Sunday, February 20, 2011
Revolution Begins: Madison WI
The elite cannot rule alone. To hold power, a large share of the masses must acquiesce to the elite's authority. In America, Democrats have held the high ground since siding with the working class in the Depression (1929-40), and making government America’s positive agent of change. But Democrats’ inability to fix the economy in 2009-10, when the party held all the levers of power, broke the “good government” shield that protected America’s elite from popular disaffection.
Now government stands naked, exposed to the public as out for itself, exploiting the taxpaying population, and unable to better voters’ lives in return. Nowhere is this changed reality more starkly on display than in Madison, Wisconsin, where government workers call in “sick” to their workplaces so that they can demonstrate around the state capitol in a desperate effort to hang on to their privileged status, as they battle a duly-elected Republican government.
The nation is fixed on Madison’s struggle, and will be changed by the outcome:
“There is a growing sense that public-sector unions are not battling for better, safer workplaces. They're not battling unscrupulous employers. They're battling ... the common good.”
--Editorial, Chicago Tribune
“It is a crucial moment for the country and the Democratic Party. Will the latter align itself against the former? Is the co-dependency between organized labor and the Democratic Party to be the demise of both?”
--Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post
“We are witnessing the logical conclusion of the Democratic Party's philosophy, and it is this: Your tax dollars exist to make public sector unions happy. When we run out of other people's money to pay for those contracts and promises (most of which are negotiated outside of public view, often between union officials and the politicians that union officials helped elect), then we just need to raise taxes to cover a shortfall that is obviously Wall Street's fault.”
--Matt Welch, Reason
“public sector unions and government employees are the last great citadel of the Blue Model and what we see in Madison is a way of life fighting for survival in the last ditch. We should not be surprised that the battle is fierce, the tactics ruthless, the polarization intense. . .
“to reduce the costs of doing business in this country and make both capital and labor more attractive[, reduce] the ‘friction’ in our system. That means dramatically restructuring government, the legal system and the educational and health care systems.
“The culture of bureaucratic legalism will have to disappear. . . the only way forward for the United States is to unleash the full transformational power of information technology in the knowledge and service industries even if this entails (as it surely will) the destruction of the current institutional, bureaucratic and guild-based systems on which we currently rely.”
--Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest
“At bottom, this is the unions versus the people. . . With state budgets in crisis and the Democratic machinery already in all-out campaign mode, war has already been declared -- and if the unions win, the people lose.”
--Timothy P. Carney, Washington Examiner