Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Saturday, February 19, 2011 :::

I'm by no means a fan of Big Labor, but I can understand some sympathy for some of the objections being made to the bill going through the Wisconsin legislature. For example, the cuts to total compensation are significant, and it would be preferable if they could be phased in, and I oppose the exemption for the police — I think the case against public-sector unions is strongest when applied to those core functions which are both vital functions of government and necessarily government monopolies. I did start off more on Governor Walker's side than on that of his opponents, but I can't fault those who disagree.

Depending on what parts of the protests people are seeing, though, I don't know that they are helping the protesters' side. The violence and intimidation seem, from the reporting I've seen, to be the exception rather than the rule, but enough teachers have been playing hooky to close schools down, which can't be good for their reputation and the tenor of the protests has not been consistent with last month's calls for civility.

It is not to the credit of a handful of doctors that they have handed out notes deeming protesters sick, but it seems to be a small number of doctors signing off on what I hope will come to be known as the "Walker Pneumonia".

Perhaps most interesting is the fact that all 14 Democrats in the Senate have left the state to avoid being forced back into the chamber where the quorum (for the kind of bill being discussed) is 20 and the Republicans only number 19. They are, it appears, violating the rules of their chamber in doing so, which is reason enough for me to oppose them (even if I supported their cause). But if it were legal for them to leave the state to prevent a quorum, I would not consider it improper. Further, I support making it legal.

It is, yes, undemocratic, but I don't consider that a fatal flaw. I don't know that my position on the U.S. Senate's filibuster rule is always consistent, but I'm currently fond of the suggestion, brought up occasionally, that it should be kept, but that those filibustering should be required to actually keep up the filibuster. 42% of a chamber who disagree with a bill should not be able to stop its passage, but 42% who really, really disagree with a bill should have that power — the option should be available, but its exercise should cost something. Requiring that the group all leave their state or all engage in a high-profile filibuster, either way being clearly visible as obstructionists who are preventing their chamber from conducting any business, strikes me as a sufficient cost to impose.

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::: posted by Steven at 11:37 PM

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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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