Krugman has an excellent understanding of what the stakes are about in Wisconsin.
There are ideologues in this country that want their country back. It’s a country where capitol has the right to aggregate for economic power but workers don’t, where corporations have the rights of individual citizens but citizens have restricted civil rights, where the rich and powerful face no legal or economic penalty for their destructive actions but middle class workers are scapegoated for the audacity of wanting to enjoy a decent life.
I don’t want that country back. It’s ‘gone with the wind,’ as was said about another romanticized, fantastically imagined American society. Gone with the wind and good riddance.
I want my country to evolving into a better and better country as our system has encouraged and allowed over past centuries.
American exceptionalism, an exceptionalism that has inspired nations and societies around the world is about moving forward with hope and courage not looking backward with regret and longing.
Don’t lean forward…MOVE FORWARD.
Paste and go:
The bill that has inspired the demonstrations would strip away collective bargaining rights for many of the state’s workers, in effect busting public-employee unions. Tellingly, some workers — namely, those who tend to be Republican-leaning — are exempted from the ban; it’s as if Mr. Walker were flaunting the political nature of his actions.
Why bust the unions? As I said, it has nothing to do with helping Wisconsin deal with its current fiscal crisis. Nor is it likely to help the state’s budget prospects even in the long run: contrary to what you may have heard, public-sector workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere are paid somewhat less than private-sector workers with comparable qualifications, so there’s not much room for further pay squeezes.
So it’s not about the budget; it’s about the power.
In principle, every American citizen has an equal say in our political process. In practice, of course, some of us are more equal than others. Billionaires can field armies of lobbyists; they can finance think tanks that put the desired spin on policy issues; they can funnel cash to politicians with sympathetic views (as the Koch brothers did in the case of Mr. Walker). On paper, we’re a one-person-one-vote nation; in reality, we’re more than a bit of an oligarchy, in which a handful of wealthy people dominate.
Given this reality, it’s important to have institutions that can act as counterweights to the power of big money. And unions are among the most important of these institutions.
You don’t have to love unions, you don’t have to believe that their policy positions are always right, to recognize that they’re among the few influential players in our political system representing the interests of middle- and working-class Americans, as opposed to the wealthy. Indeed, if America has become more oligarchic and less democratic over the last 30 years — which it has — that’s to an important extent due to the decline of private-sector unions.
And now Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to get rid of public-sector unions, too.