I haven't weighed in on the situation in WI yet, because I wanted to wait and see if the presence of the Tea Party Republicans would change the atmosphere in Madison. From what I can tell, it had not changed it very much at all. So here it goes.
I found it particularly ironic that this whole situation is happening in the very place where the reforms of the U.S. Labor Movement were really implemented for the first time, by Republicans no less, and with great effect. Considering the current conservative perspective, I am sure that the old Wisconsin Idea looks like a nightmare, with all of those undeserved (though they will say unaffordable) benefits to workers.
I think that most people would agree that public sector unions, in times like these, could put in more money to help alleviate costs. Interestingly, that very proposal is on the table in WI. The unions there have offered that concession. However, I recognized that after this concession, a big one mind you, was offered, and the GOP rejected it outright, that this was about more than fiscal conservatism. No labor union I can think of would be willing to give away their collective bargaining rights; one might as well dissolve the union altogether. And therein rests the actual issue, in my opinion. This is an effort to bust unions.
Rachel Maddow gave an excellent explanation the other day.
I will likely write more about this very soon.
UPDATE: As I was reading up on Wisconsin, I found this tidbit from Politifact addressing a statement, and a big one, the Maddow made regarding the claim that the budget deficit was created by the actions of the new governor. Politifact says that Maddow's claim was false, and they provide an excellent analysis as to why. With that said, I still think that Maddow's history of WI's role in the labor movement in this country, and how WI policies have impacted U.S. policy regarding workers is solid. I also still believe that the end game is union busting, because, again, collective bargaining rights do not appear to have little to do with this crisis.