Kinda, Sorta, Real Time Thoughts on Meet the Press (February 27, 2011)

Given few other commitments I have this evening, I’ll just lay down the fact that the most interesting conversation on Meet the Press this morning was with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.   Libya came up hard and often in the discussions, but the take away for this broadcast was Governor Walker’s inconsistency, and obvious dissembling.

Here’s how it cuts: Governor Walker has claimed that he is acting to put a billion dollars in his state’s budget.  And because collective bargaining hasn’t allowed him in the past to make deals with public worker’s unions, he needs to do away with collective bargaining.  But the problem for him is that the public sector unions, particularly nurses and teachers, have already agreed to a 12% contribution to their healthcare benefits and a 5% contribution to their retirement funds.  This alone will fill out the hole that he has argued requires that unions be undercut.

Why is this?  Governor Walker says that he’s not just talking about teachers and nurses unions.  He’s talking about all the grass-roots, local negotiations that get held up by unions and that have destroyed the states retirement accounts.  There’s just two problems with that, unions aren’t holding up local budget deals.  Nor is there a hole in the states retirement accounts.  Now there might be future holes in the retirment budgets but those need to be negotiated on an annual basis anyway.  Not having unions won’t help solve negotiating moves, though destroying unions will stack the cards against public employees negotiation for benefits.

And why are benefits important?  Because public sector employees are offered lower wages than their less educated private sector employees.  Governor Walker has said that public sector employees are better remunerated; that’s just untrue!

So all this means that doing away with collective bargaining will do just that-do away with collective bargaining among groups of public sector employees like teachers.

Interestingly, Governor Walker has made an exception for the law that would do away with public sector employees bargaining positions.  He has allowed police officers and fire fighters to maintain their bargaining rights. Why? Because he insists that public safety is more important than any other part of social life that might need rejiggering.  The question is: on what grounds is public safety considered more important than education or healthcare?  I would think those values incommensurable, non-comparable, but apparently Governor Walker thinks that comparison can be made, readily.

What might you think is Governor Walker’s fool-proof against all naysayers that getting rid of collective bargaining in Wisconsin is the way to go?  That the federal government doesn’t have collective bargaining.  Yes, that’s his argument. This, even though the argument is quite a bit like the argument that would require that I saw off my foot because my diabetic neighbor lost her foot.

And let’s not forget that a sitting governor in the U.S. is on the record saying that he and people within his administration thought about and rejected using troublemakers in teh protests who would draw police and media attention as being disruptive and therefore not peaceful protesters.  Again, a sitting governor is known to have said this on a recording.  Now he thought he was talking to one of his billionaire overseers, David Koch, but still.  The proof is there, in that muddied pudding.  And when confronted by David Gregory on this?  Walker’s argument was that he rejected the move.  That is, the move to plant troublemakers was entertained and then rejected.

And, again, if I haven’t mentioned this in the last minute and a half or so, this is a sitting governor claiming this type of malfeasance.


~ by Faheem Haider on February 27, 2011.

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