Wisconsin State Budget Resolution and Preserving Workers’ Rights

February 27, 2011

By Padmini Arhant

In the State of Wisconsin thousands of protesters are defending the collective bargaining rights staved off in an attempt to deprive workers across the economy from any benefits viewed as liability by the Republican majority.

Budget crisis is widespread within United States and around the world.

As a result the governments at all levels have been adopting severe austerity targeting the worst affected demography through spending cuts on essential programs further exacerbating the vulnerable population plight.

Although the cuts are necessary – the focus is on the vast majority dependent vital services rather than eliminating redundant costs and trimming discretionary investments that are untimely and unaffordable.

Similarly balancing the budget without any revenue from increased productivity or tax hikes on the wealthiest including products and services that are detrimental to health as well as general environment contributes to the growing anti-austerity measures viz. Greece, Ireland and United Kingdom.

Wisconsin for instance could review the areas to generate revenue from manufacturing – being one of the economic strengths in addition to,

The tax rates on personal income especially the top bracket and sales tax that is comparatively lower than other states in the nation.

There appears to be no inheritance tax with the large estate taxes again arbitrarily collected.

Highway and road construction along with maintenance is currently funded by motor fuel tax only. Exploring other avenues like toll roads could provide for any shortfall in the budget.

Similarly the alcohol beverage tax appears to have been contentious emanating from the political influence by the Wisconsin Tavern League behind the state’s reluctance to lower the DUI offense from BAC 0.10 to 0.08 until recently.

The State reliance on full market value based property tax in the sluggish housing trend for income to manage the entire operating costs is a limited pursuit when there are many options available to offset the budget deficit that could ease the burden on any particular segment in the society.

In terms of denying the workers’ rights on collective negotiations – the State assembly approval confirms the misplaced priority and disconnect with the society at large.

The common experience among employees and workers is the difficulty in making inroads with the employers on any legitimate concerns about working conditions and economic opportunity.

It is even harder during the tough economic times deterring individuals to bring the matter to management’s attention due to the fear of losing their job.

The political ideology combined with corporate financing in the election campaign is evidently unleashing power on the electorate typically ignored after the electoral victories.

Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is reportedly determined to ‘bust the State worker unions and eliminate their collective bargaining rights.’

Political establishment that has no respect for labor force – the human capital and the fundamental resource in the economic activities would categorically lead the free market to a free fall upon any sabotage to the engine of the economy.

Without workers and consumers the private and public sector cannot exist and the politically motivated steps against worker representation is analogous to hurting the hands that feeds them.

The demonstrators’ persistence gaining momentum thus far against Republican rejection is indicative of the inevitable political backlash in 2012 for Wisconsin incumbents and others following suit.

Furthermore, the worker unions are vital for checks and balances in the corporate dominant politics, economics and social domain.

Republican members’ strategy in this regard would be equivalent to opposition dismissal effectively voiding democracy.

It is a dangerous precedence and pervasive as seen in France implemented aggressive pension reform vigorously pushed forward in the U.S. Congress extending retirement age and privatizing social security for corporate direct control over public assets.

Now the bill passed in the Wisconsin State assembly is yet another goal to diminish worker unions involvement to discuss corporate policy if found detrimental to work force and ultimately the overall productivity.

It would again lead to kamikaze outcome benefitting none but certainly ruining all.

Governor Walker’s order to track down the State Senate democrats having left the capital city, Madison in disagreement of the shortsighted approach to a sensitive humanitarian issue is regrettable and does not reflect the Republican rule in the world’s modern democracy.

Hence Governor Scott Walker and the Republican Senate in Wisconsin is urged to abandon the ill-conceived notion to deprive workers their voice in a capitalist economy poised to thrive in a democratic setting.

Honoring the workers rights is the only respectable act and guarantees a better employer-employee relationship crucial for corporate and national progress.

Meanwhile the citizens from all walks of life against the proposal in Wisconsin, Indiana, Nevada…are requested to remain committed in securing their rights in the rapidly deteriorating ethical efficacy.

Best Wishes and Good Luck! To all parties for a peaceful resolution favoring the workers requirement.

Besides they are also the consumers, taxpayers and most importantly the electorates holding the key to office.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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