Monday, February 21, 2011

More on Wisconsin

Here's some more information:

Read 12 things you need to know about the uprising in Wisconsin here

and Paul Krugman here.

For what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t about the state budget, despite Mr. Walker’s pretense that he’s just trying to be fiscally responsible. It is, instead, about power. What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy. And that’s why anyone who believes that we need some counterweight to the political power of big money should be on the demonstrators’ side.

Some background: Wisconsin is indeed facing a budget crunch, although its difficulties are less severe than those facing many other states. Revenue has fallen in the face of a weak economy, while stimulus funds, which helped close the gap in 2009 and 2010, have faded away.

In this situation, it makes sense to call for shared sacrifice, including monetary concessions from state workers. And union leaders have signaled that they are, in fact, willing to make such concessions.

But Mr. Walker isn’t interested in making a deal. Partly that’s because he doesn’t want to share the sacrifice: even as he proclaims that Wisconsin faces a terrible fiscal crisis, he has been pushing through tax cuts that make the deficit worse. Mainly, however, he has made it clear that rather than bargaining with workers, he wants to end workers’ ability to bargain.


And that last point is the most important one -- without unions, there will be no countervailing power against that of corporations and yes, even government.

Yes, some unions need reform, but doing away with them would be much worse than most people can imagine. Remember, unions are the folks who brought you the weekend -- and safer work places -- and child labor laws . . .

And even Walker isn't opposed to all unions -- note that the unions that supported him financially are given exceptions in this bill.

1 comment:

BooCat said...

I wish there would be more press coverage about other items in that bill. One provision gives Walker the right to sell public-owned utilities to private individuals WITHOUT bid. Can we say Koch brothers?