…NOBODY DENIES THE RECESSION HAS TANKED STATE REVENUES. That's why even progressive governors have been making budget cuts -- and why Wisconsin's state unions conceded to Walker's demands for higher pension and health care contributions. WHAT THE UNIONS ARE RIGHTLY RESISTING IS A SHIFT IN THE LONG-TERM BALANCE OF POLITICAL POWER that undercutting collective bargaining would represent.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS IS ABOUT POWER, NOT BUDGETS? Even as they go after the unions, Walker and his Republican legislative allies are also trying to change the makeup of future Wisconsin electorates in their favor. THEY ARE PUSHING TO END SAME-DAY VOTER REGISTRATION (WHICH CURRENTLY EMPOWERS YOUNGER VOTERS, WHO ARE MORE LIBERAL THAN THEIR ELDERS AND MOVE AROUND MORE) AND TO PASS ONEROUS VOTER ID LAWS THAT WOULD ESPECIALLY BURDEN LOWER-INCOME VOTERS….
E.J. Dionne sees this as an attempt to change the makeup of future Wisconsin election by ending same-day voter registration and to pass “onerous voter ID laws” (requiring a ID to vote—the dogs).
Actually you can turn the argument around. Why did Wisconsin allow same day registration to begin with if it wasn’t a plot by the Democrats to change the future Wisconsin electorate? What’s sauce for the goose….
How Big Labor Became Little Labor
WHAT WE ARE WITNESSING IN WISCONSIN AND ELSEWHERE IS THE DEATH KNELL OF BIG LABOR. Once upon a time, most Americans could identify the head of the AFL-CIO. He was George Meany, the cigar-chomping ex-plumber who ran the union federation from 1955 to 1979. He was one of the nation's great power brokers, much quoted and wooed by presidents. It's doubtful that as many Americans can name Meany's present successor. (Answer: Richard Trumka, ex-head of the mine workers' union.)
The American labor movement has been in eclipse for decades, but public- sector unions were one of its few remaining bastions. Now, their power too is waning. STATES AND LOCALITIES FACE LONG-TERM BUDGET SQUEEZES. LABOR COSTS REPRESENT ROUGHLY HALF OF THEIR SPENDING, notes the Cato Institute's Chris Edwards. Pension and retiree health benefits are underfunded. Teachers' unions are being pressed to weed out poor performers. All these unions are on the defensive. Critics are less Republicans than taxpayers and parents.
It's hard for us to recall now how dominant unions were immediately after World War II. By the mid-1950s, unions represented 36 percent of private-sector workers
A good history of the labor movement in the country. And yet another pundit analyzes why there is such a storm in Wisconsin as labor unions are fighting for their lives.
Upending Our Caste System
As Wisconsin flips its wig, there has been A GREAT DEAL OF DISHONEST, ILL-INFORMED, AND INDEED KNAVISH COMMENTARY on the relationship between public-sector unions and the fiscal conditions of the states. THE THRUST OF THESE UNENLIGHTENING ANALYSES HAS BEEN THAT PUBLIC-SECTOR UNIONS ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR THE DIRE FISCAL SITUATION facing Wisconsin and many other states. The general shape of the Left’s argument here has been that of a compound error with two distinct components: 1) THE INABILITY TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE SHORT-TERM PROBLEMS FACING STATES AS A RESULT OF THE RECENT RECESSION AND THEIR LONG-TERM FISCAL PROBLEMS; 2) THE MUCH MORE SERIOUS CONFLATION OF COLLECTIVE-BARGAINING RIGHTS WITH UNIONS’ POLITICAL POWER.
Definite worth the read and then continue on to another analysis below.
The Privileged Class
The manufactured Madison, Wis., mob is not the movement the White House was hoping for. BOTH MAY FIND THEMSELVES AT THE WRONG END OF THE POPULIST PITCHFORK. While I generally defend collective bargaining and private-sector unions (lots of airline pilots in my family), it is the abuse by public unions and their bosses that PUSHES CENTRISTS LIKE ME TO THE GOP. It is the right and duty of citizens to petition their government. The Tea Party and Republicans seek to limit government growth to protect their pocketbooks. Public-union bosses want to increase the cost of government to protect their racket..
1. PUBLIC UNIONS ARE BIG MONEY.
Public unions are big money…..Of the top 20 biggest givers in federal-level politics over the past 20 years, 10 are unions; just four are corporations. The three biggest public unions gave $171.5 million for the 2010 elections alone, according to The Wall Street Journal. That’s big money.
2. PUBLIC UNIONS REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH.
Michael Barone sums it up: “public-employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party.”
3. PUBLIC UNIONS SILENCE THE VOTERS’ VOICE.
In effect, the unions sit on both sides of the table and collectively bargain to raise taxes while the voters’ voice is silenced. …. The proposals offered by Gov. Scott Walker would avert 5,500 layoffs of public employees and save $300 million.
4. PUBLIC UNIONS ARE UNNECESSARY.
The primary purpose of private-sector unions today is to get workers a larger share of the profits they helped create. …The government is a monopoly and it earns no profits to be shared. Public employees are already protected by statutes that preclude arbitrary hiring and firing decisions
Collective bargaining is a way to negotiate how to share the profits in the private sector. In the public sector that doesn’t exist. Collective bargaining in the public sector is how more the taxpayers can or should pay the public sector and it becomes a problem when the taxpayers make on average less than the public sector’s average pay and benefits are.
Who is killing the public unions?
Some people, like the tens of thousands of protesters in Madison and the tens of millions of Americans who agree with them, believe that THE VILLAINS ARE SCHEMING CORPORATE INTERESTS, FOX NEWS, TEA PARTY ‘FANATICS’ AND OPPORTUNISTICALLY POPULIST POLITICIANS LIKE SCOTT WALKER.http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2011/02/27/blue-state-dems-turn-on-state-local-workers/
Many of their opponents agree that the right is responsible, though from their point of view THE TEA PARTY AND POLITICIANS LIKE WALKER ARE THE GOOD GUYS, and the public sector unions are the ones in the black hats.
In fact, both sides are wrong. Despite the differences in rhetoric, killing public sector unions is a nonpartisan policy in the United States. While Republicans are more explicit about their goal, and want to move faster, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS ARE BOTH TAKING STEPS THAT WILL SOON REDUCE THE PUBLIC SECTOR UNION MOVEMENT TO A SHADOW OF ITS CURRENT SELF.
LOOK AT RAHM EMMANUEL, NEWLY ELECTED MAYOR OF CHICAGO. Chicago is a dark blue city in a deep blue state; Emmanuel is a career Democratic pol who served as chief of staff to the most liberal American president elected in many years. And what is Emanuel doing?
The mayor-elect was cagey on the subject during the campaign, but massive tax increases are off the table, and so are big bailouts from Washington DC. ACCORDING TO TIME MAGAZINE, THE CAMPAIGN HAS SPOKEN CRYPTICALLY ABOUT SAVING $110 MILLION from reducing “outdated and duplicative work processes to focus on front-line service delivery.” TRANSLATE THAT OUT OF BUREAUCRATIC NEWSPEAK AND IT MEANS GETTING MORE WORK DONE WITH FEWER PEOPLE: LAYOFFS. Emanuel says that the city’s generous pensions need to be preserved, but may also have to be, ahem, renegotiated. This does not sound like a renegotiation up.
Strip away the fluff and the rhetoric and it looks as though Chicago’s new mayor plans to balance the city budget primarily through layoffs and cutbacks.
This is the dirty little secret. The left will howl and protest cutbacks by right wing governors, but they will quietly accept those by left wing governors and politicians. The reason is it has to be done and the left knows it.
What Journalism Isn’t
On Sunday morning, the economics analyst and TV commentator BARRY RITHOLTZ DROPPED A BOMBSHELL ON HIS BLOG: ROGER AILES, THE POWERFUL PRESIDENT OF FOX NEWS, WILL BE INDICTED IN CONNECTION WITH ALLEGEDLY TELLING A NEWS CORP. EXECUTIVE TO LIE TO FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS, according to Ritholtz's blog post.
The story, which was based on what an unnamed source told Ritholtz, quickly boomeranged around the Web and Twitter. Several well-read web sites, including Business Insider and Political Wire, picked up the report….
…Ritholtz, for his part, describes his attitude in writing the post as "passing along what an informed person had said."
"If it's true we'll find out. If it's not, no big deal," he says. "We'll see where this goes."
Just a reminder, don’t believe everything you read on the internet. I try to make sure when I’m quoting a story that it is backed up or I will give the limitations on what you are reading.
THE HILL POLL: On shutdown, more voters would blame Dems
Twenty-nine percent of likely voters would blame Democrats for a government shutdown, compared to 23 percent who would hold Republicans responsible, according to a new poll conducted for The Hill.
THE RESULTS ARE SURPRISING BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE BLAMED THE GOP FOR THE LAST GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN, which occurred during President Clinton’s first term. A week before the 1995 shuttering, polls showed the public blamed Republicans by a two-to-one-margin.
The results are only surprising if you’ve been living in a cave for the past 4 years. The Democrats have set an all time record for deficit spending and people want it stopped. Shutting down the government because you want not to cut spending is not going to woo the majority of Americans. But a poll like this will probably make the Democrats think twice before the filibuster or Obama vetoes the spending bill.
Bernard Nathanson: A Life Transformed by Truth
FEW PEOPLE, IF ANY, DID MORE THAN BERNARD NATHANSON TO UNDERMINE THE RIGHT TO LIFE OF UNBORN CHILDREN by turning abortion from an unspeakable crime into a constitutionally protected liberty. Someday, when our law is reformed to honor the dignity and protect the right to life of every member of the human family, including children in the womb, historians will observe that FEW PEOPLE DID MORE THAN BERNARD NATHANSON TO ACHIEVE THAT REVERSAL…..http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2011/02/2806/
…..BY HIS OWN ESTIMATE, HE PRESIDED OVER MORE THAN 60,000 ABORTIONS AS DIRECTOR OF THE CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE AND SEXUAL HEALTH, PERSONALLY INSTRUCTED MEDICAL STUDENTS AND PRACTITIONERS IN THE PERFORMANCE OF ABOUT 15,000 MORE, AND PERFORMED 5,000 ABORTIONS HIMSELF. In one of those abortions, he took the life of his own son or daughter—a child conceived with a girlfriend after he had established his medical practice. Writing with deep regret in his moving autobiography The Hand of God (1996), Nathanson confessed his own heartlessness in performing that abortion: “I swear to you, I had no feelings aside from the sense of accomplishment, the pride of expertise.”…
It is always interesting to read a story like this one. From one of the main people who got abortions legalized to one of the most harsh critics of the procedure and the maker of the movie, The Silent Scream, Dr. Nathanson died last week and was buried in blessed ground by the Church he first demonized and later converted to.
Union Friends’ Pockets
In Wisconsin, ABOUT 64 PERCENT OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS CARRY HEALTH INSURANCE OFFERED BY WEA TRUST, an organization created by and still very closely AFFILIATED WITH THE WISCONSIN EDUCATION ASSOCIATION, Inc. (WEAC), according to a 2010 report by the Education Action Group Foundation and the MacIver Institute.
Collective bargaining has helped the WEA Trust grow. Gov. Scott Walker’s office has said that making it such that NO DISTRICT IS REQUIRED TO BUY INSURANCE THROUGH THE WEA TRUST COULD REDUCE HEALTH-CARE COSTS BY $68 MILLION A YEAR, noting that “many school districts participate in WEA Trust because WEAC collectively bargains to get as many school districts across the state to participate in this union-run health insurance plan as possible.”
Coverage offered by the WEA Trust is generous. “WEA Trust offers what is commonly known as the ‘Cadillac’ of school employee health coverage,” the Education Action Group Foundation report states. “It earned that moniker for two very good reasons — THE HEALTH COVERAGE IS VERY THOROUGH, AND THE COST TO LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS IS VERY HIGH.”
One hand washes the other. Meanwhile the taxpayers get hosed.