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View Diary: The Wisconsin Blues (152 comments)

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  •  great framing, great take ... (8+ / 0-)

    Democracy is about citizens caring about each other.

    The Public is necessary for The Private to exist.

    Eliminating Pensions is thef.

    Unions protect worker rights.

    Public schools create opportunity.

    Democracy requires educated citizens.


    and thanks for sharing, professor.

    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 05:52:45 AM PDT

    •  villify and divide... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I think both sides have two sides, certainly, your points are spot on for the unions.

      On the other side though:
      Unions have not done themselves any favors by

      1) Protecting jobs at the expense of protecting incompetent workers
      2) Some unions have been rather heavy-handed and there have been legitimate concerns of "thuggery"
      3) collective bargaining has put local municipalities at risk...

      I live in the san francisco bay area where the pension funds for San Jose increased from $73 million in 2001 to $245 million in 2012 (and represent about 25% of the operating revenue).

      And in 10 years, you can extrapolate that figure out to another significant increase.   That $245 million, representing 25% of the operating revenue is not sustainable.  Now, I don't know how the city can justify eliminating pension benefits for past employees (you call it thievery... I wouldn't disagree with you)...

      But San Jose is not alone...EVERY municipality is facing a similar crisis.   The pensions are not sustainable in this environment.  

      The reality of the situation is that unions and pensions are going to be a huge issue in the next 5 years as municipalities grapple with how do manage their operating revenue.   And while unions can call them cities have to cut back on schools, services, and public safety because of the large portion representing pensions for public employees...the public will NOT take kindly to unions and I think San Diego and San Jose cutting back on the pension payments to current AND former public employees is not a blip but rather a harbinger of things to come.

      •  So are you going to bus workers in from Mexico? (0+ / 0-)

        I think the public really wants the servant put back in public servant.

        •  Pensions are not sustainable... (0+ / 0-)

          If 25% of the operating budget of a city is due to to go former retired workers...And if current pension policies continue...that rate will increase dramatically over the next 10 years (as it has exponentially increased over the last 10 years)...

          How does a society support itself?

          You want an example of what happens? Look at Greece.  They have a great lifestyle - early retirement at 55, really nice pensions...   But their country is on the verge of bankruptcy because they cannot continue to support those that have retired.

          You can't have police officers, fire fighters, and teachers draw 75% of their salary upon retirement without their own pension supporting themselves.  

          The only way it works is if the system supports itself  - having current tax payers and cities pay 25% of their operating budget to retired people cannot last.  That means public union members having to pay more into their benefits, take a salary cut or some combination of the two.   There are no other options.

          You can get mad, you can cry injustice and unfairness...but at the end of the day, the large pensions of public unions won't and cannot last.

          You can stick your head in the sand...but the public is already showing you what they plan on doing with both San Jose and San Diego voting to retroactively cut pensions for public employee union workers.

          I'm not sure how they can change/modify a pension plan after the fact...but its been done and that is a change who's trend will continue to increase.

      •  That was never the case in Wisconsin, but, I (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        New Rule, helpImdrowning, Aquarius40

        understand your points. In Wisconsin, for the most part, the unions worked with the government, and in a good way, not a bad way.

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