Bill Murchison

Negotiations between the government and the people who work for it shut out the public, whose taxes fund whatever the government does. You can boycott a company that rolls over and plays dead for the unions: not so with the government itself, unless you know a secret cave in the Rockies.

President Reagan's dismissal of striking air traffic controllers in 1981 was recognition of the essential truth that that no union enjoys the power -- the legitimate power, that is -- to strike against the public weal and safety. The Wisconsin unions need a lesson -- one that professor Obama has shown unwilling to offer.

This brings to mind another bracing aspect of the whole Wisconsin shebang. It is that the states are taking action in their own behalf: not asking for permission from Washington, D.C., just doing it. It is the way a union of sovereign states was supposed to work all along: the people nearest a problem or difficulty fashioning their own approaches to the matter, within a national framework of generally agreed-on rules. Wisconsin is doing just that: figuring out for itself how to close a deficit projected to reach $3.7 billion.

"President Walker"? That may be looking (however joyously) a bit far down the road. But if Scott Walker doesn't seem the kind of leader who might straighten us so far, given time, well, who does -- the Democratic fugitives whose answer to a challenge appears to be, "Quick, gas up the car"?

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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