by Susan Stamper Brown
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Thuggish, “community organizing” politics showed up in Wisconsin after Commander-in-Chief, President Obama, deployed his Organizing for America (OFA) troops to inject protestors into the Wisconsin budget debate Obama describes as an “assault on unions.” Obama is a smart man, so why would he choose to federalize a state issue and define Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to reduce the state’s deficit, preserve jobs and prevent dramatic pay cuts as an “assault?”
After all, Gov. Walker simply asked union members to chip in a moderate percentage of their above average salary to contribute to their very generous and above the average pension and healthcare plans. The proposed increase could be partially recouped by another part of the proposal to make union participation and dues – optional – saving teachers upwards of $1,100 annually.
Rather than intelligently considering the facts and having an intelligent debate, those charged with the honor of teaching our children responded like high school freshmen by calling in “sick” and closing down the Madison school system to join in a protest instigated by political arm of the Grande Community Organizer himself – President Obama. In the real world, where the parents of the Wisconsin public school system children live, people who lie about missing work only to show up on their bosses doorstep to protest get a pink slip, not a pat on the back.
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In the meantime, Wisconsin Democrat legislators revealed their lack of intestinal fortitude when they left the state. They bailed to prevent the three-fifths quorum requirement necessary for continuance of Walker’s proposed legislation.
The sad part about all this is the “to Hell with the children” attitude displayed by the Wisconsin educators, union members and the Obama administration. The children are the ones who pay the price for this ridiculously mindless political power stunt.
It really boils down to money and power. Former American Federation of Teachers president, the late Albert Shanker, said it best when he said, “When school children start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.”
Recently, Wisconsin Education Association Council President Mary Bell reiterated the same self-serving attitude when she said, “This is not about protecting our pay and our benefits. It is about protecting our right to collectively bargain.”
Walker’s proposal would effectively make union membership optional, and as such, would slowly act as a way to dissolve some of the power teachers unions have collected for themselves over the years. No longer would taxpayer money be funneled directly into union bosses’ pockets, leading to less political clout and less manipulation of the American electoral process.
America needs to be about the business of creating jobs. The traditional need for unions has long since passed and the longer they linger the more unions will be like a cancer on the workers in this country and the businesses they support.
The Bush administration understood that danger and demanded accountability by forcing unions to be more transparent by itemizing expenditures on an LM-2 report form. This accountability led to the indictment of 1004 union officials and the conviction of a little over 900 – for crimes including fraud, embezzlement of members’ dues and $93 million in court-ordered restitutions leading to the resignation of some of Service Employees International Union top employees.
Any level of transparency the Bush administration achieved was reversed when, in 2009, the Purveyor of Transparency himself rescinded the Bush LM-2 form rules and ostensibly padded union fat cat wallets.
This move away from transparency served to peel back layers of hope and change to reveal a very union-friendly core. And federalizing the Wisconsin budget debate made Obama look like a national union boss rather than an American president.
You say Governor Walker’s proposed legislation is an “assault on unions,” Mr. President? Many Americans say, “It’s about time.”