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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/1/11

Scott Walker: Fool or Fraud?

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You say you want to run the state like a business?   That's how a business runs.

I wonder: how does your demand for givebacks from unions make you any different from the deadbeat who would rather live on welfare checks and food stamps than get a respectable job and go to work every day?   The answer is, it doesn't.   You want to get something for nothing and you want somebody else to pay for it.

But you inherited these contracts, you say.   They were not your doing.   That doesn't matter.   An organization's commitments are not voided just because a new management team is installed.

Suppose you tried to pull this same stunt with a bank: "Sure, I took over the other guy's mortgage but now that I'm in the house, I have decided it costs too much.   So I'm going to pay you less.   And if you don't like it, I won't pay anything at all!"

How do you think that would be received?   Would the bank be as understanding as the unions have been?   I doubt it.

You got what you said you wanted from the unions.   That should satisfy you.   But J. P. Morgan had it right: "A man has two reasons for what he does: the one that sounds good and the real one."

"The state is broke" is the reason that sounds good.   But that's not the real reason, is it?

No, you made clear the real reason for your actions in your debut performance as David Koch's lickspittle -- the now-famous prank phone call.   The real reason you will not accept union concessions is that you really want to destroy the unions' ability to bargain collectively.

Sure, you'll allow them to collectively bargain for raises up to the inflation rate.   But nothing more.   What kind of a collective bargaining charade is that?   In that case, there's no negotiating to do: just give people a COLA and be done with it.

But think about what that would mean for the education system, Scott.   Forty years ago, I signed my first teaching contract for $6,000.   Had I stayed in teaching and gotten only inflation-level pay raises, I would now be making $32,800.

Do you think any teachers with 40 years' experience would work today for $32,800 a year?   No, they would not.

So what you will be left with is an education system populated by eager young college graduates and older people who can't get jobs doing anything else.

In the most recent OECD/PISA rankings of educational attainment in 31 nations, the United States ranked 14th in scientific literacy, 15th in reading literacy, and 19th in mathematical literacy.   And your plan is to pay the best teachers $32,800 a year?

And what's with your plan to sell Wisconsin power plants without soliciting bids?   That wouldn't have anything to do with Koch Industries, would it?   Or your plan to exempt police and firefighters' unions from the restrictions you would apply to all other public sector unions?   Would that exemption have anything to do with their support for you in the last election?

I thought prostitution was illegal in Wisconsin, Scott, but it seems to be alive and well in Wisconsin's governor's mansion.

Less than three months into your tenure, you have gotten yourself into a fix where you now have no certain victory and no easy retreat.   You can't walk away from the problem you have created; that would seem like an admission of defeat.   And it's too late to compromise.   Your political base and your financial backers would never stand for it.   Your only option -- and you've already taken it -- it to double down and hope that circumstances beyond your control will render your foolish and politically craven "budget repair bill" moot.

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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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