Three prongs of the putsch

This February 18 Washington Times editorial sums up three aspects of the left’s assault on the Wisconsin government: (1) the White House, though Obama’s Organizing for America group (a remnant of his 2008 presidential campaign) and the Democratic National Committee which runs OfA, has helped organize the protests in Wisconsin calling Gov. Walker a Hitler and Mussolini and with some placards featuring the sort of rifle site imagery that Democrats recently condemned; (2) the Democratic members of the legislature fled the Wisconsin capital to deny the legislature a quorum and so prevent it from carrying out official business, namely the passage of the bill that would limit the perks of public employee unions; (3) many state teachers called in sick to paralyze the state’s schools and help the union protesters (see Michelle Malkin on the doctors who are providing the false notes). The Times editorial doesn’t say anything about threats on the lives of the governor and Republican legislators.

UPDATE: in my further reading (see here), I do not see any facts supporting the suggestion that Republican legislators’ lives have been threatened, though the continuous protests inside the state capitol building have created an atmosphere of disorder and—at least in the view of the Senate Republican leader—danger.

Obama’s war on democracy
President’s campaign forces seize Wisconsin statehouse

Message to Wisconsin taxpayers: President Obama and the Democratic National Committee have declared war on you. Message to other states: You’re next.

The political unrest in Wisconsin, billed as some kind of grass-roots uprising, is being organized and directed by Barack Obama’s Organizing for America and the Democratic National Committee. This development is consistent with Mr. Obama’s instructions for supporters to “get in the face” of those who oppose them, but in this case, they are seeking to derail a lawful legislative process.

On Thursday, 14 Democratic state lawmakers fled Wisconsin’s capital to prevent the legislature from conducting official business. Dan Grandone, state director for the president’s campaign apparatus, accused Gov. Scott Walker of “ignoring Wisconsin voices today and asking for the power to drown them out permanently tomorrow.” It is important to note that the voices of which Mr. Grandone speaks are not those of the public at large. Voters sent an unmistakable message in November by taking solid majorities in the state Assembly and Senate away from Democrats and handing even greater control to Republicans. Mr. Walker, a Republican, won by six points.

That the protesters speak in a different voice can be seen in the signs they carry. Many compare Mr. Walker to Hitler, Mussolini or Hosni Mubarak. One placard had the slogan “Repeal Walker” with the governor’s head in sniperscope cross hairs. This is the symbolism that Democrats recently denounced as “hate-filled rhetoric,” and it is far from the voice of the public. It is rather the voice of an entitled class that seeks by any means to stop its free ride from coming to an end.

The public educators engaged in the demonstrations, many of whom earn more than $100,000 in salary and benefits, seem to think the normal rules of professional conduct do not apply to them. Many falsely called in sick to engage in self-serving political activism, apparently without fear of being disciplined. A group of Madison East High School students engaged in what a union organizer called an “unplanned walkoff” of the school grounds, but that the students said was organized truancy instigated by their teachers.

These demonstrations may be dramatic and TV-friendly, but White House operatives and their union cronies are on the wrong side of history. The American people are fed up with a sense of entitlement, waste and abuse in government service. Americans in the private sector have lost jobs, been forced to take pay cuts to continue working and have reduced spending just to make ends meet. Government workers face no such jeopardy and instead enjoy automatic raises, regardless of performance. The measures causing all the ruckus in Wisconsin would require public-sector employees (excluding police and firefighters) to contribute half of their pension costs and at least 12 percent of their health care costs, which is a better deal than most Americans get. The public sector employees also would lose collective bargaining rights for anything other than pay. These are reasonable sacrifices to make in a time of fiscal crisis, and by resisting them, the demonstrators expose themselves as selfish and unreasonable.

The White House and its allies have backed similar demonstrations in Ohio and Indiana, and more may be planned for other states. One can reasonably ask why Mr. Obama is spending his time seeking to undermine democratic processes in U.S. state legislatures and ignoring the pleas of Iranians trying to throw off the shackles of Islamic rule.

- end of initial entry -

February 20

MW writes:

The Washington Times editorial says:

The measures causing all the ruckus in Wisconsin would require public-sector employees (excluding police and firefighters) to contribute half of their pension costs and at least 12 percent of their health care costs, which is a better deal than most Americans get.

Governor Walker’s plan does not require the teachers to pay “one half of their pension costs.” They merely require them to pay one-half of each year’s pension set-asides. As California has discovered, the set-asides are woefully inadequate to generate enough cash flow in retirement to pay what the state has committed to pay. The planes are not “defined contribution,” but “defined benefit” and tehefore one’s pension is based on the contract, not how much the state has managed to save with or without the employees contributions. In California and many other states, the pension plan administrators have decided that they can make eight percent on their investments, year after year, and therefore need to take very little money from the state and the state workers to be adequately funded. In reality, the year after year return on invetments is more like four percent and not eight percent. Thus, for all these years the pension plans have been falling farther and farther behind, yet the pension plans still pretend. This is an issue because the plans are “defined benefit” plans. Whether the plan has adequate money or not, the state has to may the retired worker what they promised them lo these man years ago. The state is not “chipping in” 50 percent of he pension costs, it is obligated to pay, either from the pension funds or from taxes or (as it is becoming increasingly clear) from both taxes AND the pension funds. So we really have no idea whether the state workers will be paying one-half of their pension costs year after year under the Walker Plan or not. California most assuredly is not. A consortium of economists have deemed the California pension funds over $500 billion underfunded.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 19, 2011 06:01 PM | Send

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