Tax Cuts VS. Cut Programs

Comments

1
Wrap your head around the fact that the government prints currency, it does not and cannot create wealth.
2
The government is incapable of telling the truth. Until the root cause of our fiscal abyss is addressed, we will repeat this cycle forever. The US illegal, and immoral wars (continued under Obama) are a massive drain on our resources, but are not the root cause. They are merely protecting it. We must abolish the private Federal Reserve and give Congress back the power to issue the currency. It really is that simple.
3
While I agree tax breaks for the wealthy is an issue i still cannot understand Republicans winning on, I still think the issue of Public Employee Unions is something that needs to be adressed in our own state.
Geez, I don't wanna sound like Sizemore either -- but it is also interesting to think that even FDR wasn't in favor of PEU's too.
Wisconsin is going about it too agressively though.
I've read the point of view that in the private sector a unioned company putting out a product has a sort of 'checks and balance' force working with it, as a competitor will be able to put out product cheaper if the union has gained too much in the way of bennies and wages for its' employees. In the Public Employee Unions there is no competitor to keep its' power in check.
We all pay for them regardless.
And keep in mind, most of us are not part of a union that pay for these services.
4
Frankie, where's the "check" that keeps those private sector banks from handing their CEOs billions of dollars in bonuses?

Also, if the pay and benefits for public employees is somehow lacking a "check," why is it that they make LESS than their counterparts in the private sector?
5
Yes, those 'bonuses' were obscene. I agree.
But I'm not sure the Public Sector workers make less. You can read statistics put out from both sides on this to support their arguments, but if it was really the case then I would think they would have a hard time filling those positions.
How does your Health Ins Policy compare to State workers or Teachers? Retirement benefits? Job Security?
6
@Zed - the only 'check' against executive pay in the free market is the inability for the company to be profitable or maintain competitive pricing.

Frankieb has a good point, though. American manufacturing moved overseas in part because local unions demanded unsupportable wages and benefits. There aren't nearly enough customers willing to pay enough to satisfy those demands, so those companies either failed or moved production overseas. GM can move production to China, or even declare bankruptcy...but the city government can't. The public employee unions have no similar 'check.' Any limit to their benefits and salaries will have to come via the courts, and it's bound to be an ugly fight.
7
FDR died 65 years ago, I don't know that I would rely on him alone for any kind of insight into 21st century labor politics.

Public sector workers usually just have a different mix of cash, non-cash and deferred compensation. Their total compensation is on the order of 5% less, which isn't huge, but compared to similarly skilled people, they defer most of their compensation (taken in the form of pension contributions).

Also, NO ONE is having a hard time filling positions, unemployment is over 9%. That's not a very good measure of over/underpaidness.
8
FDR was responsible for the passage of Social Security, wasn't he? It is my understanding that a great many social programs he enacted (to the consternation of Republicans) are here still today.
He supported Unions, but felt Public Employee Unions had a conflict of interest.
That point of view is still very much valid today.
And even in better times it is still hard to get on the teachers payroll. I have several teacher friends who had to deal with this before the recession.
Same with State, County, etc.
9
Another angle to consider: how these Public Employee Unions function within our own local government.
Since we are governed under a system that allows the Council members equal power as the Mayor, the Union merely has to lobby 3 votes to enact their will.
Are the Unions intentions always altruistic?
Often it seems to me what is good for these Unions are not so much so for the taxpayer, most of whom do not belong to a Union.
10
And social security is a good idea regardless of whether or not FDR liked it. (The program excluded agricultural workers, and therefore a large majority of black people, by design. Thanks, FDR!)

I see no reason to presumptively deny a group of people their right to free assembly and association simply because their employer is a government body rather than a private company. The state wants to educate kids for as little money as possible so they can spend the rest of their money on tax cuts and prisons; teachers' unions try to get more money devoted to schools. A teacher's job gets harder as the number of teachers drops (as the same number of kids need to be educated). If real teacher salaries continue to drop, fewer people will want to be teachers, and they will on average be less skilled (as the most skilled people will choose different professions), which also makes a teacher's job harder.

It ain't all about the money.
11
Conflict of Interest.
Isn't it the voters who pass school funding (a different issue than pay)? There are 2 measures coming at us soon, right?
I'm not argiung teachers are over-paid either. But they do enjoy better bennies than almost nearly everyone else.
But what about the other Public Employee Unions too?
Randy Leonard was a Union man throughout his prior career, as was Amanda Fritz.... are they likely to vote against Unions for anything?
You must have read about the abuses of the Firemen Disability Fund.... or how about just getting weapon wearing Cops to go through piss testing?
I don't profess to have the answers, but this issue is far from black and white.
12
I agree. That's why I didn't come out against all unions composed of public sector employees, the way you did.

I never said all the unions are great and blameless. I just said that I don't think the fact that their employer is a public sector agency should disqualify people from joining together and forming a union to advance their common interests. The public has interests too, but we can elect public officials to advocate for us.

It's worth pointing out that the current fracas in Wisconsin is about the governor and his allies in the state legislature trying to strip all but the most basic elements out of collective bargaining in the guise of saving money, after the union offered to consider pay freezes/cuts. I don't think it's crazy to imagine other public employee unions might be similarly flexible.
13
Even some conservative pundits have suggested that Wisconsin is going about this too harshly (David Brooks for one). And I realize the current fiscal mess there wasn't a result of Union Power.
But locally here I just see anyone really standing up to the Public Employee Unions. Or rarely at best, and then only because of negative press coverage on a particular issue. PERS for one. And it is still unsustainable, even after reform.
They can easily lobby 3 of the 5 votes, as they have done time and time again, with relative ease. This is one of the problems with the 'commision' form of government we still use. Popular early last century after the percieved lack of local government support to a hurricane down in Texas, it has largely been abandoned because of lack of accountability inherrent with it. (Tram...)
But with this system I think it is difficult for anyone to take a stand against Union Power. And, if they do, watch out...
14
"They can easily lobby 3 of the 5 votes, as they have done time and time again, with relative ease." So can the oil industry, or the animal rights activists, or the Girl Scouts. What's your point?

The Depeche said it best up-thread: Public employees have just as much need to advocate for their interests as anyone else. Their boss wants the world from them, but doesn't want to pay them anything.

How would YOU enjoy it if a mob of voters got to decide how much you'd get paid, what kind of benefits you could have, and what kinds of conditions you'd have to work in?