The problem with Wisconsin is that the unions have negotiated above the state's ability to pay them. Gov. Walker and his conservative buddies need to realize that their policies have created some of the problem, as well.

It's tough to analyze the troubles in Wisconsin. The state has a budget deficit that legally has to be addressed. Gov. Scott Walker isn't evil. He is just trying to meet his legal mandate.

However, his idea on how to bridge the gap between what they need and what they have is largely dependent on negotiating with public employees.
If negotiations fail, layoffs loom. He pointed out that Democratic lawmakers have about 24 hours to return and get something passed or the state will miss its chance to refinance its debt and save about $165 million.
However, the $140 million in new corporate tax breaks add to the controversy.

Without corporations in your economy, unemployment surges and, in extreme cases, the state's total population can even be affected if people leave the state to find jobs. Fewer people mean fewer people paying taxes and a larger burden for those who remain.

However, it is hard to imagine that all $140 million in credits were directly handed out to save jobs in Wisconsin. Typically, politics plays a role in fueling the tax credit machine.

Gov. Walker is right to try to balance the budget. Public employees make up a significant part of the budget, so that is an obvious place to look for some of the necessary cuts. But the public workers of Wisconsin see this move as putting too much of the burden on their shoulders. And, guess what? The unions aren't evil, either.

My father was a unionized worker in the private sector for 42 years. They negotiated better salaries and benefits thanks to their collective bargaining rights. They never went on strike.

My father was able to make a living for our family even when they had me –– they had an 11-year-old, a 4-year-old and a newborn. My dad worked and mom stayed home until I started school. We lived. There weren't new cars every year or lavish vacations. My mom cooked all the time. But we never worried where the next meal would come from.

I mentioned my dad worked in the same shop for 42 years. He would still be working there if Pillsbury hadn't bought the shop and shut it down because the employees in Chickasha, Okla., made significantly more than their employees in other states.

It's just business, right? But I have never been able to look at that pudgy little doughboy the same way. I know that part of his success came from putting people like my dad out of work.

The problem with Wisconsin is that the unions have negotiated above the state's ability to pay them. They need to be faithful in their offer of givebacks while economic times are bad. That's good faith bargaining.

Gov. Walker and his conservative buddies need to realize that their policies have created some of the problem, as well. They can't use the fact that they have majorities to do the wrong thing and put all of the cuts on the state's teachers and other public workers.

These problems mirror the problems on the federal level in the sense that neither side is bargaining with clean hands. Everyone is so busy trying to "get a win" for their ideology, they forget to operate in fairness.

Being able to compromise a little would lead to long-term political and economic gains for both sides of this issue.