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Apparently, Barack Obama, who characterized the bill as an “assault on unions,” along with his organized labor allies, see the handwriting on the wall. According to Fox News, “the president and his political machine are offering tactical support” to the public service unions. Labor leaders are using $30 million “to stop anti-labor measures in Wisconsin and 10 other states.” “I think it’s a clear message,” said AFL-CIO political director Karen Ackerman. “If you take on middle-class people and try to solve the budget crises on their backs, there’s a price to pay. Many thousands of people will be energized to fight back.”
“Middle class” may be somewhat euphemistic. At a March 2, 2010 meeting of the Milwaukee School Board, Deb Wegner, Manager of Financial Planning in that city, revealed the 2011 average annual teacher salary in that city was $56,500. Their benefits package raises that total to $100,005. The average median income in Milwaukee from 2006-2008, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, was just over $19,000.
As for “fighting back,” it apparently eludes both the president and labor leaders that the “shellacking” Democrats and, by extension, their public union alliances enduring during the 2010 election, was the epitome of fighting back–by a public sick and tired of subsidizing people who make higher wages and have better benefit packages than they do. And as labor leaders themselves have indicated, this battle will not be confined to Wisconsin.
Nor is the battle confined to the states. In Washington, D.C., House Republicans have passed a bill to run the federal government through the fall containing $61 billion in cuts. Yet despite a projected record-setting deficit of $1.6 trillion, Democrats in the House and Senate overwhelmingly oppose the cuts, and the president has promised to veto the bill if it reaches his desk.
All of these developments indicate America is heading for an “all in” election in 2012. Democrats will continue to support their failed Keynesian economic model, budget-busting public service unions, and a democracy-be-damned-when-it-doesn’t-go-our-way attitude illustrated by Wisconsin Senate Democrats, who literally fled the state in order to prevent a vote on the reform package. Toward this end, they will employ all the tactics currently being displayed in Wisconsin: noisy demonstrations, along with hate-filled posters, such as the ones currently referring to Governor Walker as “Hitler,” the “Midwest Mussolini, ” “mini-Mubarak,” “Hosni Walker,” a “terrorist” and a “rapist” of public employees. As in Wisconsin, they will picket the private residences and businesses of politicians in an attempt to intimidate them. Many public employees will abandon their jobs to demonstrate, or possibly stage strikes, “sickouts” (many schools in Wisconsin have been closed for three days due to a teacher “shortage”), or work “slowdowns” (reminiscent of New York’s recent snow removal fiasco), to vent their frustration.
All of these tactics are premised on the idea that such thinking can capture a majority of the electorate in 2012. More likely, it represents the same arrogance which alienated Americans in 2010. It is an arrogance best exemplified by the president himself, whose promises to “bring Americans together” and get deficit spending “under control” are empty and fraudulent. It is the arrogance of a Democratic Party which continues to demonstrate its belief that taxpayers are little more than inexhaustible ATMs which can be “stimulated” into funding progressive ambitions, completely irrespective of fiscal reality. And it is the arrogance of public employee unions who believe they can browbeat Americans to get what they “deserve,” without regard to the public’s wishes–or their votes.
The bet here is a majority of that public will–once again–reject such arrogance in 2012.
Arnold Ahlert is a contributing columnist to the conservative website JewishWorldReview.com.
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