Need a note from your doctor so you can continue protesting the Wisconsin budget bill? No problem. Now there are “doctors” on the street corners of the state capitol passing out “sick notes” to whomever needs them. Meanwhile, 14 Democrat legislators continue to remain in hiding, having fled the state rather than fulfill their duties to debate and vote on measures Republican Gov. Scott Walker thinks will help save the state budget.
Fox News reports that “as thousands of protesters on both sides of an epic budget standoff in Wisconsin faced off Saturday at the Capitol, alleged doctors were handing out ‘fake’ sick notes to protesters — allowing them to call in sick while the budget impasse continues.”
Protesters told Fox News they obtained the notes from alleged doctors standing on street corners handing them out to whomever asked. The protesters said doctors did not examine or inquire about their current health condition before passing the notes out.
All of this is due to the uproar caused by Gov. Walker’s latest budget proposal. In order to help address the state budget deficit, the budget proposal asks state workers to “contribute more to their health care and pension costs.” The bill also “largely eliminates their collective bargaining rights.” What Walker is trying to do is address the unsustainable benefits packages that has been negotiated by the state unions over time. Much like on the national scene with Social Security and Medicare, these state entitlements are breaking the bank. Walker is asking state workers to contribute to their pensions, just like private citizens do with their 401(k)s.
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The Wisconsin State Senate has 33 seats, 19 of them held by Republicans. Most state bills can be passed with a simple majority, and thus there are plans for the legislature to get back to work on Tuesday. However, as noted in a follow-up story on Fox News, the budget-repair bill they have been blocking requires a quorum of 20 senators to pass, while other measures require only a simple majority of the chamber’s 33 members.”
Of course, Barack Obama has felt the need to step into Wisconsin’s business by attacking the budget proposal and calling it “an assault on unions.” Obama advocacy group, Organizing for America, “has bused in some of the nearly 70,000 protesters Saturday.” It’s a move that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called “inappropriate.” The Hill reports on Graham’s comments over the weekend in which he said, “When the president talks about Wisconsin I think that really is inappropriate. The governor of Wisconsin is doing what he campaigned on … there was an election on his proposals and he won.”
In response to Obama’s comments, Gov. Walker said, “The president should stay focused on fixing the federal deficit.” Remember that Obama budget? The one that increases spending, borrows about 40 cents out of every dollar spent, and adds to the national debt. Walker is making the tough choices that Obama avoids.
Walker also said this weekend that Wisconsin “potentially could be leading the way when it comes to budgetary and fiscal reform in this country.” He is right. Other legislators need to take notice. When we are in a fiscal mess of historic proportions, we simply need to cut spending. Period. Maybe Wisconsin battles will be the shot heard around the country.