Posts Tagged 'kingmakers'

The Inevitable Wisconsin

by Hans Moleman

In the words of Young Frankenstein’s Inspector Kemp, “A riot iss an ogly think.”  So is the Wisconsin shootout; ugly – but inevitable.

The unions had to be expecting a tough time with their new Governor Walker. No doubt they anticipated a difficult negotiation – “hard bargaining”, as the governor cut labor costs to balance the budget.  Instead, they found themselves facing political forces who actually intend to put an end to them.

Unions have always decried every effort to rollback labor costs or union power as “union-busting.” Now their past rhetorical excesses have caught up with them, as they confront the real thing.  (Cf “Wolf, the Boy who Cried…”)

At first it looked as if Walker was indeed bargaining hard.  Rolling back pensions, increasing employee contributions, and making labor accept it as a compromise by agreeing not to end collective bargaining outright.  And there would be the peace, as Don Barzini would say.

Well, gentlemen may cry “peace, peace,” but there is no peace.  Before it could be seen if Walker was a “let’s make a deal” type, Democrats abandoned the state and the unions seized the Capitol to bully the governor and Republicans. They in turn found a parliamentary bypass and passed the bill to strip bargaining rights. The budget, with its real benefit reductions and budget cuts is still pending.  But the unions appear to have used up most of their ammo, so their hopes cannot be high.

The fight was foreordained, if not in Wisconsin then somewhere nearby.  Since the 1930’s, unions have struggled over their relation to politics, politicians, and especially political parties.  Early on it came down to a simple question: whether to seek friends in both parties, or to throw in wholeheartedly with the Democrats. Continue reading ‘The Inevitable Wisconsin’

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