Charles Lane has a WaPo commentary on the Wisconsin election. It is mostly either stupid or beside-the-point. However, there are two topics that he covers (briefly) well: 1) campaign finance and 2) unions.

Here are his thoughts on campaign finance (not fundamental thoughts, but useful and true observations):

“But Walker bought the election with corporate money from out of state! Of all the excuses being offered today, this is the most pathetic. Of course Walker exploited existing state campaign-finance law to raise as much money as possible wherever he could. What the heck did his opponents expect him to do? Unilaterally disarm?

The unions and Wisconsin Democrats knew the rules. If they didn’t want Walker to bring a financial gun to their knife fight, they shouldn’t have started it in the first place.”

The second paragraph is the more important one. It reflects the extent to which the Barrett defeat was a truly monumental failure. They utterly botched the strategy and the tactics of the battle. They picked a fight they didn’t have to and then they lost decisively. They shouldn’t have started it in the first place.

More fundamentally, here are his comments on unions:

“Collective bargaining is appropriate in the private sector, where the market acts as a check on unsustainable pay and benefits.

But in the public sector, where government faces no competition, and can levy taxes to pay for labor contracts, collective bargaining is inherently undemocratic.”

Spot on. It’s important to note what the real implications of the second clause of the second paragraph mean. To be able to levy taxes to pay for labor contracts – or, not to levy taxes and pay for contracts through debt financing as had been done in WI as of late – is just buying votes. One group (a small group) is punished (taxed) in order to appease another group (a larger group); the votes of the larger group are secured and a net gain in votes if achieved. The power of the budget to buy votes is, perhaps, freedom’s greatest enemy. It makes slaves of everybody forced to pay for the votes bought.

-JD Cross