August 11, 2011

"The larger lesson" of the Wisconsin recall elections is: "you can attempt major, meaningful government reform and live to tell about it."

Says the Wall Street Journal:
Amid the winter brawling, some conservative fainthearts had joined the media in declaring that [Gov. Scott] Walker had "exceeded his mandate" by taking on the monopoly bargaining power of public unions.

But unions would hardly loathe him any less had he and the GOP aimed lower, or blinked when the opposition got tough. With state government no longer automatically collecting dues for unions, many rank-and-file members will choose not to provide dues for political purposes. Union monopoly power will diminish. Taxpayers will benefit.

The battle to control public spending is the fight of this decade at all levels of government. If reformers can succeed in a "progressive" hothouse like Wisconsin, there may be hope for California—or Washington. 
And speaking of union members' willingness to keep paying dues: Those unions spent  $35 million on the recall elections.

36 comments:

PaulV said...

The $35M was an investment that tanked. Just like the stock market.


WV: flatend
The unions tried to hit Walker with the flat end of a stick but hit themselves in the face

ThreeSheets said...

The $35 million was worth spending.

Oh sure, the union members would still have benefits cut and contributions increased, and sure some would be laid off, but they would have collective bargaining back and the union would make a fortune selling health insurance at inflated rates. What's more important to a union than that?

Roger J. said...

the 35 mil will not find its way into jug ears reelection campaign and at least some of the citizens of Wisconsin benefited from having it spent there.

Unions are dead--idiots on the left claim "oooh look--we won two seats (disregarding the dem recall election Tues)--the bottom line is the GOP controls the senate and wisconsin will be redistricted to stick a big stick up the dems ass--

Deal with dems--you lost--big time.

AllenS said...

$35 million? That could have went a long way towards providing health care and a little left over for the union members retirement fund.

Chumps.

garage mahal said...

Fund thinks his readers are as dumb as rocks. It's estimated between 30-40 million was spent on both sides, but Fund wants you to believe 35 million was spent by unions?

Roger J. said...

Garage emerges to play the role of the black knight: "its only a flesh wound..."

BTW Garage: I tried to defend you against Althouse's scurrilous post that singled you out. You didnt deserve that IMO and it was in particularly bad taste (but a bit cute)

Roger J. said...

And with respect to expenditures on both sides? the GOP got a much better ROI

Ann Althouse said...

@garage What is the right number? I keep hearing that number. I'd like an accurate accounting. Do you have it?

rhhardin said...

It's the old game of rocks, scissors and Constitution, as Iowahawk put it.

alan markus said...

Speaking of ROI, I was wondering about that too. If both sides spent the same amount, how come the Koch Kash is so much more effective than anyone else's cash? Somehow, it is always the Koch money that wins it for the Republicans. No one else's money from the Republicans or the Democrats means a thing. Only the Kock Kash.

alan markus said...

Oops, my bad - didn't mean to mispell Koch.

TML said...

Even it it was $35MM spent by the dems, what the hell did they spend it on? Canvassers? Posters? Buttons? Sandwich sign men? Skywriting? Pamphleteering? Town criers? Interpretive dancing thematically tuned to demonstrate the plight of the poor union worker terpsichorally? Street theatre? Local farm report radio? What the hell costs $35MM?

TosaGuy said...

The local Wisconsin economy appreciates $35 million in union stimulus

vet66 said...

The $35M was an investment that tanked. Just like the stock market.

The major difference between the two is the $35M was OPM-Other People's Money (Union Dues) while the stock market investment is MY money. The one thing they both have in common is political greed masquerading as social justice.

Note to the economic ignorant; If I am not getting dividends from my portfolio the U.S. is not getting the tax money due on my investment income. In addition people out of work pay no income tax so no revenue stream for Geithner/U.S. Treasury. With half the country paying no income tax at all, and Kerry trying to avoid taxes on his yacht, we can tax the so-called rich 100% and still not make a dent in the debt.

Ever wonder where our millionaire politicians stash their money? Which loopholes they use to hide their income? You should. I would be surprised if many of them didn't short the market betting against the average stockholder with a 401K/IRA retirement fund in stocks and bonds. All perfectly legal unless they are privy to information unavailable to the working stiffs without CPA's and tax attorneys.

Third Coast said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AntiBathos said...

Because the Democrats did not get what they wanted, isn't there supposed to a another round of litigation or some or process starting now?

After burning $35 million on a failed kamikaze attack, what's left to do?

NYTNewYorker said...

This fight will be hedgerow to hedgerow, it will never end.

I find myself waiting for a cataclysmic economic breakdown that by itself will change everybody's mind at the same time.

Having to sell apples on the corner will surely clarify the mind, even for diehard lefties in Madison.

Bring it on.

WV: untai- untai your politics, we are broke.

Roger J. said...

vet66: explaining reality to libtards is a lost cause--

They are liberals and, ergo, stupid--mathematics (well, OK arithmetic, totally goes over their heads.

Roger J. said...

Had this conversation with my lady on our morning walk. Given the markets, and the abject pieces of shit that our elected leaders where do you put your money. I had nothing to offer. She's 61 with a good job but her retirement funds are tanking. She asked me not to even talk about it, its thats bad

The quicker we get this asshole president out of the office the better off we will be--and for god's sake fire the tax cheat treasury secretary--

anyway--mattresses and gold appear to be the answer

Jube said...

Now if there was someone who could undo the contracts Gray Davis signed in CA 10 years ago...

m stone said...

$35 M buys a lot of TV advertising. All you needed to do was turn on most any station (Weather Channel included) during prime time to get blasted.

garage mahal said...

@garage What is the right number? I keep hearing that number. I'd like an accurate accounting. Do you have it?

You keep hearing that number because you read winger propaganda, and they aren't interested in accurate information. There's a reason Fund didn't link to the 35 million figure, because it doesn't exist. There are only a few groups that track spending and the consensus is 30-40 million combined

al said...

I was in Wisconsin last week on vacation. The amount of TV advertising (mostly telling me how the evil Republicans were stealing millions from the children) was amazing. We were only watching the local news at night and it seemed like there was 10 to 15 minutes of political ads in a 30 minute news broadcast.

Just think of all the job (re)training that 35 million could have done...

Chip S. said...

I don't think there are reliable spending totals yet; at least nothing turns up in a basic search.

Closest thing to that seems to be in just one story from a couple of days ago, here.

Money quote:

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign officials "estimate at this point it's about even," research director Mike Buelow said of spending on both sides.

The group will do a full accounting of spending after the election and will have a clearer picture of whether the spending totals are even.


The WDC's website seems, so far, only to list direct spending by candidates, with a list of the names of PACs spending independently of candidates but no $$ figures for the PACs. It's quite a list.

The numbers reported so far for direct fundraising by candidates show that--surprise!--incumbents raise and spend more than challengers, especially when the incumbents are Democrats.

There's a searchable database there, but it requires searching candidate-by-candidate through a list of 1575 of them, but I'm content to wait until summary data for the recalls are posted.

Scott M said...

Three words.

Guilds. Guilds. Guilds.

Scott M said...

What would a plumber secret handshake look like?

gregq said...

"Those unions spent $35 million on the recall elections."

Um, need I note that they're not over yet? Still have to see if we can recall one or both of the fleebaggers, people who actually deserve to be recalled, since they refused to do their jobs.

Levi Starks said...

Hey, It takes serious money to loose an election these days.

TWM said...

"You keep hearing that number because you read winger propaganda, and they aren't interested in accurate information. There's a reason Fund didn't link to the 35 million figure, because it doesn't exist. There are only a few groups that track spending and the consensus is 30-40 million combined."

Your link doesn't break it up either, so you have no clue how muc the unions spent. Neither do I, but I'm willing to bet they spent a hell of a lot more than the GOP candidates. Millions more.

edutcher said...

What Walker did is what people really mean when they talk about leadership and it showed how much decisiveness can get you. He understood the potential and took the necessary action to achieve it.

Ann Althouse said...

@garage What is the right number? I keep hearing that number. I'd like an accurate accounting. Do you have it?

Ann, Fox News is also saying 35 Mil spent by the unions.

MadTownGuy said...

Off topic but this thread is closest to the one I want to introduce. Soros' Chokegate".

WV = irears. No comment.

Squid said...

She's 61 with a good job but her retirement funds are tanking.

If she's that close to retirement age, then she should be positioned conservatively. A bond fund might make 0.5% instead of 3.5%, but that's not really the same thing as tanking.

Maybe she's still aggressively investing half her funds, figuring that she won't draw on those 'til 10 or 20 years from now, after the fixed-income stuff is drawn down. In that case, she has a decade for those funds to recover, and I don't know what she's complaining about.

glenn said...

I dunno about the rest of the states but in California there's a yellow stripe in the middle of the road.

michaele said...

Hope Obama gets an equally negative return on investment when he blows through his Billion dollars in 2012.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Whatever amount the unions reported spending, multiply by up to 10; because the unions always bring in a lot of their folks who stay on the union payroll, but are "lent" to the campaigns, or else work full time out of the union offices doing political work. None of this is ever reported, only the direct contributions.

For years, the unions have battled against revising the forms filed with the Labor Department that would have given greater clarity to this.

I don't blame them, it's an accounting nightmare. But the problem is, they force people to pay union dues, and the courts have said they can't use any of the forced due for politics. So as long as they have forced-dues power, they have to account for which dollar is spent on "bargaining," and which dollar is spent on politics.

I don't know if John Fund is taking that into account, he might be; but that's how it really is.

PatCA said...

20 years ago some employees filed a suit against the big CA PEU when "fair share" fees was enacted by Brown. The union admitted that 80-85% of all of these mandatory, State-collected dues went to political contributions, mostly to Democrats.

So think of what the Dems are losing, and that will explain the relentless attacks on Walker.