There are 49 more Wisconsins waiting to erupt. At least half the states are positioned to be bankrupted by their government-employee pension systems, but even the best-governed states are facing insolvency because of a factor that is mostly beyond their control: Medicaid..... It’s interesting that the first battle is being fought in Wisconsin, but that is mainly because Illinois, the true-blue embodiment of fiscal imprudence, has basically surrendered without a fight.
What does this mean for near-term politics? Leave it to USA Today to get it exactly wrong:
In last year’s congressional elections, AFSCME, the largest public-employee union, gave $2.2 million to Democrats and $10,000 to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan group that tracks money in politics. In 2008, AFSCME, founded in Wisconsin in 1932, spent $2.3 million opposing Sen. John McCain, Obama’s Republican opponent.
Union support will be vital to Democrats next year, especially in battleground states such as Wisconsin, to offset the flow of corporate funds into campaigns allowed by a 2010 Supreme Court decision. Last year, 11.9% of U.S. workers were represented by unions, down from 20% in 1983, the Labor Department says.
“Offset the flow of corporate funds.” This is the old “Big Business Backs Republicans” canard. It is not true. It has not been true for a long time. It would be difficult to find any Big Business sector that backs Republicans as lopsidedly as unions back Democrats. (And let me remind you for the 11,000th time that Barack Obama & Co. were carried to power on a wave of Wall Street money, with Goldman Sachs leading the way.)