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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s Tale Of A Sucker’s Choice

February 19, 2011

[Blogmaster note:  Inteltrends is a Wisconsin-based blog that focuses primarily on foreign news and commentary. However, at present we have our own problems here in Wisconsin resulting from the actions of “new” first term governor, Scott Walker, so you’ll see more statewide coverage for the time being. Additional news appears on Inteltrends’ Wisconsin blog.]

The following article is reprinted with permission from Veterans Today, Military Veterans & Foreign Affairs Journal.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s Tale Of A Sucker’s Choice
©  Veterans Today
By Karen St. John
February 19, 2011

Faced with a budget out of control, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker decided to grandstand his solution. Already working for less than their equivalent in the private sector, the workers under Walker’s umbrella would be stripped of their collective bargaining rights and forced to pay a larger share of the cost of health care and pensions.

So… let me be clear on Walker’s solution. Instead of calling in a Lean Six Sigma team to find and define the areas creating the most waste and design solutions to effectively stop the blood flow of debt, Walker looked at a specific group of Wisconsin citizens – those whose life work is to serve the community – and saw only the “sucker’s choice.” That is, an either/or and not a solution that serves both sides fairly.

Sucker choices are usually very alienating and do not provide long-term solutions. Invariably, there are always other possible and better solutions available to anyone who is a true negotiator – or leader. However, as if to brag of his making a sucker’s choice, Walker is defending his proposal by labeling it “modest.” That’s a hidden threat that he could do worse, if he wanted to. He then proclaimed he will not listen to any compromise and will not negotiate.

In response, the Wisconsin Republicans are unwisely circling the wagons and fueling the flames of discontent. The Tea Party is protesting the protestors. But that is a magician’s slight of hand trick. The Tea Party is really going after the Democrats who fled the state. It is the Congressional seats they are after, not principle or ethics, or civil liberties. They are focusing their attention on punishing the Democrats. Sarah Palin has felt called to have her say about the protestors and has now put her crosshairs on union bosses.

Like a disease, this greedy, unethical and arrogant behavior upon the most vulnerable is being spread state by state by the very people who were elected to protect, represent and serve those they are now determined to financially abuse.

Walker is following in the footsteps of Indiana’s Governor Mitch Daniels. Shortly after Daniels was elected, he surprised everyone by unilaterally rescinding all collective bargaining rights of state employees and voided pre-existing contracts. His decision appears to have been little motivated by budget, as he had a surplus when he took office. I guess Daniels just doesn’t like power – or a decent quality of life — in the hands of workers while he is their boss. Hoosiers failed to successfully demand otherwise of their governor, but in Wisconsin, the Democrats left the state house. I am very disappointed that no Republican did.

When it comes to high unemployment, foreclosures and pension thievery and cuts, we Americans are united against losing our American way of life. What we are not, is divided by anything so insignificant at such a time as political parties. Furthermore, we have a right to expect our elected representatives to spend their efforts united for us instead of against each other.

The union members of firefighters in the North Shore Fire Department get that. Even though Walker exempted the firefighters from increasing contributions to pension and health care benefits, and is not attempting to take away their collective bargaining rights, the firefighters are standing tall with the protestors. The union’s statement said though it is “appreciative to Gov. Scott Walker in exempting us under his current bill, we do stand by our union brothers and sisters in their fight to protect our right to collectively bargain.”

Governor Walker has placed himself in one heck of a mess. The shocking aspect of his behavior is that he is not seeing or hearing anything else. It appears to be all about what he wants, not what is best for the state or the employees under his care.

I applaud the courage and focus of the protestors who are against this budget proposal. There is a compromise somewhere, and they are forcing the governor to realize that, even while his own ego does not allow it.

As for the Democratic legislators with whom Walker needs to work: rumor has it that he is considering sending the National Guard to go collect them.

Hmmm. I wonder how much that will cost?


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Categories: USA