Behold the most violent rhetoric to come out of the workers’ rights standoff in Wisconsin. It comes from the Speaker of the House:
Speaker John Boehner: “It’s not just Wisconsin. It’s Ohio. It’s Indiana. You’re going to see these types of actions taken in a lot of states because the states are broke and over the last couple of years the Obama administration, the Democrat controlled Congress bailed out the states where they could avoid making the tough decisions. Well, there are no more bailouts coming from Washington. We’re broke. We’re broke! We don’t have money to dish out to the states so all these Governors are trying to find ways to balance their budgets, which they’re required to do. In some of these states you’ve got collective bargaining laws that are so weighted in favor of the public employees that there’s almost no bargaining. We’ve given them a machine gun and put it right at the heads of the local officials and they really have their hands tied. And I think what you’re seeing in these states is they’re trying to bring some balance to these negotiations that when you look at the pay of public employees today and you look at their retirement benefits they are way out of line with many other working Americans.”
You can dismiss the particulars of this pretty quickly. Wisconsin teachers, for example, have given back hundreds of millions of dollars over the past several years and personally capped their pay. All public employees in the state agreed to pension and health care concessions. Public-sector pay is lower than private-sector pay for similar jobs. You can go down the line.
But let’s focus on the image of public employees putting a machine gun to the head of local officials. That’s how these people have been trained to think. The unions and liberals and whoever else is mashed up in their enemy stew are violent thugs who would kill this country and its God-fearing people. That’s the mindset.
Now, I could at this point print all the pictures I took last week of kids in Wisconsin and their families, the everyday people fighting for workers’ rights. I could mention all the polling that shows regular people in full support of the workers in Wisconsin. I could do something really subversive and offer the facts about collective bargaining and what it means for workers. But instead, I’ll just let that image of a machine gun linger there.
Remember not to blame John Boehner for anything if violence ensues.