Hats off to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker on his victory in Tuesday's recall election. I say this not because I am a Republican. I am not. In fact, I find much of their current agenda extreme in its callousness to the growing divide between the prosperous few and the beleaguered middle class. I dislike their injection of evangelical overtones that would impose on the private interest. I could go on.
I just happen to admire the governor for standing tall. He never flinched or played the expedience game as most politicians do. Apparently, many Wisconsin voters agreed, the governor winning by a hefty seven percent margin in what was supposed to be a close election.
At the heart of my relief are two factors: the first, the threat recall elections pose to the democratic process; the second, the heavy toll on federal and state budget deficits inflated by rising pension and health care costs for those in the public sector. In parody of Shakespeare, I would suggest that public workers protest too much.
In the first instance, I have posted previously (see Aug.11, 2011) on the threat recall elections pose to political stability. I abhor recall petitions for a recall and hence overturning of an election. Truth is, Wisconsin has already suffered several recall elections that included a judge, who also survived. It amounts to government by the mob. Don't like a decision? Then throw the bum out. It hasn't anything to do with criminality. Nor are we in a town meeting at the local courthouse.
In the second instance, I have always been ambivalent about unions. My dad always feared a union takeover where he worked. For him, unions brought strife.
As a teen, I refused my first job in a supermarket, since they required union membership. I didn't like a policy abrogating choice. I found it un-American and still do.
Here in Kentucky, Toyota workers have consistently shunned union representation. They are remunerated well, whether in pay or other benefits. They know the score.
Unions decry the loss of manufacturing jobs to other countries when the truth is their incessant greed has increasingly infringed upon profitability margins for the entrepreneur. Consumers themselves will choose lower prices over nationalism when pushing comes to shove. Have unions not learned from the likes of box stores such as Walmart?
Unions cost local economies. Consider Boeing in Seattle, where my son-in-law works. Because of inveterate union demands, particularly on the part of the Machinist Union, Boeing recently opted for a new assembly plant in South Carolina. Let me tell you, Boeing workers are hardly underpaid.
When it comes to pensions for public workers, why should they be endowed with 30-year pensions in the first place? The vast majority of us have to work into our sixties, if we're able to retire even then. In Kentucky, nearly a third of teachers retiring in their early fifties return to the job they supposedly retired from.
I can see thirty year pensions for those in risk occupations: military, police and fire workers, though disability benefits need greater monitoring in the latter occupations.
And why shouldn't workers such as teachers and those in federal, state, and local government contribute more to their health and retirement costs? The rest of us do. Note that I say this, even though my wife is a teacher.
Why should we have to pay for them, resulting in increasing cutbacks in other areas, ironically, including education and government?
No longer can the public support these lavish payouts. At present, only two states are solvent when it comes to pension funding. The other states are in the hock for billions. Some of them face insolvency, complicated by the downturn in the economy and decreased tax revenue.
This is why Scott Walker won.
I am glad he won.