February 25, 2011

"In the private sector, the capitalist knows that when he negotiates with the union, if he gives away the store, he loses his shirt."

"In the public sector, the politicians who approve any deal have none of their own money at stake. On the contrary, the more favorably they dispose of union demands, the more likely they are to be the beneficiary of union largess in the next election. It's the perfect cozy setup... Recognizing this threat to union power, the Democratic Party is pouring money and fury into the fight. Fewer than 7 percent of private-sector workers are unionized. The Democrats' strength lies in government workers, who now constitute a majority of union members and provide massive support to the party. For them, Wisconsin represents a dangerous contagion."

Charles Krauthammer.

63 comments:

jerryofva said...

But without the Union Big Taxpayer will chain the government worker to his chair and force him to listen to Rush Limbaugh while Ann Coulter talks dirty to him!

Sofa King said...

The status quo is basically the laundering of tax dollars from the public treasury to the Democratic Party via the labor unions.

Donald Douglas said...

Well, check this video when you get the chance. Some lady screams, "I'm going to lose my chemotherapy!" 'Wisconsin Assembly Passes Governor Walker Budget'.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"In the public sector, the politicians who approve any deal have none of their own money at stake."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IECY6LgqE0

Lisa said...

So I guess the unions didn't bust the auto industry after all.

Now that we've cleared that up. States are REQUIRED to balance their budget. They can't carry deficits. How can they lose their shirt if they can only bargain for a year or two at a time?

I bet some of you will point at pensions. Please keep in mind that many state and local pension funds have been RAIDED by the state and local government. In Michigan, Gov. Engler STOLE millions from teacher pension funds and didn't pay it back. The courts ruled his actions to be illegal but the money was gone by then and it was never paid back. It is doubtful there would be a pension problem for Michigan teachers if not for that and Michigan is not the only state that has done this.

WHo is to blame? The people who set aside money for their pensions or the politicians who stole it and are now blaming the unions?

Greg said...

Actually Lisa - the unions did 'bust' the auto industry. Why do you think that every new auto manufacturing plant is built in the south - in right to work states?

Pastafarian said...

Take note, Althouse: One of the few Republicans eager to cave in this fight is your man Mitch Daniels.

Who's your second choice amongst the Republicans?

shoutingthomas said...

Krauthammer says it very well.

Let's see who backs down in this game of chicken.

Stand firm, Gov. Walker.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

From the article:

"Obama's Democrats have become the party of no. Real cuts to the federal budget? No. Entitlement reform? No. Tax reform? No. Breaking the corrupt and fiscally unsustainable symbiosis between public-sector unions and state governments? Hell, no.

We have heard everyone - from Obama's own debt commission to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - call the looming debt a mortal threat to the nation. We have watched Greece self-immolate. We can see the future. The only question has been: When will the country finally rouse itself?"

When?....Now!

Salamandyr said...

Take note, Althouse: One of the few Republicans eager to cave in this fight is your man Mitch Daniels.


The truth is a bit more complicated than that. Daniels is considering caving on "right to work", but he ended collective bargaining by executive order a year ago before anyone was paying attention. The truth is, he's actually more hardcore than Walker.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)


The people who set aside money for their pensions or the politicians who stole it and are now blaming the unions?


It’s not as clear cut as you’d have it….
1) The money wasn’t “set aside” most often it wasn’t put into the fund, and that’s an EMPLOYER failure
2) But also many of the benefits simply can’t be afforded, now and that’s both EMPLOYEE and Employer failure. The ‘state’ promised retirees benefits it really couldn’t afford, the health care component especially.

Maguro said...

Now that we've cleared that up. States are REQUIRED to balance their budget. They can't carry deficits. How can they lose their shirt if they can only bargain for a year or two at a time?

Look, it is certainly possible to balance a state budget while keeping the state employees union reasonably happy.

In Illinois, we have a Dem governor and state legislature and they're doing precisely that. Raise the state income tax from 3% to 5%, $1 per pack of cigarettes and cut back state services that happen to be contracted out.

The bottom line, though, is that the states are broke and someone is going to lose out. In Wisconsin, it's going to be the state employees. In Illinois, it's taxpayers, smokers, contractors who provide state services and consumers of the contracted services - the elderly, disabled, etc.

Either way, someone suffers, it's just a matter of who.

Phil 3:14 said...

We're still working through a financial crisis where a key factor was CEO and's others high in the company were incentivized towards risky, short term profits (and by extension, personal bonuses) at the cost of long term stability.

Now we see in governments how politicians, in the hope of short-term benefits such as money and votes, promise pensions that cannot be met long-term.

As a result of the financial crisis we collectively felt we needed to protect ourselves from ourselves. Ditto that for public employee unions. We can blame the politicians for making the promises but that won't eliminate the problem. So after all of the "blamestorming" we'll have to fix the budgets. Now's a good time to start.

Fprawl said...

LISA
WHo is to blame? The people who set aside money for their pensions or the politicians who stole it and are now blaming the unions?

We can blame the politicians but thats not going to bring the money back.
At some point, the rest of you public workers are going to have to lose your defined benefit package and go to a 403B like I had to at the State University I work at.
Times change, and if public workers think they haven't, then they can gamble that the place they work for won't go bankrupt.
If I move to low tax TN when I retire, then i am assisting the demise of the teachers still in the defined benefit system in other schools in this state, but with my lower benefits from the 403-B, I may have to.

Sofa King said...

I bet some of you will point at pensions. Please keep in mind that many state and local pension funds have been RAIDED by the state and local government.

First of all, the WRS is fully-funded. Pension payouts in Wisconsin are not a major driver of the state deficit (though pension CONTRIBUTION benefits are.)

Second of all, what does it matter? Money was spent that shouldn't have been spent. It isn't fair for that burden to fall on anybody, but is has to fall somewhere.

I'm a Shaaaaark said...

Some lady screams, "I'm going to lose my chemotherapy!"

Yeah, I'm sure that'll happen, and also this bill will result in classrooms filled with dead kindergartners (which will be ground up to feed the elderly before they die from lack of heat) and Global Warming errr climate change kills everyone except for the rich right-wing fat cats, who will survive in their bunkers built out of the skulls of union members that will be lined up and shot by Walker I mean Hitler.

James said...

Since when does a government pension mean that YOU personally are putting aside money?

Welcome to the real world.

Pastafarian said...

This is a bad week for public union members to claim they're undervalued.

No school Monday for President's Day; no school 3 more days because of solid Global Warming falling from the sky. The teachers have "worked" 6 hours this week.

How about you, Lisa? You have the day off because of a few inches of snow too, don't you?

Don't worry -- there are still plenty of privately employed people who had to find a way in to work, so that a big chunk of their pay can be forcibly confiscated to pay you and your co-"workers" to sit on their duffs at home.

traditionalguy said...

On Wisconsin. We are watching Progressive government at work. Financial insolvency destroys that Government's freedom to govern.Walker is doing the Governor's job that no one else had the guts to do. Only California and New York pretend that going bankrupt will be a victory.

Lisa said...

James,

My pay stub shows that I personally set aside money every month for my pension.. without a choice. It is mandatory for teachers in Michigan.

edutcher said...

The other part of the paragraph Ann highlighted is just as important,

"On the contrary, the more favorably they dispose of union demands, the more likely they are to be the beneficiary of union largess in the next election. It's the perfect cozy setup."

The operative word here is kickback and, if Republicans - other than RINOs - did it with anybody else the Demos and the Establishment News Media would have their heads on poles.

(let's hear Alpha/Montaigne/Freder denounce that 'violent' rhetoric)

Lisa said...

So I guess the unions didn't bust the auto industry after all.

Of course, they did, and pensions and other benefits was how they did it.

I bet some of you will point at pensions. Please keep in mind that many state and local pension funds have been RAIDED by the state and local government.

Not to mention all the pensions funds looted by union bosses.

AJ Lynch said...

These state execs should be prosecuted for violating the RICO laws IMO. They conspired to settle labor disputes & avoid messy strikes by using financial gimmickry [i.e deferring required pension fund payments] and inadequate disclosure of what these deals would do to their state's future financial wellbeing.

So where is the outrage? In many cases, these ex-governors should be on trial IMO.

Bruce Hayden said...

I saw this last night. Dr. Krauthammer is usually good, and can be really good, and I think that this is one of his better articles.

I also read an article last night about Gov. Christie of NJ, and how the bigger teachers union set itself up to be his target, and the smaller one made sure that the public's ire was on the bigger one.

It is almost like the unions, and their Democratic allies, walked into a trap here. I don't think that the trap was intentional, but still... They are partying like the late Clinton/early Bush years, when there was money to somewhat support those pension and benefit promises, and they could portray themselves as the common man organizing themselves for protection against "the man".

But that doesn't work today. Despite all the laundering of statistics, the hard reality is that the government union members earn more and get much better benefits than the private sector workers supporting them, and the less skill involved, the greater the disparity. And they got there by buying a lot of Democratic politicians with their union dues, paid for by the taxpayers.

Pastafarian said...

Salamandyr, the right to work bill would prevent unions from forcing everyone at a private company to belong to their union.

If Mitch Daniels thinks that's something we should give up on, then he's an idiot.

We'll never have a chance like this again; these issues are never front-and-center like they are now, and unless there's a bright light shining on them, the incestuous influence of union money will win out every time. This is a pivotal moment.

The last thing we need is a 5 foot tall technocrat wanting to walk some middle-of-the-road tightrope for the sake of his own (miscalculated) political aspirations and fucking up the momentum.

J said...

Snouthammer with his usual simplifications.

Corporations have transferred most industrial work and manufacturing to 3rd world nations--so industrial unions are not as needed in USA. For that matter, the wealthy of America--the GOP Yacht club-- don't care for public education as a general rule --that's from the Ayn Rand and Ayn Coulter playbook, aka the Tweekparty ideology--tho most TPsters not quite in the yacht club--mo. like Evinrude club. Evinrudehouse!

Bruce Hayden said...

I somewhat agree with the poster above who suggests that the politicians raided the pension plans. In reality, they rarely actually raided them, but rather, just under contributed. There were a lot of gimmicks used - I think that the Christie article from last night pointed out that NJ was computing contributions using an 8+% growth rate, and the real one was a bit over 2%. And, the state had just not contributed a couple of years. Didn't have the money, and so didn't put it into the pensions.

But, the government employees and their unions have culpability too - during the times when these financial shenanigans were going on, they still repeatedly demanded and received pension and benefit commitments. And, indeed, we were seeing these increases just last year, funded in the short run by federal "stimulus" money.

So, while the (primarily Democratic) politicians had culpability for promising these benefits when they were already skimping on contributions, so too do the government employees and their unions who were demanding the pay and benefit increases well beyond the point when it was obvious to all that they were affordable and unsustainable.

Maguro said...

Defined benefit pension plans are an open invitation to the type of financial sleight of hand that Hayden describes above.

They need to go into the dustbin of history.

Bruce Hayden said...

So where is the outrage? In many cases, these ex-governors should be on trial IMO.

Why no RICO? Because you need some predicate offenses for a pattern thereof. Taking campaign contributions from a party and somehow benefiting them as a result really isn't illegal, but rather just stinks. And, if it were illegal, then most politicians would be in prison right now. Which the unionized prison guards would love, but maybe not everyone else.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@J(agoff)

"...the GOP Yacht club"

ROFLMAO.

John f'ing Kerry, democrat-MA, the french-looking senator who 'fought' in the Vietnam war.

http://bostonherald.com/track/inside_track/view.bg?articleid=1269698

J said...

Examine this kerfluffle closely and you soon realize it's mostly a battle over who gets to manage the public employees' pension funds, with the GOP-TP money men most likely not approving of Demo money men. Sortof...JP Morgan vs BoA vs Goldman Sachs, etc. How the Shekelsocracy works.

J said...

What's that, miss Don't Tread, jewgirl? Bother you? Chinga tu madre, basura. Step in the street, tough gal


Ayn Coulter, the garbage skank Neo-Nixonians Inc. All ya need to know

Bruce Hayden said...

Defined benefit pension plans are an open invitation to the type of financial sleight of hand that Hayden describes above.

And many of us can remember when business went away from defined benefit to defined contribution plans for these reasons. The problem there though was that the federal government stepped in and legally required reasonable contributions. Most businesses quickly discovered it was far better to not play this game, and went to defined-contribution plans.

But not all - and, in particular many of the largest non-governmental employee unions were able to retain their defined-benefit pensions. And this was why the three U.S. automakers continue to be out-competed in the market, and why the Obama Administration had to take over two of them, in order to protect their union pensions from pesky senior bondholders who legally should have been paid first in bankruptcy. And make no mistake - Obama's takeover of those companies was almost entirely in order to protect those unaffordable union defined-benefit pension plans.

Almost Ali said...

I don't know why Krauthammer didn't just call the unions what they are: Communists.

There's absolutely no point to beating around the bush on this. And if anyone should know the difference between freedom and communism, it's Charles Krauthammer.

Fprawl said...

Lisa,
Your pay stub shows that you personally set aside money every month for your pension..

My university took away my defined benefit retirement and forced me into a 403B.

Why shouldn't you have to do the same?

Just asking.

Regards

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@J(agoff)

"What's that, miss Don't Tread, jewgirl? Bother you? Chinga tu madre, basura. Step in the street, tough gal"

ROFLMAO!

I don't care about your ignorant racist statements; and your 'bravery' calling me out is pathetic.

Weaksauce.

J said...

Annie Coulter's azzz is so skanky she makes Phyliss Schaftley's butt seem nearly like Hannah Montana's.

Yass.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't know why Krauthammer didn't just call the unions what they are: Communists.

Because they aren't. They pretend to be for the masses, but in reality, these unions are out for themselves, and, in particular, their union bosses are, even more than the rank and file.

But also keep in mind that socialism ultimately turns on their union allies, and you can to some extent see how far along the road to socialism a country is, by how it handles its unions. Not always, because Solidarity was a striking counter-example. But unions are considered extraneous in enlightened communist and fascist systems, and are ultimately crushed.

Bruce Hayden said...

Don't Tread - don't get sucked in by J. He obviously does not have a cogent response to Dr. Krauthammer, and therefore is trying desperately to sidetrack the discussion by name calling and the like. In short, arguing like a middle schooler. Too well read to be a middle schooler, which is why I would expect college aged, but still arguing like a 12 year old.

shoutingthomas said...

Annie Coulter's azzz is so skanky she makes Phyliss Schaftley's butt seem nearly like Hannah Montana's.

You are so monumentally fucking stupid, J.

You're jerking off again.

Go do your jerking off in private like a good little boy.

J said...

10:53. Pathetic? That was yr bum father's middle name.


Like most Tweekhousers here, yr too f-ing stupid for like rational debate.


Collective bargaining was voted in, democratically. IS voting communist too, Miss Don't Tread? According to Ayn Randism--ie Snouthammerism--, it izz.



Anyway, had you read my comments carefully yd note my assertion (verifiable, IMHE) that this "battle" was really between the big banks over who manages pension funds, with the GOP-TP money men --and RomneyCo--most likely wanting to cut into the Goldman Sachs profits (or whoever controls the schoolmarmie/PE funds). Not exactly dittoing the Krugmanites.

Follow the shekels (that is, unless you work for them. then just lie).

J said...

11:01. Thats you, Bruce Assimov--incapable of anything resembling reason and , as per usual defending the right wing and financiers, and getting your racism on as well. Krauthammers just another cheap pro-business back.

Too f-ing stupid to blog.

William said...

Krauthammer presents a persuasive argument, but the very persuasiveness serves to undermine his larger point. If the voting public, no doubt alerted by columns such as that of Krauthammer, feel that their politicians are giving away the store, won't they elect politicians who adapt a tougher stance?.....The unions have undue influence but not absolute power in this game. They don't seem to be winning.

J said...

11:04. Yr the scum of the earth, Tommy. Like the rest of the klansmen here.
And yr hero Snouthammer--jerk off, like you.


You step in the street, and yr d**d, whoreson. Fuck with me, some more tweek scum.

Almost Ali said...

Bruce Hayden said...
Because they aren't [communists].

Okay, how do we convey unions to the masses?

I say communists, and you say?

edutcher said...

J said...

Snouthammer with his usual simplifications.

Corporations have transferred most industrial work and manufacturing to 3rd world nations


Thanks to 80 years of democrats' taxes and regulations.

PS Shekelsocracy?????

How Daily Worker!!!

Where's the line about a bayonet is weapon with a worker attached at both ends?

J said...

Tweeky Tom Tom--

Piss test time for you, trash--which is to say prison time. Lets give one to Breitfart and C) as well. Replace their tweek with...'Zine!

Fock even the mormonics are at times a step above the A-house bapticks

J said...

11:19.. you mean the New Deal? In response to a few decades of repub. robber barons. As were most of Wilson's policies. The frat boys and shekelmeisters hated collective bargaining in the 20s and 30s as well. As did yr hero Ayn Rand

Mortgage crisis 2008-- brought to you by Gingrich/Gramm and demopublican Clinton (and dont even mention Freddie Mac bs--a nixonian plan to derail , ie privatize secured funds. Even Reagan kept some New Deal policies on the books)

shoutingthomas said...

J, you've moved from stupid, to incoherent to psychotic.

Turn yourself into the Emergency Ward nearest your room at the flop house.

They can treat these psychotic symptoms, and the blisters on your pudd.

You've going to tear the skin right off your pudd with all this yanking off.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@BruceHayden

Agreed, regarding 'J'. Not getting sucked in. Just like to shoot back once in awhile :)

@shouting

You're correct, the typically unhinged left is becoming even more unhinged now. Note, J's desperate lashing out at everyone.

Like the crack addict that eventually needs 5 cops to bring him down, eventually, he will go down.

wv - squorker

peter hoh said...

Yes, and the same thing happens when politicians make deals to subsidize ethanol production, purchase weapons systems, and write up entitlements such as Medicare, Part D.

J said...

Hey it's Ad Hominem time once again on...Stormhouse.


see Snouthammer for further examples (why...unionists...the rabblement)

J said...

11:36. Heh heh.


Nyet. More like laughing at yr brainfarts, klanboys.


Con USURA

Hoosier Daddy said...

If the voting public, no doubt alerted by columns such as that of Krauthammer, feel that their politicians are giving away the store, won't they elect politicians who adapt a tougher stance?.....

Didn't they just do that to a very large degree last November? Perhaps effective change would occur if the whole Congress was up for grabs every 2-6 years.

peter hoh said...

Hoosier, it would be nice if the majority of the House didn't sit in carefully constructed, safe seats.

peter hoh said...

In the public sector, the guy who shepherds a massive spending bill through Congress knows that he can go to work for those who will benefit from the bill. See Tauzin, Billy.

In the public sector, the guy who chairs a committee that directs significant amounts of military spending knows that money will flow to his friends. See Murtha, John.

In the public sector, a juvenile court judge can sentence kids (who appear before him for minor offenses) to spend time in a private jail run by one of his friends, accept kickbacks, and claim that he didn't think he was doing anything wrong. See Ciavarella, Mike.

peter hoh said...

Pastafarian, Daniels didn't cave. He rightfully said that "Right to Work" legislation had not been put before the voters during the campaign.

He felt that pursuing "Right to Work" would have derailed the rest of his legislative agenda, which he had run on.

http://ricochet.com/main-feed/Why-I-Opposed-Right-to-Work-Legislation-in-Indiana-This-Year

murgatroyd666 said...

"J" -- the voice of Enlightened Progressivism. What a perfect spokescreature for them!

Progressives must be so proud of J! You'll notice that we never see former law student, garage mahal, roesch-voltaire, or montana urban legend disagreeing with J, much less disowning J's delightful comments.

Marshal said...

"Bruce Hayden said...

I don't know why Krauthammer didn't just call the unions what they are: Communists.

Because they aren't. They pretend to be for the masses, but in reality, these unions are out for themselves, and, in particular, their union bosses are, even more than the rank and file."

This isn't very convincing. your description sounds just like communists to me.

enicar333 said...

Public Employees do not need Unions, and it never should have been allowed. Even FDR was against it. John Kennedy opened the door and the tail has wagged the dog ever since.

What has disturbed me is the response of the Teachers. It is the campaign of hate, name calling, threats and school shutdowns. They seem oblivious to the job and tax base destruction that has happened in their Communities. What will they do when severe austerity measures are taken?

The IMF, amongst others, is demanding that the Dollar be replaced as the Reserve Currency. It is mathematically impossible to pay off the Federal Debt. Inflation in food and energy will be crippling. The Politicians made untenable promises. The Nation faces Default, Currency Revaulation or perhaps a new currency under the IMF's SDR.

If we can't work together now, and share some pain now, there is no hope for the future. Chaos and violence is how it will end.

Class factotum said...

States are REQUIRED to balance their budget. They can't carry deficits. How can they lose their shirt if they can only bargain for a year or two at a time?

Just raise taxes! That's the ticket!

Pastafarian said...

Peter Hoh, the fact that you're defending Mitch Daniels tells me all I need to know about him.

You're a great commenter and a swell guy and all, but you're a liberal, Peter. Please don't tell me how you voted for Reagan; you're a liberal.

If you like Mitch, that makes him McCain Part Dieux.

peter hoh said...

Pastafarian, the Pawlenty campaign, having been alerted to the power of my endorsements, has asked me to inform you that I heartily approve of the following candidates for the GOP nomination: Romney, Palin, Huckabee, Gingrich, Trump, Barbour, Jindal, and Christie.

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