Apparently, from the reported quotations from their members and their self-adopted slogan "Fight like an Egytian", teachers in Madison see themselves as engaged in the same kind of struggle that those in Cairo have been in: against a thuggish dictator who had been in power for decades. I am struggling to find the parallels.
We could spend a lot of time discussing the compensation of Wisconsin educators and the specifics of how they aren't exactly scraping out a living, but we won't. Suffice to say, the average compensation including benefits has been put at around $50K per year for the salary they receive and $30K per year for the value of the benefits they enjoy.
Teachers (and representatives who had skipped town to avoid the vote) have been recorded on air as defending their decisions to call in sick and/or leave town as necessary to slow down the legislative process because the pending legislation had not been read thoroughly enough and that additional time was needed to properly understand what was happening in the Badger state. Does anyone recall the vote on Obamacare? Where was this sentiment and zeal last year?
One of the most troubling aspects of the teachers' strike has been the mob mentality that infuses it. It appears that the teachers in Wisconsin are dedicated to the democratic process only so far. In this Republic, allegiance is to the system, not the politicians or even the outcomes. Remember, this is not a democracy. You need look little further outside Madison Wisconsin for why mob rule is not a just form of governance.
It is hard to watch the effective sit-in of the capital in Madison, both inside and out, when images of children come across the screen. Not only are these young people not of voting age, but they have no business being present on matters some of them are quick to admit they do not even understand. Sad to see our young folks used as props. The parents who have allowed their children to participate in this adult discussion should be ashamed of the way their children have been exploited as "useful idiots".
Like in Greece, when these unionized labor forces found not that their benefits are about to cut but that they were simply being asked to contribute more toward their OWN BENEFITS, they took to the capital and shut down their places of employ. In the coming days, economically painful choices await all of us. What happens if all of us decide to set it out when things do not go our way?
The right to collective bargaining is not being stolen from these teachers. It is, without question, being curtailed. The unionization of public-sector employees effectively gives these people the ability to reach into taxpayer wallets as far as they would like. Remember that nearly every state runs an effective deficit, made whole only through subsidy from the federal government. Ask yourself, "How much of my wallet do I need to avail to public employees?" Should there be no limit to how much of your money our public employees can demand?
Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans are taking on a budget imbalance that every governor and every legislature in every state should be following suit. How can we ask our federal government to balance their budget when we refuse to at a state level?
As a nation we are in a massive financial hole. One that cannot be overcome without principled leadership by our executive politicians. Governor Walker, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels are among some of our very best state leaders who should be applauded in their efforts to maintain fiscal sensibility. No matter what the union mobs may say.
In the coming days, similar legislative actions are being or will be pursued as states attempt to shore up their balance sheets. How will we respond as a nation and as a people? Will we pout like schoolchildren or look the challenges in the eye, like grown-ups? If Wisconsin tells us anything, we will certainly have people who will do the former. Will we have enough who will do the latter?