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Wisconsin voters rejected the teachers unions’ agenda when they elected a Republican governor and gave the GOP a majority in both houses of the legislature. Walker promised that he would fix the state’s budget mess and, clearly, there is no way that he could do that without addressing teacher pensions and health care plans. Soon after he was sworn into office, he asked teachers to contribute more of their paycheck to cover their pensions and to insurance costs. The teachers’ union, used to getting its way in every particular, demonized Walker and his plan. Had the union accepted the governor’s proposal then, it’s very unlikely that Walker would have felt the need to drop the other shoe. But, as was the case in New Jersey, the Wisconsin teachers union has been able to make legislators dance to their tune for so long that even losing an election in one of the most left-leaning states in the Midwest didn’t make them wonder if they weren’t quite as powerful as they used to be.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie showed the way. Christie’s brilliance was that he stayed on point: he made sure that his constituents knew that he wasn’t anti-teacher, but that he was rather working to reign in a bloated, arrogant and out of control union. Driving that wedge in between teachers and union leaders made all the difference, because most of the public is sympathetic to teachers and the work they do, but a growing segment of the populace is waking up to the role that government employee unions have played in creating the fiscal crisis we find ourselves in. Like Christie, Walker went for the jugular after the union blew off his original proposal. Now, entirely belatedly, the union says that it’s OK with increased employee contributions, but taking away mandatory union membership and mandatory union dues is just too much.
Walker’s proposal appears to have the votes to pass both chambers in Wisconsin, which explains why all fourteen Democratic Senators in the state are effectively in hiding. At least one Democrat has to show up for the Wisconsin State Senate to field a quorum and to thus be able to pass the bill. To prevent passage, the state’s Democrat Senators decided that a leave of absence was in order. “It’s kind of unbelievable that they’re elected to do a job and they wouldn’t show up to do it,” Republican state Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald told Fox News.
The possibility that there could be a federal government shutdown if Republicans play hard-ball with the budget enrages many of the left. Yet, here we have duly elected representatives of the people of Wisconsin refusing to do the job that they were elected to do and are paid to do, and nobody on the left seems to care. That’s another bit of evidence to add to the hypocrisy file, demonstrating once again that the left operates with one puritanical set of standards that apply to those of us who disagree with them, but are perfectly willing to toss those standards out of the window when a pet cause of theirs is involved.
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