Where Walker Succeeds, Unions Fail and Wisconsin Wins

By: Andrea Ryan

Next Tuesday, Wisconsin will hold its recall election for Governor Scott Walker.  The impetus for this movement started early last year when the newly elected governor imposed bold changes in order to rescue Wisconsin’s deeply red budget.  As we have seen with other states in a fiscal mess, such as New Jersey, the only fix for the health of the state’s current and future economy is through a strong leader with a fearless drive to make the unpopular and difficult (but correct) decisions.  Enacting common sense economic principles should not make for a “pioneer”, yet decades of lavish spending in excess of state revenues has become the new norm, making actions based on common sense the new “radical”.

Although vilified by the Left as a heavy-fisted malefactor set on pillaging the “measly” assets of public employees, in truth all Governor Walker set forth was a moderate compromise that would salvage the economy of Wisconsin.  Far more moderate than Franklin D. Roosevelt’s staunch position that public unions should not and could not exist, Walker allowed the public employees to continue their collective bargaining of salaries, but let the State of Wisconsin determine their benefits, one of the largest drivers of cost.  This reasonable and balanced compromise between a state spiraling into deeper debt and an entire industry of public professionals paid significantly more than their colleagues in the private sector was called Act 10, the Budget Repair Act.  But, a very interesting thing has happened since the inception of this controversy.  Governor Walker’s moderate reforms have breathed new life into Wisconsin’s fiscal health.

Below is a graph from I Stand With Scott Walker‘s Facebook page – an impressive image of the fiscal effectiveness of Governor Walker’s reforms compared to the three previous Wisconsin governors.  Governor Walker and the Republican-controlled legislature balanced the budget.

The data, in such a short time, already show an impact so transpicuously positive that in last Thursday’s debate, Democratic candidate, Tom Barrett, whistled around the very issue that brought him before the voters.  Tuesday’s recall efforts aren’t based on the red herrings Barrett argued.  They’re based on one very specific set of reforms that Barrett conspicuously avoided discussing.  Why?  Because Governor Walker’s Act 10 is working.  Beautifully.

According to the Wall Street Journal,

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett held their second and final debate yesterday before voters head to the polls in Tuesday’s recall election. It was the Republican governor’s collective bargaining reforms that sparked the recall effort, but those reforms and their impact seemed to be the last thing that Mr. Barrett wanted to talk about.

Instead, the Democratic mayor wanted to focus on a side issue—an ongoing investigation involving several people who were aides to Mr. Walker when he was Milwaukee County executive. Mr. Walker said that his opponent’s focus on the probe was sign of desperation. We take it as a sign that Mr. Barrett doesn’t think the governor is vulnerable on his record.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is 6.7%, which is well below the national average of 8.2%. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state added more than 23,000 jobs last year. And a recent survey found that Wisconsin employers were eager to hire—an indication that Mr. Walker’s policies have made the state more business-friendly. Mr. Walker also managed to close a $3.6. billion budget deficit without raising taxes, which fulfilled a campaign promise.

How do you recall a governor who:

  • balances a budget deeply indebted,
  • keeps a 6.7% unemployment rate below the national average of 8.2%, and
  • facilitates the addition of more than 23,000 jobs

In the first year his policies are introduced?  You don’t.  But, before this is qualified a complete success for the tax paying residents of Wisconsin, here’s a look at the cost to the public sector employees crying foul.

Research from the American Enterprise Institute revealed,

following Act 10, pension benefits for Wisconsin public employees are roughly 4.5 times more valuable than private sector levels while health benefits are about twice as generous as those paid by larger private sector Wisconsin employers. This difference results in a combined salary-benefits compensation premium of around 22 percent for state workers over private sector workers, with varying but often larger pay advantages for local government employees.

After Act 10, public employees still make significantly more in total compensation than those similarly employed in the private sector…a whopping 22% more.  And the benefits the unions are screaming were excoriated by the Republicans are still multiple times more valuable than those of the private sector tax payers footing the bill.  So, contrary to what the dishonest unions would have us believe, there are no losers.  Everyone in the state of Wisconsin wins, including those employed in the public sector.

But, in the midst of this success story is another story.  Jim Geraghty at National Review revealed what happens when government stops collecting union dues.  As part of the reforms, public employees had the opportunity to opt out of automatic paycheck deductions.  Once implemented, an astounding 2/3rds of them chose not to pay their union dues.  So, given the freedom to decide for themselves, union members do not support their own union.

So, considering the powerful impact made by just these moderate reforms, Steven Greenhut with the Franklin Center makes a very good point: why not strive for even more parity in compensation between the private and public sectors?  If Governor Walker showed Obama what real “fairness” to hard working tax payers looks like, imagine the boom Wisconsin could see with its economy.

This article was cross-posted on Freedom Works.

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  • Truthsayer

    “why not strive for even more parity in compensation between the private and public sectors?” Am I crazy, but wouldn’t it be better to strive for parity in an upward direction? As a private employee, I would prefer my compensation to RISE to match that of the public employee. Couldn’t this be achieved if executive pay weren’t so exorbitant?

  • bigkahuna

    Of course unions fail. They want to keep cutting their own throats and speed the decline.

    They know the success of the governor is a failure for union dues and power and will show they are outdated and rarely needed.

  • CeeZar

    “As part of the reforms, public employees had the opportunity to opt out of automatic paycheck deductions. Once implemented, an astounding 2/3rds of them chose not to pay their union dues. So, given the freedom to decide for themselves, union members do not support their own union.”

    Despite the yelling and screaming about collective bargaining, this was the primary driver of the opposition to Walker and Act 10. The unions and their bought politicians knew that this would be the result.

  • Liz

    Walker has been outstanding. So is Jindal! IF he successfully gives public schools the boot this fall in Louisiana and sends all the kids vouchers for full private school tuition as he is saying, I’M MOVING MY KIDS TO LOUISIANA. Herewith.

  • Liz

    Unions are cancer. Once they consume their host, then they turn on each other. Look at California.

  • Espresso Logic – The 6th Sense


    You’re not crazy. You are a flaming retard.

    Who pays idiot?

  • bg


    no!! no!! no!! that’s not right!! just ask our WTF President,
    he knows, afterall, he was a brilliant community organizer..


  • bg


    Truthsayer #1 June 2, 2012 at 6:45 am

    ask your CEO president, oh wait..


  • bg


    Bill Moyers non partisan report:

    [The largest banks are actually bigger than they were when he took
    office. And earned more in the first two-and-a-half years of his term
    than they did during the entire eight years of the Bush administration.]

    [Democrats beat the market by 73 basis points per month,
    compared to 18 for Republicans. That’s a rout anyway you
    look at it. Senators fare even better than house members.]


  • bg



    June 1, 2012

    Court: Marine can’t challenge Shariah

    [A federal appeals court says a Marine can’t challenge a U.S. government subsidy for a program that promotes Shariah, that radical Islamic law that includes chopping off hands for theft and beheading for leaving Islam.]




    why am i yelling, what difference does it make, our representatives
    haven’t heard a freakin’ thing for the past several years anyways.. 🙁


  • democraps suck

    screw the union thugs…enough of tax payers paying their pensions and health care costs…

  • valerie

    OT – CNN is hitting a 20-year low in viewership, and MSNBC is losing viewership, too. This was a month for them all to slide (good weather?), but the effect was far greater at those networks.


    This is your friendly, neighborhood Liberal reminding you that these broadcasters fail to live up to the standard of reporting required by Liberals, namely factual accuracy coupled with a willingness to grant the other side a point, when they make a good one. You know — that standard articulated by FOX News — is a classical Liberal formulation. At least that broadcaster has an idea of what it’s trying to do.

    Liberals also don’t like the notion that we’ve got to go back and solve again the problems of this country that have been remedied. This shows a disrespect for the very real accomplishments of Liberals, and also a disrespect for normal individuals, that just should not be there.

    Those of you who call yourselves Conservative should remember that you have more allies than you know.

  • valerie

    “Steven Greenhut with the Franklin Center makes a very good point: why not strive for even more parity in compensation between the private and public sectors?”

    I’d stick with the moderate reforms, for now. Let’s just see how this plays out. The results are really good so far, and may be enough to stop the caveating of our economic pump in states where reforms are placed. I submit that “parity in compensation” should not be the goal.

    I don’t have a pension. I’m never going to have a pension, nor do I plan on Social Security for my future. I’ve known all about the demographic time bomb in Social Security since I first went to work, and the instability in the job market means that a LOT of people will never collect pensions because a career at a single company is a thing of the past.

    Governments have a huge advantage over private business, due to their stability. They can get away with paying less and yet steadily, provided they also offer attractive pension benefits.

    What that means is, in boom times, government pay is low relative to the private sector (but steady!) and that, in hard times, government pay remains relatively stable, but pay in the private sector can drop, making government pay look richer that it had in the recent past.

    If we can get that private sector pay to float up, the government pay won’t look so indulgent, but those who know how to plan will recognize the value of the security.

  • xkaydet65

    Not to throw some cold water on this, but as far as the dues payment data goes, with increades withholding for pension and benefits many union members see the $40-$50 bucks a month in dues as money better used for their families ot cushion the loss of withholding increases, and since unions cannot negotiate for benefits any longer, their usefulness in the eyes of many is questioned. I’m not aware if Act 10 limits union rights to defend workers from discipline and/or dismissal. If it does not, it would seem not paying dues is shortsighted on the part of the workers.

  • bg


    how about Unions mandated funding of politicians?? gah!!


  • sandy

    Unions were important when bosses were tyrants. IF YOU DON’T SHOW UP ON SUNDAY DON’T COME IN ON MONDAY — was the mantra of the time. But somewhere along the line Unions have become corrupt and now they don’t give a crap if what they do causes the loss of jobs for many of their members. Union leaders are rich and will file complaints in courts where they find friendly judges — in order to intimidate those on the other side.

    So what if companies like GM build their cars overseas while cities like Detroit disappear from the landscape. Its all a game they think they can’t lose.

  • bear

    #1, “truth” pretender,

    Governor Walker did not cut union dues. He freed the workers (those are the lefties’ “good guys”, right?) from being FORCED to pay their income to the union labor MONOPOLY.

    The folks who stopped paying are sending a clear message to the marxist unions that extortion of their incomes in order to finance the political and economic destruction of our nation and of our way of life is not OK.

    Requiring the private sector to pony up MORE income in order to feed the bloated union salaries and bennies is MORE extortion. Given that government bureaucracies produce NOTHING, and create NOTHING, makes their monetary demands even more outrageous.

    Any organization that refuses to cut costs and downsize when faced with a debt disaster (in the case public finance, it’s always of its own making) deserves to be turned upside down.

    Thank you Governor Walker and all who support him in WI.

  • Patty

    If Governor Walker showed Obama what real “fairness” to hard working tax payers looks like, imagine the boom Wisconsin could see with its economy.

    IMAGINE IF: One of these governors were president. Walker, Daniels or Christie. There are other Governors who have turn their states around and don’t let the left fool you. WISCONSIN DOES MATTER.

    I believe those in the union are fed up with have the UNION take out dues for Politics. And of course their $$$, the people are speaking out, finally.

  • Pingback: Where Walker Succeeds, Unions Fail and Wisconsin Wins | Liberal Whoppers()

  • bear

    #14, xkay,

    I interpret your comment to say that each affected worker is acting in their own self-interest. Hmmm…..That seems to be a rational decision, and one left to each individual as an “unalienable” right, wouldn’t you agree?

    Our God given right to liberty is expressed, in part, by the control we exercise over our income and property. Others who FORCE the confiscation of our income to serve their own (political) purposes are, by definition, tyrants and slave owners.

    A puzzling poser for you lefty, union-loving, anti-Americans out there……..I thought you socialists were all in favor of “pro-choice.” Either get your “philosophy” straight, or abandon the indefensible.

  • Blacque Jacques Shellacque

    It’s interesting how, according to the graph, Thompson and McCallum, while not successful at getting the state’s finances out of the red territory, kept it within a certain narrow range, which then broke out into a noticeable downward trend under Doyle’s stewardship.

    Come to think of it, that seems to be what happened on a federal scale; Republican manages to keep the deficit somewhat manageable, Democrat comes along and blows it out.

  • Ghost

    I have never heard of this word before now: “transpicuously”,
    as in, “The data, in such a short time, already show an impact so transpicuously positive…”

    Okay, it means transparent- but, golly gee!

  • Pingback: Where Walker Succeeds, Unions Fail and Wisconsin Wins | The Navigator()

  • kathteach

    Thanks Jim for posting this great wrap-up of the really important election coming up Tuesday in Wisconsin.

    A lot of these commenters seem to know a lot about government and the problems with allowing government employees to become unionized against their employers – the taxpayers! You referenced FDR’s objection to such a scheme. There is such a big difference between private sector unions in a corporate environment and government unions. Government should not be a “for profit” enterprise – for one!

    YEt there are so many uninformed voters out there – not just iun Wisconsin but all over the nation. And they do not seem to mind voting 80 times – or whatever…..

    This is what we should all be concerned with. Why are the Democrats calling Voter ID laws and the purging of dead voters from the Florida polls “suppression of votes”? I just can’t get that one at all. All we want is a level playing field – do they think they deserve extra privileges?

    Check out this Milwaukee guy who said – on the TV news – that he signed the Walker Recall petition eighty times. This is what we need to worry about – people who are really not informed and probably don’t want to be.


  • democraps suck

    #1 if it weren’t for the upper executive people running a company…you wouldn’t have a job…you have wealth envy just like the socialists

  • Larkin

    During the debate, Barret said that the first thing he would do as governor would be to UNDO everything Scott Walker has done.

    How about that Wisconsin? Ready to go back in the crapper so soon?

  • A_Nonny_Mouse

    #22 June 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm Ghost commented:
    ” I have never heard of this word before now: “transpicuously”,
    as in, “The data, in such a short time, already show an impact so transpicuously positive…”

    Okay, it means transparent- but, golly gee! ”
    = = = =

    Oh, we’re not just talking about something that’s only ordinarily transparent; in this case, we’re going all the way to CONSPICUOUSLY transparent!!! 😉

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