Things are already getting bad in Wisconsin. Reading the proposed measures, I got a physical chill. I understand there are significant budget problems in the state, but personally, I’m completely against virtually all of these proposals both in spirit and in letter, and I’m disgusted by the Walker’s tone in general. It’s nasty, bullying, and thoroughly unprofessional.
The more important point to me is that, regardless of what one thinks politically, passing this bill would dramatically upset the balance of power that a democracy needs to exist. It would make it EXTREMELY DIFFICULT for unions, state workers, or any other non-Walker-associated entity to dig themselves out of a hole in the (very likely) event that they find themselves on the losing end of a deal. It would limit the voice of one significant group in economic (less pay and more layoffs), political (less bargaining power for unions), and social (more reliance on the individual to shoulder every individual burden). In that sense, this is indeed a “game-changer,” as it moves the state government significantly toward a system that oppresses many at the hands of few, and toward an imbalance of power that, let’s face it, is the hallmark of oppression and eventual revolt.
Walker et al. have always been about limiting government size. When government is shrunken, it’s put into the hands of fewer people, each of which have more power individually. The idea that shrinking government somehow shrinks the actual power of government is an illusion. The trick, if you’re into that, is to shrink gradually so the people don’t realize how their lives are being affected until it’s too late for them to do anything about it. I would like to think that this proposed measure shrinks things up too fast and that people will at least try to slow it down by rejecting it, but frankly I’m not holding out too much hope. The climate is right, and Walker is pushing as hard right off the bat. The response will more likely come at some other, darker time.