You know, I really hate saying, “I told you so!” when things happen! BUT I TOLD YOU SO!
Last November, I predicted Republican victories would lead to an all out assault on unions and working families all across the nation.
Last week, we saw that vision play out in Wisconsin, where newly sworn-in Governor Scott Walker put in motion legislation that would essentially pull the teeth out of state government worker’s right to bargain collectively.
Lost in all the chaos, the artificial “crisis” that was created by Republican lawmakers. In the case of Wisconsin, the state was NOT in bad shape, financially. In fact, Wisconsin did not have a budget problem short term or long term until Walker created one.
In a January 31st memo to legislators on the condition of the state’s budget, the Fiscal Bureau determined that the state would end the year with a surplus of $121.4 million.
Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit, not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. But because Walker and his allies pushed through a $140 million new spending bill for special-interest groups.
In essence, Walker has manufactured the “crisis”. And with the help of the Wisconsin legislature, which is both controlled by Republicans, and certain media outlets (Faux News, in particular), this scenario makes for a perfect opportunity to destroy the labor movement in Wisconsin, once and for all!
It’s also an opportunity to bring back the days of the “Robber Barons” of the 19th century. A “Robber Baron” is a term used to describe a powerful 19th century United States businessman and banker. In fact, a couple of “Robber Barons” directly invested in Governor Walker’s victory and eventual orchestration of the legislation.
The website, Mother Jones reported on a blog that the Koch Brothers contributed heavily to Walker’s successful Gubernatorial campaign in 2010.
According to Wisconsin campaign finance filings, Walker’s gubernatorial campaign received $43,000 from the Koch Industries PAC during the 2010 election.
Charles and David Koch are conservative titans of industry who have infamously used their vast wealth to undermine President Obama and fight legislation they detest, such as the cap-and-trade climate bill, the health care reform act, and the economic stimulus package.
Is this a power play? You bet ‘cha! And the losers in all this? The middle class, working families and the poor. Who stands to gain in all this? Millionaires and billionaires!
Wisconsin was the birthplace of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), formed in 1932. In 1959, Wisconsin was also the first state to allow government workers collective bargaining rights.
It’s rather ironic that in the state where collective bargaining rights for government workers all started, it would also end. But November 2010 was just the start of all the madness, and those who stood on the sidelines and stayed home instead of voting shouldn’t be complaining about what’s happening.
But for those who are out there fighting the good fight for justice, remember this! No policy, no movement, no change, nothing was ever give to anyone out of the kindness of their heart!
It took the murder of a 15 year old in 1955 (Emmett Till) to start the civil rights movement!
It took the deaths of young girls (Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1909) to bring change to working conditions in sweatshops.
It took one woman (Rosa Parks) to start the movement to end segregation in Birmingham.
This is the start of the assault on working class families, but we can still fight back!
To quote Fredrick Douglass, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”
Fight on, my union brothers and sisters in Wisconsin!