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TMFFlushDraw (93.35)

Class Warfare Has Officially Begun



March 09, 2011 – Comments (28)

** Another political rant, bear with me 

Wisconsin Republican Senators threw us a curveball today when they stripped the union rights bill out of the budget bill and passed it without Democrats even being able to make it home for a vote (at least one Dem tried). Not only does this prove union rights had nothing to do with the budget but it shows how class warfare begins in a sleepy midwestern state. 

I live in Minnesota, Wisconsin's much better looking neighbor, and I know a few people who will be affected by this bill. While the merits of union rights for state employees has and have been debated with this Fool unable to take a definitive position on either side. I do know that two realities are unfolding in front of our eyes.

1. Class warfare has officially begun

Over the last 10 or 20 years the middle class has been relatively stagnant as the wealthy have been piling stacks of gold in their basement for a rainy day. In the US the difference between rich and poor tends to be less distinct than other countries and the difference we do have is tolerable because in a free society anyone can become rich. If rich is within reach why should I care to define "too rich"?

But there's a fine line between tolerating a gap between rich and poor and shoving it in people's faces. In my opinion what Wisconsin has done is take advantage of a high unemployment rate resulting in little power for workers and squeezing everything they can from the middle class. Business leaders are trained to squeeze every penny from suppliers, customers and their workers and that attitude has spread to the Republican party. Workers are weak and now is the time to stick it to them. 

What I am interested to see is how this affects the action of workers as the economic recovery continues. If unemployment goes back down to 5% in a few years will you see workers fighting for more pay? My generation has already lost any loyalty they may have had to corporations, big or small, so I think the powers that be are shooting themselves in the foot in the long run. You may win this fight but unions rose to power because people were tired of being stepped on and I see a similar path from here. 

2. Democrats are smiling ear to ear 

I find it interesting the Republicans are saying they just want Obama out of office but then they act like this. If anything will bring out the liberal base or swing independent voters to vote Democrat in the next election it's something simple like worker's rights. How can a Presidential candidate from the Republican party possible defend this nation wide?

And the same will happen in Wisconsin. I guarantee that Democrats will now win back any seat that's even close to up for grabs. Ohh well Republicans. It was fun while it lasted. 


PS. I'm excited to hear what you have to say about the happenings in WI.  

28 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 09, 2011 at 9:36 PM, TheDumbMoney (73.07) wrote:

"You may win this fight but unions rose to power because people were tired of being stepped on and I see a similar path from here"

I think of it as going in cycles: 

Pre-1840ish (largely agrarian society, we're still so happy we're not brits!  Who are these Irish people?)

1840ish -- 1915ish (industrialization, manifest destiny, kill the indians, trains, robber barrons, f*** the little guy, Wild West self-reliance)

1915ish -- 1980 (effects of "The Jungle," Debbs, federal marginal income taxes, buiding of labor movement, entitlements passed, increasing union rights culminating in things like collective bargaining for public workers, affirmative action, persons of color, multi-language ballots, handicapped ramps everywhere, strict tort liability created; decades of continuous Democratic control of the House, Carter tells us to turn out the lights)

1980 -- ????  (globalization, anti-union backlash, gutting of private unions, first reform of social security, Democratic president ends Welfare State (!), general attacks on public unions, raising taxes called class warfare, re-robber-baronization, deregulation, creation of FIRE economy, ends with ????)

???? -- ???? (?increasing battles about globalization and automation of even white collar jobs, sh** eventually gets so bad for workers that unionization happens again, likely among low-level white collar works as well as the few blue collar workers left, and definitely in service industries less susceptible to effects of globalization, battles over currency, resources, race to the bottom; or maybe, Scotus overrules recent corporate speech/financing decision, budget balanced by Durbin/Warner, sensible regulations advocated, bad ones scrapped, future budgetary decisions delegated to a non-Congressional Fed-like body so polititians can just go on cable news all day, pragmatic utopia ensues)

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#2) On March 09, 2011 at 9:45 PM, brickcityman (< 20) wrote:

This was my response to all of this a little while back...


Granted it was socio-poltical commentary wrapped up in a fictionalized transcript from a fictionalized Stephen Colbert-ish figure... but still i think it stands.

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#3) On March 09, 2011 at 10:40 PM, ChrisGraley (28.57) wrote:

Let's see...

The Democrats tried to use a loophole in the law to leave town and the Republicans took advantage of a loophole that the Democrats left town.

Seems like normal politics to me.

As far as the middle class goes, I think that they will vote for people that aren't Democrats or Republicans next time and that will probably be a very good thing. 

They've been getting screwed by both sides for way too long.


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#4) On March 09, 2011 at 10:53 PM, ChrisGraley (28.57) wrote:

Before the sudden votes, Democratic Sens. Bob Jauch said if Republicans "chose to ram this bill through in this fashion, it will be to their political peril. They're changing the rules. They will inflame a very frustrated public."

Read more:

Sounds a lot like forced healthcare. 

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#5) On March 09, 2011 at 11:33 PM, ajm101 (< 20) wrote:

ChrisGraley -

The 'loophole' in question was the Democrats denying the legislature quorum.  The Wisconsin consitution requires quorum for passing any law with fiscal implications (see below).  Taking away collective bargaining must have been real crucial to balancing the budget....

And you must be dreaming to think the Democrats won't benefit.  They won't even have to wait for the next election, expect 5 or so be to recalled this year, and the governor next year.

Vote on fiscal bills; quorum. SECTION 8. On the passage
in either house of the legislature of any law which imposes, con-
tinues or renews a tax, or creates a debt or charge, or makes, continues or renews an appropriation of public or trust money, or
releases, discharges or commutes a claim or demand of the state, the question shall be taken by yeas and nays, which shall be duly entered on the journal; and three−fifths of all the members elected to such house shall in all such cases be required to constitute a quorum therein.

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#6) On March 10, 2011 at 12:08 AM, lquadland10 (< 20) wrote:

For months before the bill I understand the Unions refused to back down on the requests. When did they accept them. A week before or after the Dems left town. Now Teachers can decide to pay dues or not. From what I understood and I may be wrong but the Unions still have some collective bargaining. To me if the Dems came back the bill would pass. They did not come home and the bill passed. So..... if the Dems come back then the Gov. say's ok you think that the bill we passed was not done right then I will put it back the old way and we can all vote on it now that you are here. Let me try to understand something. If you wanted to Teach there then you got the job and had to join the union. If you did not join the Union you could not work there. Where is the Freedom in that? Also there were about what a half million or less Union Members holding the other ? 5 million? people from getting their gov. running? Where is the ( fairness) in that? I keep hearing that Democracy is being derailed. Democracy for whom I ask. The tax payer? Wow did the teachers not think that now that they will be in a lower tax bracket they will pay lower taxes? Ok so that was a little snarky. So the middle class bought into you have the credit you can have it now instead of we can do without because Debt = Slavery. I wonder what people consider what the pay scale is for the Middle Class. 50 k 100k 250k a million? Just what is middle class anyway? Teacher pay in the 1970 I do believe was around 3 thousand a year. Now in wis. the average pay is what 90k a year. I don't know but around there somewhere. That is a good wage if you ask me even if you adjust for inflation.I think that both Dems and Rep. are being put up for recall.

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#7) On March 10, 2011 at 12:15 AM, RonChapmanJr (29.68) wrote:

"as the economic recovery continues."

"If unemployment goes back down to 5%"

Those are hilarious jokes. 


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#8) On March 10, 2011 at 12:32 AM, Starfirenv (< 20) wrote:

"Over the last 10 or 20 years the middle class has been relatively stagnant..."

Stagnant? As in stable? Equally hilarious.

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#9) On March 10, 2011 at 2:12 AM, russiangambit (28.78) wrote:

The truth is that in most of the world blue collar and low skilled workers are not middle class. Middle class are doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers (and only those of them who are gainfully employed).  In developed countries everyone who has a job is basically middle class in terms of standard of living  but that is being eroded by the competition  from the rest of the world. This is the great equalization of standard of living that is going on due to oversupply of low skilled labor. I don't know how it could be stopped.

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#10) On March 10, 2011 at 6:41 AM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

I'm a little confused when people talk about this gap between "rich" and "poor."  What do you want to do about it?

I was talking to my buddy the other day about how different today is versus 2008.  He came to the conclusion after finishing his taxes that he pays 50% less taxes.  50%!!!!!!  He is in sales and the biggest reason he pays 50% less in taxes is that his business is DOWN bigtime. As for myself, it is not that dramatic, but I pay about 25% less as a professional contractor.  Countless others are still not working.

To pull an Alstry, where does the public sector get the money?  I know 2 teachers, a city worker and 2 state workers. None of them described taking a pay cut.  None of them.  I am not going to call this class warfare, but how can the public sector still spend like 2008? 

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#11) On March 10, 2011 at 8:02 AM, cthomas1017 (99.05) wrote:

This post is such partisan dribble, that it's not even worth a response.

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#12) On March 10, 2011 at 8:04 AM, devoish (68.17) wrote:

I think it is awesome to believe that today is the day "class warfare" has officially begun.

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#13) On March 10, 2011 at 8:23 AM, benedekgb (20.07) wrote:

So if class warfare has began, will MARX and Engels be joining us? Is the great communist utopia around the corner? Ohh, wait, let me get my little red book out of storage. Please remember my words, when you, the fighting and enbittered lower classes come for us capitalists! I was a good capitalist (* almost a communist).

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#14) On March 10, 2011 at 8:32 AM, benedekgb (20.07) wrote:

by the way, my personal opinion:
communism is dead.

 A NEW REVOLUTION WILL come, and it will be the great capitilistic revolution. A Mother of all revolutions. It will get rid of the political class and beaurocRATs. A new World order based on pure capitilism, entreprenuership, and freedom will be born. How you may ask? 

You may Ask, if you are interested.

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#15) On March 10, 2011 at 9:39 AM, FreeMarkets (40.55) wrote:

You asked "How can a Presidential candidate from the Republican party possible defend this nation wide?"

Considering Federal Employees do NOT have collective bargaining rights, that shouldn't be a problem.  I guess the real queston is how can Democrats in D.C. paint Wisconsin Republicans as evil when they themselves deny Federal Unions the right to collective bargaining.

The hypocrisy of politicians will never fail to amuse and amaze me.

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#16) On March 10, 2011 at 10:37 AM, ChrisGraley (28.57) wrote:

And you must be dreaming to think the Democrats won't benefit.  They won't even have to wait for the next election, expect 5 or so be to recalled this year, and the governor next year.

If Harry Reid still has a job, they'll all still have jobs.

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#17) On March 10, 2011 at 10:56 AM, JaysRage (77.14) wrote:

I'm from Wisconsin.   I'm not a fan of how things went down.   Immaturity from both sides ended up causing things to be more difficult than they had to be.   The Democratic Minority leader Miller scuttled several negotiation attempts with some key give-backs, and eventually the union leaders themselves were essentially negotiating along with the Democratic senators while they were in Illinois.   The Democrats were threatening to stay absent until potential recall elections, which is not democracy, it's sour grapes.   The union had the potential to have no cap on wage negotiations, but that wasn't good enough.   That's the problems with unions.   They can't see a good deal when it's there for the taking.  

This should have happened with more civility and more compromise, but don't go and blame the republicans.   The democrats are equally, if not more, to blame for the lack of compromise, since they chose to let the unions make the rules for them and to negotiate from a different state.   

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#18) On March 10, 2011 at 11:37 AM, Imperial1964 (94.65) wrote:

Hmm...  I'll bite.

Unions exist primarily for the purpose of increasing the compensation of their members.  That is fine in the private sector.  It is a good thing in fact.  In the private sector I only object to being either forced to or barred from joining a union.

In the public sector that compensation is paid entirely by our tax dollars.  Unions enjoy too cozy of a relationship with politicians because of their campaign contributions, high voter turnout, and very effective union endorsements.  "Collective bargaining" is not really bargaining if both parties are on the same side of the table.

I don't see why you would want to have organizations whose purpose is to drive up the cost of public services. As a taxpayer I want the most amount of service for the least cost.  Regarding quality of work, some unions are good about ensuring the quality of the skills of their members.  Others, like the teacher's union is all about seniority and tenure, not ability.

The government is not an employment agency.  Its purpose is not to "give people jobs" or be "generous" with pay.  Everything the government "gives" with one hand is taken from someone by the other.

The government's job is to provide certain services that are best handled by the public sector.  Raising taxes on everyone to benefit the few is not good for the country.


Before people start an ad hominem argument that I am some sort of elitist, I believe in a low cap or ban on all campaign contributions.  BANKS and some other large businesses also hold too much sway in politics.  I don't think it is class warfare as much as it is just ripping off the public and everyone is trying to get in on it.

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#19) On March 10, 2011 at 11:55 AM, ajm101 (< 20) wrote:

Utah doesn't permit the recall of a US senator.  Wisconsin does allow the recall of state senators.

JaysRage - this is a long term political strategy to undercut opponents, not an actual policy negotiation.  The only thing that mattered was removing collective bargaining.  And Republicans will win - they have the real money, have a better media operation, and have a long term cohesive strategy that they are executing successfully.  The fat and stupid US public has gotten way too comfortable with rights won in the 20th century, and is going to have them taken away from them right under their noses because they're too busy 

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#20) On March 10, 2011 at 11:59 AM, ajm101 (< 20) wrote:

... too busy being distracted by manufactured outrage over the mini-scandal of the day.  The 'CEO, union member, and tea partier are at a tablee with a dozen cookies' joke is really sadly instructive.

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#21) On March 10, 2011 at 12:12 PM, L0RDZ (86.72) wrote:

Most businesses are subject to getting shut down if they are not capable of  being profitable enough to survive, yet state governments  aren't  unless its gets really really really bad.

I'll use the example of cancer or say some parasite infestation.

Most Governments are like cancers and parasites in that they are dependant upon their hosts in order to survive, they live off some living host and in this case we the tax paying people as well as tax paying businesses ~ although  that tax money gets passed onto the consumers ~  are being affected by these cancers and parasites.

Oh sure when we are healthy and are in good health and are taking care of ourselves we can manage to endure with  cancer and parasites, in fact when we are healthy our bodies can control and limit the damage from cancer and parasites, but  when we become ill, stop taking as good care of ourselves, or we just get a little older and weaker,  these cancers and parasites can run amock.

Clearly state workers  who are the minority that are dependant upon the majority for taxations to keep them around, are nothing more than parasites and to put a parasite in charge of ones health is dangerous.

If our economy was doing well and taxes were piling up, we wouldn't probably be having these discussions, it would be simply pile onto that money and our state government would be rolling around like the piggies they are complicit with  state unions that  don't have to really work to stay around.

Oh forget it..... keep doing what your doing and keep reaping the same rewards.


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#22) On March 10, 2011 at 12:30 PM, JaysRage (77.14) wrote:

ajm101 -- When no-cap wage negotiation is on the table and it gets shot down because the unions didn't approve it, then it's clear who you are really negotiating with.  It's not the democrats, it's the union leadership.   Why should government negotiate with union leadership on what rights union leadership has to negotiate?    When the democrats let the unions bargain for them, this is what had to happen.  Several (non-Miller) democrats negotiated in good faith only to have Miller and union leadership shoot down everything they had gotten.    The democratic leadership let everyone down by making clear that they were 100% sold out to the unions.   They were not determining law or the correct approach for Wisconsin.  They were determining what was best for the union.    The unions are then holding the government hostage, and the correct step was to eliminate the power of the unions to do so.   

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#23) On March 10, 2011 at 12:36 PM, JaysRage (77.14) wrote:

Do I hold Walker or the Republican leadership blameless?   No way.   Their PR during this whole mess left a lot to be desired, and on a couple of occassions, it caused a re-trenching of positions when compromise seemed possible.   However, from all of the PR from Miller, he's the biggest loser on either side.   He undercut his own party members from doing their jobs over and over again.  

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#24) On March 10, 2011 at 1:04 PM, leohaas (29.99) wrote:

It is all pretty simple: Republicans won a majority in the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate, and won the Governorship.  Result: anti-union laws. Is that surprising? If you want to change it, next time make sure the Dems win!

The same has happened over and over again. In the states, and in federal elections. For instance, the result of the 2006 and 2008 elections was a Democrat-held Senate and House, and a Dem as Prez. Result: Healthcare reform. Was that surprising? If you want to change it, next time make sure the Repubs win!

That is the way things work in this country. Stop whining and get used to it.

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#25) On March 10, 2011 at 1:12 PM, ozzfan1317 (73.96) wrote:

I think the bst thing to do is go live your life the best you can and make the most out of your god given abilities. Both parties are ignorant and corrupt I highly suggest start a business and make a goal to be a self made millionaire. If your middle class good luck Washington does not care so be warned..  Signed a fed up Independant.

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#26) On March 10, 2011 at 1:19 PM, ajm101 (< 20) wrote:

JaysRage - no-cap wage negotiation is useless without the right to collective bargaining, and the unions were not stupid enough to fall for that ploy (which was offered specifically as a strategy to undercut them in the eyes of the public).  Your whole point about negotiating with union leadership is perplexing to me, that's the whole point of a union.

Anyway, no compromise was ever possible.  Frankly, it's foolish to think so.  This was a black and white situation - Republicans want to destroy another political adversary in AFSCME/AFL-CIO.  It's the exact same strategy you see time and again with ACORN, NPR, NASA (wrt climate science research).

Frankly, at this point, I give up and respect it.  The Republicans are smart and the don't screw around.  They have an enormous soft money machine between K-Street, industry, 527 groups, Fox, and the various 'think tanks'.  They are ruthless and the Democrats are a bunch of morons.

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#27) On March 10, 2011 at 2:22 PM, TMFFlushDraw (93.35) wrote:

Great discussion. As many have stated some of these union issues will be solved in the next election or recalls. Budget issue, that's another story for another day. 


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#28) On March 10, 2011 at 4:19 PM, FracturedVision (< 20) wrote:

Don't fall for the ploy of class warfare when the real issue at stake here is that the public sector union employees were stripped of a basic freedom/right.  Though the "right to a union" is not specifically defined anywhere, remember that the purpose of documents like the Bill of Rights is not to define freedoms for the people but to limit the actions of government.

People are focused in siding with the public vs private sector wage debate while not recognizing that an oligarchy is replacing democracy in the Wisconsin legislature.

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