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glassgowkiss

the truth emerges in wisconsin fight

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While I think there are some tweaks needed to public employee contracts - primarily in benefits - the Wisconsin ploy is over the top and clearly not related to budget issues.

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I find it amusing that there are adults out there who are innocent enough to believe that Democrats are supporting collective bargaining rights for public sector unions only as a matter of principle and conviction. The state automatically deducts union dues from public sector employees and transfers the balances directly to their unions, who then use the money to elect politicians who use tax revenues to reward them with higher pay and benefits.

 

I'm sure that most Democrats honestly believe this system is fair and just, but it's impossible to determine the extent to which they're motivated by these convictions versus the political advantages that this patronage scheme confers up on them.

 

This argument is really only compelling if public sector unions' advocacy is solely limited to increasing their own pay and benefits. It isn't. Workers providing public services have first hand experience with marginalized communities of service users and are the most knowledgeable citizens with regard to state of the institutions they work in, our infrastructure, our schools, etc. Far from simply cynically seeking their own "job security", unions and their members have been powerful advocates on issues they're dealing with on a daily basis, from school lunch programs to women's shelters. The political threat that these unions pose is that they're putting money behind issues and into campaigns and politicians that the Right oppose, working class issues and campaigns that unions and the Left historically champion. Public sector unions, the last American unions with substantial density, represent a concentrated economic bloc that systematically pushes the progressive agenda and pushes back against corporate power. You're right Jay, this is about politics. That's all this shit's about.

 

Agree that it's about politics.

 

If it were about altruism, we'd see public sector workers making sure that their pay and benefits ranked behind funding for delivering all of the services that the most vulnerable members of society rely on, they'd be leading the charge on cost efficiency so that the state could actually deliver more services to more people at a lower cost, etc.

 

Unfortunately for your thesis, we actually see precisely the opposite any time there's pressure on the budget. Zero movement towards cost efficiency, zero movement for focusing the governments priorities on the areas where they're needed most, etc, etc, etc, etc.

 

Take an even closer look at the way they operate and you see things like work rules such as the Metro agreements that staff overtime with the most senior bus drivers so that they can use the overtime to spike their pension payouts, rampant pension spiking via other means, etc, etc, etc. The day that all of the above self-dealing that siphons resources away from other more legitimate public priorities is the day that you'll be able to claim that the public sector unions that actually exist operate in a manner that's consistent with the romantic vignette that you've offered up above.

 

I never said it was all about altuism (a concept you're generally in conflict with anyway, no?). That unions represent the interest of their members is kind of a no-brainer but the notion that many public sector unions have been unwilling to make concessions is false. Link, link, link, link, link. Yes, many have resisted conceding hard-won gains. But it's not clear that they shouldn't since those concessions aren't going to amount to a squirt of piss in terms of addressing the cause of the crisis (the economy cratering/tax cuts) or the only real solution to it (stimulating economic growth). This is born out by the data that's emerging from countries experiencing the same austerity measures proposed here. If there's no real, rational, quantifiable reason for busting American unions then it's simply about undermining concentrated support for the liberal left and reviving the Rovian dream of permanent GOP majorities.

 

It's clearly not about altruism at all. It's a mechanism for extracting maximal compensation from the public. This is borne out by the fact that any time there's a transparent conflict between the public's interests and their own - they have and will unfailingly favor their own interests. It's astonishing that I'm having to make this point to a *Marxist* of all people.

 

The best you can do is claim that there can be an incidental benefit to the public as an unintended consequence of whatever public sector unions do to promote their own interests.

 

The real, quantifiable reason to pay as little as possible to secure and retain qualified workers to deliver public services is to make the delivery of public services as cost effective as possible, and to concentrate public sector resources on the most urgent public priorities.

 

 

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the data indicates that state and local government employees in Wisconsin are not overpaid. Comparisons controlling for education, experience, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship, and disability reveal that employees of both state and local governments in Wisconsin earn less than comparable private sector employees. On an annual basis, full-time state and local government employees in Wisconsin are undercompensated by 8.2% compared with otherwise similar private sector workers. This compensation disadvantage is smaller but still significant when hours worked are factored in. Full-time public employees work fewer annual hours, particularly employees with bachelor’s, master’s, and professional degrees (because many are teachers or university professors). When comparisons are made controlling for the difference in annual hours worked, full-time state and local government employees are undercompensated by 4.8%, compared with otherwise similar private sector workers. To summarize, our study shows that Wisconsin public employees earn 4.8% less in total compensation per hour than comparable full-time employees in Wisconsin’s private sector.

 

These compensation comparisons account for important factors that affect earnings, the most important of which is the educational levels of public employees. When comparing public and private sector pay it is essential to consider the much higher levels of education required by occupations in the public sector. As a consequence of these requirements, Wisconsin public sector workers are on average more highly educated than private sector workers; 59% of full-time Wisconsin public sector workers hold at least a four-year college degree, compared with 30% of full-time private sector workers. Wisconsin state and local governments pay college-educated employees 25% less in annual compensation, on average, than private employers. The compensation differential is greatest for professional employees, lawyers, and doctors. On the other hand, the public sector appears to set a floor on compensation, which benefits less-educated workers. The 1% of state and local government workers without high school diplomas earn more than comparably educated workers in the private sector.

 

http://www.epi.org/publications/entry/are_wisconsin_public_employees_over-compensated/

 

 

http://reason.org/news/show/public-sector-private-sector-salary

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OK, devil's advocate time.

 

Federal employees don't have collective bargaining rights. Why should state employees? And why does Obama support state employees keeping their collective bargaining status, but refuses to give the same right to federal employees?

 

Why shouldn't the states have the same flexibility the President has regarding managing compensation?

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It's clearly not about altruism at all. It's a mechanism for extracting maximal compensation from the public. This is borne out by the fact that any time there's a transparent conflict between the public's interests and their own - they have and will unfailingly favor their own interests. It's astonishing that I'm having to make this point to a *Marxist* of all people.

 

Many public sector unions have made concessions against their immediate material interest as evidenced in the links above.

 

The best you can do is claim that there can be an incidental benefit to the public as an unintended consequence of whatever public sector unions do to promote their own interests.

Advocacy for social justice and working class issues aside, I'm not sure having a large number of middle-class consumers has been considered an "incidental benefit" by American firms for the last 50 years or so. But hey, it'll sure be interesting to see what your brave new world looks like without them.

 

The real, quantifiable reason to pay as little as possible to secure and retain qualified workers to deliver public services is to make the delivery of public services as cost effective as possible, and to concentrate public sector resources on the most urgent public priorities.

 

Given the shit social and economic landscape your other ideas have given us, it should be pretty easy to retain workers (scared to death about their other prospects) in jobs and pay them very little indeed. Once those pesky unions are out of the way. Oh, and it goes without saying that your new found support for altruism and public services at the same time you're flogging self-interest is straining our suspension of disbelief even more than usual, don't you think?

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The "Marxist" comment is funny too, given that most of what I've been doing here for the last 3 years is arguing for a stronger, more stable and productive form of capitalism. This is the thanks I get...

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The "Marxist" comment is funny too, given that most of what I've been doing here for the last 3 years is arguing for a stronger, more stable and productive form of capitalism. This is the thanks I get...

 

It wasn't an insult, just an observation alongside the uncharacteristic and....rather bourgeois...deviation into sentimentalism and away from the platonic class-interest-uber-alles framework we normally get from flinty eyed dialectical materialists like yourself.

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"The showdown in Wisconsin over fringe benefits for public employees boils down to one number: 74.2. That's how many cents the public pays Milwaukee public-school teachers and other employees for retirement and health benefits for every dollar they receive in salary. The corresponding rate for employees of private firms is 24.3 cents.

 

Gov. Scott Walker's proposal would bring public-employee benefits closer in line with those of workers in the private sector. And to prevent benefits from reaching sky-high levels in the future, he wants to restrict collective-bargaining rights.

 

The average Milwaukee public-school teacher salary is $56,500, but with benefits the total package is $100,005, according to the manager of financial planning for Milwaukee public schools. When I showed these figures to a friend, she asked me a simple question: "How can fringe benefits be nearly as much as salary?" The answers can be found by unpacking the numbers in the district's budget for this fiscal year....

 

....Overall, the school district's contributions to health insurance for employees and retirees total about 50.9 cents on top of every dollar paid in wages. Together with pension and Social Security contributions, plus a few small items, one can see how the total cost of fringe benefits reaches 74.2%."

 

WSJ Link

 

Doubt this is terribly different from every other public sector compensation package in the ratio of benefits to wages/salary...

 

 

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"The showdown in Wisconsin over fringe benefits for public employees boils down to one number: 74.2. That's how many cents the public pays Milwaukee public-school teachers and other employees for retirement and health benefits for every dollar they receive in salary. The corresponding rate for employees of private firms is 24.3 cents.

 

Gov. Scott Walker's proposal would bring public-employee benefits closer in line with those of workers in the private sector. And to prevent benefits from reaching sky-high levels in the future, he wants to restrict collective-bargaining rights.

 

The average Milwaukee public-school teacher salary is $56,500, but with benefits the total package is $100,005, according to the manager of financial planning for Milwaukee public schools. When I showed these figures to a friend, she asked me a simple question: "How can fringe benefits be nearly as much as salary?" The answers can be found by unpacking the numbers in the district's budget for this fiscal year....

 

....Overall, the school district's contributions to health insurance for employees and retirees total about 50.9 cents on top of every dollar paid in wages. Together with pension and Social Security contributions, plus a few small items, one can see how the total cost of fringe benefits reaches 74.2%."

 

WSJ Link

 

Doubt this is terribly different from every other public sector compensation package in the ratio of benefits to wages/salary...

 

 

:lmao: you never stop with fetishizing useless metrics, do you? :lmao:

 

The best part though is the selective sourcing for data on your little red book (seriously, does anyone actually read the WSJ anymore? it's shit, even for financial reporting)

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What's the news here - exactly?

. . .

The funny thing about this "fight" is that the very best that public sector unions can achieve is a pyrrhic victory. They keep the gravy train rolling and either prevent any measures that would make the delivery of public services more cost-efficient, or better yet from their perspective actually get massive boosts in pay and benefits and the end result is that their states implode fiscally sooner rather than later. The best possible outcome for them in that scenario is the complete gutting of public services with significant layoffs in order to keep pay and benefits untouched for the folks with enough seniority or connections to avoid the axe.

 

 

I've been too busy working to respond to this but you are posting utter nonensense, Jay. The Wisconsin public employeess unions offered to take the hits proposed by their Governor. He declined to accept their acceptance of his demands. Instead he says he needs to break the union or unions just because he thinks this is the political moment to do so.

 

Nobody in public employment is arguing that we should not pursue measures that might make the delivery of public services more cost-efficient, arguing that they should receive massive boosts in pay and benefits, or seeking to gut public services.

 

I'm sorry if you've explained these claims in 5 pages of spray over the last day but, seriously, what are you really trying to say, Jay?

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what are you really trying to say, Jay?

unions are double-plus ungood :)

 

I believe Jay has previously posted links showing incontrovertible proof that the head of the AFL-CIO is a recently thawed Joseph Stalin.

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OK, devil's advocate time.

 

Federal employees don't have collective bargaining rights. Why should state employees? And why does Obama support state employees keeping their collective bargaining status, but refuses to give the same right to federal employees?

 

Why shouldn't the states have the same flexibility the President has regarding managing compensation?

 

False. Some federal employees do have collective bargaining rights.

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Given the shit social and economic landscape your other ideas have given us....

 

Say Union Yes!

 

Yes, one can only imagine the paradise that Detroit might be today had unions never existed. Another Dhaka, Soweto, Matamoros, Manila even. Dare to dream.

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"The showdown in Wisconsin over fringe benefits for public employees boils down to one number: 74.2. That's how many cents the public pays Milwaukee public-school teachers and other employees [..]

 

Same tendentious drivel rehashed a different way. All teachers have at least a BA and not uncommonly Masters, and they are a stable worforce. The equivalent population would earn 4.3% more total compensation in the private sector. I am sure we'll read more about was left unsaid by that WSJ article (a Murdoch/Fox rag.

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In response to orders to remove protesters at 4pm today...

 

Police assoc. urges members to sleep at Capitol

 

AP February 25, 2011

 

MADISON— The Wisconsin Professional Police Association is urging its members to camp out at the state Capitol with protesters.

 

Executive Director Jim Palmer says the group is asking Gov. Scott Walker to allow protesters to continue their overnight demonstrations.

 

State officials voted Wednesday to remove protesters from offices and hearing rooms after Saturday’s normal business hours. Law enforcement officials in the Capitol also decided on new restrictions on items and sleeping areas that will go into effect Friday at 4 p.m.

 

Palmer says Wisconsin’s law enforcement community opposes Walker’s bill that cuts collective bargaining for most state employees.

 

The Capitol will remain open Friday night.

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“Law enforcement officers know the difference between right and wrong, and Governor Walker’s attempt to eliminate the collective voice of Wisconsin’s devoted public employees is wrong,” continued Palmer. “That is why we have stood with our fellow employees each day and why we will be sleeping among them tonight.”

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Scott Walker is doing exactly what he promised he would do if he was elected during his campaign, something that should be commended. Any anger should be directed at the majority of the voting public of Wisconsin for putting a dickhead in office.

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Scott Walker is doing exactly what he promised he would do if he was elected during his campaign, something that should be commended. Any anger should be directed at the majority of the voting public of Wisconsin for putting a dickhead in office.

definitely true, and running and hiding to avoid the vote can't help but look weak-sauce for the dems either (though showing ANY balls on their part is a bit of an anamoly) - however, the anger that this move results in can't easily be focused on the numerous dick-munches who support home-slice w/o devolving into drunken grassroutes chaos (on the way home, i barely fought the urge to run a total dipshit in a van and his anti-fag billboard in back off the road) - the most constructive use of the anger is to focus it on the narrow majority's representative, no?

 

wait, holy fuck, am i ask the cobra commander about the most proper fashion to fight evil? :crazy:

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