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What could be considered a harmless rant against “rich, greedy bastards” (Republicans) was printed in letters last week. Because it was so wide of the mark and divorced from reality, a response is worthwhile.
Governor Scott Walker did not just “survive” his recall election in Wisconsin, he walloped his union-led opponents so convincingly (by seven percentage points) that anyone who can count knows that this could not have been accomplished without the support of several thousand Democrats in a historically progressive state.
So it is proper to count those Democrats as being among the “rich and greedy” offspring of what the letter writer somehow suggested was “the military-industrial complex” that President Eisenhower, who was listed as the “last truly great Republican president,” warned us about.
It would have been more accurate to point out that what happened in Wisconsin was a culmination of the warning by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat) that unionized public workers was a bad idea whose results were predictable in Wisconsin.
FDR strongly believed and preached that public employees represented by a union would have the ability to blackmail their elected bosses in government by either granting or withholding support to them in re-elections. This was the issue in Wisconsin and now in every other state where AFSCME or the SEIU or the NEA represents public workers.
The formula is simple: Union dues create the campaign funds which go to Democrats running for re-election in order to defeat the opposition. The payback to the unions comes in the form of early retirements with pensions that are way more beneficial than those received by workers in the private sector; thus, a continuation of political and union power with the taxpayers footing the bill.
Before the protests arise that I am anti-union, I want it known that as a former union officer I walked a picket line 14 different times in a span of 26 years against one company. One of those strikes lasted 48 days and another 24, and all of them were worthwhile in my opinion. The difference is that the “rich, greedy bastards” opposing me and my union were the owners of a profit-making, private company, while in Wisconsin, the enemy of the unions were captive and innocent taxpayers.
While the argument can be made that Walker won with the help of “millions of out-of-state dollars,” the question remains about why the national Democratic committee and the national unions held back their millions of dollars. Could it have something to do with the two previous, related elections to recall Republican state senators and a judge, both of which failed? Certainly, Republicans smelled blood in the water and contributed heavily, but have you noted that President Obama failed to come to the aid of the Wisconsin unions despite holding fundraisers on his own behalf on the crucial pre-election weekend in two neighboring states?
I’m with FDR on this issue and I hope that voters in Vermont wake up and realize that the public debt in this state is being fed by the same manipulation of union and political power that we saw in Wisconsin.
What the voters saw in Wisconsin is that public unions in federal, state and local governments suck the life out of us by drawing funds into their own bank accounts that should be spent directly on kids, the elderly and the sick.
John Hilferty lives in Moretown.