Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wisconsin Supreme Court Sides with Governor Walker and the Taxpayers

Yesterday the Wisconsin Supreme Court handed down a 4 to 3 decision in favor of Governor Scott Walker’s law restricting public union rights and upheld that the law was indeed legal under Wisconsin state law and therefore could go into effect.   The ruling overturned Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi’s decision and stated that she had overstepped her authority when she said that Republican lawmakers had violated the state’s open meeting statutes in the process of passing the law, and she had consequently declared the controversial law void.

The polarizing law effectively eliminates most of the public employee unions’ collective bargaining rights and requires them to contribute slightly more for their health care and pensions instead of having nearly all of it paid through tax payer dollars. 

When Governor Walker introduced the bill last February, huge public protests ensued and the Democratic legislators in the Wisconsin Senate left the state in order to avoid having a quorum for the vote on which their side did not have enough numbers to prevent passage thereof.  I still find it absolutely amazing to think that the democratic process could be hijacked and that partisans could pick up their bat and ball and run home because they saw a bill they didn’t like coming down the pike and knew they didn’t have the votes in congress to thwart its passage.  Evidently, the union supporters in Wisconsin were fine with this tactic and indeed cheered these “brave” Democrat Senators as heroes.  One wonders if these folks would have been upset at this illegal tactic had the Republicans in the U.S.  congress acted similarly to prevent a quorum for the vote in March of 2010 for the pernicious and un-Constitutional Obamacare Act.  I suspect they would have cried “fascism” and other such epithets in that situation.  Regardless, the protests from public union supporters in Wisconsin numbered in the tens of thousands and went on for weeks. 

The passage of the law was necessary according to Governor Walker and the majority in the Wisconsin congress because of a $3.6 billion budget shortfall.  The Democrats in Wisconsin saw this as a specific attack on public employee unions and thus acted as they did in order to protect and curry favor with the vital pro-union voting block that makes up a significant percentage of their power base.  The Democrats’ childish attempts to prevent a vote on the law were thwarted though when Republicans cleverly retaliated by forming a special committee that removed certain fiscal elements from the bill that consequently allowed a vote on the measure despite having fewer senators present.  Governor Walker then signed the bill into law two days later in order to save the taxpayers in the state of Wisconsin millions of dollars accordingly.

The consequent fury and outrage from many on the left has been truly astounding in it ferocity accordingly.  Their claims that governor Walker was intentionally trying to bust public employee unions were common, despite the governor’s statement to the contrary.  Frankly, I am of the opinion that private sector unions have a valid place and particularly in many decades past were vital to improving workers rights in our country; however, the need for public unions is not necessary.  By definition, public union employees are paid their salaries from the coffers filled by the tax-payers.  You and me, in other words.  With that being the case, public unions should indeed be busted and made illegal, in my opinion.

It used to be that most federal and state public employee jobs were sought after because of the security of those jobs and the typically good benefits.  The salary offered, however, was typically not anywhere near as good as it was for their counterparts in the private sector.  This made sense and was a good arrangement as the burden of the benefits and salaries only added to the operational expenses of the local or state jurisdiction and thus increased the taxes that had to be paid by the citizens therein accordingly.  With all of the worker’s rights and worker’s safety protections codified in law, the need for public employee unions really has passed their time of need.  Further, even this new law in Wisconsin still gives public unions the right to collective bargain for their salaries going forward.  These unions simply cannot add to their other costly benefits now, by law.

I am certain that the left will howl in outrage and disgust and that the protests will return with all of their false and hateful rhetoric once again towards Governor Walker, the Wisconsin Senate Republicans, and now the Wisconsin State Supreme Court.  Evidently the need for civility and toning down of the hate speech “from the right” that we were all lectured to ad nauseum after the despicable and evil Jared Loughner shootings in Tucson last January is something of which the left need not abide.  Never mind the fact that there was nothing to tie Loughner to conservatism or “right wing hate speech”. 

Too bad that same standard is not applied to these past and forthcoming leftist protestors.  "We will hunt you down ...slit your throats ...drink your blood. I will have your decapitated head on a pike in the Madison town square." Those are the words of a union militant aimed directly at a Wisconsin state legislator for daring to vote to restrict Big Labor's forced dues control over Wisconsin state workers.  There were literally dozens of similar recorded death threats along with acts of vandalism leveled against Wisconsin state legislators and Governor Walker for not towing the union boss line.  Perhaps even more ominous, the Wisconsin State Journal reported police found "dozens of rounds of live ammunition outside the Capitol" during the height of the Wisconsin protests.

Yep, hate speech, intimidation, thwarting of the democratic process are all viable Saul Alinsky tactics that the left feels justified in using when the desired end result warrants such means.  Too bad the double standard continues, and too bad that we are almost certainly going to see more of this now that this Wisconsin Supreme Court decision in favor of Governor Walker, the majority Republican Senate, and the taxpayers of the great state of Wisconsin has been upheld.


S.W. Anderson said...

" With all of the worker’s rights and worker’s safety protections codified in law, the need for public employee unions really has passed their time of need."

I'm sure public employees in Michigan will be surprised to hear that. They, along with elected officials, are being summarily dismissed by cronies of the governor, so as many public-sector jobs as possible can be handed over to private-sector interests.

T. Paine said...

Hmmm... handing over tax payer funded public sector jobs to the private sector is a bad thing?

I think the private sector typically is much more efficient than the public sector because they have to watch the bottom line and actually make a profit to stay in business. The government jobs don't care as much because they can always get more cash from the taxpayers.

This point of yours sounds like a good thing to me.

John Myste said...

You made a mistake in your title. The Supreme Court sided with Walker. The taxpayers have different opinions on the matter. By tax payers, you mean "republicans." Calling everyone "tax payers" is utterly offensive when the term in this case means "republican," which is about as insulting of an accusation as you can get.

Many of the tax payers, the democrats, would have voted for the spirit of democracy against the dictatorial power of the financial entity.

The Supreme Court sided with Walker. The Circuit Court side against walker, and for the tax payers.

T. Paine said...

Thank you for clarifying that for me John. So what you are saying is the pro-public union taxpayers AND those that are indifferent or anti-public union taxpayers really are (or should be) against Walker and his dictatorial actions.

I guess he should probably knock it off and give the public employee union members a huge financial bonus, paid for by all taxpayers, instead. Never mind the multi-billion dollar state deficit. Now I understand. Thanks again! ;)

T. Paine said...

We are heading towards the same dire ending that Greece is because our entitlement mentality at ANY COST to others is making us as petulant as Greece.

One wonders when the youngsters and various progressives will take to the streets in violent protest here. My guess is that this will happen if the cowardly Republicans do find a spine and actuallly make some meaningful cuts to our government spending. God knows the Democrats are NOT serious about ANY significant cuts, except when it comes to the military, of course.

John Myste said...

The cuts should not be made against the poor. We should stop making war, as it is a luxury we cannot afford. We should rollback the Bush tax cuts for the same reason. Those are real cuts.

The republicans cannot get on board with those cuts, though, because in that scenario, too many people survive.

John Myste said...

The Bush wars, and now the Obama wars, are wrecking our economy. Obama’s domestic politics are not the culprit, and I think you know this. Obama ran on one platform and ruled on another. I do not defend him for that. He continues the wars he denounced and makes new wars to replace the wars he kept.

”Wars don't last forever. Only war does” -- Hawkeye Pierce.

We cannot stop wars and we cannot stop bad men whom we don't like from ruling. We can save our economy, and survive to impose our version of morality another day.

"Secure the oxygen mask firmly over your mouth before assisting others," the airline stewards explain. That is how things must be done. Airlines know things.

While the idea of siding with one group over another and killing the rejected group, is of course very appealing, we simply do not have the funds to do it.

“I cannot ever hurt thee, little bird. I cannot ever hurt thee. I but a bullet left and there are so many things to kill.” -- Kenneth Patchen

T. Paine said...

Myste, I think a reasonable case can now be made for withdrawing most of our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. As for Libya, we should NEVER have entered there.

John Myste said...

You are right about that, Mr. Paine. The Libyan "invasion" happened under a democratic president, so we cannot logically support it.

T. Paine said...

Yeah... that is exactly the reason. I hate Obama and am a shill for the Republicans. Give me a break, Mr. Myste!

Actually, in retrospect, I think the reason has more to do with the fact that we are not threatened by Libya, there are no national interests involved, and no allies are put in grave danger by our unwillingness to join the battle.

I think under those circumstances that spending our blood and treasure are not only a bad idea, but also morally wrong.

John Myste said...

I think if Bush had "invaded" Libya, you would have found some wisdom in it. You are so partisan. Either that, or I am just an idiot. I could go either way on this.

P.S. I LOVE the fact that you post at Fair and unbalanced now. Perhaps you will balance it. Prior to you, I was always the dissenting voice, which made no sense because I was a liberal, but it is true. The site needs you.

T. Paine said...

John, I would like to think that I don't support a politician simply because of his party affiliation. Such is particularly true when it comes to putting the men and women of our armed services into harm's way. If Bush used the same rationale for Libya as Obama has, I would not have supported him.

Further, as a point of clarification, I am indeed hyper-partisan - to conservatism; NOT to the Republican party. There are plenty of times when I have excoriated them for their stupidity when they falter from conservatism too.

If I may twist the phrase a little, partisanship in defense of liberty is not a vice! Far better to stand of priniciple than compromise with the devil, as it were.

Lastly, I appreciate your comments regarding F&U, my friend. I do find it amusing that you were the lone dissenting voice there previously, but perhaps that is because you know deep inside that conservatism is the true path to enlightenment! ;)