The protests by public employees in Madison, WI against the prudent efforts of Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin's Republican majority legislature are not surprising. At the outset, I want to say that since I work at a state university, I consider myself a public employee. Thankfully, I am not unionized and my annual compensation rate is determined by the degree of meritorious performance and I recognize the acute budget problems states such as Wisconsin face are due to excess spending. Sadly, many public employees in Wisconsin and elsewhere consider it their divine right to have extravagant benefit packages to their employment compensation and believe they should be lavishly compensated even in the midst of acute fiscal crises. I believe public employees should be treated fairly in their work and that conservatives should appreciate those in this segment of the workforce, but Wisconsin's leaders must stand firm and implement the reforms necessary to solve their state's economic problems.
Calvin Coolidge said there is no right to strike against the public safety and his declaration rings true nearly a century later. Self-serving teachers are depriving children of the need to learn the skills to be productive members of a global 21st century economy. These teachers place the "sacrament of collective bargaining" on a higher level then responsible conduct and educating Wisconsin's children and young adults. Individual workers, if given the chance will perform responsibly and can negotiate fairer contracts and working conditions for themselves, than money grubbing and class warfare infested union bosses whose knowledge of personal and societal economics equals Charlie Sheen's knowledge of sobriety and chastity. Wisconsin's Democratic Senators, instead of engaging in principled intellectual disagreement with these Republican reform proposals, flee like craven cowards to Illinois and make it legally impossible for Wisconsin's Senate to enact these reforms. There should be laws to punish legislators who refuse to carry out their constitutional duty to vote on legislation and refuse to let the public's business be fulfilled.
It will be a tough challenge to restore fiscal solvency to federal, state, and local governments who have spent like drunken sailors and planned prudently or saved for rainy days. What's happening in Wisconsin will determine if we can actually impose discipline on government or if we will be ruled by thuggish union bosses and their Democratic compatriots who are more concerned with preserving their coercive power than protecting the interests of their workers or promoting public fiscal solvency.