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Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Wisconsin, Take 1...At this stage it's glaringly clear that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's actions to severely limit collective bargaining rights among pubic employees is mostly about reducing the political power of unions...unions that traditionally support Democratic candidates.  This is juxtaposed against the Citizen's United decision, in which the United States Supreme Court gave corporations free political spending rights*, effectively bolstering the political power of a major group of Republican party backers.  Yes, Wisconsin is more about political strategy than it is about budgetary strategy.

Wisconsin, Take 2...It's also very clear that state and local level politicians who receive significant financial support from public sector unions have not always acted in the best interests of taxpayers.  Think of it this way:  if you significantly helped your boss receive a promotion, would not expect that same boss to be at least somewhat beholden to you when it came time to deciding your salary, benefits, work rules, etc?  Look, the point here is this:  don't believe the sheer, utter bullcrap you hear from the extreme fringes, be they on the right and left, in this debate.

What to do?

Right...The right needs to acknowledge that public sector employees should be able to join unions that can effectively bargain for wages, benefits and working conditions.

Left...The left needs to realize that the pubic coffers aren't an open checkbook.

Solution...The political system needs to change so that public employees can no longer negotiate with someone they help elect.  Perhaps management in public sector labor negotiations should be represented by a pool of individuals who represent taxpayer interests, as expecting elected politicians to do this is like me expecting my cat to not drink out of the toilet.

(*) Not "free speech" rights, as I fervently believe that if you equate "free speech" with political contributions, you inevitably end up having to conclude that those with the most money get the most (the loudest) speech.  How is that in any way good for our political system?  Is it not at the heart of American democracy that "all men are created equal"?  If a politician listens to you because you gave him money but ignores me because I did not then how could you conclude that we are "created equal"?

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