IN THE WALKERVERSE: You're either a public employee, or a taxpayer! | Wis.Community

IN THE WALKERVERSE: You're either a public employee, or a taxpayer!

We need to recruit a public school teacher to take another day off and teach Gov. Scott Walker some basic facts about civics and the way things work in Wisconsin.

Defending his proposal to destroy collective bargaining for public employees statewide, Walker discounted the enormous crowds showing up in Madison and elsewhere in opposition. Walker said he appreciated protesters' concerns, but said that taxpayers "need to be heard as well."

Uh, well, um, this is awkward, but, you see, governor, ALL public employees in Wisconsin ARE taxpayers. Heck, your Department of Revenue actually WITHHOLDS cash from their paychecks. Thus (and I hope you're following the logic chain, here), when your workers are showing up to speak at a public hearing in the Capitol, taxpayers ARE being heard.

They! Are! Taxpayers!

Public employees are in many ways much more than the way they're being stereotyped.They are, simultaneously, citizens, neighbors, consumers, voters, constituents, heads of households, moms and dads, public employees (although not all of the protesters and people who spoke at the Joint Finance Committee hearings have been public employees), and....THEY ARE TAXPAYERS.

True, there are other Wisconsin taxpayers out there who might favor your proposal -- you know, like the upper-income gray suits at the Club for Growth -- guys who no doubt will benefit from the business tax cuts you already signed into law, the tax cuts that put the state even deeper into the red, and which you apparently have decided to pay for by sticking it to your own employees, most of whom are quite middle class.

In any event, there are taxpayers, and then there are taxpayers. Why assume that taxpayers who work for state and local governments are somehow more illegitimate? Why assume they do not want government to be efficient and thoughtfully managed? Or that that they have no good ideas for making government more efficient and thoughtfully managed? Hell, that's part of what COLLECTIVE BARGAINING is all about. Or at least it has been, up until the moment you sign a law getting rid of it.

Ironically, as a number of speakers pointed out, knicking public employees out of several thousand dollars or more a year from their salaries will not only crimp their ability to pay their bills, it will (ta-dah!) REDUCE STATE INCOME TAX REVENUE. I guess this is how this administration prefers to lay a tax cut on anyone working in the public sector. Cut taxes directly for businesses and corporations, cut salaries for the middle class and watch withholding drop a tad. At least, that's about as good an argument as the ones we've been hearing from GOP lips in justification for this whole blamed mess they've concocted in only a few weeks.

Next up: The gov and his party announce state tax revenue is down, in part because public employees are suddenly paying less in taxes because they're earning a lot less. Well, no helping it. PUblic workers will just have to take a second pay cut so we can get this budget thang re-balanced again. And then a third, and a fourth, and a ... . Oh, spiral us on out of here with some disaster movie music, will you, Skitch?


February 17, 2011 - 12:13am