Just a few months ago, I rode past the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison. The grounds were quiet then but surely not now. Governor Scott Walker’s proposal — to include state-employed union teachers in the austerity measures required of him and the legislature to balance the state’s budget — is being loudly protested by union activists (not all from Wisconsin, natch). They want to retain the huge economic edge that public employee union workers in the Badger State enjoy over the common taxpayers who foot the bill. For them to want to keep the status quo concerning pension funding, health care premium contributions, and extremely generous collective bargaining advantages is understandable. But, it’s not defensible.
A couple of observations on the Wisconsin situation. I am not sure if the traditional media noted it, since I do not patronize outlets with liberal bias. Scenes I have viewed from the protests give the big lie to the stuff we were hearing a month or so back, in the wake of the Tucson shootings. All were called upon to tone down the violent rhetoric. Well, the tone in Madison this past week has been nothing short of disgusting, with many violent references, comparisons of decent public servants to Mubarak, Hitler, and Stalin, etc. One guesses the progressives are in “do as we say, not as we do” mode.
Also, since conservatives have had it thrown in our faces repeatedly in the two years after November 2008, it makes perfect sense to say so here: elections have consequences. The voters of Wisconsin elected a governor and legislators, as their counterparts across the country did, with a purpose: to trim back the big government, big tax, big spend environment in governance. That is exactly what the lawmakers who are still in Madison intend to do. Their colleagues who disagree are too pusillanimous to even show up and permit the will of the people to be served — they are hiding out across state lines, like a bunch of cowardly lions.
Ironic that my last post, almost two months ago, also pointed out that even a guy as leftist as FDR recognized that collective bargaining among government employees is unthinkable and intolerable. Read “Snow job” for more on that.
Similar protests are likely to occur this week in my home state of Ohio, where S.B. 5 is wending its way through the Statehouse. I, as a dues paying member of the Ohio Nurses Association (but not a bargaining unit member), am aghast at the lies being dished out by the ONA. Such as, this bill “affects all nurses in the state of Ohio.” Horse hockey! Most nurses in Ohio are not government employees thus the proposed changes in collective bargaining do not apply to them. I have seen unionized state facilities with poor staffing, and private non-unionized ones with generous and safe staffing, so I reject the argument that less union influence, by its nature, adversely impacts patients. I sincerely hope S.B. 5 becomes law as it now stands, because Ohio — like Wisconsin — needs to get its fiscal house in order, and EVERYONE needs to participate in the journey to solvency.
I am seeing a few social media friends making their cases for continued or new government assistance for various other sacred cows. One is dismayed that the House of Representatives voted to defund PBS and NPR. If their programs are so outstanding, they should be able to find support in the private sector without the federal dole. Another frets for Planned Parenthood. This organization provides some valuable health services — but it is also the largest provider of abortions in the country. By law, Planned Parenthood cannot allocate any federal funding for abortions; however, pro-life forces point out that allocating government money to it for the provision of other medical services “frees up” funds for abortion.
When the public coffers are flush with cash, I can understand having a discussion on how and where to spend the booty. But remember, folks — WE’RE BROKE! The official national debt is north of 14 trillion dollars, and when you count in the unfunded liabilities (for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the like) we are under water by over $100,000,000,000.00. When many of us as individuals and families see something we want but don’t have the money for, we whip out the credit card and (hopefully) pay it back some day. Well, the credit cards of the U.S. of A. are all maxed out. We’re broke. We can no longer shell out for every service, not even ones that are uncontroversial. Less still to prop up Joe Biden’s trains, or politically biased news media, or activist groups that exist largely to silence the voices of the most defenseless among us, the unborn.
Let’s support our lawmakers who agree it’s time to put away the rubber checks and the smoldering plastic, and who by their actions in office show us they are serious about making our cities, states, and national goverment more fiscally sound — not less.