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The confrontation in Wisconsin is all about busting public employee unions and has nothing to do...

The confrontation in Wisconsin is all about busting public employee unions and has nothing to do with fixing a budget crisis in the state, Paul Krugman writes. Unions act as a "counterweight to the political power of big money," so big money wants them out of the way.
Comments (221)
  • Idiotic. Profoundly and dangerously idiotic.


    Yes. Collective bargaining by public employees - which not Roosevelt or Kennedy believed should be allowed - is under threat - the world is ending.


    The fact is that they will still be able to bargain for wages - that continues


    And the benefits are still going to be the richest or among the richest in the US


    You don't hear about any of that.


    And this is Union busting?


    Pay them more - pay them all more


    - just raise taxes on Public Employees - so you pay 10% more at every level and there is no tax deductible health care. States can impose their own special taxs.
    - let them pick up their own dues
    - make it a right to work state
    - prohibit public employee unions from making campaign contributiuons.


    Not fair? Not reasonable?


    21 Feb 2011, 04:39 PM Reply Like
  • These pension and wage negotiations exempt the Wisconsin safety personnel, i.e. firefighters and police.


    Pity. That's where the real savings would be gained in public employees pay and benefits. The teachers' yearly wage and benefits add up to $90K; the police and firefighters about $150K
    21 Feb 2011, 07:15 PM Reply Like
  • One step at a time... Hopefully it won't stop here.
    21 Feb 2011, 07:20 PM Reply Like
  • There are a couple of provisions in this bill that do open it up to charges of union busting. These are a requirement for collective bargaining units to be re-certified by a vote every year, and it eliminates the ability of unions to collect dues from member paychecks.


    21 Feb 2011, 07:21 PM Reply Like
  • and the problem with that (re-certification) is??? Seriously, it seems to me that most unions have gone the way of the manual typewriter or lithograph machine: they work when you have everything aligned to their liking, and you're screwed into their level of production.


    I'm glad I'm not union. I have to help people who are union with paying for their court costs, and they can't get a job because they're behind on their dues, and they can't catch up on their dues because they don't have a job.
    21 Feb 2011, 07:55 PM Reply Like
  • Nobody should be compelled to join a union nor should any money be taken out of members checks automatically. They should go and hand over their hard earned money individually and ask what they got for it. They might find they can do better on their own.


    It also seems paradoxical that the union says they are willing to have the membership make financial sacrifice but they don't want the organizational rules changed. If the union cannot continue to deliver material benefit to the members then what good is it? Or if their value was so compelling why would they worry about anyone leaving? The members should also be wondering if they are getting thrown under the bus by union management so they can stay in power and control.


    The WI union will have to give back a lot going forward to get their members to market benefits and help the state balance the budget. The same problem exists in a lot of other states and at the federal level.
    21 Feb 2011, 08:54 PM Reply Like
  • holy crap...econdoc and I agree on something. There is hope for humanity after all.


    On another note, is there such thing as "Nobel clawbacks"? Between Krugman and the POTUS, that's a nice chunk of change that can be used toward the deficit.
    21 Feb 2011, 09:17 PM Reply Like
    21 Feb 2011, 09:21 PM Reply Like
  • what do you think will happen/be said, if the alternative happens which is 500 teachers being fired?? Im tired of it seeming that everyone wants their cake and eat it too.
    21 Feb 2011, 09:31 PM Reply Like
  • That would be bad?


    Sorry, no understand what you say very good.
    21 Feb 2011, 09:58 PM Reply Like
  • why is anyone exempted? why? why? why?


    can you tell I'm pissed?


    we just saw the 2011 final our increase for health benefits or our empolyees ths year - 9% and the broker says we did well because our experience is better than average! double digits is what others are seeing. how does anyone afford this?


    we did well! he said, with only a 9% increase courtesy of the local Blues Plan.


    we won't offer it next year or double the deducible.


    this is the reality. we are growing we are hiring but we cannot afford healthcare. just cannot afford it. we got no bailout. we made it through the recession. and on the other side we find this?


    this action by the Wisconsin teachers and the rest of their ilk is an insult. pure and simple. and Obama - yest agian is failing to lead - pandering to the lunatic fringe - it is like having Rush Limbaugh in office.


    when do we see real leadership Mr. President? stand up and do what's right. enough with the rhetoric.


    21 Feb 2011, 10:47 PM Reply Like
  • lowdawg81 I am currently contemplating the question of 'should public schools exist and should public universities exist'. It used to really mess with my brain that my engineering professors had their money come from the government. If they were good engineers wouldn't they be out in industry working? So should public universities go too? I am leaning towards that. Just have all private schools and adjunct faculty who pick up courses part time. Working for the government either turns people into socialists or communists or fascists. Lets all be capitalists.An online course is probably better than an undersgraduate lecture hall with 200 students. The universities need to get with modern technology.
    22 Feb 2011, 12:28 AM Reply Like
  • as a single father and a recent college grad. Im in your boat that public schools and univerisities need to go. Colleges anymore are nothing more than daycare for young adults to fornicate and get high. Most of my finance professors were ex Westinghouse employees and we all know how well that company was ran into the ground. My economics teacher did nothing but praise Krugman and Kenysian economics plus many other topics that are just way past wrong and misleading.


    As for grammer schools come on we spend $14k a year per student. This is just obseen. But yet each year kids get 3 months off because god forbid union teacher work year round like the vast majority do and the students in the future. Each year American students fall further and further behind the rest of the world in education. But this wont stop unions from useing the kids as hostiages everytime their contract is set to be renegotated. I really wish I had more options to send my kid to a school she might actually be challenged and learn something. A private school would far outperform what a public school can offer.
    22 Feb 2011, 07:04 PM Reply Like
  • Yeah it is about power and the unions are a counterweight to the big money elites. But the fact is neither represents the taxpayers adequately and we are getting skinned from both sides. We not only need to get rid of unions for government employees, we need to reign in the financial elites and have them regulated by and accountable to the public interest. Thne tea party so far is the best bet to stand up to the elites (if they don't get absorbed by them) because the DNC and RNC are both organized, funded, and controlled by the finanicla elites that cannot stand the idea of accountability. Maybe time for a taxpayers' strike? How about everyone claim 9 exemptions and stop making estimated tax payments; that is legal and increases your amount owed by some interest for late payment, but would teach them about cash flow. Maybe a demand to stop charging interest for not prepaying the taxes would even make the protestors whole.
    21 Feb 2011, 04:41 PM Reply Like
  • Some union members have special skills and apprentice programs to teach aspiring members, but this does not apply to unions of government employees. Government employee unions mostly have no special skills, but are banded together solely to protect their pay and positions. The main effect of the modern state workers' union is to prevent state management from dismissing incompetent or unneeded personnel who happen to be members.


    Try dismissing an incompetent union teacher. You can't do it.
    21 Feb 2011, 04:43 PM Reply Like
  • On the financial side I would state it a bit more bluntly which is that they are banded together to extort ever more money and benefits from the taxpayer. That game has now run its course.


    These employees should be paid market rates and given respect but they need to come out of the union bubble.
    21 Feb 2011, 08:59 PM Reply Like
  • Krugman, you have to stop drinking the socialist kool-aid by your master Obama.......isn't good for the Nation...we are pillaging the Nation's wealth to preserve broken entitlements and in the process destroying our childrens future...
    21 Feb 2011, 04:45 PM Reply Like
  • As usual Krugman is defending the liberal, academic view of what economics was rather then the reality of power politics.


    Public unions are abhorrent to a free market and anathema to the concept of "public servant". The financial weight they utilize in elections particularly in states which have a "closed shop" - that is a monopoly for those economists i.e. Krugman distorts freedom of speech and choice of the individual members since they have no recourse.


    I would suggest Mr. Krugman look at California as a worst case scenario of "public servant" unions run amok.


    Yes - Mr. Krugman the issue in Wisconsin is about budgets as well as politics. But, this issue has been relatively muted until the long term efforts of public unionism has been dollarized so the public can see what they have to pay.


    Mr. Krugman, let the public speak or are the East Coast liberals too abhorrent to popular elections and democracy - maybe they have a concern that their feathered nests are being jeopardized.


    J. Renner
    21 Feb 2011, 04:45 PM Reply Like
  • Look, Krugman is a socialist.


    inquiring minds are reading snips from a Letter from FDR Regarding Collective Bargaining of Public Unions written August 16, 1937.
    All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management.


    The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations.


    Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees...............
    21 Feb 2011, 04:55 PM Reply Like
  • "The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. In the private sector, organized employees and the employer meet across the bargaining table as (theoretical) equals. But in the public sector the employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress."
    Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1937
    21 Feb 2011, 04:59 PM Reply Like
  • Collective bargaining in the public sector allows politicians to buy votes at the expense of the taxpayer. It presents a blatant conflict of interest for the politician doing the bidding.
    21 Feb 2011, 05:10 PM Reply Like
  • Any government that has a large public sector is vulnerable to vote buying by politicians whether or not there is a union involved.
    21 Feb 2011, 07:24 PM Reply Like
  • Wrong, collective bargaining in the public sector paradoxically defends employees from the dangers of big government.
    21 Feb 2011, 10:12 PM Reply Like
  • Does anyone really believe Paul Krugman is capable of objective analysis and thinking?


    Freeport, Maine
    21 Feb 2011, 05:21 PM Reply Like
  • Makes you wonder why anyone would put his utterings in print.....
    21 Feb 2011, 05:35 PM Reply Like
  • Makes you realize how unrealistic his ideas are.
    21 Feb 2011, 06:10 PM Reply Like
  • As an accomplished academic who reads the papers you'd think he would observe that public employees 1) would have seen the plight of private-sector union members during the past three decades and B) would understand that it was the private employers and taxes who were paying for THEIR benefits. Now it's their turn. I thought socialism was partly based on the concept that we're all in this together.
    22 Feb 2011, 04:56 PM Reply Like
  • Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the public sector unions in Wisconsin have, as is now being reported, agreed to collective agreement concessions that meet the fiscal threshold specified in the budget proposals of Wisconsin’s Governor. This being so, hasn’t a basis favorable to the Governments current needs been established for amendment of existing collective agreements and therefore what legitimate grounds now exist for denying the workers covered by those collective agreements the right to bargain collectively in the future?


    Sure it means that the employer’s representative and the union representatives will have to negotiate new collective agreements in the future but what is wrong with that or right with the notion that workers are not entitled to negotiate about their terms of employment? Remember, as well, that one of the main functions of a collective agreement is to establish a just process by which any day to day complaints that the employer or employees might have about the way work is being conducted can be resolved. How would such complaints be resolved in the absence of a collective agreement?


    Undoubtedly some will argue that if a worker doesn’t like his or her terms of employment or the way those terms are being currently applied, then he or she should quite and get a job somewhere else. It can also be pointed out that many workers, including workers for governments elsewhere in the US, aren’t unionized or don’t have a collective agreement. Aren’t these, however, simply arguments in favour of the lowest common denominator and not ones proportion to show that the role of the government as an employer is improved if it is exempted from the laws relating to union certification applicable to private sector employers.


    Some will argue that it is the role of Governments to provide services to the electorate at the least possible cost and that, if a special exception of Government as an employer from laws relating to union certification and collective bargaining help cut its labour costs, then so be it. Presumably the same argument can be made in favour of allowing Governments to unilaterally change the terms of other contracts (i.e. bonds, supplies construction etc.) if it found it advantageous to do so. Put that way, the inherent inequitable nature of this argument is clear.
    21 Feb 2011, 05:24 PM Reply Like
  • Collective bargaining in the future would simply become another round of arm twisting and head right down the road to where we are now. How is it that the majority of America operates with out a collective agreement if they are so critical as you would have us all believe. Obviously they are not needed.


    Pathetic workers can not be fired, layoffs result in keeping employees based on seniority not worth.


    Finally the government did change the terms of a contract they had with bond holders when Greedy Motors declared bankruptcy and the bond holders got screwed so the Unions could get a better deal.


    I believe that was settled in the negotiations between Obamas auto czar and the unions. Its time that the unions woke up. The people are not taking this crap anymore. The me, me, me mentality of unions is bankrupting us and we aren't gonna take it any more.
    21 Feb 2011, 09:04 PM Reply Like
  • Why can't some workers be union and some not be union IN THE SAME COMPANY? Parallel labor, side by side.


    The company could then pay the non union workers more. The union workers would get less compensation.


    Or would that not work too well in Hoffa-land?
    21 Feb 2011, 10:00 PM Reply Like
  • Comparing commercial contract law with employer to employee relationships is a stretch. In the former two parties agree to do business for a set time for specific terms and both have rights to walk away. In the latter we rarely sign contracts with each employee but general expectations are that the employer will try to take care of the employee to a reasonable extent unless they don't perform or unless the employer is under duress. In the case of a union the flexibility to communicate and manage employees is reduced dramatically as unions are not meant to drive change unless it is higher wages and benefits. In our local district we had teachers suspended for looking at porno during school hours and it took some time to finally get them fired because the union took up their case. That is just one example.


    When the employer is under stress as in WI the union is an obstacle. In addition the local governments who are paying for salaries and benefits cannot control the people they are paying and those rates are determined at a higher level. Therefore the union has maximum leverage and the local governmental bodies have little to none. That model only invites abuse and an unchecked growth in wages and benefits.


    From a larger point of view public unions are only paid votes for the democratic party so this only invites more abuse and graft in all branches of government which we do not need. If I vote for raises and benefits YOY I will likely get your votes and since unions are pro democrat they will be pushing their members to support the democrats.


    And by the way the federal government has stepped all over contract law in the past 2 to 4 years so by your logic I guess it is open season on union contracts.
    21 Feb 2011, 10:14 PM Reply Like
  • Fairly accurate. I live in WI.


    State govt is 3.5 billion in debt. Govt employee pension fund is 95% funded. Local govts (county, muni, etc) are about 45% funded by the state and balance is local property taxes, etc.


    Requiring pension and health care to about 8% of employees' wage impacts about 30% of that contribution or 1 billion (still only 33% there).


    Removing collective bargaining (except wage increases which are capped to the CPI anyways) will 1). force a lot of early retirements 2).Allow local govt to renegotiate local wages


    Replacement workers are hired back at 15 per hour +/- and existing wages could be forced lower (no collective bargaining) to the same range. Now, state can cut all local govt contributions and State saves 25% of wages or the remaining 2.5 billion plus another 1 billion +/-. Or phase in over 5 years and accomplish the same objective.


    In WI, most school and local govt budgets are about 80% wages and benefits.


    Governor keeps delaying release of his actual budget proposal until the wage concession bill is passed. Presume, he doesn't want the unions to think about where the other 2.5 billion may come from.


    22 Feb 2011, 12:25 AM Reply Like
  • Bob,


    Governor IMHO has his eye on much larger cuts to employee's. I think he will cut all local funding (45% comes from state to county-muni) and removing collective bargaining will allow the local muni to reduce wages and keep personnel. Or, replace retiring workers at new, lower wages. Read my comment below.
    22 Feb 2011, 12:31 AM Reply Like
  • Unions came about in this country in the days of the Homestead mill strike and amidst a backdrop of virtually no safety regulations. Sick leave? Paid vacations? Please. What's amazing is that most workers, if you read works from back then, would go on the record desiring very little other than fair wages and a safe place to work. Not saying that makes the concept of them obsolete but it makes you think.
    22 Feb 2011, 05:00 PM Reply Like
  • Middle class get poorer and the rich (Koch Brothers and we stock holders) get richer.
    22 Feb 2011, 08:48 PM Reply Like
  • OSHA ensures worker safety for EVERYONE in America now, not unions.
    23 Feb 2011, 10:11 AM Reply Like
  • Don't forget SOROS.
    23 Feb 2011, 10:12 AM Reply Like
  • "Big Money" wants them out of the way. Yes, as a resident of Wisconsin I would appreciate that public employees pitch in. Krugman can try paying taxes in Wisconsin before commenting further....
    21 Feb 2011, 05:36 PM Reply Like
  • How 'bout they get pay and benefits on par with their private school teacher counterparts? 90% of the working population in the U.S. seems to get along just fine without the ability to 'collectively bargain'. Why should people who are employed by the public sector be treated any differently?


    What are they so scared of?
    21 Feb 2011, 05:51 PM Reply Like
  • hi John,


    do you think Wisconsin can absorb the $120k non union teacher salary in my area ?
    21 Feb 2011, 09:29 PM Reply Like
  • Perhaps your state has some of its own issues to deal with. What does that have to do with unions in Wisconsin?
    21 Feb 2011, 09:43 PM Reply Like
  • the educators in Wisconsin are not over paid.
    21 Feb 2011, 09:52 PM Reply Like
  • Compensation, much like real estate, is very dependent on location. I never said they were overpaid in the first place. I asked why it would be such a bad thing if they had a compensation package on par with private sector people in the same profession.


    Why do public sector employees deserve anything more than what those in the private sector receive?
    21 Feb 2011, 10:02 PM Reply Like
  • We are told over and over that the government is here to protect people. Now we have unions that have to protect the people. Which is it? We certainly don't need both unless its another case of our big government failing in their responsibility. In the latter case, we don't need the government.


    In reality, unions in the government are just a way for the government to legally pay for votes, nothing more.
    21 Feb 2011, 06:09 PM Reply Like
  • I thought Krugman was a communist...maybe I'm wrong.
    21 Feb 2011, 06:10 PM Reply Like
  • Conspiracy theorists are starting to look much less crazy. Most of us have no problem calling Krugman/Geithner/insert worthless politician's name here, but really, is it stupidity or blatant lying to conceal their true motives? I haven't been to an Ivy League, but can't imagine anyone graduating being as stupid as we think these people are. How else can their actions and speeches be explained?
    21 Feb 2011, 09:49 PM Reply Like
  • "How else can their actions and speeches be explained?"


    What doesn't make sense to us, makes perfect sense in the underground Grand Lodge of Master Wizards.


    Those who attend the annual Orange Grove meetings, secret handshakes, tribal neck clicks, $5000/hr professional escorts.


    Soros at the altar, bleeding out a goat.
    21 Feb 2011, 10:06 PM Reply Like
  • I don't see why this issue is so controversial. They should be allowed to collectively bargain and then "collectively" thrown in to the unemployment line. Too many people need jobs. Let the scabs have their jobs. Then something about cake and eating it too.......
    21 Feb 2011, 06:11 PM Reply Like
  • my neighbor just told me he is about to retire on 14K a month from being a fire captain.


    jealously is kicking in again
    21 Feb 2011, 06:33 PM Reply Like
  • Unions do nothing but lower the bar and protect the worst of the worst. Isn't the bar low enough when it comes to service from government employees already? What I don't like is that he exempted police, fire, and rescue from the same rules. Why should they be retiring in their 50's with 6 figure pensions for the rest of their lives? It isn't sustainable and isn't equitable. Stupid me, going to engineering school, working my through, paying off all those loans, getting a professional license starting a business (lost it to dbe favored competetion), saving for my retirement and yet I will still probably work till 67 and not have nearly the retirement they have. Should have just became a fireman out of high school and I could be retired with a 6 figure income by now. No wonder it is so hard to get one of those jobs.
    21 Feb 2011, 07:20 PM Reply Like
  • For my 1,000th post at SA, I'd like to state there are entirely too many police in the USA. We cannot possibly sustain their salaries and their pensions. Unionized police are particularly beholden to one party which slavers benefits in return for political support, a viscious circle. The jig is up as the citizenry wake up to the cost.


    Unfortunately, there is no way to separate police from their union. It is a political patronage system with the weight of the Patriot Act behind it. Certainly not intended by the framers of our Constitution.
    21 Feb 2011, 07:39 PM Reply Like
  • C'mon! Those two fine officers that are always present in their patrol car in the bushes on the side of Hwy. 51 are there to keep me safe! Take away their jobs, and who would fill out the lunch crowd at Perkins and Chik-Fil-A?
    21 Feb 2011, 07:53 PM Reply Like
  • First of all i concur early retirement puts stress on the budgets but by no means does any public employee retire with a "6 figure" income. People have a right to voice opinions but the facts should be stated correctly in fairness to all concerned parties. I am very versed in labor and speak from a factual knowledge base. I do not believe many individuals understand the fundamental need for organized labor because of the abuse union officials may excercise. I respect opinions from both sides of the issue but fully understand this is not about balancing a budget. This is the republicans gearing up for 2012, and as pawns the disgruntled advocates for busting unions are doing what they were setup to do(pavlov?), just how pathetic is that?
    21 Feb 2011, 09:26 PM Reply Like
  • Uh, yes, in California the prison guards and firefighters very much do retire with six figure income and not with very much time served either.


    The prison guard pension contracts were inked under the tenure of the recalled Gray Davis who was using dot bomb bullshit such as Webvan and as his salary trajectory stat to guide off of, pure bubble bullshit.


    We've been underwater ever since.
    21 Feb 2011, 10:11 PM Reply Like
  • I think you should check the facts in regards to public employees retiring with six figure income. I believe CA has over 8,000 currently and more are joining that number every day.


    Organized labor is fine IMO in situations where the management and the employees have goals that often conflict. In the private sector I run my business to benefit myself. It is understandable that the employees might want to negotiate with myself on a one to one type environment. Government is supposedly existing to do the things that an individual can't do (yes I know thats long since passed us by). There is not supposed to be any profit motive in government.... so why do the workers need a union? And what have the unions accomplished? From this taxpayer's point of view the unions have bribed politicians (mainly Democrats, but not exclusively) through financing their campaigns... in return for pay raises, benefits, and work rules that DO NOT BENEFIT THE PUBLIC!!! The majority of government workers I have interacted with could not make it 20 weeks in the private sector - that doesn't mean all, it doesn't mean 95%. There are some well meaning people trying to "serve". But unfortunately these types of jobs and the security (a nice term for you can't fire the idiots) attracts the mediocre in larger numbers than the private sector does.


    Now if the public sector unions want to acknowledge that 1. People must perform in their jobs.... and get evaluated.... and get fired for poor performance.... and get raises based on MERIT (ie no more "step" raises). 2. Allow membership to be up to the individual. Why should the government collect union dues? The government doesn't collect YMCA membership dues. and 3. Accept LOWER pay scales than their private sector counterparts - this is PUBLIC SERVICE, not public union enrichment. Then they can organize all they want. Since they aren't going to agree to any of this, I'd say the governor of Wisconsin is on the right track.


    For years when I was young we listened to public employees lament that they earned so much less - and all they wanted was to be paid "close to what the private sector made". Now they earn much more..... and suddenly it doesn't matter what is happening in the private sector. Unfortunately, for far too many in government "service", its all about them and not at all about those they are supposedly serving.
    21 Feb 2011, 10:56 PM Reply Like
  • all you need to know is this---physical gold, and offshore accounts. keeps the union skm out of your pocket, and you can live worry free, minimizing thier theft from your pocketbook...they'll doddle away your last penny, because "without them society will collapse" bwhahahahahahahahahaha...
    21 Feb 2011, 07:31 PM Reply Like
  • So Crudman, "big money" now = taxpayer?


    Got it.
    21 Feb 2011, 07:47 PM Reply Like
  • Wisconsin Governor is one crook corporate whoe paid by big money to destroy the little guy. They must stop this criminal.
    Why they do not go after the banks who got us into this mess.
    21 Feb 2011, 08:10 PM Reply Like
  • *burp*
    21 Feb 2011, 10:11 PM Reply Like
  • I believe the Tea Partiers are going to lose many millions of bamboozled supporters over the Wisconsin brouhaha.


    If Big Labor is smart, it will diligently research exactly how much prominent zillionaires like the Koch brothers and various other Tea Party backers will be saving via the tax cuts they were gifted with a few weeks ago and compare these figures to how much Wisconsin "saves" by gutting the lives of public sector employees and their families.


    They should also start stressing the concept that "austerity" is actually code for "keeping the status quo" and preventing any growth that might result in a return to the United States' implicit social contract, whereby every American shares in the fruits of our country's wealth and accomplishments.


    Many centrists from both major parties believe that there should be NO very wealthy nor very poor people in America - that we should be a 100 percent bourgeois country and that our middle-classness is the very root of our now diminished prominence as the beacon of hope to the world's striving and oppressed.


    How ironic that we can emotionally support such striving in other countries but now refuse to acknowledge just how far we've strayed from the ideals that once made us great.
    21 Feb 2011, 08:25 PM Reply Like
  • I think you'll find yourself on the wrong side of this one. It isn't that everyone on this post is rooting for the greedy corporate pig - we want their heads too, if they violate our laws. We also want control again over our laws, so that there are accurate definitions about who is breaking them. The Socialists have no clue what that means. We do. This is about statist welfare to provide a never ending stream of votes - a feedback mechanism who's time has come to depart. No one can afford to pay another person to work for 20 years and be retired with full pay and medical for 40+ more. It's insane. It means they're all really making multiples of what the private sector is making. I've been working for over 40 years and I'll be lucky to be able to salvage enough money to retire for 20, after the govt gets through trashing our currency. It's all very sick and the public unions need a major butt kicking out of town. That doesn't excuse anyone else. This isn't an "either," it's a "both."
    21 Feb 2011, 08:57 PM Reply Like
  • Isn't retirement age in the US 60 years or so .. and the average life span in the early to mid 70's? Where do you get 40 years of retirement?
    21 Feb 2011, 10:22 PM Reply Like
  • Ven:


    I don't believe the union members were supporting the Tea Party so what is their loss?


    And fat government wages and benefits are under scrutiny not because Tea Partiers showed up but because our government is drunk with spending at every level and millions of Americans are fed up and also scared that our government cannot help themselves and are out of control.


    If there are no wealthy or no poor I submit we will all be poor since why should anyone try to be exceptional? And since I have traveled I can assert that our poor are rich compared to poor in other parts of the world. This economic model we have in the US is still the largest in the world and people keep moving here to take advantage of it. That is quite an endorsement.
    21 Feb 2011, 10:25 PM Reply Like
  • I think you'll find vast majorities of "tea-partiers" support tax code reform.... including killing the carried interest rip off.... including getting rid of deductions.... including getting rid of corporate welfare.


    I'm just an American - wanting to leave my children and grandchildren with at least the same opportunity to chase their dreams that I had..... no guarantee that they will achieve them.... but also not buried in a sea of debt that limits their opportunity, their choices, and their dreams.


    What is happening in Wisconsin IMO is Americans taking back part of their country from the bureaucracy. Government workers have become an "elite" class of people in this country, being paid far better than those they supposedly serve - and serving in mediocrity far too often. Teachers used to be well respected, now they are just viewed as protected people, neglecting the futures of our children while protecting the worst in their profession.
    21 Feb 2011, 11:01 PM Reply Like
  • Then go after the corporation they steal more than any public employee.
    21 Feb 2011, 11:19 PM Reply Like
  • Most public employee retirement programs are based on years-worked. If you start working at around 20 years of age, you can work until 40 and retire with full benefits. There are quite a few public sector jobs that, if you don't start working there until you're over 50, that you can retire with full benefits (retirement income plus healthcare fully paid) at 65. That's only 15 years of work, for God-only-knows how many years of full retirement. I know a lot of people who are still around at 80. My mom is going strong at 89, on her teacher retirement. Oh, and by the way - she has full medical coverage through that plan also. Can you do math? Get a grip here - this is simple stuff that they're trying to turn into some sort of civil rights issue - IT ISN'T - it's simple math. We can't afford it!! You'll find YOURSELF WORKING to 80 to continue their benefits. It's the closest thing to the Soviet system we've come up with yet. I can't fathom why this is so hard to understand.
    23 Feb 2011, 09:13 AM Reply Like


    To much bewilderment, this is about power plants and a vertical monopoly the Koch Brothers have their eye on in Wisconsin.


    So in short:


    1) Koch Brothers get their puppet Governor Walker in power
    2) Governor Walker gins up a crisis
    3) Democrats and Progressives take the bait and counter-protest on collective bargaining
    4) Governor Walker will compromise on collective bargaining if the rest of the budget is passed as is
    5) Bill passes, with trojan horse give-a-way to the Koch Brothers nested in
    6) Koch Brothers will buy Wisconsin state-owned power plants for pennies on the dollar in closed unsolicitated bids for which there will be no oversight
    7) Koch Brothers get the best vertical monopoly in a generation
    21 Feb 2011, 08:35 PM Reply Like
  • troll....................
    21 Feb 2011, 09:52 PM Reply Like
  • And if your point #6 is true then I'd support prosecution for whomever was involved. This isn't either/or, left/right, etc, etc. Its about living within our means.


    I support the legislation in Wisconsin.


    I also support ending the carried interest giveaway in the tax code.


    I also support criminal prosecution for the Wall Street folks that committed fraud.


    I also support balancing the budget every year except in cases of all out war. And that means cutting defense spending.... it means eliminating government agencies, it means less services in my community provided by the government, it means that I retire later and receive less in social security, it means Medicare/Medicaide limit the things the government will pay for. Some/all of those things will affect me now/later in life - thats tough.


    Balance the damn budget!
    21 Feb 2011, 11:07 PM Reply Like
  • XIV Global: Your on to something.
    21 Feb 2011, 11:12 PM Reply Like
  • David Cool!
    22 Feb 2011, 12:56 AM Reply Like
  • Why not tax the Koch brothers another 1%, problem solved. They have spent great wealth on destroying the American family. To them all lower class workers (60% of total) should work for $8 per hour, higher than minimun wage.
    21 Feb 2011, 08:46 PM Reply Like
  • How about a net worth tax on Soros, Gates and Buffett and all other billionaires? That would raise plenty.
    21 Feb 2011, 09:52 PM Reply Like
  • Well in all fairness to Mr. Buffett, he has publicly said that he should be taxed more. How do you argue that?
    21 Feb 2011, 09:57 PM Reply Like
  • he has also publicly argued all the rest of us should pay more. how can you support that?
    21 Feb 2011, 11:31 PM Reply Like
  • While at the same time employing lots of lawyers and accountants to minimize his tax bill. Buffet has the best PR people in the country.
    22 Feb 2011, 07:37 AM Reply Like
  • Buffet has become more annoying and the media fawning over him is disgusting. He thinks everyone should pay more taxes and he has not even noticed a tax bill in decades he is so rich. Put him on a middle class income and budget with an 8:00 to 5:00 stressful job with a commute and we will see if he has the same outlook.


    He is also the same guy who in front of congress in early June of 2010 and made the lame statement that the rating agencies and specifically Moodys could not be faulted for the housing debacle. He owned a ton of Moodys. Obviously Buffet talks his own book.
    22 Feb 2011, 09:40 PM Reply Like
  • C'mon, let's just stop and realize Krugman is a Borrow-and-Spend socialist, who believes heartily in Big Brother government. Stopped reading Krugman when he repeated often that deficits don't matter. An economist has become an ultra-liberal idealogue and a one-trick pony beating the same drum over and over. What part of fiscally responsible does Krugman not understand? He has no answers other than borrow...and....spend. And it's not working.
    21 Feb 2011, 09:07 PM Reply Like
  • When you say borrow and spend, do you mean like George Bush and his 2 trillion for 2 wars?
    21 Feb 2011, 10:55 PM Reply Like
  • Bush is out of office, it's now obama and his 2 two trillion $ wars.
    22 Feb 2011, 01:53 PM Reply Like
  • Ignorance is apparently bliss on this blog. But I suppose if you're spouting off and not having to back it up ... then it's alot easier to sleep at night.


    Lets deal in facts.



    Median earnings by a union worker in public or private industry is approximately $1,000 per week.



    There are 400,000 unionized workers in Wisconsin. This amount of workers represents approximately 15% of the work force.



    This document is indicating that there are approximately 249,000,000 people in the workforce in the US of which approximately 21,000,000 are public sector unionized workers. So approximately 8.4% of the workforce. Based on that we can likely assume that in Wisconsin there are approximately 8.4% public union workers and approximately 6.6% private union workers. Additionally this would mean that there are about 224,000 public unionized workers in Wisconsin at all levels. However, only approximately 1/3rd of these are state workers. The remainder are either federal or local employees and should not be included. Therefore approximately 75,000 workers.


    Given that they earn approximately $1,000 per week this means approximately 75,000,000 in public salaries per week or approximately $3.9 billion in annual salaries. Benefits typically run about 30% worse case scenario so add another 1.1 billion in benefits. So we're talking $5 billion a year. Most articles I've read are indicating that his budget deficit is as much as $3 billion a year.


    Lets assume that he gets them to take a 20% pay and benefit cut. Now every teacher, fireman, police officer, nurse is making 40K per year. Now, instead of a 3 billion deficit.. it's 2 billion.


    Now what??


    The math doesn't add up. You just took a massive chunk of the population, destroyed their livelihood, and didn't make a dent.


    This is a tax issue. This a federal transfer issue (which technically opens up a slew of other issues). This is not a union issue.


    I hope he wins to be honest. I'm kind of curious what a revolution looks like. From afar ofcourse.
    21 Feb 2011, 10:13 PM Reply Like
  • Trever99, "This document is indicating that there are approximately 249,000,000 people in the workforce in the US"


    That number of workers would indicate that nearly every able bodied man, women and child in America is working.


    Sorry but your numbers are way off. The 2010 U.S. Census reported 308,745,538 US citizens.
    21 Feb 2011, 10:22 PM Reply Like
  • Well.. that technically would mean 60 million people don't work.


    But even if it were 240 million (lets assume that the government document and/or my math are wrong).. and 70 million didn't work, would it really change the calculation or the issue?
    21 Feb 2011, 10:31 PM Reply Like
  • need to break out your union earnings by private and public - then show them at each level of government.


    You'll find Federal workers earn the most
    You'll find State workers earn the 2nd most
    You'll find local workers/private union workers are close together.


    That alone should tell you something.....
    21 Feb 2011, 11:09 PM Reply Like
  • mr 99 take a break from "math" and over-thinking and assuming everyone else is wrong

    21 Feb 2011, 11:38 PM Reply Like
  • Trever If you looked at the auto workers you would find something similar. Labor cost was not a big part of the total cost. About 17%. So if you cut labor cost by 50% you can cut the price of a vehicle by 8%. Have vehicle prices gone down? GM cut labor costs by 50%. So the public workers will need to be chopped down to 12 dollars an hour. Who will want to go to college and teachers college to make 12 dollars an hour. They will never be able to pay back the student loans. So then 'private education' will step in as public education becomes totally incompetent. But they will pay private teachers 120K per year. And do lots of online learning. And there executives will make millions and these executive jobs will go to offspring of the plutocracy. Its sweet... You just need to be a child of a plutocrat. Maybe one of George Bushes daughters will head up this private education system. Or maybe Chelsea Clinton. Keep it all the repub-demo family.
    22 Feb 2011, 01:06 AM Reply Like
  • My country has lost it's mind! Am I living in Germany circa 1937? Why bust any union? You have the right to negotiate, management, in this case Fuhrer Walker just thinks he's too importatant to sit down and hammer out a deal. And this is all just really about getting Wall Street fresh cash investments from union pensions because they oblirated everybody's 401K with the housing shorts because the idiots can't figure people who make 13 bucks an hour can't afford to pay $1000/month mortgage payments. I'm a electronics technician and after looking at the mortgage bonds for 10 minutes I could've told you that! Why are teachers all the sudden the villians? Also to all those brainiacs who think teachers make 150,000 a year with total compensation need to go check your polish notation calculators because you obvisiously don't understand prorata insurance purchases. So let me get this straight, in our capilist society we want to pay teachers less? Also, managment/govenors/mayors whomever have every right in the world to build a case against a bad employee and terminate, however that takes a little bit of paperwork and competency to execute, which most management completely lack so they say unions are hard to deal with because it forces them to deal with problem employees the right way. And if you have a problem employee the right thing to do is tell them their faults, clearly communicate how to remedy the situation and give said employee at least one chance to do better. Unions aren't the fix to our problems but neither is busting them. Cultivating good managers who know the business they are in and making sure they can interact with employees and be a constructive leader/mentor is the answer, not intimidation tactics! You people need to read the story of Yellow Trucking and it's great CEO Bill Zoeller.
    21 Feb 2011, 10:17 PM Reply Like
  • "So let me get this straight, in our capilist society we want to pay teachers less?"


    No, I want to fire them completely along with the entire DOE.


    "Cultivating good managers who know the business they are in and making sure they can interact with employees and be a constructive leader/mentor is the answer, not intimidation tactics!"


    Indeed. So you wouldn't mind arresting all the protesters in WI and firing all the teachers then. I don't like intimidation tactics either. Back aitcha.
    21 Feb 2011, 10:28 PM Reply Like
  • Gabe, Where I live the average wage in the county is 28,000 (thats salary not including benfits). Its mostly small farms, industrial production, and small businesses.


    The teachers in the school district earn about $54,000 on average (the administrators earn an average of 66 if I recall correctly). The starting salary for a teach here was raised recently to $39,500.


    Now that means that the first year school teacher earned about 40% more than the average private sector worker in our county last year. And the "average" teacher earned double. Now our schools are ok, nothing great, but not terrible. Throw on top of that benefits which are worth about $15-$20K for a family of four and suddenly these folks are vastly outearning those they "serve".


    They are currently working without a contract. They have threatened to strike. They signed their last contract just before the great recession hit.... meaning they got raises each of the last three years...... the school board voted to freeze salaries to help (note help, not solve) a budget deficit. Property taxes were raised each of the past three years to try to cover the school deficit. Teachers are demanding..... 5% raises each of the next three years!!!! Or they will strike.


    Now do you see anything wrong with this picture?


    Yes, I want our schools to have good teachers. Yes, I'm willing to often "contribute a little more" to help our children and our community. But I have to ask, where and when does it end? What world are these teachers living in? And I didn't notice it being "all about the children when the school district was cutting programs the past couple of years...... didn't notice the union saying "hey, we realize no one else is getting raises so keep ours and help keep some of these things your cutting from our children". Hmmm.


    Thats just one local situation...... but I believe its all too familiar to those across the country. And that is why the majority of Americans believe the public unions are the enemy of fiscal responsibility, the teacher's union is the enemy of our children, and the bureaucracy in general just exists for its own selfish financial interests - not at all to "provide public service".
    21 Feb 2011, 11:19 PM Reply Like
  • Davidbdc, thank your for making an intelligent statement. I understand your plight, and if I was a teacher in your area I would be willing to make sacrifices to help save money, but are people going to educate their children at home,... and do a good job, no. I had good teachers, I had bad teachers, I worked my way through technical college and have tried to read everything I can that puts knowledge in my head. Despite having bad teachers I took responsibility for my education and my own career. What bothers me about this whole situation is that it won't fix the budget problem, therefore it's a snow job. I would have more respect if they came out and said we want to break the unions because we think its fun. But it won't stop with public employee unions, the mob mentallity is grabbing hold and not letting go. I don't really care, you people can have this trouble thats being stirred up, but be careful what you wish you just might get it. Its not going to effect me, I went from being an aircraft electrician (non-union) to being a telecommunications technician, I took engineering classes when working at these jobs. I can find gainful employment in at least 2 different fields, I invest, I'm a partner in a small business. But what Walker is pulling is nothing short of chicken shit.
    21 Feb 2011, 11:40 PM Reply Like
  • Actually, at the local level it would help fix the budget problems. Due to the laws in our state - the teacher's union can take things through arbitration for almost two years - that means the school board can't cut their pay nor benefits even if thats what they believe needs to be done. Teacher's and adminstrators' salaries and benefits make up the largest part of the school district's budget.



    The above article should highlight the fact that the "work rules" aren't aimed at serving the best interests of our children - but rather serving the teachers.


    You mention working in different fields. One of the main arguments we hear from teachers is that they might be subject to a principle making decisions based on his/her own "judgement". Isn't that how the rest of us live? Did you have to live with the judgement of those you worked for when it came to compensation and job performance and assignments. Isn't that basically part of life?


    I don't think the mobs are taking over - I see the union mobs trying to take over the democratic process in Wisconsin. There was an election in November. A man who ran promising to cut public spending, and in particular to cut public union pay and benefits won the governorship.... he also campaigned on restraining the public union's right to force people to join the union and to allow the union to negotiate wage increases above the level of inflation. I don't see that as being unreasonable. Why should you or I have to join an organization if we don't want to join? And why should "public servants", who already earn more than those they serve, be allowed to negotiate contracts that pay them even more?


    And its not just Walker - he isn't acting alone. There were representatives elected to two legislative bodies in Wisconsin - the majority of whom ran on similar platforms to the governor. The people voted for whom they wanted and the actions they wanted. Fiscal responsibility won over "promises".


    What is Walker "pulling"? Fulfilling his campaign promises? Imagine if Obama (whom I generally like and supported) had fulfilled his promise to do things differently when he became president. Maybe proposing a budget that reforms entitlements? Maybe standing up to crooks on Wall Street instead of bailing them out?


    The people "pulling" something are the ones that ran like cowards to Illinois. The ones subverting democracy are the ones that were in power in Wisconsin for several years and brought about the fiscal mess the state faces.


    The right way for the Democrats in Wisconsin to "right the wrong" would be to make their opinions heard in the debate in the legislature, educate the public, and win the next election. But I think that unions realize the real problem is that the public is becoming educated when it comes to teacher's unions, bureaucrats' pay scales and automatic raises, and the overwhelming union money directed to Democratic political campaigns. And they are saying enough.
    22 Feb 2011, 12:17 AM Reply Like
  • David, you hit it square. Whenever some phony says its "all about the children " I want to puke. It is, was and always will be about their greed.
    22 Feb 2011, 07:44 AM Reply Like
  • When you say Obama bailed out the banks are your referring to "TARP" that was designed by Bush administration, obvisiously Bush wasn't smart enough to do it so, Hank Paulson orchestrated the whole thing. TARP was Hank Paulson's idea and implentation, that was the bank Bailout, Obama actually decided that if anyone was gonna get bailed out it should be the Autos,. you know something that actually isn't a zero sum economic game, meaning made by americans and bought by americans (Well some americans, most people on this thread probably buy foriegn made/owned company vehicles with a smile at the thought of undermining our economy). And the real reason for the GOP sweep and yes the tea party is the GOP, like a pig with Lipstick on, the real reason for the sweep is because Obama is half black and it makes me sad to live in a county like that. I don't think Walker ever mentioned in his campaign that he wants to break the back of the unions and the working class, because thats what this is about, it has nothing to do with balancing the budget, its an attack on working people nothing more, nothing less.
    22 Feb 2011, 11:34 AM Reply Like
  • Gabe:
    Stop with the racist rant.
    You are such a typical liberal.
    Because your brain is incapable of writing an intelligent comment, you resort to name calling.
    You are a pathetic troll. How much do you get paid to post here?
    22 Feb 2011, 11:38 AM Reply Like
  • Walker actually ran on exactly, to the letter, what he is doing right now. To NOT do what he promised during his campaign would be a bit disingenuous, don't you think?
    22 Feb 2011, 11:55 AM Reply Like
  • WYO,


    So as I understand it you believe Liberals are not capable of intelligent comment? What makes you any different than Gabe. Pot calling kettle black? Do not forget the racist rant of your own that offended Muslims. You are a hypocrite. The problem is your not smart enough to cover your tracks. Your emotions too often get the better of you and you can't control your bigoted self. I am sure most on this site know your true colors. Give it up.
    22 Feb 2011, 12:18 PM Reply Like
  • Gabe, First let me say that I don't live in Wisc. so I could be incorrect. But my understanding is that the governor is going to propose a budget that requires cuts to pay at both the state and local levels. What he is doing is to scale back the collective bargaining "rights" of the public employee unions at all levels in the state. That means that there will be cuts at both the state and local levels in Wisconsin. In the state budget he aims to save 30 million the rest of this fiscal year and something like 300 million a year going forward. BUT that is only part of the cuts needed.


    My understanding is that Wisc. had an arbitration process similar to my state which allows the unions to basically drag everything out for 18 to 24 months. Since Wisc. has to balance its budget every year, without the pay reductions - residents will see reduced services and the unions will see members let go.


    As to the bank bailouts. TARP was the beginning. But it also includes zero interest rates, allowing firms to claim they are banks, the "stress tests", etc, etc. I don't blame Obama for TARP. I do blame Obama for not prosecuting anyone. I do blame him for taking an 800 billion stimulus and basically telling Pelosi and Reid - go ahead and hand out political favors. I do blame him for picking the same tired folks like Geithner, Summers, Shapiro, etc that all had a hand in getting us into the gutter in the first place. I do blame him for not putting forth a single proposal after two years in terms of reforming our entitlement programs. I do blame him for making a speech in Arizona a few weeks ago calling for civility in public discourse and then two weeks later supporting demonstrators carrying signs saying the governor of Wisconsin is Hitler, Murbarak, Mussolinni, etc ,etc. I guess civility is only supposed to exist when Republicans are putting forth their arguments?


    I'm frankly tired of all the politicians. I supported Obama because I believed he might dare to be different. Rahm Emmanuel??? Larry Summers? Mary Shapiro? Not different at all.


    I supported the auto bailouts - if we are going to bail out anyone it should be those that help sustain our country and a manufacturing footprint is important. Who did Obama pick - Rattner - who was just seen "neither confirming nor denying guilt" and paying a multimillion fine for bribing the NY pension fund to give his fund money!


    Sorry, but all that type of stuff has nothing to do with race. I think Obama had the same race in November 2010 as he did in November 2008. My opposition to him now is simply based on the two years he has spent not addressing our nation's problems and lessening the future of my children and grandchildren through worthless spending and government expansion.
    22 Feb 2011, 01:24 PM Reply Like
  • "My country has lost it's mind! Am I living in Germany circa 1937? Why bust any union? You have the right to negotiate, management, in this case Fuhrer Walker just thinks he's too importatant to sit down and hammer out a deal."


    Because Wlaker ran on cutting the teachers' compensation, the voters agreed with him as evidenced by him being elected, and he is following through on one of the promises he made. People have every right to unionize, just as the taxpayers whom are paying the unionized teachers' salaries have a right to elect an official that promises to cut their compensation being the voters feel that comp. is too high. You are arguing for democracy, but only when it suits you.
    22 Feb 2011, 01:58 PM Reply Like
  • As Obama said a few years ago "elections count." Now that the shoe is on the other foot dems are asking for negotiation and all kinds of stall tactics. The people of WI spoke at the polls and it was very loud. All this noise is meant to distract from the voice of the MAJORITY of the people in WI who have voted for reform. And never mind that the budget at the state level is in critical shape and needs ongoing cuts and retrenchments.
    22 Feb 2011, 07:59 PM Reply Like
  • GJ


    I don't believe that most people care if Obama is half black or half purple. People want results and there is no bigger pressure cooker than being the President of the US. Every President gets beat up eventually so it is no surprise he is taking heat. Does he deserve it?


    I would say based on an incoherent foreign policy and a misplaced focus on health care versus jobs in his first two years he has shown he is a good talker but not a good manager.
    22 Feb 2011, 08:06 PM Reply Like
  • Well, actually, yes, I did homeschool my kids for several years of their education. And they turned out very well. In fact, in my extended family, most all of the kids did some or ALL of their education at home, and are all doing very well, without the completely twisted frame of reference that public school children are given.
    "Rarely is there new wisdom. Frequently are there forgotten lessons. 'The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance." --Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43BC) Go Marcus!
    23 Feb 2011, 09:26 AM Reply Like
  • Oh, play that race card!! Go somewhere else to whine and kick and scream. I can name a long list of black men that I would be very proud to have as President. The media works overtime to make sure they never get that chance. It's not because he's black, it's because he's a Socialist puppet - a useful idiot. Probably working for Soros. Go away.
    23 Feb 2011, 09:30 AM Reply Like
  • Oh baloney. Your quote is purely made up, most likely starting from something in Taylor Caldwell's fictionalization of the life of Cicero.


    The idea of Rome giving foreign aid is actually hilarious. The manner by which Rome usually reduced its debt was to make war on some foreign land, tax, loot and pillage, and bring back lots of slaves.

    23 Feb 2011, 10:28 AM Reply Like
  • Okay, if you really think that the authorship is more important than the message, I'll use one that has less contention about its veracity.
    "Now that no one buys our votes, the public has long since cast off its cares; the people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else, now meddles no more and longs eagerly for just two things - Bread and Circuses." Juvenal, in Satires.
    So, now we have welfare checks, foodstamps and Survivor on Channel 3012.
    24 Feb 2011, 11:35 PM Reply Like
  • You really do NOT UNDERSTAND anything about how these organizations work. If I, as the local union leader, promise you that I'll deliver your re-election if you cave to the local public employee demands, you're very likely going to do that. I do my part by taking money out of everyone's paycheck, whether they like it or not, or disagree with me or not, and spend it how I want, getting you re-elected. Voila! You and I make very strange bedfellows; you don't worry about re-election; I don't worry about money ( I have plenty of OPM) and everyone is happy except the taxpayer, who is not represented in this AT ALL. That's why it's a very bad idea for any govt employee to be unionized. It's a loaded dice craps table, and the Public is not the house - they are the waiter.
    3 Mar 2011, 11:12 AM Reply Like
  • Hi Zmsrtmoney,


    We all have our opinions and our perception is our reality. There is no right or wrong just opposing conceptions that are anti and pro labor. I am a former businessman and former union negotiator. It may appear to outside concerns and is greatly perceived that the way the union works as outlined by yourself is logical and correct. Now from an insider view it is not the case. Yes, labor supports candidates and as do lobbyists. No different, one term tends to take a demeaning characterization as compared to the other. I 100% respect your view but it is not factual. The union dues that members pay goes into legal representation due to management CBA violation, as we can both agree that litigation cost $$$. Then there are administrative salaries for book keeping, accounting, benefits etc. The businesses that do not offer health benefits to their workforce I end up paying with my tax money thru social services. You see, we the wage earners are paying into the system regardless of what side of the ledger these expenses fall on.
    3 Mar 2011, 11:33 AM Reply Like
  • mikeybronx


    I believe Zmartmoney has a good grasp on the incestous relationship between the democratic party and the unions. Your view tries to gloss over the practical side of this relationship which is votes for support. Unions and democrats are loyal to each other for a reason and that is they butter each others bread.


    I have been in a union and also worked outside of a union. In many settings the union has effectively became a device for corporate management to manage the employees en masse versus individually. Over time however most industries that are heavily unionized have major financial issues and become insolvent as the extraction of value from the employer by the union overreaches and capital is moved away from that business/industry.


    Public sector unions are a disaster as their premise is that the budget for raises and benefits is whatever they can extract from the tax base. And they want to negotiate not with the consitutents that make up their local tax base but at a state or federal level where they get the most leverage on career politicians and the impacted tax payers don't even know what is going on. We have come to the end apparently of that game because everyone knows what is going on now and people are in no mood to pay more taxes.


    Given your view of how unions work it is a real mystery where the unions get the money to support candidates.
    3 Mar 2011, 01:25 PM Reply Like
  • Greetings Tomas,


    You need to understand that I am a lover not a fighter. But in response to where the proverbial union "warchest" of donation contributions for political expenditures comes from, the individual local unions contribute a portion of union dues to the AFL CIO office in Washington where the donations are used to lobby for safe work environments, domestic public projects and organizing. Just like the tobacco, oil, automobile, pharmaceutical industry organized labor lobbys for their interests. Many private corporations find working with unions quite helpful in deploying the workforce in an organized efficient fashion, having set guide lines and a rule book (CBA) designed to protect both worker and management. I can not say how public sector operates and wish not to attempt to defend or attack their positions. Concessions would be a much needed relief to the budget problem. I am here seeking Alpha but not many discussons on accumulating wealth just alot of bashing and inconsequencial rhetoric.
    3 Mar 2011, 04:00 PM Reply Like
  • mikeybronx:


    Keep love alive!!!


    One of the disturbing parts of unions' political activities as compared to other interest groups is that people are not given the choice of whether they want to belong to a union or not in a union shop. That is very different than parties coming together for common interests and hiring a lobbyist or donating to political campaigns. In the latter case the contributor is choosing where to spend the money where in the case of unions the leadership decides where to spend it whether the members like it or not. The members are captive participants.


    The public sector problem will get short term relief from concessions but make no mistake this is looked at as a temporary concession to be made up later through the union's asymmetrical negotiating position with taxpayers which is why they don't want to give up collective bargaining.


    If you want some Alpha here is a tip. Don't buy companies that are heavily unionized because the return on capital will likely be low as will your return. In fact look for companies that compete in that space that are not unionized as they will probably win over the long run.
    3 Mar 2011, 07:34 PM Reply Like
  • Hi Tomas,


    To some extent i concur with what you say, but i have large positions in ConEd, PSEG and GE all of which are unionized to the max . I have had and will continue to enjoy dividends and stability into the sunset.
    3 Mar 2011, 07:51 PM Reply Like
  • It is interesting how people complain about the unions. But I have heard know no one complain about Warren Buffett, yes that Warren Buffett, the corporate Welfare Bum being at the bailout trough. The most famous supporter of the bailouts and government money printing has been Warren Buffett. I wonder how well this legendary investor would have done if he had to play the game honestly. Just another fat cat welfare bum. Ron Paul's ideas if implemented will make life very difficult for Warren Buffett.... Who also is a big fan of globalization and the US government support of the offshoring of jobs.
    3 Mar 2011, 09:52 PM Reply Like
  • lol
    3 Mar 2011, 10:11 PM Reply Like
  • mikeybronx


    I almost added a condition on that statement but didn't and you nailed it. The statement is generally true unless the company has an unassailable market position. Utility companies definitely fit that bill. Not sure about GE's unionization but I do know they were early leaders in moving jobs to Asia so perhaps they managed the costs by just chopping headcount. We really need those jobs back here in the US.


    What is PSEG? I assume it is a utility but cannot tell.
    3 Mar 2011, 11:59 PM Reply Like
  • pigdog67


    I will complain about him. I believe he needs to quit opining on everything like it is gospel because although he knows a lot he does not know everything and he talks from his own perspective as if he has some unique claim on reality. The problem is that there are too many people who fawn all over him that take his opinion as gospel and don't challenge his thinking. Becky Quick and the gang on CNBC are ridiculous slobbering over him.


    Here are 3 complaints I have right off the cuff:


    1. Today on CNBC he makes the statement that US consumers would be better off without credit cards. Warren is a relative idiot when it comes to credit cards but that did not stop him. He obviously does not use one I suppose but he lives in Omaha and everyone knows him. Our lodging industry grew tremondously on the use of credit cards as well as our direct marketing industry. Internet commerce has exploded on credit cards. Think of people travelling and trying to pass off checks or merchants having to extend credit like they did back in the 70's. Banks are not interested in writing small dollar loans so the credit card takes care of all those loans without any paperwork. Everyone can debate proper usage but these little devices have changed commerce and peoples' lifestyles with the exception of Warren.
    2. On June 2, 2010 WB testified in front of the Fin Crisis Inquiry Commission that nobody could have known that house prices could drop so therefore Moody's should not be held to blame for their role in the housing debacle. Hard to believe WB did not know as he thinks he knows everything else. Anyways Moody's sold their ratings to bond issuers and were a critical linchpin in undermining investors grasp of the credit risk. WB owned a lot of Moody's stock so he was only acting dumb for the benefit of his investment.
    3. WB thinks everyone should pay more taxes but he has never felt any stress from day to day life making budget with no end in sight to the grind but if he wants to practice what he preaches he should write a multi billion check to the US Treasury so they can waste it for him. Instead he gave a lot of his fortune to the Gates Foundation for use around the world in getting rid of disease, etc. That was a tax free transaction and not even primarily for US citizens! Given all the capital gains he has accummulated over the years he likely has consistently paid a low effective tax rate while working families have paid in higher tax rates and a greater % of their wealth every year. He should be ashamed of himself.


    This is not a union good and WB bad comment but rather I would say they both are making more noise then they are worth right now.
    4 Mar 2011, 12:34 AM Reply Like
  • Interesting about his view on credit cards. He is a big owner of an institution that makes a big chunk of their profits off credit card usage.
    4 Mar 2011, 12:40 AM Reply Like
  • Tomas,


    Yes, PSEG (PEG symbol) is the utility serving the New Jersey area. I in my former life spent 14 years with Coned and 8 years with PSEG, which is why i have the hands on view. Having sold my franchises I will be returning to ConEd until the time comes when i can live on a cruise ship everyday. We all have different appetites for risks, however on a side note, if you have a desire for steady dividends ( 6% to 7%) with solid companies that have guaranteed cash flow, captivated audiences and operated very well then the three i mentioned in my prior comment are great choices. These companies are recession proof and they hedge daily with future contracts on gas and oil. They are very good at what they do and I have a large amount of my eggs in their nests. If you have any investing suggestions i would appreciate a heads up. have a good one.
    4 Mar 2011, 07:46 AM Reply Like
  • Tell me this is right. Cop paid for 7 years to not work.




    Union gets fired teachers rehired.



    Cant fire the firemen either.

    21 Feb 2011, 10:35 PM Reply Like
  • Yes, but Walker's bill exempts the Police and Fire unions from the recertification and collective bargaining restrictions in the budget bill provisions.


    It wouldn't be because these unions supported him during his election run?


    While the teachers didn't support Walker.


    It's a necessary thing to cut budget during tough times, and another altogether to use it as an excuse for political payback.
    22 Feb 2011, 10:12 AM Reply Like
  • Bricki hello, Watch the other states. Ohio does not exempt fire or police. I have no idea what the other states will introduce.


    Political payback or politcal rebalancing. Is it not high time that our politicians are not elected by politcal groups with a financial self interest and instead get elected by we the people. Unions fight hard to elect politicians that will line the union members pockets each negotion and higher salaries leads to higher union dues. The fact that their salaries and benefits are so bloated compared to the public demonstates this very well.
    22 Feb 2011, 11:13 AM Reply Like
  • Bricki you are right they did support him and thats part of it. But I also believe FEDERAL LAW prohibits him from taking the bargaining rights for anyone that is an emergency responder. And if this was sqaurely based balancing a budget, he would propose laying off all full-time, ALL full-time state employees and replace them with part timers which they would not recieve any benefits,... but that would be "unpopular" and political suicide, so again this has nothing to do with trying to balance the budget, it's union busting, plain and simple.
    22 Feb 2011, 11:39 AM Reply Like
  • Its not fed law because they are doing it in Ohio. Most of the bargaining rights that are being removed only apply to benefits not pay.


    No more 15 days sick leave, everyone will have the same medical plan including the management, retirement plans would be more realistic and in line with the general public. Unions will cost share on medical and pension, no protection by seniority (lazy's will face first layoff) less protection of the poor performers, Merit pay increase not automatic raises based on years worked.


    What is getting everyone so upset with this solution. I see no ones life being ruined (maybe those who are pathetic performers) and claims that it will ruin lives is just hyper exaggeration by union fear mongers. If we have some leaches sucking at the tax payer teet its time for them to go.


    The fear mongers are probably scared they can't get away with all the shenanigans at tax payer cost and they are the ones running scared. Its time to be responsible in your job...its not a game to be played with management.


    22 Feb 2011, 12:39 PM Reply Like
  • Hi doubleguns - I'm not talking about Ohio - I think the legislation being passed there is a lot less partisan. Wisconsin, I'm not a fan of some of the provisions in their bill. It will be interesting to see what happens in NJ (where I live) - Christie is due with his budget speech today.


    I agree 100% with you regarding political groups having too great an influence in US elections. Unfortunately the way the Supreme Court has extended the Constitution to give rights to organisations that really should be limited to individuals we are going to need some serious legal change to make it happen.


    It's very hard to see how that will occur.
    22 Feb 2011, 01:44 PM Reply Like
  • This is a country of 300 million souls - nutty things happen every day to all groups of people. A few data points make good stories but are meaningless.


    Hope you do not select stocks based on the same logic.
    22 Feb 2011, 08:52 PM Reply Like
  • Then only a few data points would be effected. The rest would go one with life like the rest of the 300 million and most do not have collective bargaining agreements.
    23 Feb 2011, 10:16 AM Reply Like
  • Lets wipe out the unions and the democratic party and simply let the corporations run the US of A.


    21 Feb 2011, 10:37 PM Reply Like
  • Sounds good to me.
    21 Feb 2011, 10:54 PM Reply Like
  • Think theres a chance?
    22 Feb 2011, 07:45 AM Reply Like
  • Corporations will do what is legal to increase profits. It seems to me that they are gradually taking control of the government and it is legal.


    Here is an example, the Koch brother's lobbying group have a office a few blocks from Wisconsin's state capitol and are one of Walkers largest donors.


    Interestingly, Walker's bill includes this: "the department may sell any state/owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount that the department determines to be in the best interest of the state."


    Word is that this was meant for Koch Industries.
    22 Feb 2011, 09:00 PM Reply Like
  • why do ya;ll care? just crush socialists ans unions by removing thier herion.....your money.....they won;t last minutes in a real job...
    21 Feb 2011, 10:46 PM Reply Like
  • We need more entreprenuers and less idiots in this country. Henry Ford said, energy and focus is better spent designing and making things, than spent in conflict. Look at Ford now. Anyone got anything on BSX?
    21 Feb 2011, 10:52 PM Reply Like
  • BSX nearing its 52 week high, ROI is -6.6%, ROA is -4.8%, Price to cash flow is -46.10, Profit margin -13.6% and per share earnings are a loss of 70 cents per share. I would avoid this stock.
    21 Feb 2011, 11:07 PM Reply Like
  • Finally, atta boy doubleguns, you know something! Doubleguns, do you think there problems are institutional or that they just went on to big of a mis-timed buying spree (when they bought Guidant)? Medtronic 50 buck share, I think if BSX can fix their cash flow situation, get back to gold standard of medtech company it might be a bargain, or they are just dying a slow death.
    21 Feb 2011, 11:20 PM Reply Like
  • One article about them possibly loosing money with the new health care bill.



    "Similarly, Boston Scientific Corp., a medical device manufacturer, makes stents to keep blood vessels open, but cheaper stents or drug treatments might be substituted."


    Here they are under investigation



    Buying Guidant came with a lot of law suits and they still bought them, that was dumb.



    I would say they have a very stupid managment team. Probably doctors that think they can run a business. It only works for so long.


    Again I would stay away from this company. There are sooooo many other stocks to pick why put money in this that simply becomes dead money, producing nothing for you.
    21 Feb 2011, 11:40 PM Reply Like
  • Thanks, thats good insight, I'll keep doing research before I buy or not buy. The reason I'm looking at them is well, I've followed the stock for years, I think that business has a favorable market in the future. Management can be replaced but they aren't doing much on that front.
    21 Feb 2011, 11:47 PM Reply Like
  • Sounds like you feel obligated to buy this stock since you have followed it for years. Run away and find one worth your time and money. This one is a dog. Hell buy , gold, silver, coal, REE's but stay away from this dog.


    Thats the best advice I can give you. You have a choice, unlike most union workers who are forced to join and pay dues.
    22 Feb 2011, 12:15 AM Reply Like
  • Gabe I have bought BSX as a speculative play. They did get a new CEO. That said I make good money on my other stocks and treat this one as my possible double bagger... I watch it carefully and if starts to tank I will dump it. However the last week has given me some optimism.
    22 Feb 2011, 01:22 AM Reply Like
  • What these crooks don't tell public is that they are funded by big corporation. They are here to loot the hard working people.


    The visitor, Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity
    What Mr. Phillips did not mention was that his Virginia-based nonprofit group, whose budget surged to $40 million in 2010 from $7 million three years ago, was created and financed in part by the secretive billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch.
    21 Feb 2011, 11:04 PM Reply Like
  • And Soros supports.....Its a very, very, very long and sordid list.


    I don't like any of the uber rich trying to influence politics but please don't make it sound like only one side is guilty in this filthy game. Dumbo and Jackass both are filthy dirty playing this game.
    22 Feb 2011, 12:46 PM Reply Like
  • I truly don't understand how when someone makes a negative comment on the koch brothers they get tons of negative feedback.


    These guys want the US to look like a latin american country where 5% of the people own the majority of the country. This is front and center their primary desire. They're not looking for a better America... they just want to own it and run it.


    I'm sorry... no one can defend this regardless of party affiliation.
    21 Feb 2011, 11:24 PM Reply Like
  • You could call me superfluous or even ignorant. Personally I don't see what the fuss is about.


    The Governor was elected as part of the democratic process to govern. To discharge his duties he would have the latitude to propose and seek passage of any legislative measures to ensure that budgets are within its means.


    State public employees have the right to vote him out in the next election, then seek to revoke the passed laws.


    Would someone please enlighten me here? Remember, the Law is the Law. Everyone is equal before the Law. If you don't like a Law or part of the Law, seek to change it by the democratic process. Can't just take it into your own hands.
    21 Feb 2011, 11:39 PM Reply Like
  • If we could step back a bit and ask ourselves why are we so concerned with cutting government spending and the deficit at this juncture, at this very specific point in time? Perhaps we should look beyond the smokescreen cast in the name of deficit reduction and financial restraint and see which parties have the most to gain from deep government cutbacks. The Republicans and Tea-partyers have longed voiced their opposition to Obamacare and it's interesting that the latest House spending bill proposes cuts to the EPA just as Democrats are proposing to cut tax subsidies to oil companies. Just food for thought. Now, let's step back in again to what's happening in Wisconsin and see that while the state can afford millions in tax breaks to corporate interests, it must cut drastically what it spends in the public sector. There is a battle brewing between the private and public sector and one has to ask is why is the private sector's gain always at the expense of the public sector and of the common citizens of Main Street for that matter.


    When I hear the statistics of how Detroit might have to close 50% of its schools (can you imagine 50%?) or how lives have been lost because they had to close firehouses and lay off policeman in cities all throughout this great country of ours, the frustration that is felt by so many especially when we see that corporate profits have soared, yet hiring has yet to recover even as taxes are kept low.


    The impact of educational cuts will be felt in how our country competes in the world in the coming decades so those arguing that we shouldn't ask our children and grandchildren to pay for what we spend today is already doing that as we speak. Everything from whether your potholes are filled and how well snow is plowed on your streets and how well your bridges are maintained is on the line to how long you have to wait on the DMV is affected by all this. Whatever "savings" municipalities feel they are getting will not be worth the grief in lost services everyone will experience should this Wisconsin scenario spread on a national level. Why? Because in the hope that the private sector can flourish and is willing to bring back jobs, we are sacrificing the public sector and the quality of services you and me as common citizens should be receiving.


    We, as a country, need not skew what true Capitalism is because to do so will weaken America instead of strengthening us and that is something we simply cannot do at this very juncture in time.
    22 Feb 2011, 12:21 AM Reply Like
  • Bob55:


    You ask "why are we so concerned with cutting government spending and the deficit at this juncture?"


    Because we have a math problem. The government debt at the Federal and State levels is more than people can bear and it is only getting bigger. Some people know the numbers and many others can feel the pressure and know something is not right. This debt has to be paid with taxes or inflation or both. And this is in addition to the debt people hold on their personal household balance sheets. So everyone has had enough of an out of control government sector and by the way government spending "crowds out" private sector investment so this is a known economic phenomena that is always present.


    To give an idea of the scope of the problem here is just the view at the Federal level. We have US economic output at around $14.6 Trillion in 2010 as measured by GDP. We already have $14 Trillion in outstanding Federal debt which is around $45K per person or $140K per household. Deficits are projected around $1.5 Trillion for 2011 and maybe $1.3 Trillion for 2012 and trending down hopefully to just a little over $500 Billion. But to use easy numbers let's just say that we put on another $3 Trillion of debt in the next two years which is not unreasonable given the spending levels and perhaps rising interest rates. That will put the Federal debt at $170K per household and that is only at the end of 2012! And this does not include state and local debt per household and ordinary debt from household decisions. And if Obamacare is more expensive than anticipated then look out!


    We will not be able to tax enough to get out of this hole. We will have to use inflation as a policy instrument just to make sure we don't have to look at bankruptcy.


    Any questions? Do you have $170K plus in your desk to send to the Federal government.
    22 Feb 2011, 12:55 AM Reply Like
  • Bob the private sector is not flourishing. The executive suite is. The private sector will move towards at will temp workers with no benefits. By cutting benefits for public employees the C-suite can say look the public sector is losing its benefits. And no collective bargaining. Its the individual worker versus the employer. With the employers colluding to establish wage rates and non compete agreements to maintain territories. Fascism.
    People are going to have to send there kids to private schools or set up schools as cooperatives like in Little House on the Prairie.
    22 Feb 2011, 01:28 AM Reply Like
  • In the words of Obama, "elections have consequences".
    22 Feb 2011, 07:47 AM Reply Like
  • Numbers aside, people expect a level of service from government. Using just an example of snow removal, my state has been ravaged by snowstorms this winter. The outrage at politicians for roads being unshoveled and leaving drivers stranded for days at a time and you can imagine how things will be when schools close, crime rises and accidents happen as roads and bridges fall into disrepair. Scenarios such as these have yet to be fully realized at a large scale but you can bet if Wisconsin's governor has his way and the practice spreads nationwide, this country is in for a lot of hurt. If raising taxes even slightly so that what must be maintained to keep our country strong and competitive is not worth investing in to some eyes, I feel it is short-sighted indeed. As in everything, things go in cycles of bust and boom. We are just coming out of one of the worse economic periods of our history and plenty of people are still hurting. Attacking the deficit problem at this juncture seems more like a smokescreen to reverse certain legislation for the benefit of certain industries instead of truly having the well-being of the American people in mind.
    22 Feb 2011, 10:51 AM Reply Like
  • bob55:
    " Attacking the deficit problem at this juncture seems more like a smokescreen to reverse certain legislation for the benefit of certain industries instead of truly having the well-being of the American people in mind."


    1.And just at what "juncture" would you propose to address the deficit problem?
    2. Just what industries are you referring to?
    3.What portion of the "American people" do you have in mind? May I assume only who belong to a union?
    22 Feb 2011, 11:06 AM Reply Like
  • wyostocks,


    Speaking as a member of the Main Street crowd, seeing that tax incentives has been given to business big and small to spur job growth, let us see over the next year if jobs do grow or not. I'm not a fortune-teller but waiting a year or two to see how the economy pans out would not affect the deficit detrimentally.


    The industries I speak of can be inferred from my first statement.


    I make no mention of unions in my argument. Give-and-take is essential in any talks between labor and management but when voice is basically taken away from one side for the benefit of the other side, that is rarely a good thing. I understand the argument of waste that result from unions but I also understand that in America where free-speech is so essential in protecting those that normally have little voice in our society, organized "anything" is essential in how our country works. When you begin to take away anyone's or any group's ability to bargain, it is a recipe for disaster.
    22 Feb 2011, 11:33 AM Reply Like
  • Bob Stop paying all your household bills for two years and let me know how things work out.
    22 Feb 2011, 11:41 AM Reply Like
  • Bob:


    The problem with your comment is in the first line "numbers aside." The fact is numbers do not move aside. They are big immovable facts that in the end dictate what we will all pay and what we will receive. We are approaching that end now and we are not immune from those realities. It is a lack of leadership and political pandering that has not kept up back from the precipice and a spoiled electorate that wants everything and is not willing to look at the bill because they want someone else to pay it which is a fantasy.


    Taxes are already high and can be tweaked but there is not the magnitude of money left in raising taxes to meet the appetite of big government and out of control government wages and benefits. And government rarely makes any investments with any returns for a variety of reasons so using the word "invest" is a real abuse of that word and smokescreen to the reality of it is just a lot of spending.


    Creditors already own us and we are close to being the next Greece and Ireland and we will have terms dictated to us rather than us solving our own problems. All these rich contracts will then be ripped up and draconian cuts will happen. If we kept spending under control we would not have to face this eventuality. The only other choice is to inflate away the debt and that is what the Fed is doing now because we have no fiscal discipline.
    22 Feb 2011, 01:01 PM Reply Like
  • Well, if the last election is a testament to Americans wanting small government, I can only say let the Republicans and Tea-partyers decide where to cut and let the American people decide if they can withstand the cuts they suggest. If taxes are already high, and I question how high they truly are considering all the Bush taxcuts are still intact. Once government services begin falling on the wayside so that class sizes rise to 60 students per class as is projected in Detroit, car repair charges add up in the thousands for anyone hitting a severe pothole, or people have to miss a day or two of work because they're essentially snowed in, I still argue everyone pays in the end. You may not be paying it to the govt in the form of taxes, but it's still coming out of your pocket one way or another.
    22 Feb 2011, 02:10 PM Reply Like
  • Bob 55


    Since at least 1980 Federal spending has increased every year without pause. That trend line should scare anyone.


    Tax receipts bounce around a bit but have went from $500 Billion plus in 1980 to over $2 Trillion in 2010. Yes that would mean our Fed'l Government needs over $2 Trillion per year to run.


    Receipts slowed in 2008 as the recession hit and really tanked in 2009 while at the same time our Federal spending increased by over 20%.


    Add on deficits at the state and local level, long term structural obligations in benefits for government employees at all levels, and layer on high sales taxes and I would say the poor American worker is up to their eyeballs in tax obligations to fund all the above. And hopefully they have some money left for housing, food and save for retirement. But we know by the savings rate that they don't.
    22 Feb 2011, 08:24 PM Reply Like
  • No question that spending is over the top, and worse yet debt is at levels that will undoubtedly impair the country going forward. And debt rising much faster than GDP which is quite dangerous. Some of the entitlements, most notably Medicare and Medicaid are obviously unsustainable.


    However the income side is more than just receipts being down as a result of the recession. The total percentage of GDP collected as taxes is at a very low level from any historical perspective - since the mid-1950's the US average has been pretty close to 19%. Right now it is running at a level below 15%.


    One can argue about what the resolution of this should be, but increased taxes should not taken off the table as step towards sanity.
    22 Feb 2011, 09:18 PM Reply Like
  • bricki


    All true but a few important points:


    1. Using GDP as the denominator is tricky as government is already in that number so if they are expanding by borrowing they are inflating the denominator and thereby supressing the %. There are problems with the other contributors to GDP as well. That is why I look at absolute dollar outlays as I would like to see ups and downs to reflect the economy and receipts but it is horrifying to see that they have never went down since at least 1980.
    2. So GDP does not seem to me to provide a very good basis for estimating a potential tax base and especially on the margin.
    3. The tricky part is that the US consumer in the end pays for all taxes and their income has been stagnant for quite a while so if you levy more taxes into the system and it trickles down to the consumer they have even less money to spend. While at the same time they are being hit with rising prices on energy and food.
    4. Going after corporations just leads to capital flowing to areas of the world where the tax burden is less ceterus plurbis and lower employment in the US.


    In summary taxes could be tweaked but likely not increased in huge numbers. We need spending reform to match receipts by putting variability into government spending and a better economy neither of which our elected officials have a good track record of delivering.
    22 Feb 2011, 09:55 PM Reply Like
  • "Well, if the last election is a testament to Americans wanting small government, I can only say let the Republicans and Tea-partyers decide where to cut and let the American people decide if they can withstand the cuts they suggest."


    We are beyond letting the American people decide. That ship has sailed. Now the bondholders will decide and damn the Americans and their wants along with their currency.


    As far as the tired argument about which services to cut, really who gives a shit? Our teachers suck. Cops just write tickets now to feed the cubicle farm people back at the statehouses. And firefighters work on their bench press record and cooking skills. Occasionally they fetch a cat out of a tree for an old lady.


    My God, why are so many weak people addicted to federal and state governments? Start doing shit for yourselves. Give the taxpayer a break.
    23 Feb 2011, 12:30 AM Reply Like
  • Cut taxes and cut spending. Do them in tandem. It is the pure fix.


    Everything else, if taken singly, is just more circus. If you don't cut spending but raise taxes businesses will leave and go to Ontario. If you cut spending and don't raise taxes the govt. will monetize the debt and tax you there too(inflation).




    Cut taxes and cut spending. Shrink the size of government by half. Provide a damn standing military for defense and the rest of govt. can get TF off my back.
    23 Feb 2011, 12:35 AM Reply Like
  • "...seeing that tax incentives has been given to business big and small to spur job growth." Are you for real? Any business who thinks they can bank on anything the govt is saying is being run by an idiot. Perhaps that's why so many are holding back - afraid of the heavy-handed govt that can change its mind so quickly and backpedal so efficiently, lie so effectively, and the businessman is left holding the bag. No one likes to be the one left holding the bag. The people don't trust their govt - AT ALL. Would you run out and bet your life on what the Feds promise you? Yes, if you're an idiot. Idiots aren't still in business, for the most part. They got flushed in the first round of the meltdown. Not so bright went in the second round. What's left are the people who are smart enough not to trust anything the current administration tells you. Go shoot marbles or watch TV.
    23 Feb 2011, 09:42 AM Reply Like
  • That's not really right. Whatever the government borrowing is, a certain percentage of it should be returned in the form of taxation as it represents income to the receivers. It isn't happening.


    Absolute dollar outlays need to be adjusted for inflation and population, as spending levels have built in inflators.


    I am not suggesting going after corporations. Ultimately I feel corporations should not be taxed at all based on the simple principle that whatever you tax, you will get less of. Most countries tax individuals or consumption as a percentage of their revenues more than we do. And in the US we have record levels of income and wealth disparity. We could do with less of that.
    23 Feb 2011, 10:40 AM Reply Like
  • bricki


    Any time you have a budget increasing for over 30 + years without break you have a structural problem. You can understand how it happens but you cannot rationalize it.


    When the Fed government borrows and makes transfer payments it only comes back if the receipient has enough income to generate a Federal tax obligation. Since 50% of the country does not pay taxes it is likely that these receipients are not paying any Federal tax. On the other side however when the receipient spends the money someone is receiving it and IF they are generating enough income then they would pay Federal income tax. This derivative tax benefit to the Federal tax coffers is hard to model. The net of all this is the % returned to the Federal government in the form of taxation is likely not signficant especially if the receipients are not paying any tax.


    The income and wealth disparity needs another strategy and those are two different subjects. A high income person may not be wealthy but a low income person could be wealthy.


    Going after wealth really gets into taking away capital or removing any government favorable treatments for capital. Going after the tax exempt status of muni bonds would be a start as the wealthy grow their wealth in those investments substantially........this will raise cost of capital for state and local governments. The wealthy also make LT investments in equities and avoid the marginal tax rate hit for selling under 12 months. You can see the results of this strategy in that they got hammered in the big market downturn pretty hard. This could be removed but capital will not flow to the more risky small startup companies.


    Going after high income is just raising marginal rates and taking away exemptions and other deductions which the ATM does pretty well already.


    Heavy taxation is also deflationary by the way. And these activities will also generate capital flow to other areas where the treatment is better.


    No easy answers but it is obvious that government is out of control and dropping loads of debt and contractual obligations on the tax paying public.
    23 Feb 2011, 11:08 AM Reply Like
  • 50% of the country doesn't pay Federal Income tax. They still pay sales, payroll, gas, etc. taxes. And this isn't a new phenomena - it held true at much lower borrowing rates when revenue collection was much closer to historical norms.


    As far as taxation of capital goes, it is pretty simple. In exchange for removal of taxes on businesses tax preferences for dividends and capital gains would be removed. Business would still attract capital because growth on retained earnings would explode. And earnings outside the US would return without penalty.


    Small companies are a special case - currently almost all of these are structured in such a way that they don't get tax preferences anyway. They aren't public, so dividends and cap gains don't apply and profits are taxed as regular income to the proprietors.
    23 Feb 2011, 12:03 PM Reply Like
  • bricki


    Let's not mix apples and oranges. We were talking about government borrowing which is really the domain of the Fed Government. The taxes you mention do not go to the Federal government and they are making the massive transfer payments and supposed "investments" and sucking up the most resources. So the fact is outlays to the 50% of the population that do not pay taxes does not have any signficant direct feedback loop into the Federal tax coffers. This is pure charity as this part of our population is receiving benefits and putting zero into the system.


    We have arrived at 50% of our population not paying any Federal tax from historical averages not paying in the 20 percentile range. And as low as the mid teens in the 1970's. This non participation really took off in the last decade.


    The impact is not just the dollars. It has changed the relationship between the government and the citizens. Now 50% of our population has a strong interest to extract transfer payments and benefits than to worry about if the government should be doing it or if they should get motivated and support themselves. The budget is not their problem as they are only receipients of government spending. Add on government workers and everyone else at the trough and our government has turned into the biggest transfer payment sow in the world.


    Your tax on capital gains is interesting. Returning foreign earnings would be huge as it would drive more jobs here.
    23 Feb 2011, 03:31 PM Reply Like
  • Payroll tax sure goes to the Feds, and of course Federal taxes paid by businesses end up being passed on to consumers too. And then there are also a collection of Federal excise taxes on gasoline, alcohol, etc.


    The idea that not paying Federal income tax means you are not paying any taxes to the Federal Government is a meme that just doesn't work.
    23 Feb 2011, 04:45 PM Reply Like
  • bricki


    I missed your payroll tax callout. Yes that goes to the Fed but is paid by the employer unless self employed. And it is supposed to be decked against SSA, SSI and Medicare. Excise taxes are not much bigger than a rounding error in the big picture and are opaque.


    Let's complete the loop. If 50% of the population are not paying taxes I would assume that a lot of them are not employed or are grossly underemployed. Hence payroll taxes are not really signficant or maybe even relevant and again are paid by their employer not them. So they are essentially paying no taxes to the Federal government and still receiving Federal transfer payments. You can argue that they bought some gas and had to pay a few shekels but that is opaque to them and a nit.


    My point again is 50% of the population is not paying Federal income taxes therefore they have no skin in the game to control Federal spending and in fact it is in their best interests to increase it. Layer on all the government workers who are driving big benefit packages and salaries and this ship is sinking.


    Spending is out of control and needs to be cut and it will be painful.
    23 Feb 2011, 05:15 PM Reply Like
  • The employee pays half of the payroll taxes and sure can see it on his pay stub. Unless he is an absolute dolt he also knows about the rest.


    Federal government employees of course act in their own self interest but their pay/benefits are only about 10% of the Federal budget. The Federal budget is all about defense and transfer payments.


    And in any case regardless of what you do with the application of income tax to the 50% that don't pay it now, the simple fact of the matter is that these are the people who are going to receive the majority of transfer payments. It isn't going to matter whether or not they pay any income tax; they are going to be the voters that will demand more in the way of government support and taxes on the top 50% to pay for it. It's going to get worse too because of the boomer retirement wave.


    Like I said, this 50% doesn't pay taxes idea isn't going anywhere.
    23 Feb 2011, 09:52 PM Reply Like
  • brikci


    Great! Federal employees are only 10% so let's just move their salaries and benefits to be in line with the private sector and we can move on. That will be a nice chunk of change back in the Federal coffers. We could also leave SSA and defense "as is" and cut everything else and we would be in even better shape. And if we downsized defense a chunk happy days are here again. There would be a lot of empty buildings in DC as we close or downsize various agencies but traffic would sure lighten up.


    My point which you are dodging is that our tax system has a moral hazard when 50% of the population does not participate in paying for our Federal government. And in fact the 50% is catered to with more promises and protection of those promises primarily by the Democratic transfer party in return for their votes. This is absolutely corrupt. Are these people all old and sick?


    It does matter that everyone pays taxes to support the monster in Washington DC. Everyone needs skin in the game so we are all on the same page. That is what we are arguing about now. How can people use our government bodies to screw their fellow citizens and drop mountains of debt on them and future generations for their own personal greedy benefit? Because they don't have any skin in the game so they don't care.


    We will not be able to control this debt load as it will control us. We will either have to go to bankruptcy, restructuring of the debt, inflation, recession or a combination of all of the above. Politics and polemics will not matter when the bill comes due and the inflation you see right now as the Fed pumps up the money supply is an early warning sign that debt and government obligations are too high for what is left of the tax paying public to carry them.
    24 Feb 2011, 01:35 AM Reply Like
  • Michigan orders Detroit to close HALF of public schools.



    I guess its finally time to get real.
    22 Feb 2011, 02:04 AM Reply Like
  • Labor unions have been on the decline for years. They just need to be delt a final blow. The only thing that's kept them alive until now is they ARE big money.
    22 Feb 2011, 02:29 AM Reply Like
  • The Tea Party Botnet giving thumbs down to my post by pure rote should instead send it to their Botmasters.


    If you are blinded by bias from either the Right or the Left, you may have trouble gauging what most Americans are feeling and saying about the Wisconsin confrontation and the fears that it could spread to other States.


    The gist of my post is that the Tea Partiers have chosen exactly the wrong hero in Governor Walker and have badly miscalculated the mood of the country at large in provoking this particular showdown.


    I believe it will hurt them badly.


    We will have to see if events prove me right.


    Meanwhile, I am the Messenger, not the Message.
    22 Feb 2011, 02:36 AM Reply Like
  • A poll conducted by Rasmussen indicated people in the U.S. side with Walker (48%) over the teachers/union (38%). (+-3%)
    22 Feb 2011, 08:21 AM Reply Like
  • Respectfully speaking, with real unemployment at approx. 17% you would think a much much larger percentage of people polled would favor Walker's position.
    22 Feb 2011, 08:42 AM Reply Like
  • I think you are dead wrong. Most people support the reining in of the rediculous compensation of the government unions.


    They (the unions) had their run of about 50 years of ever increasing money sucked out of the taxpayers and finally the worm has turned.


    Ask people who DON'T work for the government how they feel about paying higher taxes so that the unions can have FREE health care and pensions and not too many are in agreement with the giveaways.
    22 Feb 2011, 09:12 AM Reply Like
  • Ven:


    You are underestimating the numbers of people fed up with government spending. This is much more than Tea Partiers banging a drum.
    22 Feb 2011, 09:26 AM Reply Like
  • Depends upon how much of that 17% were previously union.
    22 Feb 2011, 12:51 PM Reply Like
  • I assure you at least one of those thumbs down was from an actual person.
    On another note, your quote- "If you are blinded by bias from either the Right or the Left, you may have trouble gauging what most Americans are feeling" speaks volumes.
    22 Feb 2011, 02:12 PM Reply Like
  • Its not just the 17%. Its all those who are married to a 17 percenter or parented by a 17 percenter or a friend of a 17 percenter. The indoctrinated goes far and long. The govt. milk spills across the entire table and drips down onto the floor.


    We have been raised by the milk.


    Now we are drunk by the milk.
    23 Feb 2011, 12:42 AM Reply Like
  • No, actually you want to BE the message. Your marketing campaigns belie your agenda. You want this to be your full time job now. And, you're disappointed that no one is really interested in, or inclined towards what you have to say. You may need to go back to work.
    23 Feb 2011, 09:48 AM Reply Like
  • Troll.......
    22 Feb 2011, 07:27 AM Reply Like
  • Just what have unions accomplished in this republic, you ask??


    1 - they've created an atmosphere of class warfare.
    2 - They make it next to impossible to weed out the toxic individuals contributing little to nothing in the marketplace, be it manufacturing, education, government, etc.etc.etc.
    3 - The UFT's favorite ploy is "the children will suffer". Suffer from what?? Thanks to the modern day UFT, the majority of our kids are "practically unemployable"; they can't read, write, divide, multiply, or even add single digit number sans calculator.
    4 - They're also destroying America's GDP, as more and more $$ chase low cost producers, and tax environments around the world. ROI is important to investors, similar to one's blood flowing thru one's veins.
    5 - Klugman is standing tall with his marxist comrades,shoulder to shoulder, in their attempt to tear down the pillars of free enterprise, and replace it with what has already destroyed our European neighbors.


    "it won't work Paul, you rats are out in the open now, and will be caught in your own trap."
    22 Feb 2011, 08:06 AM Reply Like
  • This is a real laugh. The teachers in WI aren't even doing a decent job when they are in the classroom. Two thirds of 8th graders in WI in 2009 couln't even read at grade level. And these phonyies are skipping classes to demonstrate?
    It is all for the children.................

    22 Feb 2011, 11:16 AM Reply Like
  • Admission to levels beyond elementary school for public schools should be by competitive examination.


    Top 50% get in to Junior High.


    Top 50% of those graduating Junior High get to go to High School.
    22 Feb 2011, 02:20 PM Reply Like
  • Right we'll either have the uneducated pick up garbage or turned into soylent green.


    Get real!
    22 Feb 2011, 09:08 PM Reply Like
  • We're already there my friend. Get real.
    23 Feb 2011, 12:43 AM Reply Like
  • bricki


    Never thought I would see this from you.


    But I say we just move schooling to the internet and let them work at their own pace and close down a lot of the classroom chaos and excessive expense.


    We want the results not all the heavy human and capital expense process.
    24 Feb 2011, 01:44 AM Reply Like
  • What we need in America is a replication of what the best-educated countries are doing. Recruiting our best and brightest to educate our children. To do so would mean paying them something commensurate with what the best and brightest receive in the private sector. What we are doing right now just makes those who have considered teaching avoid the profession altogether. If teachers can be layed off on a whim by state governors, even making teacher pay such an issue, you can put those that remain in the profession are hardly the best for guiding our children to a competitive future.


    So easy to argue that people aren't doing a decent job, isn't it, when you're not in the front lines along with them. That is the problem with this country where those elected too govern us seem to have no notion of how "the other half" lives. Take a page from the show "Undercover Boss" before they legislate.
    22 Feb 2011, 12:29 PM Reply Like
  • Hate to say this but when I was in college the School of Education was for the people who could not get into the Engineering School or the Business School. Not saying they were necessarily dumb but they were not committed and focused enough to pull of the GPA's to get into the tougher schools.
    23 Feb 2011, 11:11 AM Reply Like
  • these liberal vs conservative arguments are as good as listening to khadaffi. your all so mal-educated, living in your socialist dreamworlds, that you can't even see the utter hypocracy in your own ramblings....i love 'we should' or 'they should' SOON AS SOME ONE say 'we should' or 'they should' you can discount thier intelligence down to a seven year old equivalent.....keep it up, this is comic gold...........


    offshore and gold, bitchez.......ends the argument RIGHT NOW....
    22 Feb 2011, 12:46 PM Reply Like
  • Hey, Rick. Stick to wrestling.


    As we watch the country go down the tubes because we don't believe we should be investing in anything that allows us to compete against the world or to build our future, we'll see where we sit a decade or two from now. Behind everyone else, I'm sure.
    22 Feb 2011, 01:16 PM Reply Like
  • Bob55


    What investments would you like to see made?
    22 Feb 2011, 01:21 PM Reply Like
  • Education and technology is a good starting point. I agree with the need for change in education but closing schools and firing teachers left and right hardly seems like the way to achieve where it must go for improving it.
    22 Feb 2011, 01:26 PM Reply Like
  • I agree on that point. you want to attract good people to teaching. It is one of those occupations that defines society. As soon as you decide that it's less important and that it shouldn't be paid well and shouldn't attract talent.. there are all kinds of unintended consequences.


    I would rather see them work out agreements that make more sense moving forward. Reward good teachers. Remove bad ones. If they have defined benefit plans get rid of them. Let the union decide how it should invest retirement contributions. That's how they do it in Canada. Ensure they are required to maintain a level of training hours every year. Most professionals do.


    Additionally reduce administration or mandate that a % of of all funds be spent on salaries and direct learning expenditures. Schools don't need high levels of administration.


    With respect to students failing out or being dumb, this may be more the result of current middle class plight of 2 working parents who are too tired to involve themselves in their childrens lives at the end of the day.


    Try to build the middle class society by making it possible for one parent to work and the other to stay home and care for children, or to donate time to society. Avoid letting the corporations dictate that 2 salaries are required to live properly.


    I guess it boils down to: What do Americans want their society to look like?
    22 Feb 2011, 02:51 PM Reply Like
  • Getting rid of bad teachers and keeping good ones sound like a great idea, but the fear is that just like in the private sector, if cost-cutting is the chief aim, the teachers who have been around the longest who are the highest paid will simply be made to look like they're doing a bad job and removed first.


    How I wish we could return to the day of 1 working parent but for the average family, even 2 working parents are barely making ends meet.


    For countries with the best educational system, having parents active in their childrens' education is so important. So is increasing the teacher-to-student ratio, but it looks like we're moving in the opposite direction in all things important for the education of our kids.
    22 Feb 2011, 03:19 PM Reply Like
  • Children in 2-worker parent or one parent families are all too often made out to be victims. They should shoulder as much, if not more, of the responsibility for their educational performance (or lack thereof) as their parent(s).


    Spend a day in a big city public school and check it out. Education is there for the offering, but a large percentage of the students choose not to avail themselves to it.


    To blame poor academic performance on society or 'corporations' is more ridiculous still.
    22 Feb 2011, 03:35 PM Reply Like
  • Before we spend a dime more in eduction we need to transform it. I have kids in school and the teachers dump homework on them and send them home for my wife and I to do the teaching. The teachers are more like organizers. I wish I could send my clients home with my work and they could bring it back to me done and then I would charge them for it.


    If we leverage more technology in learning we can be a lot more effecient and lower costs so I think the technology investment is a slam dunk and you would see businesses open the checkbook for that kind of investment in a hurry.


    We also need to think through all the redundant infrastructure in the US for education. Everyone wants a new school for X millions of dollars.
    22 Feb 2011, 08:45 PM Reply Like
  • your right , america just isn't spending enough on 'our future'. 'we' better get down to REALLY SPENDING some serious cash, in order to ensure 'our future'. from what i've read and seen, theres LOTS OF MONEY laying around , to 'secure our future'. i'm sure doubling the amount of spending on education and the military will 'secure our future' EVEN MORE than it is now. where the money will come from to 'secure our future' is irrelevant, WE NEED TO SECURE OUR FUTURE NOW, before the future costs of 'building our future' are higher than in the past or the future. If we only spend double what we do now, 'our future' will shine like a 'beacon of hope' to the worlds underpriviliged and brightest .............
    22 Feb 2011, 01:28 PM Reply Like
  • heres a mind game for all you intelligent statists out there. (look it up)
    imagine detroit cuts its budget by 50% tommorow, and lays off half the teachers and closes half the schools. do you think those students TODAY, who are recieving 100% MORE , haha, are SMARTER than tommorows students, who will be recieving 50% less? ...........heres the answer....the students tommorow are just as stupid and mal-educated , as the same ones yesterday WHO WERE RECIEVING 100% more education dollars!!!!! ...if your mind/s can follow , the causal connection, paying the teachers more and more, has resulted in less and less. you do see where this is going? by upping your school/property taxes 100%!!!! you'd only have students that are as 'smart' as YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!, AND THEY"RE FKN STUPID NOW. how is doubling down going to make them smarter? if filling the retirement coffers of overweight socialist slobs is your metric, then everyone gets an "A".....
    22 Feb 2011, 01:40 PM Reply Like
  • haha


    Love it.


    So true.
    23 Feb 2011, 12:45 AM Reply Like
  • If securing THE FUTURE NOW means a generation of our kids lose out on education and, heck, we move even more of our technology jobs out to India and China, where does that leave us. We're talking more than just about MONEY, we're talking about people's livelihoods. As politicians look at things purely from a short-term and purely dollars-and-cents perspective, they are ignoring the all-important human element. So easy to say cut, cut, cut but doing so without ruining people's lives gets tricky.
    22 Feb 2011, 01:47 PM Reply Like
  • A good technology education is based on desire and focus not money. India is proving it with their focus on technology and they are spending less than us and also lining up corporate sponsers from the US as much as possible.
    22 Feb 2011, 09:21 PM Reply Like
  • "We're talking more than just about MONEY, we're talking about people's livelihoods."


    No we aren't. The screaming apes in WI wearing read shirts and the holding Walker = Hitler signs are talking about MONEY, not education.


    India raises smart kids not because of public education but because they actually think for themselves and figure shit out. They take apart cars(Tata motors) and rebuild them with their hands. Bloom energy is another example and so is BYD in China. These guys THINK they aren't "taught" a damn thing. They want to survive and are hungrier than us. Period.
    23 Feb 2011, 12:49 AM Reply Like
  • I believe the charter schools have proven the problem is in the school and teaching not the students. That is why the teachers union fights against charter schools so viciously. They do not want all those shining examples of how with good teachers, paid less than public teachers, students suddenly perform so well.


    If it was "for the kids" they should be supporting charter schools since the children perform better and get a better education. THAT is better for the kids. Instead the teachers unions fight against the charter schools. Why you ask, simple, its not for the kids its for the teachers.
    22 Feb 2011, 06:05 PM Reply Like
  • Charter schools have not really achieved better results except in urban settings with disadvantaged students.


    22 Feb 2011, 09:25 PM Reply Like
  • Bricki, it is a step forward for those students that saw improvement.


    "Students in charter schools in urban areas were an exception; they did better in math than their public-school peers, and charter-school students were generally more satisfied with their schools, said the study."


    Charter school students more satisfied is another keep point. How long does it take to turn around years of failure in the public schools. Give it some time since it is turning the tide. I noticed there was no mention of charter schools being worse.


    School competition can only improve the situation.


    The Department of Education, which commissioned the study. Hopefully there has no bias there. I noticed they did not mention any other area of study except math and reading. History, science writing, spelling etc.... not mentioned. I want to see the whole playing field not just the tight ends to evaluate the team.


    A point that I thought was interesting is below and may really point to the fact that a large portion of the problem in the schools is the student desire to get an education.


    "The study compared outcomes of students who attended the schools (lottery winners) and children who applied but were not admitted (lottery losers) and typically went back to their neighborhood schools."


    The study only compared students who really, really wanted an opportunity for an education and I am sure that push comes from parents that get involved. The parents are part of the solution here not just the teachers. Another point would be how many lottery losers went to private schools. This study leaves some questions unanswered.


    The teachers unions fight home schooling to, why?
    23 Feb 2011, 10:44 AM Reply Like
  • I don't disagree that it is a step forward in the cases where it works. But to make the statement that charter school results indicate that the poor results with the American education system are solely due to schools and teaching methods is not at all justified. Comparisons of results obtained by these same methods outside these depressed areas with results from the rest of the world are pretty close. And the results from affluent school districts are as good as any in the world.
    23 Feb 2011, 12:36 PM Reply Like
  • Bricki, I do not think the verdic is in on the charter schools as I mentioned in the previous comment. The study left out data on all to many areas of study and was done by the Department of Ed, not an unbiased department I might add.


    Results from very poor schools are very good too. Look how many folk from India and Pakistan and many other poor countries, become engineers and doctors and come here for jobs. They came from schools with very little money. Our grandparents did too. So this issue is not about spending more money.


    Students not motivated, teachers not meeting the needs of the students or both or probably a lot more reasons. How about return corporal punishment, might that help. I have no idea, but I can see the status quo is not working and throwing more money at it is NOT the solution or we would have seen tremendus improvement over the last 30 years but instead it has gotten worse.


    Created a Fed Department of Education under Carter and scores been going down hill ever since. Maybe thats part of the problem, too much federal govt intervention. Let the states deal with it. At least then we would have 50 different methods working and maybe a solution would be found that every state could copy.


    I guess bottom line, I think we should let the citizens of the states decide this not the unions or federal govt and certainly not Paul Krugman. See below



    I forgot to add I am glad there are some on here that can have a civil discussion without resorting to threats against each other. jeez some of these comments are unbelievable.
    23 Feb 2011, 04:29 PM Reply Like
  • They should take a look at the percentage of students who do poorly belong to families who receive government transfer payments (in whatever flavor). I think the results would be sobering.
    23 Feb 2011, 05:28 PM Reply Like
  • Did you look at the links I provided?


    They referenced studies conducted by:


    Stanford University Center for Research on Educational Outcomes
    National Bureau of Economics
    American Federation of Teachers
    Carol Hoxby
    National Assessment of Educational Progress
    National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
    National Center for Education Statistics
    Harvard Business School
    United States Department of Education
    Mathematica Inc.


    and others.
    23 Feb 2011, 10:06 PM Reply Like
  • Indeed. One of the studies I've seen included a correlation with the percentage of students receiving free lunches at the school.
    23 Feb 2011, 10:07 PM Reply Like
  • One of the secrets of Asian educational success is that they do weed out the unmotivated idiots quickly and only the best move on to higher education. There is a massive number of people in India for example living in poverty who have little education. In addition they spend little to no time on history and other social sciences but a lot of time on core science and math. In fact the schools are built around these cirriculums and are sponsored by Oracle and other high tech companies. We should do the same thing but we need to open up the education industry to other ideas and studies.


    So what do you get? A lot of engineers.


    Having worked with Asians I can tell you that they are no smarter than the bright people I have worked with in various industries around the US. However they are very motivated and focused and that counts for a lot.
    24 Feb 2011, 01:51 AM Reply Like
  • one thing the three commie teachers i know are INSANELY OPPOSED to, is standardized , publicized school by school results. they go absolutely apeshit over that one. pretty clear why. socialistas have NO INTEREST in performance based ANYTHING, other than thier retirement fees....the one charter school teacher i know LOVES it...guess why?
    22 Feb 2011, 06:14 PM Reply Like
  • So the Millions of teachers in the USA = your three commie teacher friends? Great logic.... do you select stocks using the same kind of logic?
    22 Feb 2011, 09:14 PM Reply Like
  • Perhaps his sample size was too small but the 100% number is indicative of something, as well. Try to relax - the stock money is his and the gains and losses are as well. But, to continue his question - why is it that the teachers' unions do NOT want to be judged on the results of their schools? Let's just move this quickly to vouchers and then the poor kids can get whatever the rest of us get.
    23 Feb 2011, 02:20 PM Reply Like
  • have you ever met a public school teacher who was a capitalist libertarian?.......i thought not....
    22 Feb 2011, 10:41 PM Reply Like
  • LOL! Very funny - actually I have an older sister who's about ready to retire from teaching and she's done a 180 over the last 15 years. She could even consider Ron Paul before long... : )
    23 Feb 2011, 09:54 AM Reply Like
  • enabling gov't unions was the beginning of the end. it'll all go down violently, as that is how gov't works, by, those petulant childrens destroy the country , to get thier way...
    23 Feb 2011, 10:17 AM Reply Like
  • also remember, these skm are all in bed together. they're trying to stop this 'contagion' from busting loose, and illinois et al doing the same thing. they've got the shock troops out on this one, and the media dick washers, on full court press, to stop it right here.
    23 Feb 2011, 12:07 PM Reply Like
  • I having many contacts that are part of labor have been told since the Gov. of Wisconsin has blatantly engaged on an all out assault on unions which he thought would snowball across the U.S. the phones are ringing off the hook here in the northeast with groups of workers wanting union representation. I can honestly say that the republicans have shot themselves in the foot. I am not saying who is right or who is wrong, what is right or what is wrong. I am just sharing facts, like it or not groups of workers are inquiring about the organized labor process. If you are delighted with this news, good for you. If you do not like this news, sorry you can't shoot the messenger. The arousal of interest is unprecedented and for all the haters of labor all i can say is "UNION 101" may very well be playing soon at a theatre near you.
    23 Feb 2011, 09:43 PM Reply Like
  • "The arousal of interest is unprecedented and for all the haters of labor all i can say is "UNION 101" may very well be playing soon at a theatre near you. "


    Indeed. This is "union 101" which means those phone calls are part of the in-house turfing brigade. Most of the people watching what's going on are being turned off by the goon squad, wondering where in the fuck these dolts have the time to take off 9 days for their little liberal mosh pit.
    24 Feb 2011, 11:14 AM Reply Like
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