Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Scott Walker Has Got To…

Click for larger, from last Saturday. No more sleepovers in the capitol though. I plan on heading down there today once again to see what is what. The protests this week have been pretty much dead, but I assume there will be more activity down there on the weekend. I demand a giant papier mache head!

Cross posted at LITGM.

21 thoughts on “Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Scott Walker Has Got To…”

  1. People aren’t protesting right now because they don’t have to. The Wisconsin Legislature is shut down because the Democratic Party Caucus of the Senate is effectively on strike.

    The 14 senators are in effect conducting a strike-by-proxy, certainly for all union public employees at all levels in Wisconsin, and in a broader sense to represent such unions in all states the way things are going. A strike by public employees is illegal in Wisconsin as probably was the wildcat strike that shut down schools for at least a week. As far as I can tell, the strike by the 14 is a legal parliamentary maneuver.

    Large groups of employees have gone on strikes that have lasted months — might be even years in some rare instances. Yes, the 14 senators are subject to hardship of being kept out of their homes, but it seems to me that the hardship is minor compared with other people in similar situations who are enduring hardship in support of a principle. Besides, if these senators crack, they will lose all support from their political base without getting anything in return from the Governor, Republican senators, or anyone around here. If these senators hang tough, they will be folk heros to the Democratic Party and the broader labor movement — they will be able to write their own ticket as far as political advancement within the liberal-left as it were.

    I don’t see Governor Walker and the Republican Caucus negotiating anything any time soon. The Governor has staked his entire political future on showing resolve in this controversy, urged on by every single commentator in the Libertarian/Right blogosphere. Apart from the Uber-Squish David Brooks, I don’t see a single commentator on our side saying, “Hey wait a minute, this frontal assault on the unions thing doesn’t look like such a great idea after all. Frontal assaults don’t always have good outcomes.”

    And the mindset of Governor Walker with the backing of supporters and the Republican Caucus of the State Senate is not to negotiate but to punish. Threaten layoffs of State employees who are not on strike. Pass the anti-union provisions separately from the budget provisions. Garnish the wages of the 14 Senators. Revoke their staff’s copy machine privileges. Pass resolutions of censure and hold them in contempt. Issue arrest warrants for them.

    To the extent that the 14 are conducting a strike-by-proxy for the thousands of state employees involved, the Governor and others are tipping their hands on how they would deal with a strike. They would call out the Pinkertons, confirming the most fevered scenario layed out in Democratic Party fundraising mailings.

    How this will all play out depends on this matter of hearts-and-minds, not so much of the people around here but of the independent and swing voters. I don’t know how this will play out. Judging by the ramp up in anger expressed in the Libertarian/Right blogs, I don’t think our side is certain of the outcome either. If we were confident that the tide of history was on our side on this, we wouldn’t be losing sleep over the whereabouts of Jon Erpenbach.

    As such, this could be the biggest victory for the Libertarian/Right/Conservative cause ever, bringing about the Millenium of free labor markets that theorists such as Richard Epstein have talked about for years. Or it could be a Greeks-conquered-by-the-Persians-end-of-Western-Civilization fail, where Mr. Walker is turned out in a recall election and Mr. Obama cruises to reelection victory and gets card-check through Congress as part of the backlash to this.

    But it seems Mr. Walker and the entire Conservative Movement have bet their futures on this.

  2. It is no longer about the details of the budget for the GOP. It is about a much larger sense of the republic. It is indeed a “constitutional crisis”. This is a fundamental issue of the foundation of the republic in the very real sense of Marbury v. Madison(ironic isn’t it?) This is about the ongoing concept of legislation since the 1200’s.
    The Democrats have lost any sense of “good faith” negotiation. All the deals such as the one the mayor of Madison negotiated while the Dem senators were away, did not include any of the provisions that have been widely reported that the unions would be willing to concede.
    The Democrats have violated their oaths of office and people like Fred Risser who has been microscopic in every detail in his time in the Wisconsin senate about trying to maintain the “integrity” of the senate has completely and unalterably destroyed his own reputation by fleeing the state to disrupt the very essence true representataive government.
    The GOP understands we are fighting for the very viability of the state, not some trivial budget bill.
    They also understand that the forces on the other side are not really the teacher and the firemen and the police officers, but a more sinister destructive element hoping to destroy the very element of our state and our nation. They understand that Wisconsin is just the first domino.

  3. At what point do the 14 legislators cease to be Wisconsin residents and lose the right to run for election in the next legislature? I have queries in for the Indiana version of these striking legislators but that’s because I live in Indiana. There is a firm deadline past which these legislators are gone next term. Everybody should know what it is and Governor Walker and Governor Daniels should keep their legislatures in session until those deadlines have passed.

  4. Paul Milenkovic Says:
    March 5th, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Granting I am quite a distance away from Wisconsin, but I’d like to take issue on one small point. From what I can see, Wisconsin is flat broke if they do not change things. My state requires a balanced annual budget and is not allowed bonded indebtedness for other than capital construction. We are not in the bond market to keep things running.

    As far as I can see, and I am quite willing to be corrected, Wisconsin right now absolutely depends on rolling over their debt to avoid default. And absent concrete immediate steps to bring fiscal order, there are either not going to be buyers for the bonds, or the interest rates will be far beyond anything the state can pay.

    Personnel costs are the largest expense any government body incurs. Something has to give. I view the statements about layoffs as an ‘either/or’ as being a case of telling the truth rather than being punitive. The Unions and the Democrats did not even pretend to offer anything but “give us more” until after the Fleebaggers left the state; and that includes the last 17 months of contract negotiations. Since they left, there have been informal and non-binding statements by non-official spokespersons that the Union would give on the benefits if they could keep the state over a barrel for collective bargaining, and the Wisconsin Senate Minority Leader has said that the Legislature should not be involved and that the State needs to make concessions directly to the Unions.

    After the Democrats in the Indiana House Fleebagged against a similar bill; and Governor Mitch Daniels [a David Brooksian “Ultra Squish” if ever there was one once he started trying to run for President] surrendered unconditionally on the issue in under 8 hours; we saw what happens if you yield to this blackmail. Instead of coming back as promised, the Democrats promptly escalated their demands to him dropping his entire legislative program. They are still hiding in Illinois; engaged in a conspiracy to seize functional control of the state legislature despite having lost the elections.

    Any elected Republican who accepts a statement, a promise, a signed contract, an Oath on the Bible, or a covenant written in blood personally co-signed by Cthulu from any elected Democrat as true, honest, or binding; has proved him/her self as being too gullible to be in elected office, and perhaps to be allowed to walk about in public unsupervised. A case can be made for extending this to personal, social, and business relationships outside of government by public and private persons.

    The state of Wisconsin cannot afford to continue on the fiscal path set by the Left. The money is not there. Even with the passage of the BRB, there are going to be cuts. But they are not going to put thousands out of work completely, at least if it can be passed soon. The biggest part of the cuts will take place in local government. Wisconsin subsidizes its lower governments. The money to do so is not, and will not, be there. Absent the ability to get around the union contracts, lower levels of government will have no choice but to start laying people off in numbers that will dwarf the state government cuts in a ripple effect.

    The discussion of layoffs is not “punitive” it is reality [anathema to the Left, I grant]. The rest, yeah that is the stick and not the carrot. And I readily admit that I have a few ideas for a much bigger stick that would be both legal and could not be countered. But that won’t happen because Institutional Republicans regard the Left as their “Esteemed and Honored Colleagues” instead of the mortal enemies that they are.

    Oh, there is one possible reason I can think of why they have not split the BRB into pieces to vote separately on the end of collective bargaining. It was passed intact in the House. Splitting it, I suspect, would involve going through the House again from scratch, and having the Left re-occupy the Capitol; probably doing more than the $7.5 million damage already inflicted, and possibly with personal violence this time. With the loyalties of the unionized LEO’s very much in question, lives are literally at stake. The recent bomb threat against a venue where Governor Walker spoke and the arrest of the perpetrator in Eau Claire shows where things may go. I note that somehow the major media did not pick this up outside of Wisconsin. Probably did not fit the Narrative.

    Subotai Bahadur

  5. Personnel costs are by far not the biggest expense in the budget of the State of Wisconsin. How do I draw this conclusion? The 8 percent pay cut across-the-board for all State employees is said to save 30 million in the repair period of the old budget, 300 million over the new two-year budget period. The budget gap over the two years is 2.6 billion according to the AP, 3.6 billion according to Governor Walker.

    If every last state employee worked for minimum wage and no benefits, that would about close the budget shortfall, which is projected to be about 10% of expenditures. Ergo, personnel costs are not the largest expense incurred by the State of Wisconsin by a large measure.

    Where is the State of Wisconsin spending its money? Largely on disbursements — Medicaid, which itself is largely these days old and very sick people in nursing homes who have exhausted their savings, which to my understanding is over half the people in nursing homes, and on state aid to K-12 education, such schools run by local government. The same situation is at the Federal level — Mr. Obama has signed on to freezing the pay of non-defense Federal workers (certainly not an 8 percent pay reduction), which has engendered a great deal of grousing from that (not unionized but in its own way having political influence quarter), an action that does very little to stop the Federal train wreck because most of how the Federal government spends money is writing checks to people other than its direct employees.

    The 30 million that the pay cut of State workers is supposed to save is only a small part of the some 160 million dollar budget repair, the bulk of which is/was to be in debt refinancing. Yes, depending on debt refinancing is on the path to financial ruin, but to close the gap purely in personnel costs would mean laying off the entire state payroll.

    Hence the pay cut to State of Wisconsin people is necessary, not because their pay represents the lion share of the problem any more than the Federal employee freeze is a somewhat symbolic gesture on Mr. Obama’s part. The idea is “shared sacrifice” and “everyone takes a haircut” and “every little bit of savings contributes to the whole.” The debt refinancing does the heavy lifting on the repair period, the pay cut still contributes meaningfully, and Mr. Walker could have had all of that by now it weren’t coupled to his version of Right to Work.

    Yes, Mr. Walker explains that Right to Work is needed because he is going to cut a cool billion plus out of state money to K-12 education, and getting all of the cities and towns and villages to get concessions on the level of a billion dollars out of their unions isn’t going to happen any other way. But if a locality wanted to leave their K-12 budget as is, a place like Madison that really believes in unions and in education could simply raise local property taxes? Not. Part of the 2-year new budget bill is to freeze property taxes that the localities can levy. I guess taking this local political choice away from the local level is part of the state-level business-climate initiative.

    Matt Bai over at the New York Times explains how Chris Christie has been methodically “prepping the battle space” in his battle with the unions whereas Scott Walker has blundered into his battle. Yeah, it is all the fault of the 14 Democrats, it is all the fault of the teachers, it is all the fault of the protestors marking up the marble with tape, and yes, Mr. Walker cannot give any ground and negotiate with any of these people, in part because they cannot be trusted, and also since he has an anonymous blog guy who names himself after one of the underlings of Genghis Khan covering his back.

    OK, Wisconsin is the opening battle in the Manichean war between the Collectivists and the Righteous Believers in Free Labor Markets. But just because you have “spine”, “intestinal fortitude”, or perhaps metallic versions of some other body parts doesn’t make you a good general. I am telling you, what is happening in Wisconsin is not good, and that everyone in the Righteous-Right blogosphere and placing their hopes on this is even worse.

  6. Paul, you may be right about the placing of hopes. You also seem oblivious to the consequences of a failure to address collective bargaining, which is to fight the battle all over again next year. The negotiations have been going on for 17 months over the pension and health plan contributions. The “agreement” by the unions, so far merely gossip, arrived only when they sensed they were losing.

    I am getting pessimistic about the prospects for sense breaking out in this struggle so we are probably going to see rolling defaults by next year.

  7. There is an old saying that the states are the laboratories of democracy. What we are seeing right now in Wisconsin is the future. If Walker and his Republican allies in the legislature stand firm, they will provide an example of what is coming for the whole country in the next decade. If they can provide that example, and enough people pay attention, maybe the worst can be avoided.

    California is another example and the details are here. It will be less painful to see California go under than to see Treasury bills at 16% again. I hope somebody is paying attention.

  8. Ending collective bargaining for public employees is a big sea change. It may be the correct sea change, it may be a just sea change, it may be a necessary sea change, it may even be an existential sea change. But whatever it is, to achieve it is no small matter to Libertarians who believe in free labor markets and how such markets could provide liberty and unleash creative energies, and to block it is no small matter to the unions and the labor movement, who view life through the narrative of labor history and labor strife.

    Is there a football play called a Quarterback Sneak? Not even two months into his term, the Governor has to do some fixup on the budget inherited from his predecessor, he has majorities in both houses of the legislature, the Republican caucus is clued in to the playbook, the big announcement comes on a Friday with the expectation that the bill will sail through by the beginning of the next work week, the ball gets snapped and boom!, the protests ramp up, schools start closing for lack of teachers, and the play gets blocked by an end-of-quorum action by the 14 Democratic Party caucus senators.

    If Governor Walker had gone around the state, both as a candidate and as Governor, giving speeches and holding town-hall meetings to put ending collective bargaining front-and-center of his fix of what ails the State of Wisconsin agenda, well, the other side would know about it in advance and could prepare and could organize to express opposition, or so it was thought. This was supposed to happen so-fast-the-other-side-didn’t-know-what-hit-them.

    And now the Right Blogosphere is unified in urging Mr. Walker to exhibit bodily fortitude, but unheard within our own echo chamber is an echo chamber of the Left Blogosphere, equally emphatic in urging the 14 Wisconsin State Senators to exhibit comparable levels of bodily fortitude (stomach, spine, portions of the . . . you get the idea). No, we must not allow Republicans to go wobbly and Scott Walker must not back down, it has become existential to our Republic that he stand firm, and remember, the 14 senators have their people telling them the same thing.

    And instead of following Wisconsin’s lead, other states will be running from it because what governor right now wants the fight Mr. Walker has on his hands? Yes, Wisconsin is an example to the other states, on how to achieve total and perhaps permanent political meltdown.

  9. There is a way to resolve this.

    A trap can be set.

    1) The Senate censures its missing members (Done!).
    2) The Assembly starts impeachment proceedings, indites, and sends it to the senate for trial. The Repubs have the votes for this.

    And here is the trap.

    If the 14 Dems, stay away, the Repubs have the votes to impeach and remove the 14 dems from the senate. The budget fix bill can then be passed.

    If the 14 Dems return, the vote to impeach fails…but with the 14 Dems their, quorum is achieved and the budget repair bill can pass.

    Am I missing something here?

  10. “Wisconsin is flat broke if they do not change things.”

    The Republicans have chosen the wrong solution: reducing spending and living within the state’s means. There is a Democratic solution: raise taxes and borrow more. The union believes the people have errored; only they embody the true will of the people, and soon, if they apply enough violence, they will win.

    I don’t understand why the Right doesn’t reply in kind: occupy the U.S. Senate and White House. Give Reid and Obama a dose of Mr. Bullhorn. Oh, yeah: violence from the Right (that is, in favor of democracy and freedom) would be vilified and crushed. Because American unions, American media, American politicians, American intellectuals an tthe American people no longer want to be free.

    Is there something special about the building that the legislature must meet there? Can’t they meet somewhere else?

  11. “There is a way to resolve this.
    A trap can be set.
    1) The Senate censures its missing members (Done!).
    2) The Assembly starts impeachment proceedings, indites, and sends it to the senate for trial. The Repubs have the votes for this.
    And here is the trap.
    If the 14 Dems, stay away, the Repubs have the votes to impeach and remove the 14 dems from the senate. The budget fix bill can then be passed.
    If the 14 Dems return, the vote to impeach fails…but with the 14 Dems their, quorum is achieved and the budget repair bill can pass.
    Am I missing something here?”

    What you are missing is this:


    Let me put it this way. Both leaders are working towards the same goal. Chris Christie knows what he is doing politically. Scott Walker does not. The almost universal response throughout the Right blogosphere is that Scott Walker should dig a deeper hole.

  12. “The almost universal response throughout the Right blogosphere is that Scott Walker should dig a deeper hole.”

    I think he should go for the win and not be concerned with short-term polls. That’s why I voted for him. He won overwhelmingly. His party one both the house of the legislature.

    Any WI republican office-holder who caves in the face of the anti-democratic tactics of the Dems party, their Marxist supporters and their dupes should face primary challenges.

    Frankly, if the WI Repubs cave, I am done with them. They do not have any great record IMO. This is their last chance.

    The WI Dems are a left wing party in practice. They are anti-entrepreneur, pro-BigGov and pro-cronyism. Wisconsinites needs something to oppose that.

  13. Dirty, worthless hippies…

    You rang?

    This is very funny, a feast among many feasts. As your country falls apart the internecine warfare accelerates the disintegration. Sweet.

    Collective bargaining is standard around the world. It’s fair and a good way to negotiate differences. Only in a country with a completely owned media could this even occur these days.

  14. They are very common.

    “Following the initial declaration of a new union federation in Tahrir Square during the protests leading to the overthrow of Mubarak, the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions officially announced its formation at a conference held at the Journalists’ Syndicate on March 2nd that brought together several hundred independent trade unionists and labour activists.”

    I could go on. There is all of google and that was first.

    I probably should have said ‘civilized world’ but it would be hard to include America.

  15. ” As your country falls apart the internecine warfare accelerates the disintegration. Sweet.”

    Absolutely. I’m hoping for a revolution while the majority of Americans aren’t poisoned by EUropean collectivism as our self-regarding political and academic elite are poisoned. When the free peoples win, we can at last stop pretending that the continent and people that brought forth socialism, communism, fascism, and nazism are our friends. The EUSSR will be laid to waste, its cities burned to the ground, its kulture erased, its people filling mass graves, its poisonous collectivism expunged from the Earth.

    “Collective bargaining is standard around the world”

    Absolutely: the USSR was ruled by unions (soviets, in their own ideology). The EU and USSR will be the future if collectivism wins in the USA and the human race will fade away, crushed by its own vile stupidity.

    Europa Delenda Est.

    “I probably should have said ‘civilized world’ but it would be hard to include America.”

    Absolutely. All real Americans reject EU syphilization.

  16. “Forgot to take your meds again, didn’t you Anonymous?”

    Do we need to review 20th century EUropean history again?

    WW1 – millions dead fighting to rid the world of kings
    Communism – opens death camps and labor camps; slavery returns to EUrope
    Nazism – opens death camps and labor camps; more slavery
    Minor wars and conquests: Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, etc.
    WW2 – millions dead fighting to rid the world of National Socialism
    Communism spreads to Poland, Germany, Czechoslovakia, etc. more death and slavery
    Cold War – millions die to rid the world of International Socialism; slavery finally ends in the EU in 1991.

    The heap of bodies laid at the feet of EUropean elites and of socialism should nauseate every human being.

    My “meds” cannot refute reality; they can only make my stomach less queasy.

    And in all of that the majority of Europeans and European elites sided with socialism against freedom. Even now EU elites admire Hobsbawn et. al., defender of Stalin. In a civilized society, socialism and all of its offspring including environmentalism would be rejected, but the EU isn’t civilized; it’s socialist.

    The USA’s biggest mistakes were intervening in WW1 and WW2; having intervened, the next mistake was not laying waste to Germany with atomic bombs and letting the iron curtain fall at the Pyrenees. Europeans love socialism; they should have been governed by real, existing socialism with a human face, the bright and radiant socialism of the USSR until they choked on it.

    The EU wishes to governed by socialism, environmentalism, and multiculturalism. I want the EU governed by socialism, environmentalism, and multiculturalism. They will be destroyed and I will sing a song of joy at their funeral. These people are not our friends.

  17. “I think he should go for the win and not be concerned with short-term polls. That’s why I voted for him. He won overwhelmingly. His party one both the house of the legislature.

    Any WI republican office-holder who caves in the face of the anti-democratic tactics of the Dems party, their Marxist supporters and their dupes should face primary challenges.

    Frankly, if the WI Repubs cave, I am done with them. They do not have any great record IMO. This is their last chance.”

    Mr. Obama also won overwhelmingly based on your criteria — a convincing majority to put him in office, clear majorities in both houses of Congress. He used his majorities to push through Health Care Reform, an issue that is existential to the Left as much as repeal of collective bargaining is to the Right. He got his Health Care Reform (or rather, Nancy Pelosi’s version of such a thing) barely, in the teeth of a unified minority part opposition, vocal protests and raucus Town Halls, and polls, while not overwhelmingly against Health Care Reform, such polls were tracking into negative territory.

    I have talked to people who voted for Mr. Walker who think that he should cut some manner of face-saving compromise, declare victory, and move on. Something Mr. Obama could have done, but instead, he got his “shellacking” at the polls as may Mr. Walker should the pendulum swing back in the other direction. The other thing I may add is that yes, a lot of people voted for Mr. Walker, but ask yourself, how many of them share your view that WW-II Germany should have been atomic bombed into the Stone Age and wish the EU, a major trading partner, to collapse into ruin.

    I guess the only difference is that the U.S. Senate Republicans were relying on the fillibuster, plus defections of wobbly Democrats, to block Health Care Reform. The fillibuster is in a sense anti-democratic as it is thwarting majority rule, it was used to thwart an election mandate as Health Care Reform was something Mr. Obama campaigned vigorously on (I never heard of Collective Bargaining Reform as being a talking point in Mr. Walker’s campaign). The fillibuster is not something I see in the U.S. Constitution but rather something enabled by Senate rules, which have changed over the years from a kind of desperation Mr. Smith Goes to Washington affair that we say in the Wisconsin Assembly a week ago to a less vocally taxing procedural kind of thing. The fillibuster is also deeply imbued with tradition, and as a Conservative, I value tradition in a way that many Libertarians do not.

    The tactic of quorum busting has a more limited tradition, perhaps because it has never been applied as effectively as the 14 State Senators until now. So yes, the tactics are anti-democratic, but as a conservative I believe in allowing minority factions to “stand aside history yelling stop!” in the attempt to block Health Care Reform, and in the interest of maintaining such minority rights, of giving the unions and the Democrats the same shot at attempting to thwart Collective Bargaining Reform.

    You are entitled to your opinions and your secret-ballot vote according to the dictates of your conscience. But the Left has something they call Fabian Socialism, where Socialism in the desired endpoint but they approach it incrementally and gradually. The Lefties know pretty much “who is on our side and who is not”, and they cut their squishes and Democrat Gun Rights Supporters a lot more slack than it seems you do for our guys. Our side’s pout over G W Bush got us Barack Obama, where the thinking was that he would be such a leftie disaster that it would bring about the Conservative Millenium — it may be snark to ask this, but how is that all working out?

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