The protests in Wisconsin are a perfect representation of the American Left: loud, selfish, churlish, anti-democratic, and unshakably assured of their inalienable right to get paid for doing nothing. And make no mistake, the chaos rending Madison is precisely the future Barack Obama wishes for every state in the union, because only such radical paralysis can allow him to press forward with his unpopular agenda. That is why the president has sided with the left-wing crowd in Wisconsin in ways that some liberals believe may be unconstitutional (and thus impeachable).
Although left-wingers continually begged President Bush to demand the American people “sacrifice” during his administration, Big Labor has no intention of putting its own gains upon the altar. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has taken perhaps the most moderate, common sense course for a state facing a $3.6 million budget shortfall over the next two years. Not a single state employee will lose his job, not a single salary will be cut; he merely reduced the benefits package by asking public employees to pay for 12.6 percent of their health insurance. (They currently pay a whopping four percent; for every $40 they pay toward their benefits, taxpayers are on the hook for $960.) They must vote to recertify their union each year, and their pay raises will not exceed inflation – unless the voters approve it. The state will only match their retirement contribution, not pay 100 percent.
It is hard to work up much sympathy for the public sector’s plight. Most employees working in jobs that pay their salaries fear layoffs, are underemployed, or have no retirement plan at all.
Things have gotten so endemically out of hand because public employees are far more likely to be unionized than their private sector counterparts. They can demand larger salaries and, in many cases, threaten to strike if their wishes are not met. Since the state can always pay added benefits by raises taxes and fees, the public benefit structure has grown as quickly as the workforce itself.
Labor unions, violent minority organizations, extreme left-wingers, and illegal immigrants are the privileged caste of Obama’s America. All further the Left’s aims in some way. Big Labor buys its influence the old fashioned way. Former SEIU President Andy Stern stated flatly, “We spent a fortune to elect Barack Obama – $60.7 million to be exact – and we’re proud of it.” Other unions poured in millions more, as well as unleashing a torrent of “volunteers.”
Ironically, since many of these unions get their dues from state employees, that means the taxpayers are funding these protests for more taxpayer money. The protests are aimed at preventing the taxpayers from voting on government employees’ pay raises, or encouraging the legislature’s Democratic minority to ignore the will of the people in the last election.
How can the Left possibly sell a position so outside the mainstream to the American people?
How to Sell a Socialist Revolution
As Van Jones said, “Top-down, bottom-up, and inside-out.” The Obama administration will exert pressure from above, while “grassroots protesters” (union reps, George Soros’ Astroturf, and homeless people bribed for a pack of smokes or perhaps some crack) rally in mass protests. Their allies in the mass media do their best to brainwash the people that this excessively moderate step is an attack on the Constitution.
The top-down portion of the attack has been joined. Obama himself claimed Governor Walker is “just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally, which “seems like more of an assault more on unions.” Obama’s Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who herds federal employees to Al Sharpton rallies, said Wisconsin teachers who skipped class to protest against the Republicans are “doing probably the most important work in society.”
The president’s support is more than rhetorical; he’s called up the footsoldiers for the Badger State Revolution. Obama dispatched Organizing for America, his campaign’s “grassroots” apparatus (read: perpetual revolution machinery), to the front to swell the crowds.
Some have taken pause at this. Liberal columnist Craig Crawford wrote in Congressional Quarterly he would “guess” Obama’s actions are legal, “but the constitutional implications are a bit worrisome.”
Meanwhile, the professional liberals are doing their part.
Hypocrites and Hatemongers
Jesse Jackson and AFL-CIO thug-in-charge Rich Trumka made pilgrimage to Madison. Rage Against the Machine, which is apparently still alive, scheduled a performance. Doctors are violating their Hippocratic Oath by giving out phony doctors excuses to allow teachers to get protest without missing a day’s pay (at taxpayer expense). Teacher union extremists – and no, not every member of a teachers union qualifies – put children first…by getting them to skip school and rally against the GOP. Protesters are parading with such signs as “Scott Walker = Adolf Hitler,” “Midwest Mussolini,” and signs depicting Walker with a Hitler moustache.
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This is not by chance. Obama has continually expressed his hope the rabble-rouser Left would rise up in the streets to “force” him to the Left. That is why the Obamas’ intimate friend, Marilyn Katz, has called for a new “national grassroots vehicle” to paralyze America in the streets. Obama can then play the moderate by advocating a “compromise” more liberal than he could have gotten under any other means.
The media are doing their part, as well. They have universally reported the standoff as Republicans “stripping” state employees of their “rights.” Despite the media distortion, a new Rasmussen poll finds that 48 percent of all voters side with the governor over the unions.
Despite the pressure, Republican state senator Dale Schultz, who was endorsed by the state’s largest teachers union, offered a compromise to halt government employees’ collective bargaining – then reinstate it in 2013. Democratic State Sen. Jon Erpenbach, who with his fellow Democrats has fled the state, is having none of it. “The collective-bargaining language has to be removed altogether,” he ordered. “Collective bargaining isn’t a fiscal issue”
So far, neither is Scott Walker: “These tens of thousands of protesters have every right to be heard,” he acknowledged. “But there are 5.5 million people in this state, and those taxpayers also have a right to be heard. I, for one, am not going to let the protesters overshadow, or shout out, the interest of the state’s taxpayers. And I believe that they are with us in trying to balance this budget.”
If legislators and teachers do not want to work, we should give them their wish and fire the lot.
No one watching should forget the scenes that are spreading from Madison to Indianapolis, from Lansing to Columbus. The Left is such a tiny minority of American voters that it can only operate by provoking a crisis (or by executive fiat). This is the dress rehearsal for Obama’s next two, or six, years if the American people do not resist.