Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wisconsin: The First Convulsions of an Ailing Welfare State

Much of the commentary regarding Wisconsin's public employees has focused on unions making concessions--as if the issue were unions versus society. Although much could be questioned about unions as such (mandatory unions, laws favoring unions, for example) it's important to understand that the current matter in Wisconsin is not fundamentally about unionization as such. Rather, it is about public employees versus taxpayers. When the welfare state starts to seize up, as all welfare states eventually have to do, either it must self-deceptively charge forward by printing more money, increasing spending, and continuing the feeding at the public trough, or it must stop and begin reversing itself (with the ultimate goal of dismantling the monstrosity it has created). What we are seeing in Wisconsin is not fundamentally about unions versus society: it is about welfare state versus taxpayers who for decades have been duped into it and are now starting to wake up.