Lessons from the Battle of Wisconsin, where the standoff took place between Republicans and Democrats over the alleged rights of public union workers:
1) When the Obama Administration and union officials make threats, including reportedly physical threats, against their political opponents — it’s in the interest of justice. On the other hand, when politicians take a rare principled stand against the power of public unions — trimming their unearned benefits just a tiny bit — they’re deserving of recall petitions, or worse. Before voting Obama a second term, voters in Wisconsin and the other 49 states ought to make sure they realize what they’re endorsing. Even if he doesn’t make those threats from the White House offices, the White House is openly aligned with the labor union thugs who do. These are the people who want control over health care, all of American industry, and the Internet. If given a second term, they’ll probably have all of it.
2) Republicans will settle for symbolic victories over no victories. For example, in Wisconsin they went ahead and passed laws designed to curb public labor unions and attempt to limit the expense of state government a bit; in so doing, without a quorum of Democrats, they still don’t have an official or legally binding budget, according to reports. Symbolic victories based on principle are better than no victories, but the challenge remaining is to secure real victories, as well. This includes budget priorities. Republicans certainly won this battle, but they have not yet won the war, in Wisconsin or elsewhere.
3) Republicans, although they have come a long way, still have a long way to go. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker apparently wobbled in the eleventh hour and then his Senate exercised the “nuclear option.” It’s refreshing to see Republicans go on the offensive for a change, since their role has always been to be reactionary and timid in the face of their opponents. Walker almost buckled, but his Senate did not. This bodes well for the United States if the Congress goes firmly Tea Party or better, shedding the current Republican leaders in favor of stronger ones. Even if there’s an inadequate Republican President in the White House, one more concerned with his religious sentiments or being liked by the masses, an aggressive Congress can in a sense override him, or encourage him to stand up and do what he claims he thinks is right.
4) Michael Moore, the socialist filmmaker who came out in support of the Wisconsin public labor unions, and who speaks for his party and President when he claims that wealth belongs to the masses, reveals the true nature and motive of the Democratic Party: dictatorship.
5) The evasion over the fact that public employees aren’t entitled to permanent jobs with always-expanding benefits is widespread. Throughout this debate, Republicans had an opportunity (nationally as well, since this became a national issue) to make the observation that all the benefits and salaries that go to public employees come from the workers and business people in the private sector. These private sector people are the true bosses of the workers. This is a key moral point that undermines all of the arguments of the public unions, arguments based on entitlement and “rights.” I never heard anyone in the Republican Party admit this, nor take this as an opportunity to advocate privatizing much of what these public employees in Wisconsin and elsewhere (particularly teachers) do. I’m still waiting for a political party to articulate and stand consistently on this principle, although I’ll accept this symbolic victory for now, as at least better than nothing.
6) Liberals and socialists are mean-spirited and insensitive. They don’t care about the well-being of the people who are forced to pay for the expanding salaries and benefits of the public union employees. They don’t care about the irrational discrimination here. Public workers essentially cannot be fired. They’re entitled to their jobs forever, at least theoretically, and their rage in the Wisconsin matter stemmed from the fact that they might not be entitled to permanently expanding benefits and salaries, forever. “How dare you question our right to freebies!” is the whole underlying attitude and premise of today’s labor union movement. All the while, people in the private sector continue to struggle to hold on to what they have, facing rising costs for health insurance (thank you government) and rising inflation in gas and food (thank you government). These are difficulties from which public union employees expect to be shielded as an entitlement — while everyone else gets no such shield, yet is forced to pay for that shield on behalf of union workers in the government. By what right and by what principle is this the case? I’d love to see this question asked, at least once in awhile, by people in positions of power and influence.
7) Throughout this debate, you heard liberals from Obama on down keep saying, “These are your teachers. You can’t be mean to your teachers!” As important as teaching is, why do teachers get rights that people just as important in the private sector do not? Also, what quality of teaching do we have? There’s one solution to this whole mess that Scott Walker did not even propose: Privatization. It would save the state and federal government a ton of money. It would lift a huge tax burden off the private sector, allowing it to create jobs and function as a capitalist system (or at least semi-capitalist) once again. It would be fair, because it would make parents — the ones with the children — responsible for their own childrens’ education, not everyone else. It would also give parents unprecedented choices in a competing market, and markets tend to bring down prices over time. It’s government — and public labor unions — that drive costs up and drive quality down.
There were a lot of lessons to be learned from the Battle of Wisconsin that were not even voiced. As a result, you can expect many such battles in the future.