The escalating costs of public employee compensation heavily contributed to Wisconsin’s rising deficit, and by proposing this budget Governor Walker is directly taking on the special interests responsible. He campaigned for election on a platform of cutting union benefits and ending the unions’ ability to collectively bargain. Wisconsin is one of approximately half of U.S. states that have no right to work laws protecting employees from being forced to join a union. This authority is all a creation of legislation; there are no “rights” in the Constitution that give unions the kind of power they have in Wisconsin.
After the Governor announced his budget, the unions went to work recruiting public employees to rally at the State Capitol in Madison. Thousands showed up every day last week. By Saturday there were an estimated 68,000 protesters. However, Tea Party counter protesters concerned about the rising deficit also turned out.
Realizing that they could not win using aboveboard tactics, the unions went far beyond peaceful protest, engaging in dishonest, unethical and probably illegal activity. Doctors were filmed at the protests fraudulently handing out notes to excuse state employees from work so they could protest. Conservative social media king Andrew Breitbart and a Fox News producer both easily obtained doctors’ notes at the protest, pretending to be public employees.
Efforts are also being made to sabotage the democratic process of the State Assembly. Republicans took over the Wisconsin State Assembly last fall. As the majority, they intend to pass Governor Walker’s budget. Yet the unions, with the complicity of the Democrat minority in the Senate, are trying to stop the Assembly from conducting business. Protesters outside the Assembly are blocking legislators from entering the building to vote. House Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald adjourned the Assembly early on Friday after receiving a call from Governor Walker warning him that he could not assure his safety nor that of his caucus members. Wisconsin’s 14 Democrat Senators have shut down the ability of the Assembly to vote by deliberately staying away from the Capitol at hidden locations. Although all 19 Republicans in the Senate have vowed to vote for the Governor’s budget, a majority of 20 votes is still needed to pass legislation. The budget is due by the end of June.
Obama’s interference on behalf of the unions was not much more honest. He admitted he didn’t know the details of the dispute, “I haven’t followed exactly what’s been going on.” Then he attacked the budget proposal, saying it “seems like more of an assault on unions.” Obama’s campaign arm, Organizing for America, now a wing of the DNC, assisted with rounding up protesters.
A recent poll from the Clarus Group found that 64% think government employees should not be represented by unions. With states facing bigger deficits due to the recession, the escalating costs of overly generous public employee pensions have become one of the most pressing issues facing lawmakers and taxpayers. Unions know they do not have popular support to maintain these unsustainable levels of benefits. Their return to unsavory “Saul Alinsky” tactics of prior years to thwart our democratic process should be scrutinized closely and exposed for undermining the will of the people.
While blocking the Wisconsin Senate chamber, protesters chanted, “Freedom, Democracy, Union!” Some have noted the irony, considering the protesters were preventing the democratically-elected Senate from voting. If the union-instigated protesters had any intellectual honesty, they would have chanted, “Alinsky, Unsustainable Deficits, Greed, Union!”