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View Diary: The King No Longer Walks Among His People (309 comments)

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  •  Oh, Rahmbo has this wonderful vision... (89+ / 0-)

    ...of Chicago, that probably has more in common with Norman Bel Geddes' "City of 1960" exhibit for the 1939 World's Fair, rather than reality. We've seen it in the schools, there's an article in the latest Reader about it with regard to poorer neighborhoods, and in talking to former colleagues at CDOT (I am a retired traffic engineer) it has extended to there as well.

    Imagine a major midwestern city, with over 2,900 signalized intersections, and only two traffic engineers to handle the timings, coordination, and improvement reviews. Never mind in-house design and study work (I used to do those, BTW), those two engineers are damned busy. I ought to know, as I was the fourth engineer, but I took early retirement in 2010. The third engineer took her early retirement this year. No new people have been hired for a section that needs, at minimum, 6 people to run properly. But Gabe Klein and Rahm Emanuel don't care: they never came up through the ranks.

    Drive carefully out there!

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 06:32:55 PM PDT

    •  I hate the traffic engineers in Florida... (12+ / 0-)

      OK, it's a thankless job.  Sometimes their solutions work, sometimes they don't.

      I guess that in my STUPID STATE they're doing the best they can with the lack of resources they have to deal with.

      Holy Cow!!! 06/18/2013 and I've got my mojo back!!!! A new signature will be written shortly.

      by Josiah Bartlett on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 08:33:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Same thing here... (16+ / 0-)

        ...I did the best I could, but they didn't hire any new kids for me to train, and the 70% of my salary I get as a pension is more than enough. In fact, I got the feeling that as long as I worked there, they'd never hire new people because I was so productive.

        Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

        by JeffW on Thu Aug 15, 2013 at 08:44:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  70 % Pension !! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          misslegalbeagle, Sparhawk

          If you truly get 70% of your salary as pension you have identified the reason that we can no longer afford public services or public employees.

          Good for you, but bad for everyone else.

          Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

          by bobtmn on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 06:46:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tell it to Wall Street (32+ / 0-)

            People who actually work for a living instead of gambling with other people's money DESERVE a good pension.

            The suits who ride in limousines, not so much.

            •  Private worker (5+ / 0-)

              Try telling it to the private sector worker who pays all his/her life into social security ( unlike most public sector workers ) and ends up with an income of 25% of their salary.

              You cannot get the average private sector worker to support large public  sector benefits by explaining that you don't have it as good as the banksters.

              Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

              by bobtmn on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 07:35:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Social security payments (29+ / 0-)

                should be much higher, a living standard. Everyone should have security in retirement, through pension, SS, or other methods.

                Instead of provoking envy and dissension between private and public workers, we should unite in attacking the greed at the top.

                Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration. --Abraham Lincoln
              •  Just an idle observation (25+ / 0-)

                What if every job offered a pension option? What if your private sector job put aside a portion of your hourly earnings, a sum that you and your fellow employees agreed upon btw to provide for your retirement years as a supplement to Social Security?

                Public sector employees have done that, they have formed unions and worked to earn the benefits that they get. mr.u is finishing his working life in a public sector job, he doesn't make what he deserves per hour but he will get a small pension. Employees who have been there long term traded higher wages for the benefits that they earned.

                This insane idea that the retirements these employees get come from your pocket ignores completely the contribution that they made themselves. sour grapes taste so......sour.

                "Humidity built the snowman. Sunshine brought him down" John Prine

                by high uintas on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 07:51:00 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  i was in engineering for 15 years (7+ / 0-)

                  never had a job last more then 4 years, it was always
                  here to there.  we were big on 401K because we could
                  at least carry the contributions with us

                •  Re (2+ / 0-)
                  This insane idea that the retirements these employees get come from your pocket ignores completely the contribution that they made themselves. sour grapes taste so......sour.
                  Excellent. So if the state pension fund falls short, private workers will not be asked to pay a single dollar to help, right? The public workers will instead have their pension payments cut? Because that is what "not coming from our pockets" really means.

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 09:30:30 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Greedheads are stealing pensions (19+ / 0-)

                    It is not the average worker who is doing so. Should people work for years on the agreement that part of their wages is set aside, only to find them stolen when they retire? And this, while CEOs demand their exorbitant salaries plus benefits because they are "contracted"?

                    Why is a CEO's contract inviolable, while workers' contracts are subject to change?

                    All workers, public and private, should have a guaranteed pension, or guaranteed income, of some kind. It should be their reward for contributing to society. Note, I say society, not the economy.

                  •  If the pension fund falls short... (10+ / 0-)

                    The EMPLOYER has not done their part of the agreement.  

                    Don't even think about trying to blame the worker.  The WORKER has performed their part of the bargain.

                    Holy Cow!!! 06/18/2013 and I've got my mojo back!!!! A new signature will be written shortly.

                    by Josiah Bartlett on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 12:56:32 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Or the account manager hasn't (4+ / 0-)

                      or someone has bought out something and stole it. Too many people are being fucked this way and then blamed about it.

                      "Humidity built the snowman. Sunshine brought him down" John Prine

                      by high uintas on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 02:46:26 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  The employer is all of us (2+ / 0-)

                      If the pension fund falls short, someone is going to pay, either the pensioner or private sector workers who have to make up the difference.

                      Who should it be?

                      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                      by Sparhawk on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 03:03:54 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The government guarantees banks (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Josiah Bartlett, tobendaro

                        right?

                        If you put your money in the bank and the bank fails what happens? Who pays to make up that difference? When in comes to pensions there should be a funded guaranteed insurance for them. Like any insurance, say Workman's Comp, someone pays for the policy.

                        I say let's handle it like we do health ins. Employer pays the lion's share and employee pays, too. If the pension fails the ins. picks up the slack and with that hanging IMO there would be better oversight on the handling of those pensions.

                        Right now they are like baby zebras in the Serengeti.  

                        "Humidity built the snowman. Sunshine brought him down" John Prine

                        by high uintas on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 06:13:26 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation... (0+ / 0-)

                          AKA the FDIC guarantees Banks.  The FDIC is fully funded by the banks it insures and does not receive ANY taxpayer money.

                          The recent bailout of the Wall Street banks bypassed the FDIC.  This was a deliberate action by bush* because the FDIC would have been much tougher on the banks and the uninsured bond holders, as in they would have taken some big haircuts.

                          The FDIC is just one more of the many very successful programs from that came out of the New Deal.

                          Holy Cow!!! 06/18/2013 and I've got my mojo back!!!! A new signature will be written shortly.

                          by Josiah Bartlett on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 07:15:48 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  There are middle men (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Josiah Bartlett

                        stealing and gambling with those monies.  Until the citizenry blames them for the theft and demands they are prosecuted, held responsible, etc, we will get no where.  Those stealing from and abusing the workers are glad to have you supporting them and helping them in their efforts to take America into the new Golden Age of 1%ers.  Congratulations.  You are so blinded by sibling rivalry you can't see that you are being manipulated.

                        Everyone! Arms akimbo! 68351

                        by tobendaro on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 07:12:03 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  It is not the worker, private or public, (0+ / 0-)

                    who should pay.

                    Individuals and corporations taking excessive rewards from the labors of others are the ones that should pay up. Those who manipulate to steal without ever dirtying their hands.

                    We really need to come together on these issues, because they are being used to divide and conquer the workers and our "class", in favor of the 1%.

              •  Social Security ... (17+ / 0-)

                is meant to be Retirement Insurance, and is supposed to provide just enough support to prevent seniors from falling into abject poverty, in case savings or pensions fail to materialize.

                This is one of the worst misconceptions of the whole SS system.

                Also, you complain about these huge pensions public sector workers get. What you fail to acknowledge is that they are usually paid (in salary) far less than people doing equivalent work in private industry.

                So the public workers do not have the same opportunity to build up savings during their working lives. It seems like a fair trade for them to have higher pensions in return.

                And perhaps you should direct your anger at the yahoos who set up this system where workers in private industry have no savings for their retirement (you know, CEO's, banksters and the like) instead of the public workers who'vw sacrificed for years to earn a halfway decent pension.

                •  SS is NOT retirement insurance (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sparhawk

                  From the very beginning, SS was an intergenerational contract.   Working people were taxed to raise money to support the elderly.   It is still true.

                  When public employees opt  out of SS, they refuse to meet their obligation to help the rest of us take care of elderly and disabled people.

                  SS takes about 14% of private sector wages.     Almost any middle class worker that has spent the past 40 years paying into SS would have been far better off investing that money in and indexed stock and bond fund.

                  Don't take this the wrong way. I  FULLY SUPPORT social security.    NO ONE should be exempt from paying into it.

                  Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

                  by bobtmn on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 10:40:12 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Public Employees DO NOT opt out of SS (10+ / 0-)

                    By law they were excluded from Social Security from the inception of the program until 1978 -- when the Reagan Administration changed the Civil Service Retirement system. Federal employees have paid FICA and Medicare taxes ever since.

                    The public employees who do not pay into the Social Security system are not allowed to by the laws of the city, county, state or local government they work for -- so if you truly believe everyone should be paying FICA taxes, you need to get those government entities to change the rules.

                    Note -- opting out of Social Security has never been the public employee's choice -- it is the choice of YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS.

                  •  I think you misunderstand ... (5+ / 0-)

                    what "insurance" means.

                    The idea of insurance is that you pay premiums for a benefit you may or may not receive, depending on circumstances.

                    So if I make it to retirement, I get my insurance benefit that I have paid premiums for. If not, then I don't.

                    The "intergenerational" aspect is the method used to finance it, but doesn't change the concept of it being insurance.

                    And while true for the past 40 years that other investments outperformed SS, that wouldn't necessarily be true in the next 40 years, especially considering the cadre of crooks now running Wall Street. I shudder to imagine all the inventive "fees" they would come up with to take an ever larger sluice of the pie if SS gets thrown into that mix as well.

                    And you really need to do something about this huge chip you have on your shoulder about public employee retirement benefits.

              •  So the solution is for public employees to settle (9+ / 0-)

                for the pittance that private corps offer its employees? After years of hard work and battles at the negotiating table they should walk away from the benefits they earned?

                Here's an idea: fight to raise the pension benefits of everybody instead of fighting to destroy the last of the unions in this country.

                You cannot get the average private sector worker to support large public  sector benefits by explaining that you don't have it as good as the banksters.
                •  Re (0+ / 0-)
                  So the solution is for public employees to settle (9+ / 0-)
                  for the pittance that private corps offer its employees?
                  Yes, or they should be forced to do so.
                  Here's an idea: fight to raise the pension benefits of everybody instead of fighting to destroy the last of the unions in this country.
                  After we eliminate public pension benefits, we can put them back after the private sector gets its benefits back. There is no reason for there to be a disparity between public and private benefits.

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 10:04:13 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  How about instead of trashing public (11+ / 0-)

                workers, private sector workers, get off their whining arses and organize.

                When I started teaching way back when in the 1960s, private sector unions were the models.   Teachers, police, firefighters were barely making a living wage.   So we organized, we fought hard and long for collective bargaining and we improved our salaries and working conditions.

                But unlike the meme being pushed by the right, is the reality. Our teaching salaries were very low compared to people with comparable education.   While we pushed and worked for better salaries, most of us pushed harder for benefits.....and we put a percentage of our salaries into pensions.   We never got "free" benefits as we always paid a portion of our health care, and a portion of our pensions.   We paid out of our own pockets for every education course we were required to take in order to renew our licenses (which were not cheap).  I was no unhappy with getting less than my peers but I was adamant about a pension for I knew that is what I would (and now do) rely on for retirement.  I did not get into the 401K game because I felt it was probably going to scam a lot of people (which it did).

                So please, spare me the "poor" private sector workers.  Those are the people who voted in those anti union, pro outsources republicans who have destroyed our infrastructures, and sent our factories oversees.  BLAME THEM, not public employees.

                And for the record, I paid into SS since I turned sixteen and began working.  I had summer employment all my life, teaching college classes and they took out SS. I had more than enough SS to qualify for Medicare but because I have a Public Employee pension I am getting barely a third of what I put into SS.  

                “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

                by Jjc2006 on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 09:55:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  More blame thrown on us. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sparhawk

                  Good luck with this tactic to raise public support for your demands:

                  private sector workers [should] get off their whining arses and organize.

                  Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

                  by bobtmn on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 10:18:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, I have encountered (6+ / 0-)

                    the "blame the teachers, blame the public employees" types at quite a few rallies that were gathering two years ago to show support of WI labor against Scott Walker.

                    I tried reason with them.  I tried facts.  All they cared about was how teachers and city workers were overpaid;  they even wondered why anyone needed a degree to teach primary school.  

                    Your argument seems to be to stand with the ignorant, public employee blaming, private sector.  Hardly see how that helps.  Good luck with that.

                    For the record, I worked hard not only at my job but at making sure public education and public ed employees got their fair share. I walked picket lines.  I lost pay while on strike as I was standing up for small classes, decent salaries, fair treatment for employees regardless of gender, ethnicity, equitable materials in all schools regardless of neighborhood income.

                    How about you?   What is your answer to the needs of the common good other than blame public employees???  Are you about lowering public employee salaries/benefits rather than increasing private sector salaries/benefits?   If so perhaps you belong on Wall Street or redstate!

                    “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

                    by Jjc2006 on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 10:55:12 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Don't you get it? (18+ / 0-)

                Back when union density in America was closer to 30 percent, public sector pension plans were not any better than those of millions of unionized private sector workers in the automotive, aircraft, steel, transportation industries.  The only reason that public sector pension plans are considered "gold plated" today is that big business has successfully broken the power of private sector unions, thus cutting private sector salaries, benefits, and bankrupting their pension plans.  The sad part is that many people are far more angry at their next door neighbor for receiving a public sector pension of $35,000 (as if that was some fantastic sum) than they are at the CEO of their own company for earning $35 million as a reward for union busting, downsizing, off-shoring and bankrupting the employees' pension plans.  If the only goal of the American working class today is to bring all workers down to the lowest level out of some misguided notion of fairness, rather than to figure out a way to bring all workers up, then the bosses will be very happy, indeed.  However, if workers continue down this path, their will be a day when a wage of $10 an hour will be considered gold-plated and unrealistic.  Hello, Third World compensation and working conditions.

                These Republican gluttons of priviledge are cold men ... They want a return of the Wall Street economic dictatorship -- Harry Truman

                by Laborguy on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 11:03:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thank you (9+ / 0-)

                  I do not know if it is just ignorance or what, but I am stunned at the amount of libertarians who post here that are completely clueless about the history of labor.  As I said in one of my replies, I started teaching when public ed salaries were quite low and we were just beginning to organize.   We learned collective bargaining from our union brothers and sisters in the private sector.

                  When Reagan co-opted democrats, convincing them he was a "moderate", got union members to vote for him, and then destroyed their unions the minute he got into office, I thought they had learned their lessons.

                  But instead of blaming the right wingnuts, the "moderate" dems voted into office, they are blaming the public sector.
                  What a bunch of BS.

                  And frankly I am sick of the libertarians coming here and repeating the 'blame the public sector" meme of the right.  

                  So thank you for your post.

                  “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

                  by Jjc2006 on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 12:02:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I couldn't agree more (11+ / 0-)

                  Laborguy, you and Jjc2006 have stated it so well. The vampire capitalists have over many years sucked the capital, including employee pensions, out of the private sector. Now they are after the public monies through union busting and privatizing services.

            •  Maybe. But, here's what we "private (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marina

              sector" workers can't afford... "Retiring" from your City Police job at age 44, Then going to work for the State (or County) for another 15 years and retiring from That job as well, at age 59, on a "Double Dip" pension for more than most of us private sector people have ever earned in a single year.  That bull$h!t needs to end.

              •  Not a perfect system (0+ / 0-)

                that's for sure. I even know of some cases of "triple-dipping", though not personally.

                Such disparities are bound to cause resentment. We have a long way to go toward fairness. But we need to unite. There is power in numbers. Especially when our real opponents are not each other, but the bloodsucking vampires.

          •  70% of a pittance is still a pittance. (22+ / 0-)

            Public sector workers often accept lower than prevailing wage, in exchange for generous benefits and pensions.

            Say Worker A takes a public career, and works for 40 years making 50% of what he/she could in the private sector. Worker A retires, and receives 70% of their salary as pension, or 35% of prevailing private wage, for 15 years.

            Regardless of the dollar amounts, Worker A has received considerably less compensation over the course of a lifetime. Worker A is still CHEAPER than his/her private counterpart.

            I know that this is complicated math, but I encourage you to try it for yourself.

            Math is an excellent antidote for Right Wing rhetoric.

            •  I know some math, thanks! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk

              I know you guys enjoy insulting people who disagree with you.  

              In fact, I have had five quarters of calculus, discrete mathematics, two quarters of statistics, automata theory, advanced symbolic logic, numerical analysis and linear algebra  with an overall average in those courses of 3.5.

              In spite of all that math, I do enjoy hearing the occasional fact.

              For example, what public sector job(s) pay 50% of the private sector?

              and works for 40 years making 50% of what he/she could in the private sector.

              Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

              by bobtmn on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 08:23:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  note (3+ / 0-)

                all of them.  Retired and poor former public health worker here.

              •  IT for a community college. I tripled my salary (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                marina

                but cut off my pension contributions...I repeat "contributions" and entered the land of 401Ks and stock options in high tech.

                We were proud to be public sector employees providing a public need. Yes we earned less, but out of our total negotiated benefit package (wages, salaries, health insurance, pension) we allotted so much of our "pittance" to our old age pension funds. It was the one tangible benefit to working in the public sector.

                No thank you for your comments.

                Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

                by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 05:37:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  What a complete load of bullsh#t. (19+ / 0-)

            The reason "we can no longer afford public services or public employees" is because the austerians in both parties and the  have decided that we WON'T TAX at a rate commensurate with the services WE RECEIVED from the civil staff who spent their lives understanding that their pension benefits were part of their pay package they accepted at the time they were hired.

            News flash; arithmetic had already been invented when public employees were hired decades ago, and a simple 6th-grade level spreadsheet clearly showed the level of public taxation required to support the promised benefits.

            The idea that we suddenly can't afford any of this is ludicrous. The reality is that we're being led by people who are being paid handsomely by the 1% to undo solemn agreements like public pensions---something they NEVER would allow to happen to themselves, by the way.

            You were capable of the very same calculation when you took your private sector job. You either paid attention to those details or you didn't. There is nothing to bitch about unless you were foolish enough to ignore the very same arithmetic.

            •  Nonetheless (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bobtmn

              Municipalities are going bankrupt anyway and dispensing with legacy pension obligations. More will occur in the future.

              You chastise private workers for not doing the math or whatever, but did public workers ever consider counterparty risk, the possibility that states and localities can't/won't pay when the time comes?

              Paying for legacy pensions produces zero services in exchange for tax money. People aren't obligated to stay in your locality. If the ratio of services/taxes becomes poor enough, they will simply move like they are in Detroit. And localities can do zero about it.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 09:37:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I chastise private sector workers (9+ / 0-)

                and libertarians like you for allowing the free market dystopia to be voted in starting with union hating, public sector hating, trickle down loving Ronald Reagan to be voted into office.

                And to this day, and even here on a progressive site, libertarians gather to help the right berate and blame the public sector and give a pass to the Wall Street thieves and their greed.

                Stop rationalizing the greed of the private sector libertarians and stop blaming public sector working people who actually believe in and work for the common good.

                “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

                by Jjc2006 on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 10:13:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Pensions aren't supposed to be contemporaneous tax (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JeffW, Josiah Bartlett, marina

                monies gathered at the time of disbursement. But I'm sure you know that.

                The time to invest in pension funding is when they're contracted with employees. And until the GOPers foisted the narrative that government workers are leeches on society---the sort of thing you've said here in the more couched terms "zero services in exchange for tax money," etc.---that's how pension systems worked so the contractual promises could be paid.

                You've been quite clear about your feelings that the pensioners of Detroit are going to be and should be screwed for the financial problems they had no control over. But walking that further to include all municipal bankruptcies and government pensions in general is just neo-liberal ideologic jibberish, IMHO.

                •  Re (0+ / 0-)
                  monies gathered at the time of disbursement. But I'm sure you know that.
                  The time to invest in pension funding is when they're contracted with employees. And until the GOPers foisted the narrative that government workers are leeches on society---the sort of thing you've said here in the more couched terms "zero services in exchange for tax money," etc.---that's how pension systems worked so the contractual promises could be paid.
                  I have no problems with pension investments being made at the time.

                  I do have a problem with being put on the hook for shortfalls or underfunding today with respect to promises made years ago. Private workers have our own families to feed. If previously invested pension funds are sufficient, excellent. If not, though, it isn't our problem and asking for tax increases with no increase in services is a loser proposition.

                  You've been quite clear about your feelings that the pensioners of Detroit are going to be and should be screwed for the financial problems they had no control over
                  They had plenty of control and are as complicit as anyone else in the mess in which they discover themselves. For example, if they had demanded 401ks this wouldn't have happened. Or more conservative pension plan assumptions. But they didn't. They chose to blithely and uncritically accept the unreasonable promises of the city government because it "promised" bigger payouts than more conservative assumptions. Oops.

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 03:17:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  They are going bankrupt because they cut taxes... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                WheninRome

                And the taxes they cut were the ones paid by the wealthy.

                Every municipality has the power to collect money from it's citizens in the form of taxes in whatever form they deem appropriate.

                Holy Cow!!! 06/18/2013 and I've got my mojo back!!!! A new signature will be written shortly.

                by Josiah Bartlett on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 01:15:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  The most I would get would be 80%... (15+ / 0-)

            ...and to do that I would have had to work until this year. Then they would have lost 2 engineers, because the next engineer to take early retirement did so at the end of June.

            I should also point out that I don't get Social Security, so that 70% is all that I get, thanks to both the windfall rules, and the fatc that I don't have at least 40 quarters in SS.

            I'm sure you be very happy when Rahmbo starts screwing me, and all my fellow City of Chicago retirees, out of our pensions. I'd like to see you put up with the crap I went though, and then get what YOU consider a fair pension, pal.

            Drive carefully out there, sunshine...

            Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

            by JeffW on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 08:39:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good for you, JeffW (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sparhawk

              You have every right to try to get as much as you can for yourself.   I say go for it, within the law of course.

              But, you and other public sector workers do NOT have the right to expect that there will be no pushback, or that private sector workers will pay the freight without complaint.

              You also do not have the right to make assumptions about what I believe in because I disagree with you on this issue.

              I think we need LOTS more public employees, but I am afraid that with public unions and self interest, they will dominate politics and politicians, and even define what may and may not be said by "true progressives"

              Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

              by bobtmn on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 10:47:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  May I remind you that public employees... (4+ / 0-)

                ...also pay taxes, and do NOT get any sort of discount in that area.

                I suppose you and Sparhawk would like to see me homeless, cold, starving, and ready to drop dead on the sidewalk, instead of enjoying what years I have left, or still working, miserable and chained to my desk `til I drop.

                Well, screw that noise.

                I should also notr that I HAVE worked in the private sector, and found the attitudes there wanting. If I could change anything, I'd have tried to start working for the City right out of IIT in 1978. I'd still retire in 2010, and I sure as hell would not work for any of the private consulting firms, especially the three that I had worked for.

                Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

                by JeffW on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 10:57:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Sheesh..... (6+ / 0-)

                you really are showing total ignorance or you, along with sparhawk, are plants from some libertarian site.

                Please, learn some history before playing your juvenile blame game.

                “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

                by Jjc2006 on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 12:14:23 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I don't begrudge you anything (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JeffW

              but I can't tell you how overjoyed I would be to get 50% of my salary in retirement.

              We decided to move the center farther to the right by starting the whole debate from a far-right position to begin with. - Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay

              by denise b on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 04:52:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I can't tell you how overjoyed I would be (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                denise b

                to have a career to retire from. Let alone to get to retire from it.

                "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

                by Geenius at Wrok on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 08:45:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  It's called a CONTRACT. It's called a UNION. (8+ / 0-)

            When two parties agree to a business deal, do YOU have a problem with that?

            He got a good deal because he was in a union.

            We should all do so well.

            Are you satisfied with the race to the bottom, as long as it's not you there?


            The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. - Pangolin@kunstler.com

            by No one gets out alive on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 08:43:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Once again the right wing memes (9+ / 0-)

            being repeated on a progressive site.

            What is the problem with progressives who want to blame public employees?  Oh wait, they are content to reward Wall Street for playing with our money in the casinos but ready and willing to trash public employees willing to work for 30 plus years at the same job, in the same community at a fair (not BIG, just fair salary).

            I worked nearly 37+ years in order to get a decent pension and I am really sick and tired of so called progressives jumping on the right wing band wagon blame the public employees game.

            “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

            by Jjc2006 on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 09:43:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It is not that easy to get 70% (6+ / 0-)

            and it isn't money that is all free.  As a teacher I pay 11% of every paycheck into the pension fund.  Google says the rate people pay for social security tax is 6.2%.  Working under 30 years gives a low percentage on your pension, so all those people retiring under that time period have been paying into it without a huge benefit.  I think to get 70% I would have to work 35-40 years which is easier said than done.  Most people get less.

            •  I agree (6+ / 0-)

              I taught for over 37 years.   But only 30 of it was in one state and when I was young I took out my seven years of pension in that state to move.  

              But I hung in for another 30 years and I am now retired.  I am not rich but I have a decent retirement.   I still sub to do the extras.   But some of my friends have done well as they are supplemented with family inheritance.   A few of my friends, like me, had no inheritance.  So this is it.  My pension is all I have.  

              I really do not get the resentment some here seem to have toward teachers.   I ended up at the top of my salary scale because I got an MA, an MA equivalent, and 90 credits beyond.  I paid for every college course myself.  I worked in the summers for 80% of my years teaching.  I was an active member of my union, worked to get better people elected (though that was often a disappointment).
              Public employees are not being given some gift.  We work hard, give a percentage of our pay over to pensions, and pay our way through coursework required by states and the feds.  

              Anyway from a retired teacher, hang in there.

              “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

              by Jjc2006 on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 12:10:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  lots of time... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Geenius at Wrok

            ...public employees don't get SS.  They only have their pension.  I don't know if this is the case here but do keep that in mind.

            We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

            by delver rootnose on Sat Aug 17, 2013 at 04:18:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, I too am pissed off (0+ / 0-)

            with my fellow Americans who should have been working to get the same, instead asking to be rolled over by the steamrollers of the rich.  

            And no, you pension is not bad for everyone else.  It allows you to spend a little money, keep other people employed, show everyone what dignified old age should be, and was just compensation for taking a lower payrate for 40 years or so of public service.

      •  Naw, they've always (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Josiah Bartlett

        been like that. We lived in Jacksonville for a period of 9 years, back in the '80s and early '90s. There was some kind of highway design school there that certified engineers for the state, and I'm pretty sure they got to do all their senior projects in J-ville. Because I've never seen before or since more badly designed highways, service roads or flow dynamics. Plus on-ramps with stop signs so you have to go from zero to 65 in 100 feet or less, a million drivers who have no idea what "merge" means...

        It's a feature, not a bug (or lack of money).

    •  As a mayor, Rahm makes a hell of a good (6+ / 0-)

      ballet dancer.

      Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

      by bobdevo on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 02:55:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A water purification plant (26+ / 0-)

      failed to do its job in Georgia because the management wouldn't listen to the guy who knew how everything worked. If the scuttlebutt is true, the in-the-know guy left a few months before the failure after conflicts with management. Now there's a big kerfuffle in the local press about crappy water quality. That's what a GOP/Tea Party voting populace will get you--crappy governance and infrastructure.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 06:00:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This happens a lot (10+ / 0-)

        my son works in a power plant. His manager, the one who's actually there all the time, listens to them. His higher ups, not so much.

        So they had outages (they're a small plant, so it's not the end of the world) that required major maintenance when, if the higher ups would have just LISTENED to the people who are there and SEE the equipment every damned day, it would have been a minor fix.

        But of course, that would have meant spending some money, which they tend to be loathe to do. Unless they're going to get some press for it, in which case they'll spend millions.

        To be fair, they switched from coal to gas, which was a major investment. They did get a lot of press for that.

        My son is trying to convince them to buy electric cars for all the guys to drive, just for the PR value. He hasn't convinced them yet.

      •  A small example from the graduate school I (9+ / 0-)

        attended.  They built a great new student center, with recreational facilities, etc.  A person I knew on staff had all of the abilities and expertise to run the numbers and estimate how much it would cost to operate this building and produced a figure around $500,000 for the first year.  The finance officer saw that and said it was too much money, cut it in half and put $250,000 in the budget.  Then over the next year the operation of the building ran $250,000 over budget.  Duh!!!

        I happens everywhere on every scale.

        So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

        by illinifan17 on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 08:25:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Listen, this happens all over the place. (16+ / 0-)

        First, regarding the customer service person on the phone?

        India, Mexico, Bangladesh.....

        I always have to ask them so speak more slowly.

        Second, the bull coming from the boardroom is due to the fact that people can no longer work their way up from the factory floor to the executive suite.

        Our companies are run by a cadre of "professional" managers. They all serve on each others board of directors, they write each other's employment contracts and everyone thinks that being brilliant  running one company means you'll be equally brilliant running a company in a totally different business.

        Right.

        Add to that the frequent idiocies of "management consultants."

        I remember once when management consultants told the cable company I worked for that what employees needed was a better understanding of the company mission statement. So they made every employee go to an eight hour mission statement meeting. Which consisted of, first off, telling everyone else about the most embarrassing moment of your life. Great ice breaker! (Me: "The most embarrassing moment of my life was embarrassing and I'd rather not talk about it.")  Then you had to form teams and create skits illustrating a maxim from the Mission Statement, which included such deathless bits of wisdom as "We work hard and we play hard!"

        We did raps! We danced! We wrote poems in praise of the MS!

        I'm not kidding. I am NOT kidding.

        They gave us a fifteen minute break every two hours. I walked outside and found about ten tech supervisors chain smoking like crazy and grinding their teeth. "I've got three days of work backed up and half my people are in here writing poems!"

        I could go on about this kind of madness forever. The people in charge are in charge because they talk a good line of bull. Or they write the kind of reports the boss wants to see. (Who cares if they're accurate?) Or they're the President's favorite nephew.

        And no one listens to the people on the line. The people dealing with customers. The people who could have bought new computers and desperately needed software upgrades with the money spent on the Mission Statement Day of Worship.

        Insane. Absolutely insane.

        Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

        by Sirenus on Fri Aug 16, 2013 at 08:55:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can relate (5+ / 0-)

          I had to sit through a solid week of "customer service" training at the health department.  We learned how to graciously answer the phone, active listening, and "take ownership of the problem."  Cripes, stuff I already did.  I threw the manual in the trash as I walked out the door.  Public health departments were founded on the principle of helping the needy.  The current management craze turned it into good PR for the media to absorb. It also involved collecting money and running it all like a business, never mind all those dead babies who kept showing up from lack of care.  I took early retirement and went without food before I completely lost my mind.

    •  I have to say this about Daley (7+ / 0-)

      he had a vision for the city. A city of parks and well landscaped boulevards. It seems that Rahm's only vision is how he can make money for his friends.

    •  Well there's a downside... (0+ / 0-)

      ....to coming up through the ranks too. Internal promotions like that often have the effect of ossifying certain aspects of an institution or having a chilling effect on progress.

      That said, you can go to far with 'new approach' sometimes!

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