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Wisconsin riots over government cuts

Ujifusa is a senior public relations major and can be contacted at michael.ujifusa@drake.edu

A $3.2 billion state deficit and the possibility of 1500 layoffs has prompted the Wisconsin governor, Scott Walker, to make “deep cuts.” Last week legislation introduced plans to cut government employees take-home pay by 8 percent. Government employees in Wisconsin will also have to pay 5.6 percent more toward their pension and 12 percent more toward their health insurance. In light of the deficit, affected Wisconsin unions have already conceded these cuts; the real hullabaloo in Madison is over the governor’s insistence of removing collective bargaining. Collective bargaining was established in 1935 under the National Labor Relations Act. Unions were given the right to negotiate with business over “minor” details such as health care, working conditions, pension, etc. In layman’s terms, taking away collective bargaining is taking away the primary advantage of belonging to a union.

Nine other states are planning on passing legislation similar to Wisconsin’s austerity measures. Liberal doomsayers have predicted that Wisconsin is the proving ground for a nation-wide GOP effort to permanently diminish union power, effectively setting a precedent for other states to follow.
In Defense of the teachers (a government employee).

On average, teachers make about $40,000 a year–a meager pay considering the nature of their profession; educating the next generation of politicians, doctors, environmental scientists and so on. Public school is where most Americans develop invaluable cognitive abilities such as reading, critical thinking and problem solving. Besides actually educating our children, teachers are also our country’s de facto babysitters nine months out of the year. Imagine having to manage middle-schoolers every day: hundreds of pint-sized, disease-ridden, hellions detained against their will.

This is truly a demanding career to voluntarily subject oneself to. Despite the lack of a competitive salary and the dauntless challenge of trying to educate a relatively apathetic audience, individuals still pursue teaching; presumably out of notions of civic duty. I cannot express how thankful I am for the handful of good teachers I’ve had over the years. Individuals who genuinely care about cultivating the minds of their students.Individuals who choose to teach out of sense of duty and not pure financial gain. Individuals who challenge our youth to create a better society. Public education is an institution that our culture takes for granted. We forgot how essential these institutions are for the livelihood of our culture and, ultimately, our future.

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4 Comments

  1. Steve February 23, 2011

    “Riots”? Poor, poor choice of words. The massive protests have been incredibly civil.

  2. Madison Cheesehead February 23, 2011

    Emotional riots. aka Rage Against the Machine. True.

    “If you see one crazy old guy meandering aimlessly down the snowy streets blocking traffic on his bicycle – it’s quaint. If you see everyone doing it – it’s Madison” – Madison Cheesehead

  3. Michael Ujifusa February 24, 2011

    Riots is a poor word,
    my original title was

    “Turmoil in Badger Country”

  4. Anynoymous March 2, 2011

    Civil? I am from Wisconsin and I know for a fact that people who are in favor of what Scott Walker is doing have been harassed, sworn at, spit on.. the list goes on. Collective bargaining is not a right, its a privilege.

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