If and when collective bargaining rights are taken away from public employees, expect the "They get too much!" theme in articles like the one written by Guy Boulton in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to become more common:
But by any measure, as Walker has noted and most state employees acknowledge, the state will continue to provide rich health-insurance benefits compared with the private sector, where nearly 40% of employers don't offer health benefits at all.
The proposal would increase their share of the premium to 12.4%. But that would still be well below the share paid by employees in the private sector, who by one estimate pay an average of 19% of the cost for single coverage and 29% for family coverage.
Again, if and when this passes, the all out race to the bottom will be on as politicians will have open season on "lavish benefits" and "sweetheart deals" and it will no longer be good enough for public employee's to kick in a portion of their benefits, it will be expected at some point that they either pay for all of it or get nothing.
Scapegoats will be made of public employees as the sole reason for any economic woes in Wisconsin and they'll be the mules on which the burden of cuts will be placed. Meanwhile their wages will remain stagnant – even when the economy picks back up and all the talk of "sharing the load" has been forgotten – their benefits will decrease, take home pay will shrink and job security will be a thing of the past.
In short there will be no great incentive for the best workers to choose to become civil servants anymore. This despite the facts that Boulton points out in the article that "59% of full-time Wisconsin workers in the public sector hold at least a four-year college degree, compared with 30% of workers in the private sector. And those government employees with college degrees make on average 25% less than their counterparts at private employers."
Public workers are being told we have to "share the burden" of the weakened economy, but we won't be able to reap the rewards when the economy is booming again. Instead, it will be a race to the bottom as public workers will be looked down upon for having "lavish" benefits like affordable health care for their families.
The only people who will in that debate are the politicians who demonize them for short term political gain.