Contra Paul Krugman's hyperventilation, Scott Walker is no radical 

Pulling laughably overheated rhetoric from a Paul Krugman column is about as challenging as finding an ironic T-shirt at the 9:30 Club, but this particular hyperventilation deserves a direct response. Here's the Krugman gem:

What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy....

Mainly, however, he has made it clear that rather than bargaining with workers, he wants to end workers’ ability to bargain. The bill that has inspired the demonstrations would strip away collective bargaining rights for many of the state’s workers, in effect busting public-employee unions.

Wow! That's shocking! Not that Walker would want to turn Wisconsin into a third-world-style oligarchy -- Krugman and Obama and the Center for American Progress have been warning me of that particular Republican agenda item for months -- but that, according to Krugman's reasoning, half of our states are already third-world-style oligarchies.

Josh Barro at the Manhattan Institute's "Public Sector, Inc.," explains that Walker's proposal is already the norm in America:

there are already 12 states with no public employee collective bargaining law at all. In these states, state workers have no right to collective bargaining; local employees have collective bargaining only if local elected officials choose to grant it. (And in a few states, notably Virginia and North Carolina, state law forbids localities to allow collective bargaining.) Another 12 states grant collective bargaining rights only to certain classes of employees, such as only state workers or only teachers. Only 26 states have a collective bargaining law covering nearly all public workers.

And if you missed it yesterday, I showed how Krugman's central point on Wisconsin -- that unions are a "counterbalance" to "big money" -- is also totally divorced from the facts.

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Timothy P. Carney

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