Our democracy is at stake as these feather bedded public sector unions try to bully Madison's elected officials into submission
The fight for America's future now centres upon Wisconsin. On one side are Governor Scott Walker, the Wisconsin Republican majorities in the legislature, and the majority of Wisconsinites who voted them into office. On the other side are the public sector unions for whom governance is, at bottom, a racket – and their Democratic allies.
This fight began when Governor Walker decided to deal with Wisconsin's state budget deficit, projected at $3.6bn over the coming two years, by addressing root causes: not through tax hikes or state worker layoffs, but by tackling the excessive powers and benefits of the public sector unions. With this done, sensible budgeting and prioritisation is possible – not with an eye toward union demands, but to the actual needs of Wisconsinites.
The striking thing about the governor's proposals is their mildness. Indeed, private sector workers – that is, the overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites and Americans both – would be fortunate to have such terms. Wisconsin public sector union members are to be asked to contribute 5.8% of their salaries to pensions, and 12% to their healthcare premiums. They furthermore will retain collective bargaining rights only on matters of salary, but lose them for benefits and perks. These would be regarded as fairly ordinary terms of employment engagement for most Americans.