The long war: Wisconsin GOP's wingnut ideas popped up nearly a decade ago, abetted by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | WisCommunity

The long war: Wisconsin GOP's wingnut ideas popped up nearly a decade ago, abetted by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In the fury of the current political battle over worker's rights, it's important to remember that the very concept of decent working wages and a reasonable retirement safety net has been kicked around in this state for nearly a decade now. Republicans who very long ago were willing to work in consensus with Democrats to pursue these causes shifted gears when they discovered political gold in working hard to overturn what they, themselves, previously helped accomplish. And they've been aided and abetted by some in the mainstream press.

Want proof? Read this opinion column that ran in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel eight years ago. If you erased the date of publication -- May 18, 2003 -- you'd think it was written last week.  Author Bob Lyons, a Milwaukee area public union official, either was takling about the situation then, or he was the greatest seer into the future since Nostradamus. the article is now behind the newspaper's pay-wall, so maybe even the J-S editors have forgotten just how long they've been against fair compensation for public workers and retaining the state's strong public pension system. Choice excerpt:

Is there something wrong with trying to attract talented and resourceful people to jobs that protect vulnerable children, test food and water safety, and keep our courts running, our streets safe and our schools teaching? The Journal Sentinel's recent rampage against Act 11 improvements to Wisconsin's retirement system seemed to imply that the public gets no benefit from making a career in public service attractive in any way. Attacking pensions follows the same monotonous drumbeat of top Republican legislators, who criticize public employees for having secured relatively decent health care for their families. Never mind that public workers have for decades made difficult choices during negotiations, often foregoing higher wages in exchange for secure health care and pension benefits for their families. Never mind that the real culprit in out-of-control health costs is not the powerless consumer, no matter what pharmaceutical companies with soaring profits might want us to believe. Never mind that the cost of funding the Wisconsin Retirement System had, until the recent stock market swoon, been flat or steadily declining for more than a decade ... . Working people, public or private, should never have to apologize for attempting to gain a measure of fundamental economic security their families. The problem is not that some public employees have managed to negotiate relatively decent health care and pensions through collective bargaining; the scandal is that decent health care and secure pensions for working people can be seen as the exception, not the rule, in the wealthiest nation on Earth.

If you want to give the Journal Sentinel three bucks to look at the whole thing (even though you've just read the pertinent parts), go to the URL below and click on the second item. Otherwise, why not give three bucks to the campaign against Gov. Walker's nut-ball ideas?  Journal Sentinel column:


April 25, 2011 - 1:50pm