6
June
2012

Walker’s Punch Gives Unions and Milwaukee a Black and Blue Eye

The night everyone was waiting for is over. Governor Scott Walker has survived the recall attempt against him. We can only guess what the aftermath will be.

The 46% of the state voters that cast a ballot for Tom Barrett feel that this Governor is deaf to their values. They know that this election wasn’t about union greed but Walker successfully made it a referendum on whether public employees were paid and compensated too generously. He succeeded in selling envy to the public and made people believe their pockets were being picked by unions.

Sometimes the best lie is believable when you add a sliver of truth. The teachers union has protected bad teachers for decades in Wisconsin. Only after they were told they could no longer run the union on funds automatically deducted from their members paychecks did they start to make concessions. The public saw that. Enough middle of the road voters saw specific instances where there were problems in education and Walker was able to blame the teachers. Even now, districts who wish to hire a teachers with their masters over a teacher with a bachelors degree must pay the higher educated teacher more. If a person stays in school and gets their masters before teaching with their bachelors, they are effectively unemployable as districts would have to bring an untested teacher on at a higher rate of pay.

Still, are all teachers bad? Of course not.

But the impact on public employees will be long and painful. Many people who would have otherwise gone into public service will just say no. And why should they work for the government? Yes they will get a salary, but they will be scoffed at by even people they know — in some cases friends. The most educated among us will not seek to improve the efficiencies in government because they will have no interest in working for it. No longer will bright little boys and girls want to be firefighters, police men, teachers or principals. Tonight voters cast a clear message — we’ve paying you too much.

The loss of talent in government will be staggering. An entire generation will grow up seeing public service as a scourge at worst, a necessary evil at best. Why would they decide to join any company that they know will make them a magnet for ridicule? And why would they spend thousands of dollars on a college education to go to work for a company that doesn’t appreciate them? That is how our young people will look at public service.

Hate and innuendo are not qualities we should look for in an elected official, but let’s not forget, we are the state that elected Senator Joe McCarthy.

I count myself as fortunate. Like many from a generation or two before me, I have a small summer cottage I go to. What I have heard from my neighbors in Winnebago County is eye opening. It is a different world up there. They think that all of Milwaukee is a morass of crime and poverty. Racism isn’t an occasional thing. It is a way of life. After the Walker commercials lambasting Milwaukee, the home of the Democratic Gubernatorial challenger, Mayor Tom Barrett, they think I live in a cesspool. Their impression is that Milwaukee sucks all the money out of the state and contributes nothing. There is nothing, ever since the Walker ads came out, that I can do to convince them that Milwaukee is a thriving community with culture, night life and commerce.

They see it as a city they don’t want to stop in, let alone get off on a freeway exit.

The damage that has been done to our state and the city I love is just staggering. And to think that it has been worsened by a politician hoping to score a few polling points to keep his job is mind numbingly painful.

###

Update: The vote totals are in.
Name Party Votes Vote %
Walker , Scott (i) GOP 1,327,152 53% ($33.90 per vote most donations from out of state donors)
Barrett , Tom Dem 1,150,642 46% ($7.82 per vote, most donations from Wisconsin residents)
Trivedi , Hari Ind 14,238 1% (seriously, who cares?)

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