Walker and Kleefisch appear victorious in Wisconsin
Good news for the sane sector of the public, as Wisconsin voters appear to have handed victory to Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch in the recall election sponsored by the unions. So says Fox News after taking an hour to be certain of the outcome. The raw numbers give Walker a healthy margin of 18 points as this is written.
This election amounts to a major repudiation of public sector union bosses, who have seen their membership plummet under the reforms Walker and the GOP majority of the legislature enacted. The automatic involuntary transfer of wealth from taxpayers to public workers to unions to the Democratic Party has been broken in the state of Wisconsin. Most delicious of all, this was a fight the unions picked, devoting millions to gathering signatures and backing a candidate who failed to win the primary. The union bosses have struck out, and they drew on plenty of backing from national unions who saw the handwriting on the wall.
The first public employees union in American history, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, AFSCME, was founded in Madison, Wisconsin, making the state the very cradle of public employee unions. The symbolism is unmistakable: the tide has turned. Progressive, blue Wisconsin has said, "enough!" What really worries the bosses is that when given the option of not paying union dues, employees opt out, as they now are empowered to do in Wisconsin. This sort of thing could catch on elsewhere, because not just taxpayers, but coerced members of the union benefit. The latter are no longer shaken down for up to four figures annually, and are given the freedom of association the drafters of the Constitution seemed to think rather important.
From now on, the public sector unions in Wisconsin will have to make do with much less income. Paying all those management salaries and perks, and sending them off to Bal Harbor for important business meetings will be more of a stretch, financially, never mind ponying up as many millions to the Democrats as both parties have become accustomed to. Lots of companies have had to downsize, and now AFSCME gets a taste of it.
This is a structural change to Wisconsin politics, and it has the potential to spread across the nation. The old class solidarity appeal failed in Wisconsin, a state which gave Obama a 14 point margin in 2008. The public has caught on that public servants have morphed into the public's masters, earning more than and enjoying retirement security denied vast majority of the rest of us can only fantasize about.
Even if nobody on the Republican side wants to talk about it (for good reason), similar structural reform at the national level ought to a be a priority if Obama and the Democrats earn the shellacking they deserve in November. The American polity at all levels has been systematically corrupted by the existence of what Rush Limbaugh has labeled a money laundering scheme to force taxpayers to subsidize the Democratic Party, via coerced taxes, coerced union dues, and coerced contributions to the Democrats.