Whether in Wisconsin or Maryland, voters can choose a more conservative approach to unions

February 24, 2011

In 2010, Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker and his fellow conservative Republicans campaigned with a clear message that if elected, they would confront the public unions right to collective bargaining, cut salaries and benefits instead of using public worker layoffs to correct budget shortfalls. The public unions threw everything they could at Mr. Walker and the Republicans candidates but the voters found the conservative message the right one to correct the budget deficit and voted them in. The Sun's recent editorial ("Union Badgering," Feb. 22) conveniently omitted this background information.

If a 180-degree turn from supporting public unions to not supporting them can happen in a once blue state of Wisconsin, it can happen anywhere. Can we even fathom it happening in Maryland? Unlikely, but during this current Maryland economic budget crisis maybe if voters get tired of incremental tax increases on everything, property taxes that aren't reduced to reflect the current real estate implosion and businesses leaving for states that give employers a fair shake. Or perhaps when federal subsidies dry up from a more conservative federal government, or Maryland lawmakers approve legislation giving benefits to illegal aliens and their children, or when the wealthy decide to take themselves and their money to other states that treat them better, then yes, it could happen here. That's especially true if the Maryland voters recognize that public union employees are not sharing in the economic pain workers in the private sector have already experienced.

Finally, the Sun ended its editorial by saying "President Barack Obama has described the Wisconsin showdown as an "assault on unions." No, Mr. President, it is an assault on the power the public unions have used to extract from taxpayers outrageous benefits and salaries for their members.

Ron Wirsing, Havre de Grace

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