Ten Lessons We Learned In The Last Two Years
Two years ago today, Governor Scott Walker proposed collective bargaining reforms that would set in motion nearly two years of political upheaval in Wisconsin, with reverberations felt around the country. After all of the rallies, drum circles, fleeing senators, recalls, recounts, lawsuits, and recriminations… what have we learned?
Actually, quite a bit...
1. Our fiscal problems are solvable. Without tax increases. The fiscal facts are stark: Walker inherited a $3. 6 billion structural deficit that had been a fixture among both Democrat and Republicans. As he prepares his second budget, the state has a surplus. The sky didn't fall. The streets are still being plowed. Children are not forced to go to schools in corrugated huts. There may be a lesson here for the federal government.
2. There are in fact, two Americas. Walker’s reforms exposed the gap between average America and the oh-so-entitled class of public employees, who had been granted enjoy expensive fringe benefits and lavish pensions under the baleful eyes of ever more powerful public employee unions. Private sector workers have been contributing to their own pensions and benefits for years so it was revealing to watch the outrage of public employees who were being asked to do the same thing.
3. They are not as big as they look. Despite the huge size of the crowds at the unionist rallies – more than 100,000 at times – the number of protestors was dwarfed by the more than 1.3 million votes Walker received in June 2012 to beat back the recall attempt. Since Act 10, union membership has cratered; the poercentage of public employees in unions in Wisconsin has dropped from 50% down to just 37% last year. After decades of being told by the left that it was useless to resist the oncoming tide of history, it turns out that it was the unions who were on the wrong side of history.
4. It’s possible to beat the media narrative. The Wisconsin Revolution witnessed the rise of new media that provided an alternative to the generally hostile media coverage. Many of the videos and on-the-scene reports that exposed the opposition came from new media outlets and sources. The MSM monpoly was busted along with the unionn.