Walker wins; Wisconsin moves workers' cheese.
In the end, Wisconsin Democrats' three-week sojourn in the Land of Lincoln couldn't win their state's civil war over public employee unions. Wisconsin Republicans this week turned the tables on their AWOL colleagues by stripping monetary provisions from Gov. Scott Walker's legislation and then passing it without need for a quorum.
Stand by now for a week or so of dueling opinion pieces, commentary and news stories focusing on charges that the Republican move was somehow illegal or undemocratic, with countercharges that democracy began to unravel the day the Democrats fled the state in a futile effort to thwart the governor.
When that noise has quieted, the reality that will remain is this: Wisconsin lawmakers have delivered a clear win for taxpayers, and perhaps as well a template for courageous governors and lawmakers in other states to begin to curb the pay and benefits of their own public employees.
Make no mistake: The mobs that occupied Wisconsin's state Capitol for weeks, likened Mr. Walker to Hitler, threatened Republican state senators with physical violence, and claimed that the legislation marked the death of democracy, were playing a losing hand. Because, even after Mr. Walker's legislative win, public employees there enjoy excellent pay and benefits vis-a-vis most workers. Noisy chants, crass or clever, cannot speak more loudly than simple facts. Taxpayers and voters can do the math for themselves.
Wisconsin, like most states, has more work to do to solve its budget problems. But as of today, public employees in "America's Dairyland" won't be milking the taxpayers quite so much as before.
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|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Mar 11, 2011|
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