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In their desire to return the nation to the Gilded Age, the Right has long targeted the one effective tool the rest of us have had--organized labor. They're getting a big assist by this economy, which makes too easy the job of drumming up resentment against anyone who might have a bit of job protection or--gasp--the promise of a pension to make the prospect of old age just a little less frightening. Just check out Glenn Beck to see it in action.

Now, that war is going to be waged in the House.

In January 2011, some number of Republican congressmen are planning to issue an ultimatum to states: There will be no additional aid, and you have to balance your budgets.

"I'm going to introduce a resolution when the new Congress begins, stating that the House will not bail out state budgets," says Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. "The message is: States, don't think the federal government is going to bail you out. Pay attention to this now."

McHenry is one of several congressmen who'll be empowered to demand transparency from states, especially on the shortfalls in their pension funds. This is something that public-employee unions see as a coordinated attack on their members, but Republicans say the unions are going to lose.

"The potential here," says McHenry, "is that we're facing a generational shift based on economic realities, based on our expectations for government, on what government does, and how government delivers services."

....

What could the pension fund people and the public sector unions be so worried about? Right-leaning Reuters columnist James Pethokoukis laid it out for them. If the states aren't bailed out, they're going to have to start cutting budgets. If there's total transparency about pension funds—and voters are already in the mood to shave the benefits and numbers of public workers—then that's where you can cut. Republicans might even be able to pass legislation that would allow states to declare bankruptcy, which would move the pension debate from politics to court, zapping all of the unions' leverage. "From the Republican perspective," wrote Pethokoukis, "the fiscal crisis on the state level provides a golden opportunity to defund a key Democratic interest group."

How would that work, exactly? House Republicans aren't talking about it yet. But Newt Gingrich, who those Republicans take seriously, laid it out clearly in a Nov. 11 speech to the Institute for Policy Innovation.

"I also hope the House Republicans are going to move a bill in the first month or so of their tenure to create a venue for state bankruptcy," said Gingrich, "so that states like California and New York and Illinois that think they're going to come to Washington for money can be told, you know, you need to sit down with all your government employee unions and look at their health plans and their pension plans and frankly if they don't want to change, our recommendation is you go into bankruptcy court and let the bankruptcy judge change it, and I would make the federal bankruptcy law prohibit tax increases as part of the solution, so no bankruptcy judge could impose a tax increase on the people of the states."

But at least millionaires got their tax cut (and GOP hero Gov. Chris Christie is pushing for more in New Jersey). That deal which excluded state aid, is going to make the Republicans' efforts even easier. It's going to be spending cuts from here on out, with labor, Social Security, and the other core Democratic issues and programs in their sites.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 06:50 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is certainly not a new (24+ / 0-)

    undertaking. Private industry has already been effectively deunionized. The hopes for legislation that might level the playing field got nowhere with the Democratic controlled congress. So, the Republicans may give the ball a push, but the Democrats pretty much lose interest in unions after they get the money out of the ATM at election time.

  •  Noticed the new meme..... (44+ / 0-)

    Of war on public employees.  I am three years without a raise and a union member.  We all understand there is a recession, and are absorbing the shock.  This is the thanks we get- accusations of overpayment and a desire to end our right to organize.  What shits they are.

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 06:55:32 AM PST

    •  I've noticed it too... (9+ / 0-)

      chiefly from a 70 y.o. Republican pensionier!

      God bless our tinfoil hearts.

      by aitchdee on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:00:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You don't think the media are going to blame (23+ / 0-)

      the real sources of the problems, i.e.; Wall Street, neoliberalism, outsourcing? That's not what the media does anymore, that's "off message". No, they are going to blame the little guy, the teacher, the fireman, the guy who fixes the roads.

      Where are all the jobs, Boenher?

      by Dirtandiron on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:02:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's called "objectivism" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dirtandiron

        The object or recipient of any action is considered responsible for the action by having prompted it.  That's how "personal responsibility" is created.

        The practical effect of having the cause and the effect co-located in the object is that there are no responsible subjects.  Nobody's responsible for actions undertaken, only for what happens to him/her.  It's a variant of "blame the victim" which only differs in that, good or bad, everyone's responsible for his own fate.  That's how Saddam Hussein came to be considered responsible for the invasion of Iraq, even though the "decider" was sitting in Washington.

        But, the "decider" designation was not an admission of responsibility on GWB's part.  To decide is to have an idea and, while the intent may be taken for the act and explain how the mission could be declared accomplished before it was half begun, an idea is not an act.  That's the beauty of being an idealist; one doesn't have to do a thing.

        The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

        by hannah on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:18:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  and then (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Nose, Dirtandiron

        they'll say what shitty jobs the firemen did (who got laid off due to their ideological bent) at putting out the fire that burned down their house.  Or they'll complain about all the potholes in the road on their way to the marina to visit their yacht after they fired the crew that fixes the road.  There is no end to their hypocrisy.

    •  It will be easy to stoke the resentment too. (8+ / 0-)

      Republicans, unfortunately, always manage to divert voter attention from what's actually squeezing them - the decline (in real time) of workers' wages since the 70's.

      Then Republicans create red herrings - illegal immigration, people needing social safety nets, and government unions - and claim it's taxes that reduce American workers' income.

      I'm sure a number of state employees voted for Republicans in the 2010 election.  Let's hope they realize after strong Republican pressure on their wages that the Republican party is the wrong one to vote for.

      HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

      by HylasBrook on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:18:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  In this state they didn't (5+ / 0-)

        State workers voted Democratic as a whole.  California held off the red tide and now we will be punished.

        Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

        by Sychotic1 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:33:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Californians (0+ / 0-)

          Need to demand that they get every dollar they pay to the Fed government back. Same with Illinois, New York and all the other "tax and spend" liberal states.  Make all those "fiscal conservative" Red i.e. Welfare, States pay their own way.

          Poor man wants to be rich. Rich man wants to king. And the king ain't satisifed until he rules everything. B.Springsteen

          by howd on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 10:22:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Balkanization? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Wham Bam

            Julian Assange? Is that you?

            This type of blowhardism is the blue state equivalent of "we'll just secede" and comes of about as effectively.

            And the Bubba replies, "fine with me, keep your money AND your Fedrill Gumint regulations".

            How do you think the Federal Government gets what they want from the States? It bribes them with money (Drive 55?) and cheese, take away the bribes and a whole lot of people start going in other directions.

      •  progressives unwilling to join with the faltering (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        murrayewv, HylasBrook

        remains of the labor movement?

        There's just no one voice strong enough among progressives and seemingly no will among us to engage with these groups pulling them into a huge populist movement that could overtake the powers that be either through building a strong platform for new candidates that truly represent, or through building strength by joining together in local economies and boycotting whatever labor needs are left in the U.S.  But I guess that would just send the rest of the jobs overseas or into the military.

        With such misery and suffering there's bound to be more outbreaks of lawlessness and destabilization of society in general.  The Wizard of Oz will soon be exposed in his manipulations.

        Find your own voice--the personal is political.

        by In her own Voice on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:34:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wonder if that will happen or if things (0+ / 0-)

          will get far worse before (if ever) voters stop buying conservative sh*t.

          HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

          by HylasBrook on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:48:54 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Unions must cooperate globally (3+ / 0-)

          If we promote unions that represent corporations in all the countries where they are located, we can then begin raising everyone's wages to match the U.S., Germany, etc., instead of lowering us to the level of Vietnam and Kenya.

          •  I've said that before here and (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus

            I thought of that too and began talking about it at the State Convention at a Union mixer.  People just looked at me kind of bug-eyed.

            I came back and spoke more about it here this past summer, but was suppressed by a remark that Unions world-wide couldn't be asking for the same wage b/c the cost of living is so diverse.

            But maybe it could be based on a percentage of some kind.  Percent of wages to profit of a company?  Ratio of wages relative to the cost of living?

            Find your own voice--the personal is political.

            by In her own Voice on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:18:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  What is fair and equitable? (3+ / 0-)

              The first step is geting workers talking together from companies located in various countries. Next, would be discussing what is fair and equitable in each location. It might be reasonable to push for a wage hike where workers were at the poverty level to twice the poverty level in a particular country, just as a starting point.
              The real benefit is that the multinationals know that workers are not ignorant and have some representation in the compensation decisions for working people.
              Of course, the WTO and IMF will try to end such efforts, but with the internet that might be impossible, unless we continue to act like serfs locked into one tract of land, kind of like slaves in a plantation.

              •  agreed! n/t (0+ / 0-)

                Find your own voice--the personal is political.

                by In her own Voice on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:38:36 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  No. The first step is to stop (0+ / 0-)

                the charade of "free trade" with nations that don't have worker protections, environmental protections, and civil societies. You can't force China to unionize so you freeze them out, only at the rate we are going the US will be the one frozen out.

                •  You can't freeze them out because (0+ / 0-)

                  other countries won't.

                  So you ban shirts made in China.

                  But Thailand will import them, slap "Made in Thailand" labels on them, and export them.

                  It's hard enough blocking trade from the really bad actors like North Korea who can't really make stuff anyone else wants anyway.  Trying to ban stuff from China would be impossible.

              •  nonsense (0+ / 0-)

                We already have unfair two-tiered wage scales here in the US--let's not compound the problem by imposing them on everyone else.

                Every employee of the company deserves the same pay for the same job, period.  Whether their factory happens to be in Tennessee, Tibet or Timbuktu.  One company, one union, one wage scale.

                Ford doesn't reduce their profit on cars made in Mexico.  We should not reduce the wages.

            •  Stealth tariff (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              In her own Voice

              Or just high enough to cover the cost of production differential and make offshoring uneconomic.

              Forcing each nation to pay attention to their internal structure should provide an awful lot of a level playing field.

              -7.75 -4.67

              "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

              There are no Christians in foxholes.

              by Odysseus on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:54:30 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  the whole "they don't deserve that much pay" (0+ / 0-)

              thing is just racist crap. There's no reason at all why the brown-skinned foreigners shouldn't have the same standard of living as we great white plantation owners do--and there's CERTAINLY no reason why two people doing the same job for the same company don't deserve the same pay for it--no matter where their factory is located. After all, the company certainly doesn't say "ya know,the standard of living here is much lower, so we're going to reduce our profits to match".

              It's a bullshit argument.

              •  Sure there is... (0+ / 0-)

                When you set up a factory in China you have all sorts of costs you don't have if your factory is in the US ranging from legal and regulatory (try dealing with the local government in Kunming for planning permission if you want to have a fun two years) to logistics and supply chain management (you may need to import materials and expertise that are not available locally or teach local companies how to support you.)

                If you can't offset those costs by paying lower wages you stay in the US and those people have even lower wages without having foreign companies bidding up their salaries.

            •  you might like this diary: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              In her own Voice

              http://www.dailykos.com/...

              An excerpt:

              As we have seen, the American labor movement threw its lot in with an alliance with the corporations, to defend corporate profits through protectionism and hostile opposition to “foreigners”. The result has been utter disaster.

              It is easy to see the root of the American labor movement’s mistake. The AFL-CIO is still wedded to its patriotic flag-waving for “American workers” at the expense of all the rest of the workers in the world, and has ignored a basic truth about the wage-based market economy—the owners are in business to make money for themselves, not for their workers. Boss will always go where it is cheapest. If workers in the United States are paid X for a job, and workers in Indonesia or China are paid one-tenth X, then Boss will move his factory there every time. Any wage gains we are able to make within the US will disappear promptly, as the corporations simply move those jobs to low-wage havens like China or Mexico. If we want to keep our jobs here, therefore, we are reduced to two choices—either we raise their wages to match ours, or we lower our wages to match theirs.

              The American unions tried a third way—they wanted to use protectionist measures to both keep our wages high and keep foreign wages low. It was an abject (and predictable) failure.

              The American labor movement forgot completely what the word “solidarity” means.  Or at least what the word “whipsawing” means.

              There is only one way to prevent whipsawing, and that is to organize the workers everywhere. The entire idea of a nation-based labor movement is now outmoded, ineffective and obsolete. In a corporate world, we must instead become company-based rather than geographically-based. In a world made up of multi-national companies who owe loyalty to no government and have no nation, there simply is no such thing anymore as an “American worker” or a “Chinese worker” or a “Somali worker”. There are only “Ford workers” or “Honda workers” or “British Petroleum workers”—and they all do the same work for the same employer and have the same interests, whether their factory happens to be located in Tennessee, Tibet or Timbuktu. And if a Ford worker in Detroit gets X dollars an hour to do a job, then a Ford worker in China or Thailand had better be getting the same X dollars an hour for doing the same job—because if he's not, then guess where the factory will be going?

              It’s an elementary lesson that the American unions ignored. Instead of organizing all Ford or US Steel workers across the world to face their common employer, the unions have ignored foreign employees completely or even treated them as enemies; instead of raising the foreign wages to match ours, the AFL-CIO preferred to work with its corporate “partners” to pass protectionist laws to keep them away. So the American labor movement bears a large part of the blame for its current situation. By fighting for “American workers” and allowing workers in other countries to be reduced to virtual slavery, the AFL-CIO guaranteed that every boss in the US would move his factories overseas to the cheap labor.

              What the labor movement must do instead is to follow the companies wherever they go, to any country, and organize all the workers there. One company, one union, one contract, one wage scale—no matter where you are. That cannot happen until American workers give up their attachment to outdated nationalism. The only way the corporate bosses can be beaten is if all their workers stick together, organize together, and fight together, no matter what country they happen to be located in. That is what “solidarity” means.

              It used to be that “workers of the world, unite!” was just an idealistic political slogan.  Today, it is our only survival strategy.

              •  That would be the fair (0+ / 0-)

                way to handle it which was my first inclination.  I guess I felt shut down with no where to go (my not being an expert of any kind in this area--just a thinker outside the box) when I was told here by a seeming "expert" that my idea would never work b/c of the variance in cost of living in the different locations.  So I just gave up on that idea -- tossed it.

                Still, in terms of overall social stability among the peoples of a country or community, I believe the inequity of of wages/wealth between multinational and non-multinational workers would cause great conflict -- just as it is doing here and now in our country.  There is a privilege to working for the large corporations that people outside that status do not have -- higher wages, health benefits, retirement, etc.

                I think if we are going to do restructuring, internationally of the work force and of the global economy, then we should be looking at the whole picture of creating stability, peace, and plenty for all.

                Find your own voice--the personal is political.

                by In her own Voice on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 05:27:50 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  indeed we should (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  In her own Voice

                  I think if we are going to do restructuring, internationally of the work force and of the global economy, then we should be looking at the whole picture of creating stability, peace, and plenty for all.

                  There's no reason why any of them should be forced into a lower standard of living either.

                  That's why we organize them too.

                •  It's just not sustainable (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  In her own Voice

                  When fair wage advocates force wages at MNCs above local market you get a whole sub-economy based around the selling of these jobs.

                  Workers go into debt to pay bribes to get jobs, trade sexual favors, or get jobs through political or family connections.  Everyone has to pay for these jobs either to middlemen or to corrupt recruiters in the factories.

                  Middlemen end up better off.  The workers get a small slice of the gains, but most of it goes to others.

          •  If I buy the tickets will (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Wham Bam

            you go unionize China?

      •  The problem isn't a "decline in wages" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pescadero Bill, bwren

        the problem is the sequestration of money for other purposes than to pay people for their labor.

        Who's responsible for the sequestration?  That's a good question and the answer likely involves several parties.

        Some of the sequestration involves the accumulation of large sums that are then just passed around a small circle of speculators.  Some involves the purchase of properties at inflated prices and then letting them, more or less, rot while waiting for a hurricane to wash them out to sea.  Some involves secret bank accounts and vaults in foreign lands.  It's hard to forget, for example, that pallets bearing $9 billion in cash were available to be delivered from a bank in New York to Baghdad.  At present, there's a consensus that $3 Trillion in cash is being sat on by our financial and industrial masters, waiting for less uncertainty.

        The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

        by hannah on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:30:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And the simple truth is that it is government's (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hannah, HylasBrook

          job to assure that money is circulated back down through society by means of taxation converted to public works programs that benefit, stimulate and grow the society in whole.

          And that's were the failure to truly stimulate the economy lies - government failing in that simple task.

          One of the reasons conservatives fear liberals in a government with surplus cash so much is that they know liberals will try and improve society by educating the rabble.

        •  Sequestration of money? You're kidding right? (0+ / 0-)

          You call the mortgage and banking bubbles a "sequestration of money"? That money needs to be destroyed post haste since it is the money that will be used to further devalue wages while the Fed maintains that there "is no inflation". The worker in the US is already drowning in the liquidity created by the last three bubbles while being anchored to a three decade long wage stagnation.

          Simple fact, the goods that we need to live are getting more expensive (less accessible) while our ability to pay for them diminishes. Putting more paper into your wallet does nothing to change that dynamic.

    •  Exactly. This State Worker had two years of (12+ / 0-)

      15 percent pay cuts (3 day a month furloughs) and now they have reduced us to 1 day a month furloughs, with a 3 percent increase in contributions to our retirement.  We also took a 5 percent across the board cut in staff.  So, we took an 8 percent take home pay cut to do the work of the staff who are no longer here.

      Yes, there is a war on government workers and a war on unions.

      Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

      by Sychotic1 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:32:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  exactly right, and it's been going on for (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pescadero Bill, Sychotic1

        years, just now reaching critical point.

        Too many seem to think that with three Masters degrees they will be a VP or CEO, or white collar something, but that's the rub.

        America will always have blue collar workers, public sector workers, construction workers, etc... not everyone can be a CEO.

        People have got to stop enabling the war against unions and government workers.

      •  Re (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, there is a war on government workers and a war on unions.

        Those of us who work in the private sector might call that "making the same sacrifices that the rest of us have." Should you guys be immune to the recession? What concessions would you think it is appropriate for public sector workers to make given when it going on in the private sector now?

        (-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 Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 09:01:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I just told you what concessions we have already (5+ / 0-)

          made.

          Workforce cut - Check
          Pay cut - Check
          Increased pension contributions - Check

          And before that we increased our medical contributions.  Did you even read what I wrote?

          Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

          by Sychotic1 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 09:07:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I did (0+ / 0-)

            You wrote that there is a "war on public employees", which implies that you think your sacrifices were inappropriate. What I'm wondering is what you think are appropriate sacrifices.

            (-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 Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 09:09:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They want to cut us more and (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              The Nose

              take away our retirement, which is what was in the original article.  I believe our cuts were over the top.  I would have agreed to the five percent cut and the increase in contributions but the overall 5 percent cut in all staff was over the top and when the economy is in the shitter it is not stimulating at all.

              Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

              by Sychotic1 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 09:39:07 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  In track with this thread. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Wham Bam

              I recently have attended the retirement parties of 5 men who were all in their 50's and all retiring with full wage and insurance benefits from blue collar jobs public sector jobs. Huh? I'm not an actuary but even I can tell that something about that isn't going to work out.

        •  maybe the answer is to cut corporate profits (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cameoanne

          and executive bonuses so that private sector workers can have an actual pension like they used to.

    •  I'm a public employee, and (14+ / 0-)

      I haven't had a raise in three years.  In fact, I've never had a bonus or company car.  In fact, I use my own personal cell phone for business - and pay for it out of my pay check.

      It's amazing how Wall Street and Congress deserve, need to pay exhorbitant salaries so "they" can get and keep talent.   Apparently, they are the only institutions requiring or employing talented people. All the rest of us are just overpaid and ungrateful commodities to be used, abused, and scrapped.

      What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

      by dkmich on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:32:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've seen the same accusations here on DailyKos. (5+ / 0-)

      Some people just hate unions, and they are on both sides of the political fence.

      The Constitution is a suicide pact.

      by Bush Bites on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:40:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  it's true (3+ / 0-)

        I've had many threads of discussions about unions with many "progressives" who simply hate unions. It's both sad and maddening.

        •  Have you tried to understand why? (0+ / 0-)
          •  It's completely understandable - they've bought (0+ / 0-)

            into all the crap arguments of those whom the unions have enabled the workers to stand up to.  Liberals and progressives are not immune from the propaganda the rich and powerful are able to pump out on a daily basis.

            "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

            by gustynpip on Tue Dec 28, 2010 at 11:47:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  When your only answer even to people (0+ / 0-)

              who are normally on the same political side as you but disagree on a particular issue is that they're stupid and have been fooled it probably means that you're the one who needs to think more carefully.

              •  You're not on the same political side, bud. (0+ / 0-)

                You're a right wing troll trying to pretend your on the same side.  You disagree with progressives on every issue, be it unions, social security, poverty, you name it.  

                Secondly, you are a fool if you think pointing out that someone has been fooled is calling them stupid.  Everyone gets fooled sometimes, including the most intelligent of us.  Then other times, those who are not particularly brilliant manage to see through the cons quite easily.  That would be how I managed to see through you and your pretense of being "on the same political side".

                "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                by gustynpip on Tue Dec 28, 2010 at 11:02:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  IF you look at the number of people on this (0+ / 0-)

                  thread who are not exactly enthusiastic about public employee unions and assume that we're all right wing trolls then I'm wondering why you're still here since we're pretty much the majority.

                  •  No, I assume you're a right wing troll because (0+ / 0-)

                    you are.  You think that by posting these ambiguous comments, you're going to pass.  But people actually read more than one of your posts.  I've read your other posts where you've stated that because you've always saved 20% of your income, everyone else can do that, too, and social security should not be necessary, that anyone earning more than minimum wage could save 20%, too.  All they have to do is reduce their standard of living by 20%.  You know, that standard pap thrown out by the right wingers.  And that the homeless are homeless by choice.  And that someone is poor only if they're on the verge of starvation; no one is poor if they own a car, a computer, a cell phone or a pet.  I could go on, but by now you've maybe managed to grasp that your name appears on each of your posts, so eventually your right wingedness becomes apparent.

                    You, like so many rethugs, have absolutely no integrity.  It doesn't bother you at all to pretend you're someone you're not.  It's not bad enough to have no compassion for those less fortunate or to have no concern for the rest of your fellow men.  No, you have to pretend you're someone you're not so you have a chance to spout your nonsense.  At least be honest about it, rather than working so hard at walking this fine line to prevent your getting banned.

                    You will NEVER be in the majority here.  On any issue.  Haven't you noticed yet that you never get even one god damn rec?  People that are in the majority get 20, 30, 50, 100 recs for their comments.  Someone who gets zero means no one agrees with them.  So take your bullshit somewhere else.

                    "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

                    by gustynpip on Wed Dec 29, 2010 at 06:05:05 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  I think you are a troll also. (0+ / 0-)

                    "Play it LOUD Robbie, Play it fucking loud" Dylan

                    by NearlyNormal on Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 11:40:52 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

    •  and arbitration (6+ / 0-)

      So, no right to strike and now, in Ohio, talk of ending arbitration which was supposed to help ease that loss of rights.

      Race to the bottom? Feels more like a push, a shove and a kick to the bottom.

    •  But Obama is Such a Damn Fine President*** (0+ / 0-)

      ***indicates snark

      Seriously, I had a fellow kossack tell me we shouldn't criticize Obama, and no one should do so on national TV, because he's a "damn fine president."

      My back is spineless. My back is yellow. I am the American non-voter. -The Simpsons, Episode 2, Season 3, "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington"

      by Aspe4 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:56:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Can someone answer this for me? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Nose, Teiresias70

      How much money would be saved if all former and present Congressman and Senators had their pensions stopped?

      I tend to think it'd be a sizeable chunk, and if it's good for the folks sweeping floors and digging roads, it's good for the millionaires that were in office for a couple of years.

      Right?

      Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, I'm a Freeper.

      by HollywoodOz on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 09:12:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The United States blowing it's brains out. (14+ / 0-)

    Can't say I'm really looking forward to watching this, from not nearly far enough away. My main concern is your talking points are emerging loudly in Canadian media. All of a sudden, we are hearing how overpaid and overpensioned our civil servants are.

    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1)

    by Boreal Ecologist on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 06:56:01 AM PST

  •  Elections have consequences... (4+ / 0-)

    too many sat 2010 out. Maybe next time they won't.

  •  race to the bottom (26+ / 0-)

    Sometimes I wonder how we ever got progressive realities like unions, social security, civil rights etc in the first place, I know it was from blood and sweat but that is hard to imagine with such a lazy populace as there is today which is sitting back apathetically as those said institutions are methodically destroyed.

    •  not just lazy (13+ / 0-)

      hostile! Union-hostile as all heck. I've never heard the like.

      God bless our tinfoil hearts.

      by aitchdee on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:01:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Capitalism had real competition (7+ / 0-)

      In the form of socialism, which was just starting to have an impact in Europe and Asia. Also, it was much harder to outsource jobs back then. Finally, much of the growth took place just after WWII, when the US was the only remaining industrial power.

      Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

      by corwin on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:29:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Under-educated and busy (0+ / 0-)

      Not just lazy. Sure many people just cannot be bothered to think about all this governing stuff.

      But most are busy raising kids, working 10 hours a day, and overwhelmed with the situation our nation is in. This leads them to be uninformed on how government works, why their participation is important, and of actual FACTS vs. talking points that absolves them of responsibility.

      •  seems like that's always been the case (0+ / 0-)

        and seems we have more free time now than when unions and such were in their hey day. But we waste the free time we have on frivolous activities, not just raising kids or working, so that translates to laziness.

    •  How did we ever get unions? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, The Nose, BigBensBeermaster

      My grandfather got his skull cracked in the 1920's fighting for workers' rights in New York City through his union IBEW Local #3.

      I blame the current state of unionism in American squarely on the shoulders of former AFL-CIO President Lank Kirkland who failed to call a nationwide general strike in response to Reagan's firing of the PATCO workers. If labor leadership had stood up to Reagan in 1981, the history of this nation and the globe would be a lot better than it has been since then.

      Consider me a Tea Party Democrat, but it's not my "country" I want back:
      The Corporations stole the People's party -- I want my party back!

      by Jimdotz on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:46:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  getting skull cracked (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jimdotz

        wow I thank him for his service back then.

        Seems there have been further actions warranting a nationwide strike since then, impossible since so few are in a union now of course, so maybe your point about the reagan firing of workers is true, that was the main turning point? We should all be striking over Obama's tax cut deal as a recent example, not the only one of course.

        •  Well, he was born in 1899 so he has passed away.. (0+ / 0-)

          but we family members are all proud of what he started for us descendants. His union put us all squarely in the middle class, and got us our educations that moved us all up and up, and by us, I mean his family AND his nation!

          Consider me a Tea Party Democrat, but it's not my "country" I want back:
          The Corporations stole the People's party -- I want my party back!

          by Jimdotz on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 09:15:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Don't forget Jimmy Hoffa... (0+ / 0-)

        and the other New York / New Jersey union leaders of the 1950s and 1960s.

        If they hadn't sold their own people to the scum of the earth, a lot fewer working-class Americans would hate unions now.

        That association is still there for a lot of people, and not only has the labor movement never tried anything to reverse it, they occasionally do monumentally stupid shit to reinforce it.

        --Shannon

        "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
        "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

        by Leftie Gunner on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 12:30:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  right guy, wrong reason (0+ / 0-)

        Back when Kirkland was Prez, I begged my fellow union organizers to support unionization drives overseas--everywhere and anywhere that the company moved its factorites, we should be ther eorganizing all those workers.

        Instead, the UFO-CIA decided that we white Americans were more important than those brown-skinned hordes, and we would just hop in bed with the companies and "protect our jobs" by mixing contract concessions with protectionist tariffs.

        The company took the concessions and givebacks, said "thanks"--then moved the factories to China anyway.

        By not organizing those workers right from the start, we allowed the creation of a permanent pool of low-wage labor that the bosses can move to anytime they want.

        So the labor movement bears most of the blame for its own problems.  If it had remembered way back then what the word "solidarity" means (or at least the word "whipsawing", we wouldn't be in the position we are today.

  •  Don't states by have to balance their budgets? (5+ / 0-)

    Of course the Republicans will ignore this certain truth so that they can destroy all labor unions on America.

  •  & blaming pathetic diaper wetters wasting pay (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OpherGopher, drewfromct

    payckeck$ for "leaders" - "leaders" who've been losing for 3++ decades against raygn-cheney liars and thieves -------

    we can't do that !!

    I suppose we don't want o lose our seats at the tables of the well heeled losers in the leafy neighborhoods??

    How abou NO more support of any kind for the current generation of diaper shitters?

    how about ONLY supporting FIGHTERS ?

    how about passing the torch to a new generation ofnfighters instead of whiny fucking excuse makers who are in charge but who sure as hell ain't LEADERS.

    RMM

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 06:59:58 AM PST

  •  Everything has the pass the Senate too (5+ / 0-)

    The House can holler all it wants but we all know from experience that to pass anything it has to go through the Senate.

    In terms of the budget, it only needs 50 votes in the Senate.

    Jim Manley: "Republicans are making love to Wall Street, while the people on Main Street are getting screwed."

    by Drdemocrat on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:00:42 AM PST

    •  I'm an atheist, but I'm praying for a (4+ / 0-)

      stiffer spine in the Senate, and the realization by Congressional Democrats that they lost seats because they didn't stand up enough for what they believe in.

      Why not have the stasis of the 111th Congress work for us in the 112th?  Keep the worse of the Republican laws from passing, getting the word out to the media WHY these laws were voted down, and tell voters in 2012 if they want things to get better, they need to give the Democrats House and Senate majorities.  (I'm also praying that if the Democrats get that opportunity, they won't squander it.)

      HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

      by HylasBrook on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:28:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, Richard Lyon, kimoconnor

      don't all financial expenditures have to originate in the House?  By controlling the House they can simply refuse to fund whatever they want, and the Senate has no way around this that I can think of.

  •  Hey Boehner...how about some job growth.... (6+ / 0-)

    cures lots of ills.

  •  I Find This Confusing (20+ / 0-)

    Federal money seems quite plentiful when it comes to handouts to banks and the rich.  And didn't Congress just approve spending for a billion or more per month on rich people's wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

    The promise of Social Security is not negotiable.

    by bink on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:01:54 AM PST

  •  The House thinks it can do so much things (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bythesea, Dirtandiron, VickiL

    but they are going to hit a BIG reality which is the Senate.

    The Senate won't pass this bill.

    Jim Manley: "Republicans are making love to Wall Street, while the people on Main Street are getting screwed."

    by Drdemocrat on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:03:37 AM PST

    •  Maybe not today (5+ / 0-)

      But getting rid of the filibuster would go along way toward helping them in the future when they have 51 seats.

      "Political Correctness" is a term coined by those who trivialize the scars of others and minimize the suffering of victims while highlighting their own wounds.

      by Coss on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:05:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The house has the power (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bythesea, Dirtandiron

      to hold the purse strings hostage. They will get their way.

      •  Then why didn't we get shit? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HylasBrook

        Didn't we have the house?  Why didn't we get shit?  Why did everyone say that we needed 60 votes in the Senate, I am confused.  Why do the Repubs not need shit, but we never have enough Democrats?

        Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

        by Sychotic1 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:38:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dems are missing 2 key parts of their anatomy: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus

          spines & cajones.

          HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

          by HylasBrook on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:44:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  it's the system (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HylasBrook

            we need a better system of checks and balances.

            Local Third parties that contest only local winnable elections and otherwise vote strategically would check the influence of both major parties.  

            And if we used 3-seated state assembly elections, it'd make it impossible for either major party to dominate a state's politics...

            This would increase the number of competitive seats, which would naturally reduce the influence of $peech.

            dlw

            •  There are a number of things that can be done, (0+ / 0-)

              but no one in government is going to start working on that or several other proposals until things are really, really, bad.  

              Sadly.

              HylasBrook @62 - fiesty, fiery, and fierce

              by HylasBrook on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 09:22:26 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes we all can! (0+ / 0-)

                Barack Obama already introduced legislation that would have brought back the use of 3-seated state assembly elections in 2001.  So we can cite him as a supporter.

                Here's a diary entry where I list those who'd benefit.
                http://www.dailykos.com/...

                I'd add that anti-war protestors would benefit, because more competitive elections would set up greater checks against our country's imperialistic tendencies.  We just need to get them to change strategies somewhat.

                dlw

        •  the system's broken. (0+ / 0-)

          too few competitive congressional elections...and too many blue dog democrats.

          This is why strategic election reform that uses 3-seated elections for state reps matters.  They'd be competitive for the third seat and that would excite more voter interest in them and higher turnout by nonvoters.  This would then spill over into affecting congressional elections for the better.

          dlw

          •  That has almost nothing to do with the questions (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sychotic1

            please stop injecting your pet issue into areas where it isn't really relevant.  I support electoral reform too, but that has very little to do with this.

            •  it's relevan t. (0+ / 0-)

              because it affects all reform issues for the better.

              The underlying reason things weren't better when the Democratic party controlled the House of Reps is the influence of $peech.  If you want to check the influence of  $peech on politics then we need to change the election rules and that is best done at the state level.

              dlw

              •  I apologize (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SElectionR

                for using the phrase "pet issue" as that is condescending unnecessarily.  I was momentarily irritated that the person seemed to be sincerely asking a question about the way Congress works, and electoral reform is at best tangentially related to what was being asked about.  

                •  I'm sorry too. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  bythesea

                  for spamming folks with my issue.

                  It's better to relate than be right.

                  I still believe it was relevant, because the undue influence of $peech was the underlying issue and the absence of competitive elections to hold Democratic congress-persons accountable.

                  But I need to work more at taking people's existing frames for issues seriously.
                  dlw

        •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

          because to pass things the Senate and House have to concur, but to not pass things just required one of them not to act.  We passed many things in the House but the GOP could often block it in the Senate, but now they control the House.  We can refuse to pass things they want in the Senate, but all the House must do is just do nothing and all funding must originate in the House.  If the GOP just won't take action in the House, nothing the Senate does can compel them.  This is exactly why before the election many of us tried to argue with those dumbasses who thought losing the House would be a good thing somehow for the party and the country.

        •  Because Dem leadership are wimps. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sychotic1

          Period.  

          What are the core principles of the Democratic Party? Serious Question...

          by Beelzebud on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:51:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The Problem Is (5+ / 0-)

      A lot of what the House wants to accomplish, they can accomplish by doing "nothing."  And the Senate can't stop them from doing nothing.

    •  As other's keep pointing out (0+ / 0-)

      they obviously can't pass things on their own, but they can refuse to pass anything they want and refuse to fund thing through inaction.  They don't need the Senate to concur just to simply do that.

    •  Think not? How do you justify voting (0+ / 0-)

      against a bill that tells California, New York, and Illinois that the rest of the country won't bail them out and that forces states to be honest about the true costs of their pension obligations?

      I bet you a lot of Democrats from the other 47 states will support that bill!

  •  Civil Unrest will result (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fossil, BigBensBeermaster, HylasBrook

    If a BK Judge would dare to Order tax increases from any state citizens; it would be the best thing that could happen!

    Because Civil Unrest/a Dose of Revolution; is exactly what this country needs now.

    Judges tyranny, DOJ abuse of power, local DA's making up stuff for conviction ratio's and the wonderful bribery tool Defer'd Prosecution Agrees;

    a sure fire recipe for Revolt - it is only a matter of time!

    •  Anti American (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      There is nothing more anti-American than not participating into the tax system.  If it needs to be raised then that is what should be discussed. Discussed with reality, facts, and a long term plan.
      Not discussed with lunatics forecasting rioting, and temper tantrums.  It's time for most of these idiots to step aside, and let the educated do the grown up work.  
      Why not take a look at what % of people avoid paying taxes.  There is the problem.  

      "Hey, with religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

      by EarTo44 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:22:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Americans are just not that into facts. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cameoanne, HylasBrook

        Even when it can be factually explained that progressive taxation leads to a higher quality of life for everybody, that the quality of our life depends on a well educated population and a people who are economically secure and secure in their health.

        Hell, they can't even make the connection between sustainable living or population growth and continued personal freedom.

        Listen to reason?  Nope.  It's more important to have the latest gadget being hyped or to speculate about the bowl games this next weekend.

        Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty. - Norman Douglas

        by Fossil on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:41:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The people who avoid paying taxes are (0+ / 0-)

        mostly poor.

        You can have them pay token amounts as a symbolic gesture - "We are all tax payers and we all have a stake in well managed government."

        But you can't get a lot of them - there's a bit of water in most rocks but no matter how hard you squeeze them you won't get enough to matter.

        •  BWA HA HA HA HA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cameoanne

          The people who avoid paying taxes are mostly poor.

          Try this on for size:

          http://moneycentral.msn.com/...

          Most companies paid no taxes during the boom

          With corporate tax receipts at 20-year low, the GAO takes a look through the books and finds 94% of all U.S. companies paid less than 5% -- and 61% paid nothing at all.

          By MSN Money staff and news services

          Think about this as you sign that check to Uncle Sam next week: More than 60% of all U.S. companies paid no federal tax at all during the boom years of 1996 to 2000, the General Accounting Office reports.

          In 2000 alone, 94% of all U.S. corporations paid less than 5% of their total income in corporate taxes, the GAO said in a report released Friday. Among the largest corporations -- the 1% of all corporations that owns 93% of all corporate assets -- 82% paid less than 5% of their income in taxes.

          And it wasnt just American companies avoiding a bill. About 70% of foreign-owned companies doing business in the United States paid no federal tax in the late 1990s, the GAO said. The GAO report covered 2.1 million returns by U.S. companies and 69,000 foreign-owned companies.

          The federal corporate tax rate is 35%, but tax credits and loopholes can dramatically shrink the tax bill. Companies may not report U.S. income tax because of current-year operating losses, losses carried forward from preceding tax years, tax credits and improper pricing of intercompany transactions.

          They're big on refunds, though
          Corporations are also footing less of the total tax bill. In 2003, corporate taxes were 7.4% of overall receipts, the lowest level since 1983, IRS data show. Individual taxpayers forked up 45%, with the rest coming from employment and excise taxes.

          Despite that, more than 21% of the $302 billion in tax refunds distributed last year went to corporations, IRS data show.

          •  I think the original reference was to people (0+ / 0-)

            Corporate income tax is horrible broken because it has become a Christmas tree of special interest giveaways.

            Of course, everyone insists that the tax breaks they support are essential public policy.  For example, look at all the people on this site who support tax breaks for companies investing in renewable energy.

            But when you add it all up... well, you've detailed the results.

            •  No. People including all humans taxes (0+ / 0-)

              I was asking to look into all humans, who avoid paying taxes.  These humans to include big fat super wealthy owners of companies.

              "Hey, with religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

              by EarTo44 on Wed Dec 29, 2010 at 06:18:09 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  And how are these proposals (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, Dirtandiron, Hockeyray

    going to get past the Senate and a Veto?

  •  It's so nice to see a Utahn (9+ / 0-)
    at the forefront of progress.  /eyeroll

    Wait a second, though, don't representatives and senators get pensions?  Paychecks not at all commensurate with the amount of work they do?  Inordinate amounts of vacation?  You'd THINK they'd be going after each other.

    If you want to fight and die for my right to sit here and bitch, sleep with whomever you want.

    by talismanlangley on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:04:22 AM PST

  •  And what about RAISING revenues? (4+ / 0-)

    "If the states aren't bailed out they'll have to start cutting budgets"

    OR they'll have to raise taxes.

    Politicians have to have the courage to pay for what we get out of our government.  That means raising taxes to cover spending.  

    But to the "liberal" media, that's not even an option. Even though we the people have learned (often the hard way) that we can't live on credit forever,  they the politicians need to, too.

  •  Push The Pendulum (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lostinamerica

    It's going to be spending cuts from here on out, with labor, Social Security, and the other core Democratic issues and programs in their sites.

    The pendulum swings left and right on its own.  With issues like these the Republicans are pushing it back left right into 2012 - Go Newt!

  •  Economic DeStimulus.... (7+ / 0-)

    Reducing the purchasing power of the US population further. Who do the small businesses sell products and services to? Nurses, teachers, firefighters, policemen, agricultural agents and Forest Service employees;
    these people are the remaining purchasers of small business service, and the beneficiaries of a Public Sector wipeout will be... no one. Corporations will not benefit, small business will not benefit, government services for education, health or the environment will not benefit.

    This is a Lose-Lose-Lose scenario. The Teabaggers are trying to destroy the remaining economy to satisfy a religious ideology. Not news.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:13:51 AM PST

  •  Wall Street bonuses are soaring (8+ / 0-)

    while the states are going belly up

    Austerity is so situational.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't.

    by crystal eyes on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:14:43 AM PST

  •  Everyone's a Wobblie now. nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BOHICA, Dirtandiron

    The metabolism of our economy is now on a collision course with the metabolism of our planet: Tim Flannery

    by absolute beginner on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:14:57 AM PST

  •  Hit Big Business, not the unions. (7+ / 0-)

    People who happen to earn a living wage, and if lucky get dental insurance are not the reasons states are in trouble.  It's really basic stuff.
    It's called Taxes.  The States need to collect the proper revenue to survive.    Republicans should be the first to demand everybody admit the states are under funded.  You can't blame teachers for trying to earn a living wage.  You can't blame a cop for getting dental insurance. You can't blame a city worker for actually making a living wage with a retirement plan.  These use to be basic working conditions, until Walmart came along and found out, without any oversight, you can leave out the American work force, insurance, retirement, 401 K.  You don't even need to hire Americans.   It's Big Business who is hurting the state budgets.  If people were paid a living wage, not the minimum wage, that would increase the amount the state would collect from income tax, through payroll.  Big Business, like your Hilton Hotel, or Holiday Inn's have thousands of employees that dodge the system.  Thousands of construction sites have people who recently arrived from South America.  Here is how it works.  Cash, under the table, or one person collects a big check, and pay's out.  All of these big businesses use a cover by not hiring these people directly.  What we should do is either go after Big Business, or have a blanket citizenship policy to allow everybody to pay into the tax system, and avoid living in the dark.  This too would force Big Business to pay over the Minimum wage.  Stop blaming this on the lucky person who happens to earn a living wage.

    "Hey, with religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:15:11 AM PST

  •  "Just so you know. "Austerity" is a (6+ / 0-)

    fancy way of saying f*ck the poor, f*ck working people and f*ck their kids." via reddit.com

    http://www.reddit.com/...

    Move Your Money

    Primary Senator Kay Hagan

    by We Won on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:18:28 AM PST

  •  Wisconsin state workers agreed to $100 million (10+ / 0-)

    in concessions and we still couldn't get our contract approved. Unless Governor Stalker decides we have given enough you can expect Federal mediation will be needed.

    Calling Obama a leader is like calling Charlie Sheen a feminist.

    by jhecht on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:18:55 AM PST

  •  they're doing a great job of starving the beast (6+ / 0-)

    and we are doing a piss-poor job of preventing them.

    Mostly because we've agreed to play their game by their rules.

    If governments are going broke, here's an idea---RAISE THE FUCKING TAXES.

    The rich have had a party for 30 years now.  It's time for them to pay their bar tab.

  •  Fine with me. (0+ / 0-)

    States won't do that--that could be the rock-and-hard-place scenario that state-level pols need to raise taxes on the wealthy.  

    "George Washington said I was beautiful"--Sarah Palin on Barbara Bush, as imagined by Mark Sumner

    by Rich in PA on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:21:19 AM PST

    •  republicans in missouri (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      cut medicare in the name of balancing the budget. that's why the conservative state now has a democratic governor.

      ahnuld in california took a dive in the polls after he was outed planning to demonize teachers and firefighters and to cut them out of the budget.

      obama: we have done things that people don't even know about. (that's what i'm afraid of.)

      by stolen water on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:26:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not in our state (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, bwren, kimoconnor, stolen water

      We've had a year of an "austerity" budget in Washington,so the election was an opportunity to put in place measures to raise revenue.  Not only were these attempts not successful, it actually got worse:

      1. Washington doesn't have a state income tax, so we had a "high earner" income tax applicable to individuals making over $200,000 a year and couples making over $400,000, which was intended to generate money for education and health care.  It failed.
      1.  There was also a measure on the ballot to make any tax increase possible only with a 2/3 majority in the state legislature (the Democrats have a majority in both houses, but not by 2/3).  It passed.

      So the governor's proposed budget came out a little over a week ago, and it's worse than before in part because her hands are tied due to the fact that we can't raise more money.

      Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

      by Linnaeus on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:30:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That isn't how it is going to play out (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glitterscale

      People have been sold something for nothing for so long that state budgets are going to cut the little guys, the poor, the sick, those who do not vote or do not have a strong lobby.

      Repubs - the people in power are not secretly plotting against you. They don't need to. They already beat you in public. (Bill Maher)

      by Sychotic1 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:41:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let them eat cake... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron

    The only way the left will wake up is when we allow the right to gut the safeguards we've all become used to. Republicans piss on unions - and get away with it, becase brain-dead teabaggers take for granted the battles WE fought to make sure THEY get a fair deal at work - all they see are union workers getting better pay and benefits than non-union shops - and they think this is because UNIONS are corrupt - not that their own boses are thieves. Let the poor get really poor - let them struggle to put bread on the table - let the poor die in the streets, let the rich drive past the dying in fancy cars right up to their gated communites - and soon they'll have to build bigger gates because the poor will rise and take what they need.  

  •  police/fire (4+ / 0-)

    I'm guessing the Republican shits will leave the police/fire pensions alone--at first.  The other unions need to be preparing to fight this with a general strike--they won't--and the bastards only fear uniformed strikers.  Trumka better be up to the task.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:22:24 AM PST

    •  the stinking rich don't need the police or (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron

      the fire services, they have gated communities with private security don't ya know........

      and as far as pensions go they do this same old shit all the time, it's just a different year, they always go after police//fire//teachers//public servants because they can point their nasty fingers and say ''look what they get and the rest of you don't''.....

      but don't nobody touch the pay of our elected officials or their benefits ever

      •  In Connecticut (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melvynny

        Every Governor has failed to match the pension money for teachers. It took almost 30 years until Jodi Rell, a moderate Republocan fully funded the teacher's pensions.

        She chose not to run, so I wonder how our new Governor Malloy will handle our pension. Connecticut teachers do not pay into social security, so we rely on that pension.

        Most local education unions, in negotiations, froze pay for two years. This saved many teacher jobs, so I think it is a good move.

        Too bad there aren't more moderate Republicans like Jodi Rell, who also allowed stem cell research.

        At some point all people have to realize that if we want services, we have to pay for them.

        •  elections (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lostinamerica

          At some point all people have to realize that if we want services, we have to pay for them.

          Reaganomics disagrees--and that's why we're screwed.  When is the last time a pol won an election vowing to raise tax money needed to pay for services?  At best, they raise fees--the most regressive tax possible.  Unless a moderate wing of the Republican party develops, there will not be a chance to avert the greatest depression ever.  When the government follows Glen Beck/Sarah Palin, and ignores, Keynes, only failure can result.

          Apres Bush, le deluge.

          by melvynny on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:49:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  They are laying off cops etc already (0+ / 0-)

      Due to budget cuts and the citizens refusal to raise revenue to assure their own neighborhoods and homes are safe.

      This just shows the level of success the greedy GOP has had brainwashing so many people!

  •  I Believe You Mean "In Their Sights" n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  Too many people using speech rec software (0+ / 0-)

      is probably where all these homonymic errors come from. Speech recognition software CANNOT tell "site" from "sight", "their" from "there", or, worst of all, "no" from "know".

      If you use speech recognition software you MUST actually re-read and hand-edit your posts before posting. Spellcheck has no context and cannot catch correctly spelled wrong words.

      If it's
      Not your body
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      AND it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:43:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  All need to share... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lostinamerica

    ...why not have bondholders share the pain? Or the businesses that have tax incentives? If public employees are to have money taken from them because politicians would not put money away when they needed to then all who benefit from public coffers should participate.

  •  states don't send $ to wasteful FedGov a la USSR (0+ / 0-)

    complete destruction of the USSR, happened because the states in the USSR didn't send Moscow any money, they just wasted it in their idiotic war in Afghanistan. sound familiar?  we have a wasteful war in Afghanistan

    80% of SUCCESS is just showing up!
    our employees (Dem pols)
    Will start following order
    or they will get canned

    by Churchill on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:25:21 AM PST

  •  So what happens when the Blue States (4+ / 0-)

    which tend to be the strongest union states tell the Federal Government that they're sick of subsidizing the Red States?

    Calling Obama a leader is like calling Charlie Sheen a feminist.

    by jhecht on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:26:38 AM PST

  •  And the most amazing thing of all: (4+ / 0-)

    some public employee union members still vote republican.

    The only newscaster on Fox that you can trust is Kent Brockman.

    by Van Buren on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:27:56 AM PST

  •  Missed Chance to De-Fund Key GOP Group (6+ / 0-)

    ...when Democrats voted for TARP without putting some of the giant predatory financial firms into bankruptcy-like receivership, and forcing others to agree to much tighter financial regulation and foregoing of bonuses (until TARP money was repaid) as condition of bailout.

    •  agreed... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hear Our Voices

      TARP was a fucking huge mistake, no strings attached and no one knows where the money went...

      •  That's Actually Incorrect (4+ / 0-)

        "TARP" money is completely accounted for... though when some people say "TARP" they are including the secretive zero interest lending the fed did.  If you're talking about that you're completely correct, even though that has no connection to TARP.

        •  TooFolkGR (0+ / 0-)

          I really would like to share in your reality some day but until then I will rely on articles written that tell me otherwise.........

          Indeed, the only way to call TARP a winner is by defining government sanctioned financial fraud as the main metric of results. The finance leaders who are guilty of wrecking much of the global economy remain in power – while growing extraordinarily wealthy in the process. They know that their primary means of destruction was accounting "control fraud", a term coined by Professor Bill Black, who argued that "Control frauds occur when those that control a seemingly legitimate entity use it as a ‘weapon’ to defraud." TARP did nothing to address this abuse; indeed, it perpetuates it. Are we now using lying and fraud as the measure of success for financial reform?

          Virtually all of the goals of TARP could have been achieved via regulatory forbearance, rather than government bailouts. Money was "repaid", not because the banks were accumulating massive profits as a consequence of their revival, but largely as an outgrowth of the accounting tricks sanctioned by Congress and the White House in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Why did the governments simply not temporarily suspend capital requirements? A government can always keep a bank in operation without bulldozing it. You can keep them functional via government control (i.e. the FDIC) and get rid of the corrupt management before you undertake anything else. There is no numerical limit to the amount of available bank capital. It’s about price, not quantity.

          In any event, inadequate capital didn’t cause the financial crisis. Lying and corruption did.

          http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/...

    •  Terms of TARP (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, lostinamerica

      were a disaster from a political perspective.  Geithner ought to follow Summers out the door.

  •  The U.S. government cannot bail out the states, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elgringoviejo, lostinamerica

    That was just tried with the 2009 stimulus package.  All the teachers, fireman, poice, etc whose jobs were saved are now going to lose them because the money ran out.  When household finances are cut most people cut their expenditurs the same must happen with state governments.  

  •  Without having read everything yet.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1

    I'm sure that that is their goal.  How else do you expect them to be able to finish striping down the remaining wealth of the country and make everyone subservient to the top 1% and greatful for it???

    •  the old conventional wisdom used to be (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, nchristine

      following the market crash, that this ensured social security wouldn't be touched because a privatized pension plan could not be counted upon.

      the new (false) convention wisdom that is being manufactured is that social security must be privatized because the federal government cannot afford to keep it solvent.

      obama: we have done things that people don't even know about. (that's what i'm afraid of.)

      by stolen water on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:42:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Many here at DailyKos seem just as intent... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lostinamerica, schnecke21

    ..on destroying public service unions.

    Unfortunately.

    The Constitution is a suicide pact.

    by Bush Bites on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:38:14 AM PST

  •  I'm hoping that at least most, here, will (12+ / 0-)

    be standing with us as they go after our teacher's unions.  But even here, I've seen the meme that public education is a failure and it's the union's fault.

    And, just in case this is needed, a dose of reality:

    1. Yes, bad teachers CAN and DO get fired following a due process per our contract.  If they aren't, then it is a management failure.
    1. Yes, I pay for health insurance - $650/ month, this year. No, I have no eye care plan, and yes, dental is an EXTRA $65 per month.
    1. Yes, I pay for my pension plan - 9.7% taken from my salary by law.  No, I won't get SS, too.
    1. No, I don't make a HUGE salary - $39,500 annually with 6 years experience and 3 college degrees.
    1. We have agreed to no raises for the last 2 years in order to save un-certified positions -- the aids who take care of our most disabled students.  Without these aids, Lord knows how we are going to be able to help these students do things like use the bathroom and eat lunch.

    With the increases in health and dental insurance, and my husband being unemployed, our family now qualifies for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program -- which I will gratefully sign up for in January.

    THAT's the wonderful salary and benefits deal that has everyone envying and resenting us about?

    •  Yes, there are a lot of union-haters here. (5+ / 0-)

      I don't belong to a union, I probably never will belong to a union, but some of the anti-union comments on this blog just sicken me.

      The Constitution is a suicide pact.

      by Bush Bites on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:43:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  excellent point Bush Bites (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jnhobbs, bkamr

        haters of all kinds, but the fact is unions are on the downward slide, their numbers are decreasing, especially teachers, with RttT and privatization, vouchers, charter schools, these programs all undermine Unions.

      •  I still have my UAW card . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bkamr

        . . . from when I worked in the auto plants to pay for my college.  This summer work, at good wages, allowed me to escape a lower working class life.

        I always will be grateful for the unions.  God bless the Reuther brothers (even though I am an athiest).

        Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty. - Norman Douglas

        by Fossil on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:02:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  if they're not apologists, it speaks to the power (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bkamr, kimoconnor

        of corrupt media. rightwing talking points that attack unions are propagated by media and viewing public unthinkingly absorb the attitude.

        the slanted and misleading studies that claim public union workers are paid more and enjoy more benefits - these were studies funded by the koch brothers and put out by rightwing think tanks like cato and heritage foundation.

        this points out how these billionaire funded studies are misleading.

        obama: we have done things that people don't even know about. (that's what i'm afraid of.)

        by stolen water on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:22:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  you must live in one of those (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bkamr, lostinamerica

      poor red states that take more fed aid than they give.  And now the red guys wanna stop the fed aid.

      That's pretty amazing to me. I wonder if anyone will point out that the red states get more federal aid than they give, and what the impact of this policy on their states will be?

      •  It doesn't really amaze me anymore. How (0+ / 0-)

        many of the Tea Partiers were people on disability and Social Security/ Medicare.  I know people who are civil servants or married to them who hate "government workers."  

        It's bizarre, but I've come to accept that a goodly portion of our population doesn't make a lick of sense.

  •  The WSJ reports that the GOP (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Sychotic1, stolen water

    will remove the word Labor from the House Education and Labor Committee.

    It’s the Education and the Workforce Committee, previously known in the just-concluded Congress as the Education and Labor Committee.

    ( ... )

    “Workforce” is a term employers are likely to use, while “labor” is more evocative of the union movement—after all, they call it the American Federation of Labor. So when the Democrats recaptured the House in 2006, they changed the name of the committee back.

  •  Would the financial sector (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk

    allow pension funds to go bankrupt? After all, they are some of their biggest customers. The republicans aren't going to pass a law that makes Goldman Sachs lose money.

    "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

    by Reepicheep on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:41:22 AM PST

  •  The best defense is a good offense! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    Let's let go of measures at the federal level and instead focus on the use of 3-seated state assembly elections.

    Here's a brief write up of it.
    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    It'd make the state assembly elections competitive, which would attract more attention to them.  It would handicap the rivalry between the two major parties and give minorities a better chance of being the decisive voters.  It'd give local third parties the chance to win some seats and potentially more influence.

    These changes will spill over into other elections thru increased voter turnout due to the incentive and ability of local third parties to persuade nonvoters to vote again.  Most nonvoters are not happy with the major parties.  If local third parties that specialize in contesting local winnabel elections connect with these people then they'll start voting again and their votes in less local elections will on balance tend to help the Democratic party.  Plus, republican moderates would have more exit threat from their party into centrist parties, which would trim the influence of the radical right(theocons, neocons).  

    It's worth talking about more.

    dlw

  •  If they think pensions are the problem (4+ / 0-)

    let them give theirs up. They were the ones that caused the injury and then allowed the wound to fester.

    So far they've been a net negative at producing anything to solve the problems.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:45:48 AM PST

    •  Yes! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer

      America's Founding Fathers backed their decisions "with their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor."  If today's Congress and corporate CEOs were forced to put up their fortunes up as collateral, to be sacrificed when their policies fail, we'd have much better governance all around.

      "Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne." - James Russell Lowell

      by Deep Harm on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:35:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So the Republicans changed the laws a while back (3+ / 0-)

    to make it a lot tougher for average consumers - their so called "Real Americans" - to file for bankruptcy as a tool to straighten out personal financial problems... problems largely caused by unchecked health care costs and unregulated credit industries... yet they're introducing legislation to encourage the states to file?  

    I can hear David Gregory now:  "Democrats today failed to keep Republicans from destroying the economy..."  

    That'll come right after Palin blames the whole mess on the media not doing enough to promote shopping.

    Fucking hell.

    I guarantee I'll buy health insurance when I'm guaranteed I'll be covered.

    by here4tehbeer on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:50:44 AM PST

  •  Just Out of Curiosity (0+ / 0-)

    But at least millionaires got their tax cut (and GOP hero Gov. Chris Christie is pushing for more in New Jersey). That deal which excluded state aid, is going to make the Republicans' efforts even easier. It's going to be spending cuts from here on out, with labor, Social Security, and the other core Democratic issues and programs in their sites.

    How much State Aid was included in the bill the House Passed that died in the Senate?  My recollection was zero, but since you seem to be singling out the compromise bill I may be incorrect.

  •  I love this. (7+ / 0-)

    This is classic.
    Okay, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch crash the housing market and the entire global economy by gambling recklessly.

    Massive job losses follow, causing states and counties to lose massive amounts of revenue.

    Schools close. Essential services are cut.

    Now, if we watch TV, we'll find out that the people to be REALLY ANGRY at are not financial sector CEOs with million dollar bonuses, nor the politicians who de-regulated the market.

    Nope. The people to be REALLY ANGRY at, are school teachers, librarians, firefighters and policemen. Why? Because they fought for a living wage and a dignified retirement, the bastards.

    I mean, what have teachers and cops ever done for us, right?

    "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

    by Reepicheep on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:54:56 AM PST

    •  Reepicheep , you have to stop being (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Reepicheep

      so rational in your thinking here.

      Of course we know that the CEO, banksters, Wall Street Taliban did us in, and we gave them the Federal Reserve  but come on, the people have to pay.

      TARP was all good, Bailout all good, quantitive easing all good, dkos people are all good, but hell don't expect them to get their knickers in a twist for a few union people, or public service sector...

      just saying too many here are of the teabaggers ''I got mine'' meme.

  •  Unions are one more part (5+ / 0-)

    of the Democratic base that the party leadership is turning its back on. They have been a major source of votes and funding since the new deal. They have been committed Democrats. Independents are not going to fill the hole that is left.

  •  white labor members need to take some blame (0+ / 0-)

    A lot of white labor members vote against their interests and vote republican. i know quite a few that do. They watch fox news and buy the propaganda and believe democrats are the party of eastern elites, and minorities.
    So if they get screwed some of it is their own fault.

  •  I like how blandly people describe GOP (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    politically targeting a core Democratic constituency, but when they tried to rein in unfettered business political activity there was a hue and cry about how it was against the First Amendment!

    Never you mind that using courts to break unions also happens to be against the right to assembly from which unions derive their legality.  

    I also rather like how Mr. Gingrich named only blue states while Texas is hanging by a thread over a 25 billion dollar deficit.

    Democracy is often an indictment of the voting populace.

    by electricgrendel on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 07:59:22 AM PST

    •  Sherman Act (0+ / 0-)

      It is well established that assembling to force higher prices for one's services is not covered by the right of assembly.

      For example, private doctors (who are not employees) cannot unionize and have been sued under the anti-trust laws for trying to do so.

      •  Actually, they never attempted to "unionize". (0+ / 0-)

        That kind of phrasing is a typical right wing attempt to twist the concept of unionization and make it sound "scary" to the average person.

        Any entity or entities that attempts to create a monopoly for their goods or services in order to eliminate the choices of users of those goods and services and thereby force them to pay higher prices.  That's called collusion or monopolization, not unionization.

        But nice try on putting a right wing spin on the subject.

        "If you trust you are not critical; if you are critical you do not trust" by our own Dauphin

        by gustynpip on Tue Dec 28, 2010 at 02:37:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Point is that coming together to get (0+ / 0-)

          more money for your services is not covered by the right to assembly or free association.  Labor law carves out a special exception to the Sherman Act for employees to do this.  When other people have tried - non-employees - the Sherman Act has been applied and claims that the Constitution protects this behavior have been rejected.

  •  How to Recall a Governer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Harm, stolen water

    •You can recall your governor if you're from one of the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin..•The number of signatures required to appear on your petition is different for every state. In most cases, it is a percentage of the number of people who voted in the last election..•Some states will hold a recall election, then another election to decide who will take the office. Other states will hold simultaneous elections while still others will simply appoint someone to fulfill the rest of the term..•This is a difficult process and has been successful only a few number of times throughout history. If you have significant grounds for recall, be persistent and know you have a tough road ahead.

    Read more: How to Recall a Governor | eHow.com

  •  The Republican legislative agenda has (0+ / 0-)

    been designed to fail for so long, what would lead one to think now would be any different?  How is destroying unions different from abolishing abortions?  Aren't both totally unrealistic and designed to fail and give everybody something to natter about?

    When the nattering starts, it would be my suggestion that the congressional sessions end early and everybody just go home to enjoy dinner with the family and a long weekend communing with the Lord.  That would save quite a bit of money and maybe even marriages.

    The conservative mind relies mainly on what is plain to see.

    by hannah on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:02:34 AM PST

  •  The GOP may ideologically overreach (0+ / 0-)

    by trying to pass legislation that restricts/changes how states can handle their fiscal situation. I don't believe that everything political is viewed nationally, or ideologically by the electorate(regardless of the November elections).

    If the House GOP tries to pass laws that, for example, reveals the unfunded pension funds in the states (an appeal to fiscal conservationism would justify new laws), you might see moderates/independents defend the ability of the states to act, how they see fit, in balancing their budget. State Power. "Don't let Washington change the rules in the middle of the game."

    Of course, quite logically, conservatives could point out to the states; if you want to be left alone, then don't accept any more stimulus money/federal aid (which many have used to help balance their previous budgets).

    When push comes to shove, the GOP might be seen as trying to muscle states; and this goes against a core component of conservationism. Which will potentially reveal a split within the GOP, and allow (not guarantee) Obama and the Democrats to have a more unified image of their party...

  •  Issa could be a key pressure point on this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    I don't know what kind of position he's taken on this, but as a CA republican who Chairs a very visible committee (Gov. Reform: he'll be all over the media), his own caucus pusjing to help his state go bankrupt must make him uncomfortable.

    If you live in his district, let him know that you want hi to oppose this kind of "reform".

    Find your representative.

    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

    by TheGrandWazoo on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:20:06 AM PST

  •  raising taxes would fix all budgets (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, lostinamerica, stolen water
  •  Sounds horrible (0+ / 0-)

    But, no matter what the GOP thinks, the Constitution still includes a provision for due process, which I hope would support worker rights.

    "Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne." - James Russell Lowell

    by Deep Harm on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:25:03 AM PST

  •  The hell we think.... (3+ / 0-)

    In their desire to return the nation to the Gilded Age, the Right has long targeted the one effective tool the rest of us have had--organized labor.

    By any reasonable standard, we're already chin-deep in the new Gilded Age. And yes, there's a war on against labor unions. But it isn't just the Right riding hard on Labor.

    President Obama is not exactly a friend of unions. Neither is the Democratic party, which since Clinton has dumped Labor in favor of Big Money. The president and the Party are happy to take union money, union volunteers and union votes. Union members just shouldn't expect much in return, from either the president or the Party.

    Last year Obama spoke approvingly of the mass firing of union teachers from a Rhode Island public school. Just recently, the president sucked up to the corporate Right (again) by freezing public employees' salaries. And long ago, while still holding big congressional majorities, the president and the Dem Party flushed EFCA.

    It's important we little people understand exactly who is at war with American workers. Both the Democratic and Republican parties--including President Obama--are at war with American workers. Both parties are suppressing American workers' wages and forcing workers to accept worsening conditions in the workplace. They're doing this while they bail out bankers and make Bush's no-taxes-on-the-rich policy effectively permanent.

    The main difference between them? The Democrats insist they're our friends.

    We keep wishing Barack Obama had the balls to fight for us. Well, Barack Obama finally found some balls. He found the balls to angrily denounce Democrats who criticize his pro-rich, anti-worker stances as being "purists."

    Better for the diarist to have said, The rich and their hireling politicians are at war against all American workers, union and non-union. When it comes to robbing the average citizen, the Democratic and Republican protectors of privilege have reached a truly bipartisan consensus.

    Merry Christmas, Kossackistanians! Thanks to all of you for making this place fun ... esp if you might have disagreed w/me.

    by Wom Bat on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 08:39:28 AM PST

  •  Unions (0+ / 0-)

    are overrated.  

    They have cost my mother thousands of dollars over the years.  

    I don't believe all workers should be treated equal.  

    •  huh? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      schnecke21

      I find it quite sad to read anyone here say "I don't believe all should be treated equally".

    •  There is an interesting story (0+ / 0-)

      lying behind your comment.  Care to elaborate?

      •  My mom (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wham Bam

        has put in a lot of time for a certain airline company and has taken concessions from the time she started working there up until now about 25 years total.  

        The amount of money, the career flexibility, the emotional stress of not being able to advance, partly because of her poor decisions, but also through the results of contract negotiations.  

        In my eyes the representation she has received over the past 25 years looks no different from what I see in D.C.  If year after year workers continue to see their benefits decrease, while the costs of the representations continues to rise, that tells me the systems broke.

        I'm not even saying unions shouldn't exist, but if they are going to exist, they should work in my favor and not constantly telling me it could be worse.  (For disclosure the very thing I just was lamenting about has been acceptable from a national politics stance, but this hits a little closer to home.  To me there is a difference between a company and peoples weekly check than what we do for the country as a whole.  Related?  Yes.  A bit of a contradiction?  Yes, but I accept it.)  

        I strongly believe my mother would have been better off without the union in her particular job.  I'm also a union worker and my personal experience has not been horrible but it's nothing to write home about.  No raise for a while, I do make more than my private sector counter parts, in fact I just quit my state job to take a lower paying job that specializes in an area the state should have invested in.  Not related to the union really.

        I do not believe all workers should be treated equally.  Now should I have qualified that for those whose imaginations get the best of them?

        If I do my job twice as bad as you do, should I get the same raise that you do?  If I am more creative than one of my coworkers, more flexible, a harder worker, should I not get the same opportunity to advance or make as much money as they do, even if they have more years on the job?

        How much it happens, probably not enough for me to make a big stink, but it happens and when it does that is just as wrong as a private company paying women less.  

        Pay for performance is the best way whenever possible.

        •  I am not gonna apologize for any labor (0+ / 0-)

          union and I cannot know what was best in your Mom's case.  I will say in defense of unions that we have gotten some pretty good stuff just simply because they managed to come together for awhile and push for things.  Things like 40 hour weeks and vacation and sick leave and things like health care and pensions.

          Left on their own the powers that be would never have given those to us workers.  And the powers that be are trying mighty hard to dismantle, smear, and discredit unions where ever they can.  They wouldn't do that if there was not some residual power left in unions.  Trumka, I believe is a very strong leader.  But he leads members who are bigoted and who vote bigoted.  And guess what?  That vote is a shot in their own foot.

          •  Many of the things you mentioned (0+ / 0-)

            were put in a long time ago.  

            Effectiveness is the issue.  

            So often on this website people mention policies and politicians of the distant past as a way to frame the debate today.  

            To me their effectiveness does not match the support they get, but again people say the same thing to me about Obama.  

            The things they have done I appreciate but my modern experience is not a legacy they would want to leave.

  •  People dont trust givernment because of this (0+ / 0-)

    Social security? pensions? Healthcare?  Bullshit.  They just snatch it away from you once you're too old and sick to fight.

    I say cut social security all together and let me keep that part of my paycheck.

  •  Utah is a DEBTOR state (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lostinamerica, poncewattle

    Good idea, there.  Now states like CT, MN, IL, CA, NY and all the rest of the northern industrial states (including MI) can keep their fair share of their federal tax money and let those welfare states like UT, AZ, NM, AK, and the entire deep south wither on the vine.

    Federal Tax Distribution, Paid in in v.s. Received:

    Latest figures from FY 2005 updated in 2007.

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/...

  •  Why do Republicans hate me? (4+ / 0-)

    I'm a state employee. Have worked for 26 years in IT at rates much, much lower than private companies pay or had paid.  It was a conscious decision I made to stick around and not quit because of the job stability and benefits, including pension.  I haven't had a raise for 5 years now and before that it was pathetic little 1-2% a year raises.

    Now I'm being painted as a greedy, lazy, evil person by Republicans because I chose this path and can retire with medical benefits soon.

    It was part of the deal. It was part of an overall economic compensation package. I deferred some of my potential income during my working years so I could get it at the tail end.  Don't be yanking that away from me now.

  •  Who to blame? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wham Bam

    I wonder who to blame when state pensions go belly-up with in many cases Democratic-controlled legislatures have failed to properly fund the pension obligations.  Case in point:  New Jersey.  How on earth did this happen?

    Unfunded pension obligations have been a ticking time bomb for two decades in both the private and public sector.  Yet the problem remains unaddressed, even though the concept of a pension requires current funding to meet future obligations.

    There is blame enough here to go around.

    •  Can you trust a politician today to cut services (0+ / 0-)

      or raise taxes to fund a pension plan that will not run out of money until after he retires?

      Obviously not.

      I see only two solutions:

      1. Ban defined benefit pensions
      1. Require all public bodies to insure their pension funds with guarantees from AAA rates financial institutions, thereby forcing them to make realistic assumptions.
  •  I'm sorry - on pensions, I agree with the GOP (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Litvak36, Wham Bam

    Fixed benefit pension plans have proven to be a terrible long term idea.  It is just too easy to allow them to be underfunded - either through inadequate annual contributions or through market performance.  Unfunded pension liabilities are a real and massive burden on federal, state and local budgets.

    The private sector has largely moved from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans.  Government needs to do the same - and is way behind in the process.

    Where I disagree with the GOP is in understanding that generations of public employees have planned for and counted on their pension entitlements.  They canot be left hanging.  

    My employer announced this change in phases, starting with new hires many years ago, and then announcing a 10 year transition period at the end of which all vested pension benefits would be bought out at a fair price, and from then on there would only be defined contribution plans.

    We need to get rid of this terrible benefit plan across the board - but we need to do it fairly and protect the rights of those closest to retirement.

    I don't know how - but it needs to be done.  I wish we had started fixing the public sector back when the private sector figured it all out.

    •  marking time (0+ / 0-)

      I hope your agreement with the GOP goes as far as the Congress itself and for that matter all legislators in all states.

      Fixed benefit pension plans have proven to be a terrible long term idea.

      If you want fair and equitable destruction of pension plans it damn well better include the pensions that all Senators and Congressmen get too.

      Unfunded pension liabilities are a real and massive burden on federal, state and local budgets.

      Looks like you should reconsider your austerity program or at the least serve it up to ALL.

      •  Absolutely (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wham Bam

        I wasn't thinking specifically of Congress, but I think all of the defined benefit plans have to go.

        Including Congress, and state and local governments.

        And I don't want to destroy pension plans.  As I said, the transition has to be well thought out and fair.  For example, my company started a long time ago by offering new hires a defined contribution plan only.  They announced almost 10 years ago that all existing defined benefit plans will be gone in another few years.  When they get rid of the current plans, they will buy out the vested benefits at a fair value, putting the buyout into a defined contribution plan.

        I don't feel cheated, but when my plan changes in a few years, I will bear the market risk, not my company.  I think that's fair and appropriate.

        And the company still contributes to a pension plan.

        Something like this has to be in the future for government pension plans.  

    •  The market crash did most of it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      schnecke21

      Delaware's pension plan is still fully funded.  Whoever managed that thing got most of their money out of stocks in 2007 and moved to safer low-yield instruments and hence helped Delaware avoid a lot of this mess.

      The stock market took a huge hit in 2008 and hasn't recovered yet. Pension plans invest some of their funds into stocks and lost a boatload during the crash. I fail to see how if we had moved Social Security payments into private markets and shifted the burden of pension management to individuals that they would have not suffered from the same problems -- and indeed, many people have taken a huge hit on their retirement accounts.

      Defined plans attempt to manage their risk by calculating how long people live and spread out benefits based on that. Don't live that long, bad for you, good for the plan. Live longer, then you're covered but the plan takes a hit.  But it removes you from having to guess how long you will live.

      As individuals, we don't know how long we are going to live so at retirement, you try to decide how much to live off of from your retirement savings.  If you withdraw too aggressively and drain it early, you are broke before you die. If you don't be so aggressive and die early, then all that money you worked so hard for is not used.

      Yes, the private sector has it all figured out.  Stop paying for health care, stop paying into pension plans, let people fend for themselves, and when they make poor investment choices (because most people aren't experts at market conditions and trends), society gets to pick up the pieces or we go back to old people eating cat food to get by again.  

      •  OK, good point - (0+ / 0-)

        The group plans are good for managing longevity risk (but not necessarily market risk).

        Insurance companies sell annuities that do the same, but they take a share of the return to manage the risk.  Maybe not the best deal going.

        I still don't know how else to handle unfunded pension liabilities, other than to shift the risk to employees.  This doesn't mean discontinuing pension contributions - just shifting the market risk.

      •  What about pools? (0+ / 0-)

        Make an easy way for a thousand or so people to set up a pool with an agreed upon payout schedule and low admin costs.

        If you die early your money goes to fund payouts for those who die late.

        If you die late you live your later years off of the money of the people who died early.

        Pay outs get adjusted over time based on death rates of pool members with the goal of everyone dying just as the money runs out.

        You buy a small insurance policy in case the last few people annoyingly all live to be 115, and that uses up the last of the money in the pool so you end up with everyone dead and no money left at the same time.

        •  you don't mean a (0+ / 0-)

          "public option" annuity program, do you?

          •  Not public and not a true annuity (0+ / 0-)

            It's a group of people who pool assets and pay out over time, using the Law of Large Numbers to make sure that they all use up their money at the same time as they die.

            You would need a plan administrator but there is no reason for that to be the government and many reasons for it not to be.  (For example, if the government is the administrator there would probably be political pressure for the funds to be invested to benefit people other than the pool members.)

  •  We Still Hold the Senate (0+ / 0-)

    They would also have to approve this -- it's doubtful that it would pass.

    And, even if it did, the President would veto it.  

     

  •  Good. Pension funds = Wall St wet dream (0+ / 0-)

    Actually I am not at all sorry to see pension funds go the way of the Dodo bird. Pension funds is exactly the right wing's prescription for privatizing social security. ie. relying on the Magickal Stock Market to eternally return 8% per year. Guess what- it doesn't work worth a darn.

    I'll be perfectly happy when everyone relies on good ole socialist Social Security for retirement and stop believing in the myth of Wall St wealth creation.

  •  The idea that public service employee unions are (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wham Bam

    completely walled off from the very real budget issues states are struggling with is an abandonment of the core founding principles of unionism.

    If PSEUs are not "collectively" in this with the rest of us working people (let's say the 89% of us who make under $75k/year), then they are just another narrow interest group more worried about grabbing their piece of the pie than sharing the benefits and burdens broadly across the soci-economic spectrum.

    Who exactly do you think pays for the bulk of state and local government?  That's right, it's working people like the 89% of us earning less than $75k / year.

    I know I'll catch plenty of shit for writing that the PSEU's should come to the table with reasonable compromises, but the fact remains MANY working people are suffering under a combination of high income earners paying too little in taxes (lift the SS income cap, increase the inheritance tax, raise the top income tax rates, increase the "capital gains" tax) and a smallish subset of all working people who have successfully negotiated benefits that are unsustainable for states over time.

    In NYS this year the state employees unions REFUSED furloughs.  So instead of each member taking a small pay cut (in exchange for fewer working days) the state has decided to lay off 900 workers ...

    Quinnipiac poll: voters against layoffs, for wage freeze
    Thursday, December 9, 2010 at 11:06 AM by Laura Northrup in Budget cuts, Furloughs, Layoffs, State Employees
    According to a Quinnipiac poll of New York state voters released today, the taxpayers of New York would rather see furloughs or wage freezes for state workers than layoffs or pension cuts.

    The Quinnipiac poll adds a different variable – they ask participants whether or not they have a union member in their household. (Which union isn’t specified, so they aren’t necessarily government employees.)

    To help balance the state budget do you support or oppose – layoffs for state employees?

    52% overall oppose layoffs, and 43% support them.

    Broken down, that’s:
    Democrats: 34% support / 59% oppose
    Republicans: 50% support / 46% oppose
    Independents: 47% support / 48% oppose
    Union member in household: 35% support / 60% oppose

    Other methods of cutting workforce costs didn’t have such dramatic support or opposition.

    Wage freeze: 72% support / 23% oppose
    Furloughs: 54% support / 32% oppose
    Pension cuts: 37% support / 56% oppose

    December 9, 2010 [Quinnipiac University]

    .

    This is more than just an economic (budgetary) issue, there's also the issue of fairness and equity across the full spectrum of society.  From a tax perspective high income earners and the wealthy don't pay enough.  From a benefits perspective, PSEU employees get benefits out of line with what society can support across the board.

    PSEU workers don't work harder than private sector workers.  Workers are workers are workers.  There needs to be a more level field when it comes to benefits and burdens.

    It's just not fair that some (the wealthy and most PSEU employees) are able to retire a decade or more ahead of the vast majority of working people.  Not only that, but when they retire earlier they have income and health benefits beyond what the large mass of working people get.

    We need a sustainable and fair retirement system that includes sacrifices by some (eliminate the SS income cap, raise incomes tax rates on high wage earners, increase the inheritance tax, reduce PSEU retirement and health benefits) so that the mass of working people can have better post-work lives.

    No quarter. No surrender.

    by hegemony57 on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 10:15:54 AM PST

  •  We on the left have to realize (1+ / 2-)
    Recommended by:
    Wham Bam
    Hidden by:
    Bulldawg, PhilJD

    that we cannot hitch our wagon to the public employee unions,who in many states,especially the big 4 "blue" states on New York,New Jersey,Ilinois and California,have played a huge role in the terrible fiscal problems of those states,by their now unsustainable level of pay and benefits.The mass of the voters in private jobs compare their comparitive meager benefits with the gold plated benefits of public workers and the result is a big reaction against the public unions,by voters on the left and the right.

    There is no way that the states can dig themselves out of this fiscal nightmare without reductions in the level of increases in the pay of public workers.

    Here in New Jersey,Gov.Christie,the whipping boy of the left outside NJ,got the Democratic legislature to pass laws mandating a minimum contribution for all public employees of 1.5% of their salary towards their health insurance. Prior to this law,many had been enjoying a free ride on health insurance.

    Christie also got them to pass a 2% cap on the rise of our outrageously high property taxes with a concomminant 2% cap on the increase in pay for public workers. Prior to that,for many years,raises in NJ had been averaging 3.5 to 4% which had driven up their salaries to a statewide average of more than the private sector. We have patrolmen in my town in North Jersey and in most of the towns,which are suburban and very low crime,making over $100,000 a year.This cannot be allowed to continue.For all Kossacks outside New Jersey,Christie is popular with Democratic Mayors and Councilmen as he is with the GOP because he has given the tools to stand up to the demands of the unions

    I know the left does not like to hear this,but trust me,in New Jersey left and right are basically united against the public employee unions..

  •  Working people's wages have been stagnant (0+ / 0-)

    But, the blame right now is directed at the Unions, the poor, & the unemployed; as the wealthy pick our pockets with the help of politicians.

  •  At The Risk Of Stating The Obvious (0+ / 0-)

    Any attempt by the GOP House to "pass legislation that would allow states to declare bankruptcy,"  would have to hurdle a Dem majority in the Senate (including a 40 vote filibuster threshold if the rules don't change) and be signed by Obama.

    Hard to see that happening...

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