Democrats & Liberals Archives

Tension Dynamics and The Critical Threshold

The political problems that the Republicans have had over the past decade stem from one truth: people actually want something from government, and when the Republicans do away with what fulfilled that need, it does not do away with the need itself.

Heavy-handed attempts at busting unions in a number of states will not achieve the intended aims of their authors. Put simply, in this country, people will not sit down and shut up as their rivals would hope.

People know what's at stake, and even if you shock them into stunned surrender for the time being, the problems that motivate them will push them back into the fray.

Unless you remove the utility of a movement, you never truly kill it. Today's businesses, as they succeed in undermining the interests of the average person, also succeed, ironically enough, in creating the climate that prompts resistance.

For example, Republicans in Wisconsin and Ohio believe that destroying collective bargaining rights will help break union power. But will it, in the long run?

Already, it's probably gained unions more attention, and attached more urgency to the cause of unionization than has been attached to the subject for decades. The severity of the situation has likely jogged many liberals out of their dazed disillusionment over setbacks during the past two years.

But most importantly, even if folks in the GOP can reduce the supply of liberal policies, that doesn't mean they've destroyed the underlying demand. The workers will still have demands, needs, and when the Right pushes hard enough, they’ll respond by going on strike, or some other similar, visible sign of unrest.

The Republicans are going to find that if they create problems for people, and don't find working policy solutions to problems that come up of their own accord, they will only repeat the political problems they've had in the last decade. If voting Republican causes more problems than it solves, people will find an alternative.

And don’t think they will. They already have twice. In 2004, arguably, they had won utterly, had defeated a concerted effort at unseating George W. Bush. They had what they called a permanent majority. They thought that all the redistricting they did would ensure that Democrats would remain long suppressed. Unfortunately for them, while they reduced the supply of liberalism, while they reduced the number of liberals in power, they failed at reducing the demand. In fact, they succeeded in growing that demand, increasing the appeal of a change in who held that power.

And how did they fail? That’s the important part. They believed they could let the economy, the fuel costs, the disaster on the Gulf, the war in Iraq, and all the other problems fester, so long as they piled enough spin on it. But the world has a way of overwhelming the success of words with the slap in the face of reality, which develops in a far more sophisticated and far-reaching manner than our thoughts about it can ever develop.

I see political developments in terms of tensions and thresholds beyond which events can cause those tensions to unleash the social potential energy that they carry. What the Republicans did wrong was supposing that nothing could unseat them, that people who supported Bush and his candidates in 2004 would not stay home, that people would not look at their policies and feel it futile to keep on supporting them.

Democrats did something similar, to a more limited extent. I think many of the moderates and conservatives in Congress underestimated just how much their failure to confront and and overcome the Republicans undermined their support among the people they needed to come out for them. Many of these Democrats, longtime survivors of the years of the Republican Majority, were too comfortable with the kind of hippie-punching and corporate favoritism that pervaded much of their careers, and that didn’t help them turn out the new generation of activist Democrats, or the folks who were looking for something different from the Republicans as they had been.

The Tea Partiers have stepped in, and successfully taken advantage of that, and the rest of the Republicans profited by this, at least as far as the house is concerned. But I think four years of denial about what got them kicked out in the first place is going to make it very difficult for them to meet the real demand for political change in America.

They may hate the Democrat’s stimulus package, but the demand for jobs will remain. What do they have to substitute for that, more tax cuts for people who don’t need the money, who don’t tend to spend it on employing more people?

They may hate the spending programs the Democrats have, but can they replace the cashflow these represent for people? Can they replace the jobs that are lost, the infrastructure that remains broken, degraded, or unbuilt?

If they alter Medicare, Social Security, and the other entitlements the way they plan, how do they plan to cushion the shocks from the reductions, the changes, or whatever?

If they repeal Healthcare reform, how do they replicate it’s savings, how do they replicate the already institute fairness measures, like allowing children to remain on their parents insurance, banning rescissions, and so on and so forth?

Republicans may not care about fulfilling any of those needs, but that doesn’t mean voters don’t care. Because the Republican Media wraps people tightly in the GOP’s point of view, it often makes it difficult for them to understand what voters beyond their party might want or expect.

Where Republicans do not fulfill those needs, where they let problems fester or fail to convince people that they should accept the situation as it is, they create tensions, tensions that, when they become strong enough, undermine their political fortunes. Because they are so certain of themselves, Republicans often confidently go about doing things that store up such resentment, oblivious to the social backlash building against them, and even after the fact failing to consider that they could be wrong, or that people could have a legitimate difference of opinion.

Yes, Democrats are vulnerable to the same thing. I would argue that anybody can fall into this trap. The difference here is that Democrats actually worry more than the Republicans how they are perceived. When a moron like Alvin Greene shows up, the fact that he’s up against a despised man like Jim DeMint doesn’t change the fact that we’re not going to support him. We openly bash Democrats found with their hand in the cookie-jar. I don’t think I heard much opposition to investigations and censuring of figures like John Murtha or Charlie Rangel, or the prosecution of folks like William Jefferson. We haven’t built our system around a perpetual defense of any Democrat caught in a controversy. We won’t let Republicans use them to claim that Democrats have an equal culture of corruption to the Republicans, but we won’t jump to defend them.

But Republicans? Republicans likely lost the Senate this last election, with severe consequences for their agenda, because many of their candidates were just flat out loonies and fringe players. What might play in a gerrymandered district deliberately patterned to concentrate true believers worked against Republicans in a number of state-wide contests.

Republicans should realize that voters have their own reasons for voting a certain way, and with deep economic stresses the way they are, they shouldn’t overestimate the draw of policies that could make those stresses worse. Even if people initially support them, if the results are not forthcoming, or if they’re negative, they’ll feel the rough edge of the public’s dissatisfaction.

It doesn’t necessarily help the Republicans or their special interests if they win in the short term and people are still dissatisfied with the way things are. They might be able to blunt the current push to reform offshore oil drilling, but what if there’s another major spill? They might be able to blunt the current push for reform on Wall Street, but what if there’s another crash, based on the treacherous derivative markets? The Republicans seem to be intent on making the same bets they lost in the last decade.

When Gov. Mitch Daniels suggested that Republicans might want to reach out beyond the ideological core, beyond the audience of Beck, Hannity, and Limbaugh, Limbaugh reacted with characteristic offense to the notion. I think Limbaugh’s full of it, but what else is new? Seriously though, in this case, he’s full of it for a very important reason.

It might be perfectly fine for Limbaugh’s purposes to stick with his nice, devoted audience, to continue to broadcast his contempt for folks who aren’t sympathetic to his politics, but in the world Mitch Daniels inhabits, that’s a luxury the governor can ill afford. He succeeds or fails based on the margins of his support. Not every seat is a safe seat, not every position can be locked down without suffering a consequence on Election day. Limbaugh can afford to be all talk, and just push the same ideas again and again, no matter what the outcome is. After all, all he has to do is talk.

But Gov. Daniels, and all the others have to do more than talk. They’ve got to run the country right, and not just right from the point of view of their own politics. To the extent they rule incompetently, to the extent they push their luck on the mandate they have from the people, they endanger their continued tenure. The Republicans have been trying to push the limits, push the envelope on what they can get away with for decades, with some success, but the patience of voters is not infinite, the fit of their policies to their actual mandate is not perfect, and delusions of grandeur and impunity will eventually be greeted with political movement in this country that will cost them their power.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at February 23, 2011 11:08 AM
Comment #319108

Stephen, The republican party is courting the mandates their constituency elected them on. What they did after the election though was to immediately begin a re-prioritization of those mandates. An effort to draw attention from the true priority mandates of which they knew very well, prior to the elections that they had no better approaches to than were already on the table. They are lucky in that way. They seem to have a base that ascribes to very limited information sources. It also helps that those sources are organized enough that they all spew the same nonsense regardless of its validity. Those sources may have the largest percentage of patronage, but fortunately they do not have the minds of the largest percentage of the populace.

What is happening in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and Florida is waking people up to the idea that one needs to be very careful these days with regard to voter complacency. The people of Wisconsin most assuredly are having second thoughts about their new found direction and just what it really means to have a tea bagging far right extremist at the helm of the ship.

Posted by: RickIl at February 23, 2011 4:20 PM
Comment #319113


Interesting that you keep on talking about the problems Republicans have more than two years after the Democratic president took over but only months since Republicans really did well in the elections. Wasn’t it the biggest electoral shift in a generation?

Maybe you should worry about what Democrats are doing wrong to make so many people angry at them.

Re stimulus - unemployment was 7.2% when Obama took over. His folks warned us that w/o a stimulus it could go as high as 8%. The stimulus cost billions of dollars and drove up the deficit to unprecedented levels. With the stimulus, it went above 9% and stayed there. These numbers seem to indicate that the Democrats have a problem and maybe should do some soul searching.


I saw those protesters on TV. They look a lot like tea party activists, although there are not as many of them.

The liberal protesters also seem more aggressive. I saw signs comparing the governor to Hitler and Mussolini and they used imagery of killing. Not very peaceful. Now that the tea party has set a higher standard, we expect the pro-union types to get the message.

Posted by: C&J at February 23, 2011 6:13 PM
Comment #319116

Stephen Daugherty, if unions are so important why do we need government? If government is so efficient why do we need unions?

Where in the U.S. Constitution does it say we shall educate our children?

Seriously, Stephen Daugherty, where is it written?

I didn’t read your post so I don’t expect you to reply to my comment. Thank you anyway, Stephen Daugherty.

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 23, 2011 6:32 PM
Comment #319118

Civil service rules protect government workers. They are employed by a democratically elected government. I also wonder why they need a union too.

BTW - Rep. Michael Capuano, a Massachusetts Democrat, said this yesterday at a Boston “solidarity” rally: “I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.”

Liberals are not as peaceful as tea party members, are they?

Posted by: C&J at February 23, 2011 6:52 PM
Comment #319119

“Where in the U.S. Constitution does it say we shall educate our children?”

I will answer. It doesn’t. So, you are free to get rid of the public educational system. You can also get rid of Medicare, Medicaid, minimum wage, the Food and Drug Administration, the standing armed services, etc. They aren’t specifically required in the Constitution either.

Posted by: Rich at February 23, 2011 6:53 PM
Comment #319121

One more thing about consistency - you complained the Republicans threatened to filibuster in the Senate, which was well within the usual procedures. What do you think about Democrats fleeing their states to create a filibuster with no chance for even a 60% vote?

Posted by: C&J at February 23, 2011 6:59 PM
Comment #319123

“Civil service rules protect government workers. They are employed by a democratically elected government. I also wonder why they need a union too.”


Well, apparently not in Wisconsin for police, fire and other public safety employees. They were specifically exempted from Walker’s bill. Seems that there are reasons for some public employee unions.

Posted by: Rich at February 23, 2011 7:07 PM
Comment #319125

“Where in the U.S. Constitution does it say we shall educate our children?”

Where in the constitution does it say we are prohibited from educating our children?

Posted by: j2t2 at February 23, 2011 7:08 PM
Comment #319126

“I saw those protesters on TV. They look a lot like tea party activists, although there are not as many of them.”

C&J there were more “protesters” than tea party activists over the weekend. What locations are you using to compare the groups and why is it relevant?

“The liberal protesters also seem more aggressive. I saw signs comparing the governor to Hitler and Mussolini and they used imagery of killing.”

Those I saw didn’t seem the least bit aggressive C&J, and for that matter I did not see one with any sidearms how about you? Sure can’t say that about them tea baggers can we.

“Civil service rules protect government workers. They are employed by a democratically elected government. I also wonder why they need a union too.”

How did those civil service rules come to be C&J? Did those in the union have a say in the rules they follow? It seems Walker has answered the “democratically elected” part as well C&J. Just today he checked in with his real boss and earned himself a trip to Cali and those repubs in the Assembly propaganda protection after their efforts for the Koch Brothers is done.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 23, 2011 7:19 PM
Comment #319131

First, a few clarifications. Does the tension have to be based on something real? Does it always represent a well- informed point of view? No. In fact, the same dynamics govern dysfunctional movements that succeed, and functional ones as well. In fact, I would venture to say that legitimate grievances can power or be co-opted by bad actors to increase their power.

I know what the stock response of those on the right may be. But if you think about it, that’s alway’s going to be the stock response of one rival to another.

So, I won’t get too bent out of shape about it.

My analysis would be that to avoid the hated liberal bias, the Republicans have closed themselves off from seeing the drift of public sentiment any other way than their own. They literally can’t understand sometimes why folks reject them. To reject a Liberal bias they perceive from outsiders to the party, they’ve become victims of their own bias.

Republicans, I would argue, need to develop their perspective beyond the demanding dogma their party has locked them down to. Otherwise, it runs a good chance of falling completely out of sync with the rest of the country.

You can always stampede people for a little while, if you catch the other side by surprise. Long term development of trust and stability of power takes competence and care, not just rhetorical and political skill. If you say both parties have forgotten that to a degree, I might agree with you.

But I think the GOP has forgotten it more than the Democrats have. The Democrats are at least willing to compromise. Republicans act as if only their ideas hold weight with the public, and that simply isn’t true.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 23, 2011 7:42 PM
Comment #319132


I don’t think they are needed. This is a point of disagreement. Unions are sort of old fashioned, don’t you think? Back in the 1950s they were good things.


Civil service reform came in the Chester A Arthur administration after the assassination of President James Garfield by a disgruntled office seeker. It has nothing to do with unions. Many years later, FDR explained why public employees shouldn’t be unionized. Public employee unions are new to the labor movement. We got along fine w/o them and certainly can again.


I wonder who is out of touch, the Republicans, who just won big with the voters or the Democrats who just lost their big mandates?

When Reagan stood up to the Air Traffic Controllers, liberal said he was “against the people”. It didn’t turn out that way, did it?

Posted by: C&J at February 23, 2011 8:21 PM
Comment #319135

Some on the right are starting to suggest that Moammar Gadhafi has the key to dealing with those insurgents in Wisconsin. It might be wise, as a precautionary or preventative measure, to nuke Madison before the contamination spreads. Compared to unions, radiation is a rather weak contaminate.

“Civil Service rules” and a whole lot more rules that benefit non-union workers as well, minimum wage, 40 hour work week, etc. Nearly all of those are neoconian targets for extinction.

Out of one side of their faces, conservatives argue that these rules are very detrimental to the private sector employers that have to abide by them, while out of the other side, they argue that unions are no longer necessary because these rules are in place.

If 61% polled say they support collective bargaining it suggests that many non-union workers like the idea.

Posted by: jlw at February 23, 2011 8:39 PM
Comment #319136

C&J, I have personally been to Madison twice to join the solidarity effort. I will be returning again. I carried no signs or incited no violence. Nor did I see any violence. As far as I know there has been no physical violence at all. We all are free in this country to engage in peaceful protest. We all have freedom of expression so long as it does not physically harm. No ideology is exempt from comparison politics by way of graphic or verbal expression. Please don’t try to play your holier than thou right wing rhetoric on me. It won’t work. The tea party representation in Madison has been minimal to say the least. In light of very recent revelations of character with regard to Gov Walker I would have to say that neither he or the tea party are enjoying any sort of positive integrity.

Posted by: RickIl at February 23, 2011 8:57 PM
Comment #319137


I think that my father would come out of his grave to throttle you over your comment that unions are “old fashioned” and unnecessary. He was a police officer in the Notheast from the early 40s through the 80s. It was only through his department’s unionization in the 60s that he began to receive a living wage and could provide for a good education for his children. He was forever grateful. He would be the first to remind you that the absence of a need for unions, as in the fifties, may well be attributed to the fact that there are unions.

Posted by: Rich at February 23, 2011 9:03 PM
Comment #319140


Civil Service rules have been bipartisan. Attacks on them have tended to come from the left. Many of the rules were weakened to support political goals of affirmative action.

As I explained above, civil service reforms were enacted during the time of Chester A Arthur, a Republican of many years ago.

Even FDR did not favor unions for public employees.

Re your aggressive nuke metaphor, surely you have learned not to do that. It is also unclear if you want to nuke the union or the governor. Presumably the left fears the spread of Walker rules.


So you are an “out of state” agitator. I believe you are telling the truth when you tell me you saw none of those signs etc. I hope you believed me when I said the same re Tea Party rallies I attended.


My father was also a union leader. I was a member of the Longshoreman’s Union when I was young. Many years ago, like your father. Lots of things were good in the old days that are not anymore.

Posted by: C&J at February 23, 2011 9:12 PM
Comment #319142

“Many years later, FDR explained why public employees shouldn’t be unionized.”

C&J that is conservative mythology, here is the letter from FDR that was taken out of context.

“Public employee unions are new to the labor movement. We got along fine w/o them and certainly can again.”

Not according to the FDR letter C&J. They were around for some time prior to FDR. We meaning who? the Koch Brothers or the workers in Wisconsin and other states?

Posted by: j2t2 at February 23, 2011 9:31 PM
Comment #319143


I wonder who is out of touch, the Republicans, who just won big with the voters or the Democrats who just lost their big mandates?

What a magnificently self-serving response.

Let me remind you that in 2008, Democrats won big with voters, too. If winning big with voters means you can’t possibly be out of touch, then we have a bit of a paradox here.

A Casanova can be good at seduction, but terrible at maintaining a relationship. Republicans have always been good at swinging in, promising that everything will be loosier and goosier if they get into office, and then proceeding to fail to deliver the promised prosperity with those changes.

You had ten years to give your miracle results with Bush policies. Ten years where we were basically back where we started economically at the end.

That’s a big part of why your party got kicked out in 2006 and 2008. For all the marvellous promises, things did not end well at all.

That won’t go away. People might be distracted about it, but now that they’re front and center leading the House of Representatives, Republicans can’t duck the question of what their policy is going to be entirely. The fact that your people love to make big splashes and big headlines, and pull big stunts just will make your attitudes all the more visible.

I would tell you that how well you do depends on how fast you get going making the Deals with Democrats to create the legislation that will save and create more jobs.

And these jobs have to be real. If all you can offer is false hope, people will tire of that quickly. Democrats only appeared to offer that, and it was horrible for them in the election. What do you think will happen to the Republicans if jobs don’t materialize, and their actions precede a worsening of the economy. How much patience do you bet the last ten years of Republican policies has burned through?

As for Reagan? Good heavens, how brave. Tell me something: when Republicans talk about shared sacrifice, do they talk about the Rich giving up their tax cuts? After all, they’d likely spend as much without them as with them. With the average American facing getting laid off, getting their pay cut, being forced to pay more for benefits and pension benefits, having those benefits put on the chopping block-

Well, whose sharing the sacrifice with them?

You lionize Reagan for firing the Air Traffic Controllers, which is generally marked as one of the negative turning points for American unions. If you look back, though, and see all the progress we were supposed to make, having forsaken unions, those supposedly obsolete organizations, you’ll find that we have stagnant wages, greater uncertainty in terms of employment, degradation in terms of safety and labor rules.

Now you tell me, if somebody offered you those kinds of terms, that is, sacrificing your economic wellbeing in hopes of getting something in return, but ending up sucking air on almost every front, would you call it a “shared sacrifice?”

The rich have gotten richer, while we’ve sacrificed to keep them from being ruined. I tell you what, we can talk about shared sacrifice when they’re sacrificing all the money they’re keeping back to buy people some JOBS!

When your plan is essentially to beat up the people who have been getting the shorter and shorter end of the stick all my life, I don’t call that shared sacrifice. I call it the continued infliction of unnecessary and counterproductive pain on the people who are the foundation of any stable, capitalist market economy, the consumers we need to get spending again to get us out of our economic downturn once and for all.

We’ve tried your plan for, well, my entire life. Now let’s try something different, not try the same damn thing all over and hope for a different result

As for what Michael Capuano said? You mean the comment for which he’s apologized?

There can be two senses to what he said, one that I would support, and one that I would not. The first would be of getting bloodied by your opponents. The other would be bloodying them yourself.

Let’s take your interpretation as a given, for the sake of argument. Okay, so one guy’s said that. If we’re going by good, well thought out logic here, it doesn’t imply the kind of equality that your speaking of.

I mean, tell me how that compares to the remarks that got Indiana Deputy Attorney General Jeff Cox fired.

[W]hen Mother Jones staffers tweeted a report that riot police might soon sweep demonstrators out of the Wisconsin capitol building—something that didn’t end up happening—one Twitter user sent out a chilling public response: “Use live ammunition.”

From my own Twitter account, I confronted the user, JCCentCom. He tweeted back that the demonstrators were “political enemies” and “thugs” who were “physically threatening legally elected officials.” In response to such behavior, he said, “You’re damned right I advocate deadly force.” He later called me a “typical leftist,” adding, “liberals hate police.”

… In his nonpolitical tweets and blog posts, Cox displays a keen litigator’s mind, writing sharply and often wittily on military history and professional basketball. But he evinces contempt for political opponents—from labeling President Obama an “incompetent and treasonous” enemy of the nation to comparing “enviro-Nazis” to Osama bin Laden, likening ex-Labor Secretary Robert Reich and Service Employees International Union members to Nazi “brownshirts” on multiple occasions, and referring to an Indianapolis teen as “a black teenage thug who was (deservedly) beaten up” by local police. A “sensible policy for handling Afghanistan,” he offered, could be summed up as: “KILL! KILL! ANNIHILATE!”

See, there’s a difference between overheated rhetoric, and deliberately using such inflammatory language when somebody asks you to confirm it. That a person would be so bold, so hostile, so contemptuous as to use that language is troubling to say the least.

I’m sure you will join me in stating that his remarks, and any such remarks like it are beyond the pale.

Getting back to union issues, I’d say this. We were born in a time where such benefits could be taken for granted, when we could feel as if such wages, such working hours, such benefits were a grant of the nature of our economy, rather than the result of hard-won and hard-fought struggles with with economic elites.

Perhaps one reason America’s seen decline on so many fronts, is that we took so many of the advantages we were given by previous generations for granted as simply naturally ours. The reality is, nothing is so written in stone. To stay competitive, we must compete, not merely defend the privilege of those who have already won in our system. To stay prosperous, we must guarantee the rights and the fair compensation of everybody, not merely act for the benefit of the few in hopes that they might spontaneously demonstrate altruism.

What America has, it has because it’s been such a great country. It retains much of that strength, even now, but if we are to stay a country great in its prosperity and its justice, we will have to realize that not every fair outcome writes itself.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 23, 2011 9:32 PM
Comment #319152

C&J Not an agitator. A supporter of the right to bargain. A right that an extremist Governor is trying to take away from a select group of working class individuals. At the same time he is exempting other groups of which he has recently appointed family members to lucrative positions. I have heard no credible reasoning from him or the republican legislature as to why there is a need to remove bargaining rights for a particular group. His conversation on the phone today made it very clear just who he really works for. The people of Wisconsin certainly do not rank at the top of his list.

Posted by: RickIl at February 23, 2011 10:29 PM
Comment #319154

“In light of very recent revelations of character with regard to Gov Walker I would have to say that neither he or the tea party are enjoying any sort of positive integrity.”

RickIl you underestimate the ability of the propaganda arm of the conservatives. The spin on Walkers admission of lying is out for dissemination by the movement followers. It’s real easy when truth is not even an option for 50% of the voting public.
Good luck in Madison.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 23, 2011 10:36 PM
Comment #319160

j2t2 I hear ya. The local blogs are full of wigglers. That is okay. I know the truth, and they do to. That is gratification to the max.

Posted by: RickIl at February 23, 2011 10:59 PM
Comment #319161


This is what FDR said, according to your link. It sounds like a good explanation to me.

“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.”

It is almost exactly what I wrote above, BTW.


The people of Wisconsin didn’t have enough of their own people, so unions need to import people from outside the state. It does tell us something about the “spontaneity” of the demonstrations. When people see people like you in the crowd, they might assume you were a Wisconsin worker or at least a resident of the state. But they would be mistaken.

Ask yourself how this would be on the other side. If there was some kind of local demonstration where the “right wing” organizers brought in out of state activists.

Presumably, you usually have to work. Did your employer give you the day off, or did you call in sick, like so many others?

It shows the professionalization of left wing protest movements. I bet that among those protesters, there are some that are paid. It is a big Kabuki play done for the cameras. No surprise.

We know that the Obama organization worked hard to invade Wisconsin. I was born in Wisconsin. I went to school in Madison and lived there for four years. I no longer live there, but I go back to visit every year and I feel a little put out that outside liberal activists would want to make my state native a battle ground.

Posted by: C&J at February 23, 2011 10:59 PM
Comment #319163

Really C&J this explains why conservatives are so easily led around by movement leaders, the inability to read more than one paragraph.

Here is the preceding paragraph from the same letter.

“The desire of Government employees for fair and adequate pay, reasonable hours of work, safe and suitable working conditions, development of opportunities for advancement, facilities for fair and impartial consideration and review of grievances, and other objectives of a proper employee relations policy, is basically no different from that of employees in private industry. Organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical, but meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government.”

And here us the paragraph that follows, evidently, the only paragraph conservatives seem to be able to see.

“Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that “under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government.


Posted by: j2t2 at February 23, 2011 11:23 PM
Comment #319164

“I no longer live there, but I go back to visit every year and I feel a little put out that outside liberal activists would want to make my state native a battle ground.”

Do you feel the same way about the Governor and the Koch Brothers? It seems they are the ones making Wisconsin the battle ground state in their plan to bust the unions. At least that is what they said in the O’Keefe moment earlier today. So seeings as they have planned and coordinated this amongst several states why would you get upset over “outside liberal activists” doing the same?

Posted by: j2t2 at February 23, 2011 11:30 PM
Comment #319177

C&J I am retired and am anything but a liberal activist. I go to WI to stand with my working brothers and sisters in the effort to fight oppression of the working classes. I do it of my own accord, because I think it is important to the minions who may have to suffer at the hands of billionaire thugs if the last bastion of workers protections is brought to the ground. The battle is in reach and I feel the need to do my part for the future of my children and grand children. I simply do not care to see them relegated to a life of groveling and back stabbing for advancement in the work place. It is as simple as that. No need to read anything more into it. As for your earlier remark, I think I can now safely say that the true agitator now inhabits the Governors mansion. Have a nice day, my ride is here and I am off to join the peaceful and well intentioned fray.

Posted by: RickIl at February 24, 2011 10:15 AM
Comment #319178

The same political circus is playing out in Indiana with Democratic legislators leaving the state to prevent a Republican majority from passing anti-union legislation.

There is a difference, however. The heretofore rising star of conservatives, the Republican governor, Mitch Daniel saluted the Democratic legislators for leaving the state and urged the Republican controlled legislature to drop the legislation.

Mitch Daniel is no supporter of unions. However, he is respectful of their fundamental rights of organization and collective bargaining. He feels that legislation altering those fundamental rights deserve a full public debate and should not piggy back on a fiscal crisis. He noted that, as in Wisconsin, the newly elected legislators did not campaign on anti-union proposals.

Posted by: Rich at February 24, 2011 10:34 AM
Comment #319180

I think FDR was dealing with a different world, in terms of unions, than the states who introduced collective bargaining thirty or forty years after FDR’s New Deal helped legitimize them politically.

And really, the reason to introduce collective bargaining is precisely to avoid unrest. If folks aren’t bargaining, they’re striking. That’s why most other GOP governors decided not to touch it. They recognize that there would be a backlash against them, that it would open up a can of worms, politically speaking.

It’s funny how you figure the motivations of the union members, as if they are enemies. You would get a better estimate of their intentions if you simply imagined yourself in their shoes. Would you want your people to get violent? No, because that would be used against you.

The Union members want to be seen as heroic, not intimidating. Unlike the Tea Party, the media that covered them would uniformly bring condemnation on them for their tactic. The Tea Party protestors and the hecklers at the townhalls got praise and encouragement from their media for their obnoxious, intimidating, and sometimes violent behavior.

You seem to want to find any reason you can to delegitimize the protests, to trash these people. You virtually label them thugs, outsider, agitators, you accuse them of wanting to make your state a battleground, you talk about the Obama organization “invading” the place…

Crank it down a little, for crying out loud. The unions aren’t interested in giving your side martyrs, in providing them with a justification for treating them like enemies. They’ve caused no riots, overturned no cars, chased no public officials. They’re just there to protest, to assemble peaceably, and tell the country that unions will not be ignored.

You talk about the professionalism of left-wing protest movements. While your snide comment about them getting paid is way out of line, it’s a backhanded complement, to be truthful. We do try and make our protests orderly, peaceful, and well-organized, in no small part because folks like you are waiting to pounce on the least bit of evidence of intimidation to paint us as dangerous radicals.

Meanwhile, your people have no problem with being dangerous radicals, they glorify themselves as such, as a threat to those who would take away their freedoms. They do this right up to the point where some idiot takes the violence too far, or their commentary too far, and then they’re spinning and making up crap.

But really, what about what that now-fired deputy attorney general said? You seem to have ignored that completely. People like me get worried about people like you when the words “live ammunition” suddenly become appropriate responses to protests we dislike. Thought precedes action. Will you continue to try and find misbehavior on the left in order to claim that people like me should overlook such rhetoric, or will you realize that only by applying common standards across the board, do we truly isolate the radical and the violent?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 24, 2011 10:56 AM
Comment #319187

What is going to add fuel to the fire is now Walker has to figure out how to pay for higher gas prices which means he will need to cut even more money from the budget or increase taxes.

To bad Walker doesn’t understand that he just painted every Republican running for officie in 2011 into a corner. For without a long term solution for energy, no budget is safe and cannot be balanced.

Now, all we need to wait for is the sell of state property to the Koch Bros. at under market value.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 24, 2011 2:35 PM
Comment #319201

What this issue is really about is difference between how Obama and the Democrats went about stimulating the economy and how Republicans would stimulate the economy.

Walker has shown that Republicans will stimulate the economy by eliminating middle class wages in the public sector and use the savings to provide tax breaks for those who will create some more lower class wage jobs in the private sector.

C&J, I know how the game is played, you scapegoat and take out one obstacle at a time. Public sector employees fit the bill well. If success could be achieved in eliminating the public sector unions the message will be modified.

The modified message will say public sector unions were a bad idea, but private sector unions are much worse, plus, unions may have been necessary at one time but they have outlived their usefulness.

I have heard it said that all human institutions eventually out live their usefulness and are replaced by new institutions.

What institution or institutions do you suggest we replace unions with?

Perhaps capitalism is fast approaching it’s usefulness to society.

This about dancing to the tune of capital, not citizens.

And yes, I trust Obama and especially the liberal power structure little more than I trust the right; because, as I said, the tune being played is #1 on the Free Market New World Hit list. The liberals and conservatives are free to use their poetic license with the facts but they are paid to dance the same tune. I still remember the liberal that shafted the workers of this country and handed them over to Wall Street and Bush.

Posted by: jlw at February 24, 2011 7:39 PM
Comment #319203

“C&J, I know how the game is played, you scapegoat and take out one obstacle at a time. Public sector employees fit the bill well. If success could be achieved in eliminating the public sector unions the message will be modified.”

Exactly! Here, Walker tried to take out those public unions that he thought would not result in a backlash: teachers, waste employees, clerks, etc. He exempted police and fire for a simple reason: they might rally public support against the anti-union proposal.

Posted by: Rich at February 24, 2011 8:03 PM
Comment #319204


The violence at tea party rallies came when union thugs attacked on of the tea party members.

The tea party was also perfectly peaceful. You unfairly attacked them in ways I have NOT attacked the union people in these protests.

You wrote - “Crank it down a little, for crying out loud. The unions aren’t interested in giving your side martyrs, in providing them with a justification for treating them like enemies. They’ve caused no riots, overturned no cars, chased no public officials. They’re just there to protest, to assemble peaceably …” This is what you should have said about the tea party.

The tea parties and these union guys both have legitimate grass roots and they also both have some degree of outside organizers. If the union guys continue to be as peaceful, they will be exactly the same as the tea party.

So please spare your supposed outrage. It is a movie we have seen before.


Maybe you know how the liberals play the game, with their Saul Alinsky rules. It is not my way.


FDR had a unique talent for giving everybody the impression that he agreed with their positions. You can choose the parts you like and I will do the same. But he clearly did not envision normal collective bargaining for unions and there was no collective bargaining for Federal unions during FDR’s tenure. NONE. Maybe his deed spoke more clearly than his words. Beyond that, ALL Federal union membership is voluntary. The Federal government is has no closed shops. It is essentially a “right to work” organization. This was true under FDR too.

So if unions become “Open shop” in Wisconsin and don’t bargain collectively, they will come to resemble what FDR advocated and what the Wisconsin governor is seeking.

IMO - an acceptable compromise would be for the unions to keep collective bargaining, but get the state out of the business of collecting dues and make the union membership voluntary.

Posted by: C&J at February 24, 2011 8:22 PM
Comment #319208

I think a better compromise wouldbe if Governor Walker would pay the money back to the state employees retirement fund in full with interest and than have to pay in full all contracts and bonds. For if he wants to change the way the State does business. Fine, but don’t expectpeople to standby as he refuses to honor the States’ Obligations.

For if he wants to change the contracts of state employees, what is stopping him from changing the contrats the state holds with private business and investors? Better still, what is stopping future governors from doing the same. Seems Governor Walker and others haven’t thought about the fallout of the hardline.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at February 24, 2011 8:35 PM
Comment #319211


There is no indication that Wisconsin want to default on pensions.

Posted by: C&J at February 24, 2011 9:00 PM
Comment #319213

“You can choose the parts you like and I will do the same.”

Why not the whole? Especially when taking parts out of context obviously leads to a false hood. What FDR was saying, and rightfully so, was militant tactics could not be permitted when collective bargaining with the federal government. He said nothing about “why public employees shouldn’t be unionized.”

The fact is C&J the portion of the letter you referred to has made the rounds of the conservatives websites and TV shows and is now well on its way to becoming a conservative myth, I know, so what, there are so many now what is one more. Well because it’s for the greater good.

Want proof?

“So if unions become “Open shop” in Wisconsin and don’t bargain collectively, they will come to resemble what FDR advocated and what the Wisconsin governor is seeking.”

According to this letter FDR did not advocate “open shop” as you falsely claim. I guess I had better go slow as this manipulation of the truth you insist upon must be from a fast but inaccurate reading of the letter.

“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, ….

Next paragraph topic sentence,

Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees.”

FDR, according to the letter conservatives hold up as proof, was against militant actions by unionized government employees,not the unions themselves.

Conservative myth.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 24, 2011 9:40 PM
Comment #319216


Did FDR create a closed shop? Did he allow collective bargaining? The answer to both these questions is “no” BTW.

FDR had big Democratic majorities. If he didn’t do it, he didn’t want to do it. We can argue about what we think he said, but it is clear what he did (and did not) do. We would expect a reasonably honest persons deeds to resemble his wishes.

After some years, every president becomes part of the American heritage. Why is that? Because after a few years current labels no longer really apply. FDR did lots of things that would not be associated with today’s liberals.

Posted by: C&J at February 24, 2011 10:13 PM
Comment #319227

“Did FDR create a closed shop?”

Why would he C&J he was a President of the United States not a union organizer.

“Did he allow collective bargaining?”

He signed the Wagner Act into being which allowed for collective bargaining in the private sector for crying out loud. That was after the NIRA was declared unconstitutional.

“FDR had big Democratic majorities. If he didn’t do it, he didn’t want to do it”

As well as the great depression and by 1937 the formation of the Axis pact that would lead to WWII. But that is besides the point. The issue is he did not say “public employees should not be unionized” as you claimed. In fact the letter that is falsely claimed to contain this tidbit was addresses to the leader of the National Federation of Federal Employees, which became a union around 1918. They had bargaining units for years prior to FDR becoming president.

Just for reminders here is the topic of the letter as it is shown on the letter.

112 - Letter on the Resolution of Federation of Federal Employees Against Strikes in Federal Service
August 16, 1937

” We can argue about what we think he said, but it is clear what he did (and did not) do. We would expect a reasonably honest persons deeds to resemble his wishes.”

No this is a red herring and illogical C&J. What makes you think FDR had a need to do so at that point in time?

“At its formation, NFFE was considered progressive for having a retirement bill and a dues classification system. In 1919, Congress established the Joint Congressional Committee on the Reclassification of Salaries. After many years of research and collaboration with legislators, the first classification act was instituted in 1923. Since then, it has been amended several times. Initially, the system was limited to departmental service in Washington, D.C., but it later expanded to nationwide federal departments. This expansion was due largely to the efforts of Luther Steward, the NFFE president at the time. Decreases in turnover and improvements in morale were evident across the board. “

You may recall the person FDR was writing the letter in question to, it was Luther Steward.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 25, 2011 1:47 AM
Comment #319236

The most powerful union in the country is the Chamber of Commerce.

Posted by: jlw at February 25, 2011 3:45 PM
Comment #319239


Bottom line here – I don’t know if these unions had bargaining units, but they were prohibited by law from bargaining collectively. FDR did not allow collective bargaining in the Federal government. FDR did not allow a closed shop. Under FDR, the government remained what we would today call a “right to work” place. FDR said lots of things to lots of people. Everybody commented on his skill in making people think he was on their side. His actions showed what he really thought.

Even today, BTW, Federal workers are free to join unions - or NOT.

Re promises - we see that today with Obama. He talks a lot but doesn’t follow through.

I used to study history. I learned to follow events, not words. If a leader says something and shortly thereafter something happens, maybe he was telling the truth about his intentions and accurately assess his abilities. If not, something is wrong. FDR said these things in the 1930s. He died in 1945, still no collective bargaining or closed shops in the Federal government.

On the other hand, he also spoke against collective bargaining and closed shops in government. You say he was taken out of context and/or meant something else. Yet subsequent events confirm a different interpretation.

Posted by: C&J at February 25, 2011 5:30 PM
Comment #319244

For starters, let me address an issue here: just because FDR did not favor collective bargaining in that time, doesn’t mean its wrong, or wrong in our time. We do not have to go back to the ghost of FDR on every policy to see if it’s appropriate.

But one thing for sure: FDR did not oppose unionization by any stretch of the imagination.

Many governments went to collective bargaining because their workers could and did strike and this was disruptive to the operation of government. So, they essentially said, we’re going to sit down and have representative of both sides work out a deal.

I got a message on my iPhone from one of my news apps at about three in the morning about the passage of the anti-union bill through the state house in Wisconsin, and reading it, what it reflected to me was a certain level of contempt for the unions, and I believe that’s what this is an expression of.

Republicans simply don’t like unions. They don’t see the necessity. They shove the benefits unions have brought to us by saying that unions have served their purpose. Meanwhile Americans get a much crappier deal at work each year, and often bear the brunt of policies that call for shared sacrifice.

In comparison to their peers in education level and jobwise, many of these people actually get less than their peers in the private sector. That’s actually the case in Wisconsin, where government workers actually earn less, including benefits than their private counterparts.

So, what this seems like is another in a long line of incidents where the Republicans are simply beating down on a Democratic Constituency, trying to delegitimize it and deprive it of power.

That, as much as anything is what prompts the reaction from the left.

And if my entry here has any point, it’s this: just because you beat down the constituencies, cut them out, suppress their ability to affect policy doesn’t mean they’ll sit down, shut up, and just take it.

Folks will continue to need things, and if the Republicans cannot satisfy that, people will oppose the Republicans over it. Now Republicans treated their dissenters with a ****load of contempt over the last ten years, to say nothing of previous decades, and you know something? That’s half the reason the Democrats and Liberals have grown so restless, become so sour on compromise with the Republicans. The other half is, despite their own constant marketing of their ideas as the only and best way to run things, Republicans nowadays are positively incompetent. Not only that, but it seems to be transparent to everybody but the Republicans.

And really, I don’t see how these anti-worker tactics benefit anybody. On my way home, listening to the news, somebody commented that because of drops in state spending, they had to revise GDP downwards. That’s what some people on the Right just don’t get: government economic activity is part of economic growth.

Now we’re up at 3-4% growth in our economy right now, coming out of two years of Democratic Party Policies. Even imperfectly expressed, our policies have arguably been a net positive for this country.

But your people want to lessen the economic activity of Federal, State, and local level governments. Your big plan to defeat this consumer-driven economic downturn, is to drive the consumers further down in economic terms, put more people out of work, fund less projects and contracts that would keep people employed, and count on the beneficence and altruism of the rich and the corporations to push money back into the economy, even though one round of numbers after another has shown that unsurprisingly they’re not spending the money.

And really, your deficit-reducing plans, even if they work perfectly, still do not make up for what you’ve done to increase the deficit through tax cuts and other breaks.

You folks want to talk about shared sacrifice, why don’t we talk about sacrifice coming from those who can afford to give up something without harming their effective ability to contribute to the economy? Why, in a time where the rest of us are supposed to sacrifice, is subsidizing corporate America and tax cuts for the rich such sacred cows?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 25, 2011 7:49 PM
Comment #319248


I do not think we need unions in the public sector. That is true. Public employees are protected by civil service rules. They work for the taxpayers and our elected officials.

I don’t think they need a union, but if workers in Wisconsin or anywhere else want to join a union, that is their right. They can use their union to talk about issues. But union membership should be entirely voluntary.

Posted by: C&J at February 25, 2011 8:05 PM
Comment #319249

The liberal talk here is so upside down. In the case of public employees bargaining, it does not exist. The union says we want this and that and they are given it. The people(taxpayers) who pay the salaries and benefits have no say in the process. The democratic party then gets donations from the unions, in the millions, to play with. Those teachers who got those phony doctor excuses saying they were sick, should be immediately fired. They certainly were not taking care of the kids in the classroom that they are so high and mighty about. They preferred to lie. In my opinion that is grounds for firing—period. They do have a civil service system in WI and this should be the basis for any financial as well as professional benefits packages. The people would not then have to have dues extorted from their paycheck.

Unions outside the public employee sector is a whole different ball of wax. There there is bargaining between management and labor to do a contract that is agreeable to both sides.


Growth has been only 2.5% to 2.8% over the last couple of quarters. Your 3-4 percent is smoke.

Your side has to run out of town and out of state when they don’t get their way. Is that any way to behave as a responsible adult that is voted into office to take care of his people in his district? How pathetic, and you say it is ok?

They should be recalled immediately. There are some people in those districts that I am sure would be willing to go and battle for the people of those districts without running out of town and state when the heat gets turned up. I will take it that there are 14 WI senators who do not have the skill or ability to debate the topics before them. Just another reason they should get recalled or resign and find a job they can do seriously.

Posted by: tom humes at February 25, 2011 8:23 PM
Comment #319251

tom Humes,

The conservative, Republican governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniel, saluted the Democratic legislatures that left his state for the same reason as in Wisconsin. Why? In my opinion because he has a sense of integrity and fair play. He would rather prevail on the merits and not on the pretext of a fiscal crisis.

Posted by: Rich at February 25, 2011 8:32 PM
Comment #319256

C&J, such a twisted story you weave. Twisting the words of evidently one of your heroes ,FDR, to become anti union. Still it is conservative mythology and not really relevant to the issue in Wisconsin. Nothing in your last statement has changed that, so I guess it is time to move on to a different subject or continue to repeat the same things as we seem to be doing. It has been interesting though.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 25, 2011 9:37 PM
Comment #319260


Leaving your post while you are hired to do a job is not integrity. It is a dereliction of duty. In whatever job you make a living in, you would no doubt be fired to leaving your post, and rightfully so. It is a mindset of elitist attitude and shows that they believe they are not subject to rules and regulations. They can violate laws at will. We don’t need people like that enacting legislation.

Posted by: tom humes at February 25, 2011 10:13 PM
Comment #319263


I do like FDR, just like Ronald Reagan did. I don’t expect my heroes to be perfect or to do everything the way I like. I claim all great Americans. They have all become part of our shared heritage.

BTW - the thing that is very attractive about FDR is that he evidently liked forestry.

I know that FDR did not introduce collective bargaining into the Federal government. I also know that he did not force any Federal workers to join unions. Do you know something about it that I am missing?

Posted by: C&J at February 25, 2011 10:41 PM
Comment #319265

Because this discussion came up I have started reading the 1956 edition of The Lion and the Fox. Perhaps it will mention something of forestry. I’ll let you know.

Theodore Roosevelt, with an executive order, outlawed unions for federal workers around 1906 or so.
The La Foyette act allowed “unions” for federal employees. That was in 1916 or so. (After some revisions to TR’s EO in between this time).
Remember from around 1890 up until this time frame the Knights, The AFL and others were shooting it out with employers in the private sector. Literally.

Anyway FDR had a full plate in the early thirties, remember the communist, the fascist, the socialist were all valid political activist and the country was in depression and the dust bowl was starting up. FDR wasn’t really interested in unions as far as taking sides until the Wagner Act was nearly completed, he became involved just to get it passed and then signed it into law. That was ‘35, unions had about died out as we were in a depression.

I just don’t think the NFFE or the AFL pushed the issue of collective bargaining with federal employees as it was the depression. They had organized federal employees as far back as 1918 which was the same time frame the civil service laws started to move through Congress. The Federal employee unions were dealing with Congress to get the terms and conditions they sought. These unions had what they called “bargaining units” but I don’t know if that term means the same as we would think of it today.

Remember “collective bargaining” at the time was strikes, beatings violence and such as the giants of industry and labor organizers battled it out. Some of the unions fought against the communist and some were communist. Just as some of the business leaders were capitalist as well as dems or repubs some were also fascist, openly. (A lot of different factors to consider, these are just some of them).

Anyway as we know along came Hitler and the AXIS powers were formed, the country fell back into a recession while paying off the debt owed by the government. That was ‘37 and elections were coming up. Why deal with an issue such as collective bargaining for federal employees when all of this was going on.

Then came WWII. Everyone was fighting overseas. FDR died just prior to the end of WWII .

Posted by: j2t2 at February 25, 2011 11:29 PM
Comment #319267

tom humes-
Preliminary report is 3.2% for the last quarter.

As for the Senators…
Are you calling Abraham Lincoln a coward?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 26, 2011 12:11 AM
Comment #319276


You are correct that the FDR’s ambivalent comments on public unions needs to considered within historical context. It is clear in his letter that his concern was about “militant” tactics (strikes) and their impact on public services and safety. That concern was a major issue in the decades after the debacle of the Boston Police strike of 1919 initiated when the Police Commissioner refused to recognize a police union. The chaos that ensued set back public union organizing for decades, particularly for police. Eventually, no strike provisions in legislation authorizing public safety related unions paved the way for their establishment. But it took many decades.

It is somewhat ironic, that the unions being exempted from Walker’s anti-union bill in Wisconsin are police and fire, the very unions that caused such concern about public union organization in the first place.

Posted by: Rich at February 26, 2011 7:09 AM
Comment #319277


I will look for your correction when you read the actual figures.

Posted by: tom humes at February 26, 2011 10:54 AM
Comment #319278

Rich, Thanks for the history. It is pretty obvious the right has taken it out of context, half truths work well on the conservative movement followers. The reality is the quote has no bearing on the issue in Wisconsin. It is right wing diversions such as this that allows the lies of Walker to go unchallenged.

Ironic and politically motivated. The police and fire unions supported Walker this past election. Once the teachers and municipal workers unions are gone the others will be forced out.

Walker and his backers are not just trying to break unions they want one party rule.”Tyranny not democracy” conservatives the lot of them. They want to dry up funding for dems. The bill, the Wisconsin repubs intend to pass into law, is so dishonest on so many different levels, starting with the myth that it will balance the budget in Wisconsin.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 26, 2011 11:16 AM
Comment #319279

tom humes-
I said growth is in the 3-4% range. Preliminary reports have it at 3.2%. I said, “Now we’re up at 3-4% growth in our economy right now…”

I had it right for the latest report for the quarter, and that was the one that mattered, not the previous two which you rightly said were below three.

You know that if Walker gets his way, the results are actually negative for the fiscal situation? You don’t understand that the income from government jobs and government contracts contributes to the economy. The question would be, are government jobs competing for jobs that the private sector otherwise would be creating.

The answer is no. It’s not competition from the government that has an output gap of 900 billion dollars. It’s a lack of customers. That in turn is a result of high unemployment, which itself is compounded by the fact that businesses aren’t hiring or buying new equipment as much as they should.

And you want to know one of the main reasons that the economy isn’t growing faster, and by that getting us out of our economic downturn? Well, like I already said, government contributes to GDP, and the states are all on an austerity kick.

The irony is, the rational response of the states to their budget crises is locking their economies, and the nation’s in the same mess it’s a response to. Short term, it seems that it has to happen, but it’s only keeping the long term problem going, and the worse the cuts get, the worse the situation gets.

Now, you’ll probably disregard what I’m saying for ideological reasons, and that will be the problem. You’re committed to the notion that what this nation needs is more austerity, more government firing people, more government cancelling contracts, more government failing to use its ability to spend from a deficit to goose the economy. I know you think that the economy would then naturally reset itself, and grow faster, but why? How would all the firings and the lost business not put additional burdens on the state and national governments? How would the lost economic growth not compound the problem elsewhere, and reduce business?

You and much of the rest of the Right are not thinking things through completely, not accounting for second and third order consequences of your policy. Your message to the working class is that the beatings will continue until morale and good fortunes improve. You’re sabotaging the economic fortunes of those whose fortunes need to recover in order to break the back of this economic downturn.

The State Senators probably would survive any attempt to recall them. Their district are already pretty blue, especially if they still have their jobs after 2010. The real question is whether many of the Republicans will still have jobs now that Liberals in Wisconsin have such a good view of what happens when they let your folks win.

Again, why are you calling Abraham Lincoln, who jumped from a second story window as part of a plan to deprive the Illinois State Senate of a quorum, a coward? Or are you going to provide me a special exemption for him that special pleads his way out of the doghouse?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 26, 2011 12:17 PM
Comment #319284


I did not call Lincoln anything. You brought that up and the phrasing is totally yours.

As usual you are wrong about the economic situation. Governments at all levels in this country must stop expansion of their spending, power, and taxation. The size of government has grown exponentially for decades on end. What has it gained the country to do that? Nothing but debt and grief. And all you can do is say “Ya man, way to go, keep it up, we’re in a groove, someday our kids will curse us, but we will be in the grave, and ya hoo, we’re winning”. The economics in this country have been caving in for my lifetime and beyond. The numbers change and people bluff there way thru, but the economy has been tanking for decades. The value of the dollar has steadily decreased. It is 1% of its value of 1932 and less beyond that. I am saying that the picture of Washington in your wallet is worth a 1932 penny. You call that progress? Only if you are a progressive which would still be a distortion. That declination is the main reason gold has soared in value over the last couple of years. Your dollar cannot buy near what it could two years ago and that is not a Bush/Obama statement. It is government in total whoever and wherever their station. The people who have lived their life and are now retired are taking a huge hit for what your people’s policies are doing. They don’t get a raise. All they get is a leather goods bonus. A belt in the mouth and a boot in the butt. Provided by economics experts that can’t balance a checkbook with their theories. Their theories could not possibly balance a checkbook. They would be continually overdrawn. And these same people are doing the same thing to you and me with the tax dollars we send them. Don’t read rep or dem into this posting it is the combination of both.

Posted by: tom humes at February 26, 2011 1:18 PM
Comment #319285

tom humes-
You said that anybody who would run away to prevent a quorum from being made is a coward, essentially. Abraham Lincoln did that.

If being a legislator who runs out to prevent a quorum from being held makes that legislator a coward who should be recalled, and if Abraham Lincoln, as a Whig, did in fact do this himself, jumping out of a second story window to do this, then logically speaking, you have called Abraham Lincoln a coward, and he is subject to all the other scorn you have heaped on him.

You’re not really looking at the system, you’re creating a Fantasy world where your people wear the White Hats, and mine wear the Blacks. I’m sure it’s frustrating you’re not getting your way, but your people have become reckless in their pursuit of power, and of their disregard of the real issues at hand.

And no government hasn’t grown exponentially. Regular government spending, in fact, has flatlined. Again, a feature of the fantasy world. What increases there have been are thanks to two factors: Republican policies, and the rising healthcare costs, which were themselves the exponentially rising factor in the equation.

As for progress, between 1932 and now, our economy has grown a great deal. I know some on the Right stopped counting economic successes when they became sullied with what they believe are socialist policies, but in between now and then, we became a major economic power.

So don’t give me this BS about how far we’ve fallen. The money is not as important as the economy the money supports. If your anti-inflation measures bankrupt the economy, there’s not much point to having a stable dollar.

It’s all about tying things to the Gold Standard, isn’t it? Did you know that before we went off that Gold Standard, depressions were a common occurence? There was one in 1921, before the boom times.

It’s time to get out of the time warp, and take care of the needs of a modern economy.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 26, 2011 4:57 PM
Comment #319290

”..starting with the myth that it will balance the budget in Wisconsin.”

It is a myth by the governor’s own accounting. The causes of the projected deficits are unfunded liabilities of Medicaid going forward not employee compensation. Once again, when you look closely at the public deficit issue at either the federal or state level, it always returns to skyrocketing health care costs.

Posted by: Rich at February 26, 2011 6:18 PM
Comment #319294


When I dig out from all that BS you just shoveled I might answer you.

I never used the word coward. That was your word. Stop this crazy crap. It is time for you to grow up.

Posted by: tom humes at February 26, 2011 10:35 PM
Comment #319295

Just read on Kos that Madison PD walked into the capitol building and announced that they understand right from wrong and that instead of removing protesters tomorrow as ordered by the gov they will instead be sleeping with them. This all appears legit and if so imo indicates that the other public sector entities are expecting to be next on the list. May as well jump in now rather than wait until it is too late and get no support because you showed none. This may get very, very interesting from this point on.

Posted by: RickIl at February 26, 2011 10:51 PM
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