Britain And Wisconsin
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  • Luke Lea

    Good post.

  • “Blue state politicians have clipped union wings through negotiated changes in compensation that nudge the system towards something more sustainable. One key seems to be that the politics can’t get too far in front of the arithmetic; voters are more interested in solutions to practical problems than in sweeping changes involving collective bargaining rights. Politicians like New Jersey’s Governor Christie who are seen to be doing what the facts require will do better than those who seem to think that ‘a crisis is too good to waste,’ and use a crisis to push through deeper changes than voters are willing to accept.”

    I suspect you’ll find lots of clear-thinking, level-headed writers who’ll back you up on that one. Peter Lawler of “First Things,” for one, has been arguing for some time that one thing that quickly disenchants the mass of voters from more doctrinaire “conservative” Republican candidates is their all-or-nothing attitude. Of course most prospective Republican voters don’t want middleclass entitlements to bankrupt the system. But if there’s a chance of making them more sustainable – as opposed to dispensing with them altogether – they’ll always take it.

  • I think of myself as a recovering liberal and I notice when republicans get too doctrinaire I back off. I always think with satisfaction of Bob Barr’s frustration when the Senate served him up an Arkansas sized helping of Jury Nullification. I react in similar fashion when lefties get too ideological! Makes me wonder what’s the difference between ‘doctrinaire’ and ‘ideological’? 😉

  • Tom Gates

    I think your analysis is too simplistic. Each state and big city has different political and economic dynamics which drive political strategy. These situations in Wisconsin, Illinois, New Jersey and the UK are totally different. Particularly when union funding of the Democratic party is critical to its survival. In Wisconsin, the reason for the strident back lash by the unions is the recent success by the Governor in controlling costs by reducing the monopoly healthcare programs run by the unions that contained inflated costs. This was a tangible result. More importantly, the recent trend by certain teachers to leave the union and saving $50 a month because they do not see value in union representation. That is the most dangerous trend to unions and must be stopped at all costs. The Union strategy is to give a little bit now, and when the economy magically turns around, then they will get their payback. This boom bust way of thinking are gradually making these blue states unsustainable in a global economy.

  • Ann

    We are so past the point where conventional half measures will even kick the can down the road for a few more years. There is pain and there is PAIN, and unless people realize that dithering around the edges and patching with duct tape is going to get us back on track then we will experience PAIN.

    If you counted inflation the way it used to be counted before the fiat money crowd got control, you would see that adjusted for inflation, the stock market isn’t rising, and we have negative GDP. If everyone who was looking for a job in 2009 were still being counted as unemployed, unemployment would be 11% and if it were accurately counted, it would be much higher.

    Unfortunately the blue model is going to have to play out to its most painful conclusion because no politician has the courage to tell the truth, and the few that do end up getting pilloried by the “have their cake and eat it too” crowd. The compromise between the full statists and the half statists has gotten us here.

  • WigWag

    Professor Mead’s suggestion that “the Government is well ahead of the opposition in the polls” is misleading. Virtually every poll taken in the past three months shows the Conservative Party behind the Labour Party by between three and six percentage points. In one poll released yesterday it was Conservatives 38 percent, Labour 42 percent and Liberal Democrats 9 percent. This poll is consistent with most other recent polls.

    It is a mistake to assume that the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition is a permanent phenomenon. The coalition is already fraying over differences over Europe and the most logical assumption is that over time, coalition politics will become more problematic making a break up of the Government increasingly likely.

    As for David Cameron himself, his approval ratings linger between 43-48 percent placing him squarely in Obama territory. What makes Cameron’s difficulties even more acute than Obama’s is that in the United States slowly but surely the economy has begun to turn while in Great Britain it is still flatlining. Britain is experiencing little or no economic growth, unemployment shows no signs of abating and inflation (or is it stagflation) is rearing it’s ugly head.

    Prime Minister Cameron’s policies which focus on austerity are making the British economy worse not better. He’s not leading Great Britain to a healthier, more prosperous and sustainable future, he’s leading Britain to a more destitute, angry and irrelevant future. The riots of last August may be just a small and unfortunate taste of what our mother country is in for unless Cameron’s policies are reversed.

    Not only are the Prime Minister’s policies counterproductive, in time they are almost sure to lead to his political demise.

    Professor Mead gets it wrong. Cameron isn’t putting the “Great” back in Great Britain, he’s substituting the word “Great” for the word “Pathetic.”

  • Charles R. Williams

    What distinguishes Wisconsin and Ohio is the political skill of their respective governors, Walker and Kasich. I think this is your point.

    Kasich may turn Ohio around but I doubt he will get re-elected. It is not enough to do the right things. They have to be done the right way.

  • Jim.

    The fundamental problem is not an unwillingness to compromise, it is the fact that any “compromise” is unlikely to get the ball all the way to the goal: A solvent state.

    To raise taxes as far as we would need, to “meet halfway” (or even a quarter or an eighth of the way) on a tax more / spend less compromise would critically damage our economic vitality.

    Government makes too many promises. That’s the root of the matter. That’s why we spend too much, and that’s why we’re in debt up to our eyeballs and beyond.

    We need to admit that we have made promises we can’t cover, cut back to what we can cover, and move on from there.

  • Anthony

    WRM, timely advise for both U.S. Senate and House (inclusive of executive office): “politics can’t get too far in front of the arithmetic” as well as compromise and flexibility are important to functioning democracy.

  • Yahzooman

    No, we wouldn’t want to offend anyone. We wouldn’t want to actually do what we say we’re going to do during the election.

    I admire both Kasich and Walker. They saw the opportunity and marched forward. Government bond ratings are being downgraded; debt is up and deficits are the norm. It’s time for drastic action. We’ve had bold BLUE state action for years resulting in this mess. We need a parallel RED state correction in order to return to normalcy.

  • elisa

    Just want to point out that there is a great deal of betrayal in American politics, where one side holds out the notion of a coalition and then betrays those fool enough to assume good faith on the part of the offerors.

    I think that bad faith is responsible for more dysfunction than ideological rigidity. Our political class are purists only in the sense of pure self-interest. They hold out on terms only in order to preen themselves and trash the opposition.

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