Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Battle of Madison

Governor Scott Walker's epic showdown with Wisconsin's public employee unions is being played out on the Madison streets I know so well. Walker is rightfully seeking to reign in runaway public employee health and pension benefits to help bring the state's $3.6 billion projected deficit into balance. To be sure he may have over-reached in seeking to rollback a host of collective bargaining perquisites that the unions have long enjoyed, but as Barack Obama taught us so well, "elections have consequences."

Walker is fighting the good fight against one of the most reactionary elements of our society, the public employee union leadership. Pure and simple they represent "producer" over "consumer" interests. Where the 21st Century calls for flexibility the union leadership clings to obsolete work and retention rules making it all but impossible to fire incompetent workers and to organize work in a cost effective way.

Perhaps what is surprising is that the so called "liberals" are standing with these hidebound reactionaries. Simply put if public employee pension and health (current and post retirement) spending along with Medicaid remain on their current tracks, the will be no money left for "the liberal project." All of the wonderful education and environmental programs that the liberal community desires will fall by the wayside as employee benefits and Medicaid gobble up state budgets.

So I salute Governor Walker and wish him luck in rounding up the the recalcitrant Democrats who fled the state to avoid a vote on his proposals.

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