Labor

"The unions are big money."

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At this point, the liberal tactic of painting just about every domestic policy battle as a fight between the big corporate money guys and the poor, powerless little people has been used so often that it's starting to seem like some sort of twitch. You can see this on display all over in coverage and commentary about the protests in Wisconsin. See, for example, Paul Krugman's column today, in which he asserts that "anyone who believes that we need some counterweight to the political power of big money should be on the demonstrators' side." The Washington Examiner's Timothy Carney shoots this down rather neatly:

The unions are big money. Five of the top ten contributors to congressional and presidential campaigns since 1989 are labor unions according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In the last election, 10 of the top 20 PACs were union PACs.

More importantly, it's not as if Big Labor is balancing out the rest of "big money." Does Krugman know that all of the top ten industries contributing to the 2010 elections gave more money to Democrats than to Republicans? That's right: Lawyers, Health Professionals, Securities & Investment, Real Estate, Insurance, Lobbyists, Pharma, Government Unions, Entertainment, and Electric Utilities all favored Democrats in 2010.

In other words, a lot of the "big corporate money" spent on political donations in 2010—the money to which unions are supposedly providing a counterweight—went to the same party that most of the union money went to, and the party whose political machine has helped back the union-led protests

So I might suggest a different way of thinking about who's really on the other side of public-sector union power plays: It's taxpayers. Nationwide, estimates suggest states will be stuck with $82 billion in shortfalls just this year—perhaps quite a bit more. And there are long-term problems too: Wisconsin faces not just a broken budget this year, but $77 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, the fourth largest unfunded pension liability in the nation. Either the public compensation system will have to be reformed, or taxpayers will have to foot the bill. Who's really in need of a counterweight here?

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  1. Paul Krugman’s column today, in which he asserts that “anyone who believes that we need some counterweight to the political power of big money should be on the demonstrators’ side.”

    Ah, that Krugman, always kidding. The only counterbalance against big money is big theft, in his mind…

    1. Our days are numbered and we know it.

      1. and its a bigg number!

  2. Thanks for posting this.

    *sticks it in the “Krugman pwnd” folder*

  3. Either the public compensation system will have to be reformed, or taxpayers will have to foot the bill. Who’s really in need of a counterweight here?

    Is it too late to start tarring and feathering a few politicians and union bosses?

    http://amsterdambabies.com/sit…..eather.jpg

    1. Pillory. Go with the pillory.

    2. Why don’t we tar and feather people anymore? When did that tradition stop? Did we just not have enough tar or feathers to cover all the people who so richly deserve to be thus covered?

      1. That would put us at the mercy of Big Tar and Big Feather.

        1. Not if the Tar and Feather workers were unionized!

          1. The chickens will stage a sick-out the first day, mark my words. We’ll need some Pinkerton muscle to keep the down flowing.

      2. Why don’t we tar and feather people anymore? When did that tradition stop?

        I’ve read that the practice was often associated with lynching, so perhaps it ended with that “tradition.”

      3. Spiny Norman:

        Because hot tar can actually burn people and taking off cold tar takes the skin with it. It’s not entirely about humiliation, it actually causes injury.

    3. Proposed amendment: “A well-regulated political cla?s being nece??ary to the ?ecurity of a free State, the right of the People to tar and feather their ?orry A??es shall not be infringed.”

      1. I do not believe you can use the “long s” twice is a row: that is, “Congress” would have the first “s” as a long one and the second “s” as a short one.

        1. I saw conflicting guidance on the usage for the long s, so I went with the double. You’re probably right, so feel free to edit.

        2. My understanding is that the “s” gets used at the end of words and otherwise, the long s can be used. Though I may be thinking of Greek.

          1. The long sigma?

      2. Well, clearly this means that only the political class is supposed to do the tar and feathering. It is clearly not an individual right, and it is subject to ‘reasonable regulations’ anyway. All feathers must be kept locked in a safe, dissembled and separate from the tar.

        1. What? B-b-but I thought I was being clear! Do you think it would help if I anonymously published articles explaining what I meant? Some sort of Attaintist Papers?

  4. Good ole Pauli Krugnuts, pushing the NYT in to the trash bin of media irrelevancy one column at a time.

    By the way, THIS is why the collective bargaining is such a big deal in the Wisconsin saga, and why other Unions throughout the country are holding their collective breaths to see what happens.

    If Unions can’t force employees to pay dues they won’t have this kind of PAC money to throw around anymore, thus they won’t be able to get their candidates elected.

    1. Good ole Pauli Krugnuts, pushing the NYT in to the trash bin of media irrelevancy one column at a time.

      By the way, THIS is why the collective bargaining is such a big deal in the Wisconsin saga, and why other Unions throughout the country are holding their collective breaths to see what happens.

      If Unions can’t force employees to pay dues they won’t have this kind of PAC money to throw around anymore, thus they won’t be able to get their candidates elected.

      Has anyone actually threatened to take away collective bargaining, as in criminalizing persons who attempt to bargain collectively?

      1. Not to my knowledge. AFAICT it just says that the state and local governments aren’t FORCED to collectively bargain with teh onions.

        1. Walker proposed to eliminate collective bargaining rights for state and local workers for any benefits other than base pay, prevent state and local governments from automatically collecting union dues, require all unions to recertify their existence in an annual secret ballot, and permit any employee to opt out of union dues. The proposal would exempt local police and fire departments.

        2. Not to my knowledge. AFAICT it just says that the state and local governments aren’t FORCED to collectively bargain with teh onions.

          Why is that controversial?

          If all of the grocers in San Fernando, California were to collectively bargain with the residents of San Fernando, the residents could simply tell them they will shop in Los Angeles or Burbank.

  5. Great, now we get Krugman weighing in. We have reached the next level of Commentariat Hell. Brace yourself for another 400+ thread.

    1. Complaints about the number of post in the threads is absolutely a silly one for a visitor to make. If you don’t enjoy reading posts, then why are you here? Are you afraid most of the commentators are not going to use there heads before they post like you just did? No worries. You just set the bar pretty darn low.

      1. You’re new here aren’t you?

      2. Quaddafi, is that you?

    2. My frustration with Krugman, or maybe it’s with the New York Times, is that they close down the comments section shortly after he writes one of his stories. So, you generally get a bunch of supporting Times readers, and no chance to point out flaws in his thinking.

      It’s cowardly for a publication these days to not allow commenters to step in and point out when a columnist has written something dumb.

    3. Dammit. Was reading the wikipedia article about Krugman, trying to figure out why he never seems to view anything from the regular taxpaying guy’s point of view.

      Instead, found this bit of info which conflicts with my world view:
      “Krugman has advocated free markets in contexts where they are often viewed as controversial. He has written against rent control in favor of supply and demand,[125] argued that “sweatshops” are preferable to unemployment,[28] challenged minimum wage and living wage laws,[126] likened the opposition against free trade and globalization to the opposition against evolution via natural selection,[127] opposed farm subsidies[128] and mandates, subsidies, and tax breaks for ethanol,[129] questioned NASA’s manned space flights,[130] and written against some aspects of European labor market regulation.[131][132] He once famously quipped that, “If there were an Economist’s Creed, it would surely contain the affirmations ‘I understand the Principle of Comparative Advantage’ and ‘I advocate Free Trade’.”[133][134]”

      1. How many of those were written after they put the chip in, though?

        1. Knew there had to be an explanation.

  6. No no… it’s only “big money” if it’s supporting the other side. Those industries and companies that support the Democrats are part of the poor and downtrodden.

    1. Exactly. The poor Health Insurance industry, and Wall Street, and Hollywood, etc.

      Support the middle class!

    2. When did civil lawyers become the poor and downtrodden?

      1. Because, they are! and they champion the cause of the poor and downtrodden by flooding our court systems with frivilous lawsuits… nevermind that they take most of the money anyway.

  7. So I might suggest a different way of thinking about who’s really on the other side of public-sector union power plays: It’s taxpayers.

    In addition to that one might consider this question: Do public sector employees actually pay taxes – or do they merely give their employers a rebate of their salaries?

    1. You could say that, but we also pay state taxes. I don’t work for the State of Alabama. And the reverse applies for state workers who rebate their salaries to the state, but pay federal taxes.

  8. Not surprised at all by this information, but it would be nice if he provided a source to the chart re: political donations by industry.

  9. Way to miss the point:

    You don’t have to love unions, you don’t have to believe that their policy positions are always right, to recognize that they’re among the few influential players in our political system representing the interests of middle- and working-class Americans, as opposed to the wealthy. Indeed, if America has become more oligarchic and less democratic over the last 30 years ? which it has ? that’s to an important extent due to the decline of private-sector unions.

    That unions are well-funded (though certainly not as much as corporations) is not the issue. Their goals are the issue. Krugman is not saying Democrats are virtuous despite their corporate donations. The corporate influence on both parties is a problem.

    And the fact that what’s going on now is an attempt to destroy unions once and for all seems to escape the scope of this piece.

    1. You don’t have to love unions, you don’t have to believe that their policy positions are always right, to recognize that they’re among the few influential players in our political system representing the interests of
      a small percentage of middle- and working-class Americans, as opposed to the wealthy rest of the taxpayers.

      1. You mean the wealthy, who can take care of themselves, and the wage slaves who make up the rest of the workforce?

        1. Re: Tony,

          You mean the wealthy, who can take care of themselves, and the wage slaves who make up the rest of the workforce?

          You’ve got to love these cliches Tony throws around like chimps throw shit!

          “Wage slaves”? You mean receiving a salary makes one a “slave”?

          Ha ha ha ha!!!

        2. wage slaves

          Spoof?

        3. Stop spoofing me.

        4. Hey asshole. Yes I mean you, Tony. I work for multi-millionaires and do you know what? They are really good to me and do a shit more than you ever will to help the poor and indigent. So go take your bullshit and shove it right back up your ass from whence it came.

          And stop basing your political perspective on novels by Charles Dickens you piece of shit asscunt.

          1. ud learn not to roll in ur own excrement by working for multi-thousandaire teachers.

            1. did u lrn how 2 read n xpres urself by txting w/jr hi grls?

              LOL;)LULLZ OMG BRB

              1. Oops I accidently used the shift key.

        5. Wisconsin’s 2010 Teacher of the Year, Leah Lechleiter-Luke of Mauston High School, told CNN the budget changes would force her to look for additional part-time work.

          “When people say that public sector employees live high off the hog, I’d like to share that for 13 of my 19-year teaching career I have held a part-time job either in the summer or teaching night class at the local technical college,” Lechleiter-Luke told CNN. “In addition to tightening the belt even more and crossing our fingers that nothing breaks, I will need to find part-time work again.”

          Lechleiter-Luke makes $54,928 in base salary and $32,213 in “fringe benefits,” which include health insurance, life insurance and retirement pay.

          Brad Lutes and his wife, Heather Lutes, told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz that Walker’s budget would hit them twice as hard.

          “Having to explain to an 8- and 10-year old that the governor of your state basically wants to take money away from dad and mom? It’s just really, really frustrating,” Brad Lutes told Schultz.

          He makes $49,412 in base salary with $27,987 in fringe benefits and his wife makes $50,240 with $9,413 in benefits. That’s $137,052 annually between the two of them.

          Jim Nelsen, a teacher at Hamilton High School in Milwaukee who attended the union protests in Madison, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he thought it was “time we had to move and we did.” He earns $62,877 in base salary with an additional $26,492 in benefits.

          Julene Flanagan, a fourth-grade teacher at Story Elementary School in Milwaukee, said the reason she attended the protests in Madison was because she cares “about the children deeply” and about the “future of public education in Wisconsin.” Flanagan makes $48,406 in base salary and $37,600 in benefits.

          Chris Fons, a social studies teacher at Milwaukee’s Riverside High School, said the union protests in Madison are a “bottom-up” movement, and that the “people have been acting and the leaders are following.” Fons earns $58,976 in annual salary with an additional $25,646 in benefits.

          Teachers in the state are only contracted to work part of the year, too. Most teachers start their work year around Aug. 30 and end around June 3, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. They also get vacation time during the student breaks, like during Christmas, fall vacation and spring vacation. Year-round, teachers in the state are out of the classroom for about 13 or 14 weeks.

          Per the Department of Commerce, in 2009, the average personal income for all Wisconsin workers was $37,398.

          Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/02…..z1EiKa6gQi

          1. WHAT THE FUCK. 100K with two kids, and full benefits? Do these people have solid-gold driveways?

          2. Teachers always seem to leave out that their salary is for 9 months instead of 12 months (not to mention the fact that they get 2 weeks off at Christmas, a week off for spring break, all the little holidays, snow days, etc. that few in the private sector enjoy).

            Second, it’s not even so much the pay that people mind, it’s the fact that it’s so difficult to fire a bad teacher and the early retirement pensions that really push people against unions.

          3. Wisconsin’s 2010 Teacher of the Year, Leah Lechleiter-Luke of Mauston High School, told CNN the budget changes would force her to look for additional part-time work.

            “When people say that public sector employees live high off the hog, I’d like to share that for 13 of my 19-year teaching career I have held a part-time job either in the summer or teaching night class at the local technical college,” Lechleiter-Luke told CNN. “In addition to tightening the belt even more and crossing our fingers that nothing breaks, I will need to find part-time work again.”

            Lechleiter-Luke makes $54,928 in base salary and $32,213 in “fringe benefits,” which include health insurance, life insurance and retirement pay.

            Brad Lutes and his wife, Heather Lutes, told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz that Walker’s budget would hit them twice as hard.

            “Having to explain to an 8- and 10-year old that the governor of your state basically wants to take money away from dad and mom? It’s just really, really frustrating,” Brad Lutes told Schultz.

            He makes $49,412 in base salary with $27,987 in fringe benefits and his wife makes $50,240 with $9,413 in benefits. That’s $137,052 annually between the two of them.

            Jim Nelsen, a teacher at Hamilton High School in Milwaukee who attended the union protests in Madison, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he thought it was “time we had to move and we did.” He earns $62,877 in base salary with an additional $26,492 in benefits.

            Julene Flanagan, a fourth-grade teacher at Story Elementary School in Milwaukee, said the reason she attended the protests in Madison was because she cares “about the children deeply” and about the “future of public education in Wisconsin.” Flanagan makes $48,406 in base salary and $37,600 in benefits.

            Chris Fons, a social studies teacher at Milwaukee’s Riverside High School, said the union protests in Madison are a “bottom-up” movement, and that the “people have been acting and the leaders are following.” Fons earns $58,976 in annual salary with an additional $25,646 in benefits.

            Teachers in the state are only contracted to work part of the year, too. Most teachers start their work year around Aug. 30 and end around June 3, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. They also get vacation time during the student breaks, like during Christmas, fall vacation and spring vacation. Year-round, teachers in the state are out of the classroom for about 13 or 14 weeks.

            Per the Department of Commerce, in 2009, the average personal income for all Wisconsin workers was $37,398.

            What will Chony’s reply be?

          4. Just imagine if American teachers had to work like the teachers in Japan:

            Come in during winter/spring/summer breaks because the students still come in for extra study help or club activities; Work from 7:30 in the morning until sometimes 9:00 at night; pay your own health insurance and pension out of your paycheck; take part in cleaning the school instead of leaving that to a janitorial staff.

            I’m not a huge fan of how the Japanese government runs things, but I don’t ever want to hear American teachers complain about “how rough they have it”

          5. “Having to explain to an 8- and 10-year old that the governor of your state basically wants to take money away from dad and mom? It’s just really, really frustrating,”

            Maybe you can tell my young kids why the gummint wants to take money away from their mommy and daddy, so that they can gold plate your underfunded pension plan and retire years before we can,while sticking us (and them) with the bill.

            Maybe your whiny ass can explain to them why we need to work year-round and contribute 15% of our own income so that we can hopefully retire one day, while you contribute dick and still have the gall to illegally strike and stick us with the tab of taking care of them during the week when we should be at work.

            In other words, fuck off, slaver.

          6. “Having to explain to an 8- and 10-year old that the governor of your state basically wants to take money away from dad and mom?

            No it isn’t. I tell my kids that every day I send them to school and they don;t want to go. If the guy can’t tell his kids that stuff, he’s incapable of teaching and shouldn’t be anywhere near anyone else’s children.

          7. My 5th grade teacher in my shitty neighborhood in the 70’s worked weekends at the grocery store in the produce section. I saw him there nearly every Saturday morning. Since I saw him at a real job, I didn’t think he was as much of a prick as he first seemed to be. But I still never assumed he was underpaid, I just assumed he wanted more money, just like my old man who also worked a second job.

          8. “Having to explain to an 8- and 10-year old that the governor of your state basically wants to take money away from dad and mom?

            And they want the government to pay for their platinum salaries/benefits by….taking money away from other moms and dads? Or do these teachers think that government money rains from the sky?

          9. Echoing poor–WHAT THE FUCK. :hulkout:

            Lechleiter-Luke makes $54,928 in base salary and $32,213 in “fringe benefits

            I’m presuming this woman is single–quite frankly, if you can’t live on $55K a year as a single woman, then your problems go a lot deeper than whether the government wants you to pay for your retirement and healthcare.

            If you can’t live on $100K in salary as a married couple, then your problems go deeper than whether the governor wants you to pay more for your retirement and healthcare.

            Stories like this just confirm that there are too many people who go into teaching because they’re too incompetent to succeed at anything else. Government jobs have become a glorified welfare racket for dumb striver poors.

        6. Tony. Define slave.

          1. I forgot. Responding to something dumb Tony says is like pushing your comment off a cliff.

      2. “a small percentage of middle- and working-class Americans, as opposed to the wealthy rest of the taxpayers.”

        Indeed.

        In fact, those public sector labor unions (aka parasites) are working directly contrary to the interests of the private sector middle class. They are trying to stick them with the bill for their overinflated salaries and benefits.

    2. I didn’t realize that all corporation shareholders and all corporation employees are “the wealthy.” Tens of millions of us middle class types work for corporations. Tens of millions of us own stock, through our 401Ks and mutual funds, in these corporations.
      Unions don’t represent the “middle class,” they represent their members against non-members. Corporations represent their employees and stockholders against the interests of other corporations. Let’s stop the class warfare nonsense. The contest is between the makers and the takers in society and they both come from every class.

      1. The contest is between the makers and the takers in society and they both come from every class.

        Yes, and without the “makers” there is nothing for anyone to “take”.

      2. It makes sense if you don’t think about it.

    3. Krugman may I have a valid point (I don’t agree with him), but he explicitly states the positive influence of PRIVATE sector unions. The controversy in Wisconsin is over public sector unions – where the other end of the bargaining table is not composed of greedy CEOs and shareholders, but the taxpayers of Wisconsin – taxpayers who elected candidates on platforms of low government spending and reigning in public worker compensation.

    4. Re: Tony,

      That unions are well-funded (though certainly not as much as corporations) is not the issue.

      Really? Because the point made by Krugman MAKES it an issue.

      Their goals are the issue.

      How sweet. Doesn’t matter that unions substract money from the workers to pay politicians, nah – it’s the thought that counts. Like a Hallmark card kind of thing.

      1. 1.The end justifies the means.
        2.We are on the side of the angels.
        3.Making money on the backs of the proletariat.
        4. It’s not WRONG when WE do it.

        1. Don’t forget “Trickle down economics”. The scare quotes are key.

      2. Does it matter that corporations subtract money from workers to pay politicians?

        Oh no, somehow the autocratic behavior of employers = freedom while the democratic behavior of workers = theft, evil, etc.

        1. Re: Tony,

          Does it matter that corporations subtract money from workers to pay politicians?

          That’s a marxian myth. Are you realy going to rehash the tired, old marxian labor theory of value to tell me the capitalists skim from the top of their wages?

          Oh no, somehow the autocratic behavior of employers = freedom while the democratic behavior of workers = theft, evil, etc.

          What’s so “democratic” about having union “dues” taken from your salary whether you like it or not? What if I don’t want to pay union dues?

          You are nothing more than a charlatan.

        2. Is it really possible that you don’t see that the difference is that, in the case of the corporations, IT’S THEIR GODDAMN MONEY?

          They don’t have to take it from anyone. It’s theirs.

        3. THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT POOR AND YOU KNOW IT TONY.

        4. That would be cliche-generator number 3.

    5. And the fact that what’s going on now is an attempt to destroy unions once and for all seems to escape the scope of this piece.

      How are unions being destroyed?

    6. I don’t know if what’s going on is an attempt to destroy unions in general, but really, would that be so bad? Does an organization that can survive only by the extraction of dues from unwilling members really have the right to exist?

    7. “You don’t have to love unions, you don’t have to believe that their policy positions are always right, to recognize that they’re among the few influential players in our political system representing the interests of middle- and working-class Americans”

      As a middle class American, I appreciate everything that public sector unions have done for me, like take a cut of my paycheck in exchange for shitty, unreliable service. Thanks for making telecoms look good, guys.

      Unions represent (some) union members. They don’t represent “the middle class”. They’re more than happy to fuck over the non-union middle class in favor of the union middle class, and when you’re fine with fucking over the vast majority of the middle class, it’s a farce to say you represent the middle class.

  10. “Does Krugman know that all of the top ten industries contributing to the 2010 elections gave more money to Democrats than to Republicans? That’s right: Lawyers, Health Professionals…”

    Just for the record, I’d like to point out that the American Bar Association and the American Medical Association are unions in all but name…

    They inflate salaries for their members by restricting entry into the field most obviously through regulation, which lets them restrict everything from the number of accredited schools to class sizes, etc…

    Just try practicing medicine without passing their tests–or better yet, try taking the qualifying examinations without going to one of their accredited schools. Try practicing law without passing the Bar–and see what happens.

    1. < blockquote>”Does Krugman know that all of the top ten industries contributing to the 2010 elections gave more money to Democrats than to Republicans? That’s right: Lawyers, Health Professionals…”

      Just for the record, I’d like to point out that the American Bar Association and the American Medical Association are unions in all but name…

      Cartelized guilds.

      1. Or a union by any other name!

        Monopolize access to the field and understaff it…

        And that’s just one side of the equation–their a big force in setting the prices for services paid by the government too…

        …which is another way of saying they bargain collectively.

        You have a much better shot at being a non-union auto factory worker than practicing law or medicine without being subject to either the AMA or ABA. Pretty much the whole industry’s a union shop.

        1. >>You have a much better shot at being a non-union auto factory worker than practicing law or medicine without being subject to either the AMA or ABA. Pretty much the whole industry’s a union shop.

          I practiced medicine for 35 years and never gave the AMA a thought. In that entire time I had *no* colleagues whom I knew to be AMA members. I did however read a number of articles about members quitting the organization. In fact, only about 20% of physicians are AMA members.

          “Subject to the AMA”? Well, of course – things it does affect physicians, members or not, but “subject to” suggests a domineering influence which simply does not remotely exist. And the idea that “pretty much the whole (medical) industry’s a union shop” is nothing short of nonsense.

          1. To what extent does the AMA control the supply of physicians?

            To what extent does the AMA influence Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement?

            1. KS>>To what extent does the AMA control the supply of physicians?

              I don’t know of any way that the AMA controls that. That is controlled, I’m sure, by the number of medical schools extant. And that is controlled, I’m sure, by the desire and ability of states or private entities to foot the absolutely enormous, NASA scale bill for creating and operating medical schools – which desire and ability I’m also sure is quite severely limited.
              Please tell me how you think the AMA *controls* the supply of physicians (and please don’t let your source be that 35 y/o book that some psychiatrist in Boise wrote, that Wikipedia vaguely cites – if you want to anyone to pay attention to your reply.)

              KS>>To what extent does the AMA influence Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement?

              The AMA and the medical specialty societies provide the “relative value” designations for medical fees to the CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). Medicare and Medicaid and the medical insurance companies provide the absolute fees and believe me, they have their way with those and don’t particularly care what the AMA thinks about them.

              1. The AMA decides which medical schools can have graduates licensed as doctors. The AMA also issues to each medical school a recommended number of applicants to accept.

                What happens if a medical school ignores the AMA recommendation and accepts more applicants? I don’t know, neither do the med schools, but I bet they don’t want to find out.

                1. >>The AMA decides which medical schools can have graduates licensed as doctors.

                  You’re talking about accreditation. The AMA is involved in that but does not do it unilaterally. Do you know of any medical schools that have been denied having their “graduates licensed as doctors”? I don’t even know what that means, actually. The state medical boards, which have nothing to do with the AMA, decide which medical school graduates can be licensed as doctors.

                  >>The AMA also issues to each medical school a recommended number of applicants to accept.

                  A weird notion which I would like to see you substantiate. The number of applicants to accept is, I’m quite certain, determined by physical capacity and nothing more.

        2. Ditto on the ABA.

          The AMA and the ABA are trade associations. They do not write the rules restricting entry (although they heartily support them), the States do. They do not negotiate or set rates for their services. They do not engage in collective bargaining, or engage in union-style intimidation tactics for any purpose.

          SO, yeah, except for that, they’re just like unions.

          1. “They do not negotiate or set rates for their services.”

            Again I would argue that point…

            If the AMA is involved in influencing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, then they’re collectively bargaining in all but name.

            …and they are involved in influencing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

            “They do not write the rules restricting entry (although they heartily support them), the States do.”

            For whatever their opinion’s worth, Wikipedia disagrees…

            “The ABA’s most important stated activities are the setting of academic standards for law schools,…”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A…..ssociation

    2. I, like many lawyers, do not belong to the American Bar Association and have never belonged, having figured out in law school that it was basically a leftist PAC. I belong to the state bar but only because it is mandatory.

      1. Did you graduate from an ABA approved school?

        Were you able to take your Bar exam without graduating from an ABA approved school?

        1. There are a number of states, including the one where I’m a member of the bar, that allow graduates of non-ABA law schools to take the bar. There are also states that allow people to take the bar after doing an internship/apprenticeship. As far as I know, no state requires lawyers to be members of the ABA. Most lawyers aren’t members. In some states, but not all, lawyers have to be members of the state bar association.

          1. “There are a number of states, including the one where I’m a member of the bar, that allow graduates of non-ABA law schools to take the bar.”

            Out of curiosity, does qualifying to be able to take the bar in those states (without graduating from an ABA law school) involve taking classes directly from the state bar?

            P.S. Even so, there’s no need for a union to completely monopolize access to a profession in order to be a union. Many of the Japanese auto companies that manufacture here in the United States don’t use UAW labor–that hardly means the UAW isn’t a union.

            And my guess is? Practicing attorneys who’ve completed law school far outnumber practicing attorney’s who haven’t. Practicing attorneys who’ve completed ABA accredited programs almost certainly outnumber those who haven’t by a much wider margin than UAW workers dominate the American auto manufacturing industry.

            Unions tend to be more successful to the extent that they can monopolize access to a profession–that’s why ports, state governments, etc. tend to be more heavily unionized than other industries…

            That’s why the UAW was more of a force when there were only three auto manufacturers–and all three of them were unionized. …doesn’t mean they aren’t unions now.

    3. I’m a lawyer, practice law every day, and am not, and never have been, a member of the ABA. Most of the people I work with aren’t members either.

  11. Only about half of people pay income taxes in the US, so that would mean the unions are technically opposing the richest half of the country. But in Wisconsin, it looks like teachers are in the richer half. Does that mean the union is both fighting for, and opposed to, teachers? I’m confused.

    1. No, because the amount of money taken from the teachers themselves is quite small, but the amount of money they receive from the tax pool taken from everyone is very large.

      1. Public employees are not net tax payers – they are net tax consumers.

        1. Not really. You’re leaving the labor they provide for the state out of the equation, and while you may argue about the true value, in most cases it is greater than zero. If their pay was exactly fair, then their monetary compensation would exactly balance their labor contribution, thus having no impact on their consumer/payer status.

  12. Apparently Indiana state representatives have decided to follow the lead of their Wisconsin brethren and have absconded their duties and fleed the state.

    The way things are going, in a few more weeks every cowardly leftist scum politician in America will be holed up in Illinois.

    1. Then every non-fiscal issue before the Wisconsin (and possibly Indiana, depending on quorum requirements) legislature should be decided in their absence. F..k em.

      1. Then every non-fiscal issue before the Wisconsin (and possibly Indiana, depending on quorum requirements) legislature should be decided in their absence. F..k em.

        Yes.

        1. I can see how the Wisconsin folks might have been caught up in the moment and now they’re stuck, but the Indiana folks have had a week to consider: what’s the endgame for the fleeing strategy? I know it makes them feel all ‘speaky truth to power’ but they’re supposed to be grown ups.

    2. “The way things are going, in a few more weeks every cowardly leftist scum politician in America will be holed up in Illinois.”

      Well that is a natural habitat of that species.

    3. Can we nuke it from orbit at that point? Just to be sure.

    4. Being from Illinois, I find this VERY alarming. Please don’t let them stay. We have plenty enough scummy politicians of our own

      1. I’d leave. I think this is part of a plan to get all of the worst shitbag politicians in one place at one time. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere nearby for phase 2.

      2. Sorry, but we’re going to be sending another one back to you from DC in 2 years.

  13. To Dr. Krugman, the popular narratives of the left are patent, fundamental truths that no reasonably intelligent, moral person would ever question. That he would so uncritically haul out the old “Unions vs. Big Money” trope is unsurprising.

    1. A “reasonably intelligent person” might question the moral premises held by said moral person, as well as those underlying the “fundamental truths.”

  14. 1) I agree, labor, based on dollars commanded counts as “Big Money.”

    2) There is, it seems, a meaningful difference between big money which comes from the pooled resources of lots of lower income-ish guys (labor) and pooled resources that come from a smaller group of wealthier folks (some large private companies). Public corporations that are funded by selling lots of shares to anyone who wants them are also big money and, it seems, fall somewhere in between.

    So…to play devil’s advocate here…

    Does a collective of little guys pooling their money to get their voice heard over the bullhorns of those richer than themselves count as a “counterweight to the political power of big money”?

    Not sure…but, there does seem to be a reason that the meme survives.

    1. Got a 401k?

    2. Of course, when it comes to actual voting, the many outweigh the few.

    3. ReL Neu Mejican,

      There is, it seems, a meaningful difference between big money which comes from the pooled resources of lots of lower income-ish guys (labor) and pooled resources that come from a smaller group of wealthier folks (some large private companies).

      Yes, there’s a difference – the wealthier folks don’t steal theirs.

      1. Not even the robber barons? (~_^)

          1. see above.

            1. uhmmm err.. see below…double internet fail.

            1. Ha ha ha!!

              Really, Neu! Lockheed-fucking-Martin?

              1. OM,

                I thought you despised those who suckled at the government teat. LM are the masters of that particular kind of suckling…makes the unions look like chumps.

                1. $30,000,000,000 a year of public money (give or take) seems to qualify for “big theft” to me. Just saying if you buy the premise that all government expenditures are theft.

          1. Parasites always run to the government to get access to the neck of the body politic.

    4. Does a collective of little guys pooling their money to get their voice heard over the bullhorns of those richer than themselves count as a “counterweight to the political power of big money”?

      How are unions a collection of little guys, but publicly held corporations with millions of stockholders are not?

      What matters isn’t where the money comes from, but who controls how its spent. The unions aren’t controlled by the little guys. They are controlled by something between criminal cabals and entrenched autocrats.

      1. How are unions a collection of little guys, but publicly held corporations with millions of stockholders are not?

        I thought I covered that idea in my post…but your point about who controls that money is important. So, do little guy stockholders have equivalent control of who represents their interests compared to unions? I think it would depend upon the corporation and the union, but I be the trend is that union leadership is more beholden to members than corporate management is beholden to small investors…simply due to greater participation in union elections. I could be convinced otherwise.

        They are controlled by something between criminal cabals and entrenched autocrats.

        Where as corporations are controlled by…what?

        1. That was weird.

          “sevo” comments searched for…somehow ended up in my “name” field.

          internet fail.

        2. My point was that unions are just as much Big Money as corporations. In both cases, money is accumulated by a collective and controlled by a few. I see no basis for distinguishing between them in a discussion of Big Money in politics.

          If you think union leadership is accountable to members, I suggest you acquaint yourself with the track record of senior union leadership being tossed out by members. It happens about as often as shareholder revolts getting a CEO fired.

          1. I started with that premise.

            1. The Santa Fe Sophist’s M.O. lives on…make bold-sounding statements and then when those statements are shown utterly false, claim you weren’t really making them.

              1. What are you talking about Tulpa?

                My post
                Neu Mejican|2.22.11 @ 12:49PM|#

                1) I agree, labor, based on dollars commanded counts as “Big Money.”

                RC Dean’s follow up:
                My point was that unions are just as much Big Money as corporations.

                My response:
                I started with that premise.

                What claim am I backing away from?

        3. —“but I be the trend is that union leadership is more beholden to members than corporate management is beholden to small investors…simply due to greater participation in union elections.”—

          I was a union member years ago (construction trades), when private sector unions were a lot more prevalent than now. The fact that you could post such mindless drivel indicates that you probably have never been a member of a union. Unions, like any other group of people form power centers. Each group competes for control of the union because that is where the “big dough” is. I am not saying that there are not union leaders who are genuinely concerned about their union brothers, but for the vast majority that I have had the opportunity to meet, they are just like most everybody else. “How can I make more money?” As far as being beholden to their members, the upper levels of union management seldom change, rather like the upper levels of corporate management seldom change.

          My job is about money for me, your job is about money for you, and the union leaders jobs are about money for themselves.

          1. Okay.
            So, given your experience…what level of participation is there in union elections?

            I would still posit that it is higher than stockholder participation in corporations.

            I am not defending unions here…just trying to get people’s thoughts on an idea.

    5. “Does a collective of little guys pooling their money to get their voice heard over the bullhorns of those richer than themselves count as a “counterweight to the political power of big money”?”

      FUCK YEAH!!!

    6. big money which comes from the pooled resources of lots of lower income-ish guys (labor)

      Whoa, stop the sophistry right there.

      1. Most union members today are NOT low-income workers.

      2. Most union members are forced to “pool their resources” by the CBA. It’s not really comparable to the pooling of resources in private interests.

      1. I said “low income-ish, to provide evidence that I realized that fact…guess I wasn’t clear enough about that. They are low income compared to “big money corporate earners,” as a Platonic ideal of the “big money” people think of when they say “big money.”

  15. Corporate money is distorting the political debate in favor of the GOP!

    White male Christians are being persecuted!

    It’s hard to decide which is the larger pile of bovine excrement.

  16. Unions in many countries in the West are a small minority of the population, so their claims for fighting for the masses of the downtrodden poor are false. They represent more of a Nomenklatura. I came across people in East Germany who once belonged to the Nomenklatura who sincerly believed that they were truly the representatives of the people and that somehow their living better than the rest of the proletariat was different than the demonised capitalists.

    The best example is that American buffoon Moore, walking around with is baseball cap is laughable, does that make him a man of the people ?

  17. Feeble attempt to turn this into a partisan issue, and predictable from a GOP/NRO hack. The corporate welfare state that we’ve had since Truman is a result of the bi-partisan consensus in this country. And, yes they buy off Democrats when Democrats seem to be winning, hence ObamaCare.

    1. LOL, so this isn’t a partisan issue? Republicans and Democrats agree here? Retard.

      1. My point here, I’ll restate, is that all sides agree on corporate welfare. Real libertarians understand that threat to the middle class, and faux-libertarians like Mr. Suderman ignore the real fiscal concern here.

        1. faux-libertarians like Mr. Suderman

          Mrs. Suderman is the more prominent faux-libertarian of the family.

          1. I prefer to think of him as Mr. McArdle.

        2. Again, how does that show that this isn’t a partisan issue?

    2. Oh, your squirming is so pleasing to me. Can you do more?

    3. “The corporate welfare state that we’ve had since Truman is a result of the bi-partisan consensus in this country”

      So, when the criticism of same comes from supporter of one of the parties responsible for the status quo, just how disingenuous and manipulative are they?

  18. A comment to Tim’s piece at the Examiner:

    If a similar assault were occurring on the NRA, Focus on the Family, and other conservative groups; the Republicans would be screaming bloody hell too.

    You mean all these years I’ve been working, I had the “right” to collectively bargain my salary alongside all the other card-carrying gun nutz here at work?!

    1. Exactly how much money does the state collect for NRA dues?

    2. It’s almost as if that commenter didn’t even think about the issue at hand, and just cobbled some buzzwords together into a sort of partisan Mad Lib.

  19. all elections should be exclusively public funded w defined primary & general campaign periods.

    1. OO, don’t go to the bathroom here.

      1. I took a shit in a bathroom once.

        1. I took a shit in Ohio once. Apparently, it learned to type and started calling itself Orrin.

          1. obviously u didnt take my shit since i flush…w the lid down.

            1. That’s strange. I was sure your preferred method of fecal disposal was to climb up a tree, defecate in your hand, then fling the slimy, corn-filled mess at unwary passersby.

        2. Kill the imposter!

      2. its a public restroom

        1. I’ll bet you get a lot of action there.

  20. These are indeed fascinating historical times we’re in now. We’re witnessing before our very eyes the thrashing violent death throes of the New Left that arose and took power in the second half of the 20th century.

    They certainly had a great run that lasted for around fifty years, but they simply got too greedy and corrupt for their own good. They overplayed their hand, bankrupted virtually the entire nation, and they’re going to be the ones who pay the biggest price for it. As we can see they have no intention of going down without a fight, but it’s a fight they have no real chance of winning.

  21. Maybe I can get an answer to this question here:

    Aren’t unions corporations?

    If not, how are they legally organized?

    1. Here’s another question:

      Why should unions be exempt from the antitrust legislation that the government applies to corporations?

      1. BECAUSE UNIONS REPRESENT THE LITTLE GUY

        UNIONS ARE THE HAVE NOTS, CORPORATIONS ARE THE HAVES

        UNIONS REPRESENT THE PEOPLE IN THE CLASS WAR

        ALL OF THE ABOVE ARE INDISPUTABLE FACTS

        1. Without unions, we would all be slaves.

          Not sure why, but that’s what Tony said….

      2. Why should unions be exempt from the antitrust legislation that the government applies to corporations?

        Because unions elect the politicians who pass such legislation – there being more voters who are union members than business owners.

    2. I wouldn’t think so. Corporations have corporate charters, which outline their responsibilities to the state, unions are simply mechanisms for self-interested workers to maximize profit.

      L’union fait la force.

      1. “I wouldn’t think so. Corporations have corporate charters, which outline their responsibilities to the state, unions are simply mechanisms for self-interested workers to maximize profit.”

        The point of any corporation is that its officials are not personally liable for damage done by the organization (the organization is), and unions are surely taxed (the two primary features of corporate organization).

        For this reason, I cannot imagine that unions are anything other than corporations (they sure as hell are not partnerships, e.g.).

        In which case, it is profoundly stupid for union profiteers to be running their mouths about the pernicious effects of corporations on the American economic and political systems.

        1. The point of any corporation is that its officials are not personally liable for damage done by the organization (the organization is), and unions are surely taxed (the two primary features of corporate organization).

          Only partially correct.

          Officials can be liable for their conduct on behalf of the corporation (although to be sure, the corporation usually pays because of deep pockets and respondeat superior .).

          1. Fair enough.

            But are unions corporations? If not, how are they organized?

        2. By “corporations” they really mean business and/or business owners – without which and whom, of course, none of them would have a goddamn job in the first place.

          1. Well, if that’s true, it’s a pointedly bad strategy.

            I cannot imagine that unions can be possibly be organized other than by incorporation. Further, they are a huge industry driven by the same exact profit motive as any other corporation.

            So why aren’t people telling them to shut their corporate profiteer pieholes?

      2. ‘L’union fait la force.’

        What are you- Haiti?

        It means ‘unity through strength,’ whereas, in the unions’ case it’s more like ‘strength through unity.’

        Unions are a destructive anachronism.

  22. The reference to Wisconsin’s unfunded pension liability isn’t supported by the Pew Center on the States February 2010 study, “The Trillion Dollar Gap: Underfunded State Retirement Systems and the Roads to Reform.” It clearly shows Wisconsin as a “solid performer” in handling pension and non-pension obligations, and asserts
    ” States such as Florida, Idaho, New York, North Carolina and Wisconsin all entered the current recession with fully funded pensions.”

    Look for yourself: http://downloads.pewcenteronth….._final.pdf

    1. They were fine three years ago… not now.

  23. The Koch brothers pay your salary; the Koch brothers are THE key opponent of the unions in Wisconsin; and yet that goes unsaid. What journalistic integrity.

    1. So Scott Walker and the Republican state congress are just puppets? Interesting projection.

      1. And we control them all!

        Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!!

        1. Who in the fuck are the Kochs?

    2. Better trolls than you say that all the time. Try harder, dipshit.

      1. They pay me. I got 20,000 acres and serfs to work the land for my commenting work last year alone!

        1. They give me all the stakes and Turks I want, but yet no one calls me Warty the Impaler. What the fuck?

          1. Dude. I hate to have to explain this to you in a public forum, but you must be corrected. You have to use the stakes on your Turks, not simply horde stakes and Turks.

            It’s a common mistake.

            1. Now I’m hungry for steak and/or turkey.

          2. “The Impaler” is trademarked and you’d have to pay Romania $2 every time you used it. Settler for Warty the pointy stickler. You’ll save big over a career of despotism.

            1. The Romanians view Vlad Tepes in exactly the same way we view Mickey Mouse.

              1. The theme parks must rock.

                1. You have no idea.

              2. A soulless devil who by some form of devious glamor has taken more money and debauched more people than any creature real or ficticious should be able to?

          3. Your girlfriend calls me Sage the Impaler. But for a very different reason.

            1. That’s probably what she calls her vibrator.

        2. All I got was Rhode Island, sans serfs. WTF?

          1. That’s Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

        3. I thought for a while that the watermark on my checks was Cthulhu, but Lifafa has got me thinking…

    3. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      OH NOES THE KOCH BROS

      The left is so fucking stupid at this point, they’re overtaking the right in terms of stupid. I’m so proud of them.

      1. Right-tard trying to appropriate 4chan speech.

        1. You’re not very good at reading comprehension, are you, Al. That’s ok…I expected that.

          1. Yea, except your silly disclaimer doesn’t convince anyone, right-wing dog.

            1. Your inability to conceive anything outside your TEAM RED TEAM BLUE paradigm is as amusing as it is stupid. You really don’t understand that if someone disagrees with you, they’re not automatically on “the other team”, do you.

              Is it comforting being this dumb, Al? Because there can’t be another explanation for it.

              1. He just found out about 4chan, Epi. He’s trying out hip new words before he chats with his kids on AOL.

                1. Except that’s exactly what Epi is doing, and that’s my point.

                  1. You don’t have a point other than TEAM RED TEAM BLUE, moron. Pretending otherwise doesn’t change that fact.

                    1. Simply not true. Re-read my comment.

                      I am criticizing the entire system and accusing both you & Suderman of being right-wing hacks. This is not RED/BLUE, this is a specific point about YOU and the failure of your disclaimers to convince anyone of your independence of thought.

                    2. Yes Al, anyone who disagrees with you is right wing.

                    3. Right. So what you’re doing is TEAM RED TEAM BLUE, but you’re saying you’re not. Got it. Thanks for clarifying that, super genius.

                    4. I’m saying you’re a hack. Your comments are always from the RED. As opposed to me, who is independent.

                    5. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

                    6. Really, nothing worse than a young naive Randroid.

                    7. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

                    8. Hey I’m just going on the evidence. You come off as a naive Randroid. Read some real libertarian thought and get back to us.

                    9. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
                      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

                    10. just do (HA)^((99)^(99))

                    11. Bark snap arf nip

      2. I just can’t get over one of the principal sponsors of NOVA being considered as some sort of, I dunno, Freemason cult of conservatism. Or whatever they’re supposed to be.

        Until a year ago, I had no idea who these people were.

        1. You don’t get it, ProL. If you give money to PBS and Cato, you’re a right-wing cult. See the inescapable logic now?!?

          1. Liberals still subscribe to the “one drop” rule for most things. if Soros gave a single dollar to Cato, he’d be a right-wing shill.

            1. Political cleansing?

              1. More of a “whore’s bath,” I imagine.

                1. Pits and tits.

        2. I still have very little idea who they are. Something to do with oil drilling logistics or something? And besides NOVA, I have no idea who they give money to. Nor do I care. I suspect that the left just picked them to be their George Soros-like boogey-man.

          1. Maybe NOVA and/or PBS are right-wing supporters? Jeez, the leftist memes are really hard to follow.

          2. The largest and most influential organization in the tea party movement is FreedomWorks, which was an offset of Citizens For A Sound Economy, which was founded by the Koches. From the Wiki article on CSE:

            Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) was established in 1984 by David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch of Koch Industries. “CSE received almost $5 million from various Koch foundations between 1986 and 1990, and David Koch and several Koch Industries employees serve as directors of CSE and the CSE Foundation.”

        3. Yeah. With Soros, I know that the hate-fest started with MoveOn.org. I’m not sure what the Kochs did to attract the obsession of the left.

      3. OH NOES THE KOCH BROS

        TY GIVE $$$ TO PBS!!!

    4. That’s true. My boatload of public union slaves will be arriving to work in my herb garden.

    5. “the Koch brothers are THE key opponent of the unions in Wisconsin; and yet that goes unsaid.”

      Not to mention unproven.

      By the way, did George Soros pay you for that post?

    6. KOCHTOPUSSS!!!111!!ELEVENTY!!

    7. Hey, where do I sign up to get my share of that sweet, sweet Koch money? Because that’s really the only reason I’m a libertarian.

      1. I’m sure a crack team of Masons is vetting you as we type.

    8. What interest do the Koch brothers have in public sector unionization? And why is a rich person spending money to support causes he believes in a bad thing?

      1. Because all rich people are bad – unless they give all their money away. And anyone who has a dollar more than someone else is rich.

    9. Damn, I never got my top hat, monocle, or decoder ring.

      Oh and they mention that the Koch’s are big supporters of Reason all the fucking time. Idiot.

    10. I thought for a while that the watermark on my checks was Cthulhu, but Lifafa has got me thinkin’…

  24. One thing that Americans beat all others is belief in conspiracy theories. I mean its as clear as daylight, the state is actually not facing bankruptcy its the Koch conspiracy making people think so.

    Another question for the conspiracy theorists: are the libertarians in Europe also under the spell of the nefarious Kochs ? Or is it that the evil Rothschilds at work there.

    1. You know who else thought a rich Jewish family was conspiring to keep a bunch of blonde, pasty people poor?

      1. Ach du lieber!

      2. Archie Bunker?

        1. Wait, you mean the Jews aren’t gone yet? Alright, put me back in the freezer box.

    2. Well it’s a well know fact, sonny Jim, that there’s a group of the five wealthiest people in the world known as the Pentaverate, who run everything in the world, including the newspapers. And meet tri-annually at a secret country mansion known as, the Meadows. The Queen, The Vatican, The Gettys, The Rothchilds and Col. Sanders before he went tets up. Oh, I hated the Col. with his wee beady eyes, and that smug look on his face, Oh your gonna buy my chicken, Oohh.

  25. Let’s be clear. Rich people don’t need all the money they have and don’t deserve to keep it all. Government, with the assistance of the unions, has a vital role to play in the process of redistributing wealth in a more equitable manner.

    1. Let’s be clear. Rich people don’t need all the money they have and don’t deserve to keep it all. Government, with the assistance of the unions, has a vital role to play in the process of redistributing wealth in a more equitable manner.

      I can not tell if this is fake Tony or real Tony.

      1. America will finally have justice for all once the government owns everything, everyone works for the government, and one union represents the best interests of all.

      2. Clearly a fake. Real Tony would have axed ‘don’t deserve to keep it all’ to replace it with ‘deserve to die horrible, painful deaths’.

    2. Re: Tony,

      Let’s be clear. Rich people don’t need all the money they have and don’t deserve to keep it all.

      Let’s be clear – that’s your opinion.

      Government, with the assistance of the unions, has a vital role to play in the process of redistributing wealth in a more equitable manner.

      You’re begging the question by assuming “equitable manner” is something desired or knowable, thus justifying government and unions.

    3. Real Tony, would say this, but he wouldn’t say it out of the blue, without context. I declare thee a spoof.

      1. We are all Tony.

      2. How do you know there IS a real Tony?

        1. I took a shit in Tony once.

  26. ** spit-take ** Let’s be clear: this is parody, right?

  27. “Despite what some among us would like to believe, it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children. And it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power. And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year.”

    – NEA General Counsel (now retired) Bob Chanin in 2009

  28. Peter,

    In your post you state that Wisconsin has unfunded pension liabilities of $77 billion. This is incorrect. The pew study you reference states Wisconsin has $77 billion in liabilities, 99% of which is funded.

    I repeat, Wisconsin’s liabilities are funded.

    1. Peter is a GOP hack and has no time to get his facts straight.

  29. How are the unions’ spending policies at odds with the taxpayers? After reading every link in Suderman’s article, it appears that there’s no mention of how the unions affected either the $82billion deficit of states nationwide, or the $77billion deficit of Wisconsin’s pension program. When Suderman asks at the end of the article, “Who’s really in need of a counterweight?”, I just plain don’t understand to whom he’s alluding. I really don’t even understand what he’s trying to say with the whole piece. Think you could clear it up for me?

  30. Big money? What you mean “big money”?
    Thanks!

  31. meh.. everything happens for a good reason !

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