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Governor Walker’s Common Sense Reforms

On Facebook, a friend whom I love and respect despite her left-of-center politics linked a web-page which supports the truant Wisconsin lawmakers and calls the legislation they seek to block, a “radical attack on nurses, teachers and public employees”.  Governor Scott Walker’s judicious proposal is anything but radical and is in fact the modest kind of reform we need here in California to address the spiraling cost of benefits for our public employees, costs which, former Democratic State Assembly Speaker Willie Brown contends, account for “80 percent of the state, county and city budget deficits“.

Over at the Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes quotes the Badger State’s bold and brave governor to show just how modest his reforms are:

Walker believes the changes he’s proposing are relatively modest. “I’m asking them to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary to their pension – right about the national average for contributions. And I’m asking them to pay 12 percent of their health care premiums – up from 6 percent. The national average is around 25 percent.”

So Wisconsin’s public employees will still have benefit plans more generous than most workers across the country. And these steps are being taken with the express purpose of avoiding major layoffs and dramatic paycuts. .  . . What’s more, Wisconsin teachers pay as much as $1100 each year in compulsory union dues. If the legislation passes, they will no longer be required to pay thosee dues – returning that money to their own pockets.

Emphasis added.  With the dues no later automatically deducted from their paychecks, Wisconsin state employees now have the choice whether or not to pay them.  In addition to ending ” government collection of union dues,” Walker’s reforms would “allow workers to opt out of unions, and require unions to hold recertification votes every year.

That makes a lot of sense.  Right now, the Wisconsin state government has served as the collection agency for institutions which “spent $573,868 on Wisconsin’s 2010 elections — almost all of it going to Democrats“.

“Currently,” Larry Kudlow writes, “most state employees pay nothing for their pensions and virtually nothing for their health insurance.”  (Via Jennifer Rubin.)  Few private sector employees have compensation packages that generous.  While unions would lose their collective bargaining rights, Kudlow adds, public employees will keep their jobs:

Unions could still represent workers, but could not get pay increases above the CPI. Nor could they force employees to pay dues. And in exchange for this, Walker promises no furloughs for layoffs.

Without Walker’s common sense reforms, as many as 12,000 state and local government workers could lose their jobs.  These reforms seem pretty reasonable to me.

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36 Comments

  1. What the governor is asking for is very reasonable and it’s much like what a corporate exec would do if the company was in a downturn. I’m not union and I’ve taken pay freezes, cuts and gone one workshare at different times in my career in order to keep folks from losing their job. What I see here is some pretty darned selfish decisions on the part of the unions when they know how bad the economy is. But the bottom line for them is those union dues. That’s what’s getting the big boys out for the party. It seems they would rather see their members out of work than their national losing money or power. I also believe the members should have the right to chose whether or not they want to be in the union and also who their dues support in elections. All of our public servants need to be out serving the public or they can be replaced by many, many other good folks who desperately need the jobs. What are the teachers teaching our kids right now? They brought students to this Wisconsin protest. There are members of CPUSA in that crowd talking about a revolution……this isn’t Egypt, and that kind of talk is sedition here. And if Obama is supporting and encouraging the unions instead of supporting the governor then what does that make him?…..(besides incompetent).

    Comment by Shawny — February 21, 2011 @ 4:31 am - February 21, 2011

  2. One of the first things the Fascists under Mussolini did…. was break the unions….

    Comment by Paula Brooks — February 21, 2011 @ 6:17 am - February 21, 2011

  3. What we have here is quite a nasty cycle. A combination of kickbacks and protection. Legislatures, in effect, determine the pay and benefits of unionized employees. The employees pay union dues and much of that money goes to promote the election of candidates who then devise the compensation of the union members. The only way to eliminate the stench of this evil is to throw out the whole rotten cycle.

    Comment by JPE — February 21, 2011 @ 7:20 am - February 21, 2011

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    Pingback by Tweets that mention GayPatriot » Governor Walker’s Common Sense Reforms -- Topsy.com — February 21, 2011 @ 9:26 am - February 21, 2011

  5. #2 Is that the Current Truth, Paula?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 21, 2011 @ 9:44 am - February 21, 2011

  6. #2

    Yep, it rained that day, and the price of milk went up also. Its was Bush’s fault

    Comment by Tony — February 21, 2011 @ 9:45 am - February 21, 2011

  7. Yeah let make America… India…. that way the Koch Brothers wont have to buy a ticket to New Delhi to check on their 50 cent a day workers…. they can do it right in Madison.

    The Union is the only thing that stand between the people and the Fascist…

    Comment by Paula Brooks — February 21, 2011 @ 9:48 am - February 21, 2011

  8. Funny how the left wasn’t so crazy about Fascist when the Democrats had thousands of people chanting “OBAMA!” in giant stadiums festooned with the regime’s symbols.

    And how blind does one have to be to reject the possibility that unions have become coercive, corrupt, and anti-democratic and are in need of reform? Or, are the pro-unionists still trotting out the “We need unions because my great-grandpappy was forced to work 80 hours a week at the sorghum mill for two-cents a day and died of the black lung” excuse?

    Comment by V the K — February 21, 2011 @ 9:53 am - February 21, 2011

  9. #6

    What a load of BS

    Comment by Tony — February 21, 2011 @ 9:54 am - February 21, 2011

  10. Wow, so in other words the US was a Fascist state before Mother Jones? I’m amazed. Plus all those Fascist states in the Union with the Right to Work laws…

    Who knew FDR was a Fascist?

    Paula, I suggest you check your meds. Or at least your talking points.

    Comment by The_Livewire — February 21, 2011 @ 9:55 am - February 21, 2011

  11. Ugh, PIMF. First sentence should have read: “Funny how the left wasn’t so crazy about Fascist comparisons when the Democrats had thousands of people chanting “OBAMA!” in giant stadiums festooned with the regime’s symbols.”

    The Fascists also coopted the media into becoming one-note propagandists for the leader of their cult-of-personality. You might want to check with Rachel Maddow, Andrea Mitchell, Chris Matthews and the rest of the presidential knee-pads club about that.

    Comment by V the K — February 21, 2011 @ 9:57 am - February 21, 2011

  12. Like I’ve said, Livewire, any Republican who isn’t being called a Fascist by the progressive left isn’t doing his job.

    Comment by V the K — February 21, 2011 @ 9:58 am - February 21, 2011

  13. V the K and The Livewire,

    You have Paula @#6 all wrong. Paula is hot for Fascism. She loves the Obamaduce and yearns for the “unionization” of all citizens in one happy organized community of fundamentally transformed recipients of other people’s money. By “break the unions” Paula meant the unions of people opposing government control of social justice, political correctness and superior entitlement dictatorship.

    Pauta is the Mother Superior of Fascism.

    Comment by Heliotrope — February 21, 2011 @ 10:06 am - February 21, 2011

  14. Paula Brooks = Somalian Pirate.

    V the K, Livewire, and Heliotrope = Navy Sharpshooters.

    Comment by V the K — February 21, 2011 @ 10:31 am - February 21, 2011

  15. Again, the mainstream media drops the ball deliberately for their side by not reporting things like the small demands Walker is asking for.

    Comment by Tim — February 21, 2011 @ 10:39 am - February 21, 2011

  16. Re #2: “One of the first things the Fascists under Mussolini did…. was break the unions….”

    Is that how he made the trains run on time?

    Comment by Wesley M. — February 21, 2011 @ 10:41 am - February 21, 2011

  17. I wonder if Paula is actually Auntie Bitch by another name. Libtard hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — February 21, 2011 @ 12:22 pm - February 21, 2011

  18. Paula, I outlined the points of Walker’s proposal and you reply with slogans. Why not address them and detail why they’re bad?

    This isn’t breaking the unions, only regulating public sector unions while giving all employees more freedom (as per the above). Please tell me how that is fascistic.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — February 21, 2011 @ 12:45 pm - February 21, 2011

  19. #7 – YEP! they were touting the stand by meme: YOU NO LONGER WORK 80 HR work weeks THANKS TO US!

    and yes, they were spouting off what #2 is now – silly how they grab onto something and cannot let it go. It doesn’t work, but shake it for all it’s worth.

    and I think I saw #6 there too on Saturday, touting a sign that said “Walker sucks KOCH” – guess one of the brilliant union heads didnt tell them that it’s pronounced COKE. I would have thought one of the teachers recuperating throughout the capitol grounds would have tried to correct some of the spelling out there as well.

    :sigh:

    Comment by GOONKA — February 21, 2011 @ 12:49 pm - February 21, 2011

  20. Hmm, I’ve noticed silence from our normal trolls on this. Maybe they’re hiding in Chicago rather than engaging in debate?

    Dan. I think Miss Brooks defines Fascism as ‘policies I don’t agree with’.

    Comment by The_Livewire — February 21, 2011 @ 12:59 pm - February 21, 2011

  21. Hmm, I’ve noticed silence from our normal trolls on this. Maybe they’re hiding in Chicago rather than engaging in debate?

    Well, AJ is actually at the demonstrations asking some of the middle school students if they’d like to come back to his bachelor pad and look at his etchings. Levi won’t comment until he can figure out a way to blame Sarah Palin. And Counterfail broke his monitor trying to punch the monkey.

    Comment by V the K — February 21, 2011 @ 1:43 pm - February 21, 2011

  22. 20.Hmm, I’ve noticed silence from our normal trolls on this.

    Yeah, I haven’t weighed in on all yet on this debate, Livewire. :-) I’ve only followed this somewhat, so I don’t everything that’s involved with debate, so will just provide some thoughts, which may or may not be supported by the facts.

    First of all, I do not support such tactics. But this reminds me a bit with the Barney Frank flak. As much blame people want to assign to Frank for the recent economic crisis (and whether he should have recused himself altogether, or whatever), which is fine by me, the bigger problem is that one person out of 435 appeared to have so much power in obstructing reforms that may have prevented the crisis. That’s the real problem as far as I’m concerned.

    Now with repect to the Dems bailing out in Wisconsin. Shame on them, fine. Did they break any rules? Frankly, I don’t know. All I know at this point is, that other than possibly being voted out, there is no penalty for this action. The way to solve this problem (in the future at least) is to not make this a problem. In other words, change the quorum rules, which, in my opinion, are unnecessary and outdated.

    This can be done in several ways. For example, unless there is a weather, or other type of emergency that prevents members of legislature from going to Madison, require 24 hours for a quorum. If members don’t feel like coming back, tough. Debate and/or vote will proceed. Or just get rid of quora altogether. That might be the best way to cure all sorts of diseases. Certainly, if a majority of the total number in the legislature votes to pass a measure, it shouldn’t matter who is there. I’m sure there are other ways to rectify this.

    Perhaps this type of act was not anticipated, even in light of what happened in Texas a few years ago. But now that this legislature (and others) now see that this can happen, perhaps they should change the rules, or start whatever constitutional procedure necessary to change the rules. Now that we know that such quorum rules can be subverted without impunity, the problem in the future won’t be the Dems or whomever tries this stunt in the future. It will be those who refused to change the rules that lets this type of action happen again.

    Maybe they’re hiding in Chicago rather than engaging in debate?

    Worse. In, once again, snowy NJ.

    Comment by Pat — February 21, 2011 @ 1:49 pm - February 21, 2011

  23. Now Pat…

    I may disagree with you, but you’re not a troll by my definition. You actually can make intelligent points.

    Comment by The_Livewire — February 21, 2011 @ 1:58 pm - February 21, 2011

  24. Agreed. “Troll” means “someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages… with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.” That, you ain’t.

    with repect to the Dems bailing out in Wisconsin… Did they break any rules?

    Most states have laws against legislators fleeing the state in abandonment of their duties. In WI, it is a felony, although Republicans don’t plan to prosecute: http://dailycaller.com/2011/02/18/wisconsin-republican-senator-we-don%E2%80%99t-plan-on-pursuing-criminal-charges-for-missing-democrats/

    change the quorum rules

    Depending on the locality and the precise change, that might take Constitutional amendments, a serious process. So:

    It will be those who refused to change the rules that lets this type of action happen again.

    Maybe in the far future, but I don’t find that particularly applicable to today’s situation.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 21, 2011 @ 2:13 pm - February 21, 2011

  25. P.S. I think Gov. Walker should highlight the felony, and his generosity in not prosecuting, by pointedly granting the Democrat officials amnesty if they return to WI.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 21, 2011 @ 2:30 pm - February 21, 2011

  26. Yeah let make America… India…. that way the Koch Brothers wont have to buy a ticket to New Delhi to check on their 50 cent a day workers…. they can do it right in Madison.

    Gee, Paula, I’m not in a union, and I make way more than that.

    Ever think that the reason you and your fellow leftists can’t command more than 50 cents a day is because that’s all your work is worth? Given how lazy, ignorant, and foolish you are, it wouldn’t surprise me that you can’t work worth a damn and that anything you produce is total junk.

    Indian workers can outperform lazy “educated” liberals like yourself who are so stupid that they don’t even know the difference between collision and liability insurance and who need to kill babies because you’re too dumb to use a condom. Lazy idiot girl. No wonder you need unions to pump up the value of your inferior, shoddy, craptastic work.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — February 21, 2011 @ 2:42 pm - February 21, 2011

  27. >>>Paula, I outlined the points of Walker’s proposal and you reply with slogans. Why not address them and detail why they’re bad?

    Don’t bother, Paula. When you give detailed responses these cons resort name calling. That’s all they’ve got. They decry name calling but only when it’s aimed at them. Then they pout and whine about how oppressed they are by those mean old leftie gays.

    Right, Mr Peter Hughes?

    What Walker is pulling is a power grab, but he and the GOP are overreaching and the pendulum will swing back.

    Paul Krugman nails it: “[W]hat’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.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/21/opinion/21krugman.html?src=ISMR_AP_LO_MST_FB

    As does Ezra Klein: “Walker proposes that the right to collectively bargain be taken away from most – but not all – state and local workers. Who’s left out? “Local law enforcement and fire employees, and state troopers and inspectors would be exempt from these changes.” As Harold Meyerson notes, these are also the unions that happened to be more supportive of Walker in the last election. Funny, that.”

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2011/02/what_is_actually_being_propose.html

    Comment by Auntie Dogma — February 21, 2011 @ 2:49 pm - February 21, 2011

  28. Awww, isn’t it cute! Granny Goodness is trying to find facts.

    of course, fortunately others have already shredded their hysterical claims. (note, that last link’s a PDF.)

    More shredding here.

    The battles in Wisconsin and Ohio are not merely over collective bargaining and benefits, but also over who has to pay union dues. Proposals in both states would bar unions from requiring non-members covered by union contracts to pay dues. This is an especially contentious issue because in some places where legislation allows workers to choose not to pay some portion of union dues, the opt out rate can be quite high.

    Paul Krugman needs to learn what a Republic is.

    Comment by The_Livewire — February 21, 2011 @ 3:03 pm - February 21, 2011

  29. But by all mean, note how Granny goodness doesn’t want debates. She doth project too much.
    DNC busses in protesters, she accuses the Tea Parties of being manufactured.
    Wisconsin school of medicine aids and abetts fraud, she accuses the Governor of fraud.

    Facts are the cure to her Anti (Aunti?) Life Equation.

    Comment by The_Livewire — February 21, 2011 @ 3:10 pm - February 21, 2011

  30. Maybe they’re hiding in Chicago rather than engaging in debate?

    I was in Winter Haven this morning and, based on my observations, I don’t think there’s anybody left in Michigan. They could be there.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 21, 2011 @ 3:18 pm - February 21, 2011

  31. As Harold Meyerson notes, these are also the unions that happened to be more supportive of Walker in the last election. Funny, that.”

    Funny that it was only about 3 or 4 that supported Walker while the rest supported his opponent. Funny Klein doesn’t prove the claim, just repeats it like a brain dead lemming.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 21, 2011 @ 3:32 pm - February 21, 2011

  32. TGC (see I got it right this time)

    Are you insulting brain dead lemmings by comparing them to Klein and Granny Goodness?

    Comment by The_Livewire — February 21, 2011 @ 3:38 pm - February 21, 2011

  33. Thanks, Livewire and ILC.

    Most states have laws against legislators fleeing the state in abandonment of their duties. In WI, it is a felony, although Republicans don’t plan to prosecute:

    Okay. Perhaps they should issue a deadline, and then plan to prosecute.

    Depending on the locality and the precise change, that might take Constitutional amendments, a serious process. So:

    If that’s what it takes to prevent this from happening again, I say get the ball rolling.

    I guess my point is that sometimes the best way to deal with a situation is to take away the motivation. For example, I’m a college basketball fan. One of the things I don’t like is that near the end of a game, the team that is losing (but not by a lot) is to foul the other team. This stops the clock, and you can hope that the other team misses their foul shots. This tactic is usually employed when there is little time left to try to win by actually playing better than the other team. And many times this strategy does reward the team that commits more fouls at the end of the game. I would change the rules so that the team fouled has more choice as to what the penalty should be, including the option of having 10 seconds taken off the clock. You’ll see a lot fewer fouls in the last “minute” of games.

    Similarly, changing the quorum rules will give zero incentive to pull this trick. But I understand that’s easier said than done. Just like the basketball rules aren’t going to change either. Or ways to stop flopping in international soccer, etc. But I just wonder if the reason that it won’t change is because both sides really love the gamesmanship and politics that this has caused.

    Maybe in the far future, but I don’t find that particularly applicable to today’s situation.

    Not today, and perhaps not in the near future either. But the stakes are pretty high now. The stakes may be even higher in the future. Simply saying that Democrats (or whomever) suck big time, when this happens again will be meaningless, especially if something could have been done to prevent it from happening again.

    Comment by Pat — February 21, 2011 @ 4:17 pm - February 21, 2011

  34. Now the 3-4 number was something that I heard. According to this site, Walker got the support of one protective service union, if you don’t include Sprinkler Fitters.

    Walker:

    http://tinyurl.com/4tlp975

    Barrett got several.

    http://tinyurl.com/4nmyp9g

    Now if you count individual donors, and I won’t count them all, he may have a point. However, Walker did not, apparently, have the support of all those unions. Which leads me to conclude that what I read the other day, that protective service unions are covered under a different state law, may be correct. I have no desire to wade through their laws to find out.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 21, 2011 @ 4:24 pm - February 21, 2011

  35. Whoops! I read the shorter version due to sleepiness. However, Barrett still shows more support than Walker.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 21, 2011 @ 4:29 pm - February 21, 2011

  36. #27 – “When you give detailed responses these cons resort name calling. That’s all they’ve got. They decry name calling but only when it’s aimed at them. Then they pout and whine about how oppressed they are by those mean old leftie gays.

    Right, Mr Peter Hughes?”

    Actually, Auntie Bitch, it sounds like you are projecting to me. You have never posted any detailed responses, factual or otherwise. I, on the other hand, can and often do so.

    Why don’t you just come out and admit that you are a racist bigot and have done with it? You are embracing the same position that MuBarack and his thugs have clearly defined as their own.

    And for the record – nobody oppresses me. And you still owe me and the great state of Texas an apology.

    Lock ‘n load, honey!

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — February 21, 2011 @ 4:49 pm - February 21, 2011

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