Sunday, March 13, 2011

Confronting the inevitable in Wisconsin

Here you see part of the 85,000 demonstrators that showed up in Madison Wisconsin (March 12/11) to protest first term Gov. Scott Walker's legislation to remove the collective bargaining rights of Wisconsin State employees.
I have avoided this issue because I feel very sympathetic to to the workers, especially the teachers. I don't condone there behaviour of late, which was appalling, but I understand their protest.
Speaking for myself, I became a teacher because I loved the subject matter (science) and I thought I could share that love and enthusiasm with others. The idea of teaching sounded good to me as an undergrad, because some of my previous teachers seemed to enjoy what they were doing. Who would not want a job that they enjoyed? That was my primary motivation. In order to earn the best salary and benefits I was attracted to the public school system simply out of rational self-interest. This meant I had to join a union (we called it a Federation - OSSTF) and I will admit I felt uncomfortable about the whole thing except the teaching. Most of the time I was able to dismiss the fact that I had a government job, and I was able put aside my philosophical and political beliefs. The worst times were when contract bargaining occurred, or the union supported some group/party that I did not support. There was strike action and work-to-rule action that I did not support, and that I actively undermined. I always knew that my union was in cahoots with the municipal and Provincial(State) governments, and that we teachers enjoyed job security, salary and benefits that did not exist in the private sector. It is for that reason that I think Gov. Walker is doing the right thing. Although he may not be doing the right thing for the right reason, this could be a political tactic.
Wisconsin like most of the states in America and Provinces in Canada, is teetering on default. They differ only in degree of urgency. Over the years legislators in all those jurisdictions, have conspired (and recruited to get re-elected) with public sector employee unions to create contracts and entitlements that cannot possibly be fulfilled, and are far in excess of what the free market private sector would provide. Everyone knows that, Wisconsin is the tip of the very large iceberg that will collide with the good-ship Liberal-Democracy, soon enough. Other states are bound to follow, New Jersey and Gov. Chris Christie comes to mind, the poop is hitting the propellor!
Below Stefan Molyneux has some interesting observations on Wisconsin.    


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