Not waiting for Superpol

Not willing to wait for Superpol, “heartless” Rick Hess is backing Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to curtail collective bargaining rights.

Just as I reject school reform built on the pursuit of millions of “superman” teachers, so I don’t trust the notion that everything will be fine if we just elect leaders with spines of steel, hearts of gold, and a deft negotiating hand.

The problem with collective bargaining by public employees is that these unions are unchecked by competition and wield massive influence as they help to elect their bosses. I get why Wisconsin public employees view Walker’s proposal as an assault, but I see a sensible measure to rein in the tendency of pols to serve narrow interests at the expense of the commonweal.

Exhorting politicians to “do the right thing” won’t give them the strength to rein in “exorbitant benefits and undisciplined budgets,” Hess argues. The unions are too strong.

National Journal’s Education Experts are discussing what Wisconsin means for the future of labor-management relations in school districts.

Gov. Walker is out to “destroy public education as we know it,” charges Bob Peterson, a Milwaukee teacher who predicts catastrophe to schools as well as teachers.

Collective bargaining gives teachers a voice, writes Dennis van Roekel, president of the National Education Association.

Chickens come home to roost, writes Sandy Kress, a former Bush education adviser.

The standoff continues in Madison. Police did not enforce a Sunday 4 pm deadline to clear the Capitol building of protesters.

If absent Democratic senators don’t return in 24 hours to vote on the budget, Wisconsin will miss a chance to save $165 million in debt refinancing costs, the governor said today. That will lead to more layoffs of state workers, he said. Walker will propose a new budget tomorrow that cuts $1 billion in state aid to schools and local governments, reorganizes the University of Wisconsin system and makes other changes to deal with a $3.6 billion deficit.

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  1. Gov. Walker is out to “destroy public education as we know it,” charges Bob Peterson, a Milwaukee teacher …

    And this would be a BAD thing?

  2. Cardinal Fang says:

    Hess says, “The problem with collective bargaining by public employees is that these unions are unchecked by competition and wield massive influence as they help to elect their bosses.”

    The public sector unions are very much checked by the massive influence wielded by billionaire out-of-staters like David Koch, who have bought the right to have twenty minute phone calls with Governor Walker whenever they want.

    I fear government of the billionaires, by the billionaires and for the billionaires.

  3. As has been pointed out many times before but completely ignored:
    The unions have AGREED to increase contributions to pensions and health care… negotiating worked!

    However, this impasse is strictly over Walker’s desire to destroy the union’s ability to collectively negotiate… if he would drop this, he would have the agreement he needs to balance the finances (not to mention that he CREATED the budget cut in the first place with ridiculous levels of business tax cuts as soon as he took office.)

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    Private sector unions are in the position of a parasite which can’t afford to kill its host.
    Either they back off or the entire thing dies. So, either they back off and get reasonable or they disappear. Or, at least, ambitious locals do.
    Public sector unions have their bought politicians giving them what they want, even if the negotiations didn’t achieve it.
    And, until now, they could always go to the well for new revenues. Until now, they didn’t have the dead-host thing to worry about. Not used to it.
    Now they can’t get new revenues. No new revenues and big bills with no visible means of paying.

  5. CF – try to deal with reality. Neither of the Koch brothers have ever spoken to Walker. Neither of them are part of the gov’t. Public sector unions don’t negotiate with CEOs. They just want to screw the public and elect the officials to help them.

  6. SuperSub says:

    Can you pass me the aluminum-foil hat you’re wearing? I need something to wrap my potato in before I cook it.

    And if you fear the influence of wealth in government… have you seen the portfolios of most of our elected representatives?

    Personally, I’d rather have a government run by billionaires than one run by misguided idiots.

  7. Cardinal Fang says:

    How can you deny the truth? The billionaire Koch brothers flooded the airwaves in Wisconsin with ads for Walker and other Republicans. Those Republicans were elected, in an election Wisconsin voters now regret. Now Walker refuses to talk to union representatives, refuses to talk to Democratic members of the state legislature, would certainly refuse to talk to you or I if we happened to give him a phone call, but can spend 20 minutes on the phone with (someone he believes to be) David Koch. It’s pretty obvious who Walker thinks are his constituents– not Wisconsin working people, but out of state billionaires.

  8. SuperSub says:

    The same exact thing could be said of any politician, Republican or Democrat. For every Koch there is a Soros, for every Tea Party a

  9. Cardinal Fang says:

    Really? Which billionaires have been flooding the airwaves with ads for Democrats? Soros and who else? ‘Cause when I look at the big spenders on campaigns, I see conservative groups and unions.

  10. SuperSub says:

    Considering that unions almost uniformly support Dems, I’d say that they and the conservative groups balance each other out.

    According to, a non-partisan site that tracks campaign funding, 56% of donations over $95,000 were for Democrats and only 38% for Republicans. Among donors that gave only to one party or the other, Democrats out-earned Republicans by $13 million.

    Try again CF.

  11. Cardinal Fang says:

    OpenSecrets also shows the total amount of outside spending on campaigns:

    The first thing to notice is how outside spending has skyrocketed starting in 2004. The next thing to notice is of the top ten outside spenders, seven are conservative groups and the other three are unions. In the post-Citizens United world, conservative-leaning groups are free to spend what they like, and they end up spending a lot, and a lot more than liberal-leaning groups.

  12. Uhm, maybe it’s too late for me to be reading a graph, but… Doesn’t that graph show leftist groups with a spending advantage in every election cycle except the last one? Moreover, the spending breakdown is only for the 2010 election cycle.

    When you take the last two years of politics into account, I think the spending spike on the part of conservative groups is both self-explanatory and has nothing to do with Citizens United.

    As an aside, I wonder how anyone who cares about free speech could think that a prior restraint on political speech is acceptable under any circumstance. In as much as the case is about corporations, it’s also about the fact that a film critical of a candidate for president was censored by the US Government.

    In a pre-Citizens United world, the only way to get one’s speech about a candidate out was to be a media outlet, be a filthy rich individual, or go through a political advocacy group that had to have the prior approval of the government. I honestly wonder how anyone can argue that that situation at all squared with the idea that this was a free country.

  13. SuperSub says:

    Ok, try looking at the top-ten list again. Count the number of C’s (for conservative-leaning groups) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Got it? I know that sometimes ideological furor can prevent people from counting correctly…Oh and although the Nat’l Assoc. of Realtors does donate to both sides, they prefer Dems 2 to1.

    One mid-cycle election of higher conservative spending during some rather tumultuous times does not indicate a back-room conspiracy amongst cigar-smoking fatcats, especially when spending by liberal groups has consistently been higher for the past 14 years.