By now it should be obvious to most everyone that there is more to what’s happening in Wisconsin than just issues affecting Wisconsin. In terms of national leftist issues, this ranks right up there with socialized medicine.
Let’s review Gov. Walker’s plan. The plan would:
1. Require employees of the state to contribute 12.6% toward the cost of their healthcare insurance. According to a Kaiser Foundation study, that’s about half of the average paid by state and federal workers nationwide. We don’t hear much from the union defending against this particular proposal.
2. Require employees of the state to contribute 5.8% toward the cost of their pensions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “for government workers with a required plan contribution, the average contribution is 6.3 percent” We don’t hear much from the union defending against this particular proposal.
3. End the requirement that all state employees must pay into the union whether or not they choose to join. Forcing non-members to pay as a condition of employment is easily seen as extortion. We don’t hear anything from the union in defense of this. They are dead quiet about it.
4. Limit collective bargaining to basic wages. This is where the unions are screaming bloody murder.
Items 1 through 3 are about money. Item 4 is about power. Items 1 through 3 concern Wisconsin. Item 4 concerns all unions nationally; it poses a threat to union power. The private sector develops its own wealth. The public sector, and that includes public service unions, taps the wealth of others. To do that requires power. In the private sector, money leads to power. In the public sector, it’s power that leads to money.
The AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) and the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) combined gave over $18M in political contributions for the 2010 election year. According to The Center for Responsible Politics, none of it, that’s 0%, went to Republicans. These unions and the Democratic Party are joined at the hip.
When Democrats are in power, the government and the union sit on the same side of the negotiating table. That’s how public sector employees have come to have higher compensation than their private sector equivalents. That, and the ability to tax and borrow without the constraints of having to be profitable to survive.
There is much, much more at stake in Wisconsin than meets the casual eye.
By the way, if you think “goons” is too strong you should watch this video, entitled “Joe the Plumber” Goes to Wisconsin.