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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Does Wisconsin fight portend national conflict

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is inviting the Legislature over for burgers, brats and beer, but it will take more than a cookout to heal the wounds from Tuesday's recall election.

Walker became the first governor to survive a recall election -- two others were thrown out of office -- after he took away union rights from most public employees and required them to pay more for their health insurance pension benefits.

That triggered a recall petition which received 900,000 signatures, but Walker defeated opponent Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barret by a wider margin, 53 to 46 percent, than he did in the regular election in 2010.

Democrats point to out-of-state spending for Walker's victory, but Republicans note that many of the 2.5 million who cast votes Tuesday were union members themselves.

Walker made the move to deal with a $3.6 billion budget shortfall shortly after he entered office, and went on to repeal a law giving discrimination victims more ways to sue for damages, cut public schools and higher education budgets, and required voters to sho photo identification at the polls.

More than $66 million was spent on the race by May 21, a record for Wisconsin.

Unlike the federal government, state governments have to balance their budgets, and most of the spending is for salaries.

On a smaller scale, Wisconsin is an illustration of the conflicts that will result if and when a president gets serious about putting Washington's fiscal house in order.


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