What A Friend Sent to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorial board

It’s time for a post from somebody else, who shall remain anonymous for the moment. My friend wrote an excellent letter responding to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial, “Walker picks a fight – and it’s the right fight”.

Your editorial on the state budget committed a cardinal sin of good journalism: you buried the lead. The real story of the budget was not the stance that Governor Walker took on government employee compensation; it’s the method he’s taking to enforce it.

Most state employees recognize that bargaining is a give and take process, and like private sector workers they have already made sacrifices in a recession that was not of their making.

Governor Walker has deliberately provoked an angry response from state and local workers, not by calling for more concessions, but by refusing to bargain and by threatening to call out the National Guard. In reversing bargaining rights of all government employees, he is revoking over fifty years of state law. This drastic step does not belong in a budget bill.

Governor Walker is not exercising the “leadership” one expects of an elected official; he is employing tactics closer to those used by the ousted military dictator of Egypt. It makes me wonder how creating this political unrest will attract new businesses to the state when his plan to create “250,000 new jobs” will be enforced at gunpoint.

As for the Journal-Sentinel’s editorial stance, I’m old enough to remember the paper in an earlier incarnation when it prudently stood for forward-looking ideas that served the common good. This editorial totally ignores the despotic nature of the governor’s methods, something the “old” Milwaukee Journal, and maybe even the “old” Sentinel would have been quick to point out. For whatever reasons, you have sold your birthright for a bowl of porridge. I renewed my subscription last week, before this editorial appeared. This week, I’ll correct that mistake.


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