I don’t claim to be the most knowledgeable guy around. But I do know when things don’t make sense and I lay my chips on the table. So here’s my take: The situation in Wisconsin is out of control and I don’t see how any outcome doesn’t involve blame falling to liberals.
I feel looking at a timeline in this situation is key. I will interject a few comments throughout.
- 2/11- Gov. Scott Walker unveils HIS budget which cuts a bit of bargaining rights.
Mind you, Obama just unveiled his budget proposal as well. Republicans and democrats are talking about what should and shouldn’t be in there. It will be amended and voted on. This is not the end-all be-all of budgets.
- 2/13- Protests start with 150 people at the capitol and 100 at Walker’s mansion.
- 2/14- More union heads and members get involved and continue protests.
- 2/15- About 13,000 protesters gather in and around the capitol as hearings of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee continue. Madison SD announces classes will be cancelled 2/16 due to abundant teacher absences (it’s about the kids huh?)
- 2/16- Walker tapes “Meet the Press” to defend and detail his plans. No bargaining rights for public workers except for fire and police and have workers pay into their own pension and 13% of their health costs due to a $137 million budget shortfall.
Let’s pause here. Gov. Walker has been given a crappy hand and he’s doing all he can so Wisconsin can spend on jobs, not debt. Private unions got rid of sweatshops, 15 hour work
days and child abuse in the name of capitalism. We all applaud that. But public unions and their workers, who get paid by tax dollars from all other citizens, should not be above paying a little into their own pensions and health care. Benefits and salary, teachers get very well compensated for their job.
- 2/17- Protesters numbered around 25,000. Obama calls Walker’s budget an assault on unions. 14 democrats avoid a necessary quorum to vote on the budget and leave Wisconsin.
Another side: Protesters have been screaming and yelling for democracy, claiming Walker is a dictator. Never mind he (and a Republican legislature) was fairly elected in November, largely by those outside of Madison. Shouldn’t their voice be heard too? Democracy is about free voting, (in our country) electing representatives and debating the issues to come to agreements for the betterment of the locality. Instead, democrats elected to represent their constituents decided to flee to Illinois, making debate impossible. Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan with a no nonsense take on the matter
- 2/20- Walker says on the 6th day of sit-ins that the pressure won’t make him fold. He is unwilling to compromise.
This complicates my argument. Walker should have been willing to come to the table while still standing for some sense fiscal sanity in his state. The state the elected him to turn the budget around and end union strong arming. But all the while the “do it for the kids” teachers are cancelling class to argue for more tax payer money.
- 2/22- States in similar fiscal circumstances see protests and more runaway reps.
- 2/23- To put pressure on public unions, Walker says he will send out pink slips.
- 2/25- After deal reached, both parties in the Assembly vote on the bill. It passes 51-17.
At least one side of the legislature didn’t run away from debate.
- 2/26 -Outraged, protesters come out in force, nearly 70,000 strong.
- 3/1- A judge ruled the capital reopened after attempts protesters were moved out of the rotunda.
- 3/2- Republicans pass resolution finding 14 AWOL democrats in contempt.
- 3/7- Walker refuses to meet at the state border with missing democrats.
This is a Wisconsin state problem. If these democrats wanted to talk, they should have done it in the capital where they belong. Where they were elected to serve.
- 3/8- Walker makes concessions to keep some bargaining rights.
- 3/9- Collective bargaining bill passes state senate through rarely used legislative channels. It now needs to pass the Assembly and Walker’s desk.
- 3/11- Walker signs bill into law.
Now that is a long winded, yet still concise record of what happened. Democrats run from debate, people get mad, and instead of stopping progress, republicans decide to work for the people who sent them their.