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Tax payers sent a message to public employee unions

pilotyip

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WSJ editorial 3-17-11
Anyone who thinks voter anger over tax increases, arrogant government officials and outsized public employee pay has died down should look at what happened in Miami on Tuesday. Mayor Carlos Alvarez, a Republican, was recalled by a vote of 88% to 12%. County commissioner Natacha Seijas was tossed out by a similarly lopsided margin.

What incited the voter eruption was Mr. Alvarez's mishandling of a budget crisis and $400 million deficit. Instead of tightening spending, the mayor and city council approved an intensely unpopular 14% property tax increase to raise $178 million—though home values in south Florida have collapsed by as much as half. He supported pay raises for public employees, who already pull in more than the average Miami resident, and at a time when family incomes have been flat or falling. He padded the six-figure salaries of his staff because, he claimed, their work load had increased.

What really seems to have sent the recall into nearly unanimous territory is that the mayor and his government used both taxpayer and union funds to finance their fight to stay in office. Government agencies joined public employee unions to launch a PR blitz defending the mayor, the tax hike and the pay increases. Thousands of transit, water and sewer and park department employees received pay for the time they were deployed in an "education" campaign to retain the mayor and keep the tax increase. When the county manager was asked about this use of scarce tax dollars, he responded: "What are we supposed to do? Surrender?"

The recall campaign was partly financed by billionaire Norman Braman, who once owned the Philadelphia Eagles, but Republicans may want to take note that among the voters most enraged by the taxes and government extravagance were low- and middle-income Hispanics. Thousands of residents wore shirts and carried signs saying "vote si."

Union protesters in Madison, Wisconsin have commanded the headlines of late, but what happened in Miami on Tuesday is a reminder that the taxpayer revolt against elected officials who treat voters like cash dispensers is alive and well. Every Governor and Member of Congress should be warned
 

maru657

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Of course, Yipster, that recall could have been because the tax that idiot installed was highly regressive. Typical modern ryndian, hitler youth thinking.
 

livin'thesim

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It's very satisfying to see those smug public employees finally answering for their stubborn greed.

By the way, Maru, only teenagers still use the hitler analogy on the internet anymore. Godwin's law and all that.

But call us hitler all you like, since all it does is diminish your credibility as a thinking, serious adult, and make you look like the aforementioned emotional teenager.
 
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pilotyip

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It's very satisfying to see those smug public employees finally answering for their stubborn greed.

By the way, Maru, only teenagers still use the hitler analogy on the internet anymore. Godwin's law and all that.

But call us hitler all you like, since all it does is diminish your credibility as a thinking, serious adult, and make you look like the aforementioned emotional teenager.
In the light of the Walker victory, this thread started in Mar of 2012 seems even more significant. The lower income private workers are done with this tax and give to public employees. It is not the nasky greedy GOP, but the 67% of the people calling themselves "Blue Collar" workers than supported Walker and his efforts to bring reality into public employee compensation and benefits. There is hope we may avoid becoming Greece.
 

pilotyip

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It's very satisfying to see those smug public employees finally answering for their stubborn greed.

By the way, Maru, only teenagers still use the hitler analogy on the internet anymore. Godwin's law and all that.

But call us hitler all you like, since all it does is diminish your credibility as a thinking, serious adult, and make you look like the aforementioned emotional teenager.
In the light of the Walker victory, this thread started in Mar of 2012 seems even more significant. The lower income private workers are done with this tax and give to public employees. It is not the nasty greedy GOP, but the 67% of the people calling themselves "Blue Collar" workers than supported Walker and his efforts to bring reality into public employee compensation and benefits. There is hope we may avoid becoming Greece.
 

Whistlin' Dan

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In the light of the Walker victory, this thread started in Mar of 2012 seems even more significant. The lower income private workers are done with this tax and give to public employees. It is not the nasty greedy GOP, but the 67% of the people calling themselves "Blue Collar" workers than supported Walker and his efforts to bring reality into public employee compensation and benefits. There is hope we may avoid becoming Greece.
Yeah. "We" can become like Honduras instead. Which is OK if you live in the plantation house, not-so-good if you're the guy up in the tree chopping down the bananas all-damn-day.

It's kind of hard to resolve words like "greedy" and "childish" when you're talking about the billionaire Koch Bros...
 

pilotyip

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Yeah. "We" can become like Honduras instead. Which is OK if you live in the plantation house, not-so-good if you're the guy up in the tree chopping down the bananas all-damn-day.

It's kind of hard to resolve words like "greedy" and "childish" when you're talking about the billionaire Koch Bros...
So the Blue Collar workers are going to turn this into a Banana republic with their vote, with their lower taxes, with their growing private sector jobs, is this what is going to happen?
 

tubineotter

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I don't know how it happened but this thread lead me to learn what potash is?!
 

Whistlin' Dan

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So the Blue Collar workers are going to turn this into a Banana republic with their vote, with their lower taxes, with their growing private sector jobs, is this what is going to happen?
I don't know what's going to happen. Ask any number of leading economists, and they'll all tell you what's going to happen. The problem is, they'll disagree with one another on exactly what that is.

It was an interesting (and brilliant, politically) move on Walker's part to separate the police and firemen's unions from his effort to reduce the power of collective bargaining. Interesting, because police and firemen tend to make considerably more than other public sector workers...a cost that increases exponentially when shifted into the pension system. Brilliant politically, because he knew that he couldn't fight all the unions. Either he or his successor will be back later to deal with the police and firemen.

Or maybe he won't. In which case, taxpayers will be left paying the salaries of $60-$70-$80,000/yr policemen (many of whom work in administrative capacities...I.E., "paper-pushers") while the really good teachers seek work in other industries or other locales altogether.

"Growing, private-sector jobs" covers a lot of territory. Laying off a $60,000/yr teacher "shrinks" government (a good thing), while creating a $10,000/yr fast-food position creates "growth in the private sector" (also a good thing). Of course, if the only jobs that are being created are in the fast-food and service industries, maybe we don't need that many teachers after all.

Time will tell.....
 
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pilotyip

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Laying off a $60,000/yr teacher "shrinks" government..
But teachers were only laid off in three disricts where the union contract would not allow any change. Throughout he rest of Wisc, teachers were not laid off, in fact many were hired, the school suddenly were showing a surplus and having smaller class sizes.
 

Whistlin' Dan

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But teachers were only laid off in three disricts where the union contract would not allow any change. Throughout he rest of Wisc, teachers were not laid off, in fact many were hired, the school suddenly were showing a surplus and having smaller class sizes.
I'm not really familiar with the specifics, mainly what was reported in the national press. It's being reported that the pro-Walker, anti-union forces (Koch Bros, et al) outspent the recall effort by an 8-to-1 margin. If so, it portends a pretty grim future for the true root source of our nation's prosperity...the American middle-class.
 

pilotyip

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I'm not really familiar with the specifics, mainly what was reported in the national press. It's being reported that the pro-Walker, anti-union forces (Koch Bros, et al) outspent the recall effort by an 8-to-1 margin. If so, it portends a pretty grim future for the true root source of our nation's prosperity...the American middle-class.
Go back to the first post from March of 2011, this is the middle class tired of gov't benefits for public employees.

Read some more, GOP outspent 2:1, the Dem's union bank was nearly broke from the money spend in Ohio, Indiana, and Wisc. It was the middle class blue worker who voted 67% in favor of Walker. They want their taxes to go down as they are. This is a grass roots movement of tax payers tired of continued increased taxes to support public benefits not available to the average middle class worker.

The battle of Wisc is a seminal showdown over whether government union power can be tamed, and overall government reined in. The alternative is higher taxes until the middle class is picked clean and the U.S. economy is no longer competitive. Voters said in November that they want reform, and Mr. Walker is trying to deliver. The people of Wisconsin understand that this battle is ultimately about their right to self-government.

BTW From another thread, tell me in your response which private company provides this?
Originally Posted by CiFIknow
I apologize, but I was a public employee at one point. I spent 12 years working in County government before I started flying. For my 12 years of service I will collect $28,000 per year after I turn 50, until the day I die. That is in today's dollars, subject to cost of living adjustments after I begin collecting.

If I had stayed until I could retire at full pension (which is age 55), I would have collected 93% of the average of my highest five years of salary. If I would have stayed until retirement I would have picked up as much overtime as I could during my last (highest) five years of work to bolster my pension to be way out of proportion to what I would have made during a regular five year period. Saw every one of my elderly co-workers do just that. My pension would not be subject to bankruptcy or pawning off to the PBGC. It is guaranteed money paid for by whom?? Yes, the taxpayer.

Name me a private sector job that will guarantee you 93% of your salary when you retire, without risk. There are none. Name me a private sector job that would pay you $28,0000/yr. at age 50 for just 12 years of service. Again, there are none. If I was altruistic I would give the money back to the government to help pay down their debt, but I worked in government too long to know that they won't spend the money as wisely as I will.

Corporations have a feduciary responsibility to their shareholders to make a profit. Government has no feduciary responsibility to its shareholders (i.e. taxpayers) to be fiscally responsible. Government just comes back to the taxpayers and says they "need" more money to provide services. They have no bottom line. Government Bureaucrats think they have a tap into an endless well of resources to do what they please. We are at the tipping point where the public sector is almost as large as the private sector. Once the public sector outnumbers private...we will be just like Greece.
 
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Whistlin' Dan

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Go back to the first post from March of 2011, this is the middle class tired of gov't benefits for public employees.

Read some more, GOP outspent 2:1, the Dem's union bank was nearly broke from the money spend in Ohio, Indiana, and Wisc. It was the middle class blue worker who voted 67% in favor of Walker. They want their taxes to go down as they are. This is a grass roots movement of tax payers tired of continued increased taxes to support public benefits not available to the average middle class worker.
Whether the spending was 8-to-1, 7-to-1, or something in excess of 2-to-1 (the most reliable number I've seen) the fact is that the recall effort was seriously outspent by the opposition. Money buys influence. That why so much of it is spent on political campaigns on the days leading up to elections, or in this case, a recall. We don't know how much influence it brought to this recall, but the final vote was close enough (53% to 46%) to raise questions about what the middle-class really wants from their Governor vis-à-vis public unions, especially when the police and fire unions were specifically excluded from his efforts to "reform" them. If cost to the taxpayers was the core-issue and his plan for reform was "so popular among the people," why exclude those groups?
The battle of Wisc is a seminal showdown over whether government union power can be tamed, and overall government reined in. The alternative is higher taxes until the middle class is picked clean and the U.S. economy is no longer competitive. Voters said in November that they want reform, and Mr. Walker is trying to deliver. The people of Wisconsin understand that this battle is ultimately about their right to self-government.
There is no question that government unions can be tamed...Ronald Reagan proved that in 1980. Whether any politician has the will and political capital to do so is another matter. I think this recall was more a showdown between the ability of big-money to influence political outcomes and the right of ALL workers to bargain collectively. Scott Walker ran on the platform of reforming public unions, not that of gutting them entirely. His actions in this case were clearly a post-election switch-up on his part, and probably led in-part to his recall. Voters tend to respond negatively to politicians who lie, break promises, or carry out secret agendas after they're elected.

There's no question that wages and benefits (inc. pensions) granted to many public employees have gotten out of hand. The question is whether effectively gutting their unions is the most reasonable and politically-sustainable way of correcting that. This recall shows us that it may not be.

BTW From another thread, tell me in your response which private company provides this?
Originally Posted by CiFIknow
I apologize, but I was a public employee at one point. I spent 12 years working in County government before I started flying. For my 12 years of service I will collect $28,000 per year after I turn 50, until the day I die. That is in today's dollars, subject to cost of living adjustments after I begin collecting....If I had stayed until I could retire at full pension (which is age 55), I would have collected 93% of the average of my highest five years of salary.
How do I respond to something posted on the internet by an unnamed person, regarding the pension provisions of an unspecified labor contract, affecting the employees of an unspecified county in an unspecified state? Labor contracts with public employees are public knowledge. The fact that the author provides absolutely NO details about which government agency he worked for or in what capacity make his claim of such largesse highly questionable.
 
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pilotyip

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Money buys influence.
So do I read this money is OK if it is union money spend like in Ohio? Plus you did not comment that 67% of the voters who supported Walker considered themselves blue collar workers.
 

Whistlin' Dan

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So do I read this money is OK if it is union money spend like in Ohio?
No, it's not OK, but it is a fact-of-political life in government these days, and citizens have a right to know who's b1tch their Governor is before they go to the polls. In this case, it was Big Money, coming in from the outside the state;

"Walker's campaign, in a press release entitled "Grassroots donors fuel Walker fundraising," crowed that about three-quarters of the governor's more than 21,000 contributions since Dec. 11 came in amounts of $50 or less.
The release did not mention that this grassroots support -- including about $415,000 in itemized donations and $61,000 in lump sums from donors who gave $20 or less -- accounted for only about 10 percent of the governor's total receipts. Meanwhile, 65 percent of Walker's nearly $4.6 million total came from individual donors who gave $1,000 or more.
Most of Walker's largest contributions -- indeed, 56 percent of his total receipts since Dec. 11 -- came from people who live in other states and cannot vote for him." (http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/article.php?article=35855)
Plus you did not comment that 67% of the voters who supported Walker considered themselves blue collar workers.
In order for than number to have any statistical significance, we'd need to know what percentage of the total number of voters consider themselves "blue collar." Even then, it would be hard to draw conclusions as to what the real "message" was, given the great disparity in spending and the fact that Walker spared police and fire unions from the pending legislation. How many governors have faced recall elections in the last 30 years? A few, at most?

Even with over twice the money of his opposition, Walker squeaked by with only 53% of the vote. Maybe the real message to this is that union-workers are not going to be scapegoats for bad fiscal policies and/or poorly-negotiated and hastily-settled contracts with public-sector employees?
 

pilotyip

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Maybe the real message to this is that union-workers are not going to be scapegoats for bad fiscal policies and/or poorly-negotiated and hastily-settled contracts with public-sector employees?
No the real message is that public employees have a monoply on services, and they can not put the gov't out of business with unrealistic pay and benefits. Like the UAW and GM. Pay and benefits that now outstrip the average non-gov't worker. The tax pavers are sending a message to the policitians that they are tired of funding this luxury that they as non-gov't workers do not have. The politicans who receive money from the union members through forced dues vote for benefits they do not have to pay inorder to get the money top keep them in their job. FDR was right in 1938 when he saiod public empoyees should not be union members.
 

Whistlin' Dan

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No the real message is that public employees have a monoply on services, and they can not put the gov't out of business with unrealistic pay and benefits.
Where I live, about the only government workers who still have a blue-chip "monopoly" on public services are police and firemen...two groups specifically excluded from Walker's union reform bill.
The politicans who receive money from the union members through forced dues vote for benefits they do not have to pay in order to get the money to keep them in their job.
Much has been made in this debate of "forcing" people to pay union dues. Personally, I don't have any problem with that, as those being "forced" receive the benefits of membership in that union....benefits that far outstrip those they would receive in the private-sector, according to you. Many property owners in Wisconsin are "forced" to pay higher taxes in order to provide tax-abatements and other incentives to companies that want to locate in Wisconsin. Do you think there's any chance that Governor Walker will make "paying taxes" optional for people who have a fundamental objection to subsidizing private industry?
FDR was right in 1938 when he said public employees should not be union members.
There are a lot of things public employees should not be. "Retired at 30 years of service" for one. "Double-dippers" ("retired," but working for the government) would be another. I can think of a dozen more, as I'm sure you can also.
 

maru657

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I'm not upset about public pensions, except for politicians who receive them.
 

pilotyip

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I'm not upset about public pensions, except for politicians who receive them.
This doesn't bother you?

Originally Posted by CiFIknow View Post
I apologize, but I was a public employee at one point. I spent 12 years working in County government before I started flying. For my 12 years of service I will collect $28,000 per year after I turn 50, until the day I die. That is in today's dollars, subject to cost of living adjustments after I begin collecting.

If I had stayed until I could retire at full pension (which is age 55), I would have collected 93% of the average of my highest five years of salary. If I would have stayed until retirement I would have picked up as much overtime as I could during my last (highest) five years of work to bolster my pension to be way out of proportion to what I would have made during a regular five year period. Saw every one of my elderly co-workers do just that. My pension would not be subject to bankruptcy or pawning off to the PBGC. It is guaranteed money paid for by whom?? Yes, the taxpayer.

Name me a private sector job that will guarantee you 93% of your salary when you retire, without risk. There are none. Name me a private sector job that would pay you $28,0000/yr. at age 50 for just 12 years of service. Again, there are none. If I was altruistic I would give the money back to the government to help pay down their debt, but I worked in government too long to know that they won't spend the money as wisely as I will.

Corporations have a feduciary responsibility to their shareholders to make a profit. Government has no feduciary responsibility to its shareholders (i.e. taxpayers) to be fiscally responsible. Government just comes back to the taxpayers and says they "need" more money to provide services. They have no bottom line. Government Bureaucrats think they have a tap into an endless well of resources to do what they please. We are at the tipping point where the public sector is almost as large as the private sector. Once the public sector outnumbers private...we will be just like Greece.
 

maru657

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Well, maybe they'll get around to those overpaid, union pilots next. Oh yea, reagan already did that.
 
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