On the Wisconsin Riots

By J. DeVoy

To the Wisconsinites who have turned out to support public employees over the last two days: You’ve been duped.  I don’t wish any ill will on individual public employees in the state of Wisconsin.  But if you are not in this favored class, or married to one of them, you’re being manipulated.  I pity you.

What the employees and their sympathizers don’t realize is that things are going to be much, much worse down the road.  Teacher layoffs will become district closures and county-wide consolidations in a desperate bid to stay solvent and spread costs far enough to provide minimal services.  Just wait until the yuppies in Whitefish Bay have to integrate their school district with Milwaukee County — it’s happened in other areas, and will be the only way to get enough money together for the schools to stay operational.  The layoffs will be massive.

Also, the concessions – roughly 6% of some employees’ pay – aren’t that dramatic.  These complaints fall on deaf ears when raised to people who aren’t suckling on the government teat. And what do the teachers do to show their outrage? Cancel school, harming the people they claim to care about more than anyone else.  Formalistically, I understand the consternation about doing away with collective bargaining, or even curtailing those rights.  But, this latest state of affairs, the “new normal” for Wisconsin and other states, means public employees will have to learn that they are the servants and not the masters.  The longer Wisconsin and other states live in denial of reality, the more likely that someone harsher than even Governor Christie will rise up to make the really painful cuts.

On the topic of politicians, where are they on the issue?  Nowhere, in some cases.  Wisconsin Senate Democrats fled to Illinois to avoid having to take a stand on the issue: Kowtowing to the new public sector elite and casting a vote for economic suicide, or voting to make necessary cuts that might mean a political career cut short.  This would be outrageous if it wasn’t a classical pussy Democrat tactic to avoid difficult situations.  In 2003, Texas’ Democrat legislators fled the statehouse and the state itself to avoid a redistricting vote they couldn’t win.  Republicans are awful in their own right, but at least they can stand and take a punch.

To see people coming out in favor of this nonsense – smart people I respect, like most of my classmates – churns my stomach.  Not them, but their positions.  Surely they understand that we live in a world of finite resources, and that some things matter than making other people feel happy.  Solvency matters more than ay one individual’s job, as callous as that sounds.  You know that in your heart of hearts, some municipal sanitation worker or unionized third-grade teacher isn’t going to lift a finger for you.  In fact, they never have.  They follow the herd to Wal Mart and undermine domestic manufacturing; they buy the cheapest, shittiest and flashiest cars – wherever they’re made; they do nothing but sit smugly and think about how good they have it with a government job as the private sector deleverages and shrinks the tax base upon which they rely for their jobs and income.  Yet now public employees want people to come out and show their willingness to pay unsupportable wages and benefits that the unionized elect won’t concede when asked to do so.

Some say that it’s unhealthy to view life as a zero-sum game.  Perhaps it is.  But in this situation, the people are being asked to grin and bear yet another knife in their back not from their employers, but from the people their tax dollars employ.  The more the average private sector employee supports these public workers, the more power they have over the lives and pocketbooks of people who have to worry about profits — all while the world becomes flatter, more competitive, and turns increasingly against them.  Fuck. That. Noise.

57 Responses to On the Wisconsin Riots

  1. yoshi says:

    You’ve already proven yourself completely ignorant of science (the gulf didn’t implode like you said it would – did it?) – now you’ve completely proven yourself ignorant of Wisconsin politics and economics.

    How is that going for you? Give it up.

    • J DeVoy says:

      I’ll admit relative ignorance on Wisconsin politics; I only paid attention to the judiciary when I lived there. But I don’t know what kind of sophisticated analysis is necessary to understand that a small state like Wisconsin without a dominant characteristic like technology or banking can’t keep pissing money away on pensions for people who 1) stopped being economically productive long ago, and 2) are far outliving their life expectancies – and needs to significantly curtail the likelihood of doing so in the future – when its projected deficit will be around $5 billion http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/34820159.html

      • Rorgg says:

        Ignoring the fact that on Jan 31, the state budget office projected a significant budget SURPLUS for Wisconsin this year, until Walker went around handing out tax cuts and business incentives like a drunken sailor? And “oh, look! Big shortfall! Gotta make it up somehow!”

        That cite you have there is nearly THREE YEARS OLD. There’s accurate, current information available if you care to find it, come on.

        Also, if you admittedly don’t really know anything about the budget shortfall in Wisconsin, just maybe you should refrain blogging about it until you do. This makes Sweet Zombie Jesus cry.

  2. MadRocketScientist says:

    Granted I haven’t lived in WI for a while, but I still have lots of friends & family back there, so I try to pay attention.

    This OP-ED piece has an obvious bias, but if certain items presented as facts are true, then the budget crisis in WI has been manufactured by the GOP.

    Also, my understanding is Walker never bothered to even ask the union if they would agree to concessions or new negotiations. Stupid move, WI is a very progressive state. If he had asked for concessions, and been told, “Screw you, we got ours”, he’d have a lot more political cover. Alternatively, he could have used his political clout to make WI a Right to Work state, instead of trying to castrate the public workers union.

  3. Joe says:

    If the budget crisis is so bad then why is Walker coupling it with tax cuts for those who need the money the least: the wealthy and corporations? Classic Republican tactics, demonize the public workers for their $50,000 a year to give their money to those who make $50,000,000.

    • J DeVoy says:

      Trite as it sounds, those are the people who have wealth to invest to create jobs and more wealth (equities, etc.). There’s certainly a point of diminishing returns somewhere from $500,000 to $1,000,000, but I’ve never had someone making $30-50k/year create a job for me. I’m not badmouthing those people; they’re not individually to blame, and it’s a collective action problem exacerbated by self-interested unions. But there’s no real question that people with higher incomes provide more economic utility than people with lower incomes, and we should free up their capital so it can be used effectively.

      • Halcyon 2L says:

        There is a real question there. The middle class makes jobs because they actually spend much more of their money and move the economy forward. The wealthy, by contrast, do not spend nearly as much in proportion to what they accumulate.

        • J DeVoy says:

          You’re looking at consumption, not investment. This is the same skewed, intellectually dishonest rhetoric that creates destructive refundable tax credits to people who spend a huge proportion of their income because – surprise! – they’re not very good at managing money!

          I’d rather have a millionaire invest $200,000 in a business that employs me than have 10,000 people spend $200 on some manufactured (likely overseas) widget that sucks wealth out of the community – and which they could live without anyway. Consumption is economically important, but we shouldn’t be incentivizing it until we can fuel it with something other than debt. We’re not there yet, and it generally doesn’t do as much for creating middle class jobs as people claim. For example, how much consumption occurs at restaurants and retail stores?

          • JJ says:

            Thanks DeVoy. You make some great points but I don’t think these comrades believe in Capitalism. The real question the american people have to answer is who do they want spending the country’s capital. Do they want some elected official who came by the gain via legislative fiat or do they want the guy/gal who busted is knuckles, got sunburned, lost a finger, missed a child’s recital, or leveraged his house in order to earn a wage to make the decision? For my money I say keep as much of our tax money in the hands of the producer–he will spend indicia the sacrafice he made. The Federal Government needs the same absolute limit as the states; unless we are talking balanced budget amendment we are just kidding ourselves.

        • Halcyon 2L says:

          But that wealthy individual of today doesn’t invest in a business that employs you. He invests in one overseas. The middle class supports the business that does employ you now–directly or indirectly.

          You ad hom about intellectual dishonesty was pretty lame too.

        • JJ says:

          Halcyon. When the rich save money, they increase the money supply and bring down the cost of money. That means the noble middle class gets a cheaper interest rate on their home and can use the money they save to plow back into the economy. The rich are not the ones who benefit–everyone does!

    • Wreaking Havoc says:

      I think all Republicans are going for the tax cuts. The Florida governor Scott Schmuck aka Rick Scott just passed up nearly $3 billion from the Feds to build a high speed rail, which would employ hundreds of people. Yet, He has slated to cut 8,500 state jobs and outsource many services. Do you know what outsourcing services means? Yes, cutting state jobs giving the business to big corporations. The only problem with that is the services that public employees now provide will be twice as much when big companies take over. Of course the state will maintain several employees to oversee the contracts held by big bisiness.

      Here’s the good part, scott schmuck, was narrowly voted in. He is a millionaire and he got his money through his health care business which was found to have defrauded the federal government millions of medicaid dollars. He has never addressed this issue and says it was a private matter and refuses to discuss it. Does that spell GUILT? Sounds like it to me. Each of his staff are paid $175,000 or there about.

      I could go on and on but I will end with that. Just to say itr sounds like a republican trend (tea party trend).

    • scott says:

      Who’s giving money to the rich? I love it when these liberal progressive types consider taking less from the rich is the same as giving it to them, give me a break. This”giving to the rich” tactic is often spouted on biased news outlets(if you call it news) such as MSNBC or CNN. and all the lemmings eat it up without giving it any thought whatsoever. What is really happening with Walker is true social justice, they are giving the public workers a little less of the money they take from the rich and are letting the rich keep more so they can create more jobs. I have never been offered a job from a teacher or any other public employee. Unions kill jobs they don’t create them.

  4. arizonaplatt says:

    What we are seeing is the beginning of petulant behavior that is going to get much worse. As a lifelong self-employed person, I never expected job security or a regular income, and built my life accordingly. Fine for me, but those who chose to work for the government have a very different psychology and expectations. They are not accustomed to surprises or change, and they don’t see why they should have to alter their outlook. A 6 percent pay cut may be serious stuff for them, if they are spending as much as they earn in the happy expectation that this status will continue indefinitely.

    Well–maybe not. But if they have to cut back on automobile usage, or cable channels, or ipods for their kids, we’re going to see some seriously bad behavior, for which I have vanishingly little sympathy. The people I know who work productively, imaginatively, and intelligently are in the private sector, and they DON’T have that kind of job security. I think it’s time for a realignment with reality.

    • scott says:

      Agreed, I find the audacity of these protesting public employees to be annoying. Many of us hard working small business owners have been bearing the weight of this economic downturn for some time. Stress, razor thin margins, limited cash flow, and great personal sacrifice are the norm for us. I wish I could have the luxury and security of fixed pay with great, paid for by others benefits and pension to boot!. Up until this point these public employees have felt no burden from the recession that has been devastating the lives of many. When asked to make sacrifices that pale in comparison to the sacrifices of their private sector brethren, they act like spoiled children. Shame on them

  5. David says:

    I think it’s funny that you and many on the right are calling public workers part of a “favored class.” Are workers in the public sector favored because generally they have pension benefits and decent health care? (I know you haven’t called out healthcare specifically but I have heard the argument from many, particularly in the right wing media.) Generally speaking that’s the big plus for working for government. The security that generally comes with taking a somewhat lower salary than the public sector but with a good benefits plan. It’s a tradeoff. And I think that taking away pensions from people who have worked all their lives and were promised (read: contracted for) the benefits should receive them. Regardless of whether they “1) stopped being economically productive long ago, and 2) are far outliving their life expectancies.” The next crop of new teachers—that’s a different story entirely.

    As far as I know, we haven’t completely abandoned capitalism, it is still okay for the teachers themselves to want more pay, better benefits, etc? Right? I can certainly see why they would be pissed off about a pay cut. Just like if they worked in the private sector. Surely the public good argument doesn’t work for those on the right wing if the government wanted to lower their salaries (through higher income taxes) just like they wouldn’t like it if their boss told them they would have to take a pay cut. Those on the right generally don’t ask the same from government contractors who are effectively providing a product or service to the government in much the same way employees are but with a layer of abstraction. I just find the hypocrisy humorous. Compensation isn’t a moral issue.

    Now, I’m not too familiar with the specifics in Wisconsin. I’ve never lived there and I only know about the situation from a couple of articles I’ve read. I just think you over simplified the issue and put up a straw man vilifying people you don’t know and calling out intentions and feelings I believe you’ve manufactured: “You know that in your heart of hearts, some municipal sanitation worker or unionized third-grade teacher isn’t going to lift a finger for you. In fact, they never have. They follow the herd to Wal Mart and undermine domestic manufacturing; they buy the cheapest, shittiest and flashiest cars – wherever they’re made; they do nothing but sit smugly and think about how good they have it with a government job as the private sector deleverages and shrinks the tax base upon which they rely for their jobs and income.” Again, we live in a capitalist system: It’s okay to want as much money as you can for your labor—regardless of your job.

    I think wise spending is good government policy all the time. I don’t believe teachers are special and should get some sort of free pass but I feel that they should be able to bargain for the value of their services.

    One last thing. You mention leaving the state as a “classical pussy Democrat tactic to avoid difficult situations.” Ask a Republican politician on the record where the President was born or what his religion is and you get some convoluted BS response to try and hedge between looking like a moron and “a political career cut short.” I promise you, avoiding difficult situations is done by people in all ideologies.

    • J DeVoy says:

      it is still okay for the teachers themselves to want more pay, better benefits, etc? Right?

      Absolutely. Downright rational, even. But in light of a declining nation and increased instability for the people who pay for such things, it’s a stupid thing to give them (to the extent you have control over what you give them).

  6. Halcyon 2L says:

    Let’s pull out the National Guard to make *you* go to work and see how well that goes over. You’d be whining, no doubt, especially if they violated your freedom to contract like this while they were at it. I see you’re just a part-time libertarian. Or one of selective convenience.

    This governor has as many degrees as my pet bird. I think this is just anti intellectualism.

  7. Well, i think you have been duped. WI had a surplus of 130 million or so. The governor decided to piss it away on tax cuts for the well off. So there seems to be no budget crisis in WI. And unions would have compromised, but he does not want to do even that, because he hates unions so much he can’t even sit down and talk about it.

    This is about political retribution, keep in mind he spared the three unions that backed his run for governor. Why would he give exemptions to some unions while trying to bust others? Why would he want to push this through in a week, when the budget is set and not going to be an issue until June?

    This is pure politics. Stay on law, you may be good at that. Also, i think this guy might be done in politics. If it were California he would have been recalled already.

    • J DeVoy says:

      When was this surplus? Was it a Clintonesque projected surplus? Wisconsin’s been having budget problems for years – at least that’s my recollection; I was preoccupied with law school while I was there. I may be mistaken. It is very hard to reconcile any kind of surplus with the projected $5 billion in red ink foretold by the Journal-Sentinel in http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/34820159.html

      There may be some explanation I’m missing. I’m open to explanations. But those numbers don’t seem to match up at all.

      • The Legislative Fiscal Bureau is like the CBO, they say that.

        http://legis.wisconsin.gov/lfb/Misc/2011_01_31Vos&Darling.pdf

        Also, Maddow reports on that, and i trust her when it comes to checking her sources on what she reports more than anyone, meaning she will not state something that she know is not true.

        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#41655758

        And Clinonuesque? Clinton left a surplus, are you sure you want to pick that fight and badmouth the guy that actually left a federal surplus? Next thing you will say is that Reagan did not raise taxes. We can pull the numbers up and compare him to Reagan and the two Bushes if you like, actually we can go all the way back to Nixon.

        • J DeVoy says:

          I stopped reading at “Maddow.” That’s like me citing Bill O’Reilly (I’ve never seen his show – is he still relevant?) as a source.

        • J DeVoy says:

          Also, $120 MM, while nothing to sneeze at, isn’t going to help the 2-3 billion dollar predicted shortfall for the next biennium. It’s nice that 2009-2011 wasn’t as bad as expected, but the real storm (in addition to WI’s already substantial debt load) is on the horizon. That’s where the crises lies.

          http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/109275069.html

          • Well thank you for stating your ignorance and affirming your great listening skills. I point out the 120 million and now it is not a big deal. Nice attempt to change the subject.

            You stopped at Maddow? Please, do not compare the ignorant, and self delusional, fuck O’Reilly is with Maddow. Again you show how ignorant you are with that comparison. Maddow knows gravity creates the tides at least, not god or some kind of magic.

            Also, debt and deficit are two different things. I am sure they are in debt, but the budget has a surplus of 120 million. Let the governor collect taxes from the two thirds of corporations that do not pay any taxes in Wisconsin.

            And if i bother to read the stupid shit you write you can spare 3 seconds to read a few sentences. It’s called a dialogue. Good luck with your practice, based on this interaction i would not hire your ignorant ass.

      • Rorgg says:

        The explanation is that your article citation is from 2008 and THINGS CHANGE.

        • J DeVoy says:

          This, explaining future shortfalls, is from 2010: http://www.jsonline.com/news/statepolitics/109275069.html

          It’s a myopic view to say “oh, we had a (tiny) surplus from the last biennium, crisis solved!” Big problems – and big cuts – are ahead. If the unions win this round, their evisceration in the future will be factors worse.

          • Rorgg says:

            Here’s the problem with it — what’s being protested* over here is the removal of collective bargaining rights. We’ve seen a lot of cases of unions agreeing to cuts in response to actual budgetary crises in the last couple years.

            *Calling them “riots” also seems overly inflammatory. What property or physical damage has been inflicted by these “rioters”?

  8. Darren says:

    JDevoy,
    I can’t fully know what side of the asile your politics lie, (although i guess its more right leaning), however do youself a favor and go watch the first segment from last night’s (2/17) Rachel Maddow show directly on this topic. I know her show is biased, and I am not saying that you should believe everything said by that show. However, her arguments about the larger political impact is compelling and worth a serious review. No matter what side you fall on, if unions go down, then only the wealthy in this country will decide the future of this country. That is a scary proposition.

    • J DeVoy says:

      Do I want policy set by people who have used their money efficiently, namely by increasing it and purchasing influence – something I could learn from even without ever entering that class – or by rent-seekers who need to extort not just a living, but lavish benefits from taxpayers via the state.

      I am concerned about the sudden demise of collective bargaining and readily admit as such. Public unions, however, are the but-for cause of many states’ budget shortfalls. I think the taxpayers who support the unions’ efforts now are being played for fools, handing over the reins of their financial wellbeing to their own oppressors. The unions took too much, don’t want to give anything back, and now their day of reckoning is hence.

    • Darren, he does not watch Maddow, the abundance of facts contradict his experience of an abundance lies on Fox, which bring his perception of reality into question and might make him pause and think and maybe change his opinion.

      • J DeVoy says:

        Yes, that’s it, if I don’t watch Maddow I must be watching Fox. Surely other news sources like the BBC and subscription-based print journalism don’t exist.

  9. Maus says:

    This is not about the benefits. The unions are quite simply worried that the governor is attempting to completely shut them out of the political process. What has Walker said that makes them feel otherwise? That all this is, is just a budget problem?

    I personally think that there are quite a number of unions in the United States that do need to sit down and shut up about how much they’ve got out of the system. But I’m not even beginning to suggest making it so that the public unions have absolutely no ability to come to the table. This isn’t about the money, this is about attempts to curtail ANY ability to have a say. It’s like saying the Chamber of Commerce or Hedge Funds should sit down and shut up about how they’re not getting enough money because the government’s getting in the way, lets dissolve the whole darn thing because they’re wasting our tax dollars.

    Remove the tools, and the legal assemblies will find more tools. Just try and guess how many tax dollars that this funny little move is going to waste. Your zero sum game doubles back because instead of paying broken teacher’s salaries, we’re paying for broken people. Thanks bro. Thanks.

    • J DeVoy says:

      The unions are quite simply worried that the governor is attempting to completely shut them out of the political process. What has Walker said that makes them feel otherwise?

      Don’t you think their participation embodied a conflict of interest anyway? Similar to how congressional representatives could vote themselves higher pay? Hmm?

      Thanks bro. Thanks.

      Welcome.

      • Maus says:

        >Don’t you think their participation embodied a conflict of interest anyway? Similar to how congressional representatives could vote themselves higher pay? Hmm?

        So you say lock everyone out on short notice except the governors who have a budget to run. I could construe that the state legislature is a conflict of interest because they represent the people who pay the bills to keep these workers employed. We could do away with the State government of Wisconsin. Let the entire state go to pieces. There, debt dispersed.

        Do you have any understanding of how democracy even begins to work? Much less that Democracy is a way to /resolve/ conflicts of interest?

  10. Derek says:

    Part of the problem with this whole situation is the tone that was set when it started. Governor Walker called up the National Guard to alert before the protests even began, and broadcast that fact to people before submitting his bill for approval. Someone who’s set to make $144,432 this year (plus the state benefits that so many in his own party decry) calling for armed reinforcement prior to discussions doesn’t signal a willingness to negoatiate – it says, “I’m going to do what I want, and I don’t care about compromise.” And what kind of message (for good or for ill) does it send when someone who makes a six-figure income tries to take away most of your protections, as well as part of your pay, and gives you no say in the process? Whether it’s rational or not, that’s the impression he started this with.

    He’s also exempted the police, firefighters, and state patrol from the cuts (most notably collective bargaining rights) that others have to endure. All of them were groups who supported him financially in his election campaign. Add to that the (possibly innocuous, but poorly-perceived) fact that he’s hiring Stephen Fitzgerald – the father of the leaders of both halves of the state legislature, whose votes he needs to make his proposal work – to a $105,000/year position as head of the State Patrol (one of the only groups not affected by the bill), after Fitzgerald lost handily (by more than 2-to-1) the primary for Dodge County sheriff, as the incumbent.

    http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20110214/APC0602/102140450/Editorial-Once-again-appointment-has-perception-issue

    Keep in mind that that’s how this started. Now add that to the fact that the governor refuses to concede anything and is essentially telling the opposition to take it and like it without debate (prior to the walkout there was less than a week to review the bill before a vote, and no scheduled public hearings on the matter), and is now accusing his opponents of “bullying” him on the bill. Someone who refuses to even discuss the bill he’s trying to speed through the legislature and threatens (before any discussion is had on the matter) to use armed force against his own citizens is not a strong or smart politician, he’s a man acting like a petulant child.

    • J DeVoy says:

      He’s also exempted the police, firefighters, and state patrol

      fwiw, these entities almost always have their own bargaining units. The optics of it are bad, but they have risks that other public employees don’t and generally are treated differently because of it. It’s not specifically a Walker/Wisconsin thing.

      • Mario says:

        So it’s simply rational and only for the good of the people. Nothing to do with local political dynamics or objectives, of course. Nothing at all. None of that traditional divide and conquer strategy. Nope.

        The optics are bad alright, and yours seem downright myopic.

        I do agree with one of your underlying points. That we spend too much and there’s a grave problem with how funds are distributed and used. That we’ve screwed up the spending over many years and something has to be done. That we’ve borrowed against the future and now the debt is coming due. Yeah–I think everyone can agree on that. I mean that sincerely.

        But you’re backing a guy who is threatening to call out the National Guard to break strikers. Really guy. People who are protesting the government. The police unions are choosing to express political support for the strikers’ viewpoint.

        Why don’t we just take the 1A out and shoot it mercifully instead of dribbling piss on its head? I really never thought I’d see this type of position on this awesome blawg. I’m kinda’ sad, frankly. More than just disappointed. Sad.

        “Fuck. Th[is]. Noise.” Indeed.

        • J DeVoy says:

          I haven’t criticized or questioned the right of the teachers to protest, or the right of the Democrat Senators to flee to Illinois – although that should cost them in the next electoral cycle, since it’s an abdication of duty.

          I don’t think the guard should be sent in to quell a peaceful protest. (A development that occurred only after I wrote this post.) I think this is a waste of money and counterproductive for the unions that are trying to garner sympathy, but I have no bone to pick with the protests themselves. It would be inimical to the First Amendment for me to say “the state troopers should send these people packing; why is this being tolerated?” I say, let them protest — there’s no governmental reason to stop them, nor should there be. But I reserve the right to say that if you sympathize with them, you do so at your own peril.

          • Maus says:

            >But I reserve the right to say that if you sympathize with them, you do so at your own peril.

            Fair enough.

          • Rorgg says:

            Stop.

            “Democrat” is a noun.

            “Democratic” is an adjective.

            This is not difficult.

            Using “Democrat” as an adjective is a shibboleth of the right to show disdain to the Democratic Party. Don’t do it if you want to be taken seriously.

        • Mario says:

          He announced he had alerted the National Guard last week, well before you published. But if you just made a simple oversight–okay, thanks for clarifying then. You have a strange bedfellow, but that happens.

    • Mark says:

      At least the Governor was elected to his salary by the people who will be paying it. Non of the non-elected public sector employees can say that. That’s the point of having a school board — as a way of having taxpayer representatives dictate what happens to their property taxes in local public schools. Instead, school boards generally only get to rubber stamp something forced on them via holding school kids hostage. In my town, we didn’t stand for it. In the neighboring town, the teacher strikes bore fruit. An already over-extended school district was forced to spend a week adding all sorts of extra non-teaching time to the yearly teaching schedule. Of course, the negotiating was done with the STATE union, which couldn’t care less about the local community.

  11. N. Johnson says:

    FDR noted the danger in allowing federal workers access to the collective bargaining process. He said, “Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service….”

    Why? Because “[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.”

    This is also not unlike the expansive reductions JFK called for in the 1960’s. What is happening now is democracy, its not “robbery” or “violation of human rights” or “a targeted political attack” its American democracy, which historically has almost always ugly and difficult. I’m not taking a side in this comment (though I do have one) because fundamentally I believe that this will end up being about fixing what is wrong.

    Agree or not you started a great conversation Jay, thanks.

    -A fellow J.D. and Badger

    • J DeVoy says:

      Hey man (I know who this is because I see the e-mail addresses associated with posts),

      Thanks for reading. I imagine everyone has an opinion on this, and I just wanted to offer my view, which is probably contrary to what most think. There are definitely two sides to this issue; I just don’t think average people should feel pressured into supporting the unions because it’s the “right” thing to do.

  12. arizonaplatt says:

    I think there’s a subtext here. I think people who feel comfortable in this blog are likely to be people (such as myself) who are generally out of sympathy with public employees. Personally I can’t think of many public employees whom I like to deal with. Police? No. DMV? Hah! No. Legislators and their entourage? No. Teachers? Some, maybe, but generally I have been very disappointed with public school teachers. Firefighters? Maybe.

    And so on.

    Plus, I am very much aware that public employees have negotiated retirement benefits which are far more generous than anything my friends in the private sector can look forward to. And they have a lot more job security. Probably too much, in the case of teachers, where seniority seems to outweigh performance.

    So perhaps there’s a feeling, regarding Wisconsin, that the employees are protesting too much in comparison with who they are and what they do. Am I prejudiced? Probably. But prejudices grow as a result of many separate bad experiences.

  13. arizonaplatt says:

    Funny to see people throwing insults based on a kind of political-fan-boy enthusiasm for one scripted, dogma-driven media hack as opposed to another. Oh that Maddow, she’s sooo smart! That O’Reilly, he’s sooo nasty!

    Do you guys really formulate opinions based on what you watch on TELEVISION? Do you really believe that a two-party system offers CHOICE?

  14. craig says:

    I agree that the public unions are going to need to make concessions here. But it seems like they are willing to make the concessions that were requested. The protests are not about concessions, but rather the limitation of their collectively bargaining power.

    If the unions agree to make the necessary concessions, then this is not a budgetary issue. It is a naked political power grab. If they are willing to do what the governor says is necessary to deal with the budget issues, why should they also have to give up their ability to bargain on anything other than cost of living pay increases? I am certaintly no expert on the subject, but to me it seems like this is a power grab under the guise of budgetary necessity rather than an honest attempt to deal with the financials at play. But hell, I cannot remember the last time I saw honesty in politics.

  15. John says:

    Public employee unions are an abomination and should all be decertified. Every single f-ing one of them. They are a self-replicating graft machine, everywhere, every time, in every circumstance.

  16. Isn’t it amazing how someone can be so verbose and know so little…? Can you say UNION BUSTING…? If that doesn’t matter to you yet, it will soon enough.

    Why not launch a campaign worth waging? Let’s get corporations to start paying taxes. Let’s ban all outsourcing? And roll back the Bush Welfare-for-the-Wealthy? (Talk about suckling on the government teat.) Sorry, but your writeup is mostly a waste of the pixels it rode in on.

  17. Joe says:

    All I can say is, being government employees, and knowing more about certain things that are going on than most outsiders, I really can’t blame them for not wanting to sacrifice, knowing how much out-of-control billions in entitlement spending to illegal aliens and their children (much through fraud – heck – just being and working here is fraudulent enough in itself) are contributing to many state’s and our national debt.

  18. [...] Anyone”“, “Not a Good Month for Blonde Reporters”J. DeVoy – “On the Wisconsin Riots”Grerp – “Piece of Advice #87: Ditch the TV”T. aka Ricky Raw – [...]

  19. bonnie hill says:

    I hate the republican stand for the rich and supporting pollution, and trying to entice business any way they know how. Socialism is better than republicanism.

    We need more people willing to stand against Walker and to call whats going on a riot is an absolute joke. i have been there (no not a public employee) and it was peaceful and overall appropriate.

  20. NB says:

    I’ve been downtown to watch the goings on whenever I could manage over the weekends. Not that I can manage much between two jobs–and no, they’re not public or union jobs.

    If that’s a riot, it’s the most civilized riot in the history of man.

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