Bust tax breaks, not public unions

The struggle for collective bargaining rights in Wisconsin has spilled into other states. The governor of Wisconsin and other supporters of this anti-union worker movement portray government workers as far too cushioned for having the benefits they are given. While state workers actually make less than those in the private sector and make some of the difference with good benefits.

The hypocrisy of the governor runs deeper. Reports keep surfacing about how many tax breaks the government of Wisconsin has granted to major international corporations, and in general, corporations are getting more and more profitable while paying a smaller percent of their earnings in taxes. A report came out Monday about how Wisconsin legislators received hundreds of thousands in agricultural subsidies.

The United States has spent over a trillion dollars in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last ten and a half years. The country also spends billions every year in foreign military aid, most of which goes to countries with bad human rights records, like apartheid in Israel and Mubarak’s Egypt.

The federal government granted hundreds of billions in bailouts to private banks and other companies, some of which have recorded record profits since.

The Wisconsin budget could use some tweaking, but why is the governor only suggesting that it be taken out of the pockets of state workers? Why is this trend taking off across the country? Why are public workers being demonized as the problem of the economy when there are so many other problems?

The decision to take away collective bargaining rights is a move to extinguish democracy in the workplace for Wisconsin workers and taking the problems of a government out on its most vulnerable and least influential members.

The federal government keeps pouring money into militarism instead of helping states pay their workers, and states are looking after private businesses more then resident and state workers. When did teachers become less valuable than bombs?

The decisions to build bombs and to give bailouts, to give tax breaks and to provide government subsidies to major corporations were generally made very undemocratically. These decisions were made by a small group of people, looking out for the interests of a small group of very wealthy and privileged associates.

The decision to pay for pension, provide healthcare, and to provide good wages for state workers were decided by collective bargaining by the body of state workers. These decisions were made to improve conditions of the whole population of state workers and are far more democratic in their nature and their results.

This is a pivotal moment for workers and citizens, and the issue is about fair living conditions and democracy, or autocracy and corporate rule. It is time to stand in solidarity with Wisconsin, and work to maintain and build off of the democracy we still have in this country. If we don’t, things will get much worse before they get better.


  • Part 1
    The Arabs/Iran are building a false Myth.
    They will not be confused with real facts!
    Unfortunately some innocent people (or not?) from the west are joining the false chorus.

    By the Israeli law and practice all citizens are:
    Equal by low—–Full political rights—-– Equals in universal human rights ––religious freedom––Citizens express freely––Women equality––Social rights equality–- study on same universities—- sharing the same medical treatment in hospitals- serves as judges and lawyers- play in the same sport clubs–share equally all public infrastructures– and more…..

    Is this is apartheid??
    Should Israel changed in line to Muslims countries?

    The ridiculous call to change the above lows of some of so called human rights organization or democratic supporters!

  • Part 2
    What s the status in Muslim countries?
    *Iran- more than 200 gays have been executed
    *Iran- Teachers were hanged up because teaching Bahai religion.
    *Iran Women low- Virgin women to be executed is raped by a guard ahead execution.
    *All over the Muslim countries: Christians are being persecuted and are under run.
    *Building or repairing of non Muslim shrines is either forbidden or severely restricted
    *Limited woman rights
    * Acceptable honor killing of doters and wife's
    *People conversing from Islam to other religions may get by low death sentence
    * Political parties are either forbidden or limited.
    *Iran- By low only Shia Muslim cab be president, army chief, judge.

    The so called human rights organization or democratic supporters don't blame, vote resolutions or demonstrate against Muslim countries.
    What is the definition of this behavior? Hypocrite

  • While I DO agree that military and foreign aid spending ought to be curtailed, I completely disagree with this Mr. Laws' premise in this article. The idea that collective bargaining is necessary to maintain descent wages and benefits for state employees is preposterous…and the solution of raising taxes on businesses is even more ridiculous.
    The fact is that Wisconsin can't afford continued increases in the state's unfunded liabilities which are a cursory result of public-sector union negotiations. We can't increase wages because that would come due this year and we can't afford it, so in order to satisfactorily end these negotiations we'll kick the can down the road to our children and let them pay for these obscene pensions, and we'll let the next governor take the fall. Now Scott Walker says, "I won't do that," and decides to put an end to the waste…a decision that takes a lot of courage given the media assault waged against him.
    A smart HR policy would be to approximate private sector wages and benefits. If you pay less, you will get less qualified employees, if more, than better qualified employees. Let the state agencies compete in the market fairly, but don't make them kowtow to union lobbyists who continue to increase the state's unfunded liability, heaping obscene debt on the taxpayer and the taxpayer's children (including the burden on businesses that are actually contributing to GDP unlike the government).

    One last thing. I have to applaud Scott Walker for his courage and determination. Even if you don't agree with his economic policies, how can you not respect a guy who does what he believes to be right, who goes to work facing death threats and hatred, who is willing to essentially risk his whole public-sector career by staring down almost the entirety of TV media as well as union bosses and say, this is why I was elected, and this is why I'm here…I am not backing down. Hat's off to you governor Walker and those who stand with you in the Wisconsin state legislature.

    • Good psyop. You're not a UH student but I"ll reply to you anyway. Here's a question: if elimination of collective bargaining was so crucial to solving the budget woes why did Walker separate it altogether from the budget bill? If you can answer without spins, faux-outrage and histrionics I'll give you a +1.

      • Simple because the cowardice of the demoncats who ran out of the state to skirt their duties. Instead of facing the music and fighting they ran. The governor gave them a month to come back. They did not so to get them to come back they pulled it out of the budget and now their is no excuse to be out of the state because the complaint was about collective bargaining.

  • The problem with your premise Jason is the notion that "the solution of raising taxes on businesses is even more ridiculous". The issue is not about raising taxes it's about not cutting the existing taxes, which is what was done to create this budgetary crisis. There is a big misconception/disinformation about the problems currently in states when it comes to their budgets. These state budgets aren't in the position they are in because government workers get all these benefits. The problem comes from the fact that we're in the worst financial crisis in some time and so the states are not receiving as much tax revenue be it from sales tax, property tax or income tax depending on the state. This is what is being forgotten.

    I just find it amusing that some people's comments are we won't pass this on to our children! Yet when it comes to our children we have no problem taking more and more money away from their education. Maybe I've missed it but I've never heard these "leaders" suggest lowering their pay and benefits, just those…I guess we'll just have to call them peasants.

  • About your quote, "The Wisconsin budget could use some tweaking, but why is the governor only suggesting that it be taken out of the pockets of state workers?": It is a STATE budget issue. Are you suggesting to increase tax on private business because the state can't budget properly? If the state was run like a business, you wouldn't have these problems to begin with. Businesses have to follow budget or they fail. States just raise taxes to compensate for their lack of forethought. Private businesses that are over run by labor unions are far more likely to experience these same issues. Look at what happed to GM. There's you a private business bail out example. I could pick the rest of the article apart but I don't have the time because I'm WORKING today, unlike Wisconsin teachers.

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