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Scott Walker: Fool or Fraud?

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker doesn't realize it, but the man himself is the reason public sector unions are necessary. 

That's right, Scott: public employees need unions to defend themselves against people like you: the fools and frauds, the cockalorums and demagogues, who would sacrifice those employees' careers and livelihoods for their own political gain. 

The problem is not the unions, Scott.   The problem is you. 

I say that as one who, for a long time, was lukewarm about the need for public sector unions.   Sure, I thought, I can see the need for unions at construction sites and other dangerous, high-risk jobs.   I worked in a steel mill; of course I would see the value of the union in a workplace like that. 

But unions for nurses, teachers, social workers?   Meh, not so much, I thought. 

Well, I take it all back. 

People like nurses, teachers, and social workers do work in dangerous, high-risk professions, I now realize.   The danger to them, Scott, is you.   Just as we need those public servants, they need unions to protect themselves from occupational dangers like you. 

Your problems run on two levels, Scott.   On the fiscal level, the unions have already given you more than you deserve.   You wanted concessions and givebacks; increased employee contributions to the health care and pension programs.   You got them. 

The unions should have held their ground.   The reason is that a labor agreement, like a mortgage or a purchase agreement, is a contract.   Every contract has a contract price and the parties to the contract know, or should know, what it that price is. 

You can't unilaterally decide after you enter into a contract that the price is too high. People who do that are, at best, foolish.   At worst, they are guilty of negotiating in bad faith. 

That forces the obvious question, Scott: which are you, a fool or a fraud? 

Unfortunately, the unions did not press that question.   They should have.   But instead they gave you what you asked for.   You said the state was broke so the unions stepped up. 

But you knew the state was not broke.   It was never broke.   The state was not broke for the simplest of reasons: it still has the power to tax.

But people can't afford higher taxes, you say.   Correction: people don't want to pay higher taxes.   And you don't want to tax them because it would damage your political career.   Both are understandable; I don't want to pay higher taxes any more than politicians want to raise them.   But your desire to raise taxes or my desire to pay them is not the issue.

Ensuring that your state meets its lawful obligations is the issue.   And on that point, it seems you would rather see your Wisconsin welsh on its commitments than step up to meet them.

Besides, if Wisconsin were broke, why on earth would you sign a tax cut?   Is that any way to run a business?   If any CEO anywhere strode into the Board Room and announced, "I have the solution to our fiscal problems: we're going to slash revenues!" he would be thrown out on his golden-parachuted behind.

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Rick Wise is an industrial psychologist and retired management consultant. For 15 years, he was managing director of ValueNet International, Inc. Before starting ValueNet, Rick was director, corporate training and, later, director, corporate (more...)

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