A great columnpointing out why to cheer for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is currently the target of a recall effort spearheaded by national public employee unions. If his opponents get enough signatures by Jan. 17, Wisconsin will hold a gubernatorial election this summer. The outcome is crucial to the future of the country.
Wisconsin has emerged as a central battleground in the fight over the outsized political role played by, and the enormous privileges enjoyed by, public employee unions. The collective bargaining entitlement enables public sector workers to extract excessive compensation, benefits, and pension packages at the expense of taxpayers.
In March, Walker signed what is now nationally famous legislation that reformed public employee collective bargaining. The bill was crucial to putting Wisconsin on a sustainable fiscal path. Public employee unions fought bitterly, albeit unsuccessfully, to block Walker’s reforms. Now they are trying to recall him.
And as those of us in Wisconsin have seen, the reforms ARE working.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which opposed Walker’s collective bargaining reforms, recently noted, “The governor did balance the budget … he did reduce the structural deficit significantly; he did put a lid on property tax increases; he did give schools and municipalities more control over their budgets than they’ve had in years.”
What’s more, the reforms pushed by Walker are themselves already having a beneficial effect. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was Walker’s opponent in the 2010 election and later attacked his proposals to reform collective bargaining. But with the reforms on the books, Barrett used some of the bill’s provisions to help reduce the city’s health care bill, saying that the alternative was to cut 300 to 400 city jobs.
The fact is these reforms in collective bargaining were needed and are needed in states across the country. This is why:
Collective bargaining reform is also needed to enable genuine education reform. The collective bargaining privilege gives teacher unions political power that is used to block reform efforts and shield K-12 education from entrepreneurial disruptions that threaten established ways of doing things.
In a recent discussion, Walker told me that “collective bargaining in the public sector is not a right; it’s an expensive entitlement.” The struggle to rein in and reform expensive entitlements will define American politics for the next generation.
If you understand why the accomplishments of Governor Walker should be cheered, then you understand why the Left will stop at nothing in their attempt to recall him. And that is why every effort to ensure another victory for Governor Walker needs to be employed by Conservatives.