March 15, 2011

Glenn Loury identifies the "perversion" of public sector unions.

59 comments:

Ut said...

Here's the dirty little secret about government-official unions: management benefits when management accedes to the demands of the union during contract negotiations.

In government, management knows that the ONLY way to raise ITS salary is to raise the salary of the worker.

You have garden-variety beat cops in Boston making $200,000 a year and retiring with 7-figure pensions.

Mayor Tom Menino makes $170,000 a year? I mean, this is fucking ludicrous that these teat-suckers are anywhere near a negotiating table.

The fix is in folks ... and if you're still voluntarily paying your taxes, you deserve the royal fucking your getting.

James said...

Miami-Dade mayor ousted in recall vote

The mayor of Miami-Dade, one of the most populous counties in the United States, was ousted from office in a recall vote on Tuesday triggered by popular anger over a hike in property taxes.

vbspurs said...

OMG, I forgot to vote today...but yes, I was going to vote to oust him. Fancy raising everyone's property taxes and making us pay for the new Miami Marlins' stadium, then giving his buddies 100k salary rises.

Thanks, James.

gs said...

Collective bargaining has been perverted into collusive bargaining.

PatCA said...

Glenn Loury was pretty brilliant there.

Collective bargaining for PEUs has all the trappings of bargaining but it's simply bribery. If it walks like a duck...

rhhardin said...

Unions are also a perversion in the private sector.

Union officials get elected by promising more than the other guy, and that more drives the company out of business.

The out of business part is missing in the public sector, is all.

In the private sector, the victims are other workers unable to get jobs they'd be happy to take owing to labor law; and of course the employer who is forbidden to hire them.

Henry said...

@James -- Here in Rhode Island one of the few Republican mayors of the last decade was Steve Laffey of Cranston who saved his city from bankruptcy ... by raising property taxes.

Meanwhile in Central Falls, Rhode Island, popular Democrat Mayor Charles D. Moreau ran his city into insolvency, resulting in a takeover by the state and demotion of the mayor to an advisory position. In 2010 every teacher in the school district was fired, based upon the school's poor test performance and 48% graduation rate.

The teachers were offered the alternative of closure, management by charter, or a commitment to more teaching hours and teacher training. The teachers' union would not commit to any of these option, leaving the state with the "turnaround" option which meant that all were fired and no more than 50% could be rehired.

Sometimes fiscal responsibility wins.

Henry said...

Here's the link on the Central Falls teacher's story:

http://www.projo.com/news/content/central_falls_trustees_vote_02-24-10_EOHI83C_v59.3c21342.html.

I'm somewhat sympathetic to the Central Falls teachers. Centrals Falls is a poor, urban school district in a fantastically mismanaged city.

But the combination of impotence with intransigence is incredibly ignorant.

bagoh20 said...

"The out of business part is missing in the public sector, is all."

So far.

Methadras said...

James said...

Miami-Dade mayor ousted in recall vote

The mayor of Miami-Dade, one of the most populous counties in the United States, was ousted from office in a recall vote on Tuesday triggered by popular anger over a hike in property taxes.


Damned straight. I've proposed this here and I'll propose it again in the shadow of your post. I live and work in California. I've seen this state go from truly golden to end up a financial disaster due to leftards and their public, political, and social policies that include nothing but increases in spending year in and year out. My proposal is to make property taxes no longer a bi-annual tradition, but rather to change them to being paid at the point of sale at the current tax rate. You pay only once when you buy the home and never pay bi-annual, recurring property taxes for as long as you own that home and when you sell it, then new buyer pays tax on that sale price. You pay it only once.

Oh what is that collective shrieking I hear coming from Sacramento? I am making a serious decision to start a grass roots movement to make this happen. The problem is, is that once this idea is out in the public square, I will most likely become assassinated or at least have me or my family become the target of something like that.

Enough is enough, these pieces of shit take our property tax money and spend it on failed/failing government programs. Oh, I can already hear the counter straw man arguments being propped up already.

Methadras said...

Henry said...

Here's the link on the Central Falls teacher's story:

http://www.projo.com/news/content/central_falls_trustees_vote_02-24-10_EOHI83C_v59.3c21342.html.

I'm somewhat sympathetic to the Central Falls teachers. Centrals Falls is a poor, urban school district in a fantastically mismanaged city.

But the combination of impotence with intransigence is incredibly ignorant.


Good for them. Courage under fire when you know how important for what is at stake is not the AFL-CIO goons demanding justice for their aggrieved dues payers, but for the failing state of the schools that we as tax payers have been paying into to see them ultimately fail at these peoples hands.

Start from scratch, get these schools teachers who are not bound by any union stooges and therefore not part of the wealth redistribution money laundering scam known as public employee union teacher patronage. Enough is enough.

Henry said...

@Methadras -- I am not in favor of recall votes outside of a felony conviction. It subverts the Republic in favor of mob rule. It favors the immediate passion over the medium-term view (the long-term view being impossible in this country).

Look up Solon of Athens. Madison did.

Henry said...

@Methadras -- We are in agreement about the teachers.

Methadras said...

Henry said...

@Methadras -- I am not in favor of recall votes outside of a felony conviction. It subverts the Republic in favor of mob rule. It favors the immediate passion over the medium-term view (the long-term view being impossible in this country).

Look up Solon of Athens. Madison did.


Recalls are expensive propositions that in my opinion do not subvert the republic in favor of mob rule. If it was mob rule, then citizens would have stormed the mayor, ousted him from office by violent force, jailed or killed him and installed one of their stooges in his stead to do their mob bidding. This recall was done through legal channels, sanctioned by the sec. of state to ratify the signatures for said recall and a vote took place to do it. Don't confuse voter anger where the democratic process ensued for mob rule anarchy.

I was in California when Gray 'Light bulb head' Davis was recalled and we got the governator instead. That is the downside of a recall, but that is also the law of unintended consequences. Shit, at least we didn't get La Raza's favorite Cruz Bustamante. I would have preferred Tom Mclintok, but he was just not a brand name like Arnold was. The whole of california outside of the elitist, leftard enclaves up and down the coast voted to get rid of that moron once and for all.

EDH said...

Brink Lindsey's point about the ability to bind taxpayers in perpetuity with respect to a given cohort of public sector workers was the more compelling.

The upshot is that the public sector is that last place defined benefit retirement plans should exist.

Phil 3:14 said...

Yes, but what about the Koch brothers!

theoldadam said...

'LIVE BETTER...(at everyone else's expense)...WORK UNION'

jpl said...

weak

RuyDiaz said...

About the Miami recall....

Meh. Didn't bother voting. The remaining commissioners are even worse. So far they are sounding like TEA party patriots on TV, but I remember that they wanted to 'invest' in a Richard Florida-like plan to bring the 'creative class' to the city. Well, I'm already in the city, and do not belong to the creative class. I kind of resent spending to bring people here.

Quayle said...

Unions are fine under two conditions:

1. Membership is totally voluntary;

2. Unions never go after scabs (i.e. if the union prices their workers out of the market, others can come in below them and take the work.)

What are the odds these to conditions will ever be achieved?

Carol_Herman said...

Okay. Back in the 1940's, local cops (Brooklyn, New York), walked a beat. Then, cops were called "flat-foots." Because of the walking details.

They also got raises ONLY when they could convince voters to vote higher pay. (And, cops had low wages.)

But if you go back to the 1930's. The Great Depression. When 40%(?) of men were unemployed? Working as a cop. Or a postal worker. Meant you could marry. Because you had secure, weekly income.

By the way, in better times, wages went up. (I can remember a local police strike, circa 1989. When the policemen, and their children, marched around our little City Hall, carrying signs.)

Oh. And, Wisconsin was a state that WELCOMED the unions into these bargaining contracts. What has changed is attitude. Where once people allowed their property taxes to go up without too much complaint ...

Well, it met its first headwind in California. Back in the early 1980's. With PROP 13.

So, yes. Americans fix things at the ballot box. One State can make all the difference. Because I remember the impact the passage of PROP 13 had.

Into today's mix you can now add the names of governors who are marching forward in the republican party ... and they look like FRONT RUNNERS.

Mitt Romney's not a front runner. Newt Gingrich is not a front runner. These guys are playing for a "power base" with the person who does spring forward. Looking to "seed" the Executive Branch.

As to Madison, Wisconsin, it may have been planned as a war the unions thought they'd win.

There are no white flags in politics. Ya gotta keep pouring money in. And, what we're seeing is what some insiders are advising democraps to do.

vbspurs said...

Meh. Didn't bother voting. The remaining commissioners are even worse.

And don't get me started about City of Miami mayor, Tomas Regalado. With that kind of name (Sp. for "given as a gift"), what does one expect?

Who cares if Alvarez and Regalado are nominally Republicans, either.

vbspurs said...

Quayle wrote:

What are the odds these to conditions will ever be achieved?

Slim. And Pickens.

Fen said...

"Far Left protester Patrick J. Knauf, 43, of Eau Claire was arrested on Wednesday for the violation of making a bomb scare under state statute 947.015.

He was released on a $3,000 signature bond."

http://bigjournalism.com/tag/scott-walker/

ironrailsironweights said...

What do a clitoris, a wedding anniversary, and a toilet have in common?

Men always miss them.

Peter

vbspurs said...

OT, continued chat about the Miami recall:

The vote was to oust Mayor Carlos Alvarez and a commissioner, Natalia Seijas. Both of them got the boot -- by a staggering 88% margin in favour.

I agree with Henry that recalls should be for extraordinary (criminal) circumstances, but in this case, Miamians were up to here. The words "banana republic" are apposite for our city government, and have been for some time.

For those interested, the recall effort was led by one Norman Braman, a local multi-millionaire business and philanthropist who owns various famous car dealerships (Braman Cadillac). Those of you in Philly no doubt remember him as the ex-Iggles owner.

He is stridently anti-superfluous taxes.

vbspurs said...

Note, Miami has a strange division in local governance. Carlos Alvarez was Miami-Dade County mayor. Regalado is the City of Miami mayor. Perhaps other big metropolitan areas have this too, but I haven't heard of any.

WineSlob said...

Between WEAC and the Boards there’s Collusion
That Renders their Deals an Illusion
Tax Payers get Hosed
Teachers make off Unopposed
With the Loot of this Foregone Conclusion.

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Seven Machos said...

Loury's argument about profit being divided up in the private sector and the lack of any kind of profit to divide in the public sector is excellent.

It's Marxist at its core, but so what? It's still very good and he explains it magnificently.

John0 Juanderlust said...

re Miami:
Many people I knew there who bought houses, paid the mortgage and owned them outright, were taxed out of their homes in retirement.
The property taxes and assessments kept rising to the point that many moved up state to a more moderate cost of living environment.
In effect, the city ran the most stable, long term, law abiding citizens out, while, at that time, catering to cocaine money and riffraff.
That was awhile back but I seriously doubt the M.O. has changed.
Efforts to further hike rates would have resulted in more of an exodus of decent people. Something S.Fl does not need. Any more than they need another tax funded stadium

Rose said...

I was in favor of the Davis recall in California, but Recalls rarely succeed. They're expensive and divisive. In Davis' case, his vicious manner of campaigning wasn't noticed the first time around, but the second time it was, and then he ran the state aground. The opposite of what is happening in Wisconsin. The Unions beat Arnold to a pulp.

California desperately needs a Walker.

And the tough legislators who did the right thing.

Sadly, we have none, and no Walker on the horizon.

tim maguire said...

Public sector unions are doing something sufficiently different from private sector unions that it is a serious mistake to use the same word for both.

In the private sector, union and management are on different sides and the market itself acts as regulating force preventing either side from over-reaching. Too much for labor and you go out of business, too little to labor and you can't staff properly.

Public sector unions have no equivalent regulator. Management and union are on the same side and there is no market. Management has both almost unlimited power and unlimited incentive to give in to union's demands

Steve said...

Mr. Loury's points regarding profit are well-taken (pun intended).

@rhhardin

"The out of business part is missing in the public sector, is all."

Money shot. Accountability exists where there are pressures to maintain profitability. For too long, public sector 'overhead' has grown beyond what is affordable for taxpayers, especially considering the Cadillac-style retirement packages that have yet to be paid for with money that just isn't there.

Kicking the can down the road is what politicians do best. For dealing with with problems means making decisions/changes, and these are not good in terms of a run for re-election.

Basically the whole system as currently constructed is rife with opportunity for the type of corruption we currently see and, need to deal with. This simply can't go on if we expect to avoid insolvency.

This won't happen as along as union members' actions continue to gravitate towards those of mobsters trying to collect on their loans at ridiculous rates.

Steve said...

@tim maguire

Yes yes yes. Bullseye.

Jay said...

These are the priorities for those running government:

After spirited debate Monday, Denver's City Council voted 10-3 to tentatively approve a 6.6 percent raise for the next sitting council and every other elected official — an increase to be delayed for half of their four-year terms.

The city is facing a $100 million budget shortfall for the 2012 budget and has a structural budget problem that, if not addressed, could balloon into a $500 million deficit by 2030.


Note that they pretend is has no effect on the city budget.

Also note the mayor of Denver is paid $145,601.

mrs whatsit said...

I'm a public employee myself, in a state where I must pay steep dues to the union from every paycheck even though I disagree with every political move the union makes with my money, and would never join it. Thus, I was fascinated by the Wisconsin events until last week. But since the earthquake, tsunami, and ongoing nuclear disaster in Japan, not to mention what's been happening in Libya and elsewhere in the Middle East, I have lost all patience for the sight of overfed, overpaid public employees throwing a non-stop tantrum because taxpayers asked for a little more control over how much money is shoveled their way. It's unbridled selfishness, greed, and economic ignorance: the oppressors insisting that they are the oppressed and have a "right" to go on oppressing the serfs who must pay whatever they demand forever. How these people can read about what's happening in Japan, or watch the images that have been on television and YouTube for the past week and continue to believe that they have anything at all to whine about is beyond me. Sickening.

PogoПОССУМ said...

The Loury Glenn is must be the пьяно drunk for his words are smell of the Чушь собачья bullshit.

The Wiskonsin is home of socialysm in US and A. When Union make the taxes rise, everyone is the victor!

Except the кулакс kulaks and capitalist running dogs, who must be crushed.

Is best to do whatever the union of police demand. Who will save you house from the burglar when they find out you no vote for more more pay?
No one!

As Dear Leader Lenin said: "One man with a gun can control 100 without one."
So support your local police union, or else!

In Soviet Wiskonsin, sickle hammers YOU!!

mesquito said...

I'm a public employee myself, in a state where I must pay steep dues to the union from every paycheck even though I disagree with every political move the union makes with my money, and would never join it.

If your wages were not garnished, would you pay?

I belive that is at the core of all the recenet sturm und drang.

James said...

vbspurs & Henry, thanks for the addtional background on the Miami-Dade recall. What it demonstrates it that people, in Wisconsin and elsewhere, have little appetite for increased taxes.

It makes me wonder how sucessful the unions' attempt to recall Walker and the Republicans senators will be. Implicit in the recall is the argument that taxes must be raised to sustain the salaries, benefits and pensions of public employees. That doesn't seem like a winning argument to me.

Mojave Joe said...

Chairman WALSH. You got the general outline of this hearing; that is, the
application of the law in labor matters and the attitude of courts in industrial disputes and the fundamental underlying question has been couched differently, and different phases, and do you think that the laws are equally administered between the rich and the poor?
Mr. DARROW. I think they are not.
Chairman WALSH. Now, can you give your own comment and illustration to
back up that statement?
Mr. DARROW. To my own satisfaction; yes.
Chairman WALSH. Try it on Commissioner Weinstock and myself.
Mr DARROW. I might not convince him ; I might have a little better luck with
you. The law is made by the acts of legislatures and Congress and decisions of courts Most all the law is made from court decisions. Legislation is a small part of it. The first trouble is that all the men that make the laws are
lawyers, and they are what we call good lawyers that is, lawyers who get good fees who have no sympathy with any union except the lawyers' union. Their associations are all with the rich. Their clients are all on that side; they have
no knowledge of the questions that confront the poor. If they ever knew anything about them, they have forgotten them, and on any question that arises their whole feeling and whole life is on the other side. Members of Congress and legislatures are pretty nearly all lawyers who have had good practices. If they have not had, they expect to have, and good practice for a lawyer
means working for the rich. Judges are all lawyers, and lawyers of standing in their profession. Most of them have been corporation lawyers, and those that have not been hope to be, and their opinions are governed by their views
of life. Men do not act from logic and reason but from impulse. Any man with good intellect can give a good reason for anything he wants to say, and his opinion on either side of the case he is on is always logical if the court is an able man.
He first makes up his mind what he wants to do and then gives a good reason for doing it, and if the law had been made by carpenters and shoemakers and day laborers it would have been different from what it is. It would have represented their side of it, perhaps, not any more fairly, but their side. The whole law has been made and administered by the controlling force of society,
like everything else in this world, and it could not be any other way. I could give illustrations of it now.

MadisonMan said...

What it demonstrates it that people, in Wisconsin and elsewhere, have little appetite for increased taxes.

Interesting given the Mayoral race here. Neither candidate has uttered a peep about Madison's property taxes, which are somewhat high -- mine went up $700 last year, to $9K+.

I can vote for an Aldermanic candidate who at least mentions controlling Property Tax hikes. Versus one who thinks Govt should fix all problems.

State Taxes in WI have not gone up in ages, however. Doyle never raised them, preferring the beg borrow and steal method of fund-finding. Once Walker cuts the size of the state Govt, I think he should see what taxes should be raised. Like the beer tax, untouched since -- what -- 1970?

Maguro said...

Implicit in the recall is the argument that taxes must be raised to sustain the salaries, benefits and pensions of public employees.

Exactly. To take it a step further, in states where the public employees unions are strong - Illinois, New York, California, etc. - some combination of tax increases and benefit cuts to the poor are being used to balance the budget. There really is no pain-free way to deal with these fiscal issues.

Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

Here are the priorities of those running government:

After spirited debate Monday, Denver's City Council voted 10-3 to tentatively approve a 6.6 percent raise for the next sitting council and every other elected official — an increase to be delayed for half of their four-year terms.

The city is facing a $100 million budget shortfall for the 2012 budget and has a structural budget problem that, if not addressed, could balloon into a $500 million deficit by 2030.


Additionally, The mayor's salary will grow to $155,211 from its current $145,601.

Lovely.

Sixty Grit said...

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Surrender, Singh, your spam cannot work on us.

MikeR said...

I always enjoy listening to Loury.

wordsmith2 said...

Madison's Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is patting himself on the back for coming to an agreement with AFSCME Local 60 that has city workers paying a portion of their pension and health insurance premiums and accepting only a 2% raise at the end of 2011 rather than the 3% raise that the union was originally requesting. Said Mayor Dave, "the Walker administration forced them [AFSCME] into discussions by essentially 'killing the union' once the repair bill takes effect." Nice to know that the mayor is taking the side of the oppressed workers, rather than the rest of the taxpayers of Madison.

wordsmith2 said...

Madison Man: When you say Doyle didn't raise taxes, what exactly do you mean? In 2009, he pushed through a $2.1 billion tax increase, including $310 million in cigarette taxes; $287 million by creating a new income tax bracket for the wealthy; $242 million by cutting in half the capital gains tax exemption; and $105 million in monthly telephone fees.

retire05 said...

The point is that when public sector unions negotiate contracts, the very people having to foot the bill do NOT have a seat at the table. The contracts are negotiated between the unions and those elected officials union coffers helped elect. Basically, it is a lose-lose senario for the taxpayer.


As I have said before, if union membership is so beneficial, make it voluntary. Closed shop states takes a persons "right to choose" away from them. It restricts a persons freedom of choice by making union membership mandatory for employment.

Taxes are basically the governments ability to legally steal what you have earned, and unions dues in closed shop states are the same legalized theft. Workers are forced to pay into an organization that they may not agree with.

It is pretty clear, in the private sector, that when given a choice between paying union dues or keeping that money to spend on your kids, workers are opting out of the unions. Private sector unions have seen their numbers decline rapidly in the last decade, while public sector membership has skyrocketed. Much of the cause for that is the requirement of public sector workers to join a PEU.

mrs whatsit said...

Mesquito, no, I certainly would not pay dues if they were not garnished from my check. My state does not require me to join the union, but I must pay the same dues as if I had joined. The logic is that all employees benefit from the union's negotiation and should pay for the benefit received -- but this logic leaves out the political activities which I have no choice but to support (or quit my job.)

I agree that this is at the core of the Wisconsin hysteria -- but it should not be. If, in fact, as the marchers and union organizers insist, unions are the lifeblood of public sector workers and no worker could possibly face life without the union's support -- then of course, they'll all gladly pay their dues and vote to recertify every year -- of course! Oddly, the union leaders somehow don't seem certain this would come to pass . . .

richard mcenroe said...

Michael Moore rallies the PEU unions after Miami

Dennis said...

Perhaps a better name for this mess is "corruptive bargaining"

Gabriel Hanna said...

From the article linked by Henry:

The Central Falls school ended up closing because " Union leaders said they wanted teachers to be paid for more of the additional work and at a higher pay rate — $90 per hour rather than the $30 per hour offered by Gallo.


Ana Cecilia Rosado Yes
After negotiations broke down, Gallo said she no longer had confidence the high school could be transformed and instead recommended the turnaround model."

Of course fls and the usual suspects will be here to make snarky comments that no one becomes a teacher because it's a cushy job.

They wanted $90 per extra hour when they are producing a 48% graduation rate.

Nothing is ever a teacher's fault, and no amount of money is ever enough.

mabop said...

vbspurs said...

Note, Miami has a strange division in local governance. Carlos Alvarez was Miami-Dade County mayor. Regalado is the City of Miami mayor. Perhaps other big metropolitan areas have this too, but I haven't heard of any.

Memphis, Tennessee
City (Memphis) Mayor
County (Shelby) Mayor

mabop said...

vbspurs said...

Note, Miami has a strange division in local governance. Carlos Alvarez was Miami-Dade County mayor. Regalado is the City of Miami mayor. Perhaps other big metropolitan areas have this too, but I haven't heard of any.

Memphis, Tennessee
City (Memphis) Mayor
County (Shelby) Mayor

Kev said...

Once Walker cuts the size of the state Govt, I think he should see what taxes should be raised. Like the beer tax, untouched since -- what -- 1970?

Why? If government gets smaller, and continues to do so, taxes should, if anything, go down. Most of the so-called "services" provided by government are things that the average taxpayer neither wants nor needs. Let people keep more of their own money, spend it as they see fit, and maybe even make poor choices doing so...but live with the consequences of those choices, rather than having their fellow citizens foot the bill, as happens so often.

jgott said...

man oh man, I could listen to Glenn Loury dissect these issues for about 3 hours a day. As usual, this brilliance is WASTED on teenagers in college (lol, as they say). Fantastic stuff.

JorgXMcKie said...

"But the combination of impotence with intransigence is incredibly ignorant."

Quit picking on our trolls. [Even if it's true.]