Thursday, May 24, 2012

We the People Are (hopefully) Taking Charge in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's recall election will take place June 5.

The Unions and their staunch allies the Democratic "progressive" party officials are clearly worried about the outcome, and that's a good thing for all American taxpayers!

Democrats' Wisconsin Worry says this about the upcoming recall election in Wisconsin:

"With little more than two weeks until Wisconsin's gubernatorial recall election, some Democratic and union officials quietly are expressing fears that they have picked a fight they won't win and that could leave lingering injuries.

Recent polling and a head start on fundraising by Gov. Scott Walker have some Democrats concerned that the Republican will survive the June 5 recall election.

The election has taken on significance beyond Wisconsin state politics: Organized labor sees the battle as a major stand against GOP efforts to scale back collective-bargaining rights for public-sector workers, as Mr. Walker did after taking office in 2011. Some Democrats now fear mobilizing Republicans to battle the recall could carry over to help the party—and Republican Mitt Romney—in November's presidential election.

The latest polls show Mr. Walker building a small lead over Democrat Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, with few voters remaining undecided, adding to the Democrats' concerns. Mr. Walker led 50% to 44% in a Marquette Law School Poll last week in a survey with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

Over the weekend, Wisconsin's largest newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, backed Mr. Walker in the recall election. The paper called Mr. Walker's move to limit public-employee bargaining rights "an overreach of political power," but said it "is simply not enough to justify a vote against the governor."

Mike Schrimpf, communications director for the Republican Governors Association, said recent polling on candidates' favorability showed the Republican message advocating fiscal conservatism was resonating.

Democrats say they haven't come close to matching the $25 million that the Wisconsin governor has raised. Mr. Barrett entered the race late and faced a primary election, during which labor-backed groups spent more than $5 million supporting a candidate they preferred, only to see her lose. By a late April filing date, Mr. Barrett had raised $831,000.

"It feels like David vs. Goliath on the money front," said Peter Barca, the Democratic leader in Wisconsin's State Assembly, who said he was optimistic nonetheless about his party's chances.

The Democratic National Committee and President Barack Obama's re-election campaign have emphasized their commitment to bolstering Mr. Barrett's campaign. They have offered help with volunteers and get-out-the-vote efforts, and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz plans to travel to Wisconsin for a fundraiser with Mr. Barrett. But the national party turned down Wisconsin Democrats' request for $500,000, one party official said.

For the left-leaning groups that have spent months trying to oust Mr. Walker, a loss would be a deflating end to a process that began with unions and their allies gathering more than 900,000 signatures to force a recall.

From the start, some in the Democratic Party worried that a Wisconsin recall could drain needed resources, fire up the conservative base and ultimately make it more difficult for Mr. Obama to win the state. Mr. Obama carried Wisconsin by 14 percentage points in 2008, and Wisconsin hasn't gone Republican in a presidential election since 1984. But last week's Marquette poll showed Messrs. Obama and Romney tied at 46%.

A senior official with the Romney campaign said that if Mr. Walker survives, the campaign would take a fresh look at the state. "If opportunity hits, we will capitalize," the official said.

"People are suddenly starting to talk about Wisconsin as a potential swing state, which was not the case even two weeks ago," said William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former policy adviser to President Bill Clinton."

Summing Up

My view is that this will be a really big deal---maybe even a game changer---if the unions are defeated on June 5 in Wisconsin.

To see just what a big deal this would be, and to gain a more complete understanding of the historical role public sector unions have played through the years in partnership with the Democratic party in Wisconsin, see The Partisan Origins of Public-Sector Collective Bargaining

American public sector unions have become way too strong, and many of our states' precarious financial conditions are due in no small part to this public sector bargaining strength.

On one hand, it reminds me of the historical power of the old UAW and the USW unions, and their contribution to the demise and uncompetitiveness of the heavily unionized U.S. automobile and steel industries.

Except for one thing, that is. In the public sector, and unlike the private sector where shareholders are left holding the bag, taxpayers have to foot the bill. Hey, come to think of it, taxpayers are footing the bill for the GM bailout, too.

When it's the public sector, We the People, aka taxpayers, select and pay the public officials. Then we in effect negotiate with ourselves by bargaining with the public sector unions. And since we aren't paying close attention to what's happening at the negotiating table, we get fleeced.

As a result, public sector unions have delivered goodies to public sector workers and therefore have had the upper hand for too many years and even decades now in Wisconsin and similar states. Now that's changing as Midwestern states such as Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and perhaps even Illinois and Michigan are demonstrating. As for "left coast" California, don't hold your breath.

The tide apparently is turning in favor of We the People and individual taxpayers in these states. For that reason alone, the upcoming Wisconsin recall election may well prove to be a bellwether event---whichever way it goes.

So here's hoping that voters in Wisconsin, the very first state which allowed public sector bargaining as far back as 1959, do the right thing on June 5 for U.S. taxpayers as a whole.

It is now very much beginning to look like they will do just that.

For taxpayers and individual citizens everywhere, that would be cause to celebrate.

We'd be back in control of our own destiny, and that's the way it has to be.

Thanks. Bob.

No comments:

Post a Comment