Somewhere in Madison a group of Democratic State Senators are in hiding. They are hiding from their responsibility and from reality. They are hoping that if they don’t show up for work a vote can’t take place on a law that would limit the ability of the Wisconsin State Employees Union to collective bargain for benefits. Reminiscent of the protests in Greece (although thankfully these are peaceful) teachers have called in sick and even brought their students along to protest the proposed proposal.
Sweet. No School! Another great reason to home school, but I digress.
Unfortunately for the unions in Wisconsin, they only have themselves to blame. Well, themselves, and the current administration in Washington. The Hope and Change that so many voted for in 2008 was supposed to fix unemployment and bring transparency and prosperity to the country. Instead, unemployment is stuck at 10% nationally and states are broke.
In 2010 the voters spoke. This is NOT the Hope and Change we were hoping for. We need to address the real problems; cut spending and create jobs. The newly elected Republican majority in Wisconsin are taking the problem head on and now we see the reaction.
So why are the unions so upset? If the proposed law becomes law they would lose the ability to collective bargain for some benefits. State employees would also actually have to contribute toward their own retirement and their insurance coverage! Shocking, I know. From the Wisconsin State Journal:
By ending state employees ability to negotiate for their pensions and insurance rates, the governor will be able to increase employee pension contributions to 5.8 percent of salary and more than double their health insurance contributions.
Currently most state employees pay nothing toward their pensions and only a modest amount for their insurance. Walker said those increases alone would save the state $30 million this fiscal year and ten times that much going forward. He also said the change would allow him to avoid employee furloughs and layoffs. Walker said he would likely have had to fire 1,500 people and cut about 200,000 children off Medicaid to make up the difference.
Heartless Republicans. Trying to save jobs and Medicaid coverage to children.
Even more sad is that this is only the beginning. If you think Wisconsin has budget problems because of out of control union benefits, you are right. However, Illinois and California are in much worse shape and face a collapse of their state pension funds. Other states aren’t far behind.
What’s a state and a country to do? First, we can follow Wisconsin’s lead! “Compel” unions to sacrifice like the rest of America if they won’t do it on their own. Unions should ask themselves, is it better to keep our sweetheart deals, or keep our jobs? You would think that would be an easy answer. The problem is it seems most unions are more interested in keeping power rather than doing what is right for it’s members and America.
The other thing we can do is on the national level. Start shrinking the federal government, cut spending, cut tax rates and drill for domestic oil. Proven principles that lead to job creation and prosperity.
It’s not likely that the current administration is going to shrink government. One big clue might be that they think building a high speed train will help solve our problems! That must be some kind of joke, right? The EPA is also busy suing oil refineries in Texas and dragging their feet when it comes to issuing permits for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Jobs are leaving the Gulf States and gas prices continue to rise.
The answer lies with us. We must continue to stand for fiscal responsibility in government. We must support our representatives that are standing for what is right and who have the courage to do what is right. Most importantly, we have to keep winning elections.
Wisconsin is a great example of a blue state turned red. They now have a Governor and State Legislature that has the courage to do what is necessary for the good of all of the states’ taxpayers.
Well, not all of Wisconsin’s lawmakers are showing leadership and courage. Somewhere in Madison is a group of Democrats hiding from their responsibility because they are hiding from reality.
Update: They left the state!