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Paul Hayden

Governors Leading the Way

February 21, 2011

As a federal budget standoff looms in Washington, DC, several states are fighting epic battles of their own that may be more momentous than what the feds are doing. Simply put, the states can no longer afford to operate as they have been, since they cannot print money while the feds can.

Several governors are throwing down the gauntlet with their recent budget submittals, notably Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Rick Snyder of Michigan and John Kasich of Ohio. However, they’re not alone. Even liberal Democrat governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Jerry Brown of California are at least talking tough about unsustainable budgets and the need to attack spending. And of course, leading the way is Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey.

After many years of the entitlement mentality and fake prosperity, what these and other governors across the country are doing or attempting to do is bitter medicine for unions and government employees (often one and the same) and they and their Democrat sponsors are reacting accordingly. In fact, the Democrats in the Wisconsin state senate have defected to an unknown location (probably Chicago) to avoid a vote on Walker’s proposal to eliminate collective bargaining on everything except salaries.

What we’re seeing is the Vietnam protest strategy all over again. The protesters in Wisconsin are trying to claim the moral high ground when they are no more deserving of it than the draft-dodging, dope-smoking, building-burning war protesters of the 1960’s. But the drive-by media will do their best to make the Wisconsin protesters into sympathetic figures. Not only that, but sympathetic figures that represent the views of the majority of the state’s voters. Never mind that these voters just voted Walker in and long-time liberal Democrat Senator Russ Feingold out. They obviously want change all right, just not the “transformation” that our faux “leader” of a president drones on about.

Governor Snyder of Michigan talks of “shared sacrifice” and part of his plan includes taxing pensions that were previously exempt. Yes, this will hit seniors, but those who are drawing pensions in addition to Social Security are probably well-off enough to take the hit—although media reports will no doubt zero in on poor grandmas who are supposedly one step from the poor farm. A millionaire himself, Snyder is working for an annual salary of $1.00. If his budget-tightening and business tax cuts work as they should, he could end up being quite a bargain.

Unfortunately, there will be a lot of pain between now and the fruits of the governors’ programs producing the promised economic growth. Whether anxious voters are patient enough to stay the course with these governors is the question of the day, along with the question of whether the governors will stay the course themselves in the face of the onslaught that has already begun. They had better be ready and willing to do so, since the future of our nation is riding on the success of their efforts.

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