Barack Obama spoke with Wisconsin television station WTMJ earlier this morning to weigh in on Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to force unions to accept restructuring of the public sector to solve long-term budget crises in the state. Wisconsin Republicans swept the state elections in 2010 in the aftermath of large budget shortfalls. Obama conceded the need for action, and claimed credit for his federal pay freeze as an example of his own leadership, but accused Walker of conducting “an assault on unions.” Eyeblast provided this clip:
He told TODAY’S TMJ4 in an exclusive interview that sacrifices should be made to deal with fiscal changes, but that public employees should not be vilified.
“Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where they’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally, seems like more of an assault on unions,” Mr. Obama said to TODAY’S TMJ4’s Charles Benson in a one-on-one talk.
“I think everybody’s got to make some adjustments, but I think it’s also important to recognize that public employees make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens.”
This is yet another meaningless cliche from Obama. Everyone contributes to someone, either customers or communities, or both. Public-sector workers get compensated for their “contributions,” and they do so with a great deal less accountability, more job security, and in most cases better compensation than employees in the private sector do. Walker’s efforts intend on rectifying that balance by bringing pension contributions and health-insurance costs in line with the private sector and making it easier to terminate those employees who waste taxpayer money through incompetence, non-performance, and insubordination.
Taxpayers want more accountability and less bureaucratic entrenchment from their government. Unions have conducted an assault on those concepts for decades. All that Walker, Chris Christie, and even Andrew Cuomo have done is to stop retreating and start fighting back for fiscal sanity and public-resource accountability. For Obama, that is apparently one retreat too few.