Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wisconsin Union Fiasco

Just as in most problems we face in this complicated time in which we live, the current governmental financial crisis we face will only be fairly dealt with and solved by compromise on both sides of the debate.

The current plan, or lack thereof, in Wisconsin is a dramatic example of how many regular citizens don’t get involved in the political fray until the system has run amuck. Even though many Americans don’t often publicly voice confidence in their governmental officials they none-the-less expect that although there may be vociferous debate between opposing political philosophies, compromise will somehow forge a workable plan. When one side or the other attempts to implement change that represents the extreme ideas of their parties and force their will on their political opponents real people are affected by these changes and are shaken from their sleepy lives to rise up in defense of their way of life.

When Governor Walker and the Republican House in Wisconsin attempted to strip unions of their right to collective bargaining they drew a line in the sand that showed all working people that the government was taking over the workplaces of the state. First dismantling public sector unions and then attacking the private sector unions as well. Even when the unions agreed to the demands that the Republican controlled legislature and the governor had originally proposed it was deemed not enough. They (the governor and the legislature) felt they had the unions on the ropes and now was the time to go for the jugular.

That’s when the working people of Wisconsin (both union and non-union) realized that the fight to strip them of their right to collective bargaining was the real goal all along. When the people became aware of this they rose up in numbers that no one had expected and descended on the state capitol. The silent majority may have been in favor of tough negotiations with the public sector unions but they were aware that the ultimate answer is a compromise where each side makes some concessions, not a policy where one side sets all the rules and the other has to take it or leave it.

The current problems facing states and cities/towns across America is a direct result of the national recession caused mainly by unscrupulous investors and corporations not the working man or woman of this country. The federal government cut taxes to everyone, including the richest 1% of Americans, at the expense of federal money going to the states to help subsidize education and many of the social programs that comprise the safety net for those who haven’t the resources to fend for themselves. This fiscal reduction to the states forced most of them to severely cut the amount of aid they were previously providing the cities and towns. Having no one on whom to pawn off their lack of funds the cities and towns were forced to lay off workers, cut their budgets for necessary services and raise their property taxes.

The only way to fix this problem is via a combination of cutting unnecessary or wasteful governmental spending and increasing governmental revenues – at least temporarily. This wasn’t wholly created by overspending; underfunding necessary programs and services (and pawning off the responsibility to other lower governmental entities) also contributed to creating the problem. The answer, therefore, should not be entirely financed by fiscal cuts.

That means compromise…