Tag Archive: public Unions


The War on Wisconsin

- Accuracy In Media – http://www.aim.org -

Posted By Michelle Malkin On March 28, 2012 @ 2:24 pm In Guest Columns | 2 Comments

Now is the time for all good tea partiers to come to the aid of Wisconsin. Fiscally conservative leaders in the Badger State are under coordinated siege from Big Labor, the White House, the liberal media and the judiciary. The yearlong campaign of union thuggery, family harassment and intimidation of Republican donors and businesses is about to escalate even further. This is the price the Right pays for doing the right thing.

The most visible target is Gov. Scott Walker, who faces recall on June 5 over his tough package of state budget and public employee union reforms. Three state GOP legislators — Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, Sen. Van Wanggaard and Sen. Terry Moulton — also face recall. A fourth target, staunch union reformer and Second Amendment advocate Sen. Pam Galloway, announced she was stepping down last week — leaving the legislature deadlocked and Democratic strategists salivating.

Walker and the GOP majority ended the union compulsory dues racket, allowed workers to choose whether to join a union, curtailed costly bargaining rights and enacted pension and health contribution requirements to bring the government in line with private-sector practices. The Walker reform law helped prevent massive layoffs in public education by saving tens of millions of dollars in bloated benefits bills. Ending the state union monopoly on teachers’ health insurance plans allowed dozens of school districts to switch their coverage to more competitive bidders.

The free-market MacIver Institute reports that at least 25 school districts did so, saving the districts more than $200 per student. Hundreds of millions more in savings are in the works as school districts and local governments turn deficits to surpluses. And Walker’s actions have nearly wiped out the nearly $3.6 billion deficit he inherited from his free-spending predecessors.

New poll data released on Tuesday show two potential Democratic rivals neck and neck with Walker. Wisconsin politicos tell me his national name recognition has bolstered public awareness and fundraising efforts. He’s currently sitting on a $5 million war chest. Walker supporters believe the Big Labor-fueled fight will be dirty, but with vigilant backing, he’ll survive.

The outlook for the unhinged Left’s secondary targets, however, is not so bright. Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch [1], a tea party candidate who is not part of the GOP establishment, is being treated as collateral damage by the party. Outside of Wisconsin, most conservative activists are not even aware that she may be booted from office for simply doing her job. Kleefisch told me that on a recent fundraising swing in D.C., national GOP leaders were shocked to learn of her plight.

While Democratic femme-a-gogues continue their plaintive wailing about a “war on women,” Kleefisch has battled vile misogyny from liberal detractors. When lefty Wisconsin radio host John “Sly” Sylvester accused Kleefisch of performing “fellatio on all the talk-show hosts in Milwaukee [2]” and sneered that she had “pulled a train” (a crude phrase for gang sex), feminists remained silent. A former television anchor, small businesswoman and mother of two, Kleefisch’s quiet work on economic development has reaped untold dividends for the state. But if conservatives who preach the gospel of fiscal conservatism do not act, the profligate progressives’ vendetta against Wisconsin may result in the first-ever recall of a lieutenant governor in American history.

Kleefisch, a 36-year-old colon cancer survivor, is a fighter [3] who points to her two young daughters when I ask why she’s in the political arena. What message would it send to young tea party moms across the country if Walker survived but Kleefisch was hung out to dry? Will Beltway Republican strategists and donors who constantly harp about the need to diversify the party step up to the plate? [Donate to Kleefisch’s defense here [4].]

President Obama, the AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME and left-wing operatives know that Wisconsin is Ground Zero in their battle against limited-government activists. Their demagogic propaganda war against Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan, who is leading entitlement reform and budget discipline efforts in Washington, is of a piece with the campaign to overturn the popular elections that put Walker, Kleefisch and the GOP majority in place. If they can chill fiscal responsibility and free market-based reforms in Wisconsin, they can chill it everywhere. Will movement conservatives let them?


Article printed from Accuracy In Media: http://www.aim.org

URL to article: http://www.aim.org/guest-column/the-war-on-wisconsin/

URLs in this post:

[1] Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch: http://www.rebeccaforreal.com/

[2] fellatio on all the talk-show hosts in Milwaukee: http://michellemalkin.com/2011/01/20/lib-radio-talker-attacks-gop-lt-gov-of-wi-she-performed-fellatio-on-all-the-talk-show-hosts-in-milwaukee-and-pulled-a-train/

[3] fighter: http://www.rebeccaforreal.com/bio/

[4] here: https://secure.piryx.com/donate/41x5rSs8/people-for-rebecca/forward


 

  • The Wall Street Journal

The Most Important Non-Presidential Election of the Decade

Wisconsin’s Scott Walker is facing a recall after his labor and spending reforms. If he loses, public unions will flex their muscles nationwide.

By STEPHEN MOORE

One Sunday afternoon last spring, as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was working in his front yard, a car rolled slowly by and blared its horn. He and his two teenage sons looked up to see two middle fingers directed their way as the car screeched down the street. A few minutes later another car rolled by and a voice shouted “Hey governor!” Mr. Walker reluctantly looked up—to find two thumbs up coming through the open window.

No American politician had a more polarizing effect on voters last year than Scott Walker. This time last year, thousands of irate protesters were occupying Wisconsin’s state Capitol, comparing Mr. Walker to Hitler for trying to reform the pension and collective-bargaining systems of public-employee unions. He needed an entourage of 25 security officers to escort him through the building at the height of the pandemonium.

Now he faces what he predicts will be his most bruising fight of all: a union-funded recall election intended to toss him out of office. His opponents last week submitted one million signatures to trigger a recall election as early as spring or summer. Mr. Walker expects this to be a $70 million brawl—a record for Wisconsin and twice the total spent in the 2010 governor’s race. Smiling, Mr. Walker says he hopes to be the “first governor re-elected twice during his first term.”

The stakes here “go well beyond who will be governor of Wisconsin,” Mr. Walker explains. The recall’s ultimate objective is to intimidate any official across the country who’s thinking of crossing swords with the empire of teachers and other public-employee unions. “This is about killing reform initiatives in every state in the country,” says Mr. Walker.

In Wisconsin, the evidence is mounting that Mr. Walker hasn’t brought economic Armageddon but financial stability. Last year’s $3 billion deficit is now a $300 million surplus—and it was accomplished without the new taxes that unions favored. “If a business is failing, you don’t raise the prices on your customers,” Mr. Walker scoffs.

In addition to union reform, Mr. Walker and his allies in the legislature passed a statewide school voucher program, eased business regulation, and enacted tort reform. When Illinois raised its income taxes by 67%, he launched a PR campaign urging Illinois businesses to “escape to Wisconsin.”

When Mr. Walker took office, a survey of major business owners by the state’s Chamber of Commerce found that only 10% thought Wisconsin was heading “in the right direction.” Now 94% say it is. Chief Executive magazine found that Wisconsin’s business climate in 2011 showed the greatest one-year improvement of any state in the history of the magazine’s ratings. After bleeding 150,000 jobs in the previous three years, Wisconsin added 10,000 jobs in 2011.

All this matters little to public-employee unions looking to regain their perks. Yet granting local governments the legal authority to hire and fire teachers and other workers based on merit—as well as requiring teachers to contribute 5.8% into their pensions (up from 0%) and all public employees to pay 12.6% of their health-care premiums (about half what most private workers pay)—has already saved local governments $475 million.

Rather than assaulting government workers, these reforms avoided mass layoffs and allowed school districts to maintain and in some cases even reduce class sizes. You’d think unions would celebrate this, but no such luck.

Mr. Walker believes the union brass are most furious about his policy to stop automatically withholding union dues from the paychecks of approximately 300,000 municipal workers. He calculates that this “paycheck protection” measure saves as much as $1,400 annually for those workers who freely choose not to pay dues. That welcome pay raise for the workers has been catastrophic for the union bosses. Without the mandatory dues payments, the teachers union had to lay off 40% of its staff last year.

So now Mr. Walker, his lieutenant governor and four state senators will face the voters as early as this spring or summer. Last year a similar effort targeted four other GOP state senators and a Republican on the state supreme court. After unions spent millions on the campaign, two of the state senators were recalled but that failed to flip control of the legislature, and the supreme court justice kept his seat.

A problem for Democrats this year is finding an A-list candidate willing to run against Mr. Walker if he is recalled. A strong opponent could be Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, but the unions are furious with him too for implementing many of the Walker union reforms—saving his city $25 million and balancing its budget in the process. The likeliest candidates to challenge Mr. Walker are two liberals, former Congressman David Obey and Madison County Executive Kathleen Falk.

A new nonpartisan poll by Marquette University shows the governor at 50% job approval (with 45% disapproving), which is up from as low as 37% last summer. Even some of his most loyal followers say that he has never fully explained to Wisconsinites why ending collective bargaining for union benefits was a fiscal necessity. And local Democrats are smelling blood over a recent mini-scandal involving alleged embezzlement of public funds by two of Mr. Walker’s top aides when he was Milwaukee County Commissioner.

Still, the national unions have yet to decide whether spending another $30 million or $50 million on a recall roll of the dice is worth it given the higher priority of getting President Obama re-elected. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which has been severely critical of Mr. Walker’s power play, recently acknowledged that he has fulfilled his pledge of balancing the budget without new taxes and that “the sky isn’t falling.”

If unions succeed in getting voters to evict reformers, it could “set back the conservative reform agenda across the states for a generation,” Mr. Walker warns. This might be the most important nonpresidential election in a decade.

Mr. Moore is senior economics writer for the Journal’s editorial page.

 

 

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