Friday, February 18, 2011

Wisco Wisco Wisco

Read this article about Wisconsin

25,000 people protested at the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin.  The protesters were gathering in an attempt so show disapproval with the new governor of Wisconsin's plan to change collective bargaining rights of public employees.  In effect, he would be breaking up unions, and decreasing their ability to negotiate with the people they work for. This is part of the plan to reduce the deficit in Wisconsin. 

I am interested in seeing how this plays out in Wisconsin, because I think it will influence other state's budget decisions.  I think unions are an important force in any industry, and throughout history they have represented the middle class- people who are struggling to keep their head above the water as it is. Although I do believe that we need to face the budget defecit, I hardly think challenging unions was a good idea on the Governors part.  The idea of challenging unions seems silly, they know how to organize and they represent thousands of middle class just seems like a recipe for a giant protest on the capital, especially in Madison - with the University of Wisconsin and thousands of students and teachers present. I wish that our government could come up with answers that don't strangle the middle class, because they are essentially what keeps our country running.

Here is a quote from the article I liked:
But Wisconsin's greatest governor, Robert M. La Follette, declared: ""We have long rested comfortably in this country upon the assumption that because our form of government was democratic, it was therefore automatically producing democratic results. Now, there is nothing mysteriously potent about the forms and names of democratic institutions that should make them self-operative. Tyranny and oppression are just as possible under democratic forms as under any other. We are slow to realize that democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle. It is only as those of every generation who love democracy resist with all their might the encroachments of its enemies that the ideals of representative government can even be nearly approximated."


  1. I talked to my dad today about this. He thinks the states budget debt isn't crazily out of hand (as say, the National debt is). He pointed out, "I have a debt too with my mortgage, but I pay that debt with what revenue I make". I can't back up with cold hard facts the problem Wisconsin faces, but maybe it should take a little longer for discussion than a few days.

  2. Katie, the more I read about it the less I like. I understand the need to decrease the debt in wisco. His plan is to increase the amount they pay for their health insurance and pension, this makes sense and may not be the end of the world for these folks. But, I am confused about the other part of the bill- stripping their rights to collective bargaining. How does that help decrease debt? Collective bargaining gives the workers the ability to negotiate with the managers, I feel the importance of this cannot be understated. Without the ability to negotiate with their employers, I think the "higher-ups" in the chain of command gain all of the freedom at the expense of the workers. I am afraid these new Republican leaders will use the massive debt and budget crisis as a way to sneak in and take power out of the hands of those who are, historically, against them- like unions. By pushing it through as a neccessary measure to balance the budget they are able to convince people that it is helping the state. Meanwhile taking power away from unions is something the Republicans have been eager to do since unions were formed. I have heard these referred to as "bait and switch" tactics, they convince people that the things that disenfranchise them most, are the things they should vote for, by tacking them on to bills that appear to be helpful. We need solutions to the budget that don't harm the working class and that don't give excessive power to the owners and managers, this seems to both simultaneously! Well I hope that isn't too confusing. You are right I think this needs more discussion, but today I read the governor is not going to back down. Yesterday there were 68,000 people at the protest! I guess we will see what happens when the Dems come back to the capital!

  3. Not confusing at all. Thanks Lauren.

    His next step for fixing the budget is much scarier.