June 6, 2012


Wisconsin speaks. Again. : By endorsing Walker's cost cuts, taxpayers make public spending nationwide an issue for Nov. 6 and beyond (Chicago Tribune, 6/06/12)

On Tuesday, a majority of the voters who for a year and a half have spent the most time weighing those sorts of numbers reaffirmed that they think their Wisconsin governments had grown too elephantine, too expensive.

There's another elephant in the room: Act 10 ended the compulsory collection of union dues by government employers. It turns out that when workers have a free choice of whether to keep paying, many decide that it isn't worth the money. We were surprised last week by a Wall Street Journal report that Wisconsin membership in the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees plummeted from 62,818 in March 2011 to 28,745 in February 2012. At the American Federation of Teachers, 6,000 of 17,000 Wisconsin members have walked away.

Drop-offs that stark have implications not only for the unions, but also for politicians who rely on union donations to fund their campaigns.

After Walker's victory, the implication of which we're surest is this: Government spending and taxpayer debt, the issues that spectacularly animated the politics of the 2010 election cycle, will be potent in 2012. Wisconsin is but one reason. Turmoil in European nations that spent and borrowed themselves into disaster will focus Americans on what can happen when public officials spend money they don't have.

Wisconsin voters again have affirmed their decision:

Spending discipline is the order of the day.

Posted by at June 6, 2012 5:44 AM

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