I'm almost afraid to enter this one. But, here goes. The arguments are too personal.
We have a government for which we can't pay. I don't agree with unilateral moves in negotiated deals like Governor Walker is instituting. That is wrong.
But, the other option is significant layoffs, which is his option. I'm guessing if Walker came to the unions and laid out the future, maybe the union could help with ideas. Before he goes hardball, he needs to see where he can get help.
I believe in budgets, and staying within budgets. If we have government we can’t afford, we need to elect different officials to make decisions to bring those budgets into line. It seems that happened in November.
I believe in the current situation, given the choice of a 12% contribution to health insurance and a 5.8% contribution to retirement savings, or 5,000 layoffs, the union would accept the changes to benefits, but in a bi-lateral way. If Walker can't get consensus from the union, and he is serious, he should deliver pink slips.
A second layer of negotiations would need to take place that would involve how pensions are taken, work rules, and the like. We need to rethink how agreements made long ago hold up in today's environment.
A fully funded retirement at a number of years of service, at 55 or 60 or even 62 is fiscally irresponsible. There are many people today who receive retirement benefits for longer than they worked. People can retire at any age they want. They just cannot receive benefits until age 67. People just live too long.
The answer of raising revenue (taxes) is not an option. The tax the rich argument will only solve a small percentage of the problem. This really is a spend side issue with $55 billion being spent at the state and local levels.
This also is not, and should not be an argument of the value of the worker. I'm sure most people work hard for their money, and I'm sure each has set his or her life around that income stream.
This is not a time to fight each other, but to come together with solutions, not at the end of pointed fingers, but with real consensus.
There are going to be some casualties this time around. But, one of them should not be our integrity.