Joe Scarborough was really on a tear this morning. This clip is about his third rant in 45 minutes about how those poor Wisconsin children aren't learning a thing because the selfish, piggish teachers are protesting at the Capitol.
All morning long, he framed the issue as a benefits issue. This is not -- I repeat, NOT -- a benefits issue. It is a question of the governor of a state spending that state's surplus in order to create a crisis for the sole purpose of breaking unions.
When it was clear he wasn't getting traction with his rants on the selfishness of teachers with regard to benefits, he ramped it up when he laid down an ultimatum: Public workers can live by the same rules as private workers or be unemployed.
Funny how Joe is so upset over workers protesting in Wisconsin, and places the blame squarely on them instead of the overreaching reactionary governor who manufactured a crisis to break unions. Back in the days of the health care town hall protests, he couldn't wait to blame President Obama, calling him "the most polarizing President in history."
Oh, I forgot to mention this, too. Joe just thinks these protests make Democrats look terrible, awful. Au contraire, Joe. It makes Democrats look like...Democrats. Which I suppose would look terrible to a conservative.
Full MSNBC transcript follows:
Do those kids in the streets really think Andrew Cuomo or Jerry brown are doing this for their health.
The teachers ought to be in classrooms today.
Children are not learning in Wisconsin today because teachers don't want to pay the same benefits -- same money for benefits that rest of Americans have to pay. How sick is that? Far less.
They pay nothing. They pay 0%. Chris Christie tried to do 2% and they are freaking out. They want public employees to pay 5. 6% in health care plans. They would have to pay 12%.
5.6% is the pension. 12% into the health care plan. The average in the public sector, you pay 20% into the health plan.
So all they are trying to do in Wisconsin, john meacham, is try to get public employee unions to pay half of what the rest of Americans pay for pensions, and these teachers, over 1,000 of them, had sickouts yesterday. The democrats fled to Illinois, another state, and now teachers are not going to allow students to learn today in classrooms, because they may have to pay half of what everybody else pays in benefits. This doesn't seem like a go ahead thing for democrats to do to gain upper hand in democratic politics.
I don't think it's an image win. The optics as we say are not great. You know, if the government which is one of the largest employers -- federal governments, state governments, if they don't make the same adjustments that the private sector has been forced to make by market sectors in a more complicated time, then you're going to have more and more of this, and i think that you have to talk about it, you have to explain it. I don't know the details that the governance of Wisconsin, but on the merits of it, everybody has to be paying more.
The governor is characterizing this as a modest proposal.
If they fight it, it will be the end of it.
It is a modest proposal. Do you know what a fair proposal would be? Make them live by the same rules that every other person in Wisconsin lives by. So do they want fairness? Let's give them fairness. Let the public employee unions and members pay the same into pensions and pay the same into retirement and health care that everybody else in Wisconsin pays. Let's have fairness. Let's have a level playing field. What's wrong with that?
Do you see why they are upset?
No. They have a free ride because past governments, past state legislatures were afraid. By the way, i'm not backing the union. When i ran, i had a lot of union people. I don't trust corporate interests. I don't. I mean, you need that balance. But this is -- again, we said all the time, willy, this is about math. You can't get by with these types of pension programs that first destroyed Detroit, which Detroit now understand and now is destroying the balance sheets of every state in America.
And the irony is if you believe governor walker's logic is he has to do this to save the jobs of public employees. Because they are going to run deficits so high they have to have layoffs. So he has to get through to them if you take this cut and pay a little more in, we can save --
it's not a little bit.
We can save more jobs, and we will see this across the country. From new jersey to new york to California, we'll see the scene play out.
We know people who have lost their jobs or had to take some reduced set of circumstances in the last three years.
In the private sector, and particularly in the fields which we're most associated. If the government doesn't react to the new economic realities this is not 2007.
I will tell you, one of the big things going on in wisconsin, the governor is trying to eliminate collective bargaining, which raises a much larger question. Raises a much larger question, should public unions have collective bargaining? And i think that's what the huge battle is right there. Listen, private unions, yes, because i think we all understand conferenc corporations need to be checked. Especially when ceos destroy companies and get golden parachutes of $200 million, $300 million. The pay inequity for workers and people running corporations absolutely sick, and it's inequitable.
but like we've been saying here, everybody has got to take cuts. And these public employee unions have to play by the rules won't stop the changes.
In wisconsin, we're seeing a pretty natural reaction to what is not a modest proposal, but perhaps a necessary one. I won't argue that. Protests are spreading. Ohio is likely to vote within weeks on a similar limit on public employee rights.
Do you think public union members should live by different rules than other people in wisconsin? Or should they pay the same for their pension plans, which are better than a lot of private pension plans, and their health insurance, should they pay the same percentage that the rest of wisconsin people pay?
I think it's understandable that if there is a drastic change, their financial situations and the way they organize their future they might be a little bit upset. Whether or nottith fair th it's fair is not what's going on here.
I can this as somebody whose father lost their jobs. You know what's worse? Not having a job. And they have a choice right now. They can either be unemployed or live by the rules that everybody else lives by.
What do you think of the democrats.
We're out of money.
What do you think of the democrats leaving the state as part of this?
It's stupid. And it's stupid for these teachers, john, not to be working today. It makes them look greedy.
Selfish. People in wisconsin, democrats and republicans are like are going to go wait a second. Not teaching my kid today because they may have to pay half of what i paid into my pensions?
What percent of people in wisconsin with kids in school today have to take a day off from work and lose a day's pay because they have to stay home with the kids. That is not good p.R.
They lose a day's pay and they start working back tomorrow -- well, 20% of that pay goes to pensions and health care, while these people are protesting because the governor is trying to make them pay half. It's stunning to me. It's stunning. Hey, john, you're the historian of all things. Let's talk about collective bargaining and unions. When did that start for public employees?