June 19, 2012 — Three cheers for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for standing by his beliefs, his readiness to do battle for the fiscal health of his state and his win in the June 5 recall election.
This election held fast the nation’s attention for many reasons and there is still a tremendous amount of opinion floating about as to what this might mean to Washington, D.C., in November.
Some are speculating this means a hard road ahead for President Obama. I think that is too narrow a vision for the likely November shockwave.
In my opinion, Democrats and Republicans alike should give the bigger picture considerable thought and begin to tailor their actions accordingly.
And, in doing so, I am not talking about what is in the best interest of any political party but rather what is in the best interests of America.
I also do not believe the entire story is about breaking the backs of labor unions.
I think the real story is about an elected official who listened to his fellow Wisconsinites and then set about making their desires for a balanced budget and improved economy a reality.
Free choice was also factored into this story. When the actual members of those unions were given what appears to be the first real option to having no choice but to join and fund their local union, 6,000 members opted out.
I have no idea why they had no choice in the beginning.
That they were mandated to join and pay a portion of their living wages to any organization sounds a lot like a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
I have always been under the impression that having the ability to say “yes or no,” providing you were not infringing upon others or breaking the law, was pretty much guaranteed.
Where the television media is focusing on whether or not governors in other states will shortly be taking on big labor, I believe news show hosts and guest speakers should pay attention to the fact that Walker’s win was a vote of confidence for a job well done in stabilizing the state budget and reducing unemployment.
Two things we all wish for every state in the union.
Another theory being floated about also attributes Walker’s win to those voting against the recall for the sake of being against the recall in principal.
While that may be true of some, I think he received the outstanding vote based on his demonstrated principles. That he was able to accomplish so much in so little time while under siege daily speaks very highly of Governor Walker.
As to breaking the backs of the unions, that has yet to be proved. From what I understand, he didn’t set out to dissolve unions but rather asked that members pay more (not all) toward their personal retirement accounts.
I know many persons in our state, if given the option, would do more to help. I personally would support any across-the-board increases in state sales tax if they were solidly matched with deficit reduction.
I find that sharing the burden equally among all Californians sits better with me than, for example, Governor Brown trying to impossibly balance the budget on the backs of those 225,000 state employees who are not in a “protected status.”
Yes, there is talk that Governor Brown will reinstitute his furlough process for some state employees July 1.
During the last round of furloughs he took 15 percent a month from every eligible worker’s paycheck.
Those same employees also had to contribute more dollars toward their health insurance plans and a larger share to their personal retirements.
That was a pretty severe hit for those not benefiting from protected status.
Although those furloughs and five percent salary reduction were supposedly to be in place for 18 months (sunset June 30, 2011), the final 5 percent to be returned did not hit paychecks until December 2011.
Here we are, less than six months later and those same folks are likely going to see that same 5 percent head back to state coffers.
While I am sure Governor Brown was more than excited about Walker’s victory and feels validated about his goal of taking on California’s unions and pension funds, he should remember the state’s population as of the 2010 census was 37,691,912. Out of those millions, 15,977,879 were employed.
I would have to ask Governor Brown, do you have another plan in mind where the nearly 16 million other workers can help you balance the state’s budget?
We are all Californians. I say share the hardship alike, in for a penny, in for a pound.
If the governor wants to take on the unions, I say start with untouchables and remove the protected class status then reduce the wages of every state appointed and elected official.
After you have achieved financial hardship equality among the state workforce, cast a wider net and succeed in finding a way for the rest of California’s workforce to contribute their equal share.
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