Governor Walker's drive to strip state workers of most of their rights to bargain for a contract and the resulting protests by said employees has drawn national -- even international -- attention. The Wisconsin Club for Growth has been running an advertisement on TV urging viewers to call Republican Representative Van Wangaard to tell him to support Walker's bill (which seems to have unanimous Republican support, including that of Tea Partisan Wangaard, anyway).
The ad shows glum farmers and laborers with headlines about how workers were forced to make concessions at Mercury Marine, Harley Davidson, and other Wisconsin businesses which had threatened to move out of state otherwise. The voice-over announcer then complains that state workers haven't had to share the pain (it's not easy to move the state out of state) by surrendering their benefits packages "like the rest of us."
"All across Wisconsin, people are making sacrifices to save their jobs: frozen wages, pay cuts and paying more for health care. But state workers haven't had to sacrifice; they pay next to nothing for their pensions and a fraction of their health care. It's not fair. Call your state legislators and tell them to vote for Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill. It's time state employees paid their fair share, just like the rest of us."
If there were truth in advertising, the Club for Growth would have had to say "like the rest of you," but the Club are not sticklers for detail.
Nor is Governor Walker, when he pretends that his bill is all about fixing the hole in the state budget* and not about busting unions. Included in the bill are provisions freeing employees from having to pay union dues and forcing unions to let workers vote annually on whether to keep the union around. Those provisions have nothing whatsoever to do with the state budget and everything to do with breaking up the unions.
For today at least, Republican plans to grease the skids on the decline and fall of the middle class have been foiled by Democrats in the state senate absconding out of state to deny a quorum. That will only work so long. I wait with baited breath to find out what their Plan B is.
* About that "hole in the budget": As the Capital Times points out, the previous (Democratic) legislature had made the tough decisions to balance the budget, but Governor Walker
"and legislators aligned with him have over the past month given away special-interest favors to every lobby group that came asking, creating zero jobs in the process 'but increasing the deficit by more than $100 million.'"
(quoting Madison representative Brett Hulsey)