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The Wisconsin Assembly passes a bill that would strip most public workers of their collective...

The Wisconsin Assembly passes a bill that would strip most public workers of their collective bargaining rights, setting up a showdown in the state's Senate. The Republican agenda is now apparent to all, Paul Krugman says: "Union-busting and privatization remain GOP priorities, and the party will continue its efforts to smuggle those priorities through in the name of balanced budgets."
Comments (47)
  • bigazul
    , contributor
    Comments (1068) | Send Message
     
    Was the agenda ever hidden?
    25 Feb 2011, 10:15 AM Reply Like
  • Joe Morgan
    , contributor
    Comments (1558) | Send Message
     
    I don't like to repeat but as Krugman is also repeating like an old parrot....."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..."
    25 Feb 2011, 10:18 AM Reply Like
  • MNTrader
    , contributor
    Comments (48) | Send Message
     
    SA gives Krugman too much coverage. Then again they know it is a sure fire way of getting interaction and comments on an article
    25 Feb 2011, 10:20 AM Reply Like
  • phoneranger
    , contributor
    Comments (350) | Send Message
     
    absolutely right..PK is red meat for the SA crowd even if he is talking about something political where his comments are unexceptional and predictable.
    25 Feb 2011, 10:23 AM Reply Like
  • bigazul
    , contributor
    Comments (1068) | Send Message
     
    Like yellow jackets at a picnic...I try to limit myself to one political rant a day though. I'm good now...back to sanity.
    25 Feb 2011, 10:33 AM Reply Like
  • Tony Petroski
    , contributor
    Comments (6373) | Send Message
     
    Just as "slashing" budget deficits means only increasing spending in the coming year to 3-4% rather than 8-10%,

     

    asking a public-sector employee to increase by a few percent their contribution towards their pension is "union busting."

     

    Some day you may see real union busting when the half of the country that produces things decides to break off their union with the half that "spreads the wealth around."
    25 Feb 2011, 10:22 AM Reply Like
  • Speakeasy
    , contributor
    Comments (414) | Send Message
     
    What the news media hasn't made clear to the American public is that in Wisconsin in order to be a state employee, one is forced to join the union - how democratic is this? What Walker wants to do is to give people the option to join or not and yes in addition contribute a % to their healthcare costs and pension which is standard in private industry.

     

    Unions were up in arms because now that state employees aren't forced to pay union fees to the tune of $800 a year, their financial and political clout is diminished!

     

    I think the posters above need to do some research and not rely on mainstream media outlets that give only part of the story.
    25 Feb 2011, 10:23 AM Reply Like
  • jpiretti
    , contributor
    Comments (712) | Send Message
     
    If one had done more research, one would have known that the union had already agreed to the pension/ benefit concessions that the Gov. requested.
    www.danagoldstein.net/...
    As far as collective bargaining, if one has the inalienable rights to "assembly" and to "petition one's government" does it follow that public sector workers have the constitutional right to collectively negotiate?
    25 Feb 2011, 11:23 AM Reply Like
  • The Sane Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (357) | Send Message
     
    No, because they represent a monopoly with zero outside competition. Because governments are allowed to borrow, public unions can hold politicians and societies hostile until they cater to their demands, for which there is no limit that a fixed budget would provide on what can be asked for .

     

    If governments couldn't borrow, then yes they would be entitled to fight for their share of the pie. With the ability to borrow, however, there is no fixed "pie" to fight over, and the battle becomes more how much they can sack from future generations to pay for today.
    25 Feb 2011, 12:12 PM Reply Like
  • lafano
    , contributor
    Comments (222) | Send Message
     
    Sane Investor - great answer. I checked the constitution again and I could not find where "collective negotiate" is a constitutional right. There appears to be a lot of confusion between what's constitutional and what's afforded by a "contract." Even one of our greatest Presidents, FDR, was against public unions.
    25 Feb 2011, 12:31 PM Reply Like
  • jpiretti
    , contributor
    Comments (712) | Send Message
     
    Gov. Walker just passed a tax bill that exempts new business into the state from the state corporate income tax. Tax payers must support the infrastructure while the state floats bonds to also support the infrastructure...all used by these outside business interests . This new tax bill created 117M of the 137M shortfall in this years budget. Business lobbyist "negotiated" this arrangement with the Gov....given your logic, they should not be allowed to even speak to the Gov. about deficit spending tax cuts...is that correct?
    25 Feb 2011, 01:16 PM Reply Like
  • jpiretti
    , contributor
    Comments (712) | Send Message
     
    I am sorry...are you saying groups can't assemble and petition the government. Your semantic "tricks" are not very impressive.
    Does the term " A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." mean that individuals DO NOT have the right to bear arms because only "well regulated militias" are mentioned?
    The scholarship on this thread has really gotten embarrasing.
    As for your FDR citation...your are incorrect.FDR did not oppose public employee unions. He opposed strikes by federal public employee unions.
    Strikes that I believe are illegal for public employees in Wisconsin.
    25 Feb 2011, 01:59 PM Reply Like
  • lafano
    , contributor
    Comments (222) | Send Message
     
    LOL...what you are saying is the blinding flash of the obvious...your earlier message mentioned was about collective bargaining which is not a constitutional right. "Collective bargaining is a process of negotiations between employers and the representatives of a unit of employees aimed at reaching agreements which regulate working condition"...come on now...let me get back to trading because this is too boring...lol...
    25 Feb 2011, 02:05 PM Reply Like
  • JohnBinTN
    , contributor
    Comments (4029) | Send Message
     
    No, it does not mean that citizens must be in an organized militia to bear arms for lawful purposes. The Supreme Court upheld that viewpoint in 2008.

     

    If the unions lose any powers or benefits at all, they still retain the right to assemble and petition the government. The difference being, taxpayers will not be subjugated to their demands.
    25 Feb 2011, 02:10 PM Reply Like
  • jpiretti
    , contributor
    Comments (712) | Send Message
     
    "a monopoly with zero outside competition" have the power to set the price with no countervailing force....does that describe the teacher's union in Wisconsin?....because they just accepted an (average) 9.4% decline in take home pay...is that the price they set with their monopoly power? Interesting perspective.
    25 Feb 2011, 02:53 PM Reply Like
  • jpiretti
    , contributor
    Comments (712) | Send Message
     
    How can you have the inalienable right to assemble and petition the government, but not be allowed to practice collective bargaining...are you people actually listening to yourselves? It's like talking to children.
    25 Feb 2011, 03:26 PM Reply Like
  • JohnBinTN
    , contributor
    Comments (4029) | Send Message
     
    You are trying to argue that collective bargaining is a first amendment right. It is not, else we would all have collective bargaining at our places of employment.

     

    Collective bargaining is a 'benefit' afforded some workers (union) in some contracts. Sometimes benefits can be taken away, or modified (as in the WI case). They still are left with their first amendment right to assemble and petition.
    25 Feb 2011, 04:17 PM Reply Like
  • winnersdon'tquit
    , contributor
    Comments (211) | Send Message
     
    Krugman still just doesn't get it!
    It's about "too much for too little"; over-populated, overpaid, underperforming public sector work forces.
    He needs to stop defending the undefendable, get his head out of the dark zone, and quit pushing this "class warfare" BS.

     

    Paul,... "Is this what you learned at Harvard"??
    25 Feb 2011, 10:26 AM Reply Like
  • DianeLee
    , contributor
    Comments (360) | Send Message
     
    Nobody is talking about balancing this budget, only reductions in the bottomless pit of a deficit. Krugman always spouts "deficits don't matter" .... not to ultra-liberals anyway. Does anybody ever wonder if they'd like to intentionally force a US bankruptcy, so they could just start over with a Socialist State? Krugman's hatred for and constant blame on Republicans make me think a move to the right side of Independent is the place to be.
    25 Feb 2011, 10:27 AM Reply Like
  • jpiretti
    , contributor
    Comments (712) | Send Message
     
    I am sorry, but I think you got the quote wrong. It was Dick Cheney that said "Reagan proves that deficits don't matter"
    Reagan increased the US gross nominal deficit by 2.89X in 8 years...Bush 43 doubled it. From 1981, 11T of the 14T+ in nominal deficit increases have occurred under Republican administrations. Move to the right if you wish, but don't expect fiscal discipline...not if history is our guide.

     

    seekingalpha.com/curre...
    25 Feb 2011, 11:54 AM Reply Like
  • Poor Texan
    , contributor
    Comments (3533) | Send Message
     
    Thank goodness there were no Democrats in the government during that time. If there had been democrat controlled congresses in any of the past 40 years we wouldn't be having these problems :-(
    25 Feb 2011, 12:10 PM Reply Like
  • jpiretti
    , contributor
    Comments (712) | Send Message
     
    Actually, Of Reagan's 8 budget proposals, 7 were smaller after they passed the appropriations committee.

     

    www.presimetrics.com/b...

     

    Are you under the belief that Republican's are better for the economy?

     

    If I may quote David Stockman (Reagan's budget director)
    "The GOP destroyed US economy"

     

    crooksandliars.com/sus...
    25 Feb 2011, 01:02 PM Reply Like
  • DianeLee
    , contributor
    Comments (360) | Send Message
     
    Fiscal responsibility matters.
    25 Feb 2011, 10:28 AM Reply Like
  • Philo Beddoe
    , contributor
    Comments (37) | Send Message
     
    Not only is Krugman the quintessential " useful idiot". He is also a clueless idiot.www.publicsectorinc.co...
    25 Feb 2011, 10:30 AM Reply Like
  • Terry330
    , contributor
    Comments (870) | Send Message
     
    American middle class workers can't continue to support the lifestyle of the wealthy 5%.
    25 Feb 2011, 10:32 AM Reply Like
  • Capitalist1
    , contributor
    Comments (54) | Send Message
     
    American taxpayers can't continue to support the lifestyle of all the moochers sucking at the government teat, like these overcompensated, underperforming union bums.
    25 Feb 2011, 11:33 AM Reply Like
  • jpiretti
    , contributor
    Comments (712) | Send Message
     
    XOM and GE paid no taxes in 2009. GE recorded over 10B in income. GE even got a 1.1B tax credit paid form by me and you...why?...because they can book their profits overseas while booking their loses in the US while they still enjoy the 47.5% R&D tax credit in the US. Does this anger you, or are you still inclined to attack the working class?

     

    abcnews.go.com/Busines...
    25 Feb 2011, 12:11 PM Reply Like
  • Poor Texan
    , contributor
    Comments (3533) | Send Message
     
    But the head of Government Electric was picked to help Obama figure out how to increase employment.
    25 Feb 2011, 12:35 PM Reply Like
  • jpiretti
    , contributor
    Comments (712) | Send Message
     
    And Obama opposes the part of the tax code that allows GE to pay no taxes, but still book their credits...Do you agree with him or do you support the Republican leadership that supports this double dipping?
    25 Feb 2011, 02:10 PM Reply Like
  • gzhao7081
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
     
    Personally, I think this is a great move to reduce the over promise of government liability, from a pure fiscal stability point.
    25 Feb 2011, 10:33 AM Reply Like
  • nyuszika45
    , contributor
    Comments (633) | Send Message
     
    Let's see - aside from weak management, does anyone remember why the steel industry all of a sudden seemed to depart from US shores. It surely wasn't uncompetitive pricing, was it? And did that just originate from magic? Why is the majority of the steel the US uses imported? Did we lose the formula?

     

    Repeat a few years later - why oh why did all those automobile factories move to the South? Why are new entrants which slid into the market under the uncompetitive "giants" building factories in the South and not in the over-infrastructured North?

     

    If you can't figure this one, you have indeed passed the Department of Education Masters Degree course, unfortunately.
    25 Feb 2011, 10:39 AM Reply Like
  • Poor Texan
    , contributor
    Comments (3533) | Send Message
     
    I'm sure no one from Harvard could figure out the answer as it would not be politically correct.
    25 Feb 2011, 10:51 AM Reply Like
  • lafano
    , contributor
    Comments (222) | Send Message
     
    SA gives this loon too much coverage. He is a narcissistic self serving ideologue - always touting socialist/marxist ideals and never addressing the heart of the matter. He is a real joke, extremely decisive and promotes propaganda and covers up the real problems. If it's not his idea, it's a bad idea especially if it's coming from a Republican. It's clearly evident that he doesn't care about our country, only himself. How can he promote more spending when we are broke??? Raising taxes is his only solution. Socialism simply does not work and he wants the readers to believe it does, which is a big reason why readership and subscriptions of the NY Times continues to decline. I should have shorted their stock a year ago! This loon believes in bigger government and unfunded government programs while giving up our freedom for total dependency on government. And, it is time to rethink collective bargaining for public employees. How fair is it for unions to negotiate with politicians...lol. How much more can we pay for property taxes to subsidize these outrageous / sweet deals. The bottom line is - he's a loon and has zero credibility, and is simply a puppet for progressive liberals and socialists.
    25 Feb 2011, 10:47 AM Reply Like
  • 867046
    , contributor
    Comments (398) | Send Message
     
    Typical comments from the red state crowd.Obama is trying to run the US like a typical modern corporation.

     

    1) Borrow until revenues pick up. Gee just like GM. Even companies that lose money have access to cheap paper.

     

    2) Contain health care costs. Gee just like any company. People complain about Obamacare but come forward with an alternative.

     

    3) Borrow for capital expansion when money is cheap.

     

    Republicans have the business sense of liquor store owners: Cash only and the lower classes are inherently losers.

     

    Finally let's borrow some quotes from your investment gods:

     

    1) Warren Buffet believes that he should be paying more taxes. He questions why his secretary should be paying more taxes than he is.

     

    2) From Barton Biggs "Hedgehogging", p.196 he quotes fund manager, "Greg"

     

    "We are eating our seed corn. The Bushies for political purposes have pushed through two huge tax incentives for depreciation that have encouraged current capital spending at the expense of future spending. Meanwhile Greenspan's easy money policies have promoted the borrow of consumption from the future. These two have front loaded the stimulus and I'm afraid eventually we're headed for slumpflation and another bear market."
    25 Feb 2011, 10:58 AM Reply Like
  • Morg
    , contributor
    Comments (250) | Send Message
     
    1) GM is not exactly a good example for comparison as it would have gone bankrupt without a massive (and legally questionable) rescue by the Federal government. GM ran itself into the ground mostly because of poor management, poor products, and ridiculous employee wages and benefits...Now that I think about it, GM is a good comparison to the Federal government

     

    2) Obamacare does not contain healthcare costs. It gives millions more people access to healthcare without creating a single new doctor. In fact there has been some evidence that doctors are quitting in response to this plan. Link: bit.ly/hUcwpd Economics 101 lesson of the day: More demand on stable or less supply equals higher prices. Since this bill is being phased in over the next number of years until 2020 it will take some time to really see this damage, but it will happen.

     

    3) US borrowing costs are cheap as they are only because of the massive money creation at the Fed and its use of said money to purchase billions of dollars worth of treasuries. Remove the Fed's monetization of the debt (and that is what it is despite what Bernanke says) and our debt costs would be much higher. That being said this is your most technically correct point. If you are going to borrow, borrow when it is cheap. To bad in this case the currency you are borrowing is getting less valuable everyday thanks to the value diluting effects of money printing.

     

    To your point on republicans.

     

    1) Many on this page respect Mr. Buffet for his successes but do not revere him as a god. However there is quite a difference between his level of rich and the arbitrary $200k a year income that the Democrats have made their designation of a rich person. Mr. Buffet's tax level is low because most of his income comes in the form of dividends and capital gains taxes. The tax rates for this level of income is much lower than marginal rates. Increasing marginal rates as the president has proposed will not change Mr. Buffet's tax situation.

     

    2) Most posts I have seen on Greenspan hold the man in contempt. He like his successor both tried to play god with the money supply and have caused massive unintended consequences. We still have yet to see what those will be for Bernanke's actions I fear.

     

    Trying to push forward demand from the future to the present is a favorite trick of both parties. Take "cash for clunkers" as an example in the Democrats case. The point here is valid as pushing this demand forward can makes things better at the present to the detriment of the future. Short thinking politicians have a hard time with the plan for the long term concept when they feel they are at risk of losing their positions in the next election.
    25 Feb 2011, 12:48 PM Reply Like
  • lafano
    , contributor
    Comments (222) | Send Message
     
    Obamacare saving money???...lol...why are there over 900 exceptions to this great health care plan as many unions and states have already opted out with government's approval?
    25 Feb 2011, 01:16 PM Reply Like
  • 867046
    , contributor
    Comments (398) | Send Message
     
    1) It is in the national interest that GM survives. How much more manufacturing do you want to export? I believe the the gov't also made money on their investment.

     

    2) The non partisan CBO believes it does.

     

    3) In terms of cash for clunkers, what are we talking about, $10 - 30 billion, as opposed to Bush-Greenspan hundreds of billions. It is also interesting when some middle america/blue collar giveaway is considered on par with all the corporate and wealthy tax breaks in the hundreds of billions.

     

    Finally people commit the simple fallacy of symmetry between the republicans and the democrats, but on financial matters, no party plays the fiscal rectitude card more often than the republicans.
    25 Feb 2011, 01:16 PM Reply Like
  • Morg
    , contributor
    Comments (250) | Send Message
     
    1) My comment was not on whether we should have saved GM or not. You are welcome to your opinion on how much we "need" GM. I happen to put a great deal of faith in American ingenuity and I also believe that sometimes you need to take out the trash. If you look at the current trend of GM stock (which traded below its IPO price yesterday) things do not look rosy for the government return on investment.

     

    2) Again you are welcome to believe whatever you wish. I take most government statistics and studies like this (headline unemployment and inflation as two other example) with a skeptical eye. I would urge to consider my supply/demand point and the point of lafano's about all the exemptions that have all the exemptions that have already been given.

     

    3) I was actually agreeing with you to an extent on this point. I was making sure you understood that it wasn't a one party only tactic. I also was not drawing direct comparisons, but providing an example of a recent well known Democratic initiative that had the same pull forward affect. President Obama has also followed the Bush depreciation method if that is any interest to you. www.section179.org/sti... Do a quick Google search and you will find much more on this.
    25 Feb 2011, 01:52 PM Reply Like
  • Morg
    , contributor
    Comments (250) | Send Message
     
    For the record it appears the government needs $133.78 per share to break even on GM according to the associated press. www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3.../

     

    GM is currently trading at $33.27 so they only need to gain about 302% from current levels to break even. Sounds like a great investment.
    25 Feb 2011, 02:01 PM Reply Like
  • jpiretti
    , contributor
    Comments (712) | Send Message
     
    Because those that receive the exemptions (from new regulatory reporting) will not have access to the national exchanges until 2014...and these exemptions must be refilled every year. The vast majority of the exemptions go to mini-med plans...stripped down plans used mostly by the working poor (ie McDonald's workers). They do not represent very good value, but it would be counter productive to exclude this population from the risk pool given that the expansion of the risk pool is the most efficient way to control costs. Having 30-50M (depending on who you wish to believe) out of the risk pool, creates emergency rooms as primary care facilities, which reduces the personnel coverage and thus the quality of care for all of us that choose or can afford to pay into the risk pool. Of course it is also the most inefficient form of health care disbursement.
    25 Feb 2011, 02:26 PM Reply Like
  • Duude
    , contributor
    Comments (3398) | Send Message
     
    "the party will continue its efforts to smuggle those priorities..."

     

    For what purpose would he use the word 'smuggle'? Its because these lawmakers proposed voting on this in the dead of night and they even tried to keep lawmakers from reading the bill till after it was passed........No, no I'm sorry. I'm confusing them with the house of representatives under Nancy Pelosi. Interesting enough Krugman never described Pelosi as having attempted to 'smuggle' through her agenda. Yeah, Krugman practices real balanced journalism.
    25 Feb 2011, 11:13 AM Reply Like
  • JohnBinTN
    , contributor
    Comments (4029) | Send Message
     
    I watched the assembly debate yesterday - tax dollars hard at work, for sure.

     

    The overriding theme was that by restricting collective bargaining to wages/benefits, the middle class in WI was going to be destroyed. I have to wonder how 90% of the workforce does just fine without collective bargaining...

     

    What, exactly, will they lose that the majority of the middle class does not have? In the end, they'd still get a better deal than everyone else.

     

    A teacher complained that she would be unable to properly educate her students if she had to worry about her job security... Well, honey, welcome to the real world.
    25 Feb 2011, 11:19 AM Reply Like
  • jpiretti
    , contributor
    Comments (712) | Send Message
     
    A few observations: From 2000-2007, when the economy was experiencing the "Bush Miracle" (courtesy of Larry Kudlow) real median family income declined. That was the first time since WW2 that had happened over a rolling 6 year period. After this Qt. corporate profits will have exceeded the level set in 3rd Qt. 07' (top of the markets). Tax policy has shifted huge swaths of wealth from public to private hands (the Fortune 400 now pays a lower effective rate then me @ 200K) and after the economic collapse, debt from private to public hands.
    My simple comment: The workforce is not doing "just fine"

     

    www.forbes.com/2009/01...
    25 Feb 2011, 12:25 PM Reply Like
  • JohnBinTN
    , contributor
    Comments (4029) | Send Message
     
    So, again, "What, exactly, will they lose that the majority of the middle class does not have?"

     

    And if they do lose this holy grail of things (whatever it is), how will the middle class be destroyed? What did they do to deserve this all-powerful thing (on the taxpayers dime) in the first place?
    25 Feb 2011, 12:44 PM Reply Like
  • jpiretti
    , contributor
    Comments (712) | Send Message
     
    "Holy Grail" "All-Powerful" Boy, you really over sell collective bargaining. What they lose is the right to enter into contracts in which one party uses the leverage of a shared interest against the considerable power of the other party. Even after re-construction when blacks were 3/5ths of a human (census/representation compromise) they still had the right to negotiate and enter into contracts that were enforceable by the state. Are we saying that entering contacts and having those enforced is an inalienable right...except for public employees?
    25 Feb 2011, 02:38 PM Reply Like
  • JohnBinTN
    , contributor
    Comments (4029) | Send Message
     
    If the state governments (duly elected by the people of the state) decide that public servants are no longer able to bring certain items to the bargaining table, that's their right.

     

    Are YOU saying that if some of those items are taken away from the unions, that the judicial branch would deign to give them back, if so petitioned?

     

    I can choose not to support GE, Coke, or any other company that has a union. I'm forced to support the government sponsored union of the public sector.
    25 Feb 2011, 02:50 PM Reply Like
  • nyuszika45
    , contributor
    Comments (633) | Send Message
     
    Ever since I learned of these things when I was very young, I could never understand how RTW (right to work) was not the law of the land in a country purporting to be the "land of Liberty".

     

    That, the US's failure to help the Hungarians in '56 and failing to aid the Tibetans as they were overrun will remain the mysteries of my early youth.
    25 Feb 2011, 12:40 PM Reply Like
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