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What Happened to the New Era of Civility, Wisconsin?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Two points jump out at me as I watch the union protests in Wisconsin. First the “new era of civility” is over, and secondly, that union myrmidons continue to put their own self-interests above the rest of the taxpayers and nation. If you recall after the Gifford shooting last month, the left was quick to vilify the right for so=called vitriol and hostile rhetoric. They claimed Loughner to be the poster child for what happens to normal folks that listen to too much Limbaugh and Hannity. Except, we found out that was all a red herring; Loughner turned out to be fairly an apolitical nut job. But still, everyone from CNN to President Obama demanded that we “tone down the rhetoric.” Yet today I see Obama accuse Gov. Walker of an “assault on unions.” Sounds like violent rhetoric to me. I also see that the union protesters are carrying signs comparing Walker and the Republicans to Mubarack and Nazis, as well as several with Walker in target crosshairs. Well, I guess it was a nice, “civil” 3 weeks. Civility is not the main concern that the protests reveal, but I do find it both amusing and disappointing at the same time. The most glaring issue that these protests demonstrate is a classic case of “good enough for thee but not for me.” Union members and their leaders don’t care if folks in the private sector are suffering from the bad economy. They don’t care if state and federal budgets are running major deficits and are at the tipping point of collapse. Nope, they just want the pensions and benefits to which they believe they are “entitled”. No matter that their insanely great benefits will be downgraded to insanely good (still light-years better than you’ll find in the private sector). Their shutting down schools to help the children they claim, totally ignoring the fact that they are saddling them with unmanageable debt, as well as not performing their job to educate kids and wasting tax dollars. Yep, you sure are caring and unselfish when you think paying in 12% into your retirement plan is a grossly unfair burden, but forcing your kids to pay higher taxes, receive less services, and have a generally lower quality of life because you helped bankrupt America is perfectly Kosher. What happens if the rest of America, those not on the public pension dole, gets sick of the unions’ whining and start counter protesting. In hard times, don’t the progressives preach that we need to share the burden, “from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs”? I guess such lofty sentiments only apply as long as you aren’t the one having to give something up for the good of society. Some are calling the Wisconsin democrats patriots for fleeing the state rather than attempting to debate or negotiate the bill. Imagine the screams of such a cowardly and childish act if the Republicans had left DC to prevent passage of ObamaCare? I guess this is what Obama meant when he said those not on board with his agenda should “take their ball and go home,” except its his supporters that must employ such tactics rather than man their posts and attempt to sway Republicans that this bill might not be the best way to help the budget and their constituents. While the left is busy heralding the protesters, I want to sing the praises of the few politicians that are actually trying to practice fiscal responsibility rather than give it the usual lip service. President Obama and the Republican legislators could learn something from Gov. Walker, Gov. Christie, Gov. Jerry Brown, etc.- we are living in a time of tough choices, we cannot sustain the entitlement spending. Of the cuts both the administration and GOP are endorsing for the federal budget, ZERO is cut from social security, Medicare/Medicaid, etc. Instead they keep shaving from discretionary spending. Do you realize that they could cut 100% of discretionary spending and we would still have a deficit? Did you know that if they not only cut all discretionary spending, but 100% of the defense budget, we would still only run a minuscule surplus? That’s how much the government is paying in entitlements and debt- nearly 100% of its income. It’s like giving a cow a haircut and expecting to get a fat free steak as a result. Fiscal responsibility has to come from somewhere; it sure isn’t coming from Washington, despite the November 2010 elections and the unmistakable demand for financial accountability. That’s why any governor that is willing to publicize the burden that unions and entitlements are placing on the states and countries needs to be commended rather than scorned. Maybe the unions should put down their GOP=Nazi placards and spend more time actually working with the government and Republicans to hammer out a compromise that puts America first instead of demanding that things stay the same while whining and protesting about their own selfish needs and entitlements.


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