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A letter in the Jan. 11, 2011, Tomahawk Leader:
“We can no longer live in a society where Public Employees are the ‘Haves’ and taxpayers who foot the bills are the ‘Have Nots.’” -Governor-elect, Scott Walker The staggering arrogance of this statement amazes me. That an elected official could make such a statement publicly shows a detachment from the economic reality in which his constituents live.
I am a public employee which, in the alternate reality of ‘Walker World,’ means I am an evil fanged and hoofed parasite sucking the life blood from our state. … In truth, Walker is just parroting a statement made by Newt Gingrich.... They would have us all believe that the $12.4 billion in tax revenues given away by our state government between 1995-2008 is the fault of state workers rather than poor choices by our government and blackmail by large state businesses. Instead they point at those who provide the services we expect and need from the state. Those who ultimately keep the state running. ‘They’ are the cause of all our ills. This is part of a nationwide movement that attempts to stir hatred for public employees. Walker and his financial masters would have us believe that teachers, police, fire departments and others are living high on the hog wasting your tax dollars. The truth is different. … Recent studies … found that state and local government workers make less than comparable private sector workers. If you add in pensions and health care, the numbers are closer, yet still behind the private sector by approximately 7.5%. ...
The long-term effects of this strategy are glaringly apparent. There will be a severe reduction in the standard of living and quality of life for Americans everywhere, not just in Wisconsin. Good jobs will fade and the middle class, which so many politicians claim to support, will cease to exist. The state is in the midst of a budget dilemma to be sure. Public workers will have to make sacrifices to cover the incompetent policies of Madison, as we already have. However public workers did not give away billions of tax dollars necessary to operate the state. The loss of $12.4 billion in tax revenues in the last 13 years was accomplished by our elected leaders in Madison who have cut the tax funds needed to run the state, and by corporate blackmail which demands tax breaks in return for keeping jobs here. Teachers do not have the authority to set state tax policy. Neither do firemen, police, or corrections workers, like myself. This failure came from Madison. The hatred directed toward public workers is a result of a very aggressive and, unfortunately, effective propaganda campaign funded by anonymous conservative interests nationwide.
We public workers will continue to serve Wisconsin as we are trained to do. We will take our lumps along with everyone else in this economy. But we will not accept these baseless attacks quietly. Nor will we accept blame for the incompetence of our elected representatives … We will dig in and fight hard, not just for public workers, but for American citizens everywhere. The alternative is to watch the lifestyle and livelihoods of millions fade and die.
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