Oh man…here we go

25 Feb
Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill Protest

Image by mrbula via Flickr

Well, the bill to take away union’s collective bargaining rights has passed the Wisconsin Assembly. Now the bill has to pass the state’s Senate, which might be delayed, turns out many minority Democrats fled to Illinois to prevent a vote. This bill requires public workers to contribute more to their pensions and health insurance and strips them of their right to collectively bargain benefits and work conditions.

This whole thing stinks to high heaven.

A recorded prank call by a blogger posing as David Koch to Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker indicated the following:

  • Walker had considered hiring outside agitators to disrupt the two weeks of demonstrations by thousands of union members against the bill
  • Walker received $43,000 last year from David Koch’s family’s Political Action Committee, the man the caller was pretending to be
  • At the conclusion of the call Scott said, “Thanks for all the support and helping us move the cause forward. We appreciate it and we’re doing the just and right thing for the right reasons and it’s all about getting our freedoms back.”

The Koch family also gives millions to Americans For Prosperity, a group that launched a $320,000 television ad campaign and website in favor of Walker’s legislation. The Koch family is extremely wealthy and own Koch Industries, of course they’d be against unions.

I love how Scott said it was about “getting our freedoms back.” How? By taking away someone else’s? I realize you’ve got a budget that needs fixing but there are better places to be cutting from. All you’re doing is hurting the very people you were elected to serve. Furthermore, the union leaders said they were willing to make pension and health care concessions if they could keep their bargaining rights, they were willing to compromise and you refused.

During the debates the Democrats acted like children: constant filibustering, throwing out amendments, delivering rambling speeches. When the Republicans attempted to get things moving the Dems. said they were being stifled. The debate raged on for nearly 60 hours, finally Spkr. Bill Kramer opened the roll with 15 Democrats still waiting to speak, then closed it within seconds. Only 13 of the 38 Democratic members managed to vote in time. Here’s a good rule of thumb that the governments should think about using, if a bill takes more than a few hours to debate, it’s probably a bad idea.

Now the bill must pass the state Senate, as I mentioned earlier many Democrats fled to Illinois to stop the vote. Frustrated, Rep. Scott Fitzgerald ordered state troopers to find the missing Democrats, but so far they have not been found. Dem. Jon Erpenbach said he and his colleagues wouldn’t return until Walker compromised, blaming Walker for the hold-up.

I’m so glad this isn’t taking place in Indiana, because if it did, I would be terribly ashamed of our government. By extension, I suppose it truly is, as we all have the same kind of state government. This is a humongous failure of democracy, both parties are at fault and should be ashamed of themselves. We’ve got Republicans rushing a bill through because they’re tired of waiting, Democrats acting like brats cause they not getting their way, and a Governor making back-room deals with wealthy a-holes. And in the middle of all this horse shit, public employees being stripped of their union rights.

While I’m not a member of a union, I do see their value and know that they have their place, this would be one of them. I think taking away their rights is disrespectful and completely inappropriate, there are much better places to be making cuts. However, regardless of your opinion of this outcome, you have to admit this is a pretty terrible display of democracy at work. The days of Democrats and Republicans working together for the betterment of our country appear to be over, seems all they do now is bump heads and resist each other. All the more reason political parties should to be eliminated and the incentive for pleasing a campaign contributor outlawed.

Going back to the issue at hand, these public workers’ union(s) are their only line of defense against a government that clearly doesn’t give a shit about them. Now that those unions’ powers have been eliminated, their employer, the government has the ability to essentially do whatever they want to them. Endless pay cuts, wage freezes, elimination of benefits, to name a few.

Someone made an interesting comment in regards to this union situation, “What sort of person doesn’t think there is anything wrong with asking the folks that are tasked with teaching our children to take a 20% cut on a 50,000 annual salary, but think it’s a terrible idea to ask millionaires to pay an additional 3% more in taxes.” I’ll tell you who, it’s the politicians saying that in this day and age we all have to make sacrifices, while he/she receives cash under the table from the corporations and lobbyist groups. These are the very same politicians that seem to think that being in political office is supposed to translate to gaining significant wealth. It’s the middle class citizen that’s had the notion that unions are somehow “socialist” and leading to the destruction of our economy pounded into them by a greasy news outlet. It’s the CEOs of major corporations receiving multi-million dollar bonuses while their company crumbles below them, comfortable in knowing that they’ve got a golden parachute to ride on the way down. It’s the corporations getting multi-million dollar tax credits, there’s a place to make budget cuts, while telling their employees that due to the economy they’ll need to make layoffs.

The political and social climate over the next few months in Wisconsin, and by extension the US, is going to become frightening.  This is the kind of action that has the possibility to instigate riots. And its all because two political parties can’t get along and the Governor is more interested in filling his pockets than serving his citizens.

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Posted by on February 25, 2011 in Political Crap


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