Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wisconsin – March 9, 2011.

Fiscal responsibility, my angry black ass.

It was never about fiscal responsibility.

It was always about crushing the union.

And this is what the people who praise and cheer what happened in Wisconsin last night can no longer deny.

To every asshole that has ranted and raved about government spending – Wisconsin state legislators did NOTHING to address that shit yesterday.

To every asshole that says this mess in Wisconsin is about fiscal responsibility – last night was one of the most irresponsible displays of thuggish politicians using the weapon of government against citizens that I have ever witnessed…and all that was fiscal was removed in order to push this legislative malfunction through without a quorum.

The unavoidable, undeniable, naked and exposed before all who have the strength to look upon it FACT is that this was never about anything other than crushing unions and creating an environment in which workers are subject to the callous whims and unchecked greed of their employers.

And let me be clear - that environment has never been, is not, and will never be some mystical American meritocracy in which the best thrive and are drenched in milk and honey.

Know this – unions exist for a reason.  They came to be because that mystical meritocracy is bullshit, and they will only grow stronger in the face of this old school backroom rancidity that proves the point organizers have been making from the beginning.

It was never about money.

It was never about fiscal responsibility.

It was always about crushing unions.

I couldn’t ask for a clearer example of that than Wisconsin March 9, 2011.

This will not stand.

They will not win.

And I’ll finish with the words of a legislator who voted against the bill…

"I voted my conscience which I feel reflects the core beliefs of the majority of voters who sent me here to represent them."


SanyoSoup said...

The loop works like this: elected officials receive campaign funds from the unions, and the union employees receive ever increasing pay and benefits in return. The elected officials prioritize the interest of the public employees over that of the taxpayers who elected them, thus the conflict of interest.

This is playing out in other places around the country. New Jersey, Ohio, etc.

In a larger context, remember the Federal stimulus program? A significant chunk of that money was funneled to the states, to postpone the day that they'd have to deal with their own budgetary Armageddon. It wasn't so much about creating jobs, as it was about saving public employee jobs, to keep the money flowing into the campaign coffers for candidates of a certain party.

It didn't work, as shown by what happened last November. I think enough people have woken up and seen that scheme for what it was - a form of cozy corruption.

One of the funniest things about the whole debacle in Wisconsin was the comparison some in the media made between the pro-union protesters and the anti-regime protesters in Egypt. That comparison was exactly backwards. The anti-regime protesters in Egypt were more like the people who swept the entrenched party out of the U.S. House last November. The pro-union protesters in Madison were more like the pro-Mubarak protesters in Egypt, who were trying to defend their cozy arrangement and the status quo.

macnow said...


OH were to M'ther F'nnin start.

Well first for right now this...

And when I get back from my business, I will address you proper.

Conflict of interest, bullshit "Koched" up, Straw-man ass!

SanyoSoup said...

Seriously? Grow up. Sorry that the adults took the credit card away. This recession impacts children too.

drst said...

receive ever increasing pay and benefits in return

Which is why the public unions offered to meet all the demands Walker was making of them and were spurned? Which is why in many states including Florida public employees have seen their pay frozen for several years? Oh wait...

That's a bullshit argument. Union pay is negotiated with the state via legal process. The governor (or president) cannot unilaterally raise union wages while not also raising non-union ones.

Also public service workers make LESS money than private ones, because they accept lower wages now while that money is put into pension funds for them for later. Oh and by the way? Public employees in a lot of states (like Ohio) don't contribute to Social Security, so those pensions are all they have.

Also how on earth is giving massive tax breaks to the wealthiest people in the country and the corporations "prioritizing the interests of union employees over taxpayers"?


It's ignorant people like you, who are so scared shitless of everything, hiding under the bed wetting your pants along with Glenn Beck, who fall for these asinine arguments that public workers and union workers are somehow not fellow citizens and fellow taxpayers. Your so busy buying their line about a public schoolteacher who makes $43K being the enemy, you don't notice that nothing the Republicans do benefits anyone but their rich golf buddies. You think you're part of the "them" they talk about, but they'll look at your desecrated corpse and shrug, "Price of doing business."

Rileysdtr said...

Wisconsin is one of many states where public-sector workers earn MORE on average than private sector workers in the same lines of business. That said, tenure and overall benefits (plus the public/private school pay scales) factor in beyond my non-actuary ability to accurately calculate.

To answer the above, YES historically, money funnels from Unions to elect democratic candidates. This 2010 election was the first one that lifted the caps on Corporate donations, which overwhelmingly funneled to Republican candidates. Any argument made for the Unions paying off millions of dollars to "get their way" can be spun around to Corporations now paying tens of millions for likewise.

I am a support of the concept of Unions (grew up in Detroit, the Middle Class of which was built by Unions both literally and figuratively). My Dearly Beloved is a Uunion teacher, daughter and granddaughter of Union teachers. BUT the current union membership structure that I have at least a passing familiarity with (teachers' unions) is also not in touch with reality. My DB does not get, for example, why she should pay $15 for a prescription and not $5 - "that's not fair." (Thanks, Hon... I pay $35 for the same darn thing.) Doesn't understand that OF COURSE administration should have the option to fire incompetent teachers. She says that's not fair, what if the principal is biased? I say welcome to the world the rest of us live in....

That said, principals ARE biased - they run their schools like medieval fiefdoms and carry petty grudges that care nothing about the students. Until administrators are held to the same account as corporate managers, they cannot have that type of control over their teachers.

It's a messed-up system.
But it's the best system we have to protect not only workers but also students. Again in Education, the bigger issues than pay/benefits are things like class size. I have heard critics poo-poo that a teacher with "good classroom management" should be able to teach 50-60 kids at once.


To offer a personal example, that's what you want in an inner-city Chemistry class. 40 teenagers from 3 different gangs with lots and lots of dangerous chemicals including the ability to set things on fire. My DB walks into that every day. Her classroom management skills are superb (thus far no one's been killed or even hurt) but she also has to break up fights as part of this "classroom management." She's 53 years old and 5'4", dealing with 17-year-old boys up to 6'6". While she's keeping things calm she can't effectively teach the kids who actually want to learn. It's a microcosmic example of why US students suck these days at Math and Science.

Detroit just proposed 60 kids per class.


libhom said...

I am so sick of corporate media letting corrupt politicians like Scott Walker get away with saying that they can't afford benefits for state employees right after he gave hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to his wealthy and corporate supporters.

Lauren said...

I still don't get what is "wrong" with how unionized public employees have been paid recently. Except where in cases when the system has been abused, people have been allowed to keep jobs they don't deserve for various reasons (ie, the same crap that can go on in non-union/private-sector type situations, too), since when it is so terrible for middle class workers to receive middle class wages?

It seems to me that the powers that be are stirring up hatred amongst those without jobs or without decent paying jobs against those are lucky to have one in the hopes that everyone will not see the corporate backroom deals that are really the cause of some of these fiscal crises.

And really, a state is in debt and the first thing one does is dock further it's employees pay and benefits? There's seriously no other way to make ends meet? I sort of find that unlikely. The public employees of WI did not put the state into the financial crunch it is in.

Unknown said...

there are just no words to express how much I love you and how you express prayer is to have a big party and fly you, your sister and your brother in...this blog was amazing...nothing touches that healthcare-fashion opus you wrote last year...but I am ALWAYS throughly informed and enchanted after reading your blogs!

Anonymous said...


Your argument would CERTAINLY be valid if it was a private sector union but it is not. Take an in-depth look at the disparity in teacher pay and benefits for public vs private sector in Wisconsin and you will dig out your answer.

Regardless of whether you believe teachers should get paid more (I think they should, I highly value education) this disparity at the expense of both the tax-payer and the private sector is unfair.

Anonymous said...

If the disparity between union and non-union pay is "unfair", then the "fair" thing to do would be to unionize the non-union workers--not to chop the organized workers down to size. Unless you're the one on top of the pyramid trying to maximize profit, but perhaps that shouldn't be the viewpoint that our legislation comes from. Call me crazy, but I think democracy comes from a perspective of widening the people's collective power, not relegating more of them to lower rungs.

JoyMama said...

From Wisconsin -- Thanks, Shark-fu. We're fighting the good fight here. What passed last week is union-busting plus a whole lot more -- like, unprecendented authority for a Walker appointee to mess with all sorts of aspects of Medicaid. Argghh.

As for the resentment about public employees actually having livable wages & benefits... I've seen this old Soviet joke circulating... where the peasant says, "My neighbor has a cow and I have none. I want his cow to die!"

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you've read about the latest shenanigans, but I think you'd really be interested in this U Wisconsin prof's conclusions about the union busting legislation and subsequent intimidation tactics used by the Repubs:

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