We are currently embroiled in a shocking and inspiring battle. Wisconsin’s capital is covered with protesters as the state’s government meets in hopes to pass though a bill that would, well, I haven’t figured that out yet. Here is the facts I have been able to ascertain:
- Our state budget is running at a $137 million dollar deficit.
- This bill will either limit or removed the collective bargaining rights of unions.
- Cutting these rights will somehow decrease our debt by $31 million.
- It will not affect police or firefighter unions.
- It will not ban unions.
Those who oppose this bill, which will probably pass due to a Republican majority, have either taken to the streets in their hometowns, swarmed the capital, or (in the case of the Democrat Minority) fled to Chicago where the state troopers don’t have the jurisdiction to round them up.
Matt Wisniewski created a beautiful video of the protests currently happening in Madison. It is inspiring to see so many people take up a cause with such passion and exuberance.
It is thrilling to see people using the tools available to declare their feelings on an issue. As I said earlier this weekend, I am excited to see people debating political issues in an educated manner without resorting to insults or fighting. This is a shift in the winds. We stand up for our rights rather than justing hoping the government will psychically know what we want.
However, I disagree with both sides of this current debate.
I am an independent. I tend to lean liberal on a federal level and conservative on a state & local level. This battle should not be resolved by a simple vote. Obviously, the topic is strongly opposed by thousands upon thousands of workers. Therefore, more time needs to be taken so that those protesters feel like their voice has been heard.
Commenters, please educate me where I am wrong.
- I think it is fair to expect public employees to contribute a greater amount toward their healthcare and pension plans.
- I do not think their collective bargaining rights should be limited or removed.
Perhaps we should be reconsidering the role of these public sector employees. How much do their jobs mean to us, our families, and our children. Are we compensating them fairly? You can hardly expect a teacher to contribute more to their pension if you do not pay them enough to save extra.
In the private sector, employees may choose one position over another for better pay, benefits, or flexibility. Are public sector employees given the same competitive choice? If not, what can Wisconsin do to level the playing ground. It isn’t about being fair and equal. It is about having good options to choose between.
(Note to future protesters: Never compare the situation to pre-Nazi Germany or the leader of your opposition to Hitler. Regardless of whether factual comparisons can actually be made, unless people start dying, you will sound crazy and lose any chance at believability.)