Pensions

Wisconsin: the New Name for Excitement

|

At left, the value of a public school education is demonstrated.

Badger State Fever is spreading across the Midwest and all the way back to the original home of public pension peccadilloes.

Almost a thousand demonstrators turned out in Sacramento yesterday, only to find the capital hamstrung by a shortage of Republicans.

Government employee unions in California don't have as clear a target as their counterparts in the Wisconsin, but their fiscal situation isn't very different. The state needs to close a gaping deficit, and there is broad popular and political agreement that fat union contracts for government employees are, at best, not helping the situation.

In California, Democrats control both legislative houses by wide majorities and have a popular governor with a strong voter mandate. Yet the problem for public unions is the same. There just aren't enough mouth-breathing, phone-pwned Republicans to blame for it.

This is why the pension crisis is really a split within the Democratic coalition, which only looks like a Democrat/Republican issue. The container ships full of money you would need to solve (or even to keep ignoring) the problem just don't exist. You can put either party in charge, but nobody can make state budgets work without cutting compensation of government employees.

Gov. Jerry Brown was clear on this issue during the campaign, less so since taking office. But he is running out of time. From their spider holes in Orange County, Republican dead enders are upping the pressure on a governor whose campaign was largely bankrolled by organized labor. Assemblyman Allan Mansoor (R-Costa Mesa) has introduced a Wisconsin-type bill that would end collective bargaining by government employees. "Public sector unions have been a 50-year mistake," writes Jonah Goldberg, the most popular opinion columnist at the Los Angeles Times, who searches in vain for inspiring Joe Hill-type tales from the history of public labor organizing:

Do you recall the Great DMV cave-in of 1959? How about the travails of second-grade teachers recounted in Upton Sinclair's famous schoolhouse sequel to "The Jungle"? No? Don't feel bad, because no such horror stories exist.

Government workers were making good salaries in 1962 when President Kennedy lifted, by executive order (so much for democracy), the federal ban on government unions. Civil service regulations and similar laws had guaranteed good working conditions for generations.

A Gallup/USA Today poll shows widespread opposition to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's plan to nix collective bargaining:

According to the survey, 61 percent of adults across the country oppose Walker plan to strip public workers of their rights (maybe people are stuck on that word—"rights," as in something that can't be taken away by fiat). Drilling down a bit, not only do Democrats oppose the idea overwhelmingly (18 percent in favor, 78 percent oppose), but independents line up against the idea by a 2-to-1 margin (31-62). Only Republicans like it, and that by a relatively close margin (54-41). This is the second poll released this week showing that Walker's idea is unpopular.

Zogby, on the other hand, shows Americans pretty blithe about the prospect of just ripping up signed contracts:

Two-thirds of likely voters agree that state legislatures have the authority to cut state employee salaries and 52% agree they can void collective bargaining agreements to reduce spending.

Voiding collective bargaining agreements is also seen as preferable to continuing to pay state employees at current levels or layoffs of state workers in order to reduce spending and control deficits.

I'm beginning to think people who answer polls are not like me. It seems to me there's an obvious conflict of interest in having government employees use union leverage against taxpayers. It also seems like bad medicine to just up and void a contract that, no matter how bad it is, was signed by both sides. Yet here are the American people, ready to do both.

I don't think that can last. The political fight is only a distraction. There's an essential contradiction in public sector unionization, and it becomes more clear as the state budget crisis goes on. 

NEXT: Porker of the Month for Feb. 2011!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. there’s no contradiction in freedom of association. given the pay & benefits cuts the unions have agreed to, the remaining issue is pure union busting.

    1. Re: OhioOrrin,

      What does this:

      there’s no contradiction in freedom of association.

      have to do with this:

      given the pay & benefits cuts the unions have agreed to, the remaining issue is pure union busting.

      Not only that. This: “there’s no contradiction in [sic] freedom of association,” makes no sense.

      1. my comment was in response to the last sentence in the article.

        1. Re: OhioOrrin,

          my comment was in response to the last sentence in the article.

          Yeah, that didn’t help OO. It still pure, unadulterated nonsense.

          1. thx! may i have another

            1. Re: OhioOrrin,

              thx! may i have another

              No.

    2. I hope you’re right. Public sector union busting is the most important thing any politician could do right now.

    3. What’s wrong with union busting? Employees should have the right to form a union, and employers should have the right to tell them to go fist themselves if they don’t want to deal with them.

    4. “Agreed to”, or paid lip service to, hoping that they could quietly bring the status quo back once people get bored of the issue?

      I recall a certain former Egyptian dictator who “agreed to” elections. Of course, he ended up rigging the vote and arresting the opposition candidate.

      Unions, as organizations, are thieves at heart — that’s why their right to collect money from workers who don’t want their representation is so critical to their survival. And thieves will do or say anything to keep getting their way. In their own way, they’re more sociopathic than corporations, which are usually merely ruthless.

  2. Are biggest problem is are refusal to admit that are teachers, as well as are schools, our the best in the world.

    I just wanna ask all these corporate interests trying to break up the unions…OUR YOU KIDDING ME?!?

    1. Your right!

      1. Know way! Its not me whose write, its are working class and it’s message to are representatives.

  3. signed by both sides? The unions who bought and paid for the politicians they were negotiating with means that the Union was represented on both sides and the taxpayers were not on either!

    1. REAL AMERICAN is spelled allcaps, dude. Everyone knows that.

      He also writes in allcaps.

  4. I didn’t sign any contract between any politicians or unions. Yet I’m still expected to foot the bill.

    1. You just want to destroy the middle class!

      Hey, douchebag union fellators, please explain exactly how removing collective bargaining from public employees will “destroy the middle class”. Let’s go, morons: I await the amusement.

      1. Well, because:
        a) Employers have all the power (question begging assertion)
        b) Unions created the middle class (nonsense, and makes for circular reasoning)
        c) Contracts are contracts!

        The last one is easy to answer: A contract between two wolves to eat the lamb is null and void, as the lamb had no say in the agreement. Same with public leeches and government leeches: they cannot agree to suck the blood of the taxpayer and then declare the agreement valid.

        1. Let them answer themselves, OM. I want the laughs as they prevaricate and scrabble to explain one of their completely nonsensical talking points that they regurgitate without any awareness of how unbelievably stupid it sounds, because they’re mere partisan robots and don’t even fully understand why or what they do, just that they are on a team.

          Don’t take that enjoyment away from me.

      2. Hey, douchebag union fellators, please explain exactly how removing collective bargaining from public employees will “destroy the middle class”. Let’s go, morons: I await the amusement.

        I’m not a douchebag union fellator, but I have noticed the formula they use, and reduced to its simplest form, is the appeal to envy.

        “union’s collective bargaining prevent employers from taking advantage of the downtrodden, selfless employee” + “Employers are rich with lots of stuff and benefits, and employees should have the equal outcome that employers have” / “Collective bargaining ensures that those profits and benefits are equally distributed” = “Union members are on equal footing with rich evil employers so we can their stuff”

        1. Union members are on equal footing with rich evil employers so we can their stuff

          You accidentally a word there.

          1. “so we can have their stuff”

            Thank you omg! Apologies!

            1. That’s OK I’m just bustin’ your chops.

            2. You accidentally all their stuff.

          2. so we can their stuff

            that makes sense if you’re talking about unionized workers at a fish cannery.

      3. Somalian Road Corporations. Nuff Said.

        1. Somalian Road Corporation would be a good name for a libertarian punk band.

          1. I’m stealing it forthwith. Thanks!

  5. Governments are a monopoly.
    Private businesses are not.
    Governments extract money from people involuntarily.
    Businesses do not.

    If you can’t see the fiscal danger in unregulated unionized monopolies (with guns backing up the revenue collection) you are a fucking idiot.

  6. you are a fucking idiot.

  7. “According to the survey, 61 percent of adults across the country oppose Walker plan to strip public workers of their rights…”

    If you look closer at the sample size…1000 adults.

    So 610 people represent how all of Americans feel.

    I’m sorry, why can’t we trust the media, especially USA Today, anymore?

    1. What is the minimum sample size for a valid scientific poll of Americans? What does this tell us about the error bands?

      1. Answering my own question — from the Zogby website —

        The interactive poll of 2,017 likely voters has a margin of error of +/-2.2%. A sampling of Zogby International’s online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the U.S., was invited to participate. Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion, gender, and education to more accurately reflect the population.

        And from the Gallup website:

        Results for this USA Today/Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Feb. 21, 2011, with a random sample of 1,000 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the continental U.S., selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

        For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ?4 percentage points.

        There are actually arguments that the Gallup poll is biased low if this is a random dial of landline numbers, because many young people are now available only by cellphone, and they skew largely liberal.

      2. Its about 1500

        …and it’s supposed to be designed “omnibus” style, whereby you actually sample something like 10,000 potential respondents to get the 1500 who meet criteria roughly proportional to the demographics of the country/region you’re trying to gauge. Meaning, you’d want the right number of high income/low income, black vs white vs indian vs hispanic, age bands, etc. to correlate to the given population at large. If the response pile doesn’t coordinate exactly, you can do some weighting to clean it up, but the smaller the pool, the more tenuous that becomes.

        also important is who collects the data and how; in self-responding surveys (more frequent now), like Greenfield or Harris Interactive, you’re getting a high proportion of purposive ‘survey takers’; the most reliable (and somewhat costly) method is actually the old-school phone bank where they work with Axciom data sets and target groups to get a reasonably representative sample.

        1. Bastard… beat me to it.

          The gallup method (despite smaller sample) is in fact more reliable. Yeah, they can’t sample cells… but kids don’t vote, buddy! No, kidding, though… The truth is that phone surveys are more likely to get people to consider their answers as opposed to clicking on a checkbox multiple choice style. Actual direct communication is always better in surveys.

        2. Greenfield

          [insert 40 minute rant here]

          And I havent worked at that job in over a decade. The idiots at Harris at least are semi-competent idiots.

          1. Dude, I feel you.

            Doing surveys was always the lamest part of my life as a research analyst. After years of spending loads of client money on bespoke survey work, I usually was telling them to skip it and let us do the work ‘by hand’; stuff that Greenfield/Harris/TNS/others did was generally pretty useless in the end…

            One client once wanted to know how many dogs there were in Brazil (pet food company). They wanted to do a survey to find out. Seriously. I got paid more for *stopping* them… 🙂

    2. I’d be against the plan too if somebody told me it stripped people of their rights and I actually believed it.

    3. They should redo the poll, but phrase it as “Do you favor balancing the budget by making modest but effective cuts to the bugdets of various parasitic government agencies, or would you rather balance it by increasing taxes on the productive?”

      I wonder if that would change the results.

      1. Well of course blatantly lying about what the protests are about like you just did would change the result of the poll.

  8. I’m beginning to think people who answer polls are not like me. It seems to me there’s an obvious conflict of interest in having government employees use union leverage against taxpayers.

    But they are not leveraging! Taxpayers are paying for good services rendered! Public leeches – I mean, workers, deserve those benefits! At least, that’s what Tony/Edwin/The Truth (and the rest of the marxoid cabal) told me! Are they lying? Say it ain’t so, Shoeless!

    1. Seriously, go up to a cop and call him a leech. I dare you.

      What do you do, btw? You seem to have a lot of time for this crap.

      1. Really, Tony? Seriously?

        Why don’t you go up to a fagbasher and call him gay hating motherfucking asshole? Go ahead, I dare you. I guess if he uses violence against you, that somehow proves that you were wrong? That’s the logic you are using here.

  9. more to the point, Brown’s idea of tackling the fiscal doom that is the utterly fucked pension system in California was to say I have a plan on my website, and thus this was good enough for the likes of the LATimes and idiots like George Skeleton to say that Brown’s down with fixing the issue when he really is not. Thus you have nothing in his upcoming budget proposals that will address with any substance the money holes that are the states employee unions, primarily Teachers and Prison workers

    1. Teachers and Prison workers
      reply to this

      Ah, but you repeat yourself.

  10. David Koch talks with the Governor Scott Walker.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…..ded#at=570

    1. Sorry, dude – Neu Mejican beat you to the punch.

      1. Interesting that Reason is strangely silent on that story, and that they don’t include the Koch Bros’ angel relationship with the “Reason” Foundation with the story.

        1. “At this point, however, I would like to emphasize that I am not giving up and plan to exhaust every option in order to bring the Nonix to safety. I also welcome any suggestions or ideas.”

          Smith paused. “Because, frankly, I don’t have any myself.”

          An awkward silence followed for the next few seconds, and then Hanngush slowly raised a mechanical arm to speak.

        2. How are they silent? I first heard about it through Jesse Walker’s twitter feed.

        3. Cavanaugh has a link to a story about it in the very post you’re commenting on. Try paying at least a little attention.

    2. Here’s a link to the transcript
      (reposted from a previous thread)

      http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/116751499.html

      Here’s an edited transcript of the Buffalo Beast prank conversation with Gov. Scott Walker Tuesday, as reported by the Beast. Ian Murphy of the Beast poses in the call as David Koch, a billionaire contributor of Walker’s.

      …Koch: We’ll back you any way we can. What we were thinking about the crowd was, uh, was planting some troublemakers.

      Walker: You know, well, the only problem with that ?because we thought about that. The problem?the, my only gut reaction to that is right now the lawmakers I’ve talked to have just completely had it with them, the public is not really fond of this?[explains that planting troublemakers may not work.] My only fear would be if there’s a ruckus caused is that maybe the governor has to settle to solve all these problems?[something about ’60s liberals.]?Let ’em protest all they want?Sooner or later the media stops finding it interesting….

      1. Walker got punked!

        So – does that mean public worker unions can steal from the taxpayers after all? Hopefully, not.

        1. The implication is that Scott Walker is going to steal from taxpayers in cahoots with his corporate friends…as soon as he can get rid of those pesky unions.

          1. The implication is that Scott Walker is going to steal from taxpayers in cahoots with his corporate friends…as soon as he can get rid of those pesky unions.

            That is simple minded sound and fury melodrama even by your short bus standards, nueby.

            If anything, Walker comes across as principled for a politician.

            1. dowl…

              Is your sarcasm meter broken?

      2. Thanks to the commerce clause, we can now find him guilty of thoughtcrime. Lock him up, boys.

  11. There are two things I haven’t heard mentioned in Reason that I find somewhat disturbing: first, the bill that would partially end collective bargaining (not for police and fire, and only for benefits) also has a provision to eliminate competitive bidding for state assets proposed to be sold, and a state AG tweeting that the police should use live ammunition against protesters.

    1. rob – only 3 things to remember; hate unions, hate unions, hate unions. got it?

      1. My god, you’re an idiot.

      2. Not really. Reason generally does a good job of assailing statist tendencies of both sides. But I would like to see these sorts of things exposed to more light.

        The complainant in the first case is concerned that one of the potential buyers for state assets might be Koch Industries, as for state-owned power plants. Reason has in the past been forthcoming about their connection with Koch, but it seems to me like this is something that bears watching.

        1. Why would Koch Industries buy the plants?

          I wouldn’t be suprised who eventually gets them is a Walker donner (it’s generally safe to assume, given a politician, you also have a scumbag), but power plants aren’t one of their lines of business – they’re in petrochem, refining, and pipelines.

          The only place I’ve heard of them getting it is in speculations by liberal bloggers, and those rely on arguments for vertical integration, while the trend over the last 30 years in the industries I’m familiar with has been to view vertical integration as a liability, since you have to be nearly as good as the best company at every level of production in order to compete with goods put together via a best-of-breed strategy.

          My guess is Walker plans to sell them off if the $200 million that has to be payed back from the segregated funds raid under the previous administration ends up being due before the end of the fiscal year (the ruling that it needs to be paid back has been made, but the terms aren’t specified yet) and wants to be able to do it unilaterally.

      3. public unions.

    2. So if those problems were fixed, you’d be OK with the bill?

      1. Yeah, largely, assuming nothing else creepy made it in there. (That’s a pretty big assumption, though, given the governor seems to be shoehorning everything he can into this bill.) Public employee unions are Tammany Hall in a can — the corruption is engineered in.

    3. Re: Rob McMillin,

      also has a provision to eliminate competitive bidding for state assets proposed to be sold,

      No, it does not eliminate competitive bidding, it says it may or may not rely on bidding depending on the assesment of the department that is selling the asset, and that may be from a public utility to an old truck. This is not unusual since a sale may already have few takers in a given market and you don’t want to incur in extra expenses just to get rid of junk, or there’s already a contract for the purchase of certain assets, etc.

      […]a state AG tweeting that the police should use live ammunition against protesters.

      A tweet, you say? “We have the evidence we need, Watson! The game’s afoot!”

      1. UPDATE:

        a state AG tweeting that the police should use live ammunition against protesters.

        Radley Balko has just posted about this:

        https://reason.com/blog/2011/02…..re-gaddafi

        1. Good to see. Balko does really good work.

      2. Well, the important thing is that eliminating the auction requirement leaves the door wide open to abuse by the state. If the governor wanted to sell off a fleet of two-year-old cars for a dollar each to a campaign contributor, he could do that under that language. And I don’t know about you, but that’s corrupt.

    4. True (about the plants). It’s also strange just because it’s completely unrelated to the rest of the bill.

      It would be nice to see principled conservatives put pressure on them to strip out the no-bid language (the privatization is less critical). One less stick for the Democrats to beat them with.

  12. I love polls online. Is it any wonder that a poll after presenting one side of an argument and including a cartoon against the argument goes decidedly one direction?

    Jesus fuckin’ christ on a popsicle stick that is some shitty polling…

    1. http://img.photobucket.com/alb…..cture1.png

      Screen shot of the political cartoon and the poll.

  13. Keep Are Programs Alive!!

  14. Jesus… if you’re going to make a sign….I mean… …. ahhhhh….. I berate my 6 yr old niece for misspelling; why aren’t the other protesters beating this guy down and ripping his “Keep Are Programs” thing to pieces? Tolerance of blatant stupidity is tantamount to being stupid yourself. Thank you, protestor, for making me want to fire you all and replace you with Chinese and Indian hourly workers… *who spell better than you*

    My personal pet peeve is people who use ‘s to mean “plural”. Like, “many country’s have poor education”. God it makes me want to gouge eyeballs out. Its only going to get worse…i know. As soon as I have kids I’m moving somewhere without a TV or internet and letting them do nothing but read books and beat each other up until they’re 15.

    Thats how *I* grew up. Worked for me!

    Or at least I can fucking spell.

    1. Let’s guess which public sector union he belongs to. Anyone wanna start?

    2. You mean, like “60’s”?

      That’s a pretty common exception, though.

      1. That’s not an exception. It should be “the 60s”. No apostrophe.

        1. http://ethnicity.rutgers.edu/~…..ing/a.html

          Not written in stone. I recall the exception being noted in my writing handbooks (chicago handbook / bedford manual)

          Using an apostrophe to refer to a decade ? the 1960’s versus the 1960s ? is another matter of house style; again, journalists tend to use the apostrophe, and most other publishers don’t. I prefer to omit it: refer to the 1960s or the ’60s (the apostrophe indicates that “19” has been omitted), not the 1960’s or (worse) the ’60’s.

        2. When properly written “the ’60s” has an apostrophe.

      2. No, according the bedford handbook, I think the ‘s after a decade is in fact properly considered possessive, or at least is an exception to the usage rule. I don’t fucking know. I just know there’s nothing wrong with that.

        Whereas, “sixty’s” makes me want to take a baseball bat to some kneecaps.

        1. Can anyone explain to me why apostrophes are even necessary? In what situation would context not tell you whether possessive or plural or contraction?

          1. Do not question grammar. JUST OBEY!!!

            Fuck man, you’re telling me you can tell the difference between my cats whiskers and my cat’s whiskers? You’re a reading GENIUS! How many cats do I have?

            Also = how else are we supposed to write in cockney, gov’?

            1. sorry, that should have been,

              ‘ow else we a’sposed to write …

            2. did you mean “my cats’ whiskers” vs “my cat’s whiskers” because otherwise your example makes no sense?

              And clearly, if you have multiple cats, it would be “my catses whiskers”. Duh.

            3. Do not question grammar. JUST OBEY!!!

              Language is descriptive not prescriptive.

              Also, too many 19th century made up out of mid air grammar rules were based on latin, which is fucking stupid for a germanic language.

              1. I think you mean “Grammar is descriptive not prescriptive,” but I could be wrong.

                To my ears it is better to say that style manuals should follow usage rather than usage following style manuals.

                1. No, I meant language. Admittedly, its been over 20 years since I had the linguistic prof that I was quoting. So maybe he said grammar. But I think he was talking about the purpose of language.

                  1. He probably said “Linguistics is descriptive not prescriptive.”

                    But, who knows.

                  2. Look. Robc (robocop? watched it last night. Loved it again)…

                    Sorry, there are rules, then you can break them. One must know the rules (arbitrary though they may be) first, and then screw with them.

                    Never liked theorists. I studied writing. Theorists can’t write for shit. I don’t care if their arguments may be logically sound; writing is a craft, and if you don’t know how it works, you’re a retard. Saussure, I’m looking at you. Yeah, Derrida? You want some? Faulkner v Derrida in a 3 round match = GET SOME BITCH

          2. That’s how the Germans do it.

            1. Ewww.

              Oh, sorry… I lost the plot there. Got caught up in how Germans do it.

              My favorite mock of how Germans Do It was the end of Connecticut Yankee… it was sort of a, ‘who can bullshit harder’ contest… and he resorted to fake german to out bullshit anyone. Classic.

    3. These folks are all over it when photos of misspelled signs by Tea Partiers get published. But of course, assemble any large group of people together with signage, and some of them are bound to contain misspellings.

  15. Americans pretty blithe about the prospect of just ripping up signed contracts

    You cant sign a legit contract with the group that will also be the arbiter of any contractual disputes. Duh.

    1. I agree to pay you one trillion dollars to mow my lawn, don’t be surprised if I have to renegotiate on pay day.

    2. I can only point out that contracts get ripped up all the time in bankruptcy proceedings. Once people realize there’s not enough money to go around, negotiations are impossible to avoid and if you hold on long enough, you’ll get left out when the judge orders summary distributions. The states are bankrupt and therefore all contracts are subject to renegotiation. The alternative is the state goes bust, fires everyone and shuts down. Since its a state, it won’t do that, so really ripping up contracts should be considered an inevitable process.

  16. It occurs to me that all of this would be much less of an issue if we didn’t have so goddam many government employees in the first place.

    1. ^^THIS.

      There shouldn’t even BE any public school teachers.

  17. Can anyone explain how both of these can be true?

    1. Unions are the only thing standing between us and exploitation by our bosses, making us wage slaves.

    2. Unionized public workers aren’t making any more $$ than (non unionized) private workers. As a matter of fact, they’re grossly underpaid.

    1. They can if you applied Tony’s brand of polylogism! Yay!

      The incongruence goes away, as if by magic…

      1. However the incontinence, verbal or otherwise, you have to live with.

    2. (non unionized) private workers

      Why do you include the “non unionized” for private workers?

      1. The second claim implies that unionization brings no salary advantages. Comparing unionized public workers with unionized private workers would not be appropriate for testing that claim.

        1. Tulpa.
          I get that…but given the context he seems to be setting up an equivalency such that BOTH statements are claimed to be true. I have never heard anyone make the second claim in that form.

          1. The claim that public sector workers don’t make more than private sector workers is advanced all the time. Only about 5% of private sector workers are unionized, so the data doesn’t change much by excluding them.

            1. Last time I saw numbers:

              Public sector workers are about 36% union members.

              Private sector workers are about 7%

              Only about half of non-union members who are covered by union contracts are public sector workers.

              1. And, if I recall, there are about 14 million union members in the US total. And those numbers are about half and half private/public.

                It is no small trick to figure out an apples to apples comparison in this issue.

              2. 7.6 million union workers in the public sector, 7.1 in the private sector, to be exact. The private sector employs more than 6 times as many workers as the public sector, so the point about their influence on aggregate statistics being negligible still stands.

                1. For the context in which this was presented…nah. Almost 70% of public sector workers are non union.

  18. It occurs to me that all of this would be much less of an issue if we didn’t have so goddam many government employees in the first place.

    I agree. However, with the current stifling regulations so hostile to small business in place, the public sector overgrowth has given a haven to many unemployed people. Shut those jobs down and Greece ensues. Makework jobs is the lifeblood of this administration and even local and state governments.

  19. The contracts were made in bad faith by colluding parties. Sure they can be violated. And that USA Today poll asked if people supported “taking away” collective bargaining rights. Hardly an unbiased question.

    1. If the UAW paid Ford management to sign a contract that was bad for Ford, but good for the UAW, would that contract stand up in court?

      1. The public union contracts aren’t just a bad deal for taxpayers. They are IMPOSSIBLE to fulfill. The pension liabilities are far far beyond any reasonable revenue projections for the states.

        They might as well be promised a billion dollars each on retirement. A bogus promise is a bogus promise no matter how far beyond the reasonable line it goes.

        States cannot afford to pay what was promised and in addition those promises were given by insiders negotiating with other people’s money. It was a racket and it’s all coming to light.

        1. Of course they can afford it. The government has the power to tax, and collect taxes by force if necessary, so the total monetary holdings of every person and corporation in the state is at the disposal of the state to pay for its CBA obligations.

          1. How far do you want to travel down this “rabbit hole” before you admit its only a rabbit hole in theory and really has a nesting viper at the bottom of it. Taxation is a theoretical escape for the politicians, but a deadly result in reality.

          2. haha good one. I have this vision of a state populated entirely by public workers all earning $1million a year and being taxed 100% on it.

            1. It wouldn’t take nearly that level of taxation. You can’t Welch on a contract just because you don’t want to have to tighten your belt a little to fulfill the obligations you made through your elected representatives.

  20. Their is know evidents that are private school’s our any better then are public school’s.

    1. For all intensive porpoises, you our correct sir.

      1. Y’all think you are being funny, but I actually had the pleasure of reading a memo from the office of the Secretary of Defense that used “duplicity” when duplicative was what they were going for.

  21. There are a few other interesting tidbits in the Gallup poll:

    -No proposed method for balancing the budget gets majority support, but raising taxes is by far the least popular (27-71 vs 47-48 for cutting programs and 44-53 for cutting gov’t worker’s pay).

    -A slim plurality (46-45) think that public sector unions do more harm than good for states.

  22. It also seems like bad medicine to just up and void a contract that, no matter how bad it is, was signed by both sides.

    Welcome to sovereign immunity. Its not just for civil rights violations!

    Of course, tearing up contracts is what happens in bankruptcy, an option not available to the states. So, when faced with insolvency, they have to improvise.

    1. “It also seems like bad medicine to just up and void a contract that, no matter how bad it is, was signed by both sides.”

      You mean like what the Obama administration did to GM bondholders by fiat? And in violation of the law? You mean like that?

      1. Except the government didn’t have to do anything in that case. It just chose to impose its will. States being forced to choose between raising taxes and ripping up contracts most definitely have to do something and its more politically palatable to piss “some” people off than piss “everybody” off.

  23. Unions! LOL! They know they are dying and are trying to take us down with them. Too late. We pulled the plug!

    1. dude, you might want to modify your handle. There was a Neil here before. He was a bad person. Memorably bad. Maybe Neil1 or something. Anything. Just dont make me remember the other guy. He was a douche.

      1. WOW, thanks Gil…I had conveniently forgotten about Neil. Crap!

        Is “more” a poor choice for a safe word?

  24. In my opinion, being a state employee should be something you do for the same motivation that progressives think doctors should work for. You should do it out of the goodness of your heart, and not for any monetary rewards.

    Why can’t progressives be consistint in their beliefs about who should work for free?

    The honor of entering a noble profession such as teaching, firefighting, or policing, should be reward in itself.

    1. Or maybe the market should reward valuable jobs like those adequately, rather than figuring that a hedge fund manager is worth literally $5 million times a teacher. When a hedge fund manager can do exactly nothing for the good of anything.

      1. You’ll notice that the market rewards doctors adequately. Why do you think that is?

        1. Because they sell something that both very expensive and can’t ever go out of fashion?

          1. How about, because they are actually allowed to sell it at the market price?

      2. In Tonytopia, Tony will set the market value for all jobs, based on what he thinks they are worth. What could go wrong?

        1. I’m just saying, if the market says a worthless hedge fund manager is worth 5 million teachers, could it possibly be that the market is getting it wrong? Seems like a pretty strong case.

  25. I’ve been a state worker twice. First time was in state without public sector unions. The second time, I was in a unionized position at an agency that had mostly non-union positions.

    I do think that in both cases, I wasn’t paid as well in salary as private sector workers doing similar work, but the benefits were great in both jobs. They felt cushy in a lot of ways.

    I disliked being in a unionized position. I was ineligible for merit raises and got only step increases, which were always less than the potential merit increases my non-union co-workers were eligible for. It also limited the type of work I was allowed to do, so my job remained very static whereas non-union co-workers had much more flexibility about the direction of their work. I didn’t pay dues, only fees to cover the collective bargaining. I was at the job for over a year before any union representative contacted me a single time. This indicated to me that the marginal value of the dues they could have been collecting from me was smaller than the burden that actually dealing with me as an individual would have been. Still, it was weird because I expected to get a hard sell to join.

    I got laid off from that job due to budget cuts. I was offered a choice of severance pay or “help” from the union in finding another job at the same (huge) agency. The catch – they would only assist me in finding jobs in the same class, and in the same pay range or below, as the job from which I was laid off. Like I really wanted to deal with the limitations of that position again. I opted for the severance. The union rep I talked to about it got snide with me. “Oh, so you’re going to do it by yourself…”

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.