Monday, February 14, 2011

Budget Repair

Update: The situation continues to worsen.
  • Democratic legislators have vacated the capitol in the hopes of preventing a vote.
  • The governor has instructed that police to look for them and bring them back.
  • The DNC and Organizing for America(Mr. Obama's replacement for ACORN) are busing in out of state protesters to add to an already strident situation. (There's a demonstration of civility and common sense-add to the danger of the situation by adding outside agitators to the mix.)
  • Protesters have apparently gotten onto the Senate floor.
  • Teachers across the state are calling in sick.
  • Former Senate candidate Dave Westlake is calling for a I Stand With Governor Walker rally at the capitol on Saturday.
  • Rush Limbaugh has called Madison WI, "Moscow West"
  • The Socialists have chimed in for the unions.
  • Mr. Obama has chimed in with his two cents worth, saying Governor Walker shouldn't have turned down the train money. (And exactly how would that have helped this situation? Unless it is Mr. Obama's contention that Mr. Walker should continue the shady accounting practices of former Gov. Doyle and have surreptitiously allocated some of that money to the general fund to make the budget look better.)
  • Mr. Obama has also said that Gov. Walker's bill seems like an assault on unions. Perhaps if the members of the state employee unions hadn't spent their time over the last several years alternately whining that they aren't paid enough and bragging to the rest of us that they had lifetime security in their jobs with no worries about health care or retirement thanks to their wonderful state jobs, we might agree. As it is, not so much.

It is time for the state union employees to remember that they are citizens first and union members second. If they had reigned in their unions demands, the governor wouldn't have to. As it is, they just seem greedy, selfish and power-mad. In these days of media inspired politics, that's not the message they should want to have out there. They could have stepped up to the plate and said we offer these reductions to the state out of a wish to remain consistent in our duty as citizens to keep this state fiscally solvent.

We're all in this together. They chose to continue business as usual. This is not a republican or democrat issue. this is a common sense issue. When there is no more money, the belt must be tightened and luxuries let go.

The Wisconsin legislature will be debating the merits of governor Walker's plan to repair the budget tomorrow and Wednesday. There's been quite a bit of coverage on this plan, and much of that coverage has been negative.

Unions, for a long time, have been dictating terms of employment for many, many people, not just in the state, but in the nation. I have written in the past that it is high time that the unions were reminded that they are made up of people. People whose first priorities, as far as employment goes, need to remember that, unless there's a job available, they will be unemployed. People who need to remember that they are citizens first and union members second.

In Wisconsin, the state's union workers have had about the best benefit package available anywhere, except those offered for Federal gov't workers. They will not find much sympathy for being forced to contribute to their own retirements, much less for being forced to pay a fairly low percentage of their own Health Insurance when compared to private sector workers.

There will undoubtedly be news stories covering the plight of the poor union workers forced, forced I say, to contribute in this way to their own benefits. The facts are, as Governor Walker stated, that there is no more money. The taxpayers have no more pennies to contribute to any more largesse that might be demanded in a collective bargaining agreement with these workers. The money simply isn't there.

Not only are there no more pennies to contribute to more benefits for these union workers employed by the state, but there is no more tolerance on the part of the people of the state for watching government workers whine about benefits that the private sector cannot afford to offer.

To their credit, I have seen many comments on articles, from state union workers who support Governor Walker in this effort. Many of them are also resentful that they have been forced to be part of the union in order to have these jobs. These are the people who understand what governments service is about. These are the people who understand that they are citizens first and employees second.

The state unions will be busing people to the capitol in Madison tomorrow and Wednesday, in an attempt to communicate to our legislators their strong disapproval of this action on the part of Governor Walker. AFP will also be busing people to the state capitol in Madison tomorrow and Wednesday, in an attempt to support the governor in his attempts to rein in the spending and to restore fiscal sanity to the state of Wisconsin.

My guess is that there will be more union members than regular citizens. Mostly because regular citizens from the private sector will not be able to take off work for the day to go down to Madison and be part of a demonstration. That does not mean however, that private sector employees and other citizens cannot make a difference in this debate.

This is one of those opportunities to exercise good citizenship by contacting your state legislators and giving them your opinion. It only takes a few minutes to call and your legislators will appreciate the input on what is sure to be a highly publicized vote. This is how participatory governments are supposed to work. Participate by calling your legislators and letting them know what you think, politely please. Remember, the aides who are answering the phone are not doing the voting. Call the legislative hotline at: 1-800-362-9472. Ask for your legislator. You'll be asked where you live, and transferred to the office of one of your legislators whether it be a senator or an assembly person. I would recommend that you make note of who your legislators are, and have your call directed from one to the next.

Citizenship in a free and independent Republic is a personal duty and a demonstration that we are worthy of the freedoms we have been given in this nation.

"So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." ~ Luke 17:10

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