Battle of Wisconsin: Rules of Engagement

by | Mar 5, 2011

Imagine if hundreds of anti-ObamaCare protestors camped out in Congress last year, back when Nancy Pelosi was still in charge of the House of Representatives. Imagine if they stayed days on end, dirtying up the halls of Congress and disrupting what they think of as, “The People’s Business.” Would Pelosi, the President or their appointed […]

Imagine if hundreds of anti-ObamaCare protestors camped out in Congress last year, back when Nancy Pelosi was still in charge of the House of Representatives. Imagine if they stayed days on end, dirtying up the halls of Congress and disrupting what they think of as, “The People’s Business.” Would Pelosi, the President or their appointed authorities have responded like the police in Wisconsin, who said the protesters can stay so long as they don’t “break the law”? Excuse me, but I thought that camping out on public property was breaking the law. Apparently not — not when you’re a liberal, or a union member.

I don’t mean to be too hard on the Governor of Wisconsin. He’s taking a courageous stand and he’s boldly going where few politicians have gone in recent memory. However, there are arguments he should be making, that he’s not. First of all, the protesters are not “peaceful.” Just because they’re not opening fire on anybody doesn’t make them peaceful. They’re still disturbing the peace, and they should be held accountable for their actions the same way you can better believe protesters on the other side of the political spectrum would be held responsible (for far less).

Second, the Governor needs to go on the offensive against these union members, just as he has against the legislators-in-hiding who support them. He needs to stand up and say, “These union members want the right to collectively bargain — with money that isn’t theirs. They want to retain the right to earn whatever they want, money and benefits to be extracted from people who did earn it, via taxes, to be given to them.”

Republicans have gone further than ever before in fighting the perniciousness of liberalism and collectivism, but unless they state the naked truth in this manner … they’re never going to win.

That’s what the “Battle of Wisconsin” is really about. It’s not about a governor trying to take away the right of employees to freely negotiate with their employers. Unfair federal union laws aside, in a free country private employees have a right to bargain with their employers. And their employers have an equal right to go along with the bargaining or fire their employees if they don’t like the terms. It’s a free country, or at least it’s supposed to be. But public employees are totally different. These teachers and other employees work for the government.

Most of them would never support privatizing education, in large measure because they’d lose the job security (translation: nearly impossible to be fired) and benefits (translation: other people’s money) afforded by these public sector jobs.

It matters little that these public sector employees claim to concede the benefit cuts, which consist of paying a teeny bit more for their health insurance and retirement pensions than they currently do. They know full well that in the next liberal or mushy moderate Republican administration, they’ll have those benefits (and more) right back. It’s the “right” to collectively bargain that they’re camping out for. For a public sector employee, the right to collectively bargain is nothing more than extortion, or a blank check on the tax-paying population to give them what they want, forever.

The Governor of Wisconsin ought to go all the way. He ought to fight these protesters ideologically, tooth-and-nail. He ought to publicly call collective “bargaining” for state government employees what it is — one gigantic, unending freebie paid for by those who work in the private sector. People forced to pay for this freebie should be calling on the police themselves to remove the protesters from the state house.

It’s ironic how union leaders and members despise money — except when they stand to lose some. They oppose capitalism, they oppose bonuses and benefits to business executives (even when they’re not paid for by tax dollars), and they think that everyone who makes over $200,000 a year (or whatever the arbitrary limit du jour is) is “too rich.” At the same time, if their legal guarantee to ever-rising salaries and benefits paid for exclusively with tax dollars is in any remote way challenged or threatened — well, all hell breaks loose. They act as if it’s THEIR money being taken away. Well, it’s true that they go to work. But if they worked in the private sector, they would not be guaranteed jobs regardless of circumstance. If the market of consumers no longer liked or needed what they were doing, their jobs and benefits would evaporate.

They still have it far easier than this under the bill proposed by the Governor, as he has repeatedly pointed out.

Somewhere along the way in American history, the concept of “irrational greed” got bundled together with rational ambition, productivity and innovation. Everyone who’s successful and makes a lot of money because of that success is greedy and therefore evil, according to this public sector/unionist view. Yet these very same union members scream to high heavens when they stand to lose a tiny percentage of what’s guaranteed to them simply for being alive and going through the motions of showing up at work every day, in jobs that they cannot lose.

Of course, the general economy is not recovering, and that includes Wisconsin. If you think the Wisconsin budget is tight now, just wait until we have endured more years of Obama/socialist/liberal and union-based economic policies. The union movement is learning the hard way that you cannot “spread the wealth” around without hampering and ultimately destroying the wealth upon which the beneficiaries of the transferred loot (translation: them) depend.

Actually, I’m wrong. Union members and their liberal/socialist leaders haven’t learned a thing.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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