As focus has shifted from protests in the Middle East to protests in Madison, we need to think about one of the underlying issues of this debate, employee contracts.
For those of you that think this is all about the state budget crisis and that alone, you are very mistaken. This is about destroying the last institution, the last guardian for middle class and poor Americans from the ruling elites. This is about destroying unions, so there is a weakened support organization for the Democratic party. Not that the Democratic party has been the best friend of unions, I often think that many Democratic politicians play them lip service, but it is better than the outright hostility that they face from Republican politicians.
Remember in the spring of 2009 and 2010 when we heard about the on-going obscene bonuses going to folks on Wall Street? We had funded the bailout of their industry, keeping them employed. But that wasn’t enough, they had their contracts and we had to pay them bonuses. But when the outrage over the bonuses came out, I didn’t hear from Republicans asking to make them re-adjust their contracts because of the bailout. No, they said it was dumb for Wall Street to give huge bonuses, tried to lay blame on Democrats (many which are as beholden to Wall Street as Republicans), but never once pushed for a clawback on bonuses.
Yet, when it comes to bailing out a union industry like big auto, they ask for union members to take a cut. When they are facing state government deficits, they ask public government unions to alter their contracts and take a cut.
It is not because unionized employees have more income in which to give, no that is what you find on Wall Street. Wall Street can give more, but are not asked to because they are special, they represent the wealthy class that has an exaggerated importance in our country. They demonstrate the lie that is supposed one person one vote democracy with their lack of sacrifice and exaggerated importance.
Republican hatred of unions is very clear to those who are willing to listen. Their willingness to violate contracts in some circumstances and say they are inviolate in other cases shows that they have a political agenda, destroying unions. As Rahm Emanuel has said, and Governor Walker and his fellow Republican state politicians are taking to heart, “don’t let a crisis go to waste.”