Madison and the Schoolkids

Eleven hundred Wisconsin teachers called in "sick" recently.  It was the only way to "legally" strike without breaking their no-strike contract clause.  I, for my part -- like a programmed product of the government-run educational system -- threw my shoes on, ate my healthy "war against obesity" breakfast, and waited for my "sick" teacher to pick me up on her way to the protest. 

But yesterday turned out to be a tough day for me.

I waited...and waited...and waited.  My teacher never came.  The pile of books on my desk jolted me back to reality.  My teacher wouldn't be going to the protest today.  Her agenda includes math, science, history, and English -- not comparing Governor Scott Walker to Hitler and calling him the "Mussolini of the Midwest."  My teacher's classroom is her home, and she isn't part of a government union.  Therefore, she can't just lie about her health and flout her job requirements.  Nor can she use company time and money to further her own political agenda.  Her adolescent students will not be taken out of school today.

Unlike my lucky friends over at the public school, my chemistry test will not be postponed.  It's not making me happy, either.

I will not have the opportunity to picket legislators' houses.  My education for the day will not include rioting inside the sacred chambers of government.  Adults wont be handing me magic markers to write "F*#$ Walker" on the walls of the State Capitol, or toilet paper to carefully clog the toilets.  Most disappointing of all, I won't get to watch police search the capitol to find and force errant members of the Senate Democrat caucus to return to the chamber.  My teacher taught me Wisconsin government well.  I know that twenty senators are needed to convene.  I also learned in math class that thirty-three minus fourteen equals nineteen.  With all fourteen Democrats absent, the Senate is at a standstill.  And I'm not there to see it.

Chemistry isn't my favorite subject.  I really could have gone for a field trip -- even to Rockford, Illinois.  I wish someone would have included me in the Democratic senators' plan.  Anything to get a day off!  For some reason, though, I don't think they would have been interested in a simple homeschooled boy's opinions.  They passed the 2008 budget in forty-eight hours without any public hearings.  They obviously pride themselves on being independent thinkers.

Since when do liberals flee Madison, anyway?  I learned in my state history class that Madison is the birthplace of the Progressive movement, whose members have dominated state politics for decades.   Public-sector Unions were first given bargaining rights in this very city in 1962.

Such is the irony of the adult world.  Now that I understand how everything works, I know what I want to do when I grow up.  Actually, I don't care what I do, provided I'm a government employee!  Maybe I don't even have to wait until I grow up.  I'd be surprised if they reinstate maturity and age requirements after yesterday.

Why must some people be subjected to reality while others live like it doesn't exist?  The reality of Wisconsin is that unemployment is around ten percent.  My home state of Wisconsin is facing a projected $3.6-billion budget deficit.  That's bigger than New York's deficit, and they have ten times more people than we do.  We don't even have enough money to pay for $137 million's worth of this cycle's budget, which ends on June third.

In the real world, companies facing this proposition have few alternatives outside bankruptcy.  Yet we all know that reality never affects the government, right?  Wrong!  Not anymore in Wisconsin.  We have reached the point where we can either follow Greece into the future or make tough decisions now.  We can no longer afford to pay 100% of government union pensions.  Even if my union neighbor pays 5.8%, as the governor has requested in his recent bill, the taxpayer of Wisconsin will continue to pay for the rest of it.

Imagine that you are now a unionized government employee.  The missing Democrat senators are found, they are escorted back to WI, and the governor's bill passes.  Because the governor has asked unions to pay twelve percent (and in some situations, a few points higher) of their health care premiums, you get a call from your insurance agent.  He informs you of an outstanding balance of $1,000.  Thanks to Scott "Stalin" Walker, you now have to pay $120 of that balance.  Your neighbor, the taxpayer, will have to pay only the remaining $880 instead of the complete $1,000. 

Now you're back in the real world.  Where in the nearly destroyed private sector can you get a health care premium like that?

I am not unsympathetic.  Understandably, hardworking union members are upset about the possibility of not being able to collectively bargain for raises above rates pegged to the Consumer Price Index.  Yet collective bargaining no longer exists even if the governor's bill doesn't pass.  Wisconsin is broke.  Collective demanding may continually work, but one-sided demanding isn't bargaining -- especially when the other party has nothing left to offer.

Maybe if I'd chosen my parents better, I'd be enrolled in a public school.  Maybe I'd be in Madison right now asking the governor to pardon my French, and please don't make my union teacher contribute to her own benefits.  My head wouldn't be swimming with algebraic equations, and my long-dreaded chemistry test would be delayed until --

"What was that, Mom?  Yes, I'm ready to take the test.  I'll come get it in a minute."  Back to reality.  Back to what my parents paid for -- education and preparation for the real world.  Standing in a crowd with 11,000 other bratty children doesn't sound too fun, anyway.

Josiah Cantrall is the Young Republican Midwest Regional Director, and a Senior IYDU delegate.  Look for his new, upcoming column in the Washington Times.  Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.
Eleven hundred Wisconsin teachers called in "sick" recently.  It was the only way to "legally" strike without breaking their no-strike contract clause.  I, for my part -- like a programmed product of the government-run educational system -- threw my shoes on, ate my healthy "war against obesity" breakfast, and waited for my "sick" teacher to pick me up on her way to the protest. 

But yesterday turned out to be a tough day for me.

I waited...and waited...and waited.  My teacher never came.  The pile of books on my desk jolted me back to reality.  My teacher wouldn't be going to the protest today.  Her agenda includes math, science, history, and English -- not comparing Governor Scott Walker to Hitler and calling him the "Mussolini of the Midwest."  My teacher's classroom is her home, and she isn't part of a government union.  Therefore, she can't just lie about her health and flout her job requirements.  Nor can she use company time and money to further her own political agenda.  Her adolescent students will not be taken out of school today.

Unlike my lucky friends over at the public school, my chemistry test will not be postponed.  It's not making me happy, either.

I will not have the opportunity to picket legislators' houses.  My education for the day will not include rioting inside the sacred chambers of government.  Adults wont be handing me magic markers to write "F*#$ Walker" on the walls of the State Capitol, or toilet paper to carefully clog the toilets.  Most disappointing of all, I won't get to watch police search the capitol to find and force errant members of the Senate Democrat caucus to return to the chamber.  My teacher taught me Wisconsin government well.  I know that twenty senators are needed to convene.  I also learned in math class that thirty-three minus fourteen equals nineteen.  With all fourteen Democrats absent, the Senate is at a standstill.  And I'm not there to see it.

Chemistry isn't my favorite subject.  I really could have gone for a field trip -- even to Rockford, Illinois.  I wish someone would have included me in the Democratic senators' plan.  Anything to get a day off!  For some reason, though, I don't think they would have been interested in a simple homeschooled boy's opinions.  They passed the 2008 budget in forty-eight hours without any public hearings.  They obviously pride themselves on being independent thinkers.

Since when do liberals flee Madison, anyway?  I learned in my state history class that Madison is the birthplace of the Progressive movement, whose members have dominated state politics for decades.   Public-sector Unions were first given bargaining rights in this very city in 1962.

Such is the irony of the adult world.  Now that I understand how everything works, I know what I want to do when I grow up.  Actually, I don't care what I do, provided I'm a government employee!  Maybe I don't even have to wait until I grow up.  I'd be surprised if they reinstate maturity and age requirements after yesterday.

Why must some people be subjected to reality while others live like it doesn't exist?  The reality of Wisconsin is that unemployment is around ten percent.  My home state of Wisconsin is facing a projected $3.6-billion budget deficit.  That's bigger than New York's deficit, and they have ten times more people than we do.  We don't even have enough money to pay for $137 million's worth of this cycle's budget, which ends on June third.

In the real world, companies facing this proposition have few alternatives outside bankruptcy.  Yet we all know that reality never affects the government, right?  Wrong!  Not anymore in Wisconsin.  We have reached the point where we can either follow Greece into the future or make tough decisions now.  We can no longer afford to pay 100% of government union pensions.  Even if my union neighbor pays 5.8%, as the governor has requested in his recent bill, the taxpayer of Wisconsin will continue to pay for the rest of it.

Imagine that you are now a unionized government employee.  The missing Democrat senators are found, they are escorted back to WI, and the governor's bill passes.  Because the governor has asked unions to pay twelve percent (and in some situations, a few points higher) of their health care premiums, you get a call from your insurance agent.  He informs you of an outstanding balance of $1,000.  Thanks to Scott "Stalin" Walker, you now have to pay $120 of that balance.  Your neighbor, the taxpayer, will have to pay only the remaining $880 instead of the complete $1,000. 

Now you're back in the real world.  Where in the nearly destroyed private sector can you get a health care premium like that?

I am not unsympathetic.  Understandably, hardworking union members are upset about the possibility of not being able to collectively bargain for raises above rates pegged to the Consumer Price Index.  Yet collective bargaining no longer exists even if the governor's bill doesn't pass.  Wisconsin is broke.  Collective demanding may continually work, but one-sided demanding isn't bargaining -- especially when the other party has nothing left to offer.

Maybe if I'd chosen my parents better, I'd be enrolled in a public school.  Maybe I'd be in Madison right now asking the governor to pardon my French, and please don't make my union teacher contribute to her own benefits.  My head wouldn't be swimming with algebraic equations, and my long-dreaded chemistry test would be delayed until --

"What was that, Mom?  Yes, I'm ready to take the test.  I'll come get it in a minute."  Back to reality.  Back to what my parents paid for -- education and preparation for the real world.  Standing in a crowd with 11,000 other bratty children doesn't sound too fun, anyway.

Josiah Cantrall is the Young Republican Midwest Regional Director, and a Senior IYDU delegate.  Look for his new, upcoming column in the Washington Times.  Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.