wisconsin we're going to take away your right to collectively bargain, it's absolutely, positively wrong.

    "Wisconsin was built on unions and this legislation, what the governor wants to do is just rip that fabric apart," he said. "That's not the responsible way to go."

    When asked how long the impasse can continue, Erpenbach replied, "That's totally up to them, and that's totally up to the governor. The governor has a responsibility to lead the state of Wisconsin by consensus, if he can at all. It's his responsibility to take two sides, sit them down, and try and work something out. He hasn't done that so far. And that's actually kind of disappointing.

    "The public employees have said you can take the money - the money isn't the issue. The issue is their right to collectively bargain their contracts. And that's where we all have to draw the line."

    If the budget bill did not include the revocation of collective bargaining power, would he vote "yes," Erpenbach was asked?

    "It all depends on where the rest of the cuts came from," he replied.

    "Keep in mind, Rebecca, we're only talking about $130 million in this budget adjustment bill. That's it. The state's already spent $150 million this year on business tax breaks. That's money we didn't have, but we're still going to give it to businesses.

    When asked where the money can come from to fill that budget hole, Erpenbach said, look at business tax breaks "that we just handed out for some unknown reason. Again, it's $150 million; our budget hole is $130 million. I think the math is pretty easy on this.

    Erpenbach was asked what kind of message sent by the Democratic lawmakers fleeing the state and the continuous protests send to children.

    "Well, actually the message we're sending to children is sometimes this is what democracy looks like. Sometimes people have to rise up, they have to let their voices be heard, and you know, when this first started what, on Monday, there was about 10,000 people. Yesterday there were 40,000 people. And these aren't just union employees, they're friends, they're neighbors, they're family members. They see what this legislation does. They don't like what this legislation does and they think it goes way too far. So the message to the kids is sometimes this is what democracy looks like."

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