Coming Soon to a Statehouse Near You: Budget-Battle Showdowns!

Wisconsin. Ohio. Michigan. New Jersey. New York. Budget-battle showdowns are coming soon to a statehouse near you.

Thousands of angry school teachers, union members, and their sympathizers have descended on capitals to fight against reducing pay and benefits for public employees. The protesters are up against a new crop of governors who are hell-bent on spending cuts to deal with deficits that may rise to combined $125 billion in the next fiscal year.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) is looking for public employees to pay $500 million towards benefits they’re currently receiving for free.

New Jersey's Chris Christie is proposing public employees pick up 30 percent of their health care premiums. Wisconsin's Scott Walker wants public employees to pay at least 13 percent of their health care premiums. And he wants state workers to start contributing to their retirements for the first time.

This newfound fiscal discipline comes after a virtually unchecked binge over the past 10 years during which state expenditures exploded by more than  80 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars, including big bumps in overall worker compensation.

The most controversial aspect of the budget battles deals with public-sector unions and collective bargaining. Wisconsin's Walker and others argue that the current process is inherently stacked against taxpayers because the government isn’t spending its own money like companies in the private sector do. What’s more, taxpayers have no way of opting out of any agreement that’s reached. In the private sector, consumers can always take their business elsewhere. That’s the basic reason why progressives such as Franklin Roosevelt and labor legend George Meany were against unions for government workers. 

In a world of super-tight budgets, it's a foregone conclusion that public-sector workers are going to have to give back compensation. Public school teachers make up the bulk of government employees in every state in the country and they already make 35 percent more in straight salary than their private-school counterparts. There's also a growing gap between what they get toward retirement and what private-sector professionals receive.

Teacher union leaders in Wisconsin and elsewhere now say that educators are willing to accept less compensation - just as long as nobody cuts the union out of the deal-making. Whatever the fate of public employee unions in this, the winter of our discontent, there's no question that teachers and other state workers are going to have to get used to making less.

That's not a total fix, much less a revolution, but it counts as real progress in a country where every state government has spent itself to the brink of bankruptcy.

"Budget Battle Showdowns" is a joint production of Heritage Foundation and Reason.tv. Written and produced by Jim Epstein and Nick Gillespie, who also narrates. Footage and other assistance from Dan Hayes and Clay Broga of FreeThink Media.

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  • Public-Sector Goon||

    In a world of super-tight budgets, it's a foregone conclusion that public-sector workers are going to have to give back compensation.

    Nice little world you got here ....

  • ||

    Not for us at the Federal government!!!

    The service we offer you non federal employee people (not going to prison for tax evasion) sells for any price - demand is always sky high!!

    By some estimates we are paid DOUBLE what you private sector people are paid; double because we are worth double what you are worth.

    http://youareproperty.blogspot.....ouble.html

  • ||

    Not for us at the Federal government!!!

    The service we offer you non federal emplyee people (not going to prison for tax evasion) sells for any price - demand is always sky high!!

    By some estimates we are paid DOUBLE what you private sector people are paid; double because we are worth double what you are worth.

    http://youareproperty.blogspot.....ouble.html

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Just to hammer the point home, our favorite pinata, California, is so bad even the LA Times is finally saying "uncle":

    But a new report from the Little Hoover Commission in Sacramento makes a more troubling point: Many state and local government employees have been promised pensions that the public couldn't have afforded even had there been no crash.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/op.....5680.story

  • ||

    I love baseball. Baseball is my escape from the bull shit that surrounds all of us, and when I click on Baseball-Reference the last thing I want to see is that fat bitchy pig Rosanne Barr looking at me. I understand guys that this is a business, but don't be tone deaf to who it is your customers are. Our everyday lives are chalk full of big mouth bitches that know everything. From the ladies at work, to the bitch at the DMV, to the pig at the bank, or that cunt at the child support office. Sadly some of your customers are married to a big mouth bitchy cunt like Rosanne, and those guys are the ones that really need the escape. I wanted to mention that it's not just women now days that are big mouth bitchy cunts, there are a lot of men out there that have lost their masculinity and look, speak, and act like a bitch, and if you've ever been trapped in an office for 8 hours with one of these 2 ball bitch queens that are popping up more and more around the country then you'll understand. No, I'm not talking about homosexuals, many of these 2 ball pussies are married, but about 5 or 6 years ago they started to walk like a woman, and they have bubble butts and they sashay when they walk and they are married to Rosanne Barr types and they brag about their wives. And don't call me a woman hater, put a picture of Sarah Palin with a Snickers bar, or a picture of Charo's big tits holding a Snickers bar, or maybe the girl from Dukes of Hazzard, but not Ellen from the Ellen show. Please do us a huge favor and get rid of the stupid bitch Rosanne Snickers ad on the home page.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Cool story, bro.

  • ||

    Why would anyone even dream of calling you a woman hater?

    Stay classy....

  • sevo||

    "Why would anyone even dream of calling you a woman hater?"

    'Cause of that flag (s)he's waving? Pretty much convinced me.......

  • ||

    You taxpayers work for us. Remember that.

  • The State Employees||

    Um, we are taxpayers.

  • Bucky||

    wait...
    let me get my violin

  • The State Employees||

    Oh, was that you behind the drum circle?

  • Bucky||

    did someone just break wind...
    i could of sworn i heard, no it was wind going out of the sails of the scary union thugs.
    buh bye...

  • State Taxpayer||

    No, State Employees, you are tax CONSUMERS!!!

  • Sam Grove||

    Taxing state employees is a waste of money. There incomes come from the general fund and their taxes go back to the general fund.

    Government employees are NET tax beneficiaries, they produce little, no, or even negative wealth (cost more than they produce), and there are too many of them.

  • The Derider||

    Hahahahaha you're completely ignorant of basic economics.

    Yes, public education produces little, no, or even negative wealth.

  • sevo||

    "Yes, public education produces little, no, or even negative wealth."

    Very good chance of that.

  • Federal Dog||

    No, you are corporate predators whose own uncontrolled greed has done you in.

  • JohnD||

    No, you are parasites for the most part. Most public sector jobs (with a few exceptions such as police and firemen) could be eliminated. Every state and local agency has at least twice the number of "workers" then needed.

  • botoxporcupine||

    Actually, police and fireman could and should be provided by the private sphere.

    See Rothbard, The Ethics of Liberty.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You know what just might fix this public sector budget crunch? High speed rail.

    Hear me out. Connect all state capitals together so that state legislators can quickly cloister themselves in neighboring seats until the whole thing blows over.

  • Good idea FoE||

    Make sure there is a Hooters at every stop.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Post of the Day!

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Combine that with the movie Unstoppable, minus the happy ending, and I think you're on to something.

  • hmm||

    Only if I can set up shooting galleries along the rail lines and charge for admission.

  • hmm||

    Crap, was that violent rhetoric?I Forgot to mention they would be shooting last years unsold Peeps.

  • Realist||

    Green Energy!

  • ||

    High speed rail.

    And holes! Lots and lots of holes!

  • ||

    "Budget battle" is a bit of a misdirect when applied to aspects of this current public union stuff.
    Basically everything that was financial (i.e., actually budget related) was conceded by the unions in Wisconsin. It was the most concessions I can remember seeing a union give.
    But that wasn't enough for the WI governor, he wanted more. Ergo, it's not purely a budget thing.

    What I find to be the biggest load of crap in all this is that they exempt police and firefighter's unions.

    Police and firefighters are almost entirely public-sector jobs. It's one thing to offer incentives to an IT worker or an engineer--they could leave and go to the private sector if you don't retain them. Where are they going to go if you threaten them with pink slips? Police and firefighters are basically high school jocks in uniforms...how hard would they be to replace? They are the last unions that should be exempted.

    Of course I wouldn't actually want the police replaced, and firefighting can be done by private industry just fine.

  • Bucky||

    no, what is the biggest load of crap is the unions protesting in Trenton, NJ singing "We shall overcome"...

  • dmoynihan||

    Apparently, a bunch of cops just joined the protest in the WI Capitol. Dunno what that means.

  • ||

    SOMALIA!!!!

  • Bucky||

    guess that's what pushed the turnout to 500.
    now that's solidarity!

  • Peter Yarrow||

    Well I guess you missed my rendition of Puff the Magic Dragon in Wisconsin.

  • sevo||

    "Ergo, it's not purely a budget thing."

    If I'm negotiating over a matter that can later cost me everything I own, it *IS* a "budget issue".

  • tarran||

    The perception is that "there are things that are too important to be left to the private sector"

    Increasingly I am thinking that security and fire protection are too important to be forcibly removed from the private sector.

  • botoxporcupine||

    +1

  • hmm||

    Collective bargaining as practiced now is a budget issue in the long run. So the argument that financial concessions were made is a bit of a moot point.

  • robc||

    BS. They didnt concede everything financial. The most important financial piece is the ability to collectively bargain on benefits. That has to go away or the problem recurs later. I personally think the WI gov is being a pussy by allowing collective bargaining on wages.

  • JohnD||

    JCalton..Hello clueless! The union making consessions for now is meaningless if they can come back later and demand the compensation can be restored. And some dumbass Dem will give them whatever they ask for.

  • ||

    "Of course I wouldn't actually want the police replaced..."

    I want not only that but a completely volunteer non-professional police force with limited lifetime ability to volunteer and they must work where they live.

    Add in CC licenses and we'd have a cheaper, freer, and safer society.

    Not to harp on the Tucson shooting once more but the Police really were minutes away when seconds counted. It was non-professional people who took the shooter down. They did this with no collateral damage and a professionalism that I've not seen in any police action in my lifetime.

  • Chupacabra||

    Possibly. But a true professional would have killed a dog or two.

  • Cop||

    Or at least injured one. Those amateurs didn't even try! They didn't even land so much as a kick!

  • Jeffersonian||

    Or at least demanded that you lock your door so he can kick it in.

  • ||

    It think they may have kick over some potted plants. Does that count?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    It's an interesting idea. I lived in a smallish town (about 7K people) and the police showed up really fast if you called, anything from seconds to about a minute depending on where the closest one happened to be. They were helpful too, and didn't give you shit or attitude if you called them or just asked for help. Because, and this is the important part, there was no "us vs them" mentality. They were neighbors, like everybody else who lived there.

  • JohnD||

    For the most part the police are not there to stop crime, althiough their presence can act as a deterent. They investigate and hopefully catch the perp later. If you are depending on the police to protect you then you need to wise up.
    Nothing says "leave me alone" like a .44 magnam.

  • Realist||

    Exactly. The police examine your body for clues. The rest of the time....99%....they are giving out tickets to increase state and local revenues.

  • botoxporcupine||

    Wrong. 60% of the time they're attempting to increase state revenue. 30% of the time they're standing in court getting paid overtime (see Tucker, Bourbon for Breakfast) and 9% of the time they're beating minorities.

  • sevo||

    "Wrong...."
    Hey,hey, hey!
    Let's not forget some quality time!
    /s/Your local Dunkin Donuts franchise

  • The Derider||

    If every bad cop is evidence of government failure, is every Blackwater FUBAR evidence of life in Libertopia?

    If not, why not?

  • cynical||

    Cops are hired by the government. Blackwater is hired by the government. What's the dif?

  • PubSec Emissary||

    Our placards will blot out the sun!

  • Leonidas||

    Good! Then we will take away your collective bargaining privileges in the shade.

  • JohnD||

    And after you are fired, you can eat your tasty placard.

  • Realist||

    No after they are fired they will go on welfare, food stamps and all the other "Steal from the rich...give to the useless" programs.

  • Sean Mack||

    I've never wanted time travel so much as now, as it would be fun to bring back union toughs from the coal and steel industry circa 1919 and see what they have to say about the spoiled mob in Wisconsin today.

  • JB||

    I wonder how fond of government employees people will be when they run everything into the ground.

    I have a feeling they will be some of the first targets.

  • JohnD||

    First the politicians, then they public parisites

  • Realist||

    The people in this country are stupid...exhibit one: They elected a sack of shit with big ears!

  • ||

    It's great that ATLAS SHRUGGED is coming out in April. Rand was prophetic about this sort of behavior among those who feel they are entitled.

  • Can't wait for the ||

    NYT's rave review to come out.

  • NYT||

    What come out? We don't know what you are talking about. nananananananana I can't hear you...

  • The Derider||

    Do we see her get on welfare during the credits?

    Rand was prophetic about this sort of behavior because she did precisely the same thing.

  • ||

    Government employees get more than what is taken from them in taxes. Rand did not.

  • The Derider||

    Prove it.

    You've made two assertions that you cannot warrant.

  • sevo||

    "You've made two assertions that you cannot warrant."

    One of them is pretty much a given; if gov't employees *didn't* receive more than they paid in taxes, their tax rate would be at least 100%
    And now that you've posted what you have, I think we can introduce the word "ignoramus".

  • The Derider||

    Entering into a contract with the government to provide services for a wage is distinct from getting a transfer payment from another individual mandated by the government.

    You think that a charter-school teacher who is indirectly funded by the government is distinct from a private school teacher who is not?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    You think that a charter-school teacher who is indirectly funded by the government is distinct from a private school teacher who is not?

    "Indirectly funded"? Without the government, they wouldn't have a salary. That's about as direct as you get.

  • cynical||

    You ignoring the value of labor they provide. It may or may not be worth what they are paid, but only the difference could really be called a "handout".

  • The Derider is obviously||

    one of the cardboard-cutout background characters from one of Rands novels.

  • The Derider||

    Did Rand ever write a character that wasn't a one-dimensional cardboard-cutout?

  • sevo||

    "Did Rand ever write a character that wasn't a one-dimensional cardboard-cutout?"

    I'd love to see a one-dimensional cardboard cutout.

  • The Derider||

    Your dedication to a literal interpretation of a common figurative term is a testament to the autistic tendencies shared by many libertarians.

  • sevo||

    The Derider|2.27.11 @ 5:22PM|#
    "Your dedication to a literal interpretation of a common figurative term is a testament to the autistic tendencies shared by many libertarians."

    "Common" to ignoramuses.

  • JB||

    You are an ignorant clown.

    If a robber takes $100 from me, I'm going to do what I can to get $5 back.

    Do you actually think that government employees get less back in wages than they put in with taxes? Are you that fucking retarded? 5-2 = 3

  • The Derider||

    I'm saying that what they get paid in wages is less than the economic utility they create by working.

    The problem isn't that I can't do arithmatic, the problem is that you can't do calculus.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I'm saying that what they get paid in wages is less than the economic utility they create by working.

    "WITHOUT THIRD-TIER CLERKS OUR ECONOMY FALLS INTO CHAOS!!!"

  • sevo||

    The Derider|2.27.11 @ 5:34PM|#
    "I'm saying that what they get paid in wages is less than the economic utility they create by working."

    Prove it, dipshit.

  • The Derider||

    One article and 45 comments about unions in the public sector and not one mention of the word monopsony?

  • JohnD||

    OK, monopsony

  • sevo||

    The Derider|2.27.11 @ 12:35AM|#
    "One article and 45 comments about unions in the public sector and not one mention of the word monopsony?"

    Same reason no one mentioned string theory; has no relevance.
    Please tell us the word for a transaction where the buyer and the seller collude to spend others' money.

  • Bucky||

    it's two: Gub' Mint

  • The Derider||

    Wal-mart and its suppliers collude to minimize consumer surplus and maximize their own every day.

    It's called "capitalism".

  • Tncm||

    By offering low prices to consumers they're minimizing consumer surplus?

    Not sure if srs.

  • sevo||

    The Derider|2.27.11 @ 5:37PM|#
    "Wal-mart and its suppliers collude to minimize consumer surplus and maximize their own every day."

    Wrong, dipshit.
    Walmart negotiates with suppliers for the lowest price they can find for a good of a given quality.
    And Walmart spends its *own* money doing so, hoping that the result sells.
    So you are wrong, diptshit, in every particular. Is that clear, dipshit?

  • cynical||

    It's a word, sure. It's not always or even often applicable to the relationship between pubsec workers and the government. There are private sector garbagemen, deliverymen, teachers, security personnel, lawyers, bureaucrats, and so on.

  • The Derider||

    It's a word that describes a market failure which the zealots here want to pretend can never exist.

  • JB||

    You are a market failure.

    You should have been aborted.

  • Tncm||

    I'm pretty sure this is the thread winner.

  • sevo||

    The Derider|2.27.11 @ 3:11PM|#
    "It's a word that describes a market failure which the zealots here want to pretend can never exist."

    It's a word derider uses to claim market failure where none exists.

  • cynical||

    Sorry, for a second I thought you wanted an actual argument. I'll let you get back to trolling.

  • hmm||

    Grats on mentioning monopsony. Would you now like to apply it to the discussion or are we throwing out theoretical economic terms for shit and grins? If so I'd like to add Slutsky compensation and do you know how you tell slutsky compensation from Hicks compensation? Slutsky puts out more...

  • The Derider||

    In monopsolistic competition unions act to generally increase utility via contract negotiations.

  • hmm||

    Utility for who? Are you arguing that unions solely argue for their constituents? Because if that is your argument you have either never studied labor economics and or you actually believe the union fairytale. I'd find the latter hard to believe if you have spent time looking at labor econ.

    I'll give you a hint:

    Unions can:
    -increase pay for a small number
    -increase employment for a large number at lesser pay
    -increase income and power for the union and maintain power through whichever means possible with their constituents being a second priority

    Since enrollment in unions has declined year over year for years guess which they are doing now in combination with the third possibility, which really is the only goal of any union.

  • sevo||

    The Derider|2.27.11 @ 5:30PM|#
    "In monopsolistic competition unions act to generally increase utility via contract negotiations."

    Try a re-post. Minus the lies this time.

  • littleflw||

  • Realist||

    Republicans will always and forever cave-in and spend more money. Down....round and round the shitter we go!

  • Converse magasin ||

    nice

  • nike running shoes||

    is good

  • دليل||

    asasg

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