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Battleground:Wisconsin

The standoff and stakes in Wisconsin. For labor. For budgets. For the country’s future.

Opponents to Gov. Scott Walker's bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers took part in their seventh day of protesting Monday. (AP)

Something big has broken open in Wisconsin — a big budget battle. A huge fight over labor unions and their role and rights. And, maybe, the big American conversation over how we are actually going to deal with the burden-sharing of a time of “repair” to budgets and the economy.

Will the middle class survive? Who will be in it? Will the full burden really be shared? Will we give up on labor or revive it? And how does the public sector fit in?

Wisconsin’s Republican Rep. Paul Ryan says “it’s like Cairo has moved to Madison.”

This hour On Point: Wisconsin.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Tommy Thompson, former Republican Governor of Wisconsin and former director of Health and Human Services in the George W. Bush administration. He was a candidate for president in 2008.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Harley Shaiken, labor economist at the University of California Berkeley.

Jason Stein, reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Robert Wirch, Democratic State Senator from Wisconsin’s 22nd District.

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ONPOINT
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This image released courtesy of the Lead Belly Estate shows folk and blues musician Huddie William Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly. Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter never had a hit record before he died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1949. (AP)

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Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ChairmanTom Wheeler, center, joins hands with FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, left, and Jessica Rosenworcel, before the start of their open hearing in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015.  (AP)

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