Revolutions everywhere--in the middle east, in the middle west. But there is a difference: in the middle east, the protesters are marching for democracy; in the middle west, they're protesting against it. I mean, Isn't it, well, a bit ironic that the protesters in Madison, blocking the state senate chamber, are chanting "Freedom, Democracy, Union" while trying to prevent a vote? Isn't it ironic that the Democratic Senators have fled the democratic process? Isn't it interesting that some of those who--rightly--protest the assorted Republican efforts to stymie majority rule in the U.S. Senate are celebrating the Democratic efforts to stymie the same in the Wisconsin Senate?
~ Joe Klein, Wisconsin: The Hemlock Revolution
The difference, of course, is that in Egypt the protesters were marching to get rid of a public-sector kleptocracy, while in Wisconsin they are marching to preserve one.
~ Marc Thiessen
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.
Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.
~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Governor Walker on what will happen if his proposals are not passed: It means 5,500 state workers would be laid off. It means anywhere from 5,000- 6,000 local employees would have to be laid off. That’s anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 people in a time when we have a 7.5% unemployment rate. We can’t afford to have anyone laid off. I’m trying to save jobs.
The states are not the Federal government. They cannot paper-over their irresponsible spending by printing money. Most governors are mandated by their constitutions to have a balanced budget each year. As governors and legislatures have to make the tough choices this year don't be surprised if more of these type protests don't arise. Perhaps even in your state.