For most of the last decade, I lived in the crazy, cold, contradictory state that is Wisconsin. I wrote research papers in Madison, performed poems in Milwaukee, walked picket lines in Jefferson, organized student conferences in Eau Claire, led artistic workshops in Green Bay, spoke at my roommate’s wedding in Merrill, and went camping with my future wife at Black River Falls.
A big-city kid from the East Coast, I never fully got used to the overwhelming whiteness of Wisconsin — the winter, and yes, the people. But I eventually learned how to wear five layers in February, and that amidst the farms and abandoned factories, there was a working-class people with a strong populist ethic. As my freshman roommate from Wausau once told me, “Josh, I don’t follow politics. I just hate corporations.”
Fast-forward to 2011: the new Republican Governor, Scott Walker, has declared war on my old roommate and all Wisconsin workers. Under the guise of a budget deficit, Walker just put forth a bill that would destroy the unions that represent teachers, social workers, and over 100,000 public employees. He’s also making huge cuts to schools, health care, public transportation, and anything that actually helps people live.
Want more crazy? Walker ordered the National Guard to get ready to respond to a strike or any resistance to his plan. The last time Wisconsin called in the National Guard during a labor dispute was way back in 1886, when Guard militiamen shot on a rally of Milwaukee workers advocating an 8-hour work day. Five unarmed workers were killed in the massacre.
I loved living in Wisconsin. Truth be told, I hated it many times too, especially when its ugly side came out like now. I was fighting this same struggle during most of my junior and senior years at UW. Our campaign demands were nothing new: lower tuition for students, better health care for workers, higher taxes on the rich, and a real investment in public education over private incarceration. That was with Jim Doyle in office. But now with this dude Walker, it’s at a whole new level.
Of course, the people aren’t going down without a fight. There have been unprecedented demonstrations at the state Capitol in Madison every day this week — from 1,000 the first day to over 25,000 yesterday.
I wish I could be out there on State Street with my Badgers in the struggle, but at the very least, I can do my best to spread the word. So for all my old students and roommates taking to the streets, and for everyone else wondering what the hell is going on in America’s Dairyland, let’s clear some things up:
1. The deficit is a made-up crisis.
Like most states, Wisconsin is struggling in the recession, but the state government isn’t actually broke. The state legislature’s fiscal bureau estimated the state would end the year with a $121 million balance. Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit — but it is not because of an increase in worker wages or benefits. According to the Capital Times, it is because “Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for corporate and special-interest groups in January.” Nice. A man-made “crisis” as an excuse to push neoliberal cutbacks: Shock Doctrine, anyone?
2. Even if there was a deficit, blame Wall Street — not the workers.
The economy isn’t crumbling because state workers in Madison have decent pensions. It’s because Wall Street bankers stole our money, Bush and now Obama have us in two trillion-dollar wars, and states like Wisconsin keep spending more on prisons than schools. What do the rich pay? According to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue, corporate tax income has fallen by half since 1981 and over two-thirds of Wisconsin corporations pay zero taxes.
3. The Green Bay Packers are with the people.
They won the Super Bowl. They’re owned by the people of Green Bay, not some schmuck billionaire. And now the Pack is standing in solidarity with their union brothers and sisters. If only Brady Poppinga (pictured below) would tackle Scott Walker like that. If the green and gold are down, you already know what side to roll with. (I heard Walker is a Vikings fan, anyway.)
4. This is not “just another Madison protest.”
Madison is famous for its progressive tradition, but this is more than just another march down State Street. This struggle is engaging people across the state — not just Madison and Milwaukee, but LaCrosse, Eau Claire, and outside Gov. Walker’s home in Wauwatosa. This struggle is multi-racial, multi-generational, and multi-issue. Working- and middle-class white folks (the majority population) might finally realize that long-term unity is stronger than short-term tax relief. Looking for the progressive antidote to the Tea Party? They’re brewing something in the Badger State.
5. Public worker unions were founded in Wisconsin.
The first union for public employees was actually started in Madison in 1932, to ensure living wages for the workers and end political patronage for government jobs. The biggest public union, AFSCME, was born right where the protests are happening today in Madison. Wisconsin has always had a dual legacy — home to the last Socialist mayor in the country (Frank Zeidler of Milwaukee) and the ultimate anti-Communist himself, Joe McCarthy; more recently, both progressive Sen. Russ Feingold and immigrant-basher Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner — but the Dairyland’s populist ethos can be traced back to the Progressive Era and its public unions.
6. Hurting public workers will not help you get a better job.
Many conservatives, and even some liberals, argue that we need to “bring public workers’ benefits down to the level of private workers.” First off, it’s not true that public workers are better off — they usually get lower wages in exchange for better benefits. More important, though, is the idea that we should raise all boats, rather than continue this race to the bottom. Russ Feingold said yesterday that “Republicans are trying to pit private workers against their public counterparts.” No more divide and conquer. Yes, people with a private-sector job (or, people who like 50% of black men in Milwaukee don’t have a job at all) have a right to be angry: but that anger should be reserved for the companies who are downsizing and outsourcing those jobs, not for middle school teachers and the lunch lady.
7. This is about more than unions.
This is about public education, affirmative action, immigrant rights, stopping foreclosures, and basic human rights.Â This is about how much the Radical Right thinks they can get away with. This is about drawing a line in the sand — if first they come for the unions, who will they come for next?
8. The country is watching Wisconsin.
What happens this week in Madison has national ramifications. Right now, everyone’s eyes are on Wisconsin. The governor of Ohio and Tennessee are threatening to adopt similar legislation — and Obama has his own conservative budget proposal at the federal level. If they can force it through relatively liberal Wisconsin, your state could be next.
9. Wisconsin was watching Egypt.
News travels fast, and uprisings inspire each other across continents. The protesters out on the Madison streets watched the millions of Egyptians who successfully, nonviolently took down their dictator. Many of them are now carrying signs like the one below calling Scott Walker “the Mubarak of the Midwest.” And while the American media loves the union workers that toppled a dictator in Egypt, CNN has little sympathy for the workers that will be silenced right here in the heartland.
10. Whose Capitol? OUR Capitol!
This is our moment. Our state. Our growing movement to change the course of the country. The legislature could vote as soon as today on Walker’s bill — unless the real Badgers stand up to stop him.
The protests are escalating every day, inside and outside the Capitol. To all my Madison folks, stay strong and know that we’re with you. To the rest of the country, spread the word, donate to the legal defense funds, and make sure your own states don’t go down this same road.
For resources and up-to-date info on what’s happening on the ground, check out:
Teaching Assistants’ Association
Student Labor Action Coalition
On, Wisconsin! Solidarity Forever!
very informative and insightful. inspirational.
Thank you, Josh.
Ok, this is all wrong. His points have nothing to do with it! His joke on Wisconsin about not having a deficit is absolutely wrong. Its a budget, not a balance! Obama is pushing for a 1 trillion budget, but that doesnt mean that we’re out of the hole. Saying that wisconsin has no deficit is like saying The US is free of debt. I like his point 7 about racical rights….Do you know how much ACORN tried to get away with? Anybody can make an inspirational speech, but that doesn’t mean he/she is correct or relevant.
Hey “Your Name”… you do know that the state is separate from our federal deficit do you not? It has been everywhere how this is a ruse. You need to stop listening to the lying nutjobs that you are and cite your sources. This change will effect YOU. It is a broad landscape to take in, so I suggest you take some steps back and look at the big picture. This isn’t bringing down “evil” unions. It is giving the poor and middle class no leverage or a chance at a better wage. Catch you next Tuesday.
Josh – thank you, beautifully said. This morning I could barely walk into my classroom – tears would not stop after hearing that the Joint Finance Committee passed the Union-Breaking Bill on last night. Students are very sympathetic – it is heavy in the air in every school – I’m so VERY proud of every one of them who has taken a stand, shared their voice, sat-in, walked-out, held a sign, shared kind words…I continue to tell them to “remember this moment – you are living history.” I feel abandoned, insulted, mocked, disregarded.
And I must respond to the comment above…Actually, WI would have been, financially speaking, in one of the best situations in the country. None of us are ever completely out of the hole…it’s a matter of credit and more detail than needs to be discussed here…but we would not have had the budgetary mess being quoted by Walker had he not dedicated $140 million to special interest groups just last month. THAT is proven. The information is available for public perusal. Please, read on – it is a time for us all to get more educated than perhaps we would have ever felt necessary.
And you need to stop listening to your lieing heart and look at the picture within the picture. The deficit exists, and apparently you dont know what deficit means so I’ll tell you: it means we owe money…..The state is separate from federal, duh. AND they both are deficits! Since you need some reason in that “idiot” head of yours, here are some links to Rush Limbaugh’s talks today (I hope you take the same amount of time reading for each of these, if not more, as you did this article):
I’m unsure I can take any of the points here taken seriously due to the inaccuracies listed.
“The last time Wisconsin called in the National Guard was way back in 1886,”
the WI National Guard has been deployed multiple times in the 60s, 77 and 1990
Duly noted, John. I changed it to the correct statement: â€œThe last time Wisconsin called in the National Guard IN A LABOR DISPUTE was way back in 1886â€
You nailed it, in detail, my friend. Remember when we were United and believed in pooling our money (through taxes) so the whole country could rise up? Love that you mentioned that. And yes, thank you for bringing up what no one wants to talk about: businesses are getting a free ride these days. Gone are the leaders who invested in America, in communities and schools, creating a virtuous cycle that many agree led to our booming years.
In Ohio, we’re following the same downward spiral. The bad economy brought on by crony capitalism’s reckless scams is being used as an excuse to destroy unions. Sickening, but not surprising anymore. The biggest joke is that Ohioans, like the rest of America, still believe these guys are real capitalists! I’d hoped the libertarians/early teaparty members would expose this cruel lie, but Republicans deftly adopted their ideas in their quest to restore their title as fiscal conservatives. Well played.
Even after all the evidence that conventional wisdom is wrong (Dems aren’t socialists, Reps aren’t capitalists, so the old arguments are baseless) some people would vote for anyone with an R next to their names because they still believe “Better dead than Red.” What’s staggering is that haters of unions often claim to want to save the middle class!! There would be no middle class without government intervention to make businesses pay taxes and fees that helped create the middle class!
Great article, thanks for the run down. Even the added bonus of a right wingnut commenter to get a feel for how well Faux News has used agenda-setting theory of media to indoctrinate so many. If it weren’t so sad it would be funny watching them cheer on giving away everything that their forefathers fought for over the last century in an attempt to improve the bottom line of the very corporations who unleashed the economic disaster on the world. Let’s hope the protests in Madison will wake up a few of the zombies. Go Badgers!
First off I want to say the Walker has been talking about doing this throughout his campaign. So either the majority of Wisconsin agrees with him or people vote with out knowing the candidate’s stance on major issues. If a state votes for a Republican do you really expect them impose extra taxes on the people who paid for their campaign? Saying that Wisconsin doesn’t have a budget crisis and that Walker made it all up is absolutely ridiculous. The whole nation is in a recession why would Wisconsin be an exception? We can’t continue to limp a long hoping to just get by until next year. Something has to be done. It is also not right to take somebody’s money just because they have a lot of it. No matter how greedy they are being, they have every right to what they please with their earnings. You talk about human rights but taking people’s money is a human rights violation. If the government starts to take people’s money what will they come after next? Long story short, deal with the fact that you live in state that will elect republicans or move to Massachusetts…
Correction: I remember the National Guard on the UW campus during the Vietnam protests when I was a student in 1971. They came with tear gas too and shot some off it into one of the dorms. They were there several times.
Duly noted, DEO. I changed it to the correct statement: â€œThe last time Wisconsin called in the National Guard IN A LABOR DISPUTE was way back in 1886…â€
Actually the National Guard has been called into action in response to a labor dispute more recently than 1886. They were definitely deployed for the Kohler strike in 1934 (with shots fired, though there is dispute as to whether it was guardsmen or county deputies shooting) and I think again for another Kohler strike in ’54 though at the moment I can’t find anything to confirm my recollection. There’s a great book detailing these strikes by Walter H. Uphoff, ‘Kohler on Strike: Thirty Years of Conflict’ –it’s an old book from the 60’s but many Wisconsin public and academic libraries have copies of it still floating around.
Folks of Wisconsin are also in the Spanish journals:
That’s because here we’re fighting the same fight here in Spain: we have a new law “liberalizing” our labor market (basically, unprotecting workers against dismissals, taking our right to have unemployment benefit away, reducing the power of unions in collective bargain…), we have a new law making it more difficult to get to have a retirement pension, and so on…
But all those measures weren’t introduced by the conservatives, but by the so called “Spanish Socialist Labor Party”… And the worst thing is that we had had a general strike last Sept, which wasn’t ok (but not a great success), and from then on, we just act like nothing is happening… Unemployment rates are so high and people who have a job are so scared (and in need to pay for their mortgages, children, etc) that we are not living as a flock. I hope Arabic revolutions make people wake up also here.
It’s always a pleasure to read you, compaÃ±ero.
PS. After reading the news from Wisconsin, Jorge is feeling nostalgic about his Madison’s days… And both of us feel bad about not having written you an E. for so long. All our love and energy for you both.
Just to compensate for my previous pessimistic comment… It’s not really true nobody is reacting here in Spain… We don’t find that reaction in the national level, but just as in Wisconsin, in Murcia we’re experiencing the same thing. Murcia, where I was born and lived for my first 18 years, is a southeast region of Spain, a dry region by the sea, full of orange, lemon and palm trees and, what’s important for this story, a very conservative region governed by the right party for the last 15 years. However, the regional government, always with the excuse of balancing the budget in times of deficit, implemented a few extra hard measures on public regional workers (measures which were added to the cuts implemented at the national level for this kind of workers). And, all of a sudden, in a region without tradition of mobilization, it has depeloved this huge mass mobilization of public workers -from the 22th december on, there have been kind of 10 big demonstrations, each one bigger than the previous one, there have been sit-ins in primary and secondary schools, temporary stops from work, huge sectorial meetings… But this wave hasn’t spread to other regions… yet! (yeah, I should remember: optimism of the mind!)
Walk like an Egyptian…and go register to take that class you have always meant to take…get enrollment up…become a part of it….If you want to discuss fire, you must experience fire…
Wisconsin is a state of contradictions, and you summed it up well. Quintessential Wisconsin: Fighting Bob LaFollette to Joe McCarthy.
Josh – Good article!
Your Name – Do you have any references for your claim in contrast to what the article mentioned?
“Your name is an idiot” is someone who dropped out – I read the Limbaugh transcripts. They didn’t really add anything. He didn’t address the tax rebate referenced here that is the cause for the deficit. He mostly just whined which is mostly what he does. He also is the poster boy for bias.
Walk Hard – Taxes can be a human rights violation but are not by definition a violation (nor is it a form of tyranny as per Friedman). Taxes are part of living in a civilized society. You can argue about how the taxes are structured but in this country they aren’t violations.
Here in Iowa, we do not have a deficit because we have a constitutional amendment to balance the budget (actually 97%) each year so we have a surplus. Now that does not mean we didn’t make cuts last year but the idea that all states are in debt like the federal government is simply not true.
Also, we can argue about public employee pensions but what if someone said, “We are going to have to reduce 401k freedom and allowances for the rest of your career because we have a budget crisis.” Pensions and 401ks are the same thing, they are retirement payments for people when they are old. To argue that pensions are “theft from the public to pay for lazy people” is like saying 401ks are theft from profits to pay for lazy people.
From other things I have read, it also seems like that most of the arguement is not over temporary cut backs but long term reduction of CBA rights.
Uh, yeah, dude. Of course voters mark ballots without knowing many of the positions of candidates. Low information voters are often the swing in tight races.
Anyway. Josh: awesome job, especially the part about how private sector worker resentment is focused on the wrong target. This tactic is well worn but sadly still effective. But we have a chance to shift that, and your blog post helps!
Great stuff J Healey. Keep representing for the Midwest. Much appreciated.
First off, yes, I do believe that most people who voted for Scott Walker didn’t have a real understanding of what they were dealing with. This, I believe, is courtesy of the fact that most of what people would have seen of Walker’s platform (without putting in the time to find more in depth explanations of Walker’s policy intentions) would have come from sound-bite TV ads that say nothing, and only offer hollow election year platitudes. I don’t expect Republicans to impose higher taxes on their supporters, but I do expect a Wisconsinite not to lower their taxes significantly in a time of financial crisis. That simply runs contrary to common sense and, frankly, a fiscally conservative attitude.
Now, just address the second half of your comment – it seems that the principle problem this state, and the country at large, is that people have taken things so very for granted that somehow we’ve allowed the idea that wealth is one of our inalienable rights, and that the pursuit and protection of that right can supersede all others, to become fact with some unfortunate people. The government can come and take as much of my money as is necessary within reason to govern, and in return, I get services and the protection of my ACTUAL RIGHTS, you know, the ones that matter. Mess with my money, but leave the things that make me truly free alone. You? Well, go ahead and watch your bank account fill and your soul rot away if you like.
Josh, I found you through a Google search and found your article informative and interesting.
Wisconsin, get on this:
“Because the recall statute allows elected officials to serve for a full year before they are subject to recall, Walker himself is immune until January of 2012. Eight of Walkerâ€™s Republican allies in the state senate have served at least one year of their current term, however, and thus are eligible for a recall petition right now. If just three of these Republicans were to be replaced with Democrats, the state senate would flip to a Democratic-majority body.”
Awww, Josh–you’re a real cheesehead after all! LOL Tell ’em what it is–you’re making me wanna go home and march with folk! Excellent post.
The blogs (and my mailbox) are being flooded with tons of propaganda that the protesters in Wisconsin are “greedy”, in a clear effort to portray the protesters in a negative light (such as Mubarak tried and failed to do in Cairo).
But these people are not greedy and they are not marching or striking for more; they are simply trying to hang on to what they already have in the face of a rapacious government intent on looting the American people to bail Wall Street out of the fraudulent mortgage-backed security scandal; t-minus $14 trillion, millions of wrongly foreclosed homes, and still counting.
Josh! I’m tracking the protests from my desk at my architecture office in La Crosse and when I found the link to your website I “oh!”ed so loud my boss noticed. Its so great to see that you’re still keeping up on WI politics.
I’m really proud of our Senate Dems and and thrilled that their tactics have given me a chance to get involved in the demonstration – I’m headed back to Madison as soon as I get off work. I don’t remember any event getting people so involved during our Assata Coop days.
I’d like to propose an amendment to this union-busting idea: That no CEO (or any other company officer) could make more than 20 times what their lowest paid worker makes. Instead of placing all this blame on the people that work for a living, why not put some of the cost-cutting pain on the folks who make millions and millions?
Let’s see how many far-right politicians support that amendment, then we will see where their loyalties are.
Iâ€™m sure your heartâ€™s in the right place but youâ€™re wrong about the budget deficit, as is the Capitol Times. The local media in Madison is pretty bad, and it appears that the author of the CT piece only read a single paragraph of the report that he bases his argument on. He is correct that on paper Wisconsin will have a general fund balance of $121 million (which is actually $56 million after we take out the statutorily required $65 million that cannot be spent) at the end of FY2010, but the report goes on to explain just a couple of pages later that medical assistance alone is facing a $150 million shortfall in FY2010, and there are smaller shortfalls in the State Public Defenders Office and the Department of Corrections. Those shortfalls are going to eat up that $56mil and then some.
Really this is a lesson in the downside of the collapse of the newspaper industry. Even local dalies used to be able to afford to employ people who knew what they were talking about, but thatâ€™s no longer the case as human interest reporters double as crime reporters and political reporters. Then amateur bloggers pick up the misinformation from the newspaper and spread it even further. Thanks to the internet we, as a country, are less informed than ever. Scary.
Kohler On Strike: Thirty Years of Conflict
Guard units moved into Kohler, WI twice during the first Kohler strike.
July 20, 1934, after the first week of the strike.
July 27, 1934, day after gunthugs killed two workers
Second Kohler strike
October 13, 1955 Guard alerted (by Governor Kohler (!) but not mobilized
Thanks; hope you can come to your spiritual home to stand with the rest of us.
Nameless idiot: the only reason we have deficits is that the tax cut mania of the Reagan era has gone so far that it will take decades for our economy to recover. In the meantime, other countries are fighting to create a middle class even as the U.S. is determined to eliminate ours.
BRAVO! Well said.
Interesting article but I want to throw the BS flag on this one. At the very least his “statistics” are heavily overstated. I was a college student once and got all fired up about things some “expert” (activist) told me without checking the facts. Then I got a job and joined the ranks of those whose money the government was taking and realized I didn’t know a damned thing about real life. My advice: Check your facts before shooting off your mouth.
Hey “Your Name”: You’d better learn how to spell before you take on the world. Congrats for illustrating the results of poorly funded public schools: a citizenship that can’t spell and is easily duped by the rich.
Very nice summation! I would suggest you missed only 1 or 2 points. 1. That the Governor has exempted the firefighters, police and State Troopers unions from this proposal, but they are supporting the protesters, anyway, because in their own words, “the police can’t be bought”. 2. That there are also clauses giving the Governor the right to create “Emergency” status and rules for access to 3 major healthcare programs (BadgerCare, SeniorCare and Medicaid) in Wisconsin that would affect at least 1,000,000 people, without legislative oversight. This is a HUGE issue that will also hurt the people of Wisconsin both in the short- and long-term is not stopped now.
10. “Whoâ€™s [sic] Capitol? OUR Capitol!” Josh, it’s “Whose” Capitol!!! Sorry, but I’m an English major, and I just couldn’t let this go by. Just heard on the news today that more money for education was going to (of course!!!) science and math…..while no one seems to care about English, Philosophy, History, Psychology, the Humanities, including Art and Music and Drama and Women’s Studies and Black Studies and the necessary CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS that they require (which are NOT found in science and math – pure numbers….but which I’m sure many engineers and financial guys with MBA’s and others will want to dispute!!!) However, having worked 37 years for a multinational corporation by day (while teaching community college at night), and raising a family, and being involved in my community and liberal Protestant church, I can verify that many of the “experts” I worked with couldn’t spell or use correct grammar–or think critically and realistically and in depth on any number of subjects–though they thought they were smarter than all the women like myself because they made lots more money (than mere secretaries), and they were absolutely SURE that evolution was impossible (their religions said so), and that THEY were the experts in everything and deserved the big bucks! And of course they were against labor unions and sent their kids to private schools (while complaining about the cost of expensive, elite colleges – which paid for a few poor kids to attend also – but they refused to reimburse my college tuition because I was a woman and didn’t need a college degree to do my job!) This was before there were laws giving women rights forbidding harassment or from having the bare essentials of almost equality (since the ERA was soundly defeated by the majority of states in the nation, even though millions of women – a majority of the population of this country, though only 16% of of our members of Congress are female – worked assiduously for at least a decade to put women into the U.S.Constitution!) Maybe part of the problem we’re facing today is that women are still being held down, and that Congress does NOT truly represent “the [females, theoretically included in the] people.” Thanks for listening, and good luck in your fight! A member of POEM, Professional Organization of English Majors
What we have here is a decision point. Will Public employees live high on the hog off taxes paid by all or will they share the sacrifice. I can understand raising taxes to pay for the good of all the people. What we have now is constantly pay for higher benefits of people who used to be called “public servants” Now unfortunately they think they are the masters
Thank u! Well written & explained. Will b re:posting link on my fb status. Peace…..
Note from a Madison resident also following the story closely.
The right likes to distract you and argue the numbers on the debt, deficit etc.
Here is the truth. It’s very confusing. I may even be wrong somewhere in the details I’ve sussed out after quite a bit of research to nail down the facts. Wisconsin keeps two sets of books. And there has been some exaggeration and mistaken reporting, but it is a manufactured crisis. Of that, there is no doubt. Also, at the heart of the issue is the unions’ right to exist, and not money. There was already an offer to concede the monetary issues if republicans would stop the attack on bargaining rights and it was rejected.
Now back to the numbers. Again, the numbers aren’t the issue, but it’s what disingenuous right wingers distract with. There was a small budget surplus of about $127 million at the end of the 2010 year, but that is washed out by some off budget settlement due this june on something unrelated which shifts it into about a $90 million dollar deficit or something like that. Tomato, potato, give or take a $100 million, we stayed roughly even for 2010 which is impressive given the economy and what other states did.
This year we have a projected $140 million dollar deficit which opened up due to some legislation, tax breaks and other things, that the governor pushed through already this year without paygo offsets.
Looking several years into the future beyond the 2011 cycle is the big spot of contention. Assuming none of the recommendations are followed and a lot of other negativity that’s unrealistic and ginned up, they’ve come up with a multi-billion dollar figures that they like to throw around as a deficit. They like to use 3.6 Billion, but less partison estimations are more around 1.6 Billion and there are many many options to avoid that future problem. We’ll probably even get some help from a recovering economy along the way.
So when they say we’re broke, we can’t negotiate, they’re lying. The protests are about collective bargaining rights of organized labor and not money. This is why non-union working class citizens from the private sector are on the street along side the unions. They way they’re doing this union busting is disgusting too. Trying to pass it in a week with no serious debate as part of a budget bill is wrong.
We bumped over 40K in protesters Friday. Should a big weekend too, and Monday is a furlough day! Wish us luck.
Thankyou so much for this post! I really wanted to understand what was going on, and being in Australia I didn’t know where the best place to look to get a nice-run down on everything was. Reading this has enlightened me! Thanks, thankyou, THANKS!
I am sure their is a deficit in Wisconsins budget now.The author explained the govenor just gave hugh tax breaks to the corporations so they can’t cover expenses.This is the same thing that happened in Ohio and Michigan.Corporations are human greed machines who want all profit and no responsibility for society.One part of the letter i will criticize,you say Wisconsin is a progressive state.They were at one time but the Fundamentalist churches have grown strong like a poisen weed in Wisconsin and thus you have a Ignorant Republican govenor and legislature
Ray, with all due respect, you don’t know what your talking about, so you shouldn’t be talking. You’re not just wrong in the details, you’re wrong in the big picture too.
It’s not a rumor, it’s not a legend, and it’s not a trick. Wisconsin is broke. We have a $56 million projected balance for the end of fiscal year 2010 (which, FYI, ends on June 30, not January 1), and we have a $150 million shortfall in medical assistance alone. Walker’s tax cuts don’t help the situation, but again the Capitol Times reporter has no idea what he’s talking about when he says that they cost $140 million and wiped out a surplus. The $140 million number is the projected reduction in tax revenue for FY2010 and the entire 2011-2012 biennium. They’re only reducing revenue in 2010 by about $21 million. Not good, there would be a siginificant shortfall even without them.
If the numbers were just some minor distraction that didn’t matter you wouldn’t have burned five paragraphs explaining them away. The money does matter. I’m sure Walker also has some bone to pick with unions, but the budget and structural deficits are not just a pretext.
I’m not a member of any union, but believe that many of the benefits that I enjoy on the job are due to the accomplishments of people who were union members. Hate to see what Walker is trying to do.
Right ON! Spot on the money. What I have been yelling since my fellow states men and woman were threatened with the use of the militia. I am not union. I support giving the educators of our youth what they deserve, but this is so much more than this and this article couldnâ€™t have been penned/typed any better. BRAVO!
This is about taking more control over you.
As a 67 year young man I knew people would have to take to the streets to rectify the wrongs on the working, women, the young, students. It has gotten to the point where they (the gubmint) does whatever it wants in public view with a huge middle finger raised.
You are proud of Madison’s “progressive traditions”??? what ARE you talking about? I lived in Madison a few years ago, and I have never before seen such a stuck mentality anywhere else. What progressivesness are you babbling about?
Why, the entire city seems to be a petri dish for some sort of throwback to the 1970’s. The whole atmosphere is stuck in a fog of yesteryear, and doesn’t seem the least bit inclined to catch up. The wilful ignorance and head-up-the-ass behavior is simply astonishing and rather pathetic, given the fact that 1970 passed the rest of the world by a very long time ago, but the la-dee-da attitude of most people there in Madison is stagnant. Your bus system absolutely sucks, your race relations, if you can call it that, are non-existent. I challenge you to go to any bus transit mall in the city and you will find obvious behavior that we in the west observed and eliminated in the early 80’s, but no, Madison and the entire midwest is stuck in the perpetual fog of yesterday. That 70’s show, with Kelso? is a PERFECT description of the stuck mentality I refer to. That is not progressive, that is stuck.
@Jimmy– thanks for looking up the details on the Kohler strike. Glad I left my comments on the 50’s strike in the “maybe” category. 🙂 I also found the not-too-bad Wikipedia article on the strikes clarified that the known incidents of shots fired in the ’34 strike were before the National Guard deployment and were from “deputies” but not regular county ones… rather “special deputies” hired by the company. There still is much local lore though that claims shots fired by regular police (in both strike periods) and NG troops (in ’34), but I doubt there’s any substantiating records of it.
Anyway, I hope my comments correcting Josh’s point about the National Guard and some of the other fact-checks didn’t cause too many to dismiss this whole post as fiction–Josh has put together here a spectacular summary of the big-picture topics that I think still has a lot of value… and given the insanely short time we’ve all had to respond to the specifics of what’s going on in our state, it’s understandable to have a few attempts at citing facts to be a bit off (if it’s wrong, chime in and help correct it, don’t just whine about it)… after all, a few factual errors in a blog post aren’t going to do anywhere near the amount of harm as all the unchecked crap in this budget bill.
As a Michigan state worker, I fear my state is headed down the same path. Our new Republican govenor has proposed for starters, a 5% pay cut for state workers with many reductions in health care benefits. This on the heels of large pay raises for his newly appointed staff. I stand in Solidarity with my Wisconsin brothers and sisters and send my prayers and hopes for their success. I am watching closely the events in Wisconsin and am prepared to take a page from their story if and when the need arises here in Michigan. I fear we are fast on out way. Godspeed to a positive resolution..
You couldn’t have summed this up any better. Thank you! Everyone who can, please join us in protesting at the capitol!