Ezra Klein sums up the anti-union proposal put forth by Wisconsin’s Governor:
The best way to understand Walker’s proposal is as a multi-part attack on the state’s labor unions. In part one, their ability to bargain benefits for their members is reduced. In part two, their ability to collect dues, and thus spend money organizing members or lobbying the legislature, is undercut. And in part three, workers have to vote the union back into existence every single year. Put it all together and it looks like this: Wisconsin’s unions can’t deliver value to their members, they’re deprived of the resources to change the rules so they can start delivering value to their members again, and because of that, their members eventually give in to employer pressure and shut the union down in one of the annual certification elections.
Of course, the whole crisis is manufactured to begin with. Walker created the deficit through tax cuts and new spending, and is using it as an excuse to go after the unions. Get ready for more of the same across the country. Walker also wants to get control of Medicaid for reasons that should not be too hard to surmise.
Meanwhile Andrew Sullivan continues to distance himself from Obama and the left he so unabashedly embraced during Obama’s first two years by calling the Democratic senators who strategically fled Wisconsin “pathetic”; by complaining that the president is “AWOL” on the question of deficits; and by sarcastically responding to this excellent piece by Freddie deBoer on the very real human cost of spending cuts with a post titled “But Cutting Spending Will Hurt People!”
It’s a rare talent that allows a pundit to mock and deride both the poor and the blogger they’re responding to all in just the title of a post, but Sullivan manages. He then outsources his response to McArdle who commences in arguing for cuts in pensions and healthcare services because she doesn’t want to see cuts in pensions and healthcare services. The “math demands it” according to Sullivan, even though the average Wisconsin public employee pension is only $24,500 much of which the workers themselves contribute; even though Social Security is not going to sink us no matter the false assertions of pundits and politicians; even though healthcare is the real issue and even though Obama tackled that issue first, expending almost all his political capital on it in his first year in office to however imperfectly enact reform.