This caught my eye. From Chicago Tribune:

Walker says National Guard is prepared

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker says the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to respond wherever is necessary in the wake of his announcement that he wants to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights from state employees.

Walker said Friday that he hasn’t called the Guard into action, but he has briefed them and other state agencies in preparation of any problems that could result in a disruption of state services, like staffing at prisons.

From The Isthmus:

The Wisconsin National Guard has not been activated but it is on alert.

“Plan for the worst, expect the best,” Gov. Scott Walker explained to a jam-packed press conference this morning in the State Capitol.

It was the official roll-out of his broad rollback of collective bargaining rights for unionized government employees, part of his budget repair bill, seeking to resolve a $150 million shortfall in the next five months.

Walker said he was well aware that “some union leaders will try to incite their members.”

The governor has contingency plans to take over the prisons, undoubtedly using the National Guard. Plans are also in place to staff intensive care facilities, should those employees walk out.

These contingency plans have been in the works “for months,” Walker said this morning.

The video of the press conference is here, on the Office of the Governor website.

28 thoughts on “Dispatches

  1. tj

    This should get interesting, almost a laboratory setting for comparing tea party ‘violence’ to union violence.
    As you recall, the press went out of its way to depict a mostly peaceful tea party movement as violent. The problem for the media was that it was difficult to find video of tea party demonstrations where the average age was under 65.
    Kinda hard to picture grandma and grandpa engaging in the same kind of thuggery/intimidation that unions employ.

  2. 2slugbaits

    tj If Gov. Walker is half the lunatic that Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) is, then Wisconsin families better hope that grandma and grandpa don’t make the mistake of dying. My cousin’s husband died a few months ago in a car accident in Indiana. Still waiting for a death certificate. Counties in the state of Indiana are running months behind on issuing death certificates, so you better not count on life insurance payouts to cover funeral expenses.

  3. Jake

    Teej- Right in touch with reality! Your take describes the situation perfectly….in reverse!
    Name one area where there has been “union thug” violence comparted to head-stomping, b ullethole-leaving, heat-packing baggers? Really, tell me. This’ll be good to see how far you can reach.
    On an economic note, can someone explain to me how lowering tax rates, lowering after-tax incomes AND the income tax revenues from tens of thousands of workers (due to higher payments to pensions and health insurance, which are pre-tax dollars) will do anything but make a state’s fiscal imbalance worse, and increase unemployment with the lower demand. Kinda like what we’re seeing in Jersey right now.
    And what about the big-time adverse selection problem of recruiting people to work in a state that has this brain-dead weakling for a leader? Fortunately for the home of Titletown and the Big Ten Champs, we’ll only have to deal with this guy for another 14 months or so.

  4. Mark A. Sadowski

    1) We have to get ready to crush the left wing lunatics!
    2) Hmmm. There are no left wing lunatics?
    3) We are the insane lunatics we have been waiting for. (Now things make more sense.)
    P.S. Duck and cover! It’s Jared Loughner!

  5. don

    My take is that unfunded liabilities were used to make promises to lure people into working for local government at lower pay. Now, after the lower pay has been accepted over a period of years, the politicians can point to the generous benefits and renege on their promises.
    In my own experience, there are fewer more toothless organizations than government employee unions, especially for office workers. Their main effect has probably been to lower productivity and make life harder for managers.

  6. Joseph

    Gov. Scott Walker says the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to respond wherever is necessary.
    What? Is he reading a script from Hosni Mubarak?

  7. Lance

    I am not exactly sure of your angle. The governor is prepared to use units under his authority to staff essential functions of government. These are not modern-day pinkerton agents seeking to bust unions through intimidation.
    This is Glenn Beck type reasoning.

  8. Ivars

    If You thought the USA is immune to massive unrests in coming year(s), think again and again (while looking at CPI, of course, and unemployment getting lower, as a sedative).
    No status quo will go unchallenged, nowhere.People are not going to wait while elites implement the solutions that fits only the elites and is described as fitting the people via propaganda machinery.
    That is what history, Egypt and human nature teaches us. But unfortunately, not rational effective market economics.

  9. tj

    Jake you are a perfect example of how the media can bias perceptions.
    Open your eyes and think for yourself.
    United States v. Enmons, 410 U.S. 396 (1973) is a controversial U.S. Supreme Court case which held that violence, if carried out in furtherance of a labor union’s objectives, does not violate the law according to the extortion and robbery provisions of the federal anti-Racketeering Act of 1934 or the Hobbs Act.
    The case involved a labor strike in which union members fired rifles at three utility company transformers, drained the oil from another, and blew up an entire company substation. The labor union in question was seeking a higher-pay contract and other benefits from their employer, the Gulf States Utilities Company. The Court decided that the union involved was immune from prosecution because their violent acts were in pursuit of a legitimate union objective….
    The court’s ruling set a legal precedent where violent acts against an employer by workers on strike, including destruction of property, assault, and homicide, are not punishable offenses under federal law.
    Since 1973, a number of bills have been proposed to overturn US v. Enmons. The Freedom from Union Violence Act (FUVA) was introduced on January 29, 1997. It was opposed by unions and the bill did not pass. The bill was introduced again in 2007, but did not become law.

    2slugs Sounds like the solution is to privatize the issuance of death certifates. Competition would quickly eliminate any company that took months to issue a death certificate. Condolences to you and your cousin’s family.

  10. 2slugbaits

    Lance National Guard soldiers are not full time workers available at the governor’s beck-and-call. They have real jobs. If Gov. Walker calls up NG soldiers to staff government functions, who will do the work they leave behind at their day jobs? And if, as many conservatives believe, government jobs are inherently less productive than private sector jobs, then isn’t Gov. Walker compelling productive private sector firms to release workers so that they can perform lower productivity jobs for the state? Isn’t that the logical conclusion if you believe the standard GOP line? This is typical of a lot of conservative “solutions” to problems. Instead of actually solving the core problem they engage in a lot of cost shifting. There are a lot of stupid voters that get taken in by this kind of thing.

  11. 2slugbaits

    tj I believe Indiana uses private companies to maintain rest areas along the interstates. Funny thing…on the way to the funeral all of the rest areas were (literally) boarded up.

  12. Jake

    You’re quoting a court case from 38 years ago? Wow, an even weaker response than I thought I’d get.
    Let’s just say things have changed a little bit in the last generation and a half in relation to unions, their tactics, and their (now relative lack of) power. And it’s no coincidence that real median wages for HS-graduate men have declined greatly in that time period as a result. Well, unless you’re Scott Walker and can suck up to the business lobby and hold a straight face while lying, that is.
    I really get annoyed when whiny basement dwellers like you challenge what I know. Read first, talk second.

  13. Lance

    I will assume you mean social return when you say productivity.
    If the aim is to maintain basic social services, then activating a National Guard member to fill an unfilled position probably nets a higher social return. Would we be better off if both individuals remained at their occupation of choice? Probably. But, drawing questionable analogies to political rhetoric to criticize a decision doesn’t advance your overall point.
    Consider it an exogenous technology shock which affects the relative returns for individuals with heterogenous skill sets to obtain employment in other sectors.
    Mobilizing National Guardsman for cleanup and security efforts after Hurricane Katrina provided a higher social return than what those members could have provided during that period in the private sector.
    But, yes, (most of the time) Guardsman are at the beck-and-call of their respective governors.

  14. 2slugbaits

    Lance This isn’t an exogenous technology shock. Indeed, this is quite endogenous…this is an event that the governor is creating himself. Hurricanes occur and governors have to make short-term decisions to maximize the social return. With hurricanes everyone is made worse off and the decision is to make the best of a bad situation. But that’s not what’s happening here. In this case the governor is manufacturing a crisis that makes everyone worse off. The govt workers are made worse off. The Guard members are made worse off. And society is made worse off. The governor’s gamble is that he will be able to quickly break the back of the unions and cut state costs over the long run. But over the long run state employees earn their marginal product and temporary efforts to force concessions do not change that basic fact of life. Notice that the governor isn’t proposing cuts in actual services, he just doesn’t want to have to pay for those services. In search of that ever illusive free lunch…the bane of many a Republican politician.

  15. westslope

    More evidence of Americans not cooperating particularly well. Political leadership is failing. Public sector unions may contribute to a whole series of problems but are not responsible for these massive revenue short-falls.

    What happened to the notion of automatic fiscal stabilizers, or the notion of reliable, dependable government services? Does American possessive individualism make it exceedingly difficult for Americans to well manage the public sector?

    Shame. Many ordinary folk will suffer.

  16. Steven Kopits

    Well, that’s pretty big deal, I think. Curiously, Wisconsin public service is considered among the better in the country. Not so here in NJ. And NY is terrible, particular the city.

  17. purple

    My take is that unfunded liabilities were used to make promises to lure people into working for local government at lower pay. Now, after the lower pay has been accepted over a period of years, the politicians can point to the generous benefits and renege on their promises.

    People should just realize that those in power, business and government, are a pack of liars and thieves and adjust accordingly.

    At this stage of late Empire, the lying and corruption is endemic and impossible to reverse, not that many are attempting to.

  18. Ricardo

    Welcome to Greece. Government workers have no other way to appeal to their employer than by rioting in the streets. Private sector workers can negotiate. All government workers can do is capitulate. Wahoo! Let’s put more people on the government pay roles so the crowds in the street will be even bigger.

  19. tj

    Uh Oh…Obama wants cuts Pell Grants so he can “invest” in high speed rail. Sounds like disinvestment to me.
    Obama is out of touch. He’s a one-termer for sure.

  20. Jake

    Tee-Jee- What in the world does that lame misdirection take have to do with the economic effects of lower salaries for public employees unions (you know, the topic at hand)?
    Oh wait, you had nothing to respond with so you went off-topic to avoid admitting your defeat. Thanks. Oh, and Obama also has helped with student loan affordability which replaces Pell Grants, and goven that will be your president for pretty much the next 6 years, you might want to show some deference, little guy.

  21. PaulRINO

    Isn’t this the Definition of FASCISM?
    Boy, I sure miss the good old days when Republican Crime wasn’t so out in the open.

  22. Manfred

    Inspired by 2slug and have hope when I read purple, steven, west, Ivars, Joseph, don, and Jake. We are well on our way to becoming a banana republic. It is the height of hypocrisy for “small government” thugs like Walker to threaten to use the power of the state to attack public sector workers using publically funded state militias. Resolving state economic troubles on the backs of county clerks, dog catchers, and teachers, etc. doesn’t sound like the Guard’s defined role of dealing with “domestic emergencies and disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.”
    This is the age of lawless kleptocracy amidst incredible suffering.
    Maybe the Egyptians (and Tunisians) suggest our last
    hope and inspiration to take our country back.

  23. tj

    Jake All you offer are personal attacks. What does that have to do with public employment?
    I’ll tell you the link between high speed rail and public employment. The common denominator is unions.
    Few union jobs in higher education, so he can cut without angering his union base. At the same time, he can shift the speding cuts in higher ed to more spending on union heavy high speed rail.
    You might also reconsider your loan/grant comparison. Students are being crushed with student loan debt. The new government loan program will be at higher rates of interest. Obama’s grant reduction is a slimey way to force more students into the federal student loan program.

  24. Sean

    On some level, I can agree with Walker’s fundamental message of not spending and addressing the collective bargaining issue. That said, everything he’s done has been in the most idealistic/nonpractical form as possible. At no point should a governor – with any of his programs – have to EVER resort to using the National Guard to run state services. Of course, it’s pretty funny on a basic level that the people of WI elected a governor who does not have a college degree.
    In addition, I hope that people like my neighbor (who is a national guard member, as well as a farmer) are made to run state prisons. I wonder if the governor understands that National Guard generally doesn’t consist of highly trained military operatives. I think there is an overlooked safety issue for our Guard members here.

  25. fladem

    In reply to Ivers, the case he cites turned on whether Federal Law covered the acts in question. It did not mean that Unions were not subject to prosecution by State and Local authorities (who are responsible for maintaining law and order) under State criminal statues.
    The facts described by Ivers were violations of State Law, and could be prosecuted under state law. The question in the Emmons case was whether a specific Federal Law applied.
    As is typical of right-wing union haters, he fails to understand the case or the larger legal issues involved.

  26. Barkley Rosser

    Don’t worry. Gov. Walker has killed the planned high-speed rail link between Madison and Milwaukee. Everything will be just fine…
    Very impressive of the governor to announce the end of collective bargaing for public workers (except for those backing him politically) without any negotiation or discussion with them at all about managing or accepting any proposed cuts to deal with the fiscal crisis. Very impresive. He will have a future on Fox News after he finishes as gov, I am certain.

  27. Jocuri

    No status quo will go unchallenged, nowhere.People are not going to wait while elites implement the solutions that fits only the elites and is described as fitting the people via propaganda machinery.

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