What I Saw In Madison

Friday, February 25th, 2011 and is filed under Blog

Share with your friends

I was up in Madison earlier this week to witness firsthand the fight over Governor Scott Walker’s modest Budget Repair Bill. I say modest because at the heart of it, while facing a $3.6 billion deficit, Walker is asking the public sector unions to participate in their pension (5.8%) and healthcare (12.6%) plans. And while the union bosses are saying fine to participating, they do not want to give up the right to collectively bargain for both. Walker is telling them that is not an option. He is, however, and this is a critical point to make, not touching their ability to collectively bargain for wages.

So why are the unions digging in on the right to collectively bargain for pensions and healthcare? Well, I think the answer is simple. Look at the entities that handle their pensions and healthcare right now. If that monopoly is broken and the process open to the private sector, the public sector union bosses stand to lose and lose big.

So why is the fight in Wisconsin so important? One, this is the birthplace of the Progressive Movement, the state that first gave public sector unions collective bargaining rights. Two, if Scott Walker wins in Wisconsin, Kasich in OH, Corbett in PA and even Cuomo in NY are going to look and go, “If he can do it there, we can do it here.”

This is why the public sector unions are dumping thousands of paid protestors into Wisconsin right now and why Obama’s Organizing for America is there (I know they say they are not, but my theory is that they are, they’ve just gone “underground.”). They know they have to win.

Make no mistake. This is the opening salvo of the 2012 election season and it is not a stretch to say the stakes are extremely high. The heart and soul of this nation is what we’re fighting for and who wins in Wisconsin will impact what this country looks like for years to come.