When a newspaper as middle-of-the-road as the Oshkosh Northwestern publishes the following sort of editorial, emphasizing the political dimensions of Governor Walker’s attempt to destroy public employee unions, you can be pretty sure that something is mighty malodorous in Madison – something that can be smelled all the way to Oshkosh and beyond. This gives me a (perhaps unwarranted) glimmer of hope that the bill may not pass as written-
The problem with Gov. Scott Walker’s state budget repair bill isn’t what it ends, but what it begins. If it ended at simply requiring public employees in Wisconsin to pay a higher share of health insurance and pension costs, it would be a tough, but reasonable and appropriate response to a projected $3.6 billion budget deficit.
Truth be told, the bill is the beginning of an effort to roll back the right of workers. Its lesser-known provisions set a dangerous precedent for granting the executive branch broad emergency powers where an emergency does not exist. The speed in which the bill is heading from proposal to adoption is also of concern. It is slated for a vote Thursday, just six days after it was released to the public. The fact that a national special interest group, The Club for Growth, began broadcasting ads in support of the proposal at the same time the bill was released shows that this is not a homegrown effort to fix Wisconsin’s problems, but an orchestrated, ideologically driven campaign.
The Wisconsin State Legislature needs to begin acting like an independent branch of government capable of exercising checks and balances on the executive branch. It appears the Republican legislative leadership is intent on repeating the mistakes of Democratic leaders, who were swept out of office in November, in pursuing an ideological agenda disconnected from common sense.
Read the whole thing here.