"But we can no longer live in a society where the public employees are the haves and taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots."
- Governor-elect Scott Walker, Dec. 2010
Two reports over the past ten months unfortunately dovetail each other to show Scott Walker's and state republicans attacks on unions had a devastating effect on the state's middle-class, and vice versa.
The first report by Pew Charitable Trusts published in March of 2015 show Wisconsin has seen the largest middle-class decline of any state.
The second report, a recent analysis of BLS data, shows Wisconsin also leads the nation in union membership decline, should come as no surprise to anyone.
The BLS numbers show that as a percentage of the labor force, union membership declined by nearly 3.5 percent between 2014 and 2015.
Looking further back to before the passage of Act 10 — the law that restricts collective bargaining for most public workers in the state — Wisconsin union members made up 14 percent of the total workforce. Last year, that number shrank to just over 8 percent.
The results are in but the overall decline hasn't slowed.
Divide and Conquer 2.0 is just now beginning to make its way into communities all across Wisconsin as state aid cuts and state-imposed caps on local budgets pit wage-torn taxpayers against public sector workers against neighbors all over again.
According to the Cato Institute, Scott Walker enjoyed increased spending by 15% for his budgets from 2012 to 2015, while state-imposed caps hold down local budgets based on assessed growth. It's that double standard of principles that lays the framework for the next target engineered for a claw down - local police and fire departments.
Divide and Conquer 2.0 is coming soon to your community. You can count on it.
RNR - Walker's "Reforms" Drive Wisconsin's Middle-Class Decline
JSOnline - Union membership in Wisconsin plummets in wake of GOP measures