Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is standing up for working people and for American principles of limited government when he stands up to the vastly expanded and over-paid public sector of his own state. Wisconsin government employees, like those in most other states, have organized themselves and have expanded both their authority and their economic perks at an unprecedented pace in recent decades. Governor Walker, elected by working taxpayers, is saying “enough.”
Working people, paying for the burgeoning public colossus out of their own pockets in the form of high taxes, hard earned money that would otherwise go to support their families, elected Walker along with a Republican majority legislature in Wisconsin to do the difficult job of scaling back the cost and the scope of their state government. Walker deserves the support of all working people as he challenges a special interest that has become entrenched with legal power and has grown in authority and wealth.
The Democrats demagogue the issue when they claim that Walker is anti-union. This is not about private unions, nor is this about the right of government employees to form associations, but rather this is about public sector taxpayer funded unions wielding legal power to gain economic and political advantages. This is about public employees organizing and supporting political causes and candidates that would further their interests and those interests are primarily financial which translates into public unions supporting candidates for office and political parties that advocate higher taxes which directly benefit them. Ideologically, the public unions have also supported programs and laws that would expand the authority of government thus leading to more jobs for them. Some public employees, particularly those who hold unelected positions, tend to hold the intellectual position that they are acting in the public interest when they expand their power over various aspects of the lives of the citizen.
The public employee has the same right as any American to advocate for a cause or candidates of their choosing but when they organize on the taxpayer’s dime, this represents a profound conflict of interest and is inherently corrupt and dangerous to democracy. Public sector jobs are not analogous to sweatshop jobs, contrary to liberal propaganda, as these jobs are generally good jobs on par with similar jobs in the private sector.
Public employees should remain free to form associations without the legal power to negotiate. Public employees, as they mostly do on the Federal level where there are no public unions, will be free to negotiate their own contracts with their employers. If abuse occurs, the public employee should appeal to a local commission set up by elected officials on a school board or by some other elected body. This will mean that good employees will get better pay based upon merit, bad employees will be fired, and the taxpayer will save a bundle. Right now, as is the case in New York City, tens of thousands of bad teachers who are no longer permitted to teach are nevertheless on the taxpayer’s payroll for life with benefits because of their union contracts. Make-shift and featherbedding should not occur on the public dime.
Governor Walker is being called “the Mubarak of the mid-west” by authoritarian minded liberals. In fact the exact opposite is the truth. It is partially the influence of the Tea Party movement, the movement for lower taxes and less government control, that the Egyptian people have gathered the courage to remove the big government of high taxing oligarch Mubarak. The same movement reverberates in Wisconsin and across the country. Freedom is infectious.