Nathan Sass

Walker’s “Air Traffic Controller” Moment

In 2012 Elections, Crazy Liberals, Humor, Politics, Scott Walker, Tax Policy, Tea Party, WI Budget Battle on February 16, 2011 at 11:13 AM

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has just initiated action that will result in the near total demise of public employee unions in Wisconsin, and thus far the unions are going right along with the program.

Walker presented a budget repair bill that, in short, removes from collective bargaining everything except base wage levels and requires unionized employees to begin contributing to their health insurance and pension benefits, and allows individuals to fully opt out of the union (including any payments to the union).  Note I said “contributing”, not “bear the full costs of” benefits, and at a rate far less than comparable private sector employees.

The reaction of the unions, as evidenced by the protests in Madison, has been exactly what I would imagine Walker fully expected.  This reactions is serving to only strengthen Walker’s position.  The situation has many similarities to the 1981 air traffic controllers strike that President Reagan leveraged into the total destruction of that union as a viable force, and I have little doubts that the results in WI will be any different.  In fact, it may eclipse 1981 in terms of long term impacts.

Walker’s requests are neither excessive or punitive.  In the midst of a recession, WI government employees have been insulated from the realities of the economy, have not experienced major layoffs or major reductions is compensation, and have experienced little fear of facing those realities in the near future.

The only pain they have felt so far is a series of furlough days, which amounted largely to a small pay reduction and a lot of 3 day weekends in the summer time.  Most employees probably covered these days with vacation time in any case.

Walker is asking union employees to do what almost every other American worker does already.  Fund, in part, their benefits and bear some of the costs of retirement packages.  For this, he is being labeled as a “slave owner” by union leaders and Democrats, and compared to Egypt’s Mubarak and worse yet Hitler by union workers.

The disproportional reaction of the unions will do what Walker cannot.  It will result in the near total loss of their popular support.  As the public watches the unions and their members conduct a temper tantrum, they will rapidly lose any remaining sympathy for them.

Should the unions go further than heated rhetoric and actually engage in job actions such as walk outs and strikes, or worse yet lash out at Walker or others supportive of these changes, they will guarantee their own total destruction.  I personally doubt that the unions will refrain from extreme actions such as this, as it is not in their nature.  They are now working from a place of anger and fear, which we all know leads to rash, poor and self destructive decisions.

When the inevitable acts occur, Walker will be free to use whatever tools he has, including full de-cerification of all the unions themselves, in response.  The public would in this case fully support Governor Walker as they did President Reagan, seeing the unions as unreasonable and dangerous.

Walker’s strategy has been brilliant, and well thought out.  He has made what the general public considers to be reasonable requests, and in so doing gave the unions just enough rope to hang themselves.  The unions thus far seem only too willing to play along, believing that the public will back them.  They are as misguided as they are short sighted.

Chris Christie has been lauded for his actions in NJ to control the growth of government and power of the unions, but Walker has done him one better.  He has essentially engineered things in such a way that the unions will make themselves irrelevant and powerless.

What this means in the long term in WI is even more important.  While the reduction in the power of public sector unions does go along way to controlling the growth of government, it also all but eliminates the most essential source of funding for the Democrat Party in WI.

In 2011, there will be redistricting in WI, which will be fully controlled by the GOP.  This is already bad news for the Democrats, but now with the reality that the enrollment of the unions will likely be much less, and the money they have access to will be severely restricted, those same Democrats will not be able to rely upon union funds to run expensive campaigns.  This is a recipe for electoral disaster for a generation or more.  Facing tougher election fights in more competitive districts, they will do so with significantly reduced funding and support networks.

WI will then likely be a red state for many years as a result, and the unions will have only themselves to blame.  They just could not resist the urge to act like petulant children and they will guarantee not only their destruction but  the destruction of their political supporters and power networks.

Game, set, match.

  1. I was watching The Ed Show the other night and to hear him tell it,the fine people of Wisconsin have been hijacked by a madman!! He said that the unions must ‘stand up’ for the people of WI.

    He then interviewed a couple of teacher (married to each other). I believe Ed said the ‘average’ teachers salary was only $51,000 a year. Here were two poor teachers who had been teaching for 13 years each and both with masters degrees. (I would assume they might have been doing a bit better than the average?). They were from Sun Prarie and their world was about to end. They wouldn’t be able to save for their 2 little kids college and oh,how it might have been nice to take a vacation this year. Oh, and this was going to hurt their ability to save for retirement, too! bob-hoo!!! Here is a couple, earning well over $100,000+ a year WITH UNION BENEFITS and they can’t believe that in their little world, they might have to tighten there belt a bit and they thought that was so UNFAIR!
    Geez….. get a grip!!

    BTW— Did you notice all the ‘students’ protesting at University of Wisconsin / Madison?? Students??? What is their union beef???

  2. I should add that I believe Gov. Walker is doing exactly the right thing for his state and her people. I love the anaolgy of the of ‘Walker’s “Air Traffic Controller” Moment’!! Great article!

  3. This is the best analysis that I have seen. Great job!

  4. I am a state worker from PA. If our new Governor Corbett has the guts to go after the unions, I will be marching on his side! I am sick and tired of being forced to pay dues to a union that espouses political rhetoric and gives millions to the democratic/liberal candidates and causes. Most of my co-workers hate the union and most of those that don’t are the worst employees in the place! Go Governor Walker!!!

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