There's been a lot of commentary on the current dust-up in the Dairy and Cheese state nestled up there by the Great Lakes. Getting away from polemics, Invictus at the Big Picture has a string of interesting statistics:
... [I]t appears we might lay blame for the crisis at the feet of Wisconsin’s Teacher Assistants, who are pulling down, on average (not median), $240 more than the $24,280 being paid to their counterparts in other states. ...
If we are to have an honest debate about what folks are paid and what benefits they should (or should not) receive, we owe it to ourselves to at least start with some facts, and I’d suggest what appears below is the bare-bones minimum. Wisconsin is 21st in Patrol Officer pay and 43rd in Fire Fighter pay nationwide. ...
[T]his budgetary problem seems to have crept up and taken most governors by surprise, as evidenced by the fact that references to it (in State of the State speeches) skyrocketed over the course of one short year, going from only 20 mentions (of 44 speeches) to 33 (of 42 speeches) from 2009 to 2010. Even fewer — far fewer – have been mentioning “Pensions/OPEBs” (Other Post-Employment Benefits). Have they just not been paying attention? If I didn’t know better, I’d swear it smells a bit political. ...
Political? Can't be. The unions are killing state budgets, and everyone knows it.
Except when you start pulling down statistics and discover that states with small pension burdens and weak to non-existent labor movements have big or bigger deficits than unionized states.
This isn't about budgets so much as it's about trimming the wings of (beheading?) labor unions. The process has been ongoing for decades; now it accelerates.
Statistics are marvelous things, and show pretty clearly where we're heading. In the words of the Daily Paul:
US wealth distribution:
10% of US citizens own 70.9% of all US assets
Top 1% own 38.1%
Top 96-99% own 21.3%
Top 90-95% own 11.5%
And it gets much uglier as you proceed downward. Bottom 40% of population has 0.2% of all wealth.
All hail the Brothers Koch (and let the political flaming begin.)