22 Feb 2011

Wisconsin Illustrates Hazard of One Party Rule in Era of Major Party Arrogance

There are assuredly a whole slew of lessons to be learned from the ongoing mess in Wisconsin, but one of the bigger ones is we just can’t trust either party with power anymore.

Just a few short years ago we gave George W. Bush and the republican party near total control of Washington and we got record spending, a series of tax cuts we couldn’t afford and a long list of foreign policy mistakes that we’ll be dealing with for generations. The American people got sick of their overstep and split government for a few years, then gave the democrats a shot, with the rise of Barack Obama.

It didn’t take long for the Democrats to take their own version of partisan arrogance to the next level, ignoring the will of the people on legislation like the health care bill’s individual mandate, overpromising ad under delivering on the stimulus and racking up deficit spending unlike anything we’ve seen since World War II.

Give either party total control in Washington and they will trample over the will of the people without batting an eye, to hand over as much as they think they can get away with to their supporters and network of special interests that keep their party structures afloat.

Now in Wisconsin, we see Democratic legislators unwilling to budge on cutting spending to balance the budget, even to the point of childishly leaving the state to delay action, and a republican governor unwilling to back down from an absurd plan to strip certain bargaining rights from unions, as well as a few other moves that are clear  . This even in the face of said unions offering to take the cost cut deal the governor has proposed outside of the changes to the unionization rules.

But at the national level, it was the Democrats who pushed for similarly absurd rules just a few years ago with their doomed attempt at passing the horribly unpopular legislation they called ‘card check’. This would have allowed votes for unionization to be public, meaning union organizers could literally pressure people to vote a certain way while they’re holding the ballot in their hand.

To most people, even those who support unions can understand that those kinds of votes should clearly be made so people can vote without anyone knowing how they cast their ballot. And even for those who are against unions, you can see that workers should be able to organize themselves and bargain collectively if that is what they desire.

The answer really is simple. We need to elect more moderates and centrist independents, and we need to not allow either party to have complete control of government anymore. We need to have split government at every level, to at least force the two parties to have to gain the support of a handful of non members to pass anything.

They just can’t be trusted anymore.

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0 thoughts on “Wisconsin Illustrates Hazard of One Party Rule in Era of Major Party Arrogance”

  1. “absurd plan to strip certain bargaining rights from unions”
     
    I disagree about this assessment, as far as public-sector unions go.  Their salaries come from taxpayers; their union dues thus indirectly from taxpayers; those dues go in large part to Democratic candidate contributions — on the explicit understanding that elected Democrats will help commit even more taxpayer money to public sector employees.  That’s a conflict of interest, and for that reason, public sector unions were illegal in this country until the 1960s, at which time many thought it “absurd” to allow public sector unions and collective bargaining.  I’d prefer to keep that label out of the discussion, on your side or mine.
     
    The greater danger in one-party dominance, as now in Wisconsin, is not in regulations such as these, which can be overturned in a subsequent legislature.  Rather, Gov Walker and the Republicans are talking about selling off some major state assets (and there are concerns that the Koch brothers will have an inside track on buying these at less than fair value to the taxpayers).
     
    Big public asset sales are not easily reversed, because they almost always are assets that are under-valued at the time of sale due to state vs private-sector management, AND due to state self-regulation (such as restricted hours on liquor sales in states where the state owns all the liquor stores).  If a subsequent legislature wanted to reverse the asset sale, it would have to pay as much as 2-3x the price, or more, just to get back to square one.
     
    One idea might be to withhold closing on state asset sales until after the next election and after the next legislature will have confirmed the sale, so that two different legislative bodies must approve such a big deal before the deal goes through.

  2. I like the idea of having 2 legislative bodies have to approve state asset sales. Especially in ones where the state is selling buildings, and leasing them back.
    AZ did that, and doesn’t seem to have helped near as much as they said it would.

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