Thursday, March 10, 2011

Governor Walker and WI GOP Jam Anti-Collective Bargaining Bill Down Wisconin's Throat

So, looks like the Wisconsin GOP got around those pesky budget rules that required Dem senators to be there by voting in favor of a bill that would just ban collective bargaining rights for state employees, with no other budgetary issues attached. And it only took them two months, no mandate, and overwhelming public disapproval to do it. Let the recalls begin.


Megan said...

Weren't you arguing in the last debate that it is irresponsible to try to repeal a bill that has passed?

Also, since when is a vote by elected officials a "trampling of the democratic process"?

njDylan said...

Yea, I agree with you Megan. Say what you want about the actual policy but the Repubs didn't trample anything. What am I curious about is this: Did they know about this rule the whole time and wait because they knew the longer the Dems were not doing their jobs the worse they would look? Or did it actually take them 3 weeks to figure this out?

PBM said...

Two things, recall is different than repeal. It's part of the democratic process where if a certain amount of people sign a petition, then there is another election held where they can vote them out of office.

The other thing is I was just trying to compare this to Obama's healthcare bill which I'm pretty sure you have said was "jammed down our throat." Healthcare debated for almost 2 years, this bill for 2 months. Obama said during the election that health care reform was a top priority, Gov. Walker did not come close to mentioning stripping public unions of their collective bargaining rights. Lastly, Fox News, and the GOP consistently argued that the public was overwhelmingly against health care when it was really more like 40-45 or 45-50 support to opposition. For this bill, it was something like 60-30 against, which is actually overwhelming opposition.

Recall is a part of the democratic process so we will see where that takes Wisconsin, but I mainly make this point because I think that this bill is some serious deception on the part of Gov. Walker and the GOP because they did not campaign at all on this platform and yet it was their first point of action once getting into office.

PBM said...

And I actually do support a repeal of this bill and think it is completely different than the health care reform law. I could talk about how complicated the law is, and how a lot of the parts are actually good, but I think I'm going to rely on something else. If you repeal health care, you take health insurance away from 32 million people. If you repeal this new Wisconsin law however, you give back something that they have pretty much always had. Health care law gives while Wisconsin law takes away. The Wisconsin law is also not very multi-faceted or complicated, while health care is. Health care's benefits can be felt already and they will continue to be felt as time goes on. A full out repeal of health care would take popular provisions away from people just as they were starting to be accustomed to a more humane and sensible health care system.

PBM said...

Here's something similar too.

This one seems to actually trample on the democratic process. The Ohio GOP removed two members from state senate committees who were sympathetic to unions just so that they could pass an anti-union bill in a 7-5 vote.

PBM said...

To Dylan, I'm not really sure. The GOP there doesn't seem like the sharpest tools in the shed. But by passing the bill this way, they conceded that public bargaining rights have nothing to do with the budget and everything to do with trying to reduce Democratic power.

PBM said...

Sorry to be posting so much on this but I did not use the words "trampling on the democratic process" as you seem to think. I said they "jammed it down Wisconsin's throat," which entails quick passage against overwhelming public disapproval, and is actually pretty frequently used in the modern conservative lexicon.

Just another point on the "jam it down our throats" or rammed through or however else it was phrased phrase. It was used repeatedly and consistently by GOP elected officials and in the right-wing media (mainly Fox News, I could find a Daily Show, or Colbert clip, and I know they're out there but I'm not going to try and find them right now) in a situation where something had been debated for almost 2 years and that's approval was almost evenly split among the public.

It also brings up pretty violent imagery, but I'll leave that here for now.

The supposed left-wing media (NYTimes, MSNBC) haven't come close to this type of rhetoric (they may in the future, but haven't yet). And now, when I try to use it for something that it pretty appropriately applies to, someone who has used it to describe health care reform twists my words and denies that the phrase can apply to this situation, even though it applies SO SO much more to this one than to health care. I know we don't agree on this issue or health care but you have to look at facts here.

1. Scott Walker did not campaign on busting public unions. He campaigned on reforming the system by making them pay more for pensions and health care, both of which they agreed to.

2. Scott Walker and the WI GOP put this as their first point of business, even though they did not campaign on it.

3. Their proposal was overwhelmingly opposed by the public in every major poll, even those commissioned by conservative poller Scott Rasmussen, and their capitol drew in more than 70,000 protesters (compare to at most 10,000 tea partiers in DC during HC debate) who were against this bill.

If this situation cannot be considered a "jamming down throat," then I don't know what can. I don't think that this is a trampling of democracy, but if you or any other conservative thinks that HC reform was "jammed down our throats" than there is no possible way you can avoid saying the same thing about this situation without being completely hypocritical.

I have a lot of points in here, and you can go after any of them that you'd like, but my major problem is that conservatives can say that HC was jammed down our throats, but say that this was passed through the democratic process.

Megan said...

I was going after the article, not your specific words. You know how I feel about all this rhetoric debate. People can use the words "jammed down our throats" or "trampling of the democratic process" all they want (although I really don't remember ever using either of them). Others can also point out when they believe these figures of speech or whatever you would like to call them are factually incorrect to use (as you believe "jammed down our throats" was misused during the health care debate and I believe "trampling of the democratic process" was misused in this article.) Basically, people can say whatever they want and other people can criticize it however they want. I think all this "harmful rhetoric" debate is useless, but I can't stop people from writing stupid articles about it (and I won't try to stop people because I realize that they have the freedom to write about whatever they want to write about! although if I did want to write an article about how people should stop writing articles about harmful rhetoric I would be completely at liberty to do so).

So now that I just made that way more complicated than it needs to be I want to quickly share my views on campaign promises and public opinion even though I don't really know if that's what you were looking for. (By the way, I'm actually still really torn on the issue of collective bargaining rights just not for the reasons you named)

Although Scott Walker did not campaign on taking away collective bargaining rights, he did campaign on limiting the benefits of public sector workers. Governors who favor unions don't campaign on giving huge benefits to public sector workers at the expense of taxpayer dollars and the state budget, but they do anyway. There are many misleading campaigns on both sides and I'll admit this is a problem (don't really know how it could be addressed).

I believe that both this and health care reform were passed through a democratically sound process and have never said otherwise. My problem with healthcare is that I'm not sure it's gonna work and think it is going to limit choices (unless Patrick convinces me otherwise), not the way in which it was passed.

That being said, I think politicians should base their policies on what the public wants, what they campaigned on, and what they think is best for the country. They do not always base their decisions on these things. I think pointing out public opposition (and maybe to a lesser extent campaign promises) does add something to the debate in the cases of health care AND collective bargaining.

Anyway, my main point was that I never said "jammed down our throats" or had a problem with you saying it. I was just wondering why you seemed so against repeal in theory in regards to health care but not in regards to collective bargaining, and I had to point out that the words "trampling of the democratic process" were absurd in the case of this article.

PBM said...

Fair, sorry to get so worked up. To me, the difference here is the size of the bills. Health care was huge and included near universal coverage, new subsidies, new regulations, new taxes, etc. So with a 2000+ page bill, there's obviously going to be unforeseen problems that arise. I think the law is based on very good ideas, everyone needs health care, and health insurance companies need to be regulated so that they don't take coverage away from sick patients, etc. The WI bill, however, is less than one page (I could be wrong). Repealing or defunding HC would have a whole host of ripple effects that people wouldn't like. Seniors would get checks taken away from them, young people (us) might get insurance taken away if we have pre-existing conditions. It would just get very messy and I think it should be fixed so we have still all the good parts of the bill. The ripple effect of repealing the WI law, though, would be pretty simple. Public unions could bargain again. My analysis is definitely based on opinions of the two laws, thinking one is good and the other bad, but I think there is a point to be made that repealing something so multi-faceted that ramps up every year is more cumbersome than just flipping a switch on something more basic like public bargaining rights.