Trumka in Madison

A sort of civil war has unfolded in Wisconsin over Republican governor Scott Walker’s attempt remove the public unions’ death grip from the state budget. Today the head of the AFL/CIO, Richard Trumka, whom Michelle Malkin has described as a violence-promoting thug, is attending a big rally in the state capital to oppose Walker. Malkin writes about it. (Surprisingly, today’s New York Times doesn’t seem to have anything on the Wisconsin story.)

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James N. writes:

The events taking place in Wisconsin are truly momentous.

The people of Wisconsin had an election just three months ago to address the fiscal crisis in the state. Somewhat strikingly, they spoke in a clear and convincing way, overturning decades of Democratic party rule and electing both a governor and legislature that were committed to reducing the power of public sector unions. (By the way, I think such unions, to the extent that they bargain collectively for contracts which bind future legislatures, are unconstitutional).

In any event, the governor and the legislature set about doing what the people sent them to do. Their freedom of action is now attacked by extralegal and extraconstitutional forces, which have closed the schools and made it impossible (perhaps temporarily) for the legislature to function. Members of the legislature and the governor have been credibly threatened with bodily harm. [LA replies: While I agree that the Democrats are using extra-legal means to stop the legally elected government of Wisconsin from functioning, and while I further believe that the public sector unions, already one of the most powerful, coercive, and unfairly entrenched interests in the country, are seeking to gain even more coercive power through these protests and disruptions, and while I believe further that this represents a clear threat to our democratic and constitutional system of government, I have not seen, in my reading subsequent to posting this entry, evidence that Republican lawmakers’ have been credibly threatened with bodily harm.] The capital is, again perhaps temporarily, under the control of a mob.

The President, who leads a government required to guarantee Wisconsin a republican form of government, is verbally and perhaps otherwise on the side of the anti-republican elements.

What this means is that powerful combinations are arising which do not respect the legitimacy of elected State governments and which are prepared to claim a right to rule superior to the right of the people of Wisconsin to govern themselves through elections.

The unions, the teachers, and the President are defending the Brezhnev doctrine here. “The armies of socialism march in only one direction.” If elections give them what THEY want, elections are fine. If not, they are meaningless.

I have often said, meditating on the stupid and foolish Republicans, that they have yet to show, post 1945, that elections are capable of changing the status quo. No elected body, in any state, at any time, has reduced spending globally so that the size and scope of government has been reduced. The Congress has never even attempted to do so. [LA replies: And even Ronald Reagan never attempted to do so.]

Perhaps we are living in an illusion. Perhaps the forces of socialism have the real power (the power to determine events), and they cannot be displaced by peaceful means.

Wisconsin will tell us much when the outcome is known.

James P. writes:

What fascinates me about the situation in Wisconsin is that the unions are marching on the taxpayers. In the old days, the unions rallied against “greedy” capitalist mill or mine owners, but today they are rallying to demand their “right” to the taxpayers’ money. And nobody in the media challenges the basic premise that these union members have a right to taxpayer dollars, or notes that they are thieves stealing from the public, and using coercion and threats of violence to do so.

How do we, the public, hire some Pinkertons to bust some SEIU heads?

LA replies:

“What fascinates me about the situation in Wisconsin is that the unions are marching on the taxpayers.”

Great insight.

Joseph C. writes:

The Republican legislators have two stark choices—neither of which is pleasant. One is to call in their National Guard with a shoot-to-kill order, and crack down on the “protestors” by unleashing a massive bloodbath that makes jaws drop worldwide, and vow not to stop until the mob accepts the results of the last election—period. Two is to admit that we are no longer a constitutional republic, and give into the mob.

Either way, the most violent side wins. The question is which side will it be, and are both sides equally willing to fight?

P.S. I prefer option one.

Vivek G. writes:

For socialists the original idea of tax is to rob the rich to feed the poor. By extension, they think that all tax-payers are rich. So the taxpayers are the greedy capitalists mill-owners. No wonder therefore that the unions want to march on taxpayers’ money. Some times it may also mean that smaller taxpayers marching on bigger taxpayers’ money.

Peter H. writes:

Another interesting point, as I understand it, is that much of the Democratic legislature has actually left the state and gone to Illinois to avoid having to be present to vote on the issue (which supposedly would otherwise have the votes to pass). So the elected representatives of the people are not even available to vote on the Governor’s proposal. The issue, here, is the huge growth of public sector unions (while private sector unions are shrinking) that now have the power, through collective bargaining, to extort money from taxpayers.

Additionally, the proposal has nothing to do with salaries, which would will still be managed by collective bargaining, but with pensions and benefits that are now approximately twice those of the private sector.

Another point is that, because government employees are a legal monopoly (and the government has a monopoly on force) and that the people, therefore, must use them for various activities of daily living (e.g. education, driver’s licenses, etc.), these state employees can extort money from the same tax payers that are essentially employing them. The people can’t say, for example, “These costs are too high. I’ll go elsewhere for my government services.”

The public sector unions fear the proposal because it represents a huge loss of power and an impediment to the public sector employee benefit gravy train. Democratic legislators fear the proposal because the Democratic party is the party of government. Anything that makes government bigger is better. They will never, ever, ever reduce the size of government. One should never, ever, ever vote for a Democrat hoping he’ll reduce the size of government. It’s not in their DNA, so to speak.

I guess there are so many outrageous situations in American government that it seems futile to get too worked up about any of them. But this is one outrageous situation that may have a chance of being remedied.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 18, 2011 10:31 AM | Send

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