March 10 2011
There has certainly been a lot of drama accompanying the fight over collective bargaining in Wisconsin - and the Democrats' decision to run out of town stole the show.
But I hope the theatrics of the past few weeks don't overshadow the real issue at hand: that states like Wisconsin face serious budget problems, in large part, because of public-sector unions and their outrageous benefit plans. The left - and certainly many contributors to this forum - have tried to paint public sector unions as small, and as a counterweight to big business. Nothing could be further from the truth. These unions representing office administrators and teachers, for instance, are large, with huge coffers, and tremendous political muscle.
As Noemie Emery wrote yesterday in the Washington Examiner, "the liberals and the conservatives are operating not only on opposite principles, but in two different times. The Democrats seem caught in 1911, in an age of sweat shops, exploitation, and of child labor, when endangered and underpaid workers valiantly struggled to wrest living wages out of 'The Man.'"
Gov. Walker may have engaged in political jujitsu yesterday, but at a time when state and local unions run the show and are in a battle with taxpayers, something had to be done.