SUNDAY HOT READ: THE WAR ON THE TAXPAYERS
"This is war," panted Michael Moore, the left-wing propagandist, after Gov. Scott Walker's limits on government unions' power passed the Senate. Moore sounded eager.
And he's right. It is war. But look at who's fighting whom.
The unions say they're the target because Walker demanded that state workers start paying something toward their retirements and 12.6% of the cost of their health coverage. You think this a good deal; government unions think it's Pearl Harbor. Walker also insists benefits and work rules no longer be negotiable, since collective bargaining is precisely why governments are spending twice as much on employee health as regular employers do. So, sure, he's fighting government unions....
The fact is that it is war, as Moore says. It is war of government unions, desperate to cling to remunerative power, against their employer's owners. Those would be taxpayers.
Unions choose war because the warlike arts - fighting, regimenting, taking - are what unions do best. Conflict dominates their talk, just like that image of Wisconsin as a fist is all over their posters. The chief strategy of unions is to heighten complaint and to monetize dissatisfaction by organizing it.
It is war because the peaceful alternative, democracy, didn't work out for the unions. They lost; taxpayers won. Don't imagine they'll leave it at that.
In his March 6 column, Gurda the historian lays out a preposterous comparison between Walker, his supporters and the Prohibition era: "Get rid of alcohol, the prohibitionists promised, and the U.S. would become a nation of the righteous and a beacon of prosperity to the world. Just cut government to a minimum, the new right contends, and you will usher in a brave new era of freedom and opportunity." Such rhetoric shows how convenient it is to fabricate out of whole cloth slogans or proposals that you attribute to some group or individual.
Walker was portrayed in the media as obstinate and too eager to “strip the collective bargaining rights” of Wisconsin’s public employees. His poll numbers reflected the criticism.
But even as they offered to contribute more, unions throughout Wisconsin were rushing through contract extensions that would exempt them from having to pay more towards benefits. In some localities, public employee unions were not only pushing to avoid the increased benefit contributions, they were attempting to force through pay raises.