The following is an e-mail sent to me from my conservative acquaintance, Paula, who so often manages to eloquently state what many of us feel. With the upcoming June 5th recall elections looming on the horizon, her write-up is timely and very thought-provoking. Thanks, Paula, for allowing me to share your observations (yet again) in this blog post:
Hey All -
For those of us that live in Wisconsin, the recall of Scott Walker is all about the unions. It was the unions, AFSCME and WEAC primarily that were the major force behind the protests and occupation of our state capitol. I can personally attest to the rhetoric and organizers behind the capitol protests as I made numerous personal visits during the height of the mayhem. AFL-CIO 18 wheelers were prominently parked on the capitol square during those crazy months. They wanted their presence felt - looming and dangerous – “don't screw with us” looks on their faces. The outcry by those at these mob scenes was almost always laced with “Scott Walker took away our collective bargaining rights” and “Walker is against the working man,” and, of course, “Walker is in the back pocket of big corporations.”
The tantrum that is the left's recall is now in full retreat. Tom Barrett, who just won the Democratic primary to face Scott Walker in June for the recall general election, is distancing himself from the unions. The union-backed candidate, Kathleen Falk, not only lost soundly but lost by 31 points (62 Barrett - 31 Falk) in her own liberal district. Ms. Falk signed onto a pledge to - if elected - not sign a state budget until full collective bargaining privileges (not rights) were restored. Well you can see how popular that message was received. The residents of Wisconsin have been living with the Act 10 changes for long enough to see the veil pulled back from the steel hold the unions had on the taxpayers of this state. They screamed that Walkers reforms would ruin schools, class sizes would rise. there would be massive layoffs - it would harm the kids!
The reality of the situation is much different. Most school districts in the state are in a better financial position than ever. There were no mass layoffs, class sizes were not increased and programs were not cut - FACTS. Oh wait, yes all these thing did come to pass in the districts that rushed to sign contracts before Act 10 went into effect. Milwaukee, Kenosha, and Janesville all are seeing the results of NOT reforming as Walker offered. In fact, MPS twice went to it's teacher union and almost begged that they give some concessions in order to keep over 400 teachers - the teachers refused to pay anything toward their health insurance and make a contribution to their own pensions - therefore forcing the layoff of of course the newest teachers and increasing class sizes and cutting programs. Yea - it's all about the kids.
Don't even get me started on the WEA Trust Health insurance scam - someone should go to jail for that fiasco in my opinion. Needless to say at last count the taxpayers have saved tens of millions of dollars by simply not being forced as a condition of collective bargaining to use the insurance company founded by the teachers union. FYI - WEA Trust's revenue declined by $70 million since the implementation of Act 10.
I close by letting you in on a little-reported secret - Tom Barrett refused to be seen on stage at a unity rally after his win in the primary with union leaders. Really, I wonder why Mr. Barrett wants to distance himself from WEAC and ASFME? He know it is a losing issue - so Mr. Barrett is doing what we expect - smearing, lying, embellishing and changing the subject in his campaign. Sad really.
If we the taxpayers of this state are going to spend over $18 million dollars (latest estimate by the Government Accountability Board) to unseat Scott Walker, can we at least have a good reason why? The new projection just released shows that at the end of the two year budget cycle enacted by Governor Walker, the state should be in the black by $154 million, instead of the $3.6 billion dollar hole left by Doyle and the Democratic controlled assembly, and the best part is that our taxes were not jacked up and our schools are in better shape then when we started this madness.
So WHY recall Walker???
If anyone can answer this question with a thoughtful, logical argument I will forward it on to the list* - something I have never done –
I dare you to try.
*Paula has a large group e-mail list of fellow conservatives (yours truly included) to which she sends her observations on the political scene in the state and nationally. It is a priviledge for me to be included as one of her e-mail co-horts.