In a Reasonable World …

The Wisconsin saga refuses to go away. How about a short review of the episode thus far? How did it start? Well, one has to look at November first, where Republicans sweep the races in the state, taking the governorship and control of both houses of the legislature. They do so on the promise to deal with the financial problems looming. What problems? How about a projected deficit of over $3 billion?

So, after being elected, they set out to do what they promised. A bill is drafted to cut back on expenses, aimed at the mushrooming costs of benefits to state employees. The provisions include making those employees pay a greater share of their healthcare premiums and pension contributions—a share that is still less than what private-sector employees pay. The bill also cuts back collective bargaining for benefits, but not for pay.

In a reasonable world, this would be a reasonable bill. Oh that we lived in a reasonable world!

Democrat senators, knowing they will lose the vote on this bill, take advantage of a rule that requires at least 20 votes in the senate to pass the bill. There are 19 Republican senators, so the 14 Democrat senators decide to run away to Illinois.

Safely hidden in Illinois, the Democrat senators demand that Republicans negotiate the provisions of the bill:

Republicans respond that it’s a little hard to negotiate with people who aren’t there. They also remind the Democrats that they were elected to debate bills in the Wisconsin capitol, not from a hidden location outside the state. But that enrages the state employees, who decide to overrun the capitol building, threaten the families of Republican legislators [note: this is barely reported in the mainstream media], and trash the capitol, requiring a few million dollars to repair it.

The majority of those who descend upon the capitol are teachers whose absence from school shuts down a whole slew of school systems across the state. They are “sick.” That’s why they are not in school. A number of doctors are seen writing excuse notes for them as they, despite their illnesses, find the strength to continue their protest.

Finally, when all else fails, the Republicans pass a bill that removes the part that requires the 20 votes, thereby rekindling the anguished protests. They do so only after trying to talk with the absent senators, who, when it is discovered they have been in negotiations with the Republicans, break off those negotiations and criticize the Republicans again. Huh?

By this point, everyone is wondering if those Democrats will ever come home:

Ah, but not to fear. They do return to a hero’s welcome from the mob. They are declared to be the saviors of the people, despite the fact that they deserted their posts, were paid by the taxpayers for doing nothing, and acted like spoiled children as they fled the state they were elected to represent.

In a reasonable world, they would not be considered heroes. Will reason triumph? Stay tuned.

No Time to Go Wobbly

The media has trained its lenses on turmoil in the Middle East and turmoil in Wisconsin. Nearly forgotten in this fascination with all things Qaddafi and public-sector-unions is the fact that the federal government has some tough decisions ahead.

Remember that $3 trillion-plus budget the president presented not long ago? Is that really the beginning of what he terms an “adult conversation”?

How about starting with a proposal that is truly adult first? Of course, there are some people who don’t mind this budget, and who actually see it as a excellent step in the right direction:

Republicans are calling for deep cuts in discretionary spending, and are seeking Democrat allies:

Let’s just say they haven’t been easy to find—and that’s on discretionary spending. What will it be like when they tackle entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare?

It’s going to take a lot of backbone on the part of Republicans to make a dent in this:

An allied problem is whether the American electorate will overcome its divided thinking:

It’s not the politicians only who have to develop nerves of steel. They are going to need help from those who put them in their positions. As Margaret Thatcher told the first President Bush as he debated his actions in the Persian Gulf War, “Remember, George, this is no time to go wobbly.” The same advice needs to be forcefully presented to the American electorate.

Wisconsin Courage

Last night, I saw video from the Wisconsin House as the Republicans passed the new law limiting collective bargaining for public sector unions. It was pretty instructive to see the Democrat lawmakers, many of whom chose not to vote, screaming and acting like spoiled children after the vote ended. It was a foretaste of what will probably occur in the Wisconsin Senate if the Democrats there ever decide to do the job for which they were elected and being paid by the taxpayers. The difference between how Republicans and Democrats are handling the situation is rather stark:

It’s also just as instructive for those who may not be up to speed on public sector unions to see how their members have been acting—occupying the capitol building [reminiscent of 1960s-style mayhem on university campuses], threatening legislators, and practically foaming at the mouth over the presence of Fox News reporters. I think they’ve forgotten one very important thing:

It’s about time the bosses realize they are being fleeced and take a stand. Congratulations to the Wisconsin House for showing courage under some of the most intense pressure imaginable. Now if the Senate gets its opportunity to vote, freedom from these bullying tactics may be achieved. Take note, Ohio and Indiana.

Definitely Not a New Tea Party

The protests in Wisconsin have spread to Ohio and are threatening to pop up in other midwestern states, but Wisconsin is still the most visible nationally. Republican governor Scott Walker continues to remain firm in his desire to bring costs under control, considering his state is looking at a budget shortfall of more than $3 billion. He ran on a platform of getting business up and running again. This is the first step.

On Saturday, for the first time, supporters showed up at the Capitol to encourage him. Keep in mind these are people who thought they should stay at their jobs during the week, unlike the protesters who have besieged the legislature prior to the weekend. Finally there were posters with a different slant:

If anyone tries to equate the current protests with the Tea Party movement, I would like to provide some enlightenment on the distinctions, starting with:


The Tea Party, while focused on economic issues, has an underpinning of resurrecting constitutionalism. The movement is not simply a protest against current policies, but a re-educational effort on the basics of good government. The driving force behind Tea Party concerns is that government has become too controlling, too large, and too out-of-bounds. The goal is to get it under control and provide more liberty for individuals.

The current Wisconsin protests are also focused on economics, but that focus is primarily self-centered. I hear no concerns raised about the good of the nation as a whole and the fact that we are going down the tubes financially. These protesters want “their” benefits, and they have transformed modest proposals into tyranny in their rhetoric. Gov. Walker is now a new Hitler because he wants to disallow collective bargaining on benefits packages for state employees. The proposal continues to allow the unions to bargain on wages, and all it is requiring is that these government workers do what the private sector workers have been doing all along—pay more toward their own pensions and healthcare costs.


The Tea Party certainly holds rallies, but I’m unaware of any Tea Party function that invaded a state legislature and threatened the safety of the legislators and their families. The only intimidation Tea Partiers used was the threat of the ballot box. These new protesters have taken on the persona of thugs, which is to be expected given who is behind the protests [more on that in the next section].

The Tea Party also spends a lot of time on education of the electorate, making sure people grasp the essentials of constitutional limitations on government. These Wisconsin protesters simply demand what they believe belongs to them regardless of what they consider “out-of-date” concepts such as the rule of law. They had their chance in the last election; they lost. Now they are trying to overturn that election by brute force. That is thuggery at its worst.

Another major distinction between the two sides is that Tea Partiers didn’t leave their jobs to be part of the movement, whereas a significant number of the Wisconsin upstarts are teachers who walked away from their jobs to participate, even though it is unlawful that they do so without a legitimate illness or other major family event that might keep them from performing according to their contracts.

Well, that’s being handled readily. There are now confirmed reports that doctors [whether real of fake is uncertain in some instances] are busily writing notes at the protests for the participants, saying they [the doctors] have examined them [the protesters], and they are not at work due to illness. In other words, fraud on a massive scale is being perpetrated, and they don’t even bother to hide what they are doing.

This is inexcusable, and all teachers who are part of this fraud should be fired immediately.

And then there are the fourteen Democrat state senators who are Missing in Action. That’s part of the carefully coordinated plan as well, and they are just as irresponsible as the “sick” teachers. Does Wisconsin have a recall law? If so, now would be a great time to set it in motion.


The most fascinating aspect of the Tea Party movement is the spontaneity of it all. No one person or organization made this happen. It sprouted throughout the country as a grassroots response to what people saw happening in Washington, DC. Any union that has been formed through this has been voluntary in nature.

Regardless of what the propaganda about the current protests may say, there’s nothing spontaneous about them. They are union-organized and -sponsored. Furthermore, President Obama’s campaign group, Organizing for America, is deeply involved as well. Why might that be?

If union power is diluted, Obama’s reelection bid will be hurt significantly. He truly is “in the pocket” of the unions.

In my view, the entire Obama tenure has been an assault on the Constitution and the rule of law. What is happening right now in Wisconsin is merely an outgrowth of his philosophy. Republicans must be steadfast and face down this assault or the nation will suffer even more disastrous consequences.

Battles in the Ongoing War

The attempt to reverse our nation’s plunge into moral and fiscal insanity is on. This is a war [pardon my “violent” language] and there are many battles to be fought on multiple fronts. Republicans in Congress are doing their part. Governors such as Scott Walker in Wisconsin are as well.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a number of welcome measures:

  • The Pence Amendment, defunding Planned Parenthood, passed 240-185.
  • The King Amendment, defunding Obamacare implementation, was approved 241-187 [three additional anti-Obamacare provisions also succeeded].
  • The Poe Amendment, blocking funding for EPA enforcement of greenhouse gas regulations, was even more popular, passing 249-177.

House Republicans are doing what they were elected to do. The problem, of course, is that these measures now go to the Democrat-controlled Senate. There is hope that some of them will survive, but they will undoubtedly die on the president’s desk.

Yet, as we are told in Scripture, we should not despise the day of small beginnings. It can lead to greater things.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s new Republican governor, Scott Walker, has virtually walked into a maelstrom. His state is a fiscal basketcase after years of Democrat control. He was elected to change things. He and his majority-Republican Senate were about to do that when the firestorm erupted. What was their crime? They concluded a couple of things: first, collective bargaining for public employees is not a good idea; second, those same employees, to help with the fiscal crisis, ought to contribute more to their pension plans and healthcare. Currently, they don’t give nearly as much to them as their counterparts in the private sector.

The response, particularly from teachers, who decided that protesting was more important than doing their jobs, has been disturbing. The protests are shrill, demanding, and even threatening. Law enforcement has had to work with the Republican legislators to protect them from the ire being directed at them. Some protesters are showing up at legislators’ homes and scaring family members. The signs some protesters are carrying also speak to their state of mind:

By the way, that’s supposed to be Gov. Walker. Cute, huh? Connecting any and all conservatives with Hitler has become standard operating procedure. And just to show that it wasn’t a lone loony, here’s another:

These are teachers. Any real questions about what they’re teaching the children of Wisconsin? Would you trust your children to their care and nurturing?

In case you might think these are simply spontaneous outbursts of patriotic rage, it’s also no real secret that the Democrat party is behind this well-orchestrated mob. Obama’s own group, Organizing for America, is in the thick of organizing this portion of America for their boss who, by the way, described the Republicans’ proposed actions as an “assault” on the unions.

Should public employees even have unions? A new poll says 64% of respondents don’t think so. Even 42% of Democrats don’t agree that this type of union should exist. That 42% is in step with Franklin Roosevelt, who stated categorically that government employees had no right to unionize. That’s pretty remarkable, considering that FDR’s biggest voting bloc was unions.

What of the Democrats in the Wisconsin legislature? Well, the fourteen Senate Democrats not only refused to show up for work [keep in mind who pays them to do so], they fled the state, hiding out at a resort in Rockford, Illinois. They did this because there are nineteen Republicans in the Senate and it takes twenty senators to pass a bill.

This is about as outrageous as it gets. All these “fugitives” should be removed from office for dereliction of duty. Their goal is simply to take the legislative process hostage and hope that the pressure of the protests will cause the Republicans to back down.

Thus far, the Republicans are holding firm, and a rally at the Wisconsin capital is scheduled for today to provide moral support for their cause. [Note: supporters of the Republican bill have to rally on weekends because they show up for work on weekdays.] In 1981, President Reagan fired more than 11,000 public-sector employees in one day when they refused to report for work—the air traffic controllers. He showed courage in doing so. That same brand of courage is required now to deal with those who neglect their jobs, be they teachers or legislators. The first can be handled by the state government; the second by the voters.

Making Matters Worse

It’s huge. It’s mind-boggling. It’s the Obama administration’s new budget proposal. A decidedly non-conservative source—the Associated Press—warned,

Not since World War II has the federal budget deficit made up such a big chunk of the U.S. economy. And within two or three years, economists fear the result could be sharply higher interest rates that would slow economic growth.

What led the AP to issue such a dramatic prognosis? The new Obama budget calls for a record deficit of $1.65 trillion this year. The AP continues,

That would be just under 11 percent of the $14 trillion economy—the largest proportion since 1945, when wartime spending swelled the deficit to 21.5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product.

The deficit is getting to the point where it’s virtually out of control:

Ah, but not to fear, we’re told there are spending cuts contained within:

Here’s another way to illustrate it:

Republicans have rejected the Obama budget outright, saying it’s not really dealing with the problem. Will they have a better approach? Will they have the stomach to do what’s necessary to get this under control, which includes entitlement reform? I remain hopeful. Even if they don’t do everything they should, it ought to be better than what the president has proposed:

Yet the Obama administration refuses to yield on the idea that massive spending is required to pull us out of the recession. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said yesterday that it would be a mistake to stop “investing” in the economy. Of course, “investing” has been given a brand new definition lately:

This is economic lunacy. Republicans now have to inject a sense of responsibility into the process. Both sides are talking about having an adult conversation on the economy. If this is what Obama calls an adult conversation, it appears the Republicans are going to have to talk to themselves.

The Economy & the Political Will

The budget battle looms. Debate over how to reinvigorate the economy is ongoing. At least now the Republicans have a voice in this debate and can have an effect on the budget. If they make their case well, they can frame it in a way most Americans will grasp. They actually have a lot going for them, considering the president’s track record:

In his State of the Union Address, Obama kept talking about “investing.” He repeated that theme when speaking to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce the other day. Some translation, though, is necessary when he uses certain terms:

If he continues to have his way, we’re going to have to revise the charts we use to gauge the deficit:

Or build larger rooms.

And who can forget the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in that room—the one nobody wishes to touch?

Unless we’re willing to tackle the entitlements, all the debate will be for nothing. Bold moves are necessary. Is there enough political will to make those moves?