March 17, 2011
What has happened in Wisconsin?
Everyone seems to know but me. The liberal media knows it was “union busting” and an assault on the middle class. The neo-conservative media knows it was “budget balancing” and a defense of fairness between privatized workers as opposed to bloated government benefits. The neutral network knew it needed a reporter there but didn’t know why.
A fellow down the way who was for years required to pay into a union against his will knows that forced representation needed to end. Another acquaintance of mine knows that without the unions, he would have gotten but one lavatory break every eight hours and no pension at all.
Half the economists wrote articles that Wisconsin is bankrupt and in the hole for $3 billion dollars. The other half reported that Wisconsin has a surplus of several million dollars.
Recently I read that the absentee legislators considered for weeks a return to the Capitol building because they knew they made their point with The People, but also because they knew they were in a weak position and lost the fight.
I also read that they never intended to return, and that these on-the-run representatives decided to stand pat until hell froze over or ice melted in the Wisconsin winter.
Radio pranksters knew they could get the governor into trouble if they recorded him secretly. A corpulent purportedly anti-capitalist super-capitalist knew he could sell his next film if he could get up and slobber out a rousing-enough speech.
The fireman and police unions knew that even if the governor hadn”t targeted them this time, they”d be mowed down later if they didn”t stand up now.
Everyone knows it needed to be a front-page story above the fold and everyone knows it needed to lead off the nightly news block for the first full hour.
As I say, everyone knows but me.
What I suspect is that as in all things political, there is more than meets the eye. As Joe Kennedy said long ago, “There are no accidents in politics.”
Ostensibly, an observer would readily assent that unions ought to pay a fair share for healthcare, that no one ought be forced into an association which they resist, and that collective bargaining may indeed be a detriment to budget balancing which threatens states” solvency nationwide.
Less easily observable are matters which appear but fleetingly. A college-dropout politician is supported by some of the nation’s wealthiest industrialists (not just the Kochs), and he made his name as County Executive by privatizing Milwaukee security guards over the strenuous objections of its County Board.