Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Three Myths The Mainstream Media Wants You To Believe About Wisc. Union Battle

Myth #1: The legislation before the state senate would take away all collective bargaining for public sector unions.

Whether you agree or disagree philosophically with the idea of public sector unions possessing the so-called "right" to collectively bargain, the perception that has been pushed in the media is that Gov. Scott Walker is seeking to abolish all collective bargaining. That is simply not true. The proposal would keep in place the ability for public sectors to bargain in regards to their wages, despite the fact they are already receiving a dream boat deal in regards to their defined-benefit pensions and their health care premiums. The idea that they still have ability to get more tax payer money into their pay checks, yet union leaders are claiming foul play (might have something to do with the fact that in Wisconsin, dues our deducted automatically out of workers paychecks and go toward union political operations to elect public officials more favorable in negotiations), shows the growing arrogance of public sector union structure.

Myth #2: This fight over collective bargaining is not really about the budget, but rather "union busting" on the part of conservatives.

This has to be the most outrageous of the narrative beginning to take hold in the mainstream media. As Gov. Scott Walker has articulated, time after time in each and every interview he has done up until this point, this is about untying the hands of local municipalities, who must balance their very own budgets at the local level and negotiate their own contracts with the public sector unions. This is one of the reasons I remain pretty skeptical about the so-called concessions offered up by Wisconsin state union leaders. As the state moves in the right direction towards fiscal responsibility and closing their 3.7 billion dollar deficit (yes that's billion with a b), state funding to local municipalities is logically going to lessen. Under these tight financial constraints, local municipalities will have to find a way to cut costs. Don't believe that? Look at Gov. Mitch Daniels record of fiscal restraint in Indiana. He chose to limit collective bargaining in his state by executive order in his first year in office. Gov. Daniels turned a 600 million dollar deficit into a budget surplus of 370 million dollars, in just one year. In his second term as governor, he has amassed an Indiana state rainy day fund of over 800 million dollars. That's leadership. By limiting collective bargaining, municipalities will be able to have the power and tools they need to lower costs and get the state finances right on track. After all, Scott Walker would know. He was a county executive.

Myth #3: State Senators hiding out in neighboring states is just....fine!?!

Apparently the media has decided that it's okay to block democracy. It's okay to mitigate the results of an election. While yes, I'll concede that there have been a couple of questions here or there about the behavior of those 14 Democratic state senators who fled Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago in order to avoid a vote on the proposal in question (and who still have not returned), the lack of media attention has been jaw-dropping. Why has their not been outrage over this blatant disrespect to a fundamental principle to this county? Democracy means playing in the arena. It means elections. It means that you argue your point of view, you take a vote, and you either win or you lose. Can you imagine if it had been conservative Republican state lawmakers that had fled the state? There would have been pure outcry by the mainstream media and liberal cable outlets. But nothing. Barely a whisper. But that's not what I'm worried about. We should all be cognisant of the dangerous precedent that has been set by these irresponsible lawmakers. The precedent of whenever one side simply disagrees with the other side and a policy that they are about to enact, they stop debating, they don't vote. They just leave. Like small children trying to get their way. The minority, after the democratic process of elections, halts the entire process. This is dangerous thing to do on both sides, and I would be just as critical if Republicans did it. Oh, and the final straw for me? They still have the audacity to take tax payer money for their pay check. I guess it is no surprise that these lawmakers staunchly support the public unions and their willingness to grab more of our tax payer dollars.

My personal opinion, I think that Scott Walker has the right idea. Almost. I think for the next couple of years this steps are needed to restore fiscal sanity. But I generally don't agree with totally doing away with collective bargaining. I think Gov. Walker should some leadership, and take into close counsel what some of the Republicans in the legislature have considered. The idea of a sunset provision, essentially putting an expiration date on the bill and its effects on the unions. And then approach it again in a couple of years. That's compromise. That's governing.

Fellow Red Light District readers, I ask you to find the facts for yourself and question, question, question, the mainstream media constantly. There's bias in everything, including my posts, so it's important that we as citizens take in as much information as possible and evaluate the sources of that information.Whether it be ABC News, or CNN , or Fox News, it's up to us to find the truth and come to our own conclusion, whatever they may be.


  1. Geoffrey, I completely agree with your opinion (however strange that may be). I think it is important for all Americans to realize our current form of Democracy is NOT cost efficient. When hard times hit, people have to pull up their boot straps and do without for a while. I understand that Unions in the North play a more critical role in the workplace than they do in the south, but I do not see Unions as a critical element of a good and efficient government. There are plenty of other things that the government needs to put money into in order to keep this country afloat. Walker has given up significant amounts of his own paycheck back to the state, so why can't Union's downsize their power?
    I think that this argument in Wisconsin has been portrayed poorly by the media as well. This argument is not black vs. white. Both the Union and Walker have a similar motive: to provide for the people. The Unions are looking at it from the workers perspective and are thinking about "how will money get spent, how will families be provided for, and how will the economy stay afloat if workers have less money to spend when the American dollar is losing its value?" Meanwhile, Walker knows if he does not cut budgets just a little bit, so many people will have no money at all to provide for themselves or their families. This is a tough decision with no easy answer, but I am saddened by the fact that the debate has succumbed to this childish behavior.
    Here is some food for thought. It has been proven time and time again that strong governments arise when their country is in financial trouble. Strong governments usually rescue their country from poverty. Strong governments often times do not return the rights of the people they usurped, even after the economy has stabilized, without significant force.
    Now for the serious questions: Should over a thousand people lose everything just because a lot of people don’t want to lose a little? Is it better for a lot of people to keep what they have so they are able to financially help the relatively few who lose it all? Will the American government usurp too much of the people’s power as the financial crisis continues? Is challenging the power of the Unions trying to take away too much? Will the American government return the powers it might possibly take away from the people once the economy stabilizes? Or will it be like so many other governments and continue to inflate its power? How can the people make an appeal to ANY government for the preservation of their rights, when every time there is a controversy people in this nation tend resort to childish behaviors?

  2. Those are all very important questions. I think a lot of it has to do with a fundamental structural problem of a number of institutions in the U.S., that lead to powerful interests as well as structural deficits. Thanks for agreeing with me, I don't think it's too strange haha.