Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Request to the Walker Administration

Governor Walker,

I heard your presser late this afternoon from the capitol. I thought you did a good job of explaining things, but I do think you need to reframe this slightly. As is, this is being framed as public employees making modest sacrifices to their benefits versus balancing the budget. That is 100% true. The problem is budgets and deficits are nebulous topics that are poorly understood by many. Instead, the assumption in any public discussion of this is that the budget will be balanced, period, and that the choice is layoffs vs. common sacrifice. Private enterprise has framing the discussion this way for years, and it is very effective because people tend to not want their greed to be the reason their friends get layed off, or for that matter, the reason they lose their own job. I know that avoiding layoffs is a top priority, but they have to be a realistic possibility for people to really understand what the stakes are. Right now, union members, teachers especially, are showing such defiant hubris precisely because they feel like they can get away with it with no repercussions because layoffs do not seem a real possibility.


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