Lesson From Wisconsin: Bleed Everyone

We need to agree to 'make everybody hurt': David Brooks
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2011 11:45 AM CST
Supporters of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker demonstrate during a rally outside the Wisconsin State Capitol on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011 in Madison.   (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, Steve Apps)
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(Newser) – America is engaged in a massive fiscal battle, and nowhere is it more intense than in Wisconsin, where leaders “have done everything possible to maximize conflict,” writes David Brooks of the New York Times. On the one hand, Scott Walker was right: There’s a very good argument for curtailing public unions, which push against taxpayer interests, can help elect their own bosses, and needn’t worry that their “company” will go out of business. But Walker made a huge mistake by demanding cuts only from Democrats.

That doesn’t make him, as his “amusingly Orwellian” critics have charged, the next Hosni Mubarak. But neither is it productive. Brooks thinks we need “an unwritten austerity constitution” to confront our fiscal problems over the next decade, and its foundation must be this principle: “Make everybody hurt.” Spread the cuts across party and demographic lines. “There will never be public acceptance if large sectors of society are excluded. Governor Walker’s program fails that test.”

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