18 February 2011

Something 4 The Weekend # 194

Over the past couple of days more and more protesters (40k of them today by some accounts) have converged on the capitol building here in Madison to fight back against Governor Scott Walker's proposed budget legislation that, among other things, would eliminate state workers' rights to collectively bargain, which is one of the most fundamental reasons unions exist at all.
The governor is trying to rein in a reported $3 billion dollar state budget deficit, and he was elected, after all, to do something about it. I mean, that's essentially why every politician is elected, right? To take care of the budget. Taxing and spending. Or not spending. One cannot fault governor Walker for trying to do what he was elected to do.
The main problem, of course, is that Walker's proposed legislation is extreme, especially in a state with a proud history of unions. The other problem is the way he's attempted to railroad this thing through the state legislature. If the 14 Democrats hadn't bailed to Illinois, this whole shebang would have gone from the initial proposal to law in 5 days. In regards to that, State Senator Fred Risser is right when he says one of the main reasons for the Democrat's stall tactics is to allow more time for a better discussion of the issue, so that the people of Wisconsin are fully aware of exactly what's going on. In other words, the Democrats want the message to sink in that the governor is being a dick. Whatever.
The most interesting aspect of all this, to me, is that the police, fire, and EMT unions are exempt from Walker's legislation. Which side of the fight will the cops take? If these protests here in Madison continue to grow and intensify, will the cops use heavy hands to keep the peace? Or will they show solidarity with their union brothers and sisters?
Speaking of sisters, some are suggesting that there is perhaps an underlying misogyny at work in "all this". The teacher's union, WEAC, is the biggest union affected by "all this", and approximately 70% of all public school teachers are women. I would never suggest such a thing, but it's an interesting aspect of "all this" to consider. I believe there's a cognitive dissonance in the minds of some, who bitch in general, unfounded terms, about the sorry state of our public schools, but who also bitch about their taxes being too high and the idea that teachers are overpaid.
"They only work, like, 8 months a year!"
I'm on the union's side, Mr. Bragg, always and forever. I'm a working man. Even in an office, I fly the flannel.
Hotcha! Hank

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