Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wisconsin Recall

This spring we'll be hearing a lot about the effort in Wisconsin to unseat their governor, Republican Scott Walker, via a special recall election. Who's trying to do this and why?

Christian Schneider at explains. He opens with this lede:
One morning last February, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker called his staff into his office. “Guys,” he warned, “it’s going to be a tough week.” Walker had recently sent a letter to state employees proposing steps—ranging from restricting collective bargaining to requiring workers to start contributing to their own pension accounts—to eliminate the state’s $3.6 billion deficit. That day in February was when Walker would announce his plan publicly.

It turned out to be a tough year. The state immediately erupted into a national spectacle, with tens of thousands of citizens, led by Wisconsin’s public-employee unions, seizing control of the capitol for weeks to protest the reforms. By early March, the crowds grew as big as 100,000, police estimated. Protesters set up encampments in the statehouse, openly drinking and engaging in drug use beneath the marble dome. Democratic state senators fled Wisconsin to prevent a vote on Walker’s plan. Eventually, the Senate did manage to pass the reforms, which survived a legal challenge and became law in July.

The unions aren’t done yet: they’re now trying to recall Walker from office. To do so, they will try to convince Wisconsin voters that Walker’s reforms have rendered the state ungovernable. But the evidence, so far, contradicts that claim — and Wisconsinites seem to realize it.
So how have Walker's reforms been working out for the people of Wisconsin? You'll have to read the rest of Schneider's piece to get the details, but the short version is this: In just six months Wisconsin has balanced the state budget, saved the taxpayers of the Wisconsin millions of dollars, and saved the jobs of hundreds of people.

It's not a bad record. It'd be nice if the folks in Washington would follow Walker's example.