Patrick Richardson

Managing Editor

The chaos continues today, protesters are taking to the streets, demanding the resignation of the head of state, demanding their rights.

Sound like the Middle East?

Not so much. This would be Wisconsin where the head of state in question is Republican Governor Scott Walker and the protesters are teacher‘s union members who are incensed that Walker wants them to — pay for more of their pensions and health care.

Wisconsin is facing a multi-billion dollar budget shortfall, and is constitutionally prohibited from running a deficit.

Walker is, shocker of shockers, doing exactly what he said he‘d do in the campaign. Asking not just teachers, but most of the public employee union members, to pay a bit more in order to balance the budget.

To that end he wants to end collective bargaining on anything but wages and shift part of the burden of those pensions and health benefits to the employees. The move would mean Wisconsin public employees would have the second lowest employee contributions in the nation. Right now they have the lowest.

I‘ll give the unions this. They‘re right, the move would mean a pay cut for them.  Of course the other option is the one Walker is probably going to have to take at this point — he‘s going to lay off thousands of state workers.

He‘ll have to make this move because the Democrats in the Wisconsin State Senate have fled the capitol and holed up at the Scottish version of “Hooters.” Now Walker is one senator short of the quorum needed to pass the budget.

Now can someone please explain to me the union mindset? I really do not get it. It would seem to me a pay cut is better than no job. And we‘re not talking about a major cut here. Just a few percentage points.

Have we gotten so insane that we‘d rather ride the car off the cliff than make a compromise that would allow everyone to keep their jobs?

The only good thing in all this is the Democrats and the union thugs have shown their true colors to the American people once again. It‘s not about doing what‘s right for your constituents. It‘s not about the “shared sacrifice“ the president keeps talking about while his wife heads to Spain on vacation.

When the Democrats and the unions talk about “skin in the game“ they‘re talking about yours, not theirs. When they talk about “shared sacrifice“ they mean “you sacrifice, but we shouldn‘t have to give anything up.”

While the rest of us are tightening our belts, they‘re screaming that any belt tightening on their part is unacceptable and a violation of their rights.

Seriously, this is pathetic. The Democrat state senators have abdicated responsibility, and I can guarantee they‘re still getting paid while sitting on their behinds doing nothing.

Don‘t get me wrong. I think teachers and firefighters and police deserve to be paid and paid as well as can be afforded. At the same time most of us do not have our employers paying all but eight percent of our health insurance. And trust me, my employer does not pay all, or even most, of my 401k either.

Nearly every state in the union is facing massive budget shortfalls. The federal government is so far in debt every American is on the hook for $40,000 and counting.

The president is right, everyone is going to have to have some skin in this game. That means government employees too.

All IMHO, of course.

(Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Columbus Advocate and the Baxter Springs News. He can be emailed at