Making Political Sense: Taming the Taxpayer-funded Beast
By: James Miller
“All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management.
" The very nature and purpose of government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with government employee organizations.
“Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of government employees.”
In a letter to Luther Steward, president of the National Federation of Federal Workers, none other than Franklin D. Roosevelt understood the importance of preventing government workers from unionizing.
Considering FDR’s iconic status with labor, one would think that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to eliminate compulsory collective bargaining for public employees would be met with more sympathy.
Instead, the bill has caused massive protests from Wisconsin state employees.
Some on the left, such as Harold Meyerson from The Washington Post, are comparing the demonstrations to those in Egypt that occurred a few weeks ago.
Call me crazy but a mass movement to remove a 30-year tyrant does not rank on the same level as state workers losing their ability to force others to pay dues for union representation.
The truth of the matter is that states and municipalities across the country are essentially broke.
Unfunded pension liabilities account to nearly $3 trillion in states alone. It is not a matter of raising taxes to cover budgetary shortfalls, it has come down to cutting the level of unsustainable spending.
Twenty-four states are “right to work” states where public employees are barred from unionizing. Gov. Walker campaigned on making Wisconsin a “right to work” state and was elected accordingly.
In President Obama’s words, “elections have consequences.”
So while teachers and other state workers stormed Wisconsin’s capital claiming to be doing it “for the kids,” 40 percent of teachers in Madison called off sick in protest. The result was that schools had to shut down for the day. It was all done at taxpayer’s expense.
Spare me the drivel of “doing it for the kids.”
Senate Democrats have even resorted to fleeing Wisconsin in order to avoid voting on the bill. They know Republicans have the votes to pass the measure.
So in the name of democracy for state workers, Democrats are delaying the democratic process which Wisconsins opted for at the ballot box.
Mike Shedlock, owner of the financial blog “Mish’s Global Economic Analysis,” sums up unionization in one simple word: extortion.
Collective bargaining, as it is presently known, is not “collective” in the least. Employers are forced to recognize and consider labor contracts. Companies are held liable to legal prosecution if they refuse to acknowledge such requests.
What has been a granting of a “right” to workers has been the elimination of the “right” for companies to pay and provide employees with whatever work conditions they see as fit.
Labor proponents must realize that bargaining exists in every occupation. It occurs whenever an employee and employer mutually agree to engage in a working contract in the initial hiring process.
If, in the period of employment, a worker is unsatisfied with his or her pay and working atmosphere, nothing stops them from leaving. Free market capitalism promotes this concept efficiently when the barriers to entry for start-ups and workers are eliminated and regulation does not drive up the cost of labor.
Unionization causes both of these. By bidding up the cost of labor, businesses are unable to invest in new workers and expanding their market. Unions protect current employees at the expense of potential workers.
While Gov. Walker should be praised for his effort to make Wisconsin a “right to work” state, his proposal does not go far enough. Police and firefighting personnel are exempted from the proposal, mainly due to their endorsement of Walker during this campaign.
Still, his proposition is a good step toward fiscal sustainability for a state with $63 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.
Just do not tell that to the unionized teachers whose devotion to “the kids” is overshadowed by their devotion for taxpayers to fund their pensions.
Better late than never. The Patriot News was supposed to run the article but I think since Walker passed the bill, its a bit dated.
Now onto one of the best videos since "Quantitative Easing Explained"
In other news, Sen. Rand Paul has introduced legislation to balance the budget in five years:
SPENDING:Chances of this passing? I doubt it will even make it through the budget committee. Still, Rand Paul continues to impress.
· Brings spending near historical average in very first year
- Reduces spending by nearly $4 trillion relative to the President's budget
- Achieves a $19 billion surplus in FY2016
- Brings all non-military discretionary spending back to FY2008 levels
- Requires the process of entitlement reform, including Social Security and Medicare, with final implementation by FY2016
- Does not change Social Security or Medicare benefits
- Block-grants Medicaid, SCHIP, foods stamps, and child nutrition
· Provides the President's request for war funding
- Reduces military spending 6 percent in FY2012
· Eliminates four departments:
- Department of Commerce (transfers certain programs)
- Department of Education (preserves Pell grants)
- Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Department of Energy (transfers nuclear research and weapons to Department of Defense)
· Repeals Obamacare
· Never exceeds $12 trillion in debt held by public
· Creates $2.6 trillion less in deficit spending relative to the President's Budget
· Extends all the 2001 and 2003 tax relief
· Permanently patches the alternative minimum tax
· Repeals Obamacare taxes
I will end with a great Forbes article from Patrick Michaels highlighting the inefficiencies of the taxpayer funded Chevy Volt:
Once again, taxpayers get their bang for the buck. Michaels doesn't let Obama's pet-CEO Jeffrey Immelt off the hook either:Sitting in a Volt that would not start at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, a GM engineer swore to me that the internal combustion engine in the machine only served as a generator, kicking in when the overnight-charged lithium-ion batteries began to run down. GM has continually revised downward its estimates of how far the machine would go before the gas engine fired, and now says 25 to 50 miles.It turns out that the premium-fuel fired engine does drive the wheels--when the battery is very low or when the vehicle is at most freeway speeds. So the Volt really isn't a pure electric car after all. I'm sure that the people who designed the car knew how it ran, and so did their managers.Why then the need to keep this so quiet? It's doubtful that GM would have gotten such a subsidy if it had been revealed that the car would do much of its freeway cruising with a gas engine powering the wheels.
You gotta love crony capitalism. Last summer I wrote an article on the inefficiencies of the Chevy Volt. It was supposed to appear on the American Thinker but never did. Still, even back then I predicted the Chevy Volt would be a horrible investment for taxpayers (as if we had a choice to invest in it anyway). It feels good to be vindicated.Recently, President Obama selected General Electric ( GE -news - people ) CEO Jeffrey Immelt to chair his Economic Advisory Board. GE is awash in windmills waiting to be subsidized so they can provide unreliable, expensive power.Consequently, and soon after his appointment, Immelt announced that GE will buy 50,000 Volts in the next two years, or half the total produced. Assuming the corporation qualifies for the same tax credit, we (you and me) just shelled out $375,000,000 to a company to buy cars that no one else wants so that GM will not tank and produce even more cars that no one wants. And this guy is the chair of Obama's Economic Advisory Board?