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I've been listening to a number of people who have been expressing seom wildly wrong-headed opinions about the protests in Madison.  As the man says, You're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts.  Here's my attempt to correct some of my fellow citizens.

1.    There’s a budget crisis in Wisconsin.
Like virtually every other state in the country, Wisconsin faces significant budget challenges, most of which will disappear as the economy improves.  You see, the main culprit in Wisconsin’s economic woes has been the loss of employment.  This has caused people to stop paying income taxes (because they have no income) and to rely heavily upon the state-funded healthcare plan.  As the economy recovers, tax revenues will return and public health costs will decline.  

2.    Wisconsin state workers are paid too much.
If you compare the salaries and benefits of public employees covered by the collective bargaining agreements in question with their counterparts in the private sector, you’ll see that Wisconsin public employees are actually paid slightly less.  Their cash compensation is significantly less, but that is nearly counterbalanced by the values of their benefits.  Nearly, but not quite.  Most state workers could do better by working in the private sector.

3.    Wisconsin state workers don’t pay for their pensions.
Not true.  The collective bargaining agreement calls for the state to pay the equivalent of 5% of a state worker’s salary into a pension fund, which is professionally managed on behalf of the workers.  What the state pays into the plan is part of the employees’ compensation that would be otherwise paid to the employee.  This is the workers’ own money, just as what you contribute to your 401(k) is your own money.  It’s not some “gift” from the taxpayers – it’s taxable income.

4.    Wisconsin state workers need to step up during this crisis.
Representatives of the state employees’ unions have, in fact, offered to make all the concessions asked for in the budget repair bill.  Every fiscal request being made by the Walker Administration has been agreed to by the unions.  To whatever extent there is a fiscal crisis in Wisconsin, the unions have proven themselves willing to bear their share of the load.

5.    I don’t have a pension plan at my job, so why should they get one?
This is a morally troubling argument.  If my house burns down, should I go next door and torch my neighbor’s house because, darn it, if I have to suffer then everybody should have to suffer?  Taking away the pension from a seventh grade math teacher isn’t going to make your retirement any more secure.  The better question really ought to be, if those people over there can have a pension, why can’t I have one?

6.    Hey, I’m paying their salaries!
Yes, you are.  And every time you buy a loaf of bread at the local supermarket, you’re paying the salaries of every employee in the store.  Every time you fill up at the gas station, you’re paying all the salaries at the oil company.  This is how capitalism works.  Everybody is always paying everybody else’s salary.  That doesn’t give you the right to demand that the produce manager take a pay cut to keep the price of cabbage low, or the guy behind the counter at the gas station doesn’t deserve a health plan.

7.    The Democratic Senators ought to come back to Wisconsin to do their job.
The state senators who fled to Illinois to prevent a quorum are taking the only action they can take to prevent what they feel is a patently unfair and unwise bill from becoming a patently unfair and unwise law.  If the Walker Administration showed any indication that it would negotiate in good faith to reach a compromise, the senators would return.  But as last weeks “punking” of Governor Walker demonstrated, the administration has no intention of working with the Democrats and would resort to lies and chicanery if given the opportunity.

8.    The protestors at the Capitol Building are union thugs.
Given the massive groups that have assembled at the Capitol Building (100,000 last Saturday alone) the complete lack of anything remotely resembling a disturbance reflects well upon the citizens of the State of Wisconsin.  Even on the day when a Pro-Walker counter-protest occurred side-by-side with the Pro-Union protest, the Madison Police Department reported no incidents.  Those who are protesting are teachers, students, government workers, and in a profound display of union solidarity, fire fighters and police officers.  Hardly the makings of an ugly mob.

9.    The mob is full of out-of-state agitators.
This is virtually impossible to prove or disprove, but unless busloads of people from Illinois are stopping at the border and buying Badger and Packer sweatshirts and stocking hats, the crowd at the Capitol Building appears to be almost completely home-grown.  The same cannot be said for the Koch Brothers, the multi-billionaires who stand to make a(nother) fortune if the budget repair bill passes.  From Utah, the Koch brothers have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into Wisconsin politics – from direct contributions to the Walker Campaign to their funding of shadowy “advocacy” groups that ran attack ads almost non-stop during the last election season.  If you’re worried about out-of-state influences on our politics, look over there.

10.    This is not a big deal.
What happens in Wisconsin is going to have a large impact on what happens in Ohio, then in Indiana, then in Michigan, and then in Florida.  Once politicians and their ultra-wealthy owners crush public-sector unions, the task of crushing private-sector unions becomes just that much easier.  And when unions have been destroyed, every worker in America will be reduced to taking whatever job at whatever lousy pay and with whatever lousy benefits (like none) that corporations decide we deserve.  If the past few years have shown us anything at all, from Enron to Lehman Brothers to British Petroleum, it’s that large corporations are simply cannot be trusted, and there needs to be some force in our public lives that counter-balance their power and influence.  With governments at every level being bought and sold by plutocrats of all sorts, labor unions have never been quite so vital to the survival of the Middle Class.

Thanks for reading!

Originally posted to Jeff in Milwaukee on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:15 PM PST.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Progressive Hippie.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks! (21+ / 0-)

    Concise and complete, the sort of thing one can print out and distribute in meat space. Well done!

    "Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world." — Howard Zinn

    by blueyedace2 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:23:13 PM PST

  •  Great list, T&R'd (13+ / 0-)

    I'm going to recite some of these at work tomorrow to my Libertarian coworkers. It should be fun to watch them make up excuses lies about these.

    There's always the chance something good will come out of expressing oneself honestly

    by ontheleftcoast on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:25:09 PM PST

  •  Thanks for putting all of these in the same (11+ / 0-)

    bucket.  I thinkk we all have to stay busy knocking out these untruths.

    Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices. ~Voltaire from La Feminista

    by maybeeso in michigan on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 05:26:36 PM PST

  •  Thank you! (7+ / 0-)

    I especially liked #6 and#8.  All of them were great though!  

    Union busting???? That's disgusting!!!

    by invisiblewoman on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 06:48:57 PM PST

  •  Very well said. (15+ / 0-)

    I only add that another big deal is the re-election of Supreme Court justice David T. Prosser.

    In 1999, Prosser joined in the dismissal of a suit the Wisconsin Elections Commission brought against Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), and dealt a fatal blow to regulation of powerful special interest groups in Wisconsin's elections. This was Wisconsin's "citizens united" decision, in which Prosser called citizen speech "deviant", and corporate speech "pure":

    "The First Amendment is not what it used to be. It is fashionable today to protect deviant speech and expressive conduct. But pure speech which discusses public issues and public officials is vulnerable to the impulse for government regulation."

    If Prosser could be defeated on April 5th this year, the currently 5-4 conservative court could be flipped, and sanity returned to Wisconsin's high court.

    "All war is stupid" - JFK

    by jorogo on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:01:39 PM PST

  •  Bravo, (18+ / 0-)

    One day, maybe I'll comprehend why this doesn't click with so many people:

    The better question really ought to be, if those people over there can have a pension, why can’t I have one?

    I'm guessing stupidity or brainwashing.

    My Vampire Squid can kick your Big Brother's ass.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:09:57 PM PST

    •  It's because... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Justanothernyer

      ...private sector worker compensation is governed by economics and competitiveness, not by how much you can pass a law to pay people.

      (-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 Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:25:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Really? (8+ / 0-)

        Doesn't seem to apply to CEO Salaries.

        •  Sure it does (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JeffW

          CEO salaries are perfectly rational. They may be "excessive", but these people are generally being paid what they are worth in the market.

          Not fucking up a billion dollar decision is easily worth $10 million in compensation.

          (-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 Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:52:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  For a very odd definition of rational (3+ / 0-)

            considering the principle-agent problem.

            "Rational self-interest" is one of those things where, to be true, it has to be either a tautology or a banality; any attempt to define it in a more concrete sense devolves into philosophical incoherency.

            Markets are what we make them.

          •  You get paid double (11+ / 0-)

            ..if you do fuck-up?

            Witness the "Great Recession" that began immediately after Bush. And Angelo Mo-fucking--zilla. Hell, how much is Rumsfeld making on his book-tour anyway? Success stories abound.

            Renumeration is way out of whack. No-one is worth a billion dollars. It's dangerous to place that much power and money into the hands of a greedy crook.

            The invisible hand of the market is jacking off. And the other hand is cheating on his taxes.

            My Vampire Squid can kick your Big Brother's ass.

            by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:47:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  In a perfect world, Sparhawk... (7+ / 0-)

            ...and we don't live in that world.

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

            by JeffW on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:51:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  That's bullshit, Sparhawk. (10+ / 0-)

            If you were an investor, you'd know that CEO salaries are governed by the "CEO appoints the board and the board sets the CEO's salary" rule, or in other words, "I scratch your back, you scratch my back".

            MUCH worse than the way public sector salaries are set.

            This may change now that "say on pay" actually passed as part of Dodd-Frank -- except "say on pay" is only advisory, so I expect boards to ignore the shareholder votes and vote obscene CEO salaries anyway.

            Look up "theory of the firm" for some information on why firms turn into large, centrally planned bureaucracies (it's because for some things, central planning is more effective) and how within firms there is no such thing as a free market (which is simply an accepted and understood part of economics).

            Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

            by neroden on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:16:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Re (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              evanaj
              If you were an investor, you'd know that CEO salaries are governed by the "CEO appoints the board and the board sets the CEO's salary" rule, or in other words, "I scratch your back, you scratch my back".

              All of which is between company shareholders, the board, and the CEO. People who don't like CEO compensation can always sell their shares.

              (-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 Feb 28, 2011 at 09:20:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Here's an alternative.... (0+ / 0-)

                Since these companies are offering their shares of stock to the general public, why don't we have some government Commission that regulates the Exchange of these Securities on the open market to ensure that investors aren't getting ripped off?  We could call it,"The Securities and Exchange Commission."

                Wouldn't that be a great idea?

                •  What's the problem? (0+ / 0-)

                  The company freely publishes its executive salaries (per SEC requirement). If you don't like it, don't buy the stock!

                  (-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 Feb 28, 2011 at 02:12:19 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I've said it before and (6+ / 0-)

            I'll say it again. American CEO salaries are significantly better than that of Foreign CEOs.  If they're so damn good, why does our economy suck?

            We are all Badgers now.

            by Van Buren on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 02:19:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Bingo.... (10+ / 0-)

              American CEO's are paid nowhere near their actual worth.  The problem is that we have a tax code that allows corporations to write off these salaries as a "business expense" and that allows obscenely-paid individuals to keep most of the money.

              The explosion in CEO salaries more-or-less coincides with the reduction in the top marginal tax rate.  Back in the 1950's and 1960's, it made little sense to give a CEO a seven or eight-figure salaries (in today's dollars) because 90% of everything near the top was going to pay taxes.

              These days, with the top rate well south of 50%, there's an economic incentive to pay these salaries.  And who decides?  Boards of Directors.  And who sits on Boards of Directors?  Primarily CEO's from other companies.  You vote for my salary and I'll vote for yours.

              It's positively incestuous.

    •  Republicans and Tea Partiers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ice Blue, blue muon

      do a great job with victimization, and also with believing that the fruits of their completely self-made fortune are constantly being stolen to benefit the lazy and the worthless.

    •  It's the "Others" propaganda technique (0+ / 0-)

      The "others"... like welfare queens, teachers with summers off, the lazy unemployed living off the dole, people of color, illegals, criminals, inefficient city workers, etc....are taking our hard earned money with the help of commie liberals and unions.  

      Reagan started this and it's become a fundamental tenet for conservative politicians.  They cloak it in economic voodoo but the hidden agenda is:  "We're better and more deserving than those Others who are getting our hard earned money."

      The dumbshits buy into it just as pre-WWII Germans did. Arizona increasingly looks like Nazi Germany, substituting Latinos for Jews, homosexuals, mentally deranged, gypsies, et al.   And, oh, how the Bags love to call Obama a Nazi.  

  •  Re (0+ / 0-)
    Taking away the pension from a seventh grade math teacher isn’t going to make your retirement any more secure.

    It certainly will if it means lowering tax rates, which then means private sector workers can increase their own contributions to their own retirement plans with the money they otherwise would be paying in taxes.

    (-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 Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:23:29 PM PST

    •  Again, in a perfect world... n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pHunbalanced, neroden

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

      by JeffW on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:52:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  But it won't (13+ / 0-)

      because the tax reduction has already been given away to large corporations. There's not necessarily a connection between government spending less and you paying lower taxes.

      We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

      by badger on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:03:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh geez.... (12+ / 0-)

      Do you really think your taxes are going to go down once the unions are crushed?  Really?

      I've got some beachfront property to sell you.

    •  It does NOT mean "lowering tax rates". (0+ / 0-)

      Denying a pension to public workers will not lower your taxes.

      1. Governmental entities have plenty of other places they can/will spend tax revenue.

      2. State and local income tax rates - to my knowledge - have never been reduced significantly and have, in almost every state, remained constant or gone up over the last 20 years.

      3. When public sector workers lose benefits, so will everybody else - including you.

      4. Over the last 30 years, corporations, businesses in general, and the wealthy have enjoyed significantly lower taxes from the federal, state, and local governments.  Individual tax rates on everything from sales taxes to property taxes to wage taxes on those earning less than $100,000 per household have remained at least constant (if not increased) in most cases over the last 3 decades.

      5. Speaking of corporations, the myth that if a business or corporation pays less in taxes, it will spend that money on hiring more people or giving raises to its employees is a monstrous fairy tale.  What businesses and corporations do with the money they don't pay in taxes is simple: they buy political influence with it, they pay the top people/owner bigger salaries and bonuses, they distribute it to their shareholders in the form of dividends, and/or they "offshore" it to divisions (or secret accounts) in other nations.

      Hiring happens only when there is so much pressure on a business to produce more that the workers and machinery they currently have can't be whipped and beaten into producing more product for the same pay.  Only then will a business hire more workers.  Even then, they will hire temp workers at minimum wage and no benefits, not pay their people more for their extra output or hire new permanent workers at comparable wages.

      You could eliminate every firefighter, cop, teacher, road crew, and other public worker in your state and you will never see your taxes reduced.  Legislatures and town councils would simply use the revenue differently.  Like on raises for themselves and further tax breaks for their corporate owners and settling the inevitable lawsuits over the catastrophes which would result.

      But if all of these positions were filled with private-sector workers, it would be more expensive to the taxpayer because now you have a profit incentive to satisfy and shareholders to pay dividends to and additional layers of management to compensate.

      Finally, the vast and overwhelming majority of American workers - of every income level, but especially those households making less than $100,000 per year (the majority of American households) - will always SPEND the extra 2 or 3% they see in their paychecks.  They'll spend it on better food, consumer goods, nicer clothing, better cars, upgrade their cell phones, etc.  A difference of $2,500 per year divided by 26 bi-weekly annual paychecks is only $96 per paycheck.  That $192 per month is going to get spent on whatever minimal improvement in their standard of living it can provide.  Banked into retirement savings?  Hilarious!

      Have you seen the savings rates in this country?  Do you know that we save at a lower rate than almost every other industrialized nation on planet Earth?  Have you any idea why the federal government reports on "consumer spending" to so much trumpeted fanfare every month but you'll have to search like Diogenes to find the report on American savings rates?

      How can you be SO nearsighted and claim any stake in liberal causes?  Your navel-gazing over your personal financial situation and your seeming desire to do more for yourself at the expense of others is antithetical to being a member of a liberal website.

      Only your UID stops me from believing you to be a plant from RedState or FreeRepublic.

      Celtic Merlin
      Carlinist

      Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

      by Celtic Merlin on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 09:11:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re (0+ / 0-)
        You could eliminate every firefighter, cop, teacher, road crew, and other public worker in your state and you will never see your taxes reduced.  Legislatures and town councils would simply use the revenue differently.  Like on raises for themselves and further tax breaks for their corporate owners and settling the inevitable lawsuits over the catastrophes which would result.

        This is a liberal point of view? You sound like a libertarian here: the government is always incompetent, it will always screw you over if it gets a chance, it's impossible for it to be truly responsive, etc.

        Under your theory of government, why would I want to pay taxes at all if it's just going to be wasted on stupid bullshit like you claim it will? Isn't this just an argument for further draconian cuts in taxes? (I'm not making the argument, but I am trying to understand if you understand the implications of your arguments).

        5. Speaking of corporations, the myth that if a business or corporation pays less in taxes, it will spend that money on hiring more people or giving raises to its employees is a monstrous fairy tale.

        I completely agree, however, we're not talking about corporate taxes here, we're talking about individual and sales taxes. On thing high corporate taxes will do is drive the corporation to go somewhere where taxes are low instead of high.

        The fact is: the only thing a corporation will hire anyone for is for work they need to do that will turn a profit. If that opportunity doesn't exist, they won't! Of course, you do the same thing when you clip coupons at the supermarket, so it's hard to argue the morality of the situation.

        Your navel-gazing over your personal financial situation and your seeming desire to do more for yourself at the expense of others is antithetical to being a member of a liberal website.

        I'm not arguing on behalf of myself, I'm arguing on behalf of $10/hour Walmart workers who have to pay taxes.

        Additionally, I haven't even made an "argument" this entire thread: name one thing I've said that even implies a normative statement about what should happen. All my statements have been statements to correct what I see as fallacious economic arguments that make no sense.

        The proper frame for this is "public workers cost money, but the money you are paying is worth the services you are getting" (assuming this is true). Ridiculous concepts about how much public workers spend in the local economy (yet they take exactly as much out of the local economy in cost) or how paying a pension is exactly as expensive as not paying a pension are obnoxious and aren't going to sway anyone to your side.

        (-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 Feb 28, 2011 at 09:31:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Skew all you want. Facts are facts. (0+ / 0-)

          You address ONE of 5 points I listed and 2 of 6 paragraphs afterward.  What you DO address, you skew wildly.

          the government is always incompetent, it will always screw you over if it gets a chance, it's impossible for it to be truly responsive, etc.

          Those are YOUR words and are nothing at all like what I stated.  Local governments are responsible for firefighting and police forces and road maintenance - they would see the brunt of the lawsuits.  They're also volunteer or very low-paying positions.  Those entities would end up spending their tax revenues on lawyers and settlements.  State and federal governments - pay increases and more corporate tax breaks (plus the lawyers) since they're less connected to citizens.  If anybody is incompetent, it is the people who advocate for reduced paychecks and benefits for the good people who are our public sector workers.

          I do not want to see any cuts in Public Employees.  Trying to put forth the idea that I do

          Under your theory of government, why would I want to pay taxes at all if it's just going to be wasted on stupid bullshit like you claim it will?

          is disingenuous . . . at best.
          On thing high corporate taxes will do is drive the corporation to go somewhere where taxes are low instead of high.

          Oh, how I've heard that bullshit a million times before.  And what will this greedy corporation do, Einstein - refuse to do any business in the state it just left?  Abandon customers wholesale?  Leave the USA entirely?  Nope.  They'll do business everywhere they can and they'll pay the taxes that they are legally required to pay.  The problem, though, is detailed here:
          In U.S. states facing a budget shortfall, revenues from corporate taxes have declined $2.5 billion in the last year. In Wisconsin, two-thirds of corporations pay no taxes, and the share of state revenue from corporate taxes has fallen by half since 1981. Nationally, according to a General Accountability Study out today, 72 percent of all foreign corporations and about 57 percent of U.S. companies doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes for at least one year between 1998 and 2005.

          There's your greedy corporations for you - shirking their responsibilities to the system which encourages their existence and growth.

          The fact is: the only thing a corporation will hire anyone for is for work they need to do that will turn a profit.

          Ah!  The magic word!  Profit.  Of course they want to profit, but AT WHAT PRICE???  Lower and lower wages and benefits for the people who actually DO the work and more for the top tier (who have plenty enough as it is) and the shareholders?  Of COURSE!!!  Because those filthy workers deserve less since they don't have the expenses of keeping corporate jets, private yachts, and memberships in the country club!

          They make MORE profit when they can pressure the workers they already have to put out MORE good and services for LESS in wages.  Presto!  More profit!  I don't begrudge profits, however.  I begrudge "profits above all else", "profits before people", and "profits first, the environment, wages, and taxes last" attitude.

          Hourly workers don't want to bankrupt a company nor do government taxing bodies - all either/both want is something called a "fair share".

          I'm not arguing on behalf of myself, I'm arguing on behalf of $10/hour Walmart workers who have to pay taxes.

          Wal*Mart pays its people minimum wage or a half-buck more than that.  Folks who work at Wal*Mart would likely spend the (3% of $18,000 = $540) extra TEN WHOLE DOLLARS a week on necessities that a Wal*Mart paycheck doesn't usually afford them.  Retirement???  They're worried about making the rent and still having enough to buy gas at $3.50 per gallon to get to work - then maybe seeing if they can BUY into some form of health care for themselves and their kids.

          Get this:
          Taxes aren't evil - they make America function.
          Public Workers aren't fatcat banksters.
          Corporations aren't down to their last dime - they can afford to pay alot more than they have been paying for the last 30 years.
          A living wage with decent benefits is not expecting alot of the American Economy or the American Taxpayer.

          Celtic Merlin
          Carlinist

          Sorry I couldn't take your call. I'm using my cell phone to make pancakes. Please leave a message.

          by Celtic Merlin on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:08:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  small addition at #8: Madison Police (11+ / 0-)

    have actually joined in the protest.

    Mainly because they recognize the threat to their own collective bargaining rights and union power.

    The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution. Paul Cezanne

    by MeToo on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:31:21 PM PST

  •  Thanks - I like the way you put #6 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pHunbalanced, Ahianne, cpresley, Matt Z

    And I was trying to find the words for #3 earlier, but it didn't sound right the way I was saying it.  :)  Is #3 true for non-union government employees, too?  I would assume so, but I'm not sure.

  •  Re (4+ / 0-)
    6.    Hey, I’m paying their salaries!
    Yes, you are.  And every time you buy a loaf of bread at the local supermarket, you’re paying the salaries of every employee in the store.  Every time you fill up at the gas station, you’re paying all the salaries at the oil company.  This is how capitalism works.  Everybody is always paying everybody else’s salary.  That doesn’t give you the right to demand that the produce manager take a pay cut to keep the price of cabbage low, or the guy behind the country at the gas station doesn’t deserve a health plan.

    The difference, of course, is that if I don't like how expensive the local supermarket is, I go somewhere else that charges cheaper prices. This dynamic forces the supermarket to keep compensation in line, because if they don't I'll just go somewhere else.

    I have no such option with my local government: there is no way I can tell police, fire, teachers, etc "I'm going with another provider: bye!"

    (-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 Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 07:46:33 PM PST

    •  You're a real piece of work, you are! n/t (7+ / 0-)

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

      by JeffW on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 10:53:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes there is, you can always move. nt (10+ / 0-)

      pr0n for progressives


      I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it.

      by zett on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:07:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That only looks at half of the market (8+ / 0-)

      The other half of the market is the labor side - if wages are too low, then supermarkets or government won't be able to attract competent, capable workers.

      I haven't lived in WI for 15 years, but when I lived there, both supermarkets and schools had very good people, because most of both of those were unionized and paid good wages/benefits.

      You're fooling yourself if you think that the quality levels will be the same between organizations that pay rock-bottom wages and organizations that pay good wages. WI schools, which pay pretty well, outperform the schools of southern states which pay poorly - you may pay less, but you get less.

      You're looking for the proverbial free lunch, which most people agree doesn't exist.

      (Actually, if you use the ACT as a measure, WI schools consistently outperform any other state's schools)

      We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

      by badger on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:17:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When wages are below reasonable levels (9+ / 0-)

        Employees, even honest ones, have a strong incentive to do as little actual work as possible.  (And even steal from the employer.  When I've dealt with nice employees at abusive chain firms, they've always been happy to suggest to the customer ways that he or she can cheat the firm....)

        On the other hand, well-treated employees have an incentive to behave well -- their boss treats them well, they have incentives to do well by their boss.

        Institutional culture is actually key.  WI schools have by all accounts a very good institutional culture.  Abusing the front line workers is a good way to trash your institutional culture....

        Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

        by neroden on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:21:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Re (0+ / 0-)
        The other half of the market is the labor side - if wages are too low, then supermarkets or government won't be able to attract competent, capable workers.

        I completely agree. Taxpayers want to get as many services as cheaply as possible, and public workers (like all workers) want as high a compensation as possible. Where they meet in the middle is the market.

        However, your statement is very telling because you admit that buying quality service costs money. So to get quality public service, a taxpayer's life in other areas has to be worse than it otherwise would have been because the money they would have been devoting in those areas is instead diverted to public employees. I completely agree, however many on this thread make foolish arguments that amount to "getting a free lunch", i.e. paying public workers a lot of money doesn't cost you any more than not paying them a lot of money.

        You're fooling yourself if you think that the quality levels will be the same between organizations that pay rock-bottom wages and organizations that pay good wages. WI schools, which pay pretty well, outperform the schools of southern states which pay poorly - you may pay less, but you get less.

        There is something called "best bang for the buck". I doubt for example that paying teachers a million dollars a year gets more than marginally better outcomes than what we have now. I'm not making a statement about where on the curve we are, but this is just another "market" thing.

        (-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 Feb 28, 2011 at 09:39:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  A taxpayer's life has to be worse? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          La Gitane

          Really?

          As I pointed out in response to another of your comments above, there isn't necessarily a connection between what government spends and what you pay in taxes. In this case there's obviously no connection, because Walker and the GOP have already given the savings to corporations, not individual taxpayers.

          Secondly, you're basically arguing that my life was was worse because my daughter attended WI schools with excellent, well-paid teachers (and she did through 3rd grade). According to you, my life would have been better if she had attended poorer schools with low-paid teachers.

          A better or worse life has something, but far from everything to do with economics, and a lot of what we spend on taxes - and the increased amounts we (collectively, individuals and corporations) should be spending on taxes - do make our lives better.

          Nobody here is arguing teachers should be overpaid - paying teachers a "million dollars" is your strawman, said in your best Dr. Evil voice, I presume.

          We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. - John F Kennedy

          by badger on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:19:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Re (0+ / 0-)
            Secondly, you're basically arguing that my life was was worse because my daughter attended WI schools with excellent, well-paid teachers (and she did through 3rd grade). According to you, my life would have been better if she had attended poorer schools with low-paid teachers.

            You certainly traded off a vacation or something else of value in exchange. If you're paying high property taxes, you traded off quite a lot in alternative standard of living improvements.

            Maybe it was worth it. Maybe it wasn't. But you made a tradeoff. To argue otherwise is silliness.

            (-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 Feb 28, 2011 at 02:10:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Sure you can (8+ / 0-)

      Move to Somalia.  Seriously, I know I can move anywhere down south and have lower taxes-but also reduced Gov't services.  That, apparently, is what a lot of people want, and I've no problem with it.

      We are all Badgers now.

      by Van Buren on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 02:22:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So.... (9+ / 0-)

      Since government workers are the one group you have the ability to screw, you're going to take the opportunity to screw them.

      Nice.

      This is how corporations have amasses the power that they have.  Keep workers divided against one another.  Keep weak-minded worker bees convinced that their corporate masters know best.  Keep middle class employees convinced that unions are in their worst interest.

      Congratulations.  You're very close to getting the America that you deserve.

      •  Re (0+ / 0-)
        Since government workers are the one group you have the ability to screw, you're going to take the opportunity to screw them.

        You don't understand. You, me, and everyone else on the planet constantly "screws" corporations (and their workers) in exactly the way you criticize me for.

        Every clip coupons for the supermarket? Ever do something yourself instead of going to an outside vendor for it because it's too expensive? Ever compare hotel room prices for a trip? You are doing exactly the thing you accuse other people of doing: trying to get a better price for a product.

        The same dynamic applies with public workers: the question is: can the public get the same services cheaper? Can we get more services for the same price? Can we cut unneeded "services" and save the money?

        (-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 Feb 28, 2011 at 09:43:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, well, you obviously can only (0+ / 0-)

      escape your predicament by leaving the US and going...wait, I don't know exactly where, you should definitely avoid Europe...
      Honest to God, it has already been said by the diarist that people in the public sector aren't getting paid more than people in the private sector. That information is there for a reason, you know. It means that people in the public sector are not overpaid.
      By the way, I think all workers should be paid decent wages because that is important -more than most other things - for the right distribution of money in the system, you know, the economy. And, you know, for people's opportunities and happiness. Why should they be the carpet the rich are treading on? You know, those many super-rich which are destroying the planet, seem to be at least making a spirited attempt at destroying American democracy, rarely have to take responsibility and are paid huge amounts of money, however much damage they cause?
      You know, it might be a better approach to tax the rich more and to have stronger unions everywhere so that this parasitic behaviour ends and decent workers get decent wages and decent pensions - in every sector.

    •  Sure. You can move to Somalia (0+ / 0-)

      Libertarian paradise there. You don't have to pay any police, firemen, or teachers there.

    •  It's called "voting" (0+ / 0-)

      If you think your civil servants are making too much money, you vote out the people that pay them.  And those representatives bargain with the employees to reduce wages.  This has been done.  You don't need to eliminate unions; public employees have just as much a right as anyone else to have a say in their employment conditions.

      Your issue with pensions?  Bullshit - the workers contribute their own salaries to their pensions.

      And how much "less" do you think you would have to pay civil servants in order to "save" you enough in taxes to provide yourself with a full retirement?  This idea is a ridiculous GOP talking point.  We are a nation of hundreds of millions of taxpayers; when we all contribute the individual burden is less.

      There is only so much a middle class person can "save" in taxes.  Even if they paid no taxes at all, and put that money away every single year, they still wouldn't have enough for a full, secure retirement.

      Or enough to pay for their own health care, or education, or everything else that the GOP says the middle class taxpayer could magically afford if only taxes were lower.

      "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

      by La Gitane on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:19:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Now where could these myths come from? (9+ / 0-)

    Let's see, over at Fox Nation we have this story:

    "Pro-Union Rallies Simmering with Violence and Hate Speech".

    Back in the bad old days of Pravda and such, you couldn't really blame the people for swallowing the lies, because all channels of communications were saying the same thing.  This being said, there were plenty of people who knew they were being sold a bill of goods. But here we have people willfully allowing themselves to be propagandized.  And since it is willful, they will never question what they are told.  Flip the numbers in a poll?  So what, as long as it ends up agreeing with your preconceived notions.  No wonder they are so spectacularly uninformed.  And it never crosses their naive little minds that maybe it is better to be in touch with reailty, whether or not it tidily fits into your world view.
    I actually used to watch Fox when it first came on.  I figured it was good to get a completely different viewpoint.  But when they just started making shit up, then I figured, why waste my time.

    "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    by orrg1 on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:01:23 PM PST

  •  Hey, I am paying their salaries dilemma (11+ / 0-)

    Great list of debunking narratives.

    #6 does not quite capture the objection. The libertarian response would be yes, but I can choose to support the grocery store that gives me low prices (with a less well-paid workforce) or shop somewhere which has higher prices but pays better wages. The "State" is deciding what to spend my money and that makes me want to throw a temper tantrum [okay, the classic libertarian would probably not add the last part].

    The quandary is how to attack this "it's my money and I should control how I choose to spend it."

    One approach is to make the communitarian case that we all have to share in the cost of having a civil (and functional) society and that we want qualified people to be in charge of public safety, teaching our children. policing our streets. And so, to get good people you have to market rate for that level of qualifications.

    Of course, the true libertarian will likely deny the initial premise.

    •  The economic response is... (0+ / 0-)

      ...to point out that a lot of goods simply do not function properly if there's "competition", or the "competition" self-destructs into a monopoly.  Anything with network effects (transportation, Internet, phones) is an example, as they're all natural monopolies.   Health care payments is an example, as Kenneth Arrow demonstrated in the 1970s.

      And education is a tricky example, because the actual consumers (the children) are not the ones who make the choice as to what to purchase.  If they were, it might actually work to simply give them vouchers, but as long as it's their parents, it's a disastrous failure.  And there's no way the majority of this population would trust elementary-age children to make the choice of what school to go to themselves, my parents notwithstanding.

      Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

      by neroden on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 01:25:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks! (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ice Blue, cpresley, ColoTim, Matt Z, La Gitane

      That is a good response to the issue.  At a time when we're trying to figure out how to attract the best and brightest to the teaching professiona, it's hardly helpful to engage in anti-teacher rhetoric and to slash their compensation.

      •  Of course, the libertarian doesn't plan on using (0+ / 0-)

        the teacher, so they don't want to pay for their salary and benefits.  But my favorite comeback is that it's an investment in the future and if the kids are well educated, they'll be able to afford my retirement, because if we only have part-time fast food workers funding my retirement through Social Security, we're all going to be screwed.  

        I'd use the argument that I don't want to pay for these wars, but then again, since I use things that are kept low-priced, like oil, because we're using taxpayer money to keep the oil flowing by having our troops over there, it's a more difficult argument to make.

        •  Re (0+ / 0-)
          But my favorite comeback is that it's an investment in the future and if the kids are well educated, they'll be able to afford my retirement, because if we only have part-time fast food workers funding my retirement through Social Security, we're all going to be screwed.  

          This is a (valid) argument to support public education, but it is not an argument for why public employees need to be paid any particular salary.

          (-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 Feb 28, 2011 at 02:43:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's more a comment about (0+ / 0-)

            how we need people who will do an effective job educating kids so they do better than grow up to be fast food part timers.  You can't attract good teachers if you're offering them minimum wage, and bad teachers won't accomplish what you need.

  •  So, look how Fox is covering this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leap Year

    http://nation.foxnews.com/...

    Of fucking course. God forbid they do REAL news.

    I will respect the Republican Party the day they decide to start respecting all Americans....therefore, I will never respect the Republican Party.

    by wolverinethad on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:13:00 PM PST

  •  Well done! (9+ / 0-)

    These are the sentiments that Walker et al are exploiting. It's class warfare and each of your examples shows that. I have similar conversations in my neck of the woods.

    I did have to giggle when on a board of a local news outlet a Walker supporter piped in with, "Kill the bill! Support Scott Walker!"

    One can only assume this person didn't actually go to the polls to vote because based on that statement, they might not have understood the directions or 'Dancing With The Stars' was on that night. Yet, this really is demonstrative of so much of what I hear.

    "He says in public what he says in private." Blah, blah, blah you read one headline.

    "Wisconsin elected him, now let him do his job." Protests are an activity of democracy; you have that right as much as anyone else.

    "Throw the scum out!!", in reference to the Capitol being cleared out. I usually retort with, "Yes! I agree! Scott Walker and the legislators supporting his bill must go!!"

  •  the guy behind the country at the gas station (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WisVoter, ColoTim

    thats almost worthy of a sig line. Genius typo

    we are but temporary visitors on this planet. The microbes own this place <- Me

    by yuriwho on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 08:59:59 PM PST

  •  Good one. But will be helpful to have some links (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nicolemm, Leap Year

    to confirm your points. Like a one-stop shop diary.

    Your argument reg pensions is very well put. We are a nation of pyschopaths indeed.

    Nov 2, 2010: Voters to Obama: "Yes, we did. We looked forward, not backward".

    by Funkygal on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:31:19 PM PST

  •  I also heard (10+ / 0-)

    that people in Wisconsin root for the hated Green Bay Packers. I hope that's also a myth!

  •  Wonder if unions should be doing more to educate (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nicolemm, Leap Year, ColoTim, mkor7

    the public that tax payer money does not go towards their pensions.  In general, the unions should overcome lethargy, be more pro-active and become more lively & militant. And instead of depending on the Dems, the unions should lead them and pressure them, and not be content with crumbs.

    Nov 2, 2010: Voters to Obama: "Yes, we did. We looked forward, not backward".

    by Funkygal on Sun Feb 27, 2011 at 09:39:14 PM PST

  •  Re: #7 (8+ / 0-)

    George Lakoff cleverly pointed out that none other than Abraham Lincoln once pulled a quorum-busting stunt:

    On December 5, 1840, Democrats "proposed an early adjournment, knowing this would bring a speedy end to the State Bank. The Whigs tried to counter by leaving the capitol building before the vote, but the doors were locked. That's when Lincoln made

    He goes on to explain the justification for such actions. Desperate times call for desperate attempts to prevent tyranny of the majority.

  •  Great job point by point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, JeffW

    Hotlisting this one to make sure I'm "on point."

  •  Thugs bring guns to rallys (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pHunbalanced, cas2, KiB

    an threaten to use them.  Anybody see any in Wisconsin?

    Nope, but the Tea Party is full of them.

    When the rest of the world decides to take care of the bully, I hope I'm not in Columbine.

    by georgeNOTw on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 05:12:15 AM PST

  •  About those, quote, Union thugs... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KiB

    I ran into a Union guy I know who marched the Saturday before last.  He said he saw a couple teabaggers with signs mounted on big hulking 2x4s.  He knew they were itching for an excuse to use them as clubs.  I don't know why the Madison PD didn't at least ticket them.  

    Never meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer.--Bruce Graham

    by Ice Blue on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 05:14:49 AM PST

  •  Great list but... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sparhawk

    please take a second look at number 3, I think we may be overreaching.  In general there are two kinds of retirement plans through work - defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans.  The WI workers have a pension that is defined benefit.

    What that means is that although their contribution is part of the funding of the plan if there are some bad years for the pension investments, someone else has to make up the difference in benefits.

    So I'm inclined to believe that the WI gov also pays part of the pension (as most pensions work that way) but don't know specific details.

    However I did recently run across an article at Forbes that attempted to correct this and there is more explanation there.  Read the update at the bottom:

    http://blogs.forbes.com/...

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 05:56:01 AM PST

    •  Wisconsin's Pension Fund (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cpresley, icemilkcoffee, BritLaw, KiB

      is actually doing comparatively well, and there is no current need for the state to support it.  It's 100% paid for my employee contributions.

      •  Thanks but do you have any links (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, ColoTim

        that discuss the details of this?  The closest I have found so far is here, but this kind of terminology causes my eyes to glaze over and it also doesn't seem to back up your assertion - although the WRS has been doing great:

        Yet the plan is nearly 100 percent funded. (A technical caveat: Its high funding ratio is due partly to the fact that it uses a different method (frozen entry age) to calculate liabilities than the one used by most plans (entry age normal), according to Dave Stella, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds, which administers the plan. Regardless, using the EAN method, the fund would have been 88 percent funded in 2009, still close to tops in the district.)

        BTW, I'm not a troll.  My wife is a proud member of Illinois AFSCME and I'm just trying to understand how these pensions work.  And if this is going to continue to be a political football in the next few years, I want documented facts.

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 07:20:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's an easy solution (0+ / 0-)

          Remove state support for the pension plan and let it stand or fall as it will. Hell, put the unions in charge of managing it.

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

          by Sparhawk on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 02:44:52 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  your diary is now my facebook status (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueDragon

    Thanks for posting - I'm having dinner with a Libertarian friend tonight, and your diary will help me keep calm and redirect in the course of the evening's inevitable rebuttals!

  •  Re; Pensions (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, linkage, BritLaw

    I would like to expand on point 5. While it is true the total number of private companies offering defined benefit pension plans down,  these major Fortune 100 corporations still offer defined benefit plans to their employees; GE, Exxon, AT&T, Verizon, Ford, Lockheed Martin, UPS, Honeywell, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor & Gamble, Hewitt Packard, 3M, Pepsi, Bank Of America, CitiGroup and Wachovia

    http://www.thestreet.com/...

    Now another thing needs to be said, while many large corporations have eliminated defined benefit plans for new employees, they are still responsible for plans people vested into during the 70's 80' and 90's. And, they can not renege on those commitments. In fact, if a company goes bankrupt, those plans are insured by law. Public employees have no such protection against politicians like Walker destroying their pensions.

    Also, private employees get social security and, frequently, matching contributions to 401k plans, none of which are available to public employees. In fact, if a public employee ever worked in the private sector and paid social security taxes, they can not collect full benefits, which is completely unfair.

  •  Thanks! You have provided all the rebuttals (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage

    needed in my big old facebook discussion.

    Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day. Harry Truman

    by temptxan on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 08:18:56 AM PST

  •  Thank You ... (0+ / 0-)

    may I re-print this for my Democratic Club?  Great list.

    JON

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 08:28:42 AM PST

  •  Thanks for this (0+ / 0-)

    I've already sourced it a couple of times to fight off some nutty right-wingers :)

    “There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.”-Freya Stark

    by in2mixin on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 08:45:55 AM PST

  •  excellent--will share far and wide n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
    I support Bob Massie for MA-Sen

    by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 08:45:56 AM PST

  •  It would be so nice if people actually learned... (0+ / 0-)

    their history.  And wishing the best of others would also be nice.  It's funny how have nots(who thinks they are better) make excuses for the truly haves for the detriment of their future and their future generations.

  •  What about (0+ / 0-)

    the important detail that the budget expires in June - so there is no sense of urgency now.

    Sarah Palin - reality TV is the closest she's ever going to get to reality.

    by jackandjill on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 09:38:30 AM PST

  •  Special Interest Group vs The Little Guy (0+ / 0-)

    This is your typical fight pitting a very powerful Special Interest Group- public union/teachers union VS the little guy. The little guy happens to be the tax payer, who is busting their butt to make ends meet. The little guy is the poor person who is struggling to put food on the table and heat on in the winter. You see, like most cases of Special Interest (think Wall Street crooks, Insurance Companies, Pharma, Oil, teachers union), when Special Interest/public union/teachers union Wins, the little guy loses.

    So, who are YOU backing in this fight- Big Bad Special Interest Unions are the little guy?

  •  "I don't have a pension" is nonsense (0+ / 0-)

    In fact every american has a pension. It's called Social security.

    I don't know about Wisconsin, but here in CA, a lot of public workers get only their pension, and NO social security.

  •  Glad you explained "I'm paying their salries" crap (0+ / 0-)

    Good diary.

    "No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar." Abraham Lincoln

    by appledown on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:26:30 AM PST

  •  "I took my beating, now you take yours" (0+ / 0-)

    I am frankly devastated whenever I hear someone say these kinds of things - "just be glad you have a job!", "I have been downsized, why can't you?" "My benefits have been cut, why can't yours?"

    We are rapidly becoming a nation of sheep, and the Oligarch could not be happier about it.

  •  Excellent diary (0+ / 0-)

    I hope Florida will learn something from Wisconsin.  We have a more difficult hurdle to overcome because the Republicans hold a veto proof majority in the legislature.

    The United States is not just losing its capacity to do great things. It's losing its soul.--Bob Herbert

    by gulfgal98 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:26:46 PM PST

  •  Nicely done n/t (0+ / 0-)

    There already is class warfare in this country. Unfortunately, the rich are winning. Sue, West Allis, Wis.

    by Puddytat on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:29:20 PM PST

  •  Very well stated (0+ / 0-)

    I appreciate your concise, clear and direct language in addressing these critical issues and dispelling the myths.

    Rec'd the diary and tried to tip your jar, but the mojo isn't working at the moment; please consider this comment a giant "tip". Thanks for a useful diary!

    On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. --Barack Obama

    by Jennifer Clare on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 12:46:29 PM PST

  •  Dean Baker on public pension funds (0+ / 0-)

    I haven't seen this study before, but perhaps everyone else has (won't be a first :>))? Anyway, it seems that there has been serious misrepresentation about the condition of the public pension funds.

    Conclusion
    The shortfalls facing most state and local pension funds have been seriously misrepresented in public debates. The major cause of these shortfalls has not been inadequate contributions by state governments, but rather the plunge in the stock market following the collapse of the housing bubble. Given the low PE ratios in the stock market, pension fund assumptions on the future rate of return on their assets are consistent with most projections of economic growth and past experience. Furthermore, when expressed relative to the size of their economies, most states are facing shortfalls that appear easily manageable.

    http://www.cepr.net/...

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