2011 Wisconsin protests

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The 2011 Wisconsin protests were a series of protests carried out in Madison, Wisconsin, against the policies of the newly elected Teabagger governor of that state, Scott Walker.


[edit] Background

They started when Walker, as part of a program to resolve a budget crisis, proposed to remove collective bargaining rights for some of the public-sector workers of the state for everything but base wages, which would also be capped by the consumer price index. Also worth noting is that the bill just happens to leave the unions that supported Walker (police, firefighters, and state troopers) untouched.[1] That this measure would be proposed as part of a budget crisis would strongly imply that Gov. Walker intends to slash wages once the workers are stripped of their representation. Starting in April, union members will be expected to double their contributions to pension and health benefit programs.

A common moonbat myth is that Walker "ginned up" the deficit crisis through a $140 million corporate tax cut. In fact, Wisconsin was set to run a deficit before this — Walker simply made the deficit even worse.[2]

A considerable controversy also developed around the involvement of the Koch brothers in the situation. A Koch PAC gave $43,000 to Walker's campaign, the second-largest donation to the governor. Teabagger astroturf organization Americans for Prosperity, which has ties to the Kochs, organized a "counter-protest" against union protests as well as setting up an online petition in support of Scott Walker calling for Walker's reforms to be implemented in all states across the US. During the protests, an employee of the lieberal rag The Beast based out of Buffalo, New York, prank called Walker pretending to be David Koch. Walker spent twenty minutes debriefing the fake Koch on the situation and discussed things such as planting "troublemakers" at the union protest sites.[3](broken link)

There is a Republican majority in the Wisconsin Senate. To prevent its passing, the Democratic caucus in the Wisconsin Senate lit out to Illinois, fleeing the procedural rules that would compel them to be present for a vote on the bill; this prevented a quorum of senators from being present, and hence prevented the measure from passing. However, Republicans did an end-run around them by removing portions of the bill that authorized the spending of money, hence removing the requirement for a quorum. After that happened, they were able to pass the bill without the Democrats on March 10.[4]

[edit] Various perspectives on the protests

Reactions to the protests have split along political lines.

Right-wingers have tried to portray the public-sector workers as latter-day welfare queens, as they have been doing for some time now, and also complained that the public-sector unions need to be reined in as they constitute a Democratic political machine. Some have gone so far as to call the protesters communists, which is presumably code either for "person who thinks labor unions should exist" or alternatively "person who declines to toe the Tea Party line." Additionally, they have used the flight of the Democratic Senate caucus to try and paint Democrats as unresponsive to the popular will (disregarding the many times Republicans have used the same tactics).

Left-wingers and unionist groups have supported the protesters, citing the protests as an example of "real people power" in contrast to the astroturfing nature of the Tea Party. Some have compared Gov. Walker to the former Libyan dictator, Muammar al-Gaddafi (the similarity cited is that they both had people rising up against them), and predicted that this is only the beginning, that Gov. Walker will also end union representation in private employment and/or outlaw unions altogether. This hasn't happened yet, but give the Koch Brothers enough time...

[edit] End results

Despite the protests, the legislation was passed. Walker had promised that the budget-cutting tactics would create 250,000 private sector jobs in Wisconsin by the end of his first term.

As of March 2012, it was noted that Wisconsin had only added a net total of 6,000 private sector jobs, a pace that suggests only 24,000 total new jobs (less than 10% of what was promised) by the end of 2014.[5] One analysis of this meager growth suggests that the actions of Walker's predecessor, not Walker himself, are actually responsible for producing those jobs, and Walker's actions have actually hindered better growth.[6] In addition, budget cuts have failed to produce the expected savings that they had hoped the legislation would produce, and Wisconsin school districts are facing deep setbacks due to the lack of funding[7].

In May 2012, a separate report indicated that Wisconsin had suffered a net loss of 6,200 jobs under Walker's tenure, placing Wisconsin dead last among all states for the same time period. Walker was quick to refute the numbers, claiming that government statistics are usually inaccurate—which raises the question as to which are numbers are more accurate; the ones created by a campaign manager/public relations contact to push forward a bill, or the ones generated by government statisticians whose only job is to come up with these results and isn't dependent on favorable results to continue their employment?[8]

As of March 2014, Wisconsin has gained a net total of 110,000 jobs since Walker took office. Less than halfway to his pledge of 250,000, an average of 17,500 jobs must be created per month in the eight months he has left in his term.

[edit] Footnotes

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