-Sometimes Democracy is going to a ballot box. Sometimes, it’s showing up for planning commission meeting. Or giving money to a candidate or a cause you support.
But sometimes, Democracy is showing up somewhere and making a hell of a lot of noise!
These are about 25’000 to 30’000 people in Wisconsin protesting Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to jam through a bill that would limit the collective bargaining rights of unionizing public workers.
Now, Gov Walker claims that he’s doing this in an attempt to plug a budget shortfall. But according to Brian Beutler over at “Talking Points Memo”, that ain’t necessarily so…
The reality is radically different. Unlike true austerity measures — service rollbacks, furloughs, and other temporary measures that cause pain but save money — rolling back worker’s bargaining rights by itself saves almost nothing on its own. But Walker’s doing it anyhow, to knock down a barrier and allow him to cut state employee benefits immediately.
Furthermore, this broadside comes less than a month after the state’s fiscal bureau — the Wisconsin equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office — concluded that Wisconsin isn’t even in need of austerity measures, and could conclude the fiscal year with a surplus. In fact, they say that the current budget shortfall is a direct result of tax cut policies Walker enacted in his first days in office.
“Walker was not forced into a budget repair bill by circumstances beyond he control,” says Jack Norman, research director at the Institute for Wisconsin Future — a public interest think tank. “He wanted a budget repair bill and forced it by pushing through tax cuts… so he could rush through these other changes.”
“The state of Wisconsin has not reached the point at which austerity measures are needed,” Norman adds.
As Rachel Maddow pointed out on her show tonight, this is not about plugging a budget hole. This is about breaking the back of the unions that are the only ones who can compete money wise with the right. The people of Wisconsin realize this and collectively have responded with a hearty “Fuck No”!
And it makes an interesting point that needs to be addressed.
When Obama was first elected, we had just gone through eight years of Bush that had come close to breaking our collective spirit. When he came into office, most of us, (Myself included.) breathed a size of relief and figured “Well, the hard part is over.”
We miscalculated in two areas.
1.) The sheer overwhelming dickishness of the GOP
2.) Obama’s determination to embrace bi-partisanship the same way Artie Lange would embrace a Family size pan pizza.
Now, I’ve been critical of Obama in the past. And I will continue to do so because that is part of the process.
But we can’t count on him for everything. And it was wrong headed stupidity on our part to do so.
It’s clear from the last few months since the GOP took back the House that they plan to do major damage to this country.
And we can’t let that happen.
So the question is not “What is Obama going to do?”. The question is “What are you prepared to do?”.
The people of Egypt cut loose a tyrant of thirty years by sheer force of will. The people of Wisconsin are fighting for their public workers rights to bargain for a decent wage and benefits.
We can fix this this country. All we need is the will to say enough.