RUSH: I want to go back to three days ago. I think it was our Monday Morning Update on this program. If you missed the Morning Update, that’s our morning commentary that runs on all of our radio stations. I want to share it with you here because this story has blown up now. ”I’m just trying to balance my budget.’ Those seven words are the words of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, is trying to balance his budget. He’s a Republican. He has proposed cutting benefits for government employees, and more importantly, curbing the power that unions have to strangle the state of Wisconsin with excessive financial demands in the future. He would limit what state and local government unions can bargain for to wages only, not vacation and health care benefits.
‘In addition, he wants to increase what union members contribute toward their pension and health care plans.’ Now, let me interrupt myself here and say here’s a Republican governor in Wisconsin. This is a place they cannot print money like Obama can. They have serious budgetary problems. He was elected to deal with these, much like Chris Christie in New Jersey was elected to deal with this. So he’s dealing with it, and he’s zeroing in here on areas that need to be cut back if that state budget is to be anywhere near in-balance. So, again, ‘He has proposed cutting benefits for government employees, curbing the power unions have to strangle the state with excessive financial demands in the future.
‘He would limit what state and local government unions can bargain for to wages only, not vacation and health care benefits paid for by Wisconsin taxpayers. In addition, Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor, wants to increase what union members contribute themselves toward their own pension; examine health care plans. Governor Walker would also stop the state from collecting union dues from employee paychecks. He would give the employees the right to opt out of paying dues and require secret ballot votes every year to determine if a majority of employees want to remain unionized.
‘He would require unions to negotiate new contracts every year and limit state employees and teachers’ raises to the Consumer Price Index unless voters approve higher wages. Firefighters and law enforcement are exempted from all this. Now, the governor and Republican legislators in Wisconsin say getting a handle on union costs would avoid massive layoffs and would maintain Medicaid coverage for hundreds of thousands of children. They are prepared for a backlash, and if necessary, the National Guard is standing by to step in to handle state duties.’ So he is fully aware, fully aware of what the reaction to his proposals now has become.
So you have Chris Christie in New Jersey tackling the unions there, and now Scott Walker in Wisconsin. We could be witnessing a real revolution in this country. Let’s now go to some related news stories. This is from the Wisconsin State Journal: ‘Madison, Wisconsin — Madison schools will be closed Wednesday as teachers planned a district-wide absence to attend protests against Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to limit union bargaining. District Superintendent Dan Nerad made the announcement at 11 p.m. Tuesday after 40 percent of the 2,600 members of the teachers union had called in sick and more were expected to do so through Wednesday morning.
”At this ratio we have serious concerns about our ability to maintain safe and secure school environments,” because teachers aren’t gonna show up so we’re just gonna cancel school. ‘Nerad’s decision came after Madison Teachers Inc. executive director John Matthews said the union was contacting members and urging them to call in sick and instead attend a rally scheduled for Wednesday at the Capitol in opposition to Walker’s collective bargaining proposal. … Earlier Tuesday, Nerad sent a letter to parents warning of the possibility of ‘excessive’ teacher absences and that principals were preparing contingency plans to keep school open.’
From the Associated Press: ‘Hundreds Protest Wisconsin Plan to Cut Worker Rights — Hundreds of Wisconsin’s public employees have clogged a hearing for hours and camped out in the state Capitol in a desperate attempt…’ This is what Obama hopes happens to Republicans when they get around to entitlements. This is precisely what Obama hopes happens. This is exactly what the Democrats hope happens in Washington: What’s happening in Wisconsin. The thing is, it did not happen in New Jersey. Oh, yeah, the unions raised hell, but not the population. The unions raised hell, but the citizens of New Jersey did not. Chris Christie is a union-busting hero in New Jersey.
‘The Legislature’s finance committee was preparing to vote on the measure, which would end collective bargaining for all state, county and local workers expect for police, firefighters and the state patrol. The move marks the boldest step by a new Republican governor and Legislature to solve budget problems by confronting organized labor. Opponents seized on the finance committee’s public hearing on the bill on Tuesday to launch what co-chair Robin Vos, R-Rochester, called a ‘citizen filibuster’ that tied up the hearing for hours. … ‘I just think it’s really crappy,’ said Alison Port, a 19-year-old freshman from Wauwatosa as she clutched her laptop and her Green Bay Packers blanket.
”Let’s take all the rights away. If he starts here, where’s he going to stop? What else is he going to throw at us? It’s only going to get more extreme.’ … Walker’s plan would make workers pay half the costs of their pensions and at least 12.6 percent of their health care premiums. State employees’ costs would go up by an average of 8 percent. The changes would save the state $30 million by June 30 and $300 million over the next two years.’ Imagine the outrage, having to pay for something yourself! (sigh) Can you believe the indignity? Can you believe the heartlessness of this governor, making people pay for their retirement? Making people pay a mere 12% for their health care insurance premiums and a 50% return on your own retirement.
Imagine having to pay for your own retirement? Can you? What is this country becoming? People have to pay for their own retirement? Next thing you know people are gonna have to buy their own food. Next thing you know people are gonna have to buy their own cars. Next thing, you know… This is really extreme. Next thing you know, people are gonna have to buy their own cigarettes. Next thing you know, people are gonna have to pay for their own hotel rooms. What in the world are they thinking in Wisconsin? ‘Walker has argued that the public employee concessions are modest considering what private sector workers have suffered during the recession.
‘But Democratic opponents and union leaders said Walker’s real motive was to strike back at political opponents who have supported Democrats over the years. ‘So many people are against this,’ UW-Madison senior Kylie Christianson said early Wednesday as she sat in the Capitol rotunda on her blanket, putting the finishing touches on a protest sign. ‘His job is to help us, not to hurt us.’ The public employee bill is the latest measure that Walker has pushed through the GOP-controlled Legislature since taking office in January. He’s also signed into law tax cuts for businesses that relocate to Wisconsin and those that create jobs as well as sweeping lawsuit reform.’
From the Washington Post, this is an op-ed column by a staunch uber-leftist ‘progressive’ named Harold Meyerson. The headline is: ‘Workers Toppled a Dictator in Egypt, But Might be Silenced in Wisconsin.’ workers topple a dictator in Egypt but might be silenced in Wisconsin. They’re referring to Scott Walker here as ‘cheesehead pharaoh.’ ‘In Egypt, workers are having a revolutionary February. In the United States, by contrast, February is shaping up as the cruelest month workers have known in decades. … Last Friday, Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s new Republican governor, proposed taking away most collective bargaining rights of public employees.’
Well, you know the story. He’s doing all this. Meyerson says, ‘The real goal of the American right is to reduce public employee unions to the level of private-sector unions, which now represent fewer than 7 percent of American workers.’ Wrong, Mr. Meyerson, we’re trying to save budgets. We’re trying to save the fiscal solvency of the federal government and state governments. That’s really what’s happening here. So Mubarak was ‘the chastened pharaoh of the Middle East’ and Walker is now ‘the cheesehead pharaoh of the Middle West,’ according to Harold Meyerson. So they’re really ticked off.
I mention all this to you because this is exactly what the Democrats are hoping happens in Washington, that Republicans get the same treatment. In fact, the Democrats are hoping that Republicans try to make the same level of cuts that are happening in New Jersey, that are happening in Wisconsin. The Democrats, however, are failing to notice that the public isn’t outraged over any of this. This guy was elected to do this, as was Chris Christie. He’s got the support of the people of Wisconsin. Wisconsin, folks! Madison, Wisconsin, Moscow West, and yet they’ve got a Republican governor and a Republican legislature.
Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York is cutting taxes! He’s cutting spending and cutting taxes. They don’t have any choice in the states. They can’t make their pension payments as they are. There isn’t the money for any of it. All of these unfunded, underfunded liabilities, the money is not there. It’s reached the tipping point here. You know I, frankly, am thankful that there are people willing to take the arrows and do things like this. This is not easy. You know, politicians want to be loved, they want to be adored, they want to be respected. This is… I know it’s power and it’s the wielding of power, and that can be exciting, but thank goodness there are people willing to tackle this kind of stuff rather than take the easy way, the road of least resistance.
RUSH: Well, MSNBC’s on the case. Their cameras are in Wisconsin at Madison chronicling the protests of the governor there, Scott Walker. If you look, the original news reports said ‘hundreds’ had gathered to protest. Now the hundreds have become ‘thousands’ in print reports. They just showed a picture of the mob gathered outside the state capitol to protest. I know it’s lunchtime there, it’s 20 minutes after 12, but it’s also not ‘thousands.’ Don’t doubt me.