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“Wis­con­sin Gov. Scott Walker’s claim that pub­lic em­ployee unions must be crushed in or­der to bal­ance the state’s bud­get is deeply disin­gen­u­ous. Though it’s true that rais­ing work­ers’ pen­sion and health­care con­tri­bu­tions would help re­duce the state’s $3.6 bil­lion short­fall, that’s no rea­son to take away col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing rights on such ben­e­fits in per­pe­tu­ity. Unions have curbed worker ex­ploita­tion, raised liv­ing stan­dards and re­duced the gap be­tween rich and poor na­tion­wide, and ben­e­fits wrested by unions af­ter long strug­gles are now en­joyed and taken for granted by Amer­i­cans from all walks of life. … States all over the coun­try, in­clud­ing Cal­i­for­nia, are wrestling with un­af­ford­able pub­lic pen­sion obli­ga­tions. But there are bet­ter ways of solv­ing this prob­lem than strip­ping unions of col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing rights. If politi­cians can’t be trusted to rep­re­sent tax­payer in­ter­ests in con­tract talks, maybe states could ap­point in­de­pen­dent ex­pert pan­els to do the job. ... The eas­i­est thing would be to sim­ply rene­go­ti­ate sep­a­rate con­tracts for newly hired work­ers. In­deed, Wis­con­sin’s unions have shown ev­ery sign that they’re will­ing to make sac­ri­fices, if Repub­li­can lead­ers would lis­ten.”

—Los An­ge­les Times “U.S. House Repub­li­cans brought their nar­row agenda into sharper fo­cus by vot­ing to slash do­mes­tic spend­ing by $61 bil­lion for the re­main­ing seven months of the fis­cal year. … By wildly hack­ing away at a small, 12% slice of the fed­eral bud­get—non­se­cu­rity dis­cre­tionary spend­ing—while largely ig­nor­ing the big deficit cul­prits of de­fense, en­ti­tle­ments and cor­po­rate wel­fare, the House plan would cause sig­nif­i­cant pain for Florid­i­ans and ac­com­plish rel­a­tively lit­tle in re­duc­ing this year’s $1.6 tril­lion deficit. The ide­o­log­i­cally laced spend­ing plan ... sac­ri­fices ed­u­ca­tion, trans­porta­tion, en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion and health­care while shield­ing most mil­i­tary spend­ing … Repub­li­cans elim­i­nated or starved pro­grams and reg­u­la­tory agen­cies they have been gun­ning for over the years. They cut off fam­ily plan­ning and re­pro­duc­tive health­care money to Planned Par­ent­hood. … This is not a re­spon­si­ble blue­print for gov­ern­ing or re­duc­ing the deficit, which will re­quire more fo­cus on de­fense and en­ti­tle­ments. It ac­com­plishes very lit­tle deficit-cut­ting while stran­gling in­vest­ments in ed­u­ca­tion and in­fra­struc­ture, lim­it­ing reg­u­la­tors, and leav­ing too many poor Amer­i­cans to fend for them­selves.”

—St.Peters­burg (Fla.) Times

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