cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Limiting any public program is difficult once that program has been established for some time. Limiting public programs becomes even more difficult when those who make their livings from involvement in those programs are threatened. Finally, if those involved in the public programs to be limited have joined labor organizations, the task become almost insurmountable.
Public programs, by definition, involve the consumption of private sector dollars for the “greater good”, and that makes any effort to limit that “greater good’ akin to having taken “rights” away from those involved in consuming those private sector dollars (otherwise known as taxes and fees). The framing of such situations as the overriding of “rights” is effective, but inaccurate since there are no such “rights”; there are only privileges that have been granted.
Each of us, at one time or another, is involved in feeding at this “public trough”, but those instances are often camouflaged and, thus, more difficult to discern. If we have a traffic accident, we will interact with a police officer or an EMT or firefighters, etc. We have become feeders at the “public trough” as the result of our misfortune or negligence. If the roads in our subdivision are repaved, we have become feeders at the public trough even though we ‘deserve’ to have good streets. We may suffer life’s setbacks and need to be supported in one or more ways by our neighbors.
If we are elected and receive compensation for the time spent, we are feeding at the “public trough”. If we become employees of the state or the village or the school district, we are feeding at the public trough even as we deliver services that may, in fact, be invaluable to the community or state. If we teach, we are paid by funds extracted from the public unless we teach at private schools where tuition is largely a matter of non-tax private sector largess. If we police, we are paid from funds extracted from the public.
None of these things are “bad” in and of themselves. To the contrary, many, if not all, are noble ways in which to serve others.
Do we have a “right” to expect such service from others? Only in that we are members of a society that made those decisions on its own behalf. Do those who help to deliver those services have a “right” to expect compensation for their time and effort? Only to the extent that society made the determination to provide that compensation.
What if there comes a time when the cost of services being received seems to exceed the publics’ ability to pay, or, if not exceeding the publics’ ability to pay, at least exceeds the publics’ willingness to pay?
In such a case, there needs be some adjustment on one or both sides of the equation. Either those who are paying for the service must be made to understand that they must pay more because those services are essential and not possible to be delivered in any acceptable form at any lesser cost –or – the cost of delivering the service must be controlled since the willingness isn’t there to continue to pay more and more.
We find ourselves in such a situation today in Wisconsin and in the communities that comprise Wisconsin. We are not alone from all reports given similar situations in other states involved in such struggles.
Since we live in a democracy, we tolerate much that passes for public ‘debate’. There is a tendency in all things to ‘push the envelope’ in the name of what one or the other side describes as the search for ‘justice’.
Secondary boycotts seem inappropriate and are likely illegal. The idea that we should avoid buying something from a Kwik Trip because an owner favors one political party over another seems a stretch to me. The idea that threats to personal property and personal safety should be part of the ‘debate’ seems a stretch to me. The idea that a person would leave his or her position vacant to attempt to thwart the democratic process seems a stretch to me. The idea that we adults devolve into something less than we’d find acceptable in our children in our admittedly ‘childish’ displays seems a stretch to me.
We who think we are civilized push that envelope in such situations. We don’t demonstrate restraint nor do we provide good examples for those who look up to us as role models. There are democratic processes available and those should be relied upon. Recall campaigns and the resulting re-elections are suitable. Seeking court decisions as to process are acceptable. That is all part and parcel of our due process. Bullying and implied threats are not part of due process.