Archive for Friday, February 18, 2011

Wisconsin Democrats could stay away for weeks

February 18, 2011

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In Lawrence

Teachers and other qualifying employees don’t pay anything toward premiums for individual health insurance provided through the Lawrence school district, said David Cunningham, director of human resources. Each full-time employee’s monthly premium of $378.16 — the total for health, dental and vision coverage — is paid by the district.

Adding a child or spouse or both to such policies costs a full-time employee anywhere from an additional $413 to $790.16 per month, a cost that takes into account the district’s $378.16 contribution.

As for pensions, employees contribute either 4 percent or 6 percent of their pay toward their pensions, depending on when they started work, Cunningham said.

As state employees, Kansas University professors can receive health insurance coverage through several plans and “dozens” of options, said Kip Peterson, a spokesman for the Kansas Board of Regents. Employees choose levels of coverage and payment levels.

Professors participate in the Regents Retirement Plan, a defined-contribution plan in which employees contribute 5.5 percent of their pay and the employer adds an amount equal to 8.5 percent.

— Democrats on the run in Wisconsin avoided state troopers Friday and threatened to stay in hiding for weeks, potentially paralyzing the state government in a standoff with majority Republicans over union rights for public employees.

The dramatic flight from the state stalled a proposal that seeks to ease Wisconsin’s budget woes by cutting the pay, benefits and collective bargaining rights of many government workers. Democrats who stayed in Madison scored their own victory, forcing the state Assembly to adjourn until at least Tuesday without taking a vote.

The party’s two-front battle against the legislation is the boldest action yet by Democrats to push back against last fall’s GOP wave, and it’s taken hold even as the anti-union agenda pushed by new GOP Gov. Scott Walker spreads to other states.

But the dramatic strategy that has clogged the Capitol with thousands of protesters clashes with one essential truth: Republicans told everyone months ago that unions would be one of their targets, and the GOP now has more than enough votes to pass its plans once the Legislature can convene.

“This is not a win,” said Rep. Robin Vos, the Republican co-chairman of the budget committee that has already endorsed the plan, of the adjournment. “This is just a reality we’re living with. ... The bill’s still moving forward.”

‘The state is not unified’

The 14 Senate Democrats left the state Thursday, delaying action in that chamber on the sweeping bill. Among them was Sen. Jon Erpenbach, who said Friday the group was prepared to be away for weeks, although he would prefer to end the stalemate sooner.

“That really, truly is up to the governor,” he told The Associated Press in an interview Friday at a downtown Chicago hotel. “It’s his responsibility to bring the state together. The state is not unified. It is totally torn part.”

Meanwhile, the protests at the state Capitol entered a fourth day and continued to grow — to an estimated 40,000 people, the largest crowd yet. Many schools were closed again after teachers called in sick, including the state’s largest district, in Milwaukee.

The protests are so large that Capitol workers cannot safely move through the halls, with GOP Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald calling the situation “a powder keg.”

The throngs of protesters — including teachers, prison guards and many students — have been largely peaceful. Police reported just nine citations for minor offenses as of Friday. But tensions were expected to rise Saturday, when conservative tea party groups planned their own rallies.

“You can’t ignore this sustained and inspirational outpouring of people who are demanding changes,” said Democratic Minority Leader Rep. Peter Barca, who called the Assembly’s decision to adjourn for the holiday weekend a huge victory that will increase pressure on Republicans to change course.

No concessions

But neither Walker nor the Republicans who took control of both the state Senate and Assembly in November appear ready to make any concessions. Walker called on Senate Democrats to “come home” and rebuffed a request to sit down with them to seek a compromise.

The leader of the state’s largest public employee said workers were prepared to discuss financial concessions but not to give up bargaining rights. Marty Beil, executive director of the Wisconsin State Employees Union, said protests would continue until Walker agrees to negotiate.

Republicans aborted an attempt late Friday afternoon to hold a final vote on the bill without Democrats, who had been in a closed caucus meeting. Democrats sprinted into the chamber yelling to stop the vote, and the GOP leadership retreated.

Protester Carrie Dainty said the delay made her hopeful. “They’ll be back on Tuesday, and we’ll be here until Tuesday,” she said.

On the lam

It’s not clear when the Senate Democrats will join them. Erpenbach said the decision to flee happened on the spur of the moment as Democrats gathered Thursday morning near the Capitol for a regular strategy meeting.

An hour later, he threw a toothbrush, razor and some clothes into a duffel bag and a backpack and jumped into a car, heading for a prearranged meeting at a hotel in Rockford, Ill., just south of the Wisconsin border.

The lawmakers were concerned that police could have detained them, even though the Wisconsin Constitution prohibits the arrest of state lawmakers while the Legislature is in session, except in cases of felonies, breaches of the peace or treason.

From Rockford, the legislators headed in different directions, most of them traveling to the Chicago area or to other parts of northern Illinois, Erpenbach said. Since leaving Wisconsin, he said he had not spoken to any of his Republican counterparts.

2003 Texas walkout

The Wisconsin walkout is similar to a 2003 confrontation in Texas, where Democrats were outnumbered by Republicans in a battle over congressional redistricting. The group got on a bus and fled for the Oklahoma border.

Former Texas state Rep. Jim Dunnam said the group had an “end game” — they had to stay away for one week to kill the bill by running it up against a legislative deadline. But they also knew their efforts were only temporary because Republican Gov. Rick Perry would call them into special session all summer until a bill passed, which he did.

“It was the toughest thing I’ve ever done politically,” said Texas state Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus. “It was not something we wanted to do. It was the last thing we could do to protect minority voting rights.”

Comments

ksrush 5 years, 5 months ago

This is a great example the Dumbacraps are sending - when things get tough, walk out. If you really want to show everyone what your made of - stay out !

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

When the right wing crooks take control, do what it takes to stop them from screwing the citizens.

Your great, great, great, great grandfather, no doubt, made similar complaint in support of royalist British troops who didn't like that American revolutionaries didn't line up to accept their slaughter either.

Majestic42 5 years, 5 months ago

Sigh. "What it takes"=running away like cowards?

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

It's America's Dairyland. Maybe they could put the senators' faces on a milk carton or something.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Seems to me that they have been quite effective at, first, stopping this abusive right winger union busting and then, second, demonstrating to the country that there are some who will not go easily in to the republican's intended serfdom.

SinoHawk 5 years, 5 months ago

"take control" -- what, you mean by winning elections?

"do what it takes to stop them from screwing the citizens" -- you mean by letting the citizens elect their representatives in the legislature?

Your logic can just as easily be applied to Republicans and Democrats (or any party for that matter). The fact is that our republic is built on elected officials acting within the confines of the law to pass legislation. The Wisconsin Democrats, by illegally fleeing the state, are denying the Wisconsin people from the representation that they elected. If the Democrats didn't want this legislation to pass, they should have won their elections last fall.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Quorum rules are designed to protect the integrity of the legislative process. Gov. Walker elected to ramrod this union busting legislation through without reasonable debate and negotiation. This is the tools Democrats have and they've elected to use it. If a Democratic governor had acted in the same manner I have little doubt republicans would do the same. Walker created and prolongs this situation by refusing all discussion or compromise.

And since when is it illegal to flee the state? Is that what you all have planned next? Right wing panels that decide where and when I may travel?

cowboy 5 years, 5 months ago

A brazen attempt at union busting , plain and simple. Another republican who in his first days in office gave away revenue in the form of tax cuts and now whines about his budget.

The peeps are riled up

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

"A brazen attempt at union busting , plain and simple."

Good for them.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

But, Liberty One, that is not what has happened.

These working people in Wisconsin have been performing jobs and getting benefits at essentially the same schedule for a long time. What has happened in Wisconsin (as in so many States and our federal government) is that tax cuts were put in to place that largely benefited the wealthy and now working people are being told their jobs and government services must be decimated to address a budget "crisis." The original tax cuts being accomplished, of course, on the premise that lower taxes lead to improved economic conditions for all. A premise that has not proven true.

The working and protesting people of Wisconsin have not been put on a payroll and turned against the public. They are beginning to realize that they have been duped by a criminal class. This is the real Tea Party. One which will not be easily co-opted by the corporations and professional political class.

And by the way. Who here remembers the corporate media spasms about Glenn Beck's heavily promoted national rally attended by 80,000. Here you have a spontaneous rally of 1/2 the size in a single state. Again, this is the real Tea Party we are seeing emerge.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Please reread the above. I am not turning on my fellow citizen. I advocate a reversal of tax cutting policies that have not worked and an end to the destruction of America's middle class by the right wingers. A prosperous country with economic opportunity for a large middle class is what's in it for me.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Reverse tax changes on all who make more than 250K per year on the theory that they receive far more government benefit than those who make less.

The claim that allowing them to keep more of their gleanings from our society will produce greater economic benefit for all has been proven false, so let's return to more progressive taxation.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

All monetized economies are based on the continual distribution of money. "Redistribution" is redundant.

Money is really not "wealth," but rather an abstract representation of the real wealth that the economy creates. Some actors and sectors in the economy are better positioned to manipulate the abstraction, allowing them to exaggerate their importance within society and in the productive economy.

This is why capitalism has the unfortunate tendency to concentrate money, the abstract representation of real wealth-- food, clothing, shelter, services, various types of infrastructure, etc.-- into ever fewer hands.

Progressive taxation is merely a means of mitigating that tendency by taxing at a higher rate those who stand to benefit most from their control of access to real wealth. This is especially important given that fiscal policy is determined primarily by Wall Street, who like to see a minimum of 10-15% of the workforce under- or unemployed at all times.

Without progressive taxation, society would devolve into a form of feudalism, with all wealth controlled by a very small number of people, and everyone else scrambling for the crumbs. (OK, so that's not wholly theoretical-- it describes with some degree of accuracy where we are right now.) But they don't see the job as complete, so that's what's going on in Wisconsin right now.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

"All monetized economies are based on the continual distribution of money. "

At the discretion of the people that earn it, not those who steal it from them.

Bob Forer 5 years, 5 months ago

Articulately argued by an apparently true progressive. Bravo!

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Don't be silly, L-1. What does that matter to a "true progressive"? It sounded good, so the rest of the lemmings will buy it.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

"Reverse tax changes on all who make more than 250K per year on the theory that they receive far more government benefit than those who make less."

Well, first, when are you going to stop posting that tired old lie?

And second, what do federal tax cuts have to do with Wisconsin?

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 5 months ago

Reading comprehension doesn't seem to be your forte; start practicing up and you won't have so many questions. Mr. Nussbaum can help you!

http://www.mrnussbaum.com/readingpassageindex.htm

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Gee wiz, Crazy, I must not be too goodly at comprehendin' no readin' and sech. 'Cause for the life of me I can't find anything in your post that relates to the one you were responding to, or to anything else on this thread, for that matter.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

" What has happened in Wisconsin (as in so many States and our federal government) is that tax cuts were put in to place that largely benefited the wealthy ..."

Care to name a couple of specifics? I didn't realize you were a Wisconsin tax expert.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Lee Sheppard & Rick Ungar's BLOGS? That's what you consider "mainstream media", scott? Seriously?

BTW, scott - did you bother to read those blogs before posting the links? The tax cuts were primarily for small business. But thanks for playing.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

No, Notajayhawk, I just picked two random pieces from the internet and posted them. (eyes rolling.)

My point was that the Forbes magazine (Motto: "The Capitalists' Tool") site even has information on the idiocy of Governor Walker's provocation.

But for Governor Walker's tax cuts there would be no budget "crisis" that required the decimation of hard won collective bargaining rights.

Tax cuts that are promised to result in economic nirvana, but never do.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

" I just picked two random pieces from the internet and posted them. ... My point was that the Forbes magazine (Motto: "The Capitalists' Tool") site even has information on the idiocy of Governor Walker's provocation."

Geez, where to start with that cluster ....

1) Perhaps you should give a tiny modicum of thought to the sources of the information before swallowing it hook, line, and sinker (let alone using it to attempt to convince others), rather than picking "random pieces from the internet" (which, I believe you meant to say, were "random pieces" that agreed with your point of view).

2) Opening statements such as "Is it possible to cut taxes while addressing a state budget deficit—leaving aside misguided folk belief in supply-side economics?", appearing under the headline "Wisconsin’s Cheesy Tax Cuts", probably should have clued you in that the content was opinion, not "information.

3) To say "the Forbes magazine (Motto: "The Capitalists' Tool") site even has information on the idiocy of Governor Walker's provocation" is about as valid as saying 'the Washington Post even has information on the idiocy of president Obama's fiscal policy' because they carry George Will and Charles Krauthammer.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Walker made no mention of his intention to bust these unions during the campaign.

And Wisconsin's budget was in the black when he took office. It was only a combination of tax breaks for large corporations and new spending measures that put the state the red, among of the first actions taken by this so-called "fiscal conservative."

This is NOT about balancing the budget. This is union-busting and nothing else.

SinoHawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Wisconsin's budget was $1.6B in the red when he took office, bozo.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

People in the streets also have consequences.

Katara 5 years, 5 months ago

Are you taking into account, the money teachers must spend on mandatory training & certifications?

FTA, "The leader of the state’s largest public employee said workers were prepared to discuss financial concessions but not to give up bargaining rights."

Workers are willing to take cuts. They are not willing to give up their bargaining rights. This is just a union busting move and not one that will honestly make a difference in the budget. If the workers are already willing to make cuts then there is no need to restrict or eliminate bargaining rights.

SinoHawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Guess what, private sector employees also spend money on mandatory training and certifications. CPAs, for instance, need to take a certain amount of hours to keep their certifications. My company 1) does not cover the expense and 2) requires that employees take personal leave to attend such classes. And we only get 10 days off per year, not 90 like most teachers.

I am not trying to argue that teachers tend to be overpaid, but I am still struggling to see how paying 12% of health insurance and a portion of one's retirement is an unfair burden. Most private sector employees dream of packages like that!

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 5 months ago

Wow. $100,000/year. Many of them have as much education as MDs who make 4-5X that much. Sounds like peanuts to me.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Uh, yeah. Lots of grade school teachers have as much education as physicians. Happens all the time. And all physicians make $400-500K. Why, you're just a font of made-up factoids this week, cait.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

The average compensation for doctors is over $150,000 per year-- three times the average for teachers.

On average, being a doctor is more difficult, requires more training and often much longer hours. But three times as much on any of those measures? Probably not.

But I'm not going to dis doctors the same way you want to dis all teachers, simply because that serves your ideological prejudices.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

How long did it take to pick your screen name, boohoohoozo? I'm serious. Because you really couldn't have been more accurate in your self assessment than picking the name of a clown.

I said that physicians don't make $400K-$500K as cait said. Which you just confirmed. And if pointing out the reality (which both you and cait are in dire need of) that most grade school teachers don't have doctoral degrees is 'dis'ing them, well - just wow. Even for you that was an inane statement, and that's saying a lot.

BTW, boohoohoohoozo? Did YOU really use the words "ideological prejudices"?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahaha

cowboy 5 years, 5 months ago

and now a few of those pesky facts....

"Wisconsin Teaching Salaries and Benefits People often believe that teachers don't make a lot of money. Those in the know, though, are aware that compensation in the education industry can be quite generous, especially when you factor in the great vacation schedule and the comprehensive benefits packages that usually go along with teaching. In Wisconsin, teaching salaries averaged $52,644 in 2009-10, according to the National Education Association, with most school districts offering benefits that range from health insurance to retirement plans. (1)

The average Wisconsin teacher salary does vary, however. One major source of salary variation is what grade level you teach. In May 2009, preschool teachers in Wisconsin earned an average salary of $23,460, elementary school teachers earned $51,240, and secondary school teachers earned $49,400. (2) Education and experience level also make a difference in teacher salaries: secondary school teachers in the 90th wage percentile earned $69,550, while the entry-level teacher salary is generally in the $30,000s. (3)

Geographic location is another significant reason for variation in Wisconsin teaching salaries. Areas that have a higher cost of living often pay correspondingly higher salaries. Below are average annual earnings for secondary school teachers in five of the largest metropolitan areas in the state: (4)

* Green Bay: $55,110
* Kenosha: $68,400
* Madison: $50,770
* Milwaukee: $54,620
* Racine: $49,710

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

And according to PayScale.com:

Average male salary in Wisconsin: $56,705

Average female salary in Wisconsin: $45,671

Male teachers in Wisconsin would seem to receive average salaries. Females, as is so often the case, are paid less than average.

Pesky facts, indeed.

JayhawksandHerd 5 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, cowboy, I read the Michelle Malkin article you copy-and-pasted this info from as well. Nice job finding an "unbiased" source.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Actually, I think cowboy was just countering solomon's claim that teachers make $100,000 a year.

JayhawksandHerd 5 years, 5 months ago

You're correct. I skimmed and posted in a hurry instead of considering the full context. My apologies.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

"and now a few of those pesky facts...."

Like the fact that solomon said "salary and benefits" and your post only mentions one of those?

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Seriously, scott.

Another blog citing a study done by the Economic Policy Institute - "Research and Ideas for Shared Prosperity"?

Seriously?

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes, as in the study addressed your whine in the previous post. You disagree with the study? Perhaps explaining your disagreement would be more effective than rhetorical questions.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Let him try. I hope so. Maybe it will be as well received as the threat to use the National Guard to enforce his agenda.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Is there some reason he shouldn't, scott? You're saying they should get paid for running away and hiding out of state and refusing to do their job? For weeks? Is that the ideal the 'working man' is fighting for - the right to a paycheck without doing anything for it?

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

What part of "let him try" was unclear to you?

Their job is to represent their constituents. What evidence have you that they are not doing so? As evidenced by the outpouring of rage this last week, there are many in Wisconsin who are adamantly opposed to the right wingers union busting tactics.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

The implication of the statement was quite clear, thank you. Hence the response. What part of that did you not understand, perhaps I can help clear it up for you.

So, by refusing to show up for work and conduct any business at all on any legislation at all - you know, the stuff they were elected for and get paid to do - they're serving their constituents? Really?

And the Republicans were the party of 'no', scottie? But I'm glad you're so open monded. When the Republicans don't cave and the government shuts down in March, I'm glad to know you realize the Republicans are just representing their constituents (hey, at least they're showing up).

Majestic42 5 years, 5 months ago

Do you HONESTLY think it's okay for them to literally run away from their jobs? The military has a term for this: Dereliction of Duty.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

But not all of us are simpletons who think that it is their job to sit in a capitol building. These Democrats are, in fact, working quite hard to represent the interests of large swaths of Wisconsites.

Majestic42 5 years, 5 months ago

"Working quite hard" is the same as running the @#$% away? Call it what you like, they're still cowards.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

What's a Wisconsite?

You're making some great points here, scott. You're really the poster child for standing up for the rights of the working man - arguing that not showing up is doing their job. Keep it up - you're doing so much to win over public opinion for workers rights by showing your true colors.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Using the quorum rules to press the advantage of those (substantial) numbers of Wisconsin residents who disagree with the republican union busting constitutes working in the minds of many. A point I've made several times in this string. I am sorry it is lost on you.

One's true colors are important. Who you stand with, and for, says a lot about your integrity. Am happy to do whatever I can against the fascist pigs destroying our middle class.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

"What's a Wisconsite?"

Sorry. That wasn't very "open monded" of me. was it?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

What is wrong with some teachers making $100,000 per year?

Most teachers spend a lot of their time preparing for class then teaching class AND in some cases are expected to discipline children for the parents.

Elected officials may well be the most grossly over paid because they are somewhat uninformed on many topics.

Why not begin raising hell about that "automatic" $4,000 a year increase in salary in the beltway?

SinoHawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Merrill:

I spend well over 40 hours per week on my job, have minimal days off per year, and only continue to make money because my company continues to do well. The simple fact is, however, that 100k per year in the private sector is a heck of a job, and 100k per year in k-12 education is really difficult to justify for 9 months of work.

If the sector is "education", the higher paying jobs should be (and are) concentrated in higher-ed, where the requirements are much higher (PhD, research, etc.). I personally value teachers tremendously, but 100k per year is a lot of money.

As for the representatives-- well, no argument from me on that point!

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

100K was the figure claimed for total compensation. It equates to an annual salary of roughly $50K. As noted elsewhere in these comments, that is squarely in the average salary range in Wisconsin.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

On May 5, 1955, labor delegates gathered in NY on behalf of 16 million workers, to witness and support the merger of The American Federation of Labor and The Congress of Industrial Organization. The merger is a result of 20 years of effort put forth by both the AFL and CIO presidents, George Meany and Walter Reuther. The gathered delegates applauded loudly when the time came to nominate officers for the new AFL-CIO. Reuther who was named one of the 37 vice presidents of the union, nominated Meany for President. After Meany’s retirement in 1979, Lane Kirkland took over his position.

Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was elected in 1952, was the first to publicly address and congratulate the new union, which was now the largest in the world.

In Eisenhower’s telephone broadcast to the United States he acknowledged the impact union members had made to better the nation and one of these impacts was “the development of the American philosophy of labor.”

Eisenhower states three principles which he feels apply to the philosophy of labor. The first principles states that: “the ultimate values of mankind are spiritual; these values include liberty, human dignity, opportunity and equal rights and justice.”

Eisenhower was stating that every individual deserves a job with decent compensation, practical hours, and good working conditions that leave them feeling fulfilled. His second principle speaks of the economic interest of the employer and employee being a mutual prosperity.

The employers and employees must work together in order for there to be the greatest amount of wealth for all. Workers have a right to strike when they feel their boundaries are being crossed and the best way for the employer to fix the employees unhappiness is to come to a mutual agreement.

His last principle which he preached stated: “labor relations will be managed best when worked out in honest negotiation between employers and unions, without Government’s unwarranted interference.”

Eisenhower was saying that when both parties cooperate and act in mature fashion, it will be easier to work out situations and a better outcome will result because of it. Once he was done delivering the speech, everyone across the U.S. knew of the new AFL-CIO whose “mission was to bring social and economic justice to our nation by enabling working people to have a voice on the job, in government, in a changing global economy and in their communities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_union

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Psssst: Hey, merrill - this isn't 1955.

BigPrune 5 years, 5 months ago

So the unions want a larger pay raise than the CPI (consumer price index) and the republicans say no. The unions want it to be mandatory to be a member (like it is now) and the republicans say no.

the teachers that walked out should be fired and replaced.

question4u 5 years, 5 months ago

Instead we could bring them to Corn Hole, Kansas and teach them to say "Edumacation ain't done nothing fer me."

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

The stereotypical stupidity you quote is indicative of the deep south - a region firmly under the sway of right wing conservatism. Two matters that are not unrelated.

overthemoon 5 years, 5 months ago

Being a little tough on pigs, now aren't ya?

overthemoon 5 years, 5 months ago

The unions have made it clear that they are willing to negotiate additional cuts in salary and benefits. The protest has NOTHING to do with pay. It is all about the move to eliminate collective bargaining altogether. That is what they are fighting for.

SinoHawk 5 years, 5 months ago

The unions tried to pass legislation through the lame-duck giving themselves a pay increase, then refused to meet with the new Governor. That isn's 'willing to negotiate'.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Is introducing legislation on a Friday and trying to pass it the following Monday negotiating?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

The truth is that teachers haven't got a pay increase in the last two years.

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 5 months ago

Replaced with whom BP? You think you can fire thousands of teachers and just replace them in a wink of an eye? There aren't enough teachers now in any state and with the conditions being laid down in WI no smart teacher (and it does take some smarts to get a Bachelors degree) would touch a WI school with a ten foot pole. Wow! I want your fairy wand!

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

What business is it of the republicans? Are they union members?

Isn't it republicans always screaming less government?

cowboy 5 years, 5 months ago

Looks like they have some nice benefits , granted . They also have proposed (unions) to pick up portion of health care and pension costs. One interesting article talked about the high cost of health care insurance. Hmmmmm.... family policies in the 2200 per month range. Yes , that nasty health care problem.

Solomon , your source (McIver Institute ) is a anti teacher site , I looked and could not find real detail anywhere on the total makeup of benefits costs. Looking over the benefits site its pretty much top of the line normal stuff , health , dental , ADD , with a pension program.

The bad part of this whole deal is that in governments haste to cut taxes for political reasons they have cut off the needed revenue to perform basic services. Hey lets all get on that tax cutting train , oops , aw crap , we don't got no dollars.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Tax cuts that, by the way, were premised on the economic benefit they would provide.

Benefits that have not materialized.

Kind of hard to see tax cuts benefiting mainly corporations and the very wealthy and then be told your job, benefits and retirement must be cut, rather than a cowardly right winger admitting their mistakes.

Oh well, history is strewn with idiots that would not reverse their adherence to bad policy.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

What's really going on here is that the corporate powers that be have been extremely successful in busting unions. Now the Koch brothers have their sites on busting public employee unions.

But if folks want to know why workers in the private sector have seen their pay and benefits drop over the last thirty years, they shouldn't blame public employees. They should be blaming the corporate right for busting their unions, which has allowed them to suck up all the profits and benefits that used to go to them-- it really should be no secret why the wealth of the top 1% has exploded over the last thirty years, while everyone else is struggling to get by.

It's class warfare, and working folks are on the losing end.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

"But if folks want to know why workers in the private sector have seen their pay and benefits drop over the last thirty years, they shouldn't blame public employees."

They shouldn't blame anyone.

Because it didn't happen. But as usual, don't let a little thing like the fact that you're a liar stop a good rant.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

And your 'facts' came from where, again, Herr Klowne? I don't remember you citing any source supporting that little factoid you pulled out of your diaper that workers in the private sector have seen their paychecks shrink in the past 30 years. Perhaps because they haven't, and have increased, not much, but still increased ahead of inflation?

Wanna' try actually coming up with something that disputes that, boohoohoozo? (Pssst - that was a rhetorical question, bozo. It's not as if you ever do, would, or could.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Invoking the name of the Koch brothers is partially symbolic, but the fact is that they have inserted themselves quite fully into manipulating the political process, and quite clearly their primary goal is to increase their own power and wealth, and they intend to to that at the expense of working people, especially if those workers happen to work for the government doing evil things like teaching.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

“labor relations will be managed best when worked out in honest negotiation between employers and unions, without Government’s unwarranted interference.”

Pres. Eisenhower

SinoHawk 5 years, 5 months ago

This isn't about private sector unions, Merrill. Public sector unions are a huge obstacle to efficient government.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Pay cuts do not necessarily translate into lower cost of anything.

If we have no idea where that money went how do we know consumers and/or taxpayers are saving any money by reducing wages?

If teachers and public service employees receive cuts in wages and benefits where do those tax dollars go? Towards corporate welfare perhaps?

No matter how many millions of USA jobs go abroad the USA cost of living continues to increase which is to say our dollars are going where?

Maybe:

  • corp jets

  • Expensive misinformation campaigns

  • advertising

  • billions in over charges

*Shareholders CERTAINLY increases the cost of just about everything

  • special interest campaign dollars

  • Golden parachutes (In 2009 CIGNA CEO received a $73 million retirement bonus which is a ton of health care dollars that would cover 6,084 families for one year). Why are health insurance dollars being spent on golden parachutes?

  • Politicians as shareholders( conflict of interest or what!):

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

"All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.

Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees.'

-- Franklin Delano Roosevelt, August 16th, 1937 http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=15445

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

Good enough for government work - Any one remember that old saying? It reflected an attitude a number of years ago that we didn't expect high standards from government workers. It was acceptable that the quality of their work did not need to meet a higher standard of quality that was expected in the private sector. Generally speaking, government workers were paid less as a result. They did get more holidays, a decent pension and it was very hard to fire them for simply being less competent than their private sector counterpart who generally made more money and could expect greater upward mobility.
What we have now has changed. Public sector employees are paid at rates that rival and frequently surpass their counterparts in the private sector. The reason are many and complex, but it has happened, slowly and steadily. And it especially true in the areas of pensions and health care. Have these public sector workers raised the quality of their work so that it rivals or surpasses the quality of work expected in the private sector?
The tension between workers and their unions that represent them vs. employers both public and private is like a pendulum going back and forth. Sings at workplaces no longer state "If you don't come to work on Sunday, don't come to work on Monday". The forty hour work week has been well established. Unions have done a great job in bettering the workplace. But perhaps the time has come when they have gone too far and the pendulum needs to swing back a bit. We are living at a time when workers across the board have seen their wages and benefits reduced as a result of this recession. I'm not sure public sector workers should be totally insulated from this recession.

Jimo 5 years, 5 months ago

Thanks for the conventional wisdom. I assume some of it must be correct.

But, two observations:

First, it is quite difficult to compare public and private wages. Part of this is due to the fact that the most easily compared types of jobs tend to be low-wage, which are precisely the types of jobs gov't has been privatizing for a decade or more. Very few "cooks" or "janitors" work for most gov'ts today - they're contractors (often with little or no cost savings, but that's another matter, they're "private" and in many eyes that makes them "good). Many gov't jobs are unique and have no private equivalent.

Second, there has opened a gap in wages and compensation between private and public employment over the last dozen years. But, despite egregious examples, the prime source of this has been compression of private wages by greedy private employers padding their own bottom line because they can, not because it has suddenly become lucrative to be a fireman, a federal fisheries service policy manager, or a county clerk. The solution isn't to drag gov't employees down but to boost private workers up. But in a laissez faire world, all's fair when it comes to the Class War on the Middle Class. (So far, it's going very badly for the working man.)

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Public employees are twice as likely to have college degrees as workers in the private sector, and in most cases, that college degree is a requirement of the job.

Once the discrepancies in training and education are accounted for, public employees actually make somewhat less than comparable employees in the private sector.

As Jimo points out, the solution here is not to stick it to public employees just because the Koch brothers see a potential to increase their bottom line by making bogeymen of public employees. The solution here is to get the Koch brothers, et al, to pay their workers a living wage (who would then be able to pay more in taxes themselves,) and to be willing to pay their share when tax time comes around.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

There are certain professions that are largely public sector that require college degrees. Teachers and socials workers quickly come to mind. Those professions have always been paid at a lower rate as compared to other college grads. Having said that, I assume that teachers and social workers went into those professions knowing this and had reasons other than pay in mind when they entered those jobs (unless you subscribe to the notion that those that can, do. Those that can't, teach. In which case we're talking about college grads. with a lower skill set). The other reasons (summers off for teachers, a sense of making the world a better place for both teachers and social workers) would count as compensation since they knew the pay when they got into the profession.
A living wage for all sounds great. But how would it be implemented? I see huge numbers of small businesses going out of business while even more large corps. move their operations out of the country.
Don't get me wrong, I'm 51% pro union. But look at GM as an example. The unions demanded extremely high wages and benefits many years ago. The company gave it to them. What BOTH knew (the union leaders and management) was that while unsustainable, neither of them personably would be around when the system collapsed. Eventually it did collapse. The same is true in gov't. Over the years politicians gave benefits to public service employees with the bill coming due long after they're gone. Well, here we are. The bill is due. How are we going to pay? I'm not saying one side or the other is 100% wrong. Let's say 50-50 for the sake of argument. But as I see it, public sector benefits (sick leave, vacation leave, personal days, mental health days, medical, dental, pensions, etc.) has gotten out of hand.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

P.S. As this weekend ends, I'll be going to work Monday knowing that government workers have the day off due to the President's Day Holiday.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Most Americans used to have the day off, but private industry has cut and cut and cut on worker benefits. Too bad you have to work, but union employees had the power to keep what was once a common benefit and you think everyone should have to give it up because you have been foolish enough to do so.

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 5 months ago

FYI: President's Day is a federal holiday--not a state holiday. Not all government workers will be off on Monday.

Kansas holidays: http://www.da.ks.gov/ps/subject/holiday.htm

Federal holidays: http://www.opm.gov/Operating_Status_Schedules/fedhol/2011.asp

Glad I could help!

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Monday is a furlough day in Wisconsin for public employees. Nice bit of irony. Expect to see larger crowds.

Oh, and by the way, the Governor and legislature do not get to experience furlough days.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"Those professions have always been paid at a lower rate as compared to other college grads. Having said that, I assume that teachers and social workers went into those professions knowing this and had reasons other than pay in mind when they entered those jobs"

Of course they didn't enter these professions expecting to become wealthy. But they aren't priests. There is no vow of poverty when you enter these professions. They deserve to be treated and compensated fairly. Busting their unions so that the Republicans can unilaterally and drastically decrease their wages and benefits says that there is no respect for what these people do. This is Mubarak-style politics all the way.

But your argument is an interesting one. There are professions people go into solely with the expectation that they will become wealthy. Why shouldn't someone who chooses to seek out great wealth not expect to pay a higher rate of taxes for the privilege of accumulating a much larger than average share of the wealth that society has to offer? After all, that wealth couldn't exist without the hard work of folks who will never become wealthy-- folks like teachers, firefighters and police officers.

"Well, here we are. The bill is due. How are we going to pay?"

It could be very easily done. Remove many if not most of the tax exemptions for the wealthy, and let them start picking up a little bit larger share of what it costs to live in a society that makes it possible for them to be wealthy.

And if we're going to have budget cuts, start with the biggest white elephant in the room-- the War Department. Doing so could truly go a long way to floating all boats.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

"Public employees are twice as likely to have college degrees as workers in the private sector, and in most cases, that college degree is a requirement of the job."

Duh. As Jimo also points out, that's because there aren't too many federal employees who are janitors, cooks, or factory line workers. The government employees who are required to be degreed in the public sector would, for the most part, also be required to have those same credentials in the private sector (e.g. physicians). But again, don't let facts get in the way of your call for the proletariat to unite, rise up, and get the jack-booted heel of the corporate power structure off their collective throat.

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

"and in most cases, that college degree is a requirement of the job."

There is no such thing as a college degree being a requirement of a job. Knowledge is required, but a degree? Not at all - a degree is one key to the door of employment, but it is not the only key.

I recently hired a guy to raise money for a public (NPR) radio station. The "requirements" stated that he needed a masters. Did he really? Of course not - a masters just indicated to us that he had a grasp of the skills we needed, and it was a way to winnow the pool down a bit. But could someone who did not have a masters have done the job? Absolutely.

Does it really take a masters degree to teach third grade? Spare me. It barely requires a pulse.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

It's been a while since I heard that Marxist/Leninist stuff. I've been away for a stretch. How'd that work out in Russia?

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

For those on the correct end of the rifle, it was awesome!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"Your view is too simplistic. Many jobs have been off-shored. A "living wage" may mean employees can pay more taxes -- but in 3rd world countries."

I don't follow you.

"There is a lot of blame to give to the corporate big wigs, but just taxing the wealthy won't fix things. We have to get good paying jobs back here."

A lot? I'd say nearly every problem we currently have these days can be traced directly to decisions made by corporate bigwigs which are based solely on what will maximize the next quarter's profits because that will maximize the value of their stock options. And creating good jobs is almost never part of that calculation. On the contrary, Wall Street loves it when a company sheds employees, even if that weakens its long-term viability.

"Do you think businesses in those countries have the same strict environmental labor, child laws, etc? They are not on an even footing with us."

That's precisely why jobs are going there. These companies are looking for the cheapest labor they can get-- labor so cheap that there are no "$5-a-day" jobs such as the ones Henry Ford created so that the employees could actually afford to buy the cars they built. The reason there is such a massive trade deficit is because these mega-corporations are using foreign workers as a sort of human vacuum cleaner, sucking out the remaining bit of wealth that one-time middle and working class folks have in this country.

" Either our standards must be lowered OR you have to tax off-shoring to where things are on an even footing."

No, standards overseas need to be raised. It might be time to resume tariffs on countries that refuse.

"I don't mind the loss of jobs to better technology, better efficiencies. But the loss of jobs to another part of the world because they are cheaper and have less regulation is nothing short of treason."

I agree. But new technologies and better efficiencies get built on the backs of nearly everyone in a society. The spoils of those technologies and efficiencies shouldn't just go to the top 1%, while the bottom 50% are told to eat dirt because technology and efficiency have destroyed their jobs.

"Unions had their day."

There are many problems with unions. But they were created to alleviate the excesses of corporations who viewed workers as something to be chewed up and then spit out. That attitude is quite alive and well, and the massive shift of manufacturing and other jobs to overseas locations where they can still chew and spit provides ample proof of that.

continued

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

" I remember being told that for instance the rail road industries kept obsolete jobs because the union wouldn't let them cut them."

I'm sure some of that happened. But what was the alternative? Massive unemployment? The failure of government/society/unions/business to come up with viable alternatives lies just as much with business as anyone else.

"We cannot continue to sustain large levels of public employment."

What is large? What is too large? The money that goes into government, with the exception of most military spending, doesn't just vanish into thin air. It recirculates in the economy just as surely as spending by the private sector. In this respect, it is a full and legitimate actor in the economy.

The important question is whether or not we get something of value for that money. Can we really afford to cut back on spending in education? Healthcare? Pensions? Infrastructure improvement and maintenance? But that's what Republicans are insisting be done, while shrieking with ideological agony at the prospect of fixing our ridiculously inefficient healthcare system, or pulling back on the military.

" City workers are already expanding the parking lot plans. Are those additional amenities things that the voters passed?"

I think the proposed changes may be good ones. A hub for buses is sorely needed, the extra parking will likely eventually be needed, probably sooner rather than later, and the Farmer's Market having a good permanent home is a great idea. But I'm not happy about the process that's involved in tagging these additions on. I think voters should have the opportunity to express their opinions on it. Could there be a second referendum in the April election? (probably not.)

"Many of the jobs we lost were not replaced by better jobs, but simply busy-body jobs. "

Which jobs specifically are you referring to?

"You cannot simply tax the rich to keep the status quo, you HAVE to bring jobs back or create new jobs that pay well."

No, you can't because the wealthy really can't afford the biggest two holes in the economy right now, either-- namely the travesty of a healthcare system and the massively bloated war machine. Until we address those two items, we'll be fighting a class war to see who gets stuck with paying the tab that no one can afford.

And there's another potentially monstrous suck on the economy waiting around the corner-- global climate change that has to potential to cripple every economic engine on the planet.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"Your view is too simplistic. Many jobs have been off-shored. A "living wage" may mean employees can pay more taxes -- but in 3rd world countries."

OK, I think I know what you mean.

As I said, it may be time to reinstitute tariffs. If a country doesn't require that its workers get a true living wage-- one measure would be that it would allow them to buy the products they produce-- then any goods entering the US would be hit with a tariff, the proceeds of which would be used to promote job creation here.

overthemoon 5 years, 5 months ago

In this case, its sick-and-tired leave.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

If this escalates any further, I fully expect the Republicans to attempt to fire all teachers and other public employees who refuse to act like the sheep that the Republicans expect them to be.

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

They should only refuse to pay those who refuse to work. Gotta keep things fair after all.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Fair? The whole point of the actions by the Republicans is to make the statement that they have no intentions of being fair.

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

They should fairly fire every worker who committed fraud by calling in sick and then going to the rally. Then they should fairly hire replacements from among the ranks of young education grads who are flipping burgers presently. Everyone wins.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Except the taxpayers of Wisconsin who have to watch as the Repugs continue to come up with ever more ways to destroy the public education system, their ultimate goal.

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

Then they should fairly revoke the medical license of every doctor who issued sick slips for the rally, and they don't have a license, that person should be fairly prosecuted for fraud and quackery, and both 'doctor' and 'patient' fairly fined for defrauding the taxpayers of Wisconsin.

Funny how the Republicans are accused of trying to destroy the school system, while those being paid to run it are accepting the money while fraudulently and blatantly ignoring the task.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Funny how teachers and other state employees are supposed to just accept union-busting activities under the pretext of "fiscal conservatism."

Just because you think they should just passively take it up the backside because you'd find pleasure in it doesn't mean they're gonna take it lying down.

Republicans better figure out that their insistence on fiscal sodomy isn't any more popular here than it turned out to be in Egypt.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

So you DO want the government involved in health care?

Interesting, given the events of the health care debate over the last few years.

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

I want the government involved in prosecuting fraud. If a doctor signs a note saying that a worker cannot work because of illness and he has not examined that patient, and the worker perpetuates a fraud on that authority, then the doctor is an accomplice to that fraud.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

No, you want unions busted. Dressing it up as something else is just dishonest.

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

I want both.

Pretending fraud is ok so long as it's done for acceptable political reasons is what's dishonest.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

It's not fraud. It's a fight for survival.

But I wouldn't be surprised if the Republicans escalate this by trying to push for mass firings of teachers and other workers.

They clearly believe that now is the time for a policy of scorched earth.

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

So getting a fake note to stay away from work, while accepting a paycheck for that work, is not fraud.

Got it.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

You assume the doctor has not examined the worker, which is not necessarily a fair assumption.

By the way, given your inventive and expansive view of government's role in undertaking such fraud prosecutions, will you be ponying up some additional taxes. I don't think my limited taxes should be going to support your anti-worker crusade.

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

"which is not necessarily a fair assumption. "

It's not an assumption, it's a fact recorded on video by a number of people at the rally. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjFbMD...

Now, if you think public workers ought to be able to call in sick for any rally, more power to you, but I suspect that your indulgence lists a little more to one side of the political spectrum.

That is an assumption, but I'll bet dimes to days off it's accurate.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Your video hardly establishes your assertions as "factual."

Also, note you did not address my question. Whose taxes will support these expansive fraud prosecutions? Prosecutors and courts are not cheap, after all. Granted they are tax payer funded services that those on the right seem to enjoy using. Are taxes to be raised to pay? Or should we cut some more rights or services currently enjoyed by the disfavored?

JayhawksandHerd 5 years, 5 months ago

If they have personal days, they can use those days in any manner they see fit.

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

It's ok, because they have fake doctor notes to go along with their fake illnesses: http://maciverinstitute.com/2011/02/fake-doctors-notes-being-handed-out-at-wisconsin-gov-union-rally/

Now, if they would like to pick up their fake paychecks for all the work they did, I'll be happy to pull up my cattle trailer and hand out free plastic spoons.

SinoHawk 5 years, 5 months ago

This is considered a 'wildcat strike', which is illegal (has been for >70 years). It is absolutely within the authority of the districts to fire the striking teachers.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps if the Wisconsin Gov. had not elected to introduce his legislation on a Friday and try to have it passed on the following Monday public employees might have felt some chance to do something different. Given the republican tactics, they have been forced to act in this way.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps if the Wisconsin Gov. had not elected to introduce his legislation on a Friday and try to have it passed on the following Monday public employees might have felt some chance to do something different. Given the republican tactics, they have been forced to act in this way.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Like Obamacare being passed on what - Christmas Eve?

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Sigh....

Christmas Eve is a day.

A weekend is a time span.

There is a difference.

Jimo 5 years, 5 months ago

On a recent overseas flight, I struck up a conversation with a foreign couple (he was a metal worker, she was an accountant). As we talked about events in Egypt, Tunisia, protests in France, etc., the couple wanted to know: why are Americans such sheep when they're taken advantage of by the wealthy, powerful, and connected. Various answers followed but ultimately I didn't have a complete answer.

Perhaps Americans aren't sheep, walking quietly to slaughter, after all.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

30 years of corporate, right wing media bias has not helped.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

No, taxpayer supported Faux "News," for example.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Taxpayers support the licensing and regulation that allows them the business opportunity. The courts that enforce their contracts. Broadcast translator taxes, cable tv franchises. Etc.

Or do you believe the nonsense that individuals are alone responsible for their financial success.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

"the couple wanted to know: why are Americans such sheep"

Well, it's easy to see where they got that idea. They had you for an example, after all.

yourworstnightmare 5 years, 5 months ago

Now, all the democrats need to do is to threaten to leave the state to block legislation.

voevoda 5 years, 5 months ago

I saw nothing in all the reports about the Wisconsin protests to indicate that there were "riots" going on. In fact, there were very, very few (and exclusively minor) cases of disorderly conduct.
So the protestors are behaving civilly, Kurolls, BornAgainAmerican. They are exercising their rights to free assembly and free speech.
By labeling the protestors as "rioters," Kurolls, you are trying to undermine the legitimacy of their complaint. However, their complaint is valid: they are protecting their right to collective bargaining.

cowboy 5 years, 5 months ago

Bigoted much ? You knuckle dragging fox news apologist and purveyor of propaganda and half truths while engaged in a self propelled career as an internet attention troll. Good Lord Shewmon , have you ever met a union worker.

cowboy 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes Mr. Jackwagon , I was a plant manager at two different union plants with 1300 plus employees. Having managed both union and non union plants the union plants were easily the most productive. It did how ever dictate that your management team was absolutely fair in application of labor rules. In turn the stewards took care of problem employees. It required trust and respect from both sides.

cowboy 5 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Quote from a Reuters story that gets right to the heart of the matter:

Asked if compromise were possible, "State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said in an interview on MSNBC television that government officials would lack the flexibility to implement deep budget cuts if unions maintain their power."

Gotta love these Wisconsin republicans. Not big on subtlety are they?

Anyone in Wisconsin who wishes to avoid what the righties have planned next should be headed out the door to Madison. These creeps ain't gonna stop at busting the union. That's only their first step to create a dumber electorate. They'll be coming for your contraceptives, divorce rights, clean air and water rights, etc. next.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

The sky is falling!

The sky is falling!

Run for your lives!!!!!

[rolling eyes]

Cait McKnelly 5 years, 5 months ago

Creating a dumb electorate works. Just look at Kansas.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

Ah, nothing like pulling out the (extremely undeserved) elitist card to go with the class-warfare rant.

irvan moore 5 years, 5 months ago

i think it would be interesting to know how many of the teachers and others protesting are registered republicans who voted for the present state administration.

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

"Let's check bozo's theory against history to see if he's right...."

Besides, Feudalism has nothing to do with distribution of wealth; it was a continent-wide system of martial and political obligations that defined who owed what service to whom. To define it as "all wealth controlled by a very small number of people," is just as meaningful as saying that society would devolve into a form of Greek democracy. And just as meaningless.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"Feudalism has nothing to do with distribution of wealth;"

Correct. There was no distribution of wealth. Which is how the Koch brothers want it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Ever heard of robber barons? Pinkerton thugs?

"fighting against the slave master?"

You mean the Koch brothers, right?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

You didn't bring up "facts." You brought up a massaging of statistical data that supports a particular viewpoint, all the while ignoring pretty much anything that might contradict your fairy tale view of the world.

And then you throw in the nebulous and misapplied term "slave master" just to put a little emotional edge on your twisted understanding of history.

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

Only if the EMP destroys all existent copies of the recipe for gunpowder. Feudalism arose in large part because of the Viking raids in Europe. When kings could not get troops from the center quickly enough to defend whatever peripheries those lightning raiders attacked, they were forced to devolve power to nobles - the permission to have private armies - in exchange for oaths of allegiance and service. This advantageous (to the knights) arrangement worked so long as one knight was worth 20 peasants on the battlefield.

The Gunpowder Revolution destroyed this in two ways. First, cannon was expensive, which worked toward the centralization of power (only the richest could afford cannon) in the hands of the king. Second, guns became inexpensive, and any peasant with a matchlock could kill a fully-armored, charging knight. God may have created all people equal, but gunpowder made it a reality on the battlefield.

By the time Machiavelli wrote, Feudalism was all but dead in Western Europe, to be replaced by nationalism and marching conscript armies. Whatever brings the end of nationalism is no more likely to bring back feudalism than the AWOL 11 senators accepting checks from the Koch brothers to do their jobs.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

I'm not predicting a return to feudalism. Merely noting that that's what the Koch brothers would like to see. There seem to be quite a few folks in Wisconsin who have different ideas.

Crazy_Larry 5 years, 5 months ago

The Stench of Truth:

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. I believe we are in the second phase, which is the most unsettling. We all have value and we all contribute to the wealth that is created.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

People on the job = a strong economy.

Keeping people out of jobs will bring on a series of tax increases by way of user fees. YES user fees are aka taxes no matter what.

How does putting people out of jobs create economic growth?

BTW it's not unions breaking the economy it is Wall Street crooks, the nations largest banks, the war for oil control and the medical insurance industry!

What to do?

  1. Move Your Money Why put up with megabank megalomania? Here are two websites to help you find a local bank that gives a damn about you and your community: http://www.findacreditunion.com and http://www.moveyourmoney.info/find-a-ba

  2. How much are you shelling out to the medical insurance industry each month or year plus your deductible? Drop your medical insurance and put those thousands of dollars into a money making account that will stand by you!

  3. STOP the war!

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

"BTW it's not unions breaking the economy it is Wall Street crooks, the nations largest banks, the war for oil control and the medical insurance industry!"

Actually, it's all five of those. The solution? 1) Reduce national and personal debt and eliminate the Federal Reserve. The only reason banks are so big is because they have the ability to create money from nothing to feed our perpetual debt machine. 2) Bring the troops home not just Afghanistan and Iraq, but from Korea, Japan, and Germany as well. Reducing our defense spending to twice our nearest rival would leave us plenty defended and save us half a trillion a year. 3) Eliminate all public sector unions. As FDR noted, public service is of a different type than private industry, and taxpayers cannot negotiate with workers the same way private companies can. 4) Learn to love deflation. Power goes where the money is, and it is government money that drives the bureaucratic corporatism that gives Wall Street its power. 5) Eliminate employer-based insurance and coverage for any malady that costs under, say, $1000. Medical insurance has the same effect on medical prices that gasoline insurance (all you can use for a $10 deductible at the pump) would have on gas prices.

I'm happy to go along with prosecuting Wall Street fraud. Will you go along with prosecuting it in Madison?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"1) eliminate the Federal Reserve."

Eliminating it may be the only way to fix what's wrong with it. But the problem isn't deficit spending, which if done conservatively, without running up a permanent and ever-growing debt, is a very useful tool. The tool isn't evil, but the way it's been used-- primarily to keep inflation down, unemployment high because that's works best for Wall Street, has indeed been evil.

"2) Reducing our defense spending to twice our nearest rival would leave us plenty defended and save us half a trillion a year."

I couldn't agree more. Runaway spending on the War Dept is by far the single biggest cause of our current fiscal problems.

"3) Eliminate all public sector unions."

This is nothing but a red herring. Public employees do the work that we, collectively, have asked them to do. They don't have the right to strike, which I think is largely appropriate, but every employee ought to have the right to bargain for the conditions of their employment. And bargaining singly is just not workable, and would create a situation ripe for favoritism and arbitrary and politically based firings.

And the wages and benefits are pretty much dead-center along the spectrum of what people get in this country, private or public. The call for union-busting derives from a desire to screw these workers because of ideological prejudice, not fiscal conservatism.

"4) Learn to love deflation. Power goes where the money is, and it is government money that drives the bureaucratic corporatism that gives Wall Street its power."

Neither inflation nor deflation are inherently good things, and the higher they are, the worse it is. And wishing for deflation thinking that it will magically release the grip that corporations/Wall Street have on government is pure mumbo jumbo.

continued

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

"This is nothing but a red herring.'

Actually it's a herring with which you could cut down the mightiest tree in the forest. With all due respect, I've worked in government twice, once in the very type of position that was subject to political firing as soon as the new administration came in. It's part of the job and you accepted it. When the new admin came in, I didn't go away mad, I just went away. The other time, even though it was a technical position I 'served at the pleasure of the President,' which meant that I could theoretically be let go for any reason or no reason. It was just like a real job. But in both cases 'bargaining singly' was wholly workable. To say it is unworkable is simply false.

Public unions and collective bargaining raise the price of labor over market rates - thast is their entire purpose. And since the taxpayers who pay those wages have no say in the agreement, they are looted to the extent that public sector wages are artificially high and public sector productivity is artificially low (a far bigger problem, IMO).

Yes, public employees do the work we ask. It's noble and all that. But that nobility comes with a price; you don't get to claim both the nobility and higher than market pay. If they are worried about other workplace issues, they can lobby for workplace laws to be changed just like any other citizen. As FDR noted, "militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees." I would go him one step further, but that's just me.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

There are now, and will be in the future, jobs that are strictly political appointments, and they almost all the jobs at the top of government agencies. This is mostly appropriate, and to my knowledge, no one is suggesting that that change.

And elected political leaders, in the executive and legislative branches, always retain the right and the ability to decide how many people are employed in any government institution, and what they'll get paid. Under the system that exists in most states, they just don't have the right to hire and fire non-political employees for reasons that don't pertain to job performance, although the gross number of jobs can be eliminated for purely political reasons.

So it's just plain false to say that taxpayers have no say in negotiations with government employees. Quite the contrary. Through their elected officials can fire the whole lot any time they want merely by cutting off the funding.

That appears to be where things may be headed in Wisconsin. It'd be a very stupid move, but Republicans there are showing themselves to be very capable of such stupidity.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"5) Eliminate employer-based insurance and coverage for any malady that costs under, say, $1000. Medical insurance has the same effect on medical prices that gasoline insurance (all you can use for a $10 deductible at the pump) would have on gas prices."

A $1000 "deductible" may not be such a bad idea in a comprehensive revamping of the healthcare system, but not because there is the slightest comparison between a commodity like gasoline and healthcare. There are a few hypochondriacs out there who overuse medical care, but the vast majority of people don't. They use it when they think they need it, and what we need most in order to bring down the cost of medical care is to increase preventive medicine, which includes getting people to take better care of themselves, and also catching disease and injury early, before it gets too expensive to treat. If the $1000 deductible discourages people from getting regular exams, it'd be counterproductive.

"I'm happy to go along with prosecuting Wall Street fraud. Will you go along with prosecuting it in Madison?"

There is absolutely no comparison between the massive greed and corruption on Wall Street and working people in Wisconsin struggling to maintain a relatively modest lifestyle against the assault by politicians bought and paid for by the greedy and corrupt on Wall Street (and Wichita.)

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

"not because there is the slightest comparison between a commodity like gasoline and healthcare. There are a few hypochondriacs out there who overuse medical care, but the vast majority of people don't. They use it when they think they need it"

And gee, go figure, as usual Herr Klowne is 100% wrong.

People don't spend the vast majority of their health care dollars because they think they need to. They spend it because a physician tells them they need to, and they're too much in awe of the medical profession to ask if it's really necessary.

And yes, it's exactly like gasoline. Some of the gas we use is a necessity, a lot of it isn't. You don't have to stop using gas altogether to force the price down, just a little will do. And since some studies have shown that as much as 40% of our health care treatment does nothing to improve our health, it seems like we could probably cut down by a few percentage points and get the prices moving in the right direction.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"They spend it because a physician tells them they need to, and they're too much in awe of the medical profession to ask if it's really necessary."

Some are, some aren't "in awe." I'm not a mechanic, and even though I can find my way around with a wrench competently enough, when my car needs some serious mechanical work, I take to a mechanic who has the tools and expertise to do what I can't. I'm not "in awe," but I generally accept that they know more about their job than I do. And I don't take the car into a mechanic on a whim. I do so when routine maintenance or a repair is required. Same with going to the doctor.

If you want to stretch the comparison to gasoline enough, it can be done, but these purchasing situations are about as apples and oranges as it can get.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 5 months ago

"...Drop your medical insurance and put those thousands of dollars into a money making account that will stand by you! ..." Have you dropped the medical insurance on yourself and your family? If not, why not?

Mr_B9 5 years, 5 months ago

"Madison, Wis — Democrats on the run in Wisconsin avoided state troopers Friday and threatened to stay in hiding for weeks, potentially paralyzing the state government in a standoff with majority Republicans over union rights for public employees."

Democrats are being derelict in their elected positions, union controlled narsacistist teachers walking out on their students and union management fueling the fires. I say fire them all, every single one of them and put them in jail.

Shame on you elected leaders, narsacistist teachers and union thugs.

Taxpayers and children being robbed blind.

llama726 5 years, 5 months ago

You are seriously suggesting arrest? Wow. That's pretty ridiculous. I didn't know that working as a teacher made you forfeit your rights to peaceably assemble.

llama726 5 years, 5 months ago

Are you honestly advocating arresting a bunch of teachers, nurses, etc?

JayhawksandHerd 5 years, 5 months ago

"Shame on you elected leaders..."

Actually, if I lived in Wisconsin and voted for the democrats, I would feel well-represented at the moment.

"...narsacistist [sic] teachers and union thugs...taxpayers and children being robbed blind."

How exactly is this the case when the majority of teachers took unpaid personal leave? As llama726 said, should certain individuals be exempted from their right to peacefully assemble based solely on their chosen profession?

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Wisconsin workers also suffer something like 10 unpaid furlough days. Their prior contribution to the budget "crisis" that was not of their making.

Neither the Governor nor legislators in Wisconsin have had furlough days imposed on their jobs.

Bob Forer 5 years, 5 months ago

Brilliant strategy. For decades, the right of American workers to organize was sacrosanct. Then Ronnie Reagan came along, busted the Air Traffic Controllers, and organized labor has been in a steep decline since.

A great President? For the millionaires, yes. For the average hard-working Joe, absolutely not. .

true_patriot 5 years, 5 months ago

We report, you decide. Heavily documented and linked article on the direct money trail from billionaire special interested to the Tea Party governor and candidates in Wisconsin:

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/02/wisconsin-scott-walker-koch-brothers

Article with supporting links on why the Koch Bros are so fascinated with gaining the freedom to control government and taxpyayers in Wisconsin, protect their dirty energy infrastructure and kill jobs to boost profits, etc.:

http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/18/business-teaparty-wisconsin/

tunahelper 5 years, 5 months ago

fire the protesting teachers like President Reagan fired the protesting air traffic controllers! GO Wisconsin GOP!

Bob Forer 5 years, 5 months ago

Funny how most of the folks who have wet dreams over the prospects of busting a union are the same people who would kill to protect certain basic amenities of an advanced civilized society, all creations of the sweat and blood of the American Labor Movement such as the 40 hour work week, paid vacations, retirement benefits, and health insurance.

I love the sound of class war in the morning; it sounds like....... revolution.

notajayhawk 5 years, 5 months ago

"I love the sound of class war in the morning; it sounds like....... revolution."

Because, after all, rising up in a mob to steal something from those who already have it is a heck of a lot easier than earning it for yourself.

Bob Forer 5 years, 5 months ago

Yeah, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were quite the mobsters.

Sounds like I need to find you a rich millionaire with a nice, kissable buttocks for you.

Olympics 5 years, 5 months ago

ACT/SAT rankings for the 5 states without collective bargaining for their teachers? South Carolina - 50 North Carolina - 49 Georgia - 48 Texas - 47 Virginia - 44

Where does Wisonsin fall? 2nd.

Additional Details http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ft

^ACT/SAT scores by state http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/

^Here's an article about how non-collective bargaining states suck at education http://proamlib.blogspot.com/2011/02/col

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

Scott 90210: "Your video hardly establishes your assertions as 'factual.' "

Ah, yes, the old 'I refuse to be convinced' ploy. No matter, plenty of people are convinced, like brain doctors who are starting to write things like:

"After viewing the videos at my request last night, Dr. Arthur Derse called me up exclaiming, "Holy mackerel! It's much worse than it looked in the paper. I'm stunned, absolutely stunned." Dr. Derse is the Director of Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities a the Medical College of Wisconsin. "When all's said and done, it's really the profession of medicine that has the black eye in this case," he says.
"There is no question these doctors are masking political opinion in the white coat of the medical profession, Dr. Derse believes. "The videos are pretty damning."

and they are writing them in the Atlantic Monthly, no less. http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/02/wisconsins-real-doctors-and-their-fake-sick-notes-for-protesters/71500/

It's OK, I know, because it's all for a good cause and for survival and all that stuff. I just wanted you to see that if you remain publicly unconvinced, it is a lack of honor, not of evidence, that makes it so.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

Extreme times call for extreme measures. Good on these doctors.

Scott Drummond 5 years, 5 months ago

Nonsense. The video above failed to show a single clearly identifiable patient/physician exchange. Unless one is privy to the doctor's examination , or there is some other proof not contained in the video, I have a hard time concluding fraud has been committed. Plenty of wishful thinking and allegation, but no evidence of fraud.

And the lack of honor crack was pretty pathetic. But revealing.

Fossick 5 years, 5 months ago

"The video above failed to show..."

Yeah, dude, tell it to the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board. I'm pretty sure they're going to be looking for expert witnesses real soon.

"Dr. Lou Sanner, a family medicine physician at UW Health, told the Associated Press he was one of the doctors involved. He said he wrote hundreds of sick notes for protesters because they were suffering from stress." http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/health_med_fit/article_7d742504-3df2-11e0-9f0c-001cc4c03286.html

I'm pretty sure he had time for "hundreds" of examinations of people who were too sick to go to work, so they went out to the capitol to find some Tylenol.

Blessed4x 5 years, 5 months ago

To paraphrase Obama..."We don’t mind the Democrats joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back."

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