Wisconsin Centrists Should Propose Bipartisan Bill

The state of Wisconsin has become “ground zero” —in the words of the protest movement there— in the struggle to defend over a century of progress in workers’ rights. On Saturday, over 60,000 people were estimated to have rallied at the state capitol, and Sunday’s crowds were said to be the biggest to date. More protests are called for this week, and Gov. Walker’s opponents are now organizing a recall campaign against legislators who support his proposed legislation.

The labor unions who have offered major concessions in order to reach a negotiated compromise on the proposed reforms are standing astride the broad political center. They are showing that citizenship is rooted in the willingness to listen to one’s opponents and to find shared solutions. The governor’s refusal to do the same shows his aim to rule by executive fiat. He is setting himself up as a notorious adversary of the democratic process.

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‘Competition’ Doesn’t Improve Our Nation if it Impoverishes our People

There is a narrow ideological segment of the American political spectrum that obsessively pushes “competition” as the sole standard by which to measure the quality of our economic landscape. The problem here is that the word is too often used to promote the idea that to be “competitive” we need to drastically reduce wages and roll back rights most Americans take for granted. This vision of competition is not conservatism; it’s feudalism.

The idea that ordinary people should have less opportunity, less access to prosperity, less personal freedom and fewer labor rights, is not American; it is not in line with the Constitutional order of American democracy. It is the privileging of arbitrary power over the basic rights of real people. This vision of prosperity bound to regressive institutions does not appeal to independents who demand of their public servants both principle and pragmatism.

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