Monday, February 21, 2011

The Telling Sentence #WIunion

There's a phrase that is repeated at the top of the explanatory paragraphs in every news article I'm seeing on the Wisconsin worker-busting bill:
Wisconsin’s financial problems are not as dire as those of many other states.
This truth underlies the entire story of Walker's budget, which for all his rhetoric about shared sacrifice--cuts taxes for the wealthiest Wisconsinites. This budget fight and additional attack on workers' right to organize is a war of choice. Governor Walker is pushing a nakedly ideological agenda that has very little to do with Wisconsin's financial situation. As the NYTimes notes,
The effort to weaken bargaining rights for public-sector unions was particularly divisive, with some people questioning the need to tackle such a fundamental issue to solve the state’s budget problems.
The pragmatic political calculus is clear: destroying unions won't do much for any state's bottom line, but it is certainly designed to have a predictable partisan effect on the ballot box:
Nancy MacLean, a labor historian at Duke University, said eliminating unions would do to the Democratic Party what getting rid of socially conservative churches would do to Republicans. She called unions "the most important mass membership, get-out-the vote wing of the Democratic Party."

"It's stunning partisan calculation on the governor's part, and really ugly," she said.

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