When Walker refused to raise taxes, government labor leaders agreed to pay a little more toward their benefits, but they also shifted the debate to the governor's proposed reforms in the collective bargaining process that enabled the unions to expect overly generous benefits. Union leaders -- who receive an estimated $100 million annually in compulsory membership dues that are paid with tax dollars -- were especially aghast that Walker proposed making union membership and dues an elective rather than a required paycheck deduction. That's when the protests moved away from fervent political speech and toward the kinds of systematic confrontation and violence reminiscent of the Students for a Democratic Society-inspired campus demonstrations of the 1960s.
Things reached a fever pitch as the Wisconsin legislature approved Walker's collective bargaining reforms. Republican legislators were often surrounded and threatened by cursing demonstrators; protesters repeatedly disrupted the legislative process; and chanting, screaming, horn-blowing crowds took over the rotunda and other parts of the capitol. Outside agitators were shipped into the state by President Obama's Organizing for America, the SEIU and other national unions, and the organization formerly known as ACORN. As events reached a crescendo, demonstrators broke past security police, breaking windows and forcing doors open in mob actions clearly intended to bring Wisconsin government to a stop and to nullify the results of last November's elections. Worst of all, many credible death threats were received by Republican legislators and are now being investigated by Wisconsin law enforcement authorities. Union mobocracy is what we get with gangster government, whether it's practiced in Washington, D.C., a state capital, or the county where you live.