One has to wonder about the motivations for this, seemingly unnecessary recount. When JoAnne Kloppenburg prematurely “pronounced” herself the winner with a vote margin of around 200 votes, she seemed pretty confident that she had won and was anxiously awaiting a concession from Judge Prosser. However, now, after the all the votes have come in and Judge Prosser has a lead of over 7,000 votes, Kloppenburg sees the need for a recount. It is within her right to do so, as the margin of victory is less than .5%, but what can be truly gained in this case. No result of a recount in the state of Wisconsin has ever been overturned with a margin of victory of more than 400 votes (http://bit.ly/hbNgJw). This also doesn’t take into account the cost of the recount on taxpayers. Suzette Emmer, the deputy Administrator for the Milwaukee County Election Commission, says the commission estimates the recount would cost that county alone about $500,000 (http://bit.ly/hUJWN5).
When thinking about what is happening in Wisconsin in regards to Unions and Walker’s movement to strip collective bargaining rights from public employees, it’s important to consider about what it is about unions that have prompted this all. For a while now, Unions have had a large hand in creating financial instability on the state and local levels. State Governments can no longer realistically continue to fund public employee benefits without severe consequences. There’s a notion that Unions are downtrodden, struggling to keep wages fair, and to make ends meet. A lot of focus is on the teachers in Wisconsin. The federal government’s national compensation survey estimates that local public school districts pay teachers an average of $47 per hour in total compensation, including $13 per hour in benefits – figures that far outstrip not only what private school teachers earn but also the average of what all professional workers earn in private business, a category that includes engineers, architects, computer scientists, lawyers, and journalists (Shakedown by Steven Malanga, Page 29 - http://bit.ly/faA654). It’s not just the teachers, as a 2005 study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found, public-sector workers earned 46 percent more in salary and benefits than comparable private-sector workers. That gap has since grown larger: from the first quarter of 2007 through the last quarter of 2009, according Josh Barro of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, the average value of hourly compensation (wages plus benefits) rose by 9.8 percent for employees of state and local governments, compared with 6.9 percent in the private sector (Shakedown by Steven Malanga, Page 17 - http://bit.ly/faA654
The cost of the protests in Wisconsin can be measured monetarily and ideologically. At the forefront is the actual cost that was required to police the protesting and ensure everyone involved stayed safe and unharmed. While $3 million (http://bit.ly/hUMlyc) is nothing to blink at, the movement that has begun to follow the protests may prove to be even costlier. Wisconsin is in a state of stagnation due to the ongoing protests. The shape of discussion about what should happen in Wisconsin on a daily basis is no longer relevant and every question begins to be looked at as how it relates to the Scott Walker and the Budget Repair Bill. Other issues, important issues are being ignored while the focus on Unions and Collective Bargaining hold up everything else.
There are a lot of issues with how Congressman Kucinich went about questioning Governor Walker before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The first problem with his “performance” was that he clearly structured his questions to get a specific answer out of Governor Walker. He didn’t want Walker to explain his position at all and even if he had given him time to speak, he wasn’t really interested in hearing Walker’s explanation anyway. The whole thing seemed to be an elaborate charade to get Walker to say the magic words that would make him look bad. When explaining about how a certain measure would save the people of Wisconsin money, Kucinich interrupted and refused to acknowledge the point Governor Walker was trying to make. It also seems ironic for Kucinich to make accusations about Walker’s plan having political undertones when Unions spend millions of dollars every year lobbying for political candidates who promise to continue to help the unions. “When you have a system where unions can contribute heavily to elect the people who pay them, corruption is inevitable,” says Mark Bucher, founder of the Education Alliance, a group that tries to help elect candidates who are independent of unions (Shakedown, Steven Malanga, Page 56 - http://bit.ly/faA654)
The outcry from democrats in and out of Wisconsin about the passing of Governor Walker’s Budget Repair Bill seems disingenuous. There are a lot of questions about who was pulling the strings of the democratic senators from Wisconsin who fled the state. Fleeing the state to stop a bill that would have passed had they been there doesn’t exactly give the best image of democracy in action. The bill would have passed had they been present, so it seems to be more of a formality to ultimately get the bill passed. This is not to mention that the democrats and media reaction to this issue has been completely overblown. The model that Walker is hoping to break from is one that only 25 other states in the country follow. It seems to be an exaggerated response to trying to break from something only half of America has place in the first place (http://bit.ly/f1qPas).
Get The Facts
"A Primer on Government Pay"
"Two Americas: Public Sector Gains in Recession"
"A $176 Billion Gap for Public Pensions"
"Collective Bargaining Doesn't Work in the Public Sector"
"The Little State with a Big Mess"
ENGAGING WITH OTHERS
October 26, 2012
Phil, on Detroit News
October 25, 2012
Phil, on Newsvine
October 23, 2012
Phil, on Madison
September 17, 2012
Bill, on Huffington Post
September 01, 2012
Bill, on Huffington Post