Interference in a state matter

Interference in a state matter

February 25th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

It is troubling that President Barack Obama is using the power of his office to inject himself into the heated budget debate going on at the state government level in Wisconsin.

Like other states suffering in the economic crisis, Wisconsin is trying to get its budget under control. Its Republican-majority legislature and GOP governor want to do that in part by reining in back-breaking costs for unionized state workers.

That is clearly a state matter, not one in which the president should be interfering.

Yet the president labeled the attempt to get a handle on unsustainable union worker costs an "assault" on unions. The activist network that propelled Obama to the White House in 2008 intervened as well, encouraging protesters to converge on Wisconsin's Capitol in Madison in opposition to the state's attempt to cut spending. Democratic Party officials at the national level actually took credit for expanding the size of protests in Wisconsin.

That understandably did not sit well with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who pointed out the absurdity of a big-deficit president counseling states on how they should balance their budgets.

"The president ultimately should stay focused on fixing the federal budget because they've got a huge deficit and, believe me, they got their hands full," Walker said on "Fox News Sunday." He said lots of protesters had come into Wisconsin from other states.

Whatever you may think of whether government workers should be unionized, the president and his national party should not be setting themselves up against the duly elected majority in the Wisconsin Capitol.

And neither Wisconsin nor any other state should take "advice" from Washington on how to balance budgets, considering that the federal government is more than $14 trillion in debt.