On Wednesday evening, Wisconsin state senators finally voted to end collective bargaining for government employees, bringing to a close three weeks of protests and public controversy. Upon hearing the news, leftist demonstrators outside the state capitol went berserk, forcing the Republican senators to leave the capitol.
The vote sidestepped Senate Democrats’ much-reported stalling tactic of fleeing the state to prevent a quorum. Instead of waiting until their absent colleagues deigned to do their jobs, last night the Republicans removed fiscal provisions within the bill, enabling passage without a 20 member quorum. The final vote was 18 Republicans in favor, 1 against. The Senate Democrats have yet to return to Madison. Now that the initiative has passed, the bill will go to the state Assembly, where it is expected to pass quickly: the lower house approved the original version of the legislation last month.
From the beginning, Governor Scott Walker framed the fight over collective bargaining as a fiscal issue, and despite the seeming contradiction in the bill’s passage, it still is. What the Wisconsin senators eliminated were the budgetary specifics which prevented an up-or-down vote on a technicality, nevertheless, fiscal solvency has always been central to the push to forbid collective bargaining in the public sector. The ability for teachers, police, civil servants, and others to negotiate deluxe benefit packages through binding arbitration is an economic concern in and of itself, regardless of whether particular funding provisions are included in the bill.
As Americans for Tax Reform and the Alliance for Worker Freedom have covered for the last several weeks, elimination of collective bargaining for public employees in Wisconsin was a smart step in staving off economic ruin. Governor Walker has provided many helpful examples of the waste, corruption, and over-compensation that resulted from treating power in government as a “right.” States across the nation are bankrupt because of this. They have suffered millions of dollars to be thrown away, jobs lost, higher taxes, and a permanent class of entitled civil servants who ask not what they can do for their country, but what their country can do for them.
In the last few weeks, the Left has had the temerity to call the revocation movement an “assault on unions,” calling on their foot soldiers to “get a little bloody when necessary,” and idiotically comparing the union-led protests in Madison to actual rebellions in Tunisia and Egypt. Ridiculous slogans are already abounding now that the bill has passed the Wisconsin Senate: State Senator Tim Carpenter went so far as to claim that “this is our Pearl Harbor of workers' rights.”
These radical collectivists should knock off the offensive similes and violent threats and listen: You made this happen. You made this happen by demanding benefits that taxpayers could not afford. You made this happen by protecting your incompetent and corrupt public servants through AFSCME, SEIU, NEA, and others. Then, when duly elected representatives of Wisconsin citizens were on the verge of taking it all away, your cronies in the legislature fled the state rather than participate in the democratic process. Governor Walker and his Senate allies put up with your nonsense for three weeks before reworking and passing their bill. You made this happen.
Congratulations to Governor Walker, for not bending in the face of yelping condemnation and convenient lies. Congratulations to the Wisconsin Senators and Assemblymen for taking a great step in resurrecting their economy. Finally, congratulations to the citizens of Wisconsin for electing officials brave enough to set this example for the rest of the country.