Why They Fight

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is hanging tough, telling National Review’s Robert Costas, “By the end of the week, we will have a bill passed.”  In a Fox News Sunday interview, he said his Republican caucus was “willing to take this as long as it takes, because in the end we’re doing the right thing for Wisconsin.”

It’s not just Wisconsin the governor is fighting for.  The War on Taxpayers will be fought from coast to coast.  Public unions and Democrats understand how important a defeat in Wisconsin will be.  It will begin a chain reaction that could wipe out public-sector unions in the United States, and cripple the Democrat Party, whose fundraising is heavily dependent on money remitted from mandatory public union dues.

It may surprise you to learn that a lot of the Democrats’ political money is extracted directly from paychecks.  Unions don’t have to waste time collecting their dues from members, who might become reluctant to finance their vast payments to Democrat politicians.  The government deducts those dues right out of union members’ paychecks, and remits the money to union bosses. 

John Fund of The Wall Street Journal estimates the value of these union dues at between $700 and $1000 per year for a public school teacher.  Unions don’t have to maintain collections departments to get their dues, the way any other organization would.  The government shoulders that expense by snipping them right out of paychecks.  If you’ve ever worked in the Accounts Receivable department of a company, you might have an idea of how incredibly valuable this service is – it’s a gift worth millions per year to big union operations.

In states without a right-to-work law, union membership is compulsory in protected industries.  It’s like an intravenous line sunk right into workers’ arms, with union bosses and their favorite politicians sucking cash from the other end.  AFSCME, the public-sector union, was the largest single political contributor in 2010, spending nearly $90 million nationwide… with almost all of it going to Democrats.

As labor historian Fred Siegel explained to Fund, “Ending dues deductions breaks the political cycle in which government collects dues, gives them to the unions, who then use the dues to back their favorite candidates and also lobby for bigger government and more pay and benefits.”  Irresponsible Obama deficit spending inflated federal payrolls over the last two years, even as private-sector unemployment skyrocketed.  All of those new government employees are pouring money from their hefty paychecks directly into union coffers.  What will be left of the Democrat Party once this little scheme comes to an end?  Even that ninety million bucks from the union bosses couldn’t save them from getting creamed in 2010, and 2012 is shaping up to look worse for them. 

Those are the stakes in Wisconsin.  That’s why a local budget battle was so quickly escalated into a national confrontation by Obama’s political machine.  It’s a battle Obama and the unions are losing.

Today is Presidents’ Day, which is sort of a bonus day for the teachers union protesters, because they wouldn’t have been in class anyway.  That’s why they were so eager to shut down the schools and drag the Madison circus through the weekend – they wanted more days of media coverage and pressure against Walker and the Republicans. 

It’s backfiring on them in spectacular fashion, as not even the most dedicated Democrat media operatives can ignore the disgusting behavior of the union troops any more.  You lost the war with those “Walker = Hitler” signs, kids.  A media that spent days lecturing Sarah Palin about using the phrase “blood libel” couldn’t really ignore that kind of garbage forever, especially not with conservative media doing real reporting from the ground in Wisconsin.  The media can still ignore stories for a while, but in the post-Rathergate environment, it can’t ignore them forever. 

Now the teachers are being told they must return to their classes on Tuesday, and since the Wisconsin legislature doesn’t require a quorum for non-fiscal matters, the business of the state government is about to resume without the fugitive Democrat caucus.  Even the President’s flacks are trying to walk back his ground-zero involvement in organizing the Madison catastrophe… a pathetic effort, given the screen shots people like Doug Ross have lovingly preserved for all eternity.

Time is up for the Left, and they’ve got nothing to show for their efforts but a nation recoiling in horror from their death threats, hate speech, and fake doctors’ notes.  Governor Scott Walker is about to win the first great battle of the War On Taxpayers… if “moderate Republicans” don’t sell him out.