President Barack Obama is not going to waste political capital joining progressives in protesting the loss of benefits and collective bargaining for most public employees unions in Wisconsin. Obama won’t act like this, or this.
The president must understand that the debate over public unions is not over resentment of government workers, or hatred. It’s about the sustainability of retirement and insurance benefits that many public employees enjoy. In Wisconsin, as well as San Diego and San Jose (cities that coted to reform public retirement plans on Tuesday) the voters are telling public union leaders that they must adapt and live within the means that taxpayers provide them.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, in an editorial on the Wisconsin vote, put it perfectly: “Taxpayers want the people they employ to be on the same footing as them — paid fairly but not exorbitantly for their service, compensated for efficiency but not for indolence.” (Read)
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP legislature reformed a public unions system that required low contributions of employees for excellent insurance and retirement programs. The practice of full collective bargaining, where public unions have bullied excessive benefits from cowardly pols, was curtailed considerably. Private-sector workers, who support the public unions with benefits that don’t exist in their real world, watched progressives throw a year-plus long tantrum that ended with a deservedly failed attempt to remove Walker from office.