Seattle PI’s Joe Connelly nails it:
How did teachers, nurses and child-care workers find themselves in a bullseye? It’s about power — an underlying campaign by corporate wealth to assume unchallenged command of American democracy.
Government workers did not cause the Great Recession. Nurses did not strip value from 401(k) plans. Schoolteachers did not torpedo Wisconsin school districts’ investments. Care workers did not render WaMu stock worthless, or employees in Washington jobless.
Public employees have not asked for bailouts and then demanded big bonuses as an entitlement. While hidebound at times, their unions have agreed to forgo benefits.
As numerous observers have demonstrated with actual numbers, the actions by Wisconsin Republicans are not about austerity, “saving” the state, or fiscal responsibility. They are a pure Republican attack on public employee unions. The public employees have largely agreed to the fiscal measures in the legislation. They have not agreed to the non-fiscal demands of the legislation–measures that would seriously undermine their rights to collectively bargain.
The public employees offered these concessions even as the Legislature and Governor have engaged in blatant corporate welfare:
Gov. Scott Walker has just signed into law $117 million in corporate tax breaks; the Badger State’s immediate shortfall totals $137 million.
Is it a coincidence that anti-public employee legislation has been introduced nearly simultaneously in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio? I doubt it. Rather I suspect Republicans have taken more from the 2010 elections than the electorate was offering.
Republicans “felt the love” in the 2010 election and proceeded to turn that into a mistaken cocky arrogance. The fact is, in 2010 the electorate was consumed by restlessness and unease over a prolonged nation-wide recession that hit the country under the Bush administration. But political unease almost always swings against the party in power–such is the natural antiphon of politics.
By reading their gains as an endorsement for their war on the middle class, Republicans badly miscalculated. They have overreached. I strongly suspect it will not go unnoticed by the people.