Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Our generation will be the one to get screwed royally. The end of the baby boom will not see a dime of the money we put into Social security. Our parents will have their retirement but will not be able to leave us anything, as they are getting the shaft also. And the next generation will simply say to us, "Screw you, the government stole your money, do you really expect us to help you out, why don't you just up and die already." They won't pay for our retirement (like we paid for our ancestors) because they will not have a social security plan to pay into, they will have to fund their own retirements. So if our country survives this economic turmoil, they will have their retirement because it was necessary for them to plan ahead.
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!
I know it's been around before but someone might have missed it, so please send it out again. We really need some action!!!
Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:
"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election."
The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.
Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure. We are asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.
In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.
"CONGRESSIONAL REFORM ACT OF 2012"
It should have been done in 2011 but wasn't!
1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.
2. Social Security. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.
3. Retirement Plan. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.
4. Pay Raises: Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.
5. Healthcare: Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.
6. Law of the Land. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.
7. Past & Present Contracts. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women.
Congressmen/women made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.
If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message. Don't you think it's time? THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!
Thursday, December 1, 2011
WHERE ARE THE OBAMA GIRLFRIENDS? I hadn't thought about this - but where are Obama's past girlfriends surely he had at least one? No past girl friends popping up anywhere? Strange - strange to the point of being downright weird! OK, this is just plain old common sense, no political agendas for either side. Just common knowledge for citizens of a country, especially American citizens, who know every little tidbit about every other president (and their wives) that even know that Andrew Jackson's wife smoked a corn cob pipe and was accused of adultery, or that Lincoln never went to school or Kennedy wore a back brace, or Truman played the piano. We are Americans!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Our Founding Fathers did a lot of careful and deep contemplation when drawing up our Constitution, and determined that the best form our government should take was a Representative Republic. The protesters keep insisting that we have a Democracy. Democracy in its purest forms is simply rule by a simple majority, so 51% of the population get to make the rules for the other 49%. This is what Democracy looks like. Lets see how this plays out.
What is so horrible about guns that has the liberals all up in arms over concealed carry? I just don't get it.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
I believe we are experiencing the repercussions of the culture of pharmaceutical solutions to everyday problems.
First a little background. Life is a series of good times and not-so-good times.
We all experience rough patches in our lives. This is not new, it has been going on since man first breathed. Early man used the bad times to their advantage to grow and learn from mistakes. Societies were built and destroyed, and each time a lesson was learned; not during the times of celebration and excess, but during the lean times when difficulties needed to be overcome through persistence. Rome was not built in a day, the saying goes, nor did it fall overnight. Our founding fathers knew what it was to experience tough times, the first colony in the new world experienced the loss of roughly half its population due to the hardships of climate and disease.
But times have changed. We no longer want to experience the growing pains. We pharmaceutical away the hard times. Too many people are just popping a pill to feel better. I have some experience in this area, first I work in a pharmacy, I see first hand the abuse of medications. Okay before you call be a hypocrite, there are legitimate uses for medications, I am not advocating against pharmaceuticals, only the excessive use of mostly psychological medications that are meant to "even out the mood".
When some people hit a rough patch, they go to the doctor and get all weepy and depressed and claim that their lives are the worst and will never get better, so they need to pop a pill. This is doing horrendous things to our society, and world at large. There is no need to persist in something that is viewed as difficult anymore, there is no need to bear up against a burden, there is no need to work hard against all odds to achieve. All you need is to take this pharmaceutical and it will make everything better, too many people have fallen into this trap.
My graciousness, the number of young kids on ADHD drugs is staggering, and they don't just need them for school. Parents pick the drugs up even during the summer, when a kid should be outside, playing and using their excess, pent-up energy. We are medicating the difficulty out of raising kids, the job is not supposed to be easy; just give the kids his Ritalin and let them zone out so we parents can get a break. Give me a break, kids are supposed to teach US lessons, we are supposed to be the parent, it is not supposed to be easy. Life is not supposed to be easy.
Along this same line, why is the school system demanding that kids get medication if they are not attentive in the classroom? Believe it or not, the reason we hired the teachers in the first place is to teach the kids, not give their students piles of paper to fill out while the teachers just watch over them. That is something I could do just as easily at home, so why should we even send our kids to school in the first place? If your child's teacher is demanding you get your kid on drugs, you need to find a new teacher, the kid is not the problem.
Secondly, I had a friend who was not stable. She needed medications to function (see I am not against pshych meds). I never once advocated for her to get off her meds. I saw first hand how a person may need the medications. I saw how others in the church reacted to her medications, and how she reacted when she was persuaded to stop taking the meds. There are legitimate uses for medications. We have patients who come into our pharmacy that legitimately need their meds, and who can become belligerent and uncontrollable when they are not taking their medications properly.
We also have patients come in to fill their "happy pills". Oh good grief, have we gotten so bad that we cannot allow ourselves to be sad at times? College kids are taking highly-addicting sedatives to help them do better on tests, in fact, more of these drugs are sold during finals week than at any other time of the year. Our pharmacy has been experiencing a shortage of these type of medications, and these college kids just flip out, claiming they "need" their medication. What they really need is to do some studying.
If you really think about it most of our problems as a society are centered around the whole not- wanting-to-do-something-hard mind set. We HAD to raise the debt ceiling because it would be too hard to cut spending. We had to extend unemployment benefits because it would be too hard to make someone find a new way to feed himself. We had to create a social services safety net because it would be too hard for some people. We had to make abortion legal because it was too hard on women to carry a child to term and give the child up for adoption. We had to recall the Senators in Wisconsin because it will be too hard for union members to pay for their own benefits. We have to "tax the rich" because it is too hard to let people suffer who cannot earn as much as someone else.
Our society is sick, and the last thing we need is more self medication. We must either again experience hardships or our country is doomed. Simply put, we cannot afford to look past the hard times anymore. My fiancée has a song he likes, the lines are: "there ain't no way but the hard way, so get used to it."
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Here is an analogy that might make things clearer.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Monday, August 1, 2011
I don't know who wrote this, but I had to keep it and share it.
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to replace the politicians who have failed to properly govern our nation, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that we should declare the causes which impel us to this action.
We remind all that we still hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created Equal, and that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among these Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. In order to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. However, when those in power become destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to replace them, to alter the system by which they are chosen, and to institute a new process that is more likely to secure our Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that processes long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind is more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations persist, it is our right and our duty to throw out such leaders, and to provide new guards for our future.
Such has been the patient sufferance of We the American People; and such is now the necessity which compels us to alter the process by which our leaders are chosen. The history of the present and recent politicians is a history of repeated malfeasance and usurpations, all having directly or indirectly established an absolute control over We the People. To prove this, let these facts be submitted to a suffering nation:
The politicians have continuously ignored our Constitution, trampling the rights of the States and the people.
The politicians have completely destroyed the concept of equality, dividing the nation into countless factions in order to garner political support.
The politicians have criminally refused fiscal responsibility, incurring debts and obligations designed to enslave our posterity in the cruelest of ways.
The politicians have repeatedly failed our children by blindly supporting a failing, and in places, inept education system.
The politicians have blatantly abused our citizens with a ridiculously complex and intrusive tax code.
The politicians have consistently championed political correctness instead of making the difficult decisions that wisdom demands.
The politicians have cunningly rigged the election process so that the vast majority of incumbents are re-elected despite an overwhelming disapproval of their work.
Too many politicians have routinely ignored our Creator.
We have warned them from time to time, with correspondence of every kind, but they have been deaf to the voice of reason. We must, therefore, rally the members of this nation and peacefully replace those who have ashamedly usurped power that belongs to the States and the people.
We, therefore, as dutiful spokesmen for citizens all across America, hereby request that every patriot in this country join the GOOOH movement and help select a new slate of independent citizen representatives who will serve the people of their district.
For the good of this nation, and for the future of all who will follow, with a firm reliance on Divine Providence, we respectfully sign this Proclamation and mutually pledge to our fellow countrymen our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Thursday, April 14, 2011
On radio today, Glenn addressed several arguments about tax cuts vs tax hikes. He referenced several of the charts below:
Argument: “Can’t we just tax the rich?”
Argument: “But, the rich don’t pay their fair share”
Argument: “Is the deficit really that big a deal?”
What is our current US Debt? Click here for the live results
Argument: “What is the alternative plan then?”
Sunday, April 3, 2011
By Lou Pritchett, Procter & Gamble
A LETTER FROM A PROCTER AND GAMBLE EXECUTIVE TO THE PRESIDENT*
THE LAST SENTENCE IS THE MOST CHILLING
Lou Pritchett is one of corporate America 's true living legends- an acclaimed author, dynamic teacher and one of the world's highest rated speakers. Successful corporate executives everywhere recognize him as the foremost leader in change management.
Lou changed the way America does business by creating an audacious concept that came to be known as "partnering." Pritchett rose from soap salesman to Vice-President, Sales and Customer Development for Procter and Gamble and over the course of 36 years, made corporate history.
AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
Dear President Obama:
You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.
You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.
You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.
You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.
You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.
You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don't understand it at its core.
You scare me because you lack humility and 'class', always blaming others.
You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail..
You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the 'blame America ' crowd and deliver this message abroad.
You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.
You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.
You scare me because you prefer 'wind mills' to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.
You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.
You scare me because you have begun to use 'extortion' tactics against certain banks and corporations.
You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.
You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.
You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.
You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.
You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaugh's, Hannity's, O'Reillys and Becks who offer opposing,
conservative points of view.
You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.
Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.
This letter was sent to the NY Times but they never acknowledged it.
Big surprise. Since it hit the internet, however, it has had over 500,000 hits. Keep it going. All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing. It's happening right now.*
OK PEOPLE IT WILL BE OUR TIME THIS NOVEMBER TO TAKE BACK AMERICA AS WE KNOW IT VOTE HIM OUT !!!
Thursday, March 31, 2011
@Canuck: There are three legal arguments why what the trial court did in issuing its temporary restraining order (TRO) was "unusual".
First, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that NO state court has the authority to prohibit the publication of a law. The state's petition to appeal the TRO addresses this first argument as follows:
"In Goodland, 243 Wis. at 468, the court cautioned trial courts:
If a court can intervene and prohibit the publication of an act, the court determines what shall be law and not the legislature. If the court does that, it does not in terms legislate but it invades the constitutional power of the legislature to declare what shall become law. This it may not do."
In summary, the 1st argument is that it was unusual for the trial court to issue a TRO for the purpose of determining whether or not the trial court should do that which the state's highest court has already said no trial court can do -- prohibit the publication of an act.
The second argument was addressed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court inState ex rei. La Follette v. Stitt, 114 Wis. 2d 358,
364-68, 338 N.W.2d 684 (1983):
"… [T]he Court declared that courts will not "review legislative conduct to ensure the legislature complied with its own procedural rules or statutes in enacting legislation" and "will not intervene to declare the legislation invalid."" Note: This paragraph, other than this note, is from the DOJ's petition.
In summary, the second argument is similar to the first. The state's highest court has already ruled that a court may not invalidate a law merely because the law was passed in violation of a rule or statute. The alleged violation of the open meetings law CANNOT justify invalidating the law – so, why should the judge issue a TRO to review whether or not to invalidate the law because of the alleged violation of the open meetings law?
The third argument is that the court has no authority, based on an alleged open meetings law violation, to order the Secretary of State to do anything. The open meetings law does NOT apply to the Secretary of State. Even if it did, the Secretary of State did not attend the meeting that was held (allegedly) in violation of the open meetings law. So, how can the Secretary of State be a defendant in the suit brought by the county DA?
The Secretary of State, acting in his official capacity, benefits from sovereign immunity and courts have no authority over the Secretary of State for an alleged violation of a law unless that immunity has been affirmatively waived by the state. (Some laws specifically allow suits to be brought against state officials. That's the exception, not the rule.) The open meetings law does not waive the Secretary of State's sovereign immunity. The law provides for remedies that may be taken against members of a legislative body that violate the law, but it does not grant the courts ANY authority over an administrative (as opposed to legislative or judicial) official or agency.
In summary, since the court had no personal jurisdiction over the Secretary of State, it strikes some as unusual for the court to presume to issue a TRO covering the Secretary of State.
Anne speaking here. The judge has no jurisdiction, she cannot enjoin the Secretary of State from performing his administrative duties in any way, but to issue a temporary restraining order was overstepping her authority and overreaching. I think the reason that the reason Fitzgerald is not calling for a new vote is because the rule of law needs to be reestablished here in WI. With the liberal judges making unreasonable demands and ruling outside of their jurisdiction, the GOP is hoping the Supreme Court of WI will rule in their favor and reprimand the liberal judges, to they do not attempt this again. It is not an easy job reestablishing the "rule of law" because the liberals have derailed it for their own purposes for a very long time. But without a "rule of law" in this land that applies across the board, there is no "rule of law" period. The Democrats do not get to pick and choose the laws they will demand others abide by while they get to break any rule they please. It will be a long fight.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
PELOSI/REID/OBAMACARE: THE REALITY
1. It is Unconstitutional (ILLEGAL) and Anti-constitutional (ANTI-AMERICAN)
A. Article 6 of the United States Constitution states that all of the members of BOTH houses of Congress “be bound by oath or affirmation” to support the Constitution. A PRINCIPLED member of Congress would feel duty bound to vote against any proposed legislation that violated that sacred oath or affirmation. Three Clauses in the Constitution are IMPROPERLY cited by proponents of the Nationalization of Health Care as granting the Congress the right to Nationalize Health Care.
1. The “General Welfare Clause” - This clause gives Congress the power “To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.”
This clause is NOT a grant of Power to Congress. It is a LIMIT to a power given to Congress: It LIMITS the purpose for which Congress can lay and collect Taxes.
2. The “Necessary and Proper” Clause " gives Congress the power “to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States.” Like the General Welfare Clause, this clause was not a stand alone grant of power to Congress. Rather it authorizes Congress to make laws that are necessary (and also proper) to make other grants of authority in Article 1 effectual. So the Necessary and Proper clause cannot itself authorize national public health insurance. One would have to show that national public health insurance is necessary and proper to execute some other power granted in the Constitution.
3. “The Commerce Clause” " gives Congress the power to “ regulate commerce…among the states.” It was designed to prevent some states from taxing goods that passed through their boundaries on the way to
market. To Create and Engage in Commerce (National Health Insurance) is NOT the same thing as regulating commerce.
B. It is Anti-Constitutional. Obamacare’s passage would guarantee the eventual destruction of all important Guarantees of individual Liberty and Limited Government made by the Constitution.
2. It is IMMORAL for one group of citizens to abolish the rights and liberties of fellow Human Beings who have violated no law.
3. It is an act of THEFT from our Children of the labor they will be performing for their families and their country. It is the selling of our children into partial slavery. It insures that each child born in America will have an enormous debt to pay for substandard services they did not request.
4. It STEALS our children’s precious freedom to make basic decisions about the well- being of their bodies and minds and gives these stolen powers to government bureaucrats. It promotes the creation of more bureaucrats.
5. It ASSIGNS to the State the power of life and death over citizens who have committed no crime.
6. It is DESTRUCTIVE to the basic work of the Health Care Professional whose sole ethical responsibility must be to the Patient, a principle encapsulated in the Hippocratic Oath.
7. It DESTROYS incentive for independent and corporate scientific investigation into Human health and disease.
8. It proposes Government SEIZURE of the property of health care professionals.
9. The process of its coming to a vote is CONTEMPTUOUS of US Citizens and their elected representatives.
10. Proponents make outrageous statements about cutting the cost of Government “health care” by eliminating “fraud, waste, and abuse.” They claim to be able to do this so massively and so easily that their program will cost essentially NOTHING. This contrasts with figures prepared by economists projecting a cost of $1-2 Trillion Dollars. When Medicaid was first proposed its increasing annual cost to the Taxpayers was estimated to be 1/9 of the actual eventual annual cost.
11. Proponents deny the existence of Death Panels in their plans. Health costs cannot possibly be contained other than through rationing and rationing means allowing bureaucrats to place differing values on different people’s lives according to age, overall health, etc. These decisions will result in the earlier deaths of some people than would otherwise have occurred. If this cannot be called a Death Panel then what could be?
12. Proponents are attempting to collectivize Doctors. In 1930’s in Russia Stalin essentially declared that the Soviet agriculture system was ‘broken’ and therefore had to be placed under central government control. A famine with 10 million Russian deaths ensued. Proponents are attempting to declare government OWNERSHIP of Doctors including to authority to CONTROL them in every possible way.
13. Despite proposing to OWN Doctors as Government SLAVES proponents emphasize that Doctors could STILL BE SUED for unlimited damages.
14. The architect of Obamacare is Ezekiel Emanuel, a so called Bioethicist who believes that the Hippocratic Oath is the CAUSE of America's "broken" Health Care System! He recommends that physicians renounce the oath in favor of a commitment to "Society."
15. Nowhere in the Constitution is it suggested that Government is allowed to order its Citizens to purchase something.
16. Congressional Proponents want nothing to do with government healthcare for themselves and their families yet they want it to be forced on Americans who they know do not want it."
Texas MD http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=42600
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Volume 20, No. 1
By now, the political lore is familiar: A major political party, cast aside by Wisconsin voters due to a lengthy recession, comes roaring back, winning a number of major state offices.
The 43-year-old new governor, carrying out a mandate he believes the voters have granted him, boldly begins restructuring the state’s tax system. His reform package contains a major change in the way state and local governments bargain with their employees, leading to charges that the governor is paying back his campaign contributors.
Only the year wasn’t 2011 — it was 1959, and Gov. Gaylord Nelson had just resurrected the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. Certain of his path, Nelson embarked on an ambitious agenda that included introduction of a withholding tax, which brought hundreds of protesters to the Capitol. Nelson also signed the nation’s first public-sector collective bargaining law — the same law that 52 years later Gov. Scott Walker targeted for fundamental revision.
Two different governors, two different parties, and two different positions.
Ironically, their assertive gubernatorial actions may produce the same disruptive outcome. By empowering the unions, Nelson’s legislation led to public-sector strikes and work stoppages. By disempowering the unions, Walker’s actions might lead to public-sector strikes and work stoppages.
In Walker’s case, union members reluctantly agreed to his pension and health-care demands, but have fought desperately to preserve their leverage in negotiating contracts. That raises the basic question of the Madison showdown: Why is Scott Walker so afraid of collective bargaining?
The answer can be found in the rise of the state’s teachers unions.
After the 1959 Municipal Employees Relations law passed, the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association became, in 1964, the state’s first certified teachers’ bargaining agent. Slowly, more teacher groups across the state began to organize in their districts. And in 1969, Ashwaubenon teachers became the first Wisconsin educators to hit the bricks and strike, as 83 teachers walked out for four days.
Part and parcel with these developments, a venerable professional group founded in 1853, the Wisconsin Education Association, transformed itself into a tough-talking trade union in 1972 called the Wisconsin Education Association Council, with the authority to bargain on behalf of teachers all over the state.
WEAC began collecting funds from its members ($3 apiece) to spend on supporting political candidates. According to the union, 88% of its endorsed candidates won in the 1974 elections. The union had arrived on center stage as a major player in Wisconsin politics.
Unionized teachers routinely flexed their muscle. Between 1969 and 1974, there were 50 teacher strikes in Wisconsin, despite a state law declaring public employee strikes illegal.Because there were no penalties outlined in the law, WEAC’s leadership frequently convinced its members to walk out anyway.
A turning point came in March 1974, when a bitter teachers’ strike in the small town of Hortonville prompted a resolute school board to fire and replace 88 striking teachers. All hell broke loose.
The strike, one of the longest in the history of American education, garnered national media attention and was litigated all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices affirmed the school board’s right to fire the strikers.
Asked later if it was wise for WEAC to pick a fight in conservative Outagamie County, its former executive director Morris Andrews said: “I would have chosen a better place.”
Determined to use the Hortonville defeat as a rallying cry for solidarity, Andrews began pushing for a stronger, more galvanized teachers union. Under his leadership, WEAC hired collective-bargaining and arbitration experts and implemented “pattern bargaining” strategies. The idea was to extract as much salary and benefit increases as possible from teacher-sympathetic school boards, then use that data to pressure more stubborn boards to cough up better pay and benefits.
Notably, WEAC’s post-Hortonville muscle led to passage of a 1977 mediation-arbitration law that guarantees settlement of deadlocked collective-bargaining disputes.
The new law essentially ended public employee strikes. According to the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission, the state has had 111 municipal employee strikes since 1970; 90% took place prior to the 1977 med-arb law. Since 1982, there has only been one strike, in 1997 by Madison Metropolitan School District teachers.
The end of strikes, however, didn’t mean teachers were any less aggressive in negotiating. Aided by the new law, teachers redoubled their efforts to improve compensation. And they succeeded, judging by the costs of total pay and benefit packages.
For instance, statewide average teacher salaries increased 6% per year in the 16 years before the Hortonville strike. In the 16 years after the strike, the increase is pegged at 7% annually. Not a big difference, for sure.
But salaries are only a part of the picture. Consider that in the 16 years prior to Hortonville, average state per-pupil spending increased 6.7% per year. Post-strike, it jumped to 9.6% per year in the 16 years following the Hortonville clash.
Through collective bargaining, WEAC obtained concessions from management that appeared to have little fiscal effect, but in the long run greatly benefited its members.
It was in the early 1970s, for example, that local government employees across the state started to see taxpayers picking up the full cost of pension benefits — the very practice Gov. Walker fought against in his budget-repair bill.
In the ’70s, union leaders were figuring out the value of benefits; many of labor’s decision-makers were older and needed health and pension benefits more than the rank and file. They recognized that benefits were often not taxed, meaning that teachers usually got more bang from a buck in benefits than from a buck in pay.
Other provisions benefiting unions followed. In 1973, Wisconsin enacted the “Educational Standards Bill,” establishing that all teachers must be certified by the state Department of Public Instruction, that every school district must provide kindergarten, special education, guidance counselors, and other measures.
Also in 1973, Milwaukee teachers negotiated a benefit that paid their health care premiums when they retired — in 2016, this benefit will be worth $4.9 billion, or more than four times the size of the Milwaukee district’s current budget.
Teachers represented by WEAC often demanded that their health premiums be provided by WEA Trust — their own health insurer — at a cost often greater than insurance on the private market. (Started in 1970, WEA Trust is now the fifth-largest health insurer in Wisconsin.)
In none of these cases of advancing teachers and their union were the long-term fiscal costs known. While Capitol protesters in February offered to give up some short-term financial considerations, it is this slow, steady, tectonic shift towards enriching and empowering public employees that Walker sought to decisively reverse.
Bottom line: Even in giving up ground on a few major points, the negotiating tide on work rules and other matters still favors government labor.
Today, K-12 education funding dwarfs the next-highest state spending program by a measure of 4-to-1. In 2011, Wisconsin spent $5.3 billion on public school aids, compared to $1.3 billion on Medical Assistance.
Give WEAC credit for having the most aggressive and most sophisticated bargainers. Give it credit for executing a long-term strategy to enrich its members. But the union has been so successful for so long that it has sown the seeds for a humbling comeuppance.
It was this seemingly inexorable march toward higher spending that Walker is trying to halt by disassembling an overly powerful and deeply entrenched union machine.
Upon taking office in 1959, Gov. Nelson called on politicians to “think and act anew.” And that’s exactly what Gov. Walker is doing.
Christian Schneider is a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.