The End Nears for a 50-Year Mistake – Jeff Jacoby – Townhall Conservative Columnists

The End Nears for a 50-Year Mistake – Jeff Jacoby – Townhall Conservative Columnists.

In retrospect, there were two conspicuous giveaways that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was headed for victory in last week’s recall election.

One was that the Democrats’ campaign against him wound up focusing on just about everything but Walker’s law limiting collective bargaining rights for government workers. Sixteen months ago, the Capitol building in Madison was besieged by rioting protesters hell-bent on blocking the changes by any means necessary. Union members and their supporters, incandescent with rage, likened Walker to Adolf Hitler and cheered as Democratic lawmakers fled the state in a bid to force the legislature to a standstill. Once the bill passed, unions and Democrats vowed revenge, and amassed a million signatures on recall petitions.

But the more voters saw of the law’s effects, the more they liked it. Dozens of school districts reported millions in savings, most without resorting to layoffs. Property taxes fell. A $3.6 billion state budget deficit turned into a $154 million projected surplus. Walker’s measures proved a tonic for the economy, and support for restoring the status quo ante faded — even among Wisconsin Democrats. Long before Election Day, Democratic challenger Tom Barrett had all but dropped the issue of public-sector collective bargaining from his campaign to replace Walker.

The second harbinger was the plunge in public-employee union membership. The most important of Walker’s reforms, the change Big Labor had fought most bitterly, was ending the automatic withholding of union dues. That made union membership a matter of choice, not compulsion — and tens of thousands of government workers chose to toss their union cards. More than one-third of the American Federation of Teachers Wisconsin membership quit, reported The Wall Street Journal. At the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, one of the state’s largest unions, the hemorrhaging was worse: AFSCME’s Wisconsin rolls shrank by more than 34,000 over the past year, a 55 percent nose-dive.

Did government workers tear up their union cards solely because the union had lost its right to bargain collectively on their behalf? That’s doubtful: Even under the new law, unions still negotiate over salaries. More likely, public-sector employees ditched their unions for the same reasons so many employees in the private sector — which is now less than 7 percent unionized — have done so. Many never wanted to join a union in the first place. Others were repelled by the authoritarian, belligerent, and left-wing political culture that entrenched unionism so often embodies.

Even before the votes in Wisconsin were cast, observed Michael Barone last week, Democrats and public-employee unions “had already lost the battle of ideas over the issue that sparked the recall.” Their tantrums and slanders didn’t just fail to intimidate Walker and Wisconsin lawmakers from reining in public-sector collective bargaining. They also gave the public a good hard look at what government unionism is apt to descend to. The past 16 months amounted to an extended seminar on the danger of combining collective bargaining with government jobs. Voters watched — and learned.

There was a time when pro-labor political leaders like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Fiorello LaGuardia regarded it as obvious that collective bargaining was incompatible with public employment. Even the legendary AFL-CIO leader George Meany once took it for granted that there could be no “right” to bargain collectively with the government.

When unions bargain with management in the private sector, both sides are contending for a share of the private profits that labor helps produce — and both sides are constrained by the pressures of market discipline. Managers can’t ignore the company’s bottom line. Unions know that if they demand too much they may cost the company its competitive edge.

But when labor and management bargain in the public sector, they are divvying up public funds, not private profits. Government bureaucrats don’t have to worry about losing business to their competitors; state agencies can’t relocate to another part of the country. There is little incentive to hold down wages and benefits, since the taxpayers who will be picking up the tab have no seat at the table. On the other hand, government managers have a powerful motivation to yield to government unions: Union members vote, and their votes can be deployed to reward politicians who give them what they want — or punish those who don’t.

In 1959, when Wisconsin became the first state to enact a public-sector collective-bargaining law, it wasn’t widely understood what the distorted incentives of government unionism would lead to. Five decades later, the wreckage is all around us. The privileges that come with government work — hefty automatic pay raises, Cadillac pension plans, iron-clad job security, ultra-deluxe health insurance — have in many cases grown outlandish and staggeringly unaffordable. What Keith Geiger, the former head of the National Education Association, once referred to as “our sledgehammer, the collective bargaining process,” has wreaked havoc on state and municipal budgets nationwide.

Now, at long last, the pendulum has reversed. The 50-year mistake of public-sector unions is being corrected. Walker’s victory is a heartening reminder that in a democracy, even the most entrenched bad ideas can sometimes be unentrenched. On, Wisconsin!

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KNIGHT: Classless warfare fails in Wisconsin – Washington Times

KNIGHT: Classless warfare fails in Wisconsin – Washington Times.

Obama seeks consolation for Midwest beat-down with Left Coast pay-up

By Robert Knight – The Washington Times

Wouldn’t it be awful if an important election hinged on some fat cats outspending the opposition? That was the liberals’ excuse for the failure of Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to unseat Republican WisconsinGov. Scott Walker in Tuesday’s recall election.

The Washington Post’s Dan Eggen used figures from the “nonpartisan” Wisconsin Democracy Campaign to report that Mr. Walker raised $30.5 million to Mr. Barrett’s measly $3.9 million. Wow, what a spread. Too bad it’s not the whole picture, as Ben Shapiro pointed out at Breitbart.com: “As it turns out, labor unions spent an additional $21 million on the recall election.”

Instead of 7-1 or 10-1, the “spending gap” was closer to $30 million-$25 million. Also, in a recall election of several GOP Wisconsin senators in September, “Democrats outspent Republicans $23.4 million to $20.5 million.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney, who has arguably the toughest job in Washington, gamely addressed the Wisconsin debacle, saying, “I certainly wouldn’t read much into yesterday’s result beyond its effect on who’s occupying the governor’s seat in Wisconsin.” Mad magazine’s Alfred E. “What, me worry?” Neuman could not have put it better.

When a controversial Republican governor handily prevails despite a massive union campaign in a historically progressive state, why should a Democratic president in a failing economy get nervous? Also on Tuesday, California voters in San Jose and San Diego, not exactly bastions of conservatism, approved measures curbing public-employee union power. Uh-oh.

Not to worry, though. Mr. Obama still has the national media. Like an army of programmed zombies, they obediently lurched forward with the “big spending” theme in Wisconsin. CBS, NBC, ABC and MSNBC all harped on the fact that Mr. Walker’s campaign and PACs supporting it raised far more than Mr. Barrett’s supporters, the Media Research Center reported.

I don’t recall similar alarm when they reported on President Obama’s reputed goal of a $1 billion national war chest for November. But the GOP’s fundraising success in Wisconsin sure cheesed them off.

On election eve, Peter Alexander said on Monday’s “NBC Nightly News” that the state had “been flooded with a record $64 million in campaign spending.” He declared: “Many voters have had enough.”

They sure have. Mr. Walker won with 205,509 more votes than he got when beating Mr. Barrett back in 2010. Thirty-eight percent of union households voted for Mr. Walker, an increase of one point from 2010. Apparently, balancing the budget, reducing taxes and preventing state employee layoffs is enough dirty pool to ensure survival of a recall.

Sensing a train wreck, Mr. Obama skipped Wisconsin, leaving Mr. Barrett to twist in the Badger State winds. Mr. Obama at least flew near the state on the way to fundraisers in Minnesota before a two-day swing through San Francisco and Los Angeles, where dollars gaily flowed into his coffers like Napa Valley wine.

Following Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s lead and pretending two men are a real marriage plus refusing to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act sure opens the wallets in La-La Land. A $25,000-a-plate dinner at the Los Angeles home of “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy after an LGBT Leadership Council gala at $1,250 a ticket, plus a $35,800-per-plate luncheon and other events earlier in San Francisco helped raise at least $5.3 million.

Meanwhile, back in Wisconsin, where the GOP also retained Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and three Senate seats, Democrats clung to the hope that a tightly contested recall of a fourth Republican state senator may swing that chamber back to Democratic control. If so, perhaps they won’t flee the state the next time a difficult vote comes up.

Democrats also took heart in exit polls that had Mr. Obama beating Mitt Romney by seven points, half the margin by which Mr. Obama beat John McCain in 2008. Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Romney skipped the Wisconsin contest.

Public-employee unions are trying to pick up the pieces, but Tuesday’s vote had to be sobering. It’s one thing for Mr. Walker and a GOP-led legislature to curb their power; it’s another for 54 percent of the electorate to say they agree.

Lots of lessons can be learned, not the least of which is that the recall system worked. Ideally, recall elections are a tool to remove corrupt or out-of-control politicians. They are not supposed to be partisan means to punish elected officials for policy differences. We have regular elections for that. Conversely, a failed recall can demonstrate public support for an incumbent’s policies and smear huge amounts of egg on certain deserving faces. For more information on all things recall, see recalltherogues.org.

According to exit polls, 6 in 10 Wisconsin voters said recall should be used only to punish “official misconduct.” Mr. Walker may be hated by the unions, but he’s not a crook, and voters acted accordingly.

Harsher elements of the political left vow revenge, of course. Mr. Walker is receiving death threats and other vitriolic tweets, as reported by The Washington Times’ 24/7 blog. Occupy Milwaukee was out in full force Thursday, calling police “pigs” and brandishing signs saying “Public jobs program now!” and “Stop the war on women.”

It’s doubtful any of this will intimidate a guy who didn’t blink when his opponents threw the kitchen sink at him.

Speaking of the unions, even if he thought the recall was a loser, Mr. Obama might at least have gone through the motions for a major Democratic constituency. Perhaps it’s more fun hanging around with celebrities.

In New York on Monday, after Mr. Obama’s Broadway fundraisers with Bill Clinton, the hapless Mr. Carney was asked if “glitzy” celebrity events might hurt Mr. Obama’s populist message. He responded that Mr. Obama has “vast numbers of small donors. … And I think that the fact that the president enjoys that kind of support speaks to what his policy priorities are. He’s out there fighting for the middle class.”

Unless you’re a middle-class union member in Wisconsin, that is.

Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.

Walkin’ Tall: Walker Inspires An Army – Tea Party Nation

Walkin’ Tall: Walker Inspires An Army – Tea Party Nation.

Lloyd Marcus

A friend informed me that Gov. Scott Walker defeated the recall on the same day President Ronald Reagan passed away, June 5th. She added that Walker reminds her of Reagan.

As Chairman of The Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama, I have visited several cities in Wisconsin. Chatting with patriots across the state, they sang the praises of Gov. Walker’s reforms and his remarkable courage. Despite intense and relentless pressure, Walker stayed true to championing conservative principles.

While we all knew that the democrat’s attack on the Wisconsin governor had national ramifications, the result of Walker’s courage is more powerful than anyone could have imagined. My goodness, this man has inspired a nation. Wow!

Gov. Walker stepped up, drew his sword of honor and defeated the multi-headed dragon of liberalism just when our tea party movement desperately needed a hero. Since the beginning of the democrat’s absurd recall attack on Walker for simply keeping his campaign promises, Walker and his family have endured horrendous persecution and death threats. Even now, after Walker won the recall, the internet is littered with new death threats on Walker’s life. Liberals are tweeting that someone should kill Gov. Walker. Don’t you just love the liberal anti-war, let’s-be-tolerant-of-everything crowd? Disagree with them and they demand that you be silenced, destroyed or killed.

Countless patriots have shared their research which confirms that our government is racing down various wrong roads, all leading to destruction. These patriots feel hopeless, unable to hit the brakes to turn America around. But Scott Walker has shown us that one brave committed man can make a difference.

Democrat mayor of San Jose, CA, Chuck Reed is battling the unions to restore his city to fiscal sanity. Mayor Reed said some city employees are making more money in retirement than they did when they were working. His city’s system is corrupt and insane.

San Diego, CA, mayor Jerry Sanders is fighting to implement reforms which he says will save several billions over the next ten years. On average from 60% to the upper seventies, voters are supporting this new wave of courageous mayors and governors in their quest for fiscal morality and sanity.

Now that Scott Walker has led the way, I predict a tsunami of mayors and governors suddenly finding a backbone to say no to workers receiving immoral unsustainable benefits.

Ann Coulter called Walker’s victory, “The recall heard around the world.” That is pretty powerful – one man!

I do not know about you, but I feel empowered – what I do does matter. Your book matters. Your video matters. Your song matters. Your running for office matters.

Brothers and sisters, imagine the power of an army of Scott Walkers – all fully committed to restoring the God inspired conservative principles which have made us a great and prosperous unique experiment – America. My name is Lloyd Marcus and I am Scott Walker!

Lloyd Marcus, Proud Unhyphenated American

Chairman – www.CampaignToDefeatObama.com

www.LloydMarcus.com

Dr. Tim’s Walker Rally Speech – Tea Party Nation

 

English: Scott Walker, 45th Governor of Wisconsin

Image via Wikipedia

Dr. Tim’s Walker Rally Speech – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Tim Nerenz

Note: a grass-roots rally in support of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was held today in Wauwatosa, where thousands of Walker supporters stood outside for 3 hours to listen to a virtual who’s who of GOP speakers…and me. If you were not there, here is what you missed.)

Well, Wisconsin, they did it; they got enough signatures to force a recall election for Governor Scott Walker.

Did anyone really doubt you could find 540,000 graduates of Wisconsin public schools who would demand a sticker and a hug and a do-over when they lose? That’s how they roll nowadays.

So now $20 million will have to be cut from state and local budgets for education, the environment, the elderly, cancer research, day care, special needs children, bike paths, and bridge repairs to pay for their little tantrum. Own that, Madison.

It also means that more than 3.3 million eligible voters in Wisconsin said no. We listened to the protests for a year, we thought about our options for 60 days, and we decided not to waste $20 million and to just stick with the guy who was elected fair and square.

So what do I think of the recall? Two words: BRING IT!

Now, all these other speakers here today are Republicans, and they all came to say “I stand with Scott Walker.”

Well, not me. I’m not a Republican and I don’t stand with Scott Walker. I’m a Libertarian – and Scott Walker stands with me.

I stand for jobs.

I stand for job-creators.

I stand for free markets, open competition, lower taxes, and sensible regulation.

I stand for developing our natural resources responsibly.

I stand for rewarding hard work, and not punishing success.

I don’t stand with Scott Walker. Scott Walker stands with me.

I believe in less government and more liberty.

I believe in fiscal responsibility.

I believe in school choice.

I believe in the right to carry.

I believe in the right to work.

I believe in the right to vote…once…residents only…with ID.

I don’t believe in Scott Walker. Scott Walker believes in me.

In the past three years, 132,000 teachers have been laid off in the other 49 states.

Why? Because their Governor is NOT Scott Walker. There is only one. And as everyone knows, one Walker beats 14 runners.

The tens of thousands of teachers and government workers in Wisconsin who did NOT get laid off have Scott Walker to thank for it.

And those few hundred who DID get laid off – in Madison and Milwaukee – can thank their unions.

You guys with the signs and cowbells over there are drumming for the wrong team.

If we Libertarians got a mulligan every time we lost an election, we would need a full time department of voter nullification. Oh, wait – we already have that, it’s called the Government Accountability Board.

And in a few days they will rule that all those millions of votes we cast in November 2010 didn’t count. They will hope for better luck this time. They are wrong.

I write a blog called Moment of Clarity, and if there ever was ever a time for clarity, this is it. So here’s your moment: this has nothing do with Walker, or rights or any high-minded principle at all – this is the last tug of war between the taxpayers versus the taxeaters.

There is no fence to sit on; there is no rock to hide under. It is the State versus you. Pick your side.

I’ve picked mine; I’m going to stand on the side of liberty, and Scott Walker stands with me.

Recall Your Mom – Tea Party Nation

 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Image via Wikipedia

Recall Your Mom – Tea Party Nation.

Posted by Tim Nerenz

And kudos once again to opponents of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who celebrated their Dr. Martin Luther King Day holiday yesterday by hissing and chanting at the Governor during a solemn proclamation honoring Dr. King at the State Capitol in Madison.

In doing so, the Democrats notched yet another important victory for loutish self-absorption over common decency in the continuing battle for the hearts and minds of independent voters in the Badger State.
The highlights of their perfect season, undefeated by couth, includes shouting down the Pledge of Allegiance, booing the National Anthem, disrupting a ceremony honoring Special Olympians, and hassling returning troops, just to name a few. Their behavior in our Capitol rotunda would get them thrown out of Walmart.

Forget Scott Walker; you guys should recall your mom.

Or whoever it was that raised you to believe it was ok to interrupt ceremonies, hurl vulgarities at 14-year-old girls, disenfranchise cloistered nuns, bribe children with cigarettes to sign recall petitions, stalk the families of public officials, throw beer or coffee on opponents, make death threats, and try to shut down dissenting media outlets.

That might be what Democracy looks like in Venezuela or Iran, but not here. That’s not even what 4th grade looks like here. Our moms raised us to wait our turn, to let everyone speak, to compromise, to watch our language in public, to be gracious in both victory and defeat. We learned to stand our ground, but not to stand in the path of others’ rights to pass. We learned tolerance and patience – from our moms.
We don’t taunt, we don’t bully, and we don’t respect people so undisciplined that they cannot put a sock in it for one hour to honor the memory of a man who sacrificed his life for a cause he carried with dignity and respect.

I can understand why Democrats and unionists might not think disrupting an MLK commemoration is any big deal; after all, Dr. King had to fight Democrats to get black people their right to vote, and he had to fight unions to integrate the workforce. It is unlikely that the union/government schools tell students who was the party of the KKK and separate-but-equal back in the day.

So what if Dr. King gave his life? That is nothing compared to having to pay 12% of a health insurance premium, right? And how can we equate something trivial like institutionalized segregation with something really awful, like allowing school boards to compete those WEA trust insurance contracts now that the scam is blown?

I’ve heard the comeback: both sides do it. No, they don’t; one side does it. And that one side is not winning over any unaligned voters by pitching fits in public.

We are about to waste $9 million of our hard-earned money to give our Democrats another mulligan, money that will not be available for education, the elderly, the environment, cancer research, bridge repairs, or bike paths. Or, God forbid, tax relief for working people who can hardly make ends meet, thanks in part to one of the highest tax burdens in the country.

2/3 of that recall money will be paid by Republicans and Independents, both of whom overwhelmingly approve of the job Governor Walker is doing – the job he was elected fair and square to do.

It will come out of township budgets across the state, townships run by common-sense people from both Parties who would prioritize snow removal over an unbudgeted election if it were up to them – and us. If it were up to us, we would have the election to recall Scott Walker in November of 2014, when it was originally scheduled.

But it’s not up to us. It’s up to people whose moms did not teach them to wait their turn. It is up to union bosses from out East, together with the Madison liberals who think everyone’s money is their money, the Chicago urban vote factory which views Milwaukee as a colony, and out of state students who will leave us after graduation, taking with them the benefit of one of the best educations taxpayer subsidies can buy.

Many of those students putting their idealism and energy behind the Walker Recall will relocate to the low-tax, Right-To-Work, concealed carry, energy-friendly, business-friendly states where there is opportunity. I wish they would use that enthusiasm to help Governor Walker and his successors turn Wisconsin into one of those states, so they could find opportunities here.

That would make all our moms happy. They could see their grandchildren without having to pay a bag fee and endure a public groping at the hands of TSA.

“Moment Of Clarity” is a weekly commentary by Libertarian writer and speaker Tim Nerenz, Ph.D. Visit Tim’s website www.timnerenz.com to find your moment.