Friday, February 18, 2011

Heartening signs

It is with hope and joy that I witness the many public protests for fair and honest democracy breaking out around the world in the wake of the successful Egyptian "re-alignment" (revolution is perhaps too strong of a word).

Look at what is happening in down-trodden places ruled by corrupt, selfish plutocrats, like Tunisia, Libya, and Wisconsin.

Police showing solidarity
Senate Dems aren’t too worried about the police tracking them down. The police are showing solidarity, including handing out bratwurst to the protesters.

And we have reports of the revolt spreading to Ohio:

Protests spreading to Ohio
Wisconsin is just where this fight is starting, but it does not end here. In Ohio, 5,000 protesters are descending on the state Capitol in building in Columbus to fight against a bill that would wipe out their collective bargaining rights. Newly elected Republican Governors and legislatures are trying to break unions in several states:


Our hopes and dreams are with you, freedom fighters! Those of us living in civilized countries cannot wait to welcome your nations to the community of the free and the just!

3 comments:

E.M. Cadwaladr said...

The collective bargaining rights that are being threatened in Wisconsin and Ohio are not exactly the collective bargaining rights of downtrodden coal miners singing Woody Gutrie songs. They are the "rights" of state employees, members of ASCME and other public servers workers unions. Wisconsin and Ohio both have budget deficits in the billions, and are having a hard time maintaining state services. The states can either raise taxes, fire people, or cut benefits -- the last they cannot do under the current set of contracts.

Democrats, however, have chosen to pretend that this is a general attack on the unions by the heartless lackies of big business. In fact, the heartless lackies of big business don't really have much choice at this point. They could fire people instead, I guess, or drive people and businesses out of state by raising taxes. Unlike the Feds, they can't just print more money.

e.m. cadwaladr

MCPlanck said...

Apparently part of the hole in Wisconsin's budget is because of tax reductions passed just a few months ago. So its not so much "raising taxes" as it is "restoring them to what they were a few months ago." And the idea that driving up taxes the 1% necessary to fix their budget will drive people and business out of the state is overblown. Isn't it equally likely that cutting wages for public employees will drive quality employees out of public service? Don't the conservatives preach "you get what you pay for," and then reduce pay for public employees, and then complain about what they get?

But that aside - the reason Democrats are painting this as an attack on unions is because the bill contains language crippling the unions permanently. In fact, one of the compromises being floated is a modification to the bill that would allow collective bargaining again in a year or two. So the idea that legislature needs to destroy the unions in order to save the budget is just false (there is no factual support for the claim that union negotiations created the budget hole); they could do something temporary if they wanted to. But they don't want to.

What is in operation here is the implicit assumption that government cannot do anything good. Under that understanding, of course public employees should get paid less - they're worthless anyway! It seems to be this ideological principle, and not pragmatism, that is driving the Wisconsin debate.

In any case, I really meant it as a joke, because the headlines look like something out of a 3rd world nation. :D

Anonymous said...

(Testing to see that anonymous posting works)