February 8, 2012

Scott Walker, fighting a good fight in Wisconsin - The Washington Post

Wow! I'm not usually a reader of the WaPo but with the NYT paywall rules, I'l read it more often, along with my paid subscription to the WSJ.

This opinion piece by Lane, is not only thought-provoking, but right (no pun intended) in its analysis.

Walker has taken the proper stance , withstood withering fire from the unions, and deserves to be elected in this recall initiative. All the accounts that I have read say that he has not only stood firm against the attacks, but his initiatives and policies backed by the Republican legislature have been successful in reducing Wisconsin's deficits, balancing the budget and enabling local municipalities to save a considerable amount of money. Meanwhile the public employees have given up very little, while the public interest has been substantially benefited.
"For public-sector unions, the Walker recall is no mere exercise in payback. The unions, upon which Democrats depend heavily for funding and foot soldiers, say Walker must be ousted and his reforms reversed for the sake of the middle class. Progressive values — even democracy itself — are in mortal danger.
Actually, the opposite is true. The threat to such progressive goals as majority rule, transparent government, a vibrant public sector and equality comes from public-sector unionism."
You can read Gov. Walker's state-of-the-state speech here. An excerpt:

"...Fortunately, we can have great schools and protect taxpayers at the same time. We just have to spend our money more wisely. For example, before our reforms, school districts often had to buy their health insurance from one company which cost them millions of dollars.Now, they can bid it out and that is saving school districts millions of dollars across the state. The Hartland-Lakeside School District saved nearly $700,000 by switching insurance providers. In Menomonee Falls they saved $2.4 million. In North Fond du Lac they were able to keep the same provider but saved over $300,000. That’s money that can go directly into the classroom.
Here’s another example, a few years ago long before I was governor, a young woman was named the Outstanding Initial Educator by the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English. Not long after she received the award, she was laid off.Why? Well, under the old collective bargaining system she was one of the first to be laid off because she was one of the last ones to be hired. It didn’t matter that she was one of the best teachers in the state.To correct problems like that, our reforms now allow local school districts to staff based on merit and pay based on performance. That means we can put the best and brightest in our classrooms - and we can keep them there..."

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