Rachel Maddow laid out very well in her opening segment how this struggle going on now in Wisconsin and other states is not about whether the state of Wisconsin has a financial crisis. It doesn't. This is about busting the largest organization that organizes, gets out the vote and raises money for the Democratic Party, the public sector unions.
And as Rachel noted and TPM reported -- Wisconsin Gov. Walker Ginned Up Budget Shortfall To Undercut Worker Rights:
Wisconsin's new Republican governor has framed his assault on public worker's collective bargaining rights as a needed measure of fiscal austerity during tough times.
The reality is radically different. Unlike true austerity measures -- service rollbacks, furloughs, and other temporary measures that cause pain but save money -- rolling back worker's bargaining rights by itself saves almost nothing on its own. But Walker's doing it anyhow, to knock down a barrier and allow him to cut state employee benefits immediately.
Furthermore, this broadside comes less than a month after the state's fiscal bureau -- the Wisconsin equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office -- concluded that Wisconsin isn't even in need of austerity measures, and could conclude the fiscal year with a surplus. In fact, they say that the current budget shortfall is a direct result of tax cut policies Walker enacted in his first days in office.
"Walker was not forced into a budget repair bill by circumstances beyond he control," says Jack Norman, research director at the Institute for Wisconsin Future -- a public interest think tank. "He wanted a budget repair bill and forced it by pushing through tax cuts... so he could rush through these other changes."
"The state of Wisconsin has not reached the point at which austerity measures are needed," Norman adds.
More details there, so go read the rest.