Thursday, March 10, 2011

Those Mean and Stupid Republicans

Behold the face of brutality--at least in the eyes of Kris Maher and colleagues at the Wall Street Journal, and other fonts of "mainstream" media--that of Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker.  Maher et al, who have been covering the drama for the WSJ, have yet to fail casting the battle in Wisconsin as one to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights, as opposed to, say, balance the budget, or end public employee unions' choke hold on the state's taxpayers and economy.

Wisconsin Senate Republicans took steps last night to balance the state budget, and bring state employees into line with private sector employees.  Naturally, this is being portrayed as an end to civilization, and an affront to mom, apple pie and the American way.

While polls seemingly indicate that public workers should enjoy collective bargaining, pollsters aren't asking who should be forced to pay (bear the responsibility) for these "rights."

Actually, it's only the Democrats' (not Americans') "way" to live the easy life at the public's expense.  Other people are content to get on with their lives, work to claim their share of the American dream, and help those around them as they gain their own footing.

People of this second way resent being yanked backwards in the name of "fairness," union "rights," or what have you while making an already steep climb.  They don't think it's fair that public sector union employees earn higher salaries, take more holidays, get better benefits and retirement packages, and enjoy greater job security than private sector employees on whose taxes they subsist.

Simply put, most Republicans (and all conservatives) do not believe that cities, states or the federal government should go perilously into debt in order for its burgeoning public employee class to enjoy an economically risk-free life.

Governor Walker makes the arguments himself in an Op-Ed piece in today's Journal.   Imagine the nerve.  Here are some interesting tidbits: the Wisconsin teacher's union enjoys a collective bargaining agreement that costs taxpayers $101,091 per year per teacher; those teachers contribute nothing to their health insurance premiums.  Absent some change in the status quo, the state's budget faces a $3.6 billion deficit.

What really infuriates Wisconsin's public sector unions, and Ohio's, etc., is that the voters of the state installed a fiscally conservative chief executive along with like-minded legislators.  If only they'd gone the way of California and voted in Democrats, they'd be on their way to a more "humane" solution.

In California--which enjoys the world's seventh largest economy and the benefits of beautiful weather, geography and people--the state borrows $30 million per day to meet its obligations (as of 2008).  Unbelievably, the state suffers from net outmigration as business flees the Golden State.

It faces unfunded pension liabilities for public employees (CALPERS) of $26 billion, and for teachers of $20 billion, and another $48 billion for health care benefits (as of 2008).  It has adopted nearly every left-wing panacea known to man: carbon emission restrictions, higher minimum wages, lifetime welfare benefits and a steeply progressive income tax rate (10.3% on the state's highest earners).

The political class annually attempts to impose a single payer universal health care plan on its populace.  California now spends nearly $7 billion on debt service alone.

Clearly--to public sector unions and other Democrats--there's only one solution, which Republicans are apparently too mean and stupid to acknowledge: the federal government must bail out these states thereby saddling every US citizen, many of whom reject "progressive" politics, with their costs anyways.

Those who fled blue states to red-state sanctuaries will be recaptured.  The American social compact that permits states to function as laboratories of democracy will oblige citizens of red states to serve as guinea pigs for blue state social engineers.

That's "fairness" in President Obama's book.  Governor Walker and Wisconsin Senate Republicans think otherwise as do the people who put them in their positions.  

Ultimately, either bad fiscal habits will be reformed and government will be limited, or tax rates will levitate to historic highs (as they did in the 1950's reaching the 90% marginal bracket) and government will reign supreme.  Time will tell which way America chooses.  At stake is the American character, and soul.

As a reminder of what even left-wingers thought of punitive tax rates (95% in England), Noman appends one of his favorite Beatle songs.

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