“I don’t think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified or their rights are infringed upon,” Barack Obama (BO) told the nation’s governors gathered in Washington last week.
When added to his previous mischaracterization of WI Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget-repair bill as “an assault on unions,” BO’s recent remarks reveal beyond any reasonable doubt that the obviously orchestrated demonstrations we’re witnessing in WI and other states are entirely about getting the Obamacrats—particularly BO—re-elected in 2012. Quite simply, BO, the Obamacrats and the public employee union leadership don’t want to give up their current cozy system of forced union membership/dues collection, which scores them hundreds of millions of dollars each year, and upon which their continued power depends.
The WI budget-repair bill’s proposals are quite modest by virtually any measure. First and foremost, the bill would allow every WI public employee to choose for himself/herself whether or not to join the union, rather than acquiescing to union membership as a de facto condition of employment as it is now. Currently, the state and local governments deduct union dues from each employee’s paycheck, dues required to go to union coffers, where union leadership–not membership–ultimately decides how they’re spent. That’s precisely how the union became the Obamacrats’ and BO’s de facto funding/vote delivery arm.
Collective bargaining, under the WI proposed budget-repair bill, would continue to be used in basic wage matters, but not to extort further extravagant benefit hikes. Importantly, it isn’t union members who go to the table to “collectively bargain.” Rather, it is union leaders, leaders accustomed to sitting across from Obamacrat legislators for whom they delivered funds and votes, legislators from whom those leaders expect acquiescence to their demands, whether or not those demands are necessary, reasonable, prudent or fiscally responsible. (Paying for Viagra? What’s next, Botox?) WI is broke. Already, WI public employees are among the nation’s best paid, best benefited. (Please see the linked WSJ article, “Oh, To Be a Teacher in Wisconsin,” for some facts/figures.) It’s immensely reasonable to limit collective bargaining to matters of basic wages while the state regains fiscal equilibrium. (Frankly, despite the disinformation now being deliberately spread, collective bargaining is not a “right.” It is a union leadership tactic having nothing to do with the right to organize, associate, etc.) (BTW, the bill exempts police, fire and state patrol.)
Currently, WI public employees contribute little to nothing for their generous pension and health benefits. Under the proposed bill, WI public employees would contribute about 5.8 percent to pension benefits and about 12 percent to health benefits, figures at or below the national average. Despite union leadership’s vaunted public statements about willingness to accept the bill’s modest employee benefit contributions, they’re reportedly surreptitiously using the protracted, inexcusable absence of 14 Obamacrat State Senators to try to recklessly ram through irresponsible, unsustainable benefit hikes (and even further pay hikes) before the budget-repair bill vote.
http://walker.wi.gov/journal_media_detail.asp?locid=177&prid=5622 (for a summary of the WI budget-repair bill),
Most federal employees under BO’s purview (and, in fact, most public employees in most states and localities) have virtually no collective bargaining powers now. Thus, BO’s admonition that public employees should not have their “rights infringed upon” is particularly hollow and hypocritical. Moreover, such remarks further reveal that BO is deliberately mischaracterizing the proposed WI budget-repair bill. Unless his motive is purely political (and when is it not political with BO?), why else would he continue to meddle in a specific state’s budget matters? This is unprecedented for a POTUS, and particularly suspect, since it runs contrary to the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers, and appears also contrary to Article IV, Section 4, under which the United States guarantees to every state in the union a “republican” (i.e. “representative”) form of government. Given the Obamacrats’ and unions’ deliberate disinformation campaign and the increasingly inflammatory and uncivil rhetoric being spewed, for BO to continue to comment at all on WI’s or any state’s budget-repair efforts seems tantamount to throwing gasoline on a fire. Surely, BO recognizes this, and simply doesn’t care. (Perhaps he sees no problem with the possibility that he may be inadvertently helping to foment anarchy? Perhaps this is just part of how he sees his role as the “community organizer in chief”?)
Contrary to what BO and others want us to believe, the demonstrations we now seem to be witnessing ad nauseam have never been about teachers’ pay (benefits, collective bargaining; other public employees’ pay, benefits, collective bargaining; or any of the other shifting talking points du-jour being trotted out). Rather, from the get-go, these orchestrated demonstrations have been about politics—dirty, in-your-face-lying-screaming, control-the-money/control-the-power—Obamacrat-style politics. Organizing for America, Obama’s campaign arm, along with the Democratic National Committee, the George Soros-funded MoveOn.org, and Big Unions (government/labor) from other states injected themselves into the debate in WI and elsewhere with bused-in paid agitators, not because they care about teachers, education, kids, public employees, American workers or Americans in general. They got in and stay in because they care very much about the fact that their power in this country for a full generation to come depends upon getting Obamacrats (particularly BO) re-elected in 2012. They know that if the WI proposed budget-repair bill passes, it will mark the beginning of the end for public employee union leaders’ (and labor union leaders’) heretofore virtually unchecked power to deliver—on demand—millions of dollars and millions of votes to Obamacrats and BO, from whom they will continue to expect and receive “big favors,” favors paid for on the backs of American taxpayers.
Perhaps we were to understand implicitly that BO’s call last month for more civil public discourse exempted Obamacrats. Seems the outside agitators definitely got that memo. It’s small wonder that today’s American children and teens are not being provided with quality education, if the incessant news clips we’re seeing include actual teachers in the American public school system–Demonstrators carrying signs with hate-filled slogans, shouting obscenities, doing an estimated $7.5 million damage to the once-pristine WI state capitol building (built with taxpayer dollars), physically accosting/threatening pro-budget-repair state legislators and generally behaving like ill-educated, ill-mannered, slovenly adolescents at a college frat beer bust. My kids are grown, but if they were still school age, the thuggish tactics of such demonstrators would prompt me to immediately pull them out of public schools and find some way to afford to enroll them permanently in good private schools.
Any scant number of genuine anti-budget-repair-bill protesters joining or supporting the thuggish outside agitators in WI and elsewhere—without understanding the proposed individual state budget-repair bills—are being duped and ill-used, not to mention jeopardizing any remaining professional integrity for their 15 minutes of infamy. They need to be aware that those outside agitators they’re joining or supporting care nothing about the ramifications if the budget-repair bills in WI and other states are stalemated. Those outsiders care nothing for taxpaying WI citizens, whose two-year state budget faces a bankruptcy-threatening/business-crippling/jobs-killing $3.6 billion shortfall. They care nothing for the thousands of WI public employees likely to receive layoff notices. Those outsiders care nothing for the over-burdened taxpayers or for the consequences of impending economic meltdowns in other bankruptcy-imperiled states. Those outsiders care about one thing: Making sure that the Obamacrats and BO maintain their vise-grip on forced public employee union membership/dues via union leaders.
Anyone joining or supporting those outside agitators should ask themselves: Why should taxpayers–representing the spectrum of political viewpoints–be required, by default, to fund the 2012 re-election of a specific party (Obamacrats and BO) via forced public employee union membership/dues collection? Why should the minority (public employee union members) expect the taxpaying majority to continue to foot the bill for the unnecessary, fiscally irresponsible/unsustainable demands being pushed by their union leaders? With the plethora of legislation now protecting public employees in local, state and federal government, should public employee unions even be necessary any longer?
As usual, BO got it wrong again. It is not public employees who are in any danger of having their “rights infringed upon.” Rather, it is everyday working, taxpaying American citizens whose hard-earned tax dollars pay public employees’ salaries and benefits–salaries and benefits that now typically surpass those available in the rapidly shrinking private employment sector. Have public employees considered the Orwellian scenario that if American private sector businesses continue to lay off workers and shut down at the current alarming rate, we will ultimately reach a point where public employment is the only gig left in town; a point where only public sector employees will be left to shoulder the enormous tax burden for their salaries/benefits? In that scenario, they’ll also be the only ones left to bear the crushing burden of all those gargantuan, significantly abused Big Nanny State programs.
This boils down to a matter of individual freedom of choice. Choices (like elections) have consequences. It’s time for the demonstrators to get out of the way and let our democratic republic form of government work. It’s time to get out of the way of those who were elected in the Nov. 2010 anti-Obamacrat landslide precisely because the overwhelming majority of Americans recognize the urgent need to act now to restore fiscal sanity at the local, state and national levels, so that we can begin to resuscitate our ailing economy before it’s too late.
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