The news has been abuzz about the battle in Wisconsin over the budget. The budget. But notice that this has become about more. Why?
The State of Wisconsin has a budget shortfall of over $100 million. This is huge for any state, especially a smaller one like Wisconsin. The governor has rightly attempted to look to reduce or end this deficit through a series of cuts. One way he’s sought to cut was through negotiation with state workers. In order to avoid laying off as many as 1500 of them, he’s looked to them to increase their contributions to health and retirement accounts. This began the outrage.
Was it a powerplay by the governor to use the economic situation as a way to break the union stranglehold on government workers’ negotiations, or was it a desperate move by a governor to just keep his state afloat. The opposing sides on the issue would have you believe their respective sides, and discount the other. But what if it’s both?
In the Rahm Emanuel playbook, you never waste a good crisis. In Alinsky’s methodology, you demonize the opponents. I see this all playing out at once. Here is the perfect storm for the governor: He conveniently has a legislative majority behind him during a down time, and during a budget short-fall. The country has just watched the opposing party play ram-it-down-your-throat politics with the US congress. He is in a state where the state workers make more than the average people that pay taxes to support them. The perfect storm. Take advantage of a situation for a powergrab. Now, I’m not saying that this won’t be better for the state, but you don’t get to be governor without surrounding yourself with political chess players that can make this happen. But I am saying that some advantage has been taken, and instead of being completely above-board, he’s hiding behind the budget… much like his cowardly counterparts are hiding behind state lines.
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