Feb 24, 201411:08 AMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Wisconsin Act 10 plays New York (@Times)
(page 1 of 2)
The Sunday New York Times examined the aftermath of Wisconsin Act 10, the legislation that all but ended collective bargaining for government employees (except police and fire). It is well worth a read.
The lengthy article is fairly comprehensive except for a gaping hole in the donut.
It reports that the City of Oshkosh saved $1.2 million due to the flexibility Act 10 provided but lost $2 million in reduced state aid. It just leaves it there. The Times does not explain that that is the raison d’être of Act 10. State government had a $3.6 billion deficit that Walker inherited from the Democrats. Nowhere in the article is that reported. There was little money for shared revenue. The choice was either raise taxes (Wisconsin is already in the Top 10 most-taxed states) or permit the innovation that enabled Oshkosh to save the $1.2 million. Walker chose innovation.
There is another glaring error of omission. The Times barely notes in passing that “Mr. Walker survived a hard-fought recall vote two years ago,” but does not explain the significance. The June 2012 recall election was a referendum on Act 10; Wisconsin, voting more heavily than in the regular 2010 election, chose to retain Gov. Walker by a greater margin than when he was first elected.
Okay, one more objection. “Wisconsin’s Legacy for Unions” rightly visits the living rooms of the public sector workers affected. It’s not exactly news that they are unhappy. As the article notes, Act 10 required public employees to start contributing 6% of their pay toward their pensions and at least 12% of their health plan costs. “For many employees, that meant a 12 percent pay cut; on top of that, many faced a multi-year pay freeze.”
That is a real diminution of income.
However, there ought to have been some mention of the 232,000 unemployed workers that Walker inherited at his election in November 2010 from the Obama-Doyle regime. Those folks who had no pay to be frozen, no benefits to be cut. (The most recent count of jobless workers is 191,400.)