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Remember PATCO!

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

The turmoil and shocking thuggery we are now witnessing in Madison, Wis. is at a level seldom seen in America in this era. School teachers, of all people, are setting bad examples for their students. Some engage in outright fraud, aided by medical doctors giving them phony diagnoses of nonexistent illnesses to give them an excuse for near rioting instead of doing their job of teaching.

There is a name for that kind of thing -- it’s called a crime. You know, the kind of offense that can get you tossed in the slammer. In the process they show students how to commit fraud -- on their taxpaying parents.

Faced with the sorry fact that his state is flat-broke a la Greece, Gov. Walker -- who has sought to reduce the deficit threatening to drown Wisconsin in debt the citizens will never be able to repay -- is asking the state’s teachers to contribute to their own retirement funds, which they now enjoy virtually free of charge. To listen to the outraged union you’d think he was trying to put chains on their ankles and enslave the teachers.

Aside from the fact that unionizing government employees removes them from the status of being public servants -- instead, making them into just another category of allegedly exploited workers -- it also empowers them to hold the public hostage to whatever demands they care to make, no matter how unjustified.

That’s the real issue here, being studiously avoided by the dominant left wing of the media which grovels at the feet of the labor bosses and the Democrat party bosses who rely on the obedient media to help keep their political campaign coffers full of union members’ dues money by slanting their reporting or simply refusing to cover the facts about dangerous union activities.

To put it bluntly, no government employee -- local, state or federal -- should be allowed to join a union. To repeat: They are not your ordinary workers -- they are servants of the public, a status they accept when they seek government employment. It goes with the job. In return, they can look forward to a pension or an early retirement -- benefits not readily available in a lot of civilian jobs.

Early in his administration my father, President Ronald Reagan, faced a walkout by air-traffic controllers which threatened to completely shut down air travel. Their union, known as the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO), went on strike -- at the time a totally illegal action.

He ordered them back to work, and when the PATCO members refused, he simply fired them and replaced them.

The unions have broken Wisconsin, New York, Ohio, New Jersey and California, to name a few. It is time to rein in the unions and save our states. The Reagan you are looking for is sitting in Republican governorships, not in Washington.

Why do Democrats always side with unions when they defy the public’s interests? As Jonah Goldberg cites statistics from the Center for Responsive Politics, “From 1989 to 2004, AFSCME -- the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees -- gave nearly $40 million to candidates in federal elections, with 98.5 percent going to Democrats.”

Goldberg answers the question of why an organization of local union workers contributes so generously to federal campaigns: “Because government workers have an inherent interest in boosting the amount of federal tax dollars their local governments get. Put simply, people in the government business support the party of government.”

The war cry against unions holding taxpayers hostage should be: "Remember PATCO!"

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