Thingish Things

Wisconsin Skinny

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Feb• 20•11

There are skirmishes every day in state capitols across America.

And then every once in a while, there is a fight.

The unfolding turmoil at the Wisconsin state capitol has become even more than that:  It has turned into an existential battle for the Democratic Party and the public employee unions as they exist today, the results of which could be landscape-altering in the history of American politics. The stakes have become too significant for either side to back down, or so it seems at the moment.

To Republicans, the battle in Madison cuts to the core of what is whittling away America’s economic foundation – self-perpetuating government and its costs.  Public employee unions and other special interests are its drivers.

To the Democrats, this is an assault on its most reliable troops and fund-raising apparatuses. Public service employees – and their political contributions — are central to today’s Democratic Party.   Witness President Obama’s and the Democratic National Committee’s rush to assist the demonstrators.

Both parties realize what’s at stake, which makes prosecuting this fight to a successful conclusion so important to both sides.

Today’s public employee unions are a well-oiled Mercantile system.  They provide jobs for political loyalists, who provide union leaders with campaign volunteers and taxpayer-funded dues, which are donated to candidates for public office, who then vote to increase the salaries and benefits of those workers.  It is – if you’ll forgive the overused term – a Ponzi scheme that goes on until the money runs out.  And the money has run out.

Democrats are not wrong in accusing Republicans in Wisconsin of trying to break the backs of the public employee unions.  They are. And rightly so if you subscribe, as I do, to a fiscally conservative philosophy.  The only way to stop the growth of spending and debt in U.S. states is to structurally weaken the union grip on state capitols. Madison, a long-time stronghold of organized labor, is as good a place to start as anywhere.

If Wisconsin plays out the way it promises to, this could be a very ugly and protracted fight.  But it is a battle America has to go through if it’s going to come out the other side and know who it is again.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Comment

  1. Mike says:

    The problem of unions over-reaching in thier pay, benefits and influence in politics has been the case for some time. It is only because of the economic times we are in has the issue become front and center in the public’s eye. A page out of Rahm Emanuel’s playbook should be utilized. “Never let a crisis go to waste”. Now is the time to rid ourselves of the public employee pension system as it now stands once and for all. Tax payers rejoice!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.