Tom Barrett, Democratic challenger to Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) in today’s recall election, announced late Monday that if elected, he would cut state worker benefits. In 2010, Barrett also ran for governor on a platform including his “Put Madison on a Diet” plan, which included certain benefits cuts for state workers. “The underlying tenets are still there,” Barrett told the Wisconsin Reporter last night. “They’re very much what we’re looking at.”
The plan itself is no longer available online. Nonetheless, Barrett wrote editorials about it back in 2010. “We can change the culture in Madison by … keeping state employee compensation and pensions in line with the private sector,” said Barrett. To keep that promise, state workers would see their benefits cut by a factor of nearly five.
“That’s what people expect, and that’s what we will deliver,” said Barrett.
The recall election has been run largely because unions opposed Governor Scott Walker’s attempts to cut state worker benefits and collective bargaining power for public sector unions who seek to use their leverage to force the state into bankrupting itself on the shoals of their benefits. It seems that even Barrett, the union favorite, has to recognize economic realities – and even he would take Walker-esque measures against the unions once elected. At this point, unions – and their paid-for politicians in the Democratic Party – must be asking themselves why they bothered with the recall in the first place.