George Will's Dishonest Assault On Unions

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

If there was an award for disingenuous sanctimony, Washington Post columnist George Will would be a runaway favorite for his assault on organized labor:

This capital has been convulsed by government employees sowing disorder in order to repeal an election.

Absurd. Wisconsin union members are simply seeking to influence the legislative process. That doesn't constitute an effort "to repeal an election" any more than does the Chamber of Commerce lobbying on behalf of tax cuts, or the National Right to Life Committee lobbying on behalf of restrictions on abortion. Individuals, interest groups and businesses attempt to influence the legislative process every day -- but Will singles out only union members as trying to "repeal an election" by doing so.

Will, continuing directly:

A minority of the minority of Wisconsin residents who work for government (300,000 of them) are resisting changes to benefits that most of Wisconsin's 5.6 million residents resent financing.

Again, disingenuous nonsense. The workers' central complaint is not that they face "changes to benefits," but that Wisconsin governor Scott Walker is attempting to drastically limit their collective bargaining rights, as is made clear by a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article headlined "State workers willing to bend on concessions, not bargaining rights":

State workers signaled Monday they could accept benefit cuts proposed by Gov. Scott Walker even as they prepared to battle with Walker over his plan to cut most of their union bargaining rights.

Will continues is assault on reality by praising Walker's "fiscal seriousness."

A few days after President Obama submitted a budget that would increase the federal deficit, he tried to sabotage Wisconsin's progress toward solvency. … Walker, by a fiscal seriousness contrasting with Obama's lack thereof, and Obama, by inciting defenders of the indefensible, have made three things clear…

In fact, Walker has pushed tax cuts that make Wisconsin's budget deficit worse. Will criticizes Obama for submitting a budget that would increase the federal deficit, then praises Walker for "fiscal seriousness" in contrast to Obama, even though Walker has pushed tax policy that would … increase his state's deficit. Clearly, then, Will's real interest is not "fiscal seriousness" -- it's scoring partisan points, justifying budget-busting tax cuts, or both.

Posted In
Economy, Labor Unions
The Washington Post
George F. Will
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