FDR's Ghost Is Smiling on Wisconsin's Governor Other Topics, posted by Patrick McIlheran, a resident of another community, on Feb 19, 2011 at 11:16 pm
Somewhere, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is grinning past his cigarette holder at Wisconsin's governor. They are on the same page regarding government unions.
Except that Scott Walker -- Republican cheapskate, his visage Hitlerized on signs waved by beet-faced union crowds besieging the Capitol -- is kind of a liberal squish compared to FDR. He's OK with some collective bargaining.
Walker, you might have heard, wants some changes in how Wisconsin deals with unions. He wants state employees to pay 5.8% of their salaries toward their pensions (they pay almost nothing now) and he wants them to cover 12.6% of their health care premiums (their share would go up from $79 a month to about $200; the average private-sector sap pays about $330).
Unions are enraged. They've been calling such increases unspeakable since Walker was elected handily in November. Then, Feb. 10, Walker went further. He'd allow public-sector unions to negotiate only pay, not benefits, mainly because he wants HSA-style health plans and 401(k)-style retirements for state workers, and unions would fight that, tooth and ragged red claw.
So unions erupted. Teachers faked illness in such numbers as to close school districts for days. Mobs beat on the doors of legislative chambers. And in some heavenly Hyde Park, the great liberal god of the 1930s is saying he saw it all along.
Roosevelt's reign certainly was the bright dawn of modern unionism. The legal and administrative paths that led to 35% of the nation's workforce eventually unionizing by a mid-1950s peak were laid by Roosevelt.
But only for the private sector. Roosevelt openly opposed bargaining rights for government unions.
"The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service," Roosevelt wrote in 1937 to the National Federation of Federal Employees. Yes, public workers may demand fair treatment, wrote Roosevelt. But, he wrote, "I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place" in the public sector. "A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government."
And if you're the kind of guy who capitalizes "government," woe betide such obstructionists.
Roosevelt wasn't alone. It was orthodoxy among Democrats through the '50s that unions didn't belong in government work. Things began changing when, in 1959, Wisconsin's then-Gov. Gaylord Nelson signed collective bargaining into law for state workers. Other states followed, and gradually, municipal workers and teachers were unionized, too.
Even as that happened, the future was visible. Frank Zeidler, Milwaukee's mayor in the 1950s and the last card-carrying Socialist to head a major U.S. city, supported labor. But in 1969, the progressive icon wrote that rise of unions in government work put a competing power in charge of public business next to elected officials. Government unions "can mean considerable loss of control over the budget, and hence over tax rates," he warned.
There was "a revolutionary principle rather quietly at work in American government," he wrote.
The principle was working at about 100 decibels in Wisconsin's Capitol last week, once the union drum-beaters got going. What worked them up was the money they'd concede, they said, but even more that Walker would make their unions surrender the control they'd gained over every government budget.
Walker, like other Republicans, was long accused of hating government. For eight years as chief executive of heavily Democrat Milwaukee County, he would not raise taxes, which opponents said showed his contempt for government.
Yet all this past week, he praised public employees and he said the work government does is so necessary, taxpayers should get as much of it for their money as possible. Meanwhile, thousands of schoolteachers on the Capitol lawn manifested their intent to obstruct Government and their belief that the tots back at Roosevelt Elementary could darn well spend a day or three watching Nickelodeon at home.
And, to beat all, the president who now professes to be the new Reagan weighed in to say Walker was being unduly mean to unions. President Obama gave no audible word on whether unions were being unduly mean in shutting down schools.
Walker, good Republican, is no FDR but he is offering Wisconsin a new deal, lower-case. Wisconsin's been a seedbed of bad ideas since it hatched Progressivism, and for years it's stuck with unionized government even as the price swelled. Walker's radical shift is to try securing necessary government at a better price. The unions, whose model depends on making government labor as costly as taxpayers will bear, object.
May they be haunted by the ghost of the 32nd president, and his little dog, too.
Posted by Socialist Not!, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm
When Regan gave state employees collective bargaining rights the unions were reasonable. Government employees also made 30% less salary than those in private industry. Now the Unions-- SEIU and ASFME are trying to strangle the California tax payer. Union employees have 40% better salary and 70% better benefits than their private industry counterparts.
The Unions have pushed their avarice to the extreme. California needs to follow Wisconsin's lead and restore fiscal sanity.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2011 at 1:12 pm
"Union employees have 40% better salary and 70% better benefits than their private industry counterparts."
I'd appreciate support for that statement. Can you provide that?
Even so, shouldn't we correct that by bringing all levels up, rather than suppressing all American workers further? Don't we owe that to our great country? Or you prefer to "slash and burn" American workers, one segment at a time, until they come to gore your ox?
Reagan was dealing with good, nice "reasonable" unions back in the day? That doesn't wash with the right wing meme of alleged corrupt unions, with Hoffa-like images they were selling at the time.
Who would have thought that the right loved unions back then?
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2011 at 7:54 pm
Thanks for helping with the point.
Union employees make a couple bucks, but, wow, look at management! Seems like the "bosses" (ie.. the various town councils) of those on that management list should be more involved in corralling them in. Or maybe they are worth it, I don't know those particulars. But those are not union gigs.
Am waiting for studies that show averages, not exceptions (like those non-union managers) to prove: "Union employees have 40% better salary and 70% better benefits than their private industry counterparts."
But seems like you may have a beef with management, and their bosses.
Posted by Thomas, a resident of the Menlo Park: Sharon Heights neighborhood, on Feb 20, 2011 at 8:23 pm
Anonymous, exactly what was going through my mind while reading Hank's thread. I also don't see anyone in Congress from either party giving up their lucrative pensions which include A+ health benefits for life. Just easier to point the finger at those darn unions. Shouldn't management (especially public in public service) be setting the example since they expect their workers to be grateful for a job?
Posted by Carol Liebau, a resident of another community, on Feb 21, 2011 at 6:59 am
There’s no doubt that the government-union protests taking place in Madison, Wisconsin are about fiscal responsibility, and the public sector learning to live within its means. But they’re also about much, much more. Above all, the conflict is about whether Americans will continue to be divided into two different classes: Government workers, and the rest of us.
For years, public employees have exhorted their fellow Americans – those who are paying their salaries – to pay their “fair share” of ever-higher taxes. But the tax increases have served less to improve state and local services than to provide pay and benefit packages that now substantially outstrip those available in the private sector.
According to the Department of Labor, when it comes to hourly wages, the average in the private sector is $19.68 per hour; for workers in state and local government, it’s $26.25. While 74% of private-industry workers receive paid sick leave and 8 paid holidays per year, 98% of state and local government workers have paid sick leave, along with 11 paid holidays yearly. And 99% of government workers have retirement benefits (with the same percentage enjoying medical benefits), compared to 74% and 86% respectively of private sector employees. Finally, in the private sector, an average of 20% of medical premiums are paid by employees, while state and local government workers pay only 11% on average. By almost any measure, it pays to work for the government – subsidized by taxpayer money and unconstrained by the economic discipline imposed on the private sector by the need to compete -- rather than as a taxpaying employee in a private enterprise.
In fact, in light of the figures above, it’s remarkable to witness the outpouring of rage and protest that has resulted from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s insistence that his state’s public workers pay for roughly 6% of their own pension costs (up from nothing now) and around 12% of their own health care benefits (up from 6% currently, which is well below average even for state and local government employees). It seems that government workers feel entitled to reject the kind of “tough choices” that have been forced on the private sector by the Great Recession.
But it’s tough to claim an entitlement to continuing economic special treatment, courtesy of taxpayers in tough economic straits. So perhaps it’s no surprise that in recent days, Wisconsin’s government-worker unions have focused their ire on a bill that would limit collective bargaining rights for many state workers (excepting police, firefighters and other public safety workers). Under the bill, government-worker unions would retain the right to bargain collectively for their wages – but not for their benefits, which have been so generous that they threaten the solvency of a variety of states throughout the country.
The government-worker unions' hysterical opposition to the Wisconsin collective bargaining bill – echoed and encouraged by the President and Democratic National Committee – signals an acknowledgment by both the unions and liberal politicians that the legislation represents a structural threat to a system that has benefited both of them. As the system currently works, government-worker unions collect dues from their members that are used, in significant part, to support Democrat politicians who are then voted into office and charged with “bargaining” with the government unions that supported them. It has worked splendidly for everyone involved – except the ordinary taxpayer who’s stuck paying the bill. So any legislation that would impede the continued operation of this cozy system and encourage further taxpayer-friendly reform is, not surprisingly, anathema to both the unions and the politicians.
Americans should expect the Democrat- and union-backed protests in Madison to continue, spread and even, perhaps, to intensify. Special interests don’t relinquish their privileges without a fight. But when the conflict finally ends, let’s hope it has served as a reminder to the government worker unions and the politicians who support them: They are supposed to be working to serve the taxpayers – not the other way around – and, in America, we won’t tolerate the continued existence of a special, privileged class of government overlords.
Posted by spike, a resident of the Menlo Park: The Willows neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2011 at 9:17 am
Sadly you are misinformed -
The Unions have agreed to all the money issues (healthcare, pension payments etc. - The attempt to destroy the union movement by removal of their collective bargaining rights is the issue causing the protest as well as obviously anti union efforts like the proposal to require to union to be re-certified each year by a vote.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2011 at 10:03 am
Hank, "socialist not":
You have failed to provide documentation, so here's a comprehensive study, but with some clear charts. You'll stammer on about how it's a communist conspiracy or such. Web Link
Includes by category of education - high school, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate and Professional Degrees.
"Wisconsin public servants already face a compensation penalty"
Public servants are lower in every category, although they are close at the level of high school educations.
"The figure below shows that when comparing the total compensation (which includes non-wage benefits such as health care and pensions) of workers with similar education, public-sector workers consistently make less than their private–sector peers. Workers with a bachelor’s degree or more—which constitute nearly 60% of the state and local workforce in Wisconsin—are compensated between $20,000 less (if they just have a bachelor’s degree) to over $82,000 a year less (if they have a professional degree, such as in law or medicine)."
How much of a discount do you feel working Americans should give to serve their community? How much would you give away?
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm
For days now, the unions have offered a compromise taking the FULL cuts, though "Carol"'s copy and paste of the article from townhall did not include that.
"Wis. Gov. Walker rejects union offer to accept concessions" Web Link
So, no supporting links for claims supposedly from the Dept of Labor.
Incorrect assertions about the unions' concessions.
That's a compelling argument? That doesn't seem like your style.
I prefer the fact based discussion about Wisconsin: "Workers with a bachelor’s degree or more—which constitute nearly 60% of the state and local workforce in Wisconsin—are compensated between $20,000 less (if they just have a bachelor’s degree) to over $82,000 a year less (if they have a professional degree, such as in law or medicine)" Web Link
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm
Sorry, anonymous but we have to disagree. (I suspect we will both survive this temporary discordance.)
Just four months ago, Wisconsin voters turned out in force to toss out their incumbent and very liberal senator (Russ Feingold, who I happen to respect for his honesty and consistency) and also elect a new governor. The current governor ran on this platform and won by a six point margin. His actions should not come as a surprise to Wisconsin voters or the union.
It is interesting that 48% of Americans appear to support the Governor Walker and only 38% appear to support unions. Web Link
Your assertion that the unions agreed to these concessions ignores the fact that they refused to make ANY concessions until the governor pushed back. So, is the governor going to far by trying to eliminate collective bargaining? Perhaps. But only 24 states currently provide collective bargaining rights to public employee unions. Web Link Interesting that Wisconsin was the first state to grant this right... they will probably be the first to rescind it.
I think the reason for the this discontent is the economy. While most Americans are cutting back during this economic slowdown, the hiring, salary increases, pensions and spending by our government (at all levels) continues. It will cause some pain and discomfort to be sure. But if we can tighten our belts, so can they. So SHOULD they.
And the squawking about cutting even $60 billion from a $3,500 billion budget (that's less than 2%) seems absurdly low to me.
"”As you may know, Gov. Scott Walker has proposed a plan to limit the pay of government workers and teachers, increase their share of the cost of benefits, and strip some public-employ unions of much of their power. We’d like to know if APPROVE or DISAPPROVE of Gov. Walker’s plan.”
Approve: 43% Disapprove: 52%"
Any new poll that includes the fact that the unions have agreed to FULL cuts and contributions will, imho, show an even greater response in favor of the workers. And even though few nationally seem to be aware of those concessions, they certainly are in Wisconsin.
As you pointed out, Wisconsin had been on the forefront of protections for labor over the years. Lovely trivia: the town of Union, Wisconsin? There's SEVEN of them.
Union, Wisconsin in Burnett County, Door County, Eau Claire County, Pierce County, Rock County, Vernon County and Waupaca County.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2011 at 6:58 pm
Sorry, Interested, but I never blamed employees.
Many times I have blamed elected officials for the complicity in this compensation scam. I hold union leadership equally responsible. Together, they have created a completely unsustainable system that is bankrupting our governments.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2011 at 7:10 pm
Again: Wisconsin is not about a budget crisis that has been ginned up, or liabilities down the road.
The unions have offered to agree to the FULL cuts.
This is about union busting.
Walker has a track record as being anti-worker. Before becoming gov, he fired a bunch of county security guards, replaced them with private contractors, supposedly to save money.
Turns out, they didn't save anywhere near what they thought they would save. And then it got really bad for the budget buster, um, I mean union buster:
"Article | January 10, 2011
Milwaukee County must offer to reinstate 26 courthouse security guards who were laid off nearly a year ago when then-County Executive Scott Walker replaced them with private guards as an emergency budget measure, according to an arbitrator's decision issued Monday. Milwaukee County must offer to reinstate 26 courthouse security guards who were laid off nearly a year ago when then-County Executive Scott Walker replaced them with private guards as an emergency budget measure, according to an arbitrator's decision issued Monday. Walker was sworn in as governor last week. The county did not have a true budget crisis at the time..." Web Link
But they did after Scott was through!
And for real fun, Scott hired Wackenhut as the outsourced guards.
Wackenhut - the Animal House in Kabul guards. Taking vodka shots from between their compadre's "cheeks" while guarding the US EMBASSY. Web Link
So: hire the vodka embassy guys, pay more for them than he thought, then have to reinstate the legitimate workers and pay back pay. Take a phony, mocked up budget crisis, screw up big time, and now they owe real money.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2011 at 7:28 pm
It may well be about union busting. In this case it's a good thing. Civil service employees should not be allowed to unionize. FDR was right. And that's coming from an ex-civil service union member. The problem with civil servants having collective bargaining rights is that the citizens don't have a seat at the table. The union reps are there and the politicians they have bought and paid for are there. No one is there to actually speak for the TAX PAYER. We are tired of being screwed. There was no belt tightening among civil servants in the last two years. They just kept collecting their salary and benefits while the rest of us had our pay cut 20, 30, 40 percent or more. If civil servants had felt some of the TAX PAYER's pain we might not be having this conversation. But they didn't and their arogant indignance that they are being asked to is to their own detriment. As FDR said, collective bargaining by civil servants interferes with the function of government.
Posted by new guy, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2011 at 8:42 pm
This is the way I see it. When I need protection from something (FDA, etc.) I hope the government provides it and provides it efficiently. If I need protection, the police provides it. If my house is on fire, the fireman come and put it out. So the government protects me and I pay for that. So how come government workers NEED PROTECTION from the government? This is something I just don't get. Why do government workers get to unionize? Who are they asking protection from? WHO???
Posted by just a thought, a resident of another community, on Feb 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm
Exactly correct, Menlo Voter.
Unions of government employees create unacceptable conflicts of interest.
This is one of many ways in which the government has become representative not of the interests of citizenry, but of its own interest.
There is coming a great conflict between the citizenry and an enormous, powerful and non-responsive government which no longer represents the common interest of the citizen.
An indifferent, ignorant and self-involved citizenry will awaken too late, only to discover our rights and powers have silently, incrementally been eroded, seduced away from us. There will be only one winner, and it will not be we.*
*(yes, 'we' is correct. Nominative form, the verb of being does not take an object.)
Posted by Ed, a resident of the Menlo Park: The Willows neighborhood, on Feb 21, 2011 at 10:03 pm
I have to agree with "spike" on this one -- it isn't primarily about the budget. "Carol" and several others keep going to the well on a number of arguments that have already been shown to be false. The one that gets repeated most often is how state employees are being greedy and refusing to sacrifice or negotiate. That is absolutely false -- as several folks here have already pointed out, the unions have agreed to take a number of cuts.
The one thing they are not willing to do is give up on collective bargaining rights. Some folks posting here have slammed that point home, but I fundamentally disagree that collective bargaining is a bad thing (but that would be a big posting in itself).
Anyway, I'd like to see people at least argue from the facts at hand instead of the ones they are making up.
For example, the Governor of Wisconsin is clearly not arguing from principle given that he excluded both firefighters and police from the proposed ban on collective bargaining. Why would that be, if the principle is that collective bargaining is bad, and that the unions must be reigned in?
Simple -- for the unions that vote strongly republican, he supports bargaining rights -- for those who don't, he doesn't. It is total hypocrisy. If he were truly arguing on principle, and opposing ALL collective bargaining I'd have more respect for him. I'd still disagree, but at least I could respect a coherent position. But when it is so blatently political rather than economic or principled, then I just get...annoyed.
Posted by Daniel DiSalvo, a resident of another community, on Feb 22, 2011 at 1:24 pm
When Chris Christie became New Jersey's governor in January, he wasted no time in identifying the chief perpetrators of his state's fiscal catastrophe. Facing a nearly $11 billion budget gap — as well as voters fed up with the sky-high taxes imposed on them to finance the state government's profligacy — Christie moved swiftly to take on the unions representing New Jersey's roughly 400,000 public employees.
On his first day in office, the governor signed an executive order preventing state-workers' unions from making political contributions — subjecting them to the same limits that had long applied to corporations. More recently, he has waged a protracted battle against state teachers' unions, which are seeking pay increases and free lifetime health care for their members. Recognizing the burden that such benefits would place on New Jersey's long-term finances, Christie has sought instead to impose a one-year wage freeze, to change pension rules to limit future benefits, and to require that teachers contribute a tiny fraction of their salaries to cover the costs of their health insurance — measures that, for private-sector workers, would be mostly uncontroversial.
The firestorm that these proposals have sparked demonstrates the political clout of state-workers' unions. Christie's executive order met with vicious condemnation from union leaders and the politicians aligned with them; his fight with the public-school teachers prompted the New Jersey Education Association to spend $6 million (drawn from members' dues) on anti-Christie attack ads over a two-month period. Clearly, the lesson for reform-minded politicians has been: Confront public-sector unions at your peril.
Yet confront them policymakers must. As Christie said about the duel with the NJEA, "If we don't win this fight, there's no other fight left." Melodramatic as this may sound, for many states, it is simply reality. The cost of public-sector pay and benefits (which in many cases far exceed what comparable workers earn in the private sector), combined with hundreds of billions of dollars in unfunded pension liabilities for retired government workers, are weighing down state and city budgets. And staggering as these burdens seem now, they are actually poised to grow exponentially in the years ahead. If policymakers fail to rein in this growth, a fiscal crack-up will be the inevitable result.
New Jersey has drawn national attention as a case study, but the same scenario is playing out in state capitals from coast to coast. New York, Michigan, California, Washington, and many other states also find themselves heavily indebted, with public-sector unions at the root of their problems. In exchange, taxpayers in these states are rewarded with larger and more expensive, yet less effective, government, and with elected officials who are afraid to cross the politically powerful unions. As the Wall Street Journal put it recently, public-sector unions "may be the single biggest problem...for the U.S. economy and small-d democratic governance." They may also be the biggest challenge facing state and local officials — a challenge that, unless economic conditions dramatically improve, will dominate the politics of the decade to come.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2011 at 3:40 pm
Whomever posted Mr DiSalvo's article above from 5 months ago should have just posted a link, or at least identified it and given credit to the author and the original posting.
Assume it's the same as the person who posted Carol Liebau's article, again, without identifying such.
"The public strongly opposes laws taking away the collective bargaining power of public employee unions as a way to ease state financial troubles, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll."
More current than the automated Wisconsin poll that shows public support for the unions. Web Link
Doesn't have the faulty question methodology of Rasmussen's recent poll. Even though the AFL-CIO polls released today were by independent pollsters, I suspect anti-union folks here wouldn't give it credibility. Web Link
America stands up for saving working families, the backbone of the great American Middle Class.
Posted by Ironludes, a resident of another community, on Feb 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm
To have read through these posts from the inhabitants of this, the richest slice of the United States, while the world is dissolving rapidly with slightly more significant issues, it is really a glimpse of the lack of character which comes when money remains the main concern.
Why, we don't even have the need to discuss pirated bible folk murdered on what some called a yacht---imagine the audacity! Or even the increasing terrorism (NOT on MY land) yet everyone of you seems to have a local government's health cost breakdown on Union Workers who probably risk their lives to save you in some way.I admit that I enjoy being rich as hell and capable of enjoying the best life has to offer, but it is just too odd how many of you are either involved in politics or government (they are different here), but I imagine a lot of resentment still comes from having seen the Jackling house bite the dust. My condolensces to the sensitive ones.
With my limited medical background, and overwhelming exposure to all kinds of cultures and its people, I conclude that most of you need to get away from this protective shell known as the PENINSULA.
It is perhaps because you might "lose your place in line" should you begin to think more broadly.
As it is, you all continue to have these types of discussions which do not really change because this is a world unto its own.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2011 at 7:57 pm
For someone so worldly and "above" the trivial issues of San Mateo County, Ironludes seems to be extraordinarily well versed about them. Me thinks he doth protest too much.
First, what makes Ironludes think that we don't comprehend, discuss or comment on other issues that impact our world? Do you think The Almanac is our only news source?
Second, regarding your comment that we resent those "Union Workers who probably risk their lives to save you in some way," you couldn't be more wrong. We don't resent them at all. But the hard truth is that the current level of government growth in terms of hiring, salaries, benefits and pensions, is unsustainable. Some of us do not want to see them suffer the same fate as auto workers and airline pilots whose pensions no longer exist. When compensation is unsustainable, the only thing that will happen is the collapse of the employer. Fortunately, more people are recognizing this alarming situation everyday.
We are humbled that you took the time from such a busy travel schedule to honor mere commoners with such inspiring advice.
Posted by Menlo Voter, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2011 at 8:06 pm
Ironludes is clearly R. Gordon under yet another pseudonym. The usual garbage about the "peninsula" gives him away.
Mr. Gordon: we are all so unimpressed with your worldly experince and your hob knobbing with the rich and famous. Please. Spare us your diatribes unless you have something of substance to offer. Thank you.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:57 pm
Nice link. from that:
"NORRIS: Governor Walker of Wisconsin is claiming that unionized public sector employees have it better than private sector employees. Is that actually true when it comes to wages and benefits?
Prof. HURD: If you look at raw information, just bare, looking at wages and how much people are paid, public sector workers indeed are paid more than private sector workers. That's in any state, whether it has unions or not.
However, public sector workers tend to have much higher education levels. So if you compare by education level, private sector workers earn about 10 percent more than public sector workers for any given level of education.
And then if you narrow it further and look at the more professional occupations, then public sector workers' deficit compared to private sector workers on wages is about 25 percent. "
Not altogether different than previously cited study on Wisconsin workers:
"Workers with a bachelor’s degree or more—which constitute nearly 60% of the state and local workforce in Wisconsin—are compensated between $20,000 less (if they just have a bachelor’s degree) to over $82,000 a year less (if they have a professional degree, such as in law or medicine)" Web Link
Posted by Ethan, a resident of the Menlo Park: University Heights neighborhood, on Feb 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm
How come the police, firefighter, and prison-guard unions always get left out of these cost-cutting initiatives, even though they have gold-plated benefits? Could it be that they tend to trend Republican?
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Feb 23, 2011 at 4:07 pm
"How come the police, firefighter, and prison-guard unions" got left out?
Because, in Wisconsin, they made a pre-election deal with Walker, for their endorsement, they would retain collective bargaining rights.
Kind of penny wise, pound foolish, in my estimation. Once walker breaks most of the unions, he comes after them and there's no union brothers and sisters left to support them. Apparently, they've recently had a change of heart.
Can't imagine why....
And everyone has seen Walker for what he is after that call he got busted for today - a pawn for the Koch brothers, who have big energy interests in the state, and want to see union busting go national.
My guess? Unless he pulls a rabbit out of his hat, Walker's gone before the end of his term after that call gets played around, and his union busting.
Maybe Arnold can win in the recall in Wisconsin!
In California, similar events recently. Meg had bribed some law enforcement unions the same way, hence the "wh***" comment flap. She got owned in the debate over that one.
Posted by Steve, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Feb 23, 2011 at 4:24 pm
Getting back to the original article, Patrick Mcliheran made a statement that stuck in my craw: "Wisconsin's been a seedbed of bad ideas since it hatched Progressivism".
Such bad ideas as:
- the nation's first effective workers' compensation program to protect people injured on the job
- laws to regulate factory safety
- limiting working hours for women and children
- passing forest and water power conservation acts
- encouraging the formation of cooperatives
- laws providing for state control of corporation stock issues
- laws providing for stricter regulation of insurance companies
The Wisconsin Idea, as it came to be called, was that efficient government required control of institutions by the voters rather than special interests, and that the involvement of specialists in law, economics, and social and natural sciences would produce the most effective government. Progressives believed that the business of government was to serve the people. They sought to restrict the power of corporations when it interfered with the needs of individual citizens. The Progressive Movement appealed to citizens who wanted honest government and moderate economic reforms that would expand democracy and improve public morality.
Posted by Who R the real perpetrators, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Feb 24, 2011 at 12:20 pm
From Daniel DiSalvo's post:
When Chris Christie became New Jersey's governor in January, he wasted no time in identifying the chief perpetrators of his state's fiscal catastrophe.
Funny how the unions get blamed for a state's fiscal problems after their pension plans went in the toilet thanks to the Wall Street crumbsnatchers. Maybe this is a bait and switch to keep us sheeple from contemplating who the real perpetrators are?
""But I find it disturbing that Governor Walker apparently considered disrupting the protests. A transcript of a faux call to the governor from a man he believed was conservative icon and top Walker donor David Koch finds "Koch" offering to help Walker out by, "planting some troublemakers" among the demonstrators. Walker's reply:
'We thought about that....'
"Really, Governor, you thought about that? The governor of Wisconsin actually thought about planting people in the crowds who might turn these peaceful protests into something ugly? "
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Feb 24, 2011 at 6:59 pm
You say Republicans will nominate Mubarak/Walker and you have the temerity to suggest I could do better? Really? Back at ya... And my suggestion about John Edwards wasn't really so far fetched.
Don't ask me to defend a stupid remark made by a rookie governor during a private, pranked conversation and I won't ask you to defend prepared remarks from veteran Vice President Joe Biden.
We've seen a few conflicting polls about voter sentiment. Here's a poll from TODAY'S MADISON WISCONSIN newspaper. Seems to be just as much support for that hated governor as the beloved unions. Given all the miscues by the governor, this should be pretty unsettling to public employees. And remember, this is in Madison, Wisconsin, which may be the most liberal city in America. Web Link
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Feb 24, 2011 at 8:39 pm
"That's what people say when they don't like the results."
Sometimes. It is also what a writer will put in their story when they really want to say "this thing is a load of hooey."
Don't know anyone who blamed the Supreme Court for an *election.*
I still don't understand how they put themselves in the 2000 recount. Or how they came out with a decision they said was essentially a "one-off" decision which couldn't be used again.
Or why certain members, appointed by petitioner's father, did not recuse themselves.
Or why a group of folks who so firmly believe in the Constitution and states rights, disagree with Steven's statement:
""The Constitution assigns to the States the primary responsibility for determining the manner of selecting the Presidential electors . . . When questions arise about the meaning of state laws, including election laws, it is our settled practice to accept the opinions of the highest courts of the States as providing the final answers. On rare occasions, however, either federal statutes or the Federal Constitution may require federal judicial intervention in state elections. This is not such an occasion.""
Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of the Menlo Park: Sharon Heights neighborhood, on Feb 25, 2011 at 8:36 am
The Federal Courts have jurisdiction over all cases involving two citizens of separate States. Bush v. Gore involved citizens of Texas and Tennessee. The Federal Courts appropriately had exclusive jurisdiction.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Feb 25, 2011 at 9:39 am
The issue before the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore was that the Florida Supreme Court's method for recounting ballots was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
All of this is just a bit off topic.
PS - The Wisconsin Assembly - with Democrats present - voted to approve the bill yesterday. The bill goes to the Wisconsin Senate today.
It's somewhat ironic that when California Governor Jerry Brown is able to speak directly to Republicans and actively seeking their help over a similar budget issue, Wisconsin Senate Democrats chose to hide from the Wisconsin Governor. Regardless of your political bent, this is not exactly a profile in courage.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Feb 25, 2011 at 9:43 am
By the way, in Bush v. Gore, seven of the nine justices (including Breyer and Souter) agreed that there was an Equal Protection Clause violation in using different standards of counting in different counties.
Also, several newspapers performed their own independent election audits and found that Bush won Florida under almost every possible recount scenario.
If you would like to throw others at this to bolster your point, please note dates. This was completed a couple years afterward.
The consortium of news organizations that sponsored the NORC Florida ballot project is made up of:
* The New York Times,
* The Wall Street Journal,
* Washington Post Co.,
* Tribune Publishing,
* Associated Press,
* St. Petersburg Times and The Palm Beach Post.
The New York Times owns The Boston Globe, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and the Lakeland Ledger among others. Washington Post Co. owns The Washington Post and Newsweek. Tribune, based in Chicago, owns the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, among others.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Feb 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm
And you failed to mention my point in your citation. It's not up to me to make your argument.
But Gore didn't want a statewide recount, did he?
The Washington Post (and yes, I am well aware that they were part of the NORC consortium) article makes the ironic finding that both Bush and Gore were unknowingly working against their own interests. In the end, the Supreme Court only cared that the Florida recount was done FAIRLY and EQUITABLY (ie, you can't count ballots one way in Dade County and another way in Brevard County - something Gore's side insisted on...). Since the Florida Supreme Court didn't obey the prior direction of the Supreme Court - at least in the opinion of 7 of the 9 Supreme Court justices - they were ordered to stop.
I suppose there will always be those who can't let go the blue stained dress or an old drunk driving conviction (or Palin or Mubarak or whatever). I think this thread would be more productive if we focused on something from this century like the current financial crisis in our government.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Feb 26, 2011 at 6:23 pm
Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.
Like those who forget how bad the republican party is at fiscal issues (Reagan tripled the debt, Bush doubled it, both cut revenue in favor of the wealthiest and left recessions for the middle class.)
re: "I think this thread would be more productive if we focused on something from this century ..."
You brought up the election out of the blue ("Kinda like people who blame the Supreme Court for an election") much like you did with Edwards and Spitzer.
And just now, the blue dress and a dui.
So you are concerned about the past, too.
Just that you are concerned with sex scandals. Others are concerned with learning form past presidents that drove our economy into a ditch, forsaking the middle class for the wealthiest contributors.
And if we remember their mistakes, the sudden republican "fiscal concerns" (after ignoring them when they are in power) seem most curious.
Especially after that Goldman Sachs report this week advising their clients that severe cuts in spending will hurt the economy by a couple percentage points. Web Link
"Spending cuts approved by House Republicans would act as a drag on the U.S. economy, according to a Wall Street analysis that put new pressure on the political debate in Washington.
The report by the investment firm Goldman Sachs said the cuts would reduce the growth in gross domestic product by up to 2 percentage points this year, essentially cutting in half the nation's projected economic growth for 2011."
We have to grow out of this recession. Cutting only delays recovery, usually at the expense of those who suffer the most.
Grow the economy when you are in power, that's the mantra. That's why republicans NEVER cut when they are in power (see Reagan, Bush above.)
Posted by A citizen, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Feb 27, 2011 at 11:23 am
Going forward it should be 2% at 60 for existing Menlo Park employees starting immediately and for future employees no pensions but have City matching 401Ks for the first 3% of employee contributions. All City employees should pay 25% of actual health care premiums.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Feb 28, 2011 at 11:32 am
Linda Chavez, an ex-liberal states it the best:
"What is unique and dangerous about public employee unions is that they, in essence, elect their own bosses."
"Taxpayers pay for these higher wages and benefits. And who benefits? The public employees, of course, but also their unions."
"The National Education Association alone will receive $358 million in its share of union dues nationally this school year -- virtually all of it taken automatically out of teachers' paychecks and turned over to the union by their government employer. Big Labor is a multi-billion dollar business."
This will continue as long as the taxpayers continue to simply pay their taxes and shut up.
Posted by Truth in Jokes, a resident of another community, on Mar 6, 2011 at 10:45 am
A CEO, a tea party member, and a union worker are all sitting at a table when a plate with a dozen cookies arrives. Before anyone else can make a move, the CEO reaches out to rake in eleven of the cookies. When the other two look at him in surprise, the CEO locks eyes with the tea party member."You better watch him," the executive says with a nod toward the union worker. "He wants a piece of your cookie."
"This little game, pitting one group of working class voters against another, isn't just a trick, it's THE trick."