by Abe Sauer
We’ve published a lot over the last couple weeks about the battle in Wisconsin over labor, and nearly always been critical of Scott Walker and the Republicans. So I found a reasonable 20-something Wisconsinite named Sarah Helms, who was willing to explain her support for Scott Walker and his bill. Her answers have not been edited at all.
The Awl: Where do you live, work?
Sarah: I’m currently unemployed since returning from my tour in Afghanistan. I’m planning on starting school next semester. I live in Madison, WI.
The Awl: How would you sum up your reasons for supporting the bill?
Sarah: From what I’ve read it seems that Walker is trying to restructure how money is divvied up and to lessen, and eventually eliminate, the possibility of receiving more funds than needed for certain programs and organizations. I believe that taking away unnecessary bargaining rights for public employees, especially teachers, is important to our students in order to improve Wisconsin’s education system. It seems that teachers are afraid of being paid what they’re actually worth.
If we pass this bill we might see a change in the quality of teacher that comes to our school system and a significant weeding out of bad ones. If there’s one field where jobs should be EXTREMELY competitive, it’s in schools. If there ever were a profession where job performance should hold the top ranking reason for better pay and incentive, it’s being a teacher. Why do teachers deserve to get paid better than everyone else? Just because they say so? All because they formed a little elitist club that’s good at bitching. They’re taking paid days off of work and leaving children all over the state with an even worse education. All because they think they deserve to get paid better based on their motivation to argue rather than their actual (sub-par) performance. Some teachers even encouraged students to join a walk out and march to the capital. When the students got there, they didn’t even know why they had come or what was going on. That’s a prime example of the lack of willingness to actually educate students.
The Awl: Do you believe that removing collective bargaining is a core need of the budget or would you still support it with just the increased benefit payments?
Sarah: Why would public union workers accept the part of Scott Walker’s bill that makes them contribute more into their pensions and pay a more reasonable amount for their health care but want him to compromise on the part that would take away some of their bargaining rights? Is it because they want to LOOK like they are making a sacrifice? That way they can greedily strike again and get back what they lost in only a few years. Then what would have been the point? It would be idiotic to propose changes in benefit contributions AND NOT take away their right to bargain. If teachers don’t like how they’re being paid, or any other employee for that matter, then they should chose another job location or field.
The Awl: Have you ever been part of a union?
Sarah: I haven’t been part of a union. I imagine if I were part of a union I would probably be firmly persuaded to oppose this bill. To be a sheep and join the herd only to be led to the wolves.
The Awl: You went to Madison Area Technical College. The budget will cut $71.6 million from the state’s technical college system, about 30% of the system’s funding. Do you have any thoughts on that?
Sarah: I believe that schools should run on the funds they receive from students in the form of tuition. If they believe that it isn’t enough money then they need to restructure the way they do business. They should cut back on unnecessary spending in order to operate within their means.
The Awl: Are you on, or have you ever been on, BadgerCare (or similar state Medicaid)?
Sarah: I am currently on BadgerCare but only use it for one prescription. I receive health care through the VA for being a veteran.
The Awl: Did you vote for Walker?
Sarah: Yes, I voted for Gov. Walker and I’m proud of my choice. I did a lot of research before I made up my mind. The right to vote comes with the responsibility to make an informed decision. This can significantly lessen the chance of regretting your judgement.
Abe Sauer can be reached at abesauer at gmail dot com.