“There really is no alternative.” – Margaret Thatcher
Perhaps, in the end, Wisconsin voters just knew a return to the status quo was not a viable alternative. The cozy crony relationship between government unions and government make it impossible to rework pension and healthcare obligations. Just as Margaret Thatcher had to break union power in Great Britain, reformers must break the public union power that is not only bankrupting states but preventing needed reform of our education system.
Scott Walker’s victory is a big step in that direction. This was about a lot more than Wisconsin. Jay Cost:
Conservatives should look at Wisconsin as the first in a series of steps along a path of responsible labor reforms. The model should be the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, one of the most consequential pieces of legislation in the 20th century. After World War II, organized labor acted quite irresponsibly, threatening mass strikes as the economy was going through the difficult transition from wartime to peacetime. … Though they would not be in power for long, the conservatives who dominated the 80th Congress passed over Truman’s veto the Taft-Hartley Act, which provided states with the power to institute right-to-work laws, and greatly curtailed the ability of unions to disrupt the national economy.
Government unions are acting in a similarly irresponsible manner today. The massive public financing crisis in the states demands the very sorts of reforms that Governor Walker has implemented; yet he has been opposed by the government unions and their allies in the Democratic party at every turn. The only appropriate solution is something akin to what the GOP pushed through in the 1940s; in effect conservatives must say to the unions that if they cannot behave responsibly with the powers they have, then those powers will be curbed.
This is not the end, nor even the beginning of the end. Just the end of the beginning, if that. Yard by yard, mile by mile.