Wisconsin

Gov. Walker is quoted as saying, “We thought about that” and rejected the idea of sending disruptive „troublemakers‟ into the Wisconsin protest. It disappoints me that an elected official would even discuss the idea or allow his employees to talk in that manner. Now the Mayor of Madison and Police Chief Noble Wray are demanding answers about the governor‟s “very unsettling and troubling” statement about considering planting troublemakers in the protest. Undeniably, Gov. Walker‟s “antagonistic and divisive” attitude has energized working class voters across Wisconsin. Even though unions have agreed to the salary and benefit cuts proposed, Gov. Walker says the union concessions do not go far enough. Gov. Walker is now arguing workers must accept the loss of their collective bargaining rights or he will be forced to lay them off. However, is there even a real correlation between collective bargaining rights and state deficits? For example, North Carolina doesn‟t allow public employees to collectively bargain and still faces a 20% deficit in 2012 compared to Wisconsin‟s projected 12.8% deficit. Georgetown Professor Joseph McCartin writes, “There is no direct correlation between public-sector collective bargaining and…state budget deficits.” On Nov. 3, 2007, then-candidate Obama said American workers deserve to know that somebody is in their corner. Obama remarked he would even put on comfortable shoes to walk the picket line if workers were being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain. Last week President Obama called Gov. Walker‟s proposal an assault on unions, and the President has been quiet ever since. It must be a difficult balancing act for President Obama, even in comfortable shoes, as he attempts to move to the center in search of mutual cooperation and compromise.