Americans are facing an election which will be a crucial reckoning point for the future of the United States. This election is coming much sooner than most of us think as it takes place not on Tuesday, November 6, 2012, but earlier on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is facing a recall election on that date that was brought about in an act of vengeance instigated by the unions angered by his placing restraints on their previous near unlimited bargaining powers. Despite facts which show that even stricter restrictions are placed upon the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) than Governor Walker requested be placed upon Wisconsin State Employees Union branch of the AFSCME Council 24, AFL-CIO, reactions from the union and related other unions was immediate, severe and fanatical. Many of us will remember the teachers union joining with the other Wisconsin State Employees Union in occupying the rotunda of the Capital Building and closing down the government for a number of weeks. But the truth went far beyond simply the Statehouse or even Madison, the Wisconsin Capital.
The demonstrations often seemed to threaten to potentially turn into violent riots which required a strong police presence to protect those employees who were attempting to simply perform their jobs as well as the members of the State Legislature, one of which was caught on film being chased by a mob of demonstrators. The revolt went what some felt may have been beyond reason when the union members went to stores in Madison and beyond demanding that store owners place signs declaring their support in the front windows of their stores. In some cases it was reported that the store owners were threatened with boycotts or even the possibility of violence and damage to their stores should they not display the required supportive notices. In the final note, the unions sponsored petitions for a recall election in order to remove Governor Walker claiming his actions were ruinous to Wisconsin, the people, and to the unions in particular. This effort proved to have sufficient support to force the special recall election where Governor Walker will face off against Tom Barrett, the current Mayor of Milwaukee. He defeated Kathleen Falk, a former Dane County executive who had been seen by some as labor’s preferred candidate, in a recent primary. Now Wisconsin will vote on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, and send a message to the rest of America’s politicians.
Should Governor Walker be defeated it will send an ominous message to the Governors and Mayors throughout the United States. To even consider taking on the unions and attempting to reform entitlements by limiting the powers and influences of unions in bargaining will be seen as political suicide. A Walker defeat would empower unions to run roughshod over State Governments and permit them to demand even the most ridiculous pension plans, health insurance packages, job security guarantees, and any other one-sided salary and benefits packages without any restrictions or reason. All limitations currently in place would vanish and every State would soon be facing the same financial challenges currently challenging some of our largest states such as California and also Wisconsin. Such a result in this recall election would immediately put an end to the proposed austerity proposals in places such as New Jersey as a simple threat of open opposition by the unions would likely intimidate many of those in the State Legislatures even if the Governor decided to risk going forward with their plans for reforms. These same ominous clouds would roll over city mayors, county governance, and any community in which their work force is unionized. The unions would also have a renewed attraction in those places where thus far the unions have yet to gain a foothold.
By defeating and unseating a sitting governor, the unions would be in a position to threaten every state government country-wide leading to financial challenges with which many states and cities would be unable to cope. One result from this would be every level of government would need to find additional resources to cover the increased demands that would follow just as sure as the sun rises in the east. State employee unions would be demanding sweet deals covering health, life, education and other packages as well as increased wage demands. This could very well lead to higher property taxes, State income taxes, sales taxes, State fees for services, gasoline taxes and every other manner of revenue generation. This would work to kill any recovery which we may be feeling and very possibly force another downturn in the economy. The affects would not be immediately felt, but would sneak into the machines that are the governing sections of American society and eventually reach a tipping point in one state after the next. This coming recall election for Governor of Wisconsin is one we should watch and watch with great concern.
Beyond the Cusp