Friday, February 25, 2011

Public Employee unions and the War in Wisconsin

Republican commentator Charles Krauthammer was chortling over the situation in Wisconsin where the governor is about to get a bill passed that virtually destroys Wisconsin's public sector unions.

My comment:

And so the Party of Lincoln and the Party of FDR have devolved into the Party of Billionaires and their mouthbreathing patsies duking it out with the Party of Public Unions and Racial/Ethnic groups and their guilt-obsessed white enablers.


Since 1990 the goal of the Republican Party hasn't been to win elections--it has been to destroy the Democratic Party at the national level.

Step 1 was to get themselves a Supreme Court so far-right that it would give the GOP virtually unlimited, secret funding.

Step 2 is to destroy the funding base for the Democrats, which today is the public sector unions--a goal Krauthammer approves of.

Step 3 is to reward the GOP's billionaire patrons with things like the privatization provisions buried in the Wisconsin union-busting bill.

Because we don't have public funding of elections, each party has become the captive of its funding sources and does their bidding, meanwhile trying to convince their voters that they're serving them.

The GOP has been brilliant at focusing all the blame for any issue on whatever the Democrats did to contribute.

Thus the 15% of the economic meltdown that's the fault of the Democrats has become 100% of the problem in the eyes of its undereducated base.

But, time after time, the Democrats hand the GOP its red meat issues on a platter.

So in this case we have the plain fact that many public sector unions--especially the ones with the most Republican voters, ironically (cops, prison guards, firefighters)--have gamed the system, with unsustainable results.

Here in California, for example, pensions are often based on income during the last year of work; so a cop will put in insane overtime in his last year and retire at age 45 with a $150,000 a year pension-for-life.

Democrats will point out that this is penny-ante theft compared to what the money manipulators on Wall Street gouge out of the economy.

And they're right. It's like equating pickpockets with bank robbers.

But they're also wrong. For one thing, pickpocketing is still wrong. For another, it's strategically idiotic, because the overpaid city maintenance worker leaning on his broom while his city gets deeper and deeper in debt is highly visible to voters, while the billionaire hedge fund manager and his crimes occur far from public view.

The Democratic Party must lead the charge to public sector union wage and pension reform to bring them in line with private sector compensation.

If it did so instead of reflexively defending union perks down the line, Democrats would take the wind out of the GOP's sails.

Instead the Democrats play right into the hands of the GOP's propagandameisters and devoted shills like Dr. Krauthammer.

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