Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
“A recall election for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is scheduled for June 5. But on the ballot that day will effectively be whether we should establish in law after all these years a new aristocracy in America, not subject to the democratic will of the people like everyone else, with special legal privileges, including the right to plunder the taxpayers with virtual impunity. That new aristocracy is state and local government public employee unions.”
The Weekly Standard
“Restricting public sector collective bargaining freed the state and local governments from the de facto veto unions could exercise over their budgets and allowed taxpayers to ask public employees to contribute more???—???in some cases to begin contributing something???—???to their own health care and pension benefits. Before the reforms, most public employee union members paid less than 1 percent of their salary toward their pensions and contributed 6 percent of the cost of their health care premiums. And in fact,
In addition, the reforms brought an end to forced union membership. This means that public employees can opt out of the union and stop paying its dues. A teacher in, say, the suburbs of
The Weekly Standard
“After all the yelling and screaming in Wisconsin, in the end these government workers were only required to contribute 5.8% of their salaries towards their pensions, which is matched by their government employers (taxpayers), and 12.6% of the costs of their health insurance, with the other 87% paid by taxpayers. This compares to private sector workers paying on average 21% of the cost of their company health insurance, with most private sector workers having no pension at all.”
The American Spectator
As public-employee union contracts come up for renewal around the state, the savings will keep adding up, relieving local pressure to raise property taxes or cut back basic services. Indeed, this past year property taxes statewide actually declined for the first time in a dozen years.”
“For school districts so far, the savings from this competitive bidding alone have amounted to $211.47 per student. Statewide that would add up to nearly $200 million in savings.
The state has also used this flexibility to halt fraudulent sick leave abuses that unions used to inflate overtime expenses. Workers had called in sick for their own shifts, and then worked the next shift on overtime pay. School districts have also been freed to pay teachers based on performance and not just seniority, and to keep better performing teachers rather than longer term time servers who have long given up caring about their job performance.”
The American Spectator
“Which raises a question for those aghast at Scott Walker's budget: How much higher should taxes be in
According to the Tax Foundation, in 2009,
Wisconsin has historically been a high-tax state - in 1985 for instance, it had the second-highest combined state and local tax rate in the nation, at 12 percent - but it seems unlikely that increasing taxes to spend more money (or borrowing more money to be paid back later via tax revenues) is a smart way to boost a flagging economy.”
In fact, the archetype of the lying politician is as ingrained in American politics as the sight of candidates kissing babies. Doyle promised never to raise taxes — yet he raised them by billions during his tenure. Candidate Barack Obama pledged to close the
The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute
“As the Republicans folded together like Russian nesting dolls, the Democrats have been driven by conflicting interests. Labor unions pumped several million dollars into the losing campaign of Barrett’s primary opponent, and the national party has been tentative about going all in. Meanwhile,
“I'm a lifelong Democrat and a career educator. So I'm predictably appalled by Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has cut spending for schools and stripped teachers — and most of the state's public workers — of collective bargaining rights.
But I'm also appalled by the recall campaign against Walker by Wisconsin Democrats, who Tuesday chose Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to run against Walker in a June 5 special election — a rematch of the 2010 contest. The recall epitomizes the petty, loser-take-all vindictiveness of contemporary American politics.
As a liberal, I'm troubled by the prospect of voters unseating an elected official over taxes. Or abortion. Or gun control. If you can recall leaders for any political reason, sooner or later your own ox will be gored.
I'm also worried that the
Most of all, though, I fear that the recall threat will make our elected officials even more timid and poll-tested than they already are. Sometimes, great leaders need to take unpopular positions. And politically motivated recalls make that less likely…”
Jonathan Zimmerman teaches history and education at New York University. He is the author of "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory."
“Why do unions lose so many certification elections after successful petition drives? Put yourself in the place of an employee of a targeted company. A union organizer or some fellow worker shoves a petition in your face and says something like: ‘You want to sign this petition, don’t you? You don’t want to stand in the way of your fellow workers forming a union to protect their rights in the workplace, do you?’ If you decline to sign that petition at work, perhaps some of your pro-union colleagues will visit you at home to see if you’ve changed your mind! There’s a rather nifty little way for them to remind you that they know where you live; and where your car is parked at night; and where your wife and children are when you’re at work. So what do you do? Well, since you know that you’ll be able to vote against the union on a secret ballot, you sign the petition. You go along to get along. The election comes, unions lose, and union leaders grit their teeth and bemoan the loss of all those wonderful union dues. Unions know if they could just get rid of the secret ballot election and rely on their intimidation tactics to get a card signed by you -- with a check mark in the ‘Yes! Let’s unionize!’ box -- they’re home free.
Well that’s pretty much the same scenario citizens of
‘There’s now a keen focus on making sure we’re competitive to be a place where businesses can create jobs and wealth,’ said Mary Ellen Stanek, director of asset management for Milwaukee-based brokerage Robert W. Baird & Co. Stanek, who is a member of Milwaukee 7, a public-private, economic-development partnership of seven counties, points out that neighboring Illinois faces ‘big challenges in terms of tax rates and the overall climate for business’.”
Chief Executive magazine
“By virtually every objective measure,
Walker is facing recall for one reason: His reforms have diminished the power of unions, and the unions want revenge.”
The Weekly Standard
“Whether it's in Wisconsin, Illinois, California or the nation's capital, today's public sector workers expect to do little or no work (I'm not counting partying in Las Vegas as ‘work’), and then be lavishly compensated. Often, the only heavy lifting they do all week is picking up their paychecks.
When government employees mobbed the state capitol in
Their compensation included not only straight salary, but also lavish overtime benefits, pensions, health care plans, sick days and vacation time (most of which they spent protesting).
The unions thought they could fight back against Gov. Scott Walker's tiny rollbacks without anyone finding out the details. Most people saw what public employees were getting and assumed it was a misprint.
Two years ago, seven bus drivers in
“State and local government workers today are not exploited in sweat shop conditions for poverty wages as the workers in union lore of old. Today it is taxpayers who are the ones being exploited.”
“Education is easily the most important social equalizer in our society, yet there is no evidence that
Recalling Gov. Walker and reinstating collective-bargaining rights would guarantee a tax hike to pay astronomical, pre-Walker-level health and retirement benefits to union members. Local governments would have to continue fighting in front of arbitrators to exert any semblance of control over their workforce. And big labor would be able to exert more control over politicians and dictate reform on its terms—which is virtually no reform at all.
If politicians nationwide see Mr. Walker as a cautionary tale, what will happen on the inevitable day when we have to tell seniors that they must contribute more toward Medicare or wait until age 68 to receive Social Security? Will the AARP run those people out of office too?”
The Wall Street Journal
“If the American Dream is to remain available to working people, and not just bureaucrat aristocrats, then Scott Walker must survive the recall, and his reforms must remain intact. That means patriots across