Washington Examiner | Public Unions Need Reality Check

Washington Examiner | Battle of Wisconsin Threatens Unions’ Political Might

Wisconsin’s Republican governor, Scott Walker – elected last November along with GOP majorities in both chambers of the state’s legislature — wants his state’s public employees to contribute half the cost of their pensions — up from zero — and about one-eighth of the cost of their health insurance premiums.

These contributions are less than the private-sector average, but you wouldn’t know it from watching the 25,000 unionists and supporters from around the country who have descended on the capitol building in Madison, carrying signs comparing Walker to Hitler. Madison has become ground zero in the battle for the future of America because there is a lot more at stake than the simple concept that well-paid state employees should share the sacrifices that hard economic times have imposed on the private sector workers who pay their salaries.

Walker’s proposals have also brought condemnation from President Obama, because they directly threaten his favored union-boss constituency. Walker wants to let state workers vote each year on which union (if any) they want representing them. He wants the state to stop garnishing workers’ wages on the unions’ behalf, and to exclude state benefit packages from future negotiations. The unions, whose object is to underwrite the election of politicians who care more about them than taxpayers, fear that their days of cutting sweetheart deals may soon be over.

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