Imperial Scott Walker, the worker-hating AT-AT Destroyer

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105 Responses to “Imperial Scott Walker, the worker-hating AT-AT Destroyer”

  1. bobthecitizen says:

    So what’s so great about unions?

    I was a teamster, and the union was so corrupt I could not relate the stories and be deemed credible, though they are true, it was like an upton sinclair book. My wife paid tons of money into her health worker union and they used it to lobby for pro-life stuff we don’t support. (neonatal care is a huge chunk of health care $$$ in the US)

    Our local police union has fought police drug testing for years their excuse “we’d lose 25% of the force to meth alone.” Having worked in the field I can tell you, meth head cops are a denger to everybody.

    San Francisco is going bankrupt over $190K retirement pay for firefighters, without a union the pay would even out.

    The age of the sweatshop is over, we have decent laws about overtime etc. If somebody wants to leave their $43K job for any reason, I’ll take that job right now, no benefits, and I’ll do it for $35K.

    I think the era where unions were necessary in the US is over, I will never voluntarily work a union job again.

  2. bobthecitizen says:

    I value teaching as a concept, I spent a lot of years doing it.

    But if we’re paying for results, we, as a country, are getting burned. US education sucks so ridiculously bad we should disband our public schools and go to a voucher only system, let people make their own choices.

    I homeschool mine because the schools are draconian, orwellian, inefficient and ineffective. Why should I give chicken lips about the salary/benefits of someone who works for a system I would never consider using because it sucks so badly?

    What next, whine about how TSA’s modern day SS don’t get paid enough?

    • semiotix says:

      What next, whine about how TSA’s modern day SS don’t get paid enough?

      I’d be happy to. Making airport security a profession, instead of what you do when the airport Chick-Fil-A isn’t hiring, can only improve things. Real collective bargaining and the right to strike might actually have resulted in those pat-downs having been nipped in the bud. Remember how BB was full of Marie Antoinettes demanding that the TSA rank-and-file quit in protest? You know, “well if you hate fondling my balls so much why don’t you quit?” etc.? Imagine what an empowered, organized workforce could have done then. It never would have gotten past the memo stage.

    • TNGMug says:

      Well isn’t that specious reasoning.

      “Well it doesn’t work, so we ought not give it the funding it needs to work”

      Here’s why you should “give chicken lips”. Because money attracts talent, and talent makes things work. It’s good enough logic to be applied to CEO’s that make millions a year, but apparently not to public education.

      Your attitude sabotages the system, and then once the system is sabotaged, you used that as justification for the original attitude.

      • bobthecitizen says:

        By your example corporate american CEO’s are a benefit to the system. I tend to disagree, I feel that corporate america is a disaster that benefits the CEO’s more than their companies, employees or the system in general. I feel that our education system is comparable to the war on drugs, a failure that more money won’t save.

        But if we assume your example of corporations as a positive example is solid then using a voucher system would work. Better schools would attract better teachers and would be willing to pay to get them.

        I used to live in a county with a ton of voucher driven private schools and it worked well, for much less per student than the public schools dramatically better results were acheived, the public schools steadily improved as well as they had to to keep students.

        My kids are homeschooled in a group that is a charter school in name only (gives us standardized testing) and we are getting vastly better results for greatly less money, and the occasional teachers we bring in under contract are paid very well.

  3. hydroguy says:

    Hey Fifth:

    I am not discussing policy or politics or whatever you think this issue is about. I am discussing math. As for tax cuts for the wealthy try this on for size:

    “The top-earning 5 percent of taxpayers (AGI over $159,619), however, still paid far more than the bottom 95 percent. The top 5 percent earned 34.7 percent of the nation’s adjusted gross income, but paid approximately 58.7 percent of federal individual income taxes.”

    Check out the Tax Foundation’s website for more. It is hard to argue with the numbers.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think America is going to collapse soon. But when it does, it will be because of people like Timmers and Aye, who are happy to see common people’s standard of living destroyed and their power to make influence decisions taken away because people don’t deserve stuff like that anyways.

  5. TNGMug says:

    That’s right! Bow down to your masters now!

    You that gets up every day, goes to work, pays your mortgage, buys your gorceries.

    Teaches the children of the nation… Picks up the nations garbage….. writes the nation’s code.

    YOU ARE NOT WORTH ANYTHING.

    Why don’t you understand that? The rich are rich for a reason, why else would they be rich (it’s certainly not inherited privilege, that certain never happens).

    Only your rich masters keep the economy going, it’s certainly not you doing your job.

    ________________________

    You know, what’s funny, those prognosticating the above rational tend to be big fans of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas shrugged”. A book about the rich up and quitting, *striking* if you will, and thusly proving their value.

    You’d think if the workers are worth so very little, it would conversely stand to reason that *their* striking would be harmless…. And yet they have to go so far as to legislating such an event’s prevention in order to keep things going.

    A bit hypocritical don’t you think?

  6. Faus says:

    I have a solution to all this mess. Why doesn’t old Gov. Walker call up ol Ben Bernanke at the fed and have him print up a few billion paper bills. That way everyone can be happy its no different than what the Dem and Repub parties have been doing for decades at the federal level. Wake up America as of now the Federal Deficit is $14,169,000,000,000 yes that is a 14 trillion dollar deficit and yes this is more than PDIDDY or PUFFDaddy makes in a year. If you break it down that means every person in the US would have to pay over $45,000 dollars or realistically $127,000 per tax payer to pay it off and its going to get much much worse.

    Its time America stops voting for a party and starts voting for people with common sense. We are getting fleeced by big gov and big business and yes they are both the same.

    Its time you vote not for a party but for people who stand by their word and care about the working class.

    Ron Paul or Gary Johnson former GOV of NM for example come to mind maybe their are others. they may not have all the anwsers but they have some comman sense and they care about the working class whether they work for the government or private businesses if their is such a thing anymore.

    Faus

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why was collective bargaining ever legislated anyhow?.

    Considering how everyone is allowed to join a group of like minded folks and make demands It’s called the First Admendment!

    Now that it is legislated, How could any true American argue to make it illegal? http://twitter.com/#!/CalFireNews

    • freddy nono says:

      you miss the point. In Wis. you can’t be a teacher and NOT be in the union. It is mandatory. In order to teach you must be a union member. IT’s the OPPOSITE of the right to freely assemble . In this case you are compelled to pay union dues. etc.

      I don’t think it is right to FORCE people to pay union dues or be part of a group that has political views opposed to their own views. But if you want to teach in some places they do that.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Bush really pushed the trend of increasing government benefits while cutting taxes. I thought Republicans were supposed to be the fiscally responsible party, but how can you simultaneously decrease revenue and increase spending and still claim to be fiscal conservatives? Why, when we just gave billions in bailouts to the rich, can’t they be expected to pay some of it back with increased taxes?

  9. techsoldaten says:

    This is an important fight.

    There are forces in America that seek to eliminate the rights of workers in favor of ‘smaller government.’ Invariably, this effectively results in tax breaks for the rich, who have little to lose in funding operations like this. The Tea Party, contrary to public opinion, is a well funded operation financed by the elite, who are cosy with certain media outlets they use to build public support for their efforts.

    This is ultimately not a Democratic process. Reactionary legislation and budgetary measures have long term results which are inconsistent with participatory Democracy, they represent gamesmanship more than governance. It is important to stand up to efforts like this and demand that our government not unduly single out groups like unions and act as stewards of our interests.

  10. Ugly Canuck says:

    In the best places to live, people pay the most taxes.

    That’s what the numbers show, and they always have shown that.

    But the short-sighted stupid little greedheads don’t and won’t believe it.

  11. beyondthepa1e says:

    The tax breaks are unrelated to the current budget shortfall. Whether or not they have the currently projected effect upon the next budget remains to be seen, as budgetary projections often rely upon an assumption of static government that doesn’t exist in practice.

    http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/feb/18/rachel-maddow/rachel-maddow-says-wisconsin-track-have-budget-sur/

  12. hydroguy says:

    Ugly Canuck:

    It is not about who is paying the most taxes, it is about living within your means as a nation – Wisconsin is just the canary in the coal mine.

    Current US tax revenues (all sources): $2.2 trillion
    Current US federal spending: $3.7 trillion
    deficit: 3.7-2.2 = $1.5 trillion
    US national debt to GDP ratio: 96% (highest since WWII)

    The $1.5 trillion deficit is paid for by the world bond market. When they stop buying those bonds, that money disappears. 1.5/3.7 trillion = 41%. So, when deficit spending is ended by the bond market, 41% cuts will be required to all sectors of US government. Doesn’t matter what you think of unions or health care or social security. The money will no longer be there to spend. This is math, not politics.

    I live in Sweden, and rather enjoy it. My taxation level is higher than yours, Ugly Canuck. I don’t mind because our government routinely acts like an adult and runs a surplus.

    But I suppose I am a “stupid little greed head” despite any of this. I feel like the little boy in the Emperor’s New Clothes, pointing out what should be obvious to any impartial observer.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      The Americans need to raise their taxes.

      That’s the other way to ‘deal with the math”.

      Austerity – for the wealthy.

      And those US bonds would sell better if the US Fed raised interest rates.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      From the link I posted earlier:

      “The route out of this downturn is simple, the government needs to spend money to create demand. This is the economy’s problem at the moment, not a scarcity of resources.”

      Hydroguy, you are wrong…where do you think those bond-buyers initially get the specie/US currency to buy those bonds from the US Fed?

  13. Joe says:

    He’s not trying “to cover it by gutting the state’s unions”. The two major unions have agreed to the givebacks he’s demanding, for now. The reason for the battle is that the governor is trying to bust the unions entirely; nothing in the dispute affects this year’s budget.

    If the governor wins, and other Republican-controlled states follow, it’s only a matter of time before labor unions are dead in this country. Then we’ll see pressure to eliminate antiquated laws like overtime for more that 40 hours a week and quaint customs like sick pay.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with Joe.There should be a movement to recall the governor from office.The governor has the responsibility for ensuring the well being for all the people of Wisconsin,regardless of color,creed,race and political beliefs.The governors behavioral comes into question!My belief is that the governor has failed to represent equally all the people of Wisconsin,and therefore should be held accountable.

    • Lobster says:

      Just because you give your money to the guy with the gun, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer a mugging.

  14. Ugly Canuck says:

    Hey it looks like the Gov is using this crisis (which he manufactured by his give-aways to his wealthy backers) to not only break public unions in Wisconsin but also to give to his business buddies the infrastructure the taxpayers of Wisconsin have paid for, so that they can earn the low or no tax profits therefrom, and probably use some of those future profits to support their favorite politicians, too:

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/02/wisconsins-walker-joins-government-asset-giveaway-club-and-is-rahm-soon-to-follow.html

    And the Governor is in a mighty hurry to get on with his plans.

  15. johnnyaction says:

    The policy that Walker is pursuing is called “Starve the Beast”.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starve_the_beast

    It’s also called being a dick. Don’t be a dick Walker.

  16. Rayonic says:

    I’d say that if every teaching job opening has dozens (or hundreds) of applicants, then that proves teachers are paid enough.

    The best teachers aren’t in it for the money anyway, right? They’re in it for the love of teaching.

    • Anonymous says:

      The best governors aren’t in it for the money, either, but that has never encouraged them to try balancing the budget there.

  17. Anonymous says:

    A lot of people have posted here explaining how teachers don’t need these rights and so on, but I haven’t heard any justifying why they ought to be taken away. In other words, nobody has offered much pro-governor, only their own anti-union or anti-teacher biases. Which does a good job exemplifying the only real reasons for this sort of crap.

  18. Anonymous says:

    It’s even bigger than individual rights to collective bargaining… this is a concerted effort by tea party republicans to dismantle the democratic party.

    Of the top 10 financial contributors to last fall’s elections, only three organizations contributed to democratic candidates – and they were all public workers’ unions.

    By dismantling public workers unions (one of the measures against the unions is to restrict them from requiring members to pay dues), these politicians are covertly attempting to destroy the democratic party’s ability to compete financially in national, state, and local elections.

    It’s about our money, our rights, and out political power. This is a hostile takeover of our nation’s politics, and Wisconsin won’t stand for it.

    • Timmers says:

      Puh-lease. Public sector unions have been used to getting their way for decades. They are a wholesale arm of the Democratic party. Together, they looted state coffers to line their pockets and now, with the bill coming due, they don’t want to share in the pain that private sector workers have been dealing with for years.

      You don’t have a right to collective bargaining.

      You don’t have a right to permanent $100k jobs (salary and benefits).

      And you don’t have a right to dictate how a state is run, however unhappy it all makes you feel.

      Sorry if I’m not stating the BoingBoing party line, but it’s true.

      • social_maladroit says:

        Together, they looted state coffers to line their pockets and now, with the bill coming due, they don’t want to share in the pain that private sector workers have been dealing with for years.

        Translation: Teachers, and all public sector workers, for that matter, should just accept low, stagnant wages, little or no health benefits, and the threat of being fired at will, just like everybody else, and like it.

        Hey, Timmers, what’s in this for you? Is this simply “misery loves company,” or is somebody giving you some kind of tangible benefit to spout this line of bullshit? Does it make you feel better about yourself?

        Seriously, I understand that Americans don’t believe in paying more taxes. But this “fuck over your neighbor because you perceive he’s got it better than you do” attitude that’s so prevalent now, I don’t understand.

        • Aye says:

          But this “fuck over your neighbor because you perceive he’s got it better than you do” attitude that’s so prevalent now, I don’t understand.

          You’re right.

          The American left has always wanted to go after the “rich” to get as much as they possibly can when, in reality, it’s those people who help keep the economy chugging along.

          I don’t understand it either.

          • social_maladroit says:

            The American left has always wanted to go after the “rich” to get as much as they possibly can…

            Totally unlike the American right, who think taxation is tantamount to theft.

            …when, in reality, it’s those people who help keep the economy chugging along.

            Yes, the rich certainly are the only ones who keep the economy going. Certainly not the poor, the middle class, or teachers. What a nonsensical statement.

            I don’t understand it either.

            Well, you wrote it.

      • cschneid says:

        Public sector unions have been used to getting their way for decades.

        Between increases in contributions to health care, raises that did not keep up with the cost of living, and furlough days, members of public sector unions in Wisconsin have seen their salaries shrink in real terms over the past 10 – 15 years.

        You don’t have a right to collective bargaining.

        A passing familiarity with the ninth and tenth amendments might be considered a requirement before making such a statement. What is under discussion is legislation explicitly forbidding most public employees from bargaining collectively.

      • Anonymous says:

        Really? We make over $100K a year? That’s news to me. I work full time in IT for a WI school district. I drive a 12 year old car, have a little less than a grand in savings, pay a mortgage on a modest home, and pay my student loans back on time. After that and heat and food, I have about $200 left per month for other things (gas, surprise bills, etc).

        Did I mention I also pay taxes? I’m awfully surprised to find that I’m getting rich. Cause I feel like I’m barely treading water. After these cuts go through, it looks like it’s going take about $400 a month from my take home pay. My union dues run me about $372 per year, so Scott Walkers plan that I can make up for my lost wages by not paying union dues would cover me for about one month. What do you suggest I do to make up the loss for those other 11 months out of the year?

        Might I also mention, I’m fine with taking those cuts. I love my state, and I don’t want to see it suffer while I “prosper”, but I’m absolutely not willing to give up my rights (not collecting bargaining privileges, collective bargaining rights) just so our new governor can fill a one year hole in a budget deficit that he created.

      • techsoldaten says:

        Yes you do have a right to collectively bargain, it’s called freedom of assembly.

        You may not have a right to a $100k job, this is true. It just happens to be true of less than 1% of the people seeking union representation in Wisconsin. People do have a right to make a living wage, and this law would take 30% of union workers below the living wage once they make their ‘contributions’ to their pension. This is not right.

        You do have a right to dictate how a state is run, it’s called participatory Democracy. Everyone should have their say, and the current shortfall is being created by giving tax breaks to the rich. 90% of the benefit is going to the top 10% of wage earners, and there is nothing democractic about that.

        Sorry, I must have missed the place where BoingBoing organized into a political party. There is no line to tow here, but goofy fascist outlooks with heads buried in the sand are not appreciated anywhere.

      • mdh says:

        You know, i think it’s pretty good planning to ensure that those educating the next generation aren’t as harried as the rest of us in the private sector. I can’t imagine that being worried about your health coverage is a motivator for better performance from an educator.

        I also think you’re just jealous.

      • Raj77 says:

        You have *got* to be a troll. Collective bargaining isn’t a privilege afforded, it’s a concession won.

        As far as “you don’t have a right to dictate how a state is run” goes, I suggest that you might be happier in North Korea. Government by the people, for the people?

      • holtt says:

        And you don’t have a right to dictate how a state is run, however unhappy it all makes you feel.

        Preach it brother. As a state resident, you should be happy you even HAVE a state to live in, let alone the chance to vote in elections.

        And screw that whole elected representative government crap. We can’t have those representatives just doing what people asked them to do. I mean that whole “electoral promises” thing is just marketing fluff. Sticking to what you told the people you’d do at their behest is just being a mindless tool of the people.

      • Anonymous says:

        im not sure what you are referring to, but as a resident of wisconsin, ive never heard of a 100K state job. when i graduate in may i will be making more working in the private sector than a state worker with seven years seniority.

      • Anonymous says:

        $100, 000 salaries? This is utter nonsense. Only three people in my small state college in Wisconsin make six figures–the provost, the chancellor, and the financial officer. This is public knowledge that anyone can find by looking in the redbook link on a colleges HR site. Colleges are structured like any business pyramid with the bulk of the people on the bottom of the pyramid. The people who will get hurt the most by this are the hard working classified staff–program assistants and staff and maintenance workers who will take an 18% hit in their take home pay that averages just over 20,000 a year.

  19. freddy nono says:

    The idea that the union is NOW willing to agree to pay for part of the health care costs is undercut by the very fact that they used “collective bargaining” for the current contract. IE: one that has their union members paying NONE of the costs for health care like people in the private sector do.

    Read what the union people say carefully. “We have nothing against paying a part of out health care costs for now” It’s the “for now” and “part of” that they want to bargain with. Which means they will get it all back to ZERO as soon as possible.

    The idea that they should have gold-plated health care at the expense of the tax-payer is absurd.

    And the collective bargaining issue only applies to health care and pensions, NOT wages. Just set the health care co=pay to that of private sector average and the issue should be settled.

    • Rayonic says:

      The counterargument I’ve heard is that everybody should have the same unsustainable benefits as public employees, rather than lower public employee benefits down to reality.

      Too bad there’s no “reality-based community” that could comment on these matters.

      • freddy nono says:

        what it really amounts to is this…

        In the private sector there are two interests…both private. If a company gives it’s employees a benefit that cost them money that is their business. In fact it may drive them out of business. But that is their call.

        Here we have “public sector” workers who are employed by the tax payer. Basically it is a private interest ( employees) asking the public sector to pay for benefits that people in the private sector dream of.

        • Brett Myers says:

          what it really amounts to is this…
          Here we have “public sector” workers who are employed by the tax payer. Basically it is a private interest ( employees) asking the public sector to pay for benefits that people in the private sector dream of.

          freddy nono, you’re ridiculous. You have some kind of crazy fantasy about these magical gold-plated benefits. They’re no better than any other degreed professional’s benefits, they just pay about 15% less for them than some of the rest of us do. Hell, I have better benefits than some of them, and I don’t even have a degree.

          • freddy nono says:

            By gold plated I mean that the Wis Public service unions have a contract that doesn’t even require them to pay 12 % co-pay on health Insurance.

            Thats a freaking good deal. I wish I had to only pay 12 %. But being self-employeed means I have to pay ALL of my premiums. And all the taxes that go to pay for public sector contracts.

            But, if what I here from union people is that paying the money isn’t the issue then we have no argument. Just pay the money. I mean, I have heard day after day from union people that that isn’t the issue

      • Anonymous says:

        Where “unsustainable” means “can’t be sustained in the face of political pressures, even though other countries manage to provide much better”?

      • Fifth says:

        “unsustainable benefits”

        Citation needed

        PS: By citation I mean one that argues that these benefits are unsustainable without assuming that it is somehow impossible for the greediest Americans to ever give up the smallest amount of their unnecessary wealth.

    • abulaf1a says:

      Allow me to enlighten you on a couple of things.

      1) As a state union worker (university teaching assistant), I pay $40/month for health insurance. I am not even legally allowed to have a pension, so that’s a non-starter for me. One of my friends is a unionized university library employee (different union), and pays roughly $150/month on health insurance. Bottom line: we aren’t getting free health care, folks. It’s just a bit cheaper than what private companies provide (assuming they provide it all). As a trade off, we get paid peanuts (my friend’s income has in fact _decreased_ over his 12 years of employment).

      2) Say it with me now: UNION. EMPLOYEES. ARE. TAX. PAYERS.

  20. hydroguy says:

    Fed interest rates won’t matter when debt to GDP ratios get so high that bond buyers don’t believe they will get their money back. Ask Greece. Doesn’t matter where the money comes from, if they don’t think they will be paid back (i.e. they believe the government is going to default), they won’t buy the bond. Would you?

    I read the link and am unimpressed. Give me enough time and I will find an economist who can argue in favour of anything.

    “…spend money to create demand.” I wonder if Ugly Canuck would care to outline exactly what he thinks that means. Actually, never mind. Ugly Canuck is clearly certain he is correct. Hope he can come up with that 1.5 trillion while keeping the unions happy.

    I actually agree with the idea of putting all this to a vote. The US needs a national referendum on the actual needed 41% cut.

    Government employees can try to intimidate the entire population of the U.S. during the run-up to the vote instead of just sending a mob to the Wisconsin governor’s house.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      T-bills are doing all right, are they not?

      If things are so bad, why ain’t the bond boys demanding high interest on their lendings to the US Government?

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      I don’t think that you can find any economist anywhere who would argue that a quick forty-one per cent cut in Government expenditures would be a useful, much less a wise, course of action during an economic depression, or even an ordinary recession.

      I take it those who no longer enjoyed the income associated with that 41% of expenditure could not count on welfare or any other government help to cope!

      And you were the one talking
      about “the math”…hohohohohoho!!

      I’m not going to argue with you anymore.

  21. Rob Gehrke says:

    Can we say it now?
    Class War. There. Go Badgers !

    A little of the other Scott Walker in order to cleanse your palate of the pale-faced antichrist from WI :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OEFzCShMiw

  22. Ugly Canuck says:

    And what with US taxpayers bail-outs of the biggest private “investment banks” over the past 1000 days, who really owns/owes whom here?

    And why should the poorest and sickest and oldest and youngest have to suffer for it?

    Dismantle the US Armed Forces abroad, and there’s yer 41%….

  23. grimc says:

    On a technical note, the short guy should’ve been in front.

  24. hydroguy says:

    Ugly Canuck, this is not a question of being “useful” or “wise”. These cuts are mathematically unavoidable if the bond market cuts up the national credit card. At some point, if the deficit continues to grow, the bond market will stop buying T bills, the same way it did for Greece.

    Total US military spending in 2009 was $660 billion and change. So totally eliminating the armed forces would get you only about a third of the way to eliminating the deficit.

    I am not/have not been “arguing” anything. These are facts.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      I suspect that interest rates payable on those bonds may have to get above 1% per annum before there’s any need for panic, eh?

      I see that the Fed paid 16% per annum in 1981…guess it’s doing better now huh?

      http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h15/data/Annual/H15_FF_O.txt

      Why such low low interest rates, if what you say about the US’s risk of default is even remotely true?

      Or are the bond boys in your opinion simply wrong to charge such low low interest from the Fed at the moment for the loan of their monies?

      • Ugly Canuck says:

        Looking at that series of numbers, it looks a that there has never been a time when it has been cheaper for the fed to borrow….

        When interest rates are low, borrowed money is cheaper than when rates are high…so NOW is the time for increasing the government debt. The good times are when you pay it off.

        PS: Low interest rates = good times ; better at least than when the rates are sky-high.

  25. Jack says:

    Folks, all of this comment debate over pro/against Unions is crazy. There are specifics here that can be debated, but they are trees in the forest. Once this forest is gone it will be a desert of workers rights.

    Here is the deal: Wisconsin is already one of the most pro-worker states in the U.S. The fact a governor would come in and issue massive tax cuts for the rich in Wisconsin and then turn around and attempt workers wages and benefits is a simple con job. And this is coming from someone who has issues with unions based on my own parents negative experience with unions.

    Heck, I’m a tech worker who works on a 1099. So are tons of other folks. Workers are being placed in non-secure positions every day in this country and being treated as disposable. And this is in non-union jobs. The working class in this country cannot and should not be divided.

    If Wisconsin somehow gets this nonsense approved watch every other state and group in the U.S. come to similar clashes.

    This is truly an amazing thing to watch. And I hope the good guys (ie: not Scott Walker and his thugs) win.

  26. social_maladroit says:

    How in the hell did this fool get elected in the first place? Was his position on unions a secret?

    (And as a corollary, how in the hell did a majority of Republicans get elected to the lower house of Congress? Do American voters enjoy shooting themselves in the foot?)

    • Jack says:

      How in the hell did this fool get elected in the first place? Was his position on unions a secret?

      I guess he was a “crypto” asshole.

      Oh, and College Barber Shop! I got myself shorn there many a time!

    • cschneid says:

      The current Governor made no secret of his position regarding Unions during the campaign. Attacking public employees has been a technique used since at least the Thompson administration.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Jack brings up a vital point.

    Cost of living has been increasing a lot. Minimum wage has not. Even as we speak, inflation is decreasing the value of your money. But minimum wage, wages in general, will not increase at a corresponding rate. You are literally getting paid less real value to go to work tomorrow than you were today.

  28. Ugly Canuck says:

    And still more about what’s really going on in Wisconsin….

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/02/21/947947/-The-Koch-Brothers-End-Game-in-Wisconsin

    The “create a crisis” style of neo-con governance is back.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Like Jack, I am a 1099er. I fully support the Wisconsin teachers unions efforts to protect their members. The I’m-aboard-pull-up-the-ladder whiners of the ultra-right are devoted to the destruction of the American middle class, and therefore the eventual destruction of America as a first-world nation. They are fighting to make us an Argentina in the 21st century.

  30. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Does anyone have anything new or interesting to add to the discussion? Bellowing the same thing at multiple commenters isn’t discourse.

    • Wally Ballou says:

      Well, I’ve politely asked a couple of times how many Wisconsin teachers have left for better paying jobs in other states. The silence has been nearly as deafening as the “bellowing” you mention.

      The completely valid criticism of what Walker is doing is that the police and fire unions are given a free pass. That is, I agree, bullshit.

      • Brett Myers says:

        Well, I’ve politely asked a couple of times how many Wisconsin teachers have left for better paying jobs in other states. The silence has been nearly as deafening as the “bellowing” you mention.

        Nobody has answered because 1) it’s kind of a dumb question, and 2) the 40-odd commenters here are unlikely to have those statistics at hand so any answer would be speculation and, like your personal experience in this matter, irrelevant anecdote.

        The silence is deafening. Ha.

    • Cowicide says:

      Does anyone have anything new or interesting to add to the discussion?

      I think Timmers is very possibly a gimp who merely made his post in order to be publicly punished, spanked and humiliated. Discuss.

  31. Fifth says:

    People like Aye, Timmeh and Hydroguy provide a valuable public service, showing us the kind of damaged, disfunctional mindsets that puke up endless amounts of hatred and contempt for people like teachers who actually produce value in our economy, while worshipping the wealthy who only exist to extract and destroy it. Perpetually afraid that the Galtian Supermen will take their ball and go home, never realizing that those parasites will never stop feasting on the actual labor of people who do anything of worth.

    If Wisconsin needs to balance its budget, it can reverse its tax cuts for the wealthy, who I’m pretty sure also make more than the median Wisconsin wage earner.

  32. Aye says:

    The average WI educator makes far more in salary and benefits than the average WI taxpayer.

    Even after this bill passes, that fact will not change.

    No one will lose one dime of salary or benefits after this legislation.

    The thing that will change is that these public sector workers will have to pay out a small percentage toward their own benefits.

    By doing this, mass layoffs (6000 teachers plus others) will be avoided.

    A bit of shared sacrifice will benefit everyone involved.

    • knappa says:

      I’m very, very sick of this line of reasoning. Teachers are trained professionals while most people are not. It is not charity work and they need to be paid at a wage which reflects this. Or are you arguing from the communist side?

      • Aye says:

        You are quite right.

        Teachers are paid professionals indeed.

        Their pay should be commensurate with the jobs they do and the results that they get.

        It is outrageous, however, that they should expect the taxpayer to carry both their salary and benefit packages without a reasonable contribution from them.

        • social_maladroit says:

          You are quite right. Teachers are paid professionals indeed. Their pay should be commensurate with the jobs they do and the results that they get. It is outrageous, however, that they should expect the taxpayer to carry both their salary and benefit packages without a reasonable contribution from them.

          So you think the work teachers do isn’t a “reasonable contribution” worthy of the salary they’re paid. Thanks for clarifying that you think Wisconsin teachers are unworthy of their hire. No wonder you don’t think teachers should be able to collectively bargain.

        • knappa says:

          I see that you must not count “performing the service of teaching” as a contribution. What you said is propaganda-style nonsense. Nobody is getting a free ride, you have to actually be a teacher for years to get a vested, substantial pension.

          (I don’t know what any of this has to do with pay-for-performance. As far as I’ve heard, that is not one of the current issues.)

    • catgrin says:

      Hrmmmm….University of Phoenix (who wants you to pay to get your teaching credentials) lists an entry level salary as $30K/year and after I averaged their average salaries for five metropolitan areas, I came up with a yearly salary of $55,722 for a secondary school teacher. In fact, Wisconsin, ranks 28th on the “Teacher’s Portal Score” which grades how far a salary will go in the state that the teacher lives in. (The lower the number, the better state, so Wisconsin ranks a “C” for the way its teachers are paid.)

      http://www.teacher-world.com/teacher-salary/wisconsin.html

      http://teacherportal.com/salary-comfort-index

      P.S. I’ve taught at a college level, and here’s something most people don’t realize about teachers. As long as their hourly, they actually make about half of what they’re paid. Every teacher, no matter what grade level they teach, is expected to complete a lot of their work outside of the classroom. This work includes test preparation, instruction planning, grading, etc. Teachers are only paid for in class time. The rest is gratis. So that teacher starting out at about $30K is really only making $15K. Try being nicer to them. They work harder than you know.

      • Aye says:

        The salary figures that you cite are cash figures only and do not take into account the additional employee benefits ie insurance, pension, and social security.

        When you add those, the average jumps dramatically.

        For instance, the Milwaukee figure quoted in your source is $54,620. Once you add on the extras, the figure tops $100K.

        http://investmentwatchblog.com/report-average-city-teacher-salary-tops-100000/

        PS…I didn’t say that teachers don’t work hard. What I am critical of teachers for is the results they glean as detailed in the second video in the source above.

        Also, while teachers may indeed put in long hours during the school session they also enjoy multiple breaks during the year up to, and including, summers off. So, while their working weeks may be >40 hours…it more than balances out when you calculate their down time.

        • Brett Myers says:

          The salary figures that you cite are cash figures only and do not take into account the additional employee benefits ie insurance, pension, and social security.

          When you add those, the average jumps dramatically.

          For instance, the Milwaukee figure quoted in your source is $54,620. Once you add on the extras, the figure tops $100K.

          Your totals are irrelevant. Do you think other professionals do not earn benefits like insurance, pension and social security? The difference is in the contribution rates, not the total benefits package. To tout the totals as if only unionized state employees earn those kinds of benefits is deliberately misleading.

      • Wally Ballou says:

        Wisconsin ranks a “C” for the way its teachers are paid.

        What sort of turnover rate does these mediocre wages generate?

        Are there any Wisconsin teachers who pick up and move across state lines to get a better paying job, as I have done three times in the last fifteen years?

        Or do they prefer a small, but tightly clutched, iron rice bowl?

      • freddy nono says:

        teachers are paid on salary. And that includes time outside of ‘class room” time. What you are saying makes no sense. I teach at college level and, YES, I have to spend time outside of class time to make my class good.

        And everyone in private sector ends up working beyond the 9-5 . And they also pay part of their health plan, etc

    • cschneid says:

      No one will lose one dime of salary or benefits after this legislation.

      The thing that will change is that these public sector workers will have to pay out a small percentage toward their own benefits.

      Inaccurate. This legislation will remove the right to collectively bargain for most public sector employees. Firefighters and law enforcement are exempt. These two groups back the current protests, no doubt in part because they see the writing on the wall and know their collective bargaining rights will be targeted next.

      Subsequent legislation is expected which will no doubt cut public sector employee compensation. “[T]hese public sector workers” have always paid a “small percentage toward their own benefits”, this legislation will increase that amount. Which is logically equivalent to a pay cut, one the unions have agreed to already.

      In case you have forgotten, the reason that percentage has always been relatively small is because historically that was the trade-off for public sector employment: lower salary for better benefits.

      By doing this, mass layoffs (6000 teachers plus others) will be avoided.

      A bit of shared sacrifice will benefit everyone involved.

      That is certainly the current Governor’s position. My personal belief is that the legislation will be followed by comments from the administration indicating the situation is worse than they expected, and layoffs will be required anyway.

      This is not about the budget, which has a shortfall due to actions taken by the current Governor in his first days in office. This is about union busting and setting a precedent for the rest of the country.

      Remember what the Republican party said after the mid-term elections: the #1 priority is to prevent Obama from being elected to a second term in 2012. They seem to believe that by attacking unions they can remove a source of funding and volunteer effort for the current POTUS’s reelection campaign.

      • Aye says:

        This legislation will remove the right to collectively bargain for most public sector employees.

        Inaccurate.

        The collective bargaining changes included in this legislation specifically exclude salary.

        In case you have forgotten, the reason that percentage has always been relatively small is because historically that was the trade-off for public sector employment: lower salary for better benefits.

        So…an average salary of nearly $53K is “lower” in your mind?

        Really?

        Then, you add on a bennie package worth approx $40K…

        Pretty soon, you’re talking about big money.

        This is not about the budget, which has a shortfall due to actions taken by the current Governor in his first days in office.

        Hmmm…surely you didn’t fall for that one now did you?

        • Brett Myers says:

          The collective bargaining changes included in this legislation specifically exclude salary.

          It also specifically limits salary increases to no greater than cost of living increases without a referendum vote.

          It also makes union dues voluntary and forces the unions to re-vote every year on whether to remain unionized. When your union has had it’s hands tied, there’s little incentive to remain unionized.

          This move is orchestrated by the Koch brothers and is designed to cripple the unions and consequently destroy the major contribution base for the Democratic party.

        • cschneid says:

          The collective bargaining changes included in this legislation specifically exclude salary.

          Allow me to explain how this works. The Unions want to discuss salary. The State says, “We cannot discuss salary until the budget is set.” Once the budget is set, the Union says, “Can we discuss salary now?” The State says, “There is no point in discussing salary, the budget is set.” This is how salary “negotiations” have gone for the last 10 – 15 years in Wisconsin.

          Under the new legislation, expect to see any “raises” granted to be absorbed by further increases in what the employees must pay for their benefits, additional furlough days, etc.

          I see you conveniently ignored the explanation about how compensation in public service has worked historically.

          So…an average salary of nearly $53K is “lower” in your mind?

          That’s not what I said at all, but I suspect you know that.

          Hmmm…surely you didn’t fall for that one now did you?

          You accuse the state fiscal bureau of malfeasance? If you have evidence of such, please by all means present it to the legislative audit bureau.

      • Aye says:

        I forgot to add this.

        Under the legislation, employees will be contributing 12% toward their insurance (currently they pay 6%) and 5.8% toward their pensions which they currently contribute nothing toward.

        A modest proposal indeed.

        http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/02/18/the-first-blow-against-public-employees/wisconsins-governor-is-fiscally-modest-politically-bold

        • Anonymous says:

          all of the state employees i know contribute towards their pensions and their healthcare already. i dont think the teachers do, but they are not the only employees of the state. if you want to attack teachers, then attack teachers. leave the other union members out of it.

      • Anonymous says:

        @cshneid:

        “Firefighters and law enforcement are exempt. These two groups back the current protests, no doubt in part because they see the writing on the wall and know their collective bargaining rights will be targeted next.”

        Not according to this article.

        http://www.fox6now.com/news/witi-102010-open-sky,0,7341989.story

  33. Sheekus says:

    To me, this is a sign that humans are becoming more machine-like, and machines are become more human-like.
    I wrote a post exploring exactly that theme, as our Dear friend Watson best the best Jeopardy player.
    http://www.cybernoeticman.com/2011/02/3-reasons-why-your-computer-is-more.html

  34. hydroguy says:

    96% debt to GDP ratio, 14.17 trillion total debt, 1.5 trillion per year increase in debt.

    Nobody – repeat, nobody – believes this to be sustainable. Among those who have said so publically are Obama, Geithner and Bernanke. The bond market is coasting on two generations of the US dollar being the default reserve currency for the world. When the debt fundamentals finally swamp this sentimentality, the merry go round stops.

    The people buying bonds can of course do as they please with their money. Lots of the same “bond boys” bought credit default swaps too. That turned out well. I have no illusion that Wall Street is rational.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      The course which you propose would bring the “merry-go-round” as you call it to a stop with a huge and painful crash.

      it would entail a wholesale lots of real and actual human suffering , pain and deprivation – permanent losses, for nobody lives twice in time, lost time is never found again – sacrificed, in order to pay for what is in fact only the elegance of your static abstractions, your ‘numbers’.

      Here’s the real story today.

      To quote Mr John Praveen:

      “[The USA has] low inflation, low interest rates and growth picking up.”

      Taken from:

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-22/brics-losing-for-second-time-in-decade-as-u-s-takes-over-as-growth-driver.html

      America is yet the economic powerhouse of the world, regardless of what your “math” may be ‘saying’ to you.

      The best “solution” is not to slash, burn, and cut back on assistance or payments to others, or to reduce their other entitlements; it is to work harder – while loving more.

      • hydroguy says:

        I am not “proposing” anything. There is no choice or decision involved in this. As long as the bond market keeps buying US bonds, the deficit budgets continue as they have for 20 years. When the bond market stops buying those bonds, the US will be suddenly and painfully forced to live within its means of tax revenues. That will mean a cut of 41% compared to current spending.

        Believe what you will – I live in Sweden and have no horse in this race. These are just numbers, not political commentary. If you think that the US economy is doing great, more power to you. Time will tell.

    • Anonymous says:

      And the US could cut every social program to nothing, and so long as they care more about foreign wars, those numbers wouldn’t change. You are trying to solve your fever by bandaging your hand.

  35. Anonymous says:

    This thread is probably long dead but I will put this out there anyways.
    According to a study done at Marquette (i think it was there, can’t find the link again) Wisconsin state workers get paid 4.8% less than their counterparts in the private sector when education is accounted for and benefits are counted as pay. Public employees are not overpaid, quite to the contrary actually.

  36. Locobot says:

    With student teaching it takes 5+ years of post-secondary education to become a public school teacher with a starting wage of about 25K. I’m willing to bet that there is no educator in the state of Wisconsin making 100K who doesn’t have a master’s degree and/or highly-valuable professional experience. How much should a Nobel Laureate professor be paid? There are other states and countries who are willing to pay dearly for these educators and in the long run they will outpace the U.S. by every measure.

  37. hydroguy says:

    Macroeconomics reality check: there isn’t enough money. The US government needs an across-the-board cut of 41% in spending if public spending is to match tax revenues. These are easy stats to look up yourself. That means a 41% cut to health care, social security, 41% layoffs in all government departments and 41% cutbacks to all pensions. Alternatively, deeper cuts in one area that achieves the same total.

    The current levels of spending are unsustainable. Obama, Geithner, Bernanke all agree with this and have said so openly. Arguing about who is responsible is irrelevant. Once the world bond market stops buying US bonds because deficit levels are above those of Greece, the merry-go-round stops. No more deficit budgets. No more money to pay unionized workers what they want. End of discussion.

    What is happening in Wisconsin is just a preview.

  38. robulus says:

    I thought you meant this Scott Walker. I kind of wish you did.

  39. Kwolfbrooks says:

    Seems that after the housing bust state and federal employees were the last bastion for the middle class. Now the republicans want to tear the structure down… that is, except their own salaries and perks.

    Teachers don’t go into teaching for the glory and pay, they go into it for idealogical reasons and to, perhaps, have the kind of health care coverage you need to start a family. Teaching is one of the only places left to do this.

    Education salaries are dirt… Here in Seattle you can’t even live in the neighborhoods where you teach unless you rent and go into credit card debt.

  40. Ugly Canuck says:

    As a very wise American once asked, more than a century and a half ago:

    While considering the situation of society taken as a whole, who can honestly say that they remember the times which could not be said to be hard; or during which money was so easy to come by, that it could not be said to be scarce?

    For people taken as a whole, the times are always hard, and the money is always scarce.

  41. Teller says:

    As for loss of collective bargaining – not on wage.

  42. Brett Myers says:

    It’s about time something was done to rein in the unions. There benefits are way out of line with average workers, who pay for those benefits with their taxes. Taking a sick day in protest is childish. I have no pity for these people.

    Compare their benefits to those of comparably degreed and certified professionals, and you’ll find that they are not all that dissimilar. Or do you think it’s fair to compare their wages and benefits to the “average worker” who has no college education or advanced certification?

  43. Jack says:

    It’s about time something was done to rein in the unions. There benefits are way out of line with average workers, who pay for those benefits with their taxes.

    Do you realize about 30 years ago, a minimum wage job was a decent way to make a living, housing costs were reasonable as well. And folks could have savings and retire?

    You’re angry at the unions? You should be angry at Reaganomics.

    Do you realize that folks who make more than about $100,000 per year are exempt from paying social security tax on income above that amount?

    So you’re telling me the burden of keeping social security and other life sustaining services afloat is on the lower class?

    Seriously, get some perspective.

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