Tuesday, June 5, 2012

recall governor walker

Unlike many voters, I am not a die-hard of the party I am registered with (in my case, that would be the Democrat Party).

For starters, I am not pro-choice.  I think both extremes are freaking insane in the gun control debate.  I strongly believe in the current efforts to bring austerity to our local, state, and federal governments.  (Especially at the federal level.  Five more months folks!  Five more months until this nation says “no mas!” to out of control spending, trillion dollar deficits, and the expansion of the welfare state to Western European levels!  Yes we can (get rid of Obama!)  Yes!  We!  Can!!!)

(And in case you think this is just an anti-Obama feeling ... no less a person than the most successful President of the last twenty five years is running around informing folks in Romney's campaign that "you have six months to save this country".  When Bill Clinton is running around scared about a future under this guy, and last time I checked, the Clinton years were pretty prosperous and actually had a net positive effect on the Treasury, I tend to listen.)

Let me admit up front: for the most part, I support Governor Walker’s efforts in Wisconsin.  I firmly believe in the words of Abraham Lincoln (and Bill Clinton) when it comes to government involvement in my life: “I believe government should only do for the people, what they cannot better do for themselves”.

And it is for that reason, that I support the recall against Governor Walker.  I support austerity.  I do not support Governor Walker’s war on public sector unions.

I feel very strongly about this – I am the son of a public sector union member.  Two of them, in fact – my dad was in the postal workers union (at least until becoming a member of management), my mom a member of the NEA for thirty plus years.  Governor Walker’s rationale that union employees earn more than non-union employees, is absolutely right.  It’s his intense desire to end that, that so infuriates me.

How dare you sir?  How DARE you seek to lower the quality of life for millions of citizens, rather than seek to raise the quality of life for all citizens?  This, at its most basic, is why I could never be a Republican.  They’re a party for whom the solution to everything is to either (a) lower the tax burden on the most well-off among us, or (b) balance the budget by taking from the poorest among us.

As noted before, I am the son of two public sector union workers.  It is solely because of their hard work … and their union bosses and fellow employees fighting for better wages, better benefits, better working conditions, that I was able to enjoy the upbringing that I had.  That I had a world of opportunities opened to me.  I may have botched most of those opportunities, but at least I had them.

To see the Republicans assault on unions, quite honestly, disgusts me, because they can’t even be honest about why they’re so adamant on dismantling public sector unions.  Look it, let’s just be honest here – most union workers (and especially their bosses) tend to vote Democrat.  They tend to give to Democrats.  What Governor Walker did, sure, was an attempt to balance the Wisconsin budget by using the two typical tools Republicans use … but if he’d stopped there, at cutting the top tax bracket rate and requiring union employees to contribute more to their health care and pension?  I was (and am) totally on board with that.  If private sector employees are expected to swallow wage freezes, increased benefit costs, and changing working conditions, then I’m fine with public sector employees suffering the same.

But to go further, and stop allowing automatic collection of union dues?  To revoke public unions right to collectively bargain?  How does that balance the budget, Scotty?  What the hell does a union collecting dues have to do with your $1.6 billion budget deficit getting bridged?

The obvious answer, of course, is that it doesn’t.  It’s just the latest battle in the Republican war on unions, a disgusting war that needs to end yesterday.

Here’s an idea Scotty – if you need additional sources of revenue?  If you need to raise some funds to balance your budget?  How about you target the most politically active non-profit agency(s) in America today, and that is the Church.  Both AME churches (ATM machines for Democrats) and evangelical churches (ATM machines for Republicans) are anything but non-political.  Make them pay for their sins by taxing them on their profits, by taxing their lay persons’ salaries.

I know, I know, that sounds outrageous, right?  Because no matter how partisan the preacher and his pulpit are, there would be public outrage over taxing churches, and deservedly so.  The outrage you might feel reading my belief that the time has come to tax these political organizations fronting as religious outfits?  Is how I feel about Governor Walker’s attempt (fairly successful so far) to destroy public unions in his state (and no doubt, inspire other Republican leaders to attempt to do so on a national level.)

Public unions are not the enemy, Scotty.  Rather, they are made up of your fellow citizens, your fellow members of government.  They’re made up of hard-working, dedicated employees who make a difference in the everyday life of everyone they have an interaction with.  To treat these people as second-class citizens, to view them as the problem?  Is outrageous.  Absolutely outrageous.

And it is why, if I had a vote today in Wisconsin, my vote would be for Mayor Barrett to replace you.  You went too far sir.  You made this personal.  You’re attempting to right the state’s wrongs by punishing the very people you are counting on to make the austerity measures work.  For that reason alone, you don’t deserve a second term, let alone the opportunity to serve out your first.

(Oh who am I kidding, of course I voted today in Wisconsin.  I do have a D on my voter card, after all, and last time I checked, Ed Schultz was reporting 119% turnout in Madison.  (stevo with befuddled look on his face.)  Uuh, how do you get above 100% turnout unless you’re cheating?!?! …

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