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State Fiscal Problems
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 5696

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now seeing your most recent post mrgybe, maybe you could expand on your following statements.

"The GM and Chrysler bondholders were muscled into a deal that gave them a tiny fraction of that given to the union creditors. It was a disgrace. In this environment, no sensible investor would buy the bonds of a company with unionized workers."

However, one thing that we must remember, GM pre-recession management wasn't together about their products in many important market areas. We must also remember that GM losses weren't so much due to the union labor costs to produce their cars, but rather to the product designs being offered by their competition. It's always your competition, and I think that GM now better understands that, and I feel that's already showing up in their recent performance and newer products.
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DanWeiss



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 1928
Location: Connecticut, USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrgybe wrote:
boggsman1 wrote:
Remember when Republicans used to argue that a contract is a contract? ha ha!


As indeed it is......and can be enforced in court. However, there comes a point when sensible people have to recognize economic reality. It seems that state workers have two choices........one, they can agree to contract amendments.......two, they can attempt to hold on to what they have and suffer significant layoffs, or renegotiate contracts from scratch when existing agreements are set aside in bankruptcy. These are not palatable alternatives, but they are the only ones on offer. I'm reminded of the coalminers strikes in the UK..........the unions held on for more than a year, caused in incredible suffering within their own ranks, and ultimately folded. Many would say this was a principled stand........but the result was that essentially all their members lost their jobs and the entire industry collapsed. Hopefully wiser heads will prevail in this dispute.

Sometimes you have to make the best of a bad situation..........as GM and Chrysler bondholders discovered.


That "bad situation" is a fallacy created entirely by Gov. Walker who is attempting to slay unions in order to pass an emergency spending plan needed to address the whopping $137mm shortfall. Is he serious?

In what possible way does collective bargaining affect spending between now and June 30th? It doesn't.

What Walker is doing is all about redistricting. Of the top ten donors to legislative campaigns, only three are considered progressive or liberal. The remaining are funding arms of large for-profit corporations -except for one, the NRA. If the unions go bust then all the top ten donors will support Republican legislators and, consequently, the Wisc. legislature will be dominated by Republicans who will redistrict out any meaningful Democratic voting blocks.

It should be noted that the unions in question have committed to the financial concessions sought by Walker. Yet he rejects them, instead pointing to the necessity to bar mandatory union dues and collective bargaining for non-cash benefits. Again, what does this have to do with the emergency budget that is the subject of his attack on state employees?

Right . . . the two have nothing to do with each other, except that Walker thinks voters will support his contention that the state workers are causing the budget problems. Of course, his exemption of local police and firefighters unions and the state police union from the restrictions he seeks for all the other public workers shows Walker for what he really is: an uneducated dope who is exempting the only three unions that supported his gubernatorial campaign.

And, it bears mention in case it comes up, Ronald Reagan's firing of the federal air traffic control workers bears no similarity to the present situation, because those air traffic controllers were refusing to work under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement struck by their own union and the federal govt.
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mrgybe



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
Posts: 2551

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DanWeiss wrote:
In what possible way does collective bargaining affect spending between now and June 30th? It doesn't.


With respect, I think we should expect a governor to look beyond the next four months. Rightly or wrongly he sees that collective bargaining has been a creeping root cause of the disparity between public and private sector benefits.......and is simply not affordable. Quick fixes don't solve systemic problems but are all too often used by politicians focused on the next election cycle. Example......using "stimulus" funds to fill holes in state budgets worked well didn't it?.............for 12 months. We can argue whether Walker is looking in the wrong places, but I want politicians to think and act long term.
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DanWeiss



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Posts: 1928
Location: Connecticut, USA

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Walker's intent has been exposed. He admitted that he hoped to start a movement among newly elected GOP governors to bust unions's collective bargaining rights. That's no small accommodation by unions, it is an existential issue.

What he and others are trying to do is hold hostage state budgets with a union-busting agenda. See NJ, GA, IN and FL.

There is no argument that certain states are in a bit of an economic pickle and that some difficult measures must be taken. But why on earth should state public employees who are some of the lowest paid professionals around pay with their flesh when they perform critical services for the taxpayers a.k.a you and me? Why don't we pay higher taxes?

I'm in the highest bracket already and I didn't mind the tiny jump in state taxes as part of my civic obligation. Somebody's got to pay the teachers, court clerks and the people who clean state offices. Why ask these hard-working people to pay their own compensation, which is exactly what Walker and others propose by demanding a 7-11% cut in salary and increased self-funded contributions to other benefits.

Assistant principals in WI tend to make about a range of $40k to $90k in salary depending on education level and location. The salaries of Guidance Counselors with Masters Degrees range from $20K to $70k. I doubt these educators are retiring early to the Amalfi Coast as seems to be the story foisted on the nation by Gov. Walker.

A tough economy doesn't mean that these services are any less valuable. What it does mean is that more revenue must be found to pay for these services. Cutting taxes does not pay for services. It never has.

Wisconsin started this calendar year in a position to achieve a budget surplus in FY 2010-11 of about $120mm. Walker then turned that into a deficit of $137mm (according to Walker) by pushing through spending initiatives for special-interest groups of $140mm in January. More than 50% of the Walker's budget shortfall comes through just three of his programs pushed through since Jan. 1.:

$67mm in an employer tax incentive plan;

$48mm to create private health savings accounts; and

$25mm in additional funding of an economic development program designed to grow jobs (even though the fund retains an original $73mm due to slow job growth.)

What Walker is trying to do to the unions has everything to do with state legislative redistricting and nothing to do with the budget.

Wisconsin's legislature redraws legislative and congressional lines every ten years following the decennial federal census. Wisconsin will redistrict in 2012 and hold elections later that year. Without the union's support for progressive candidates, only the big corporations will remain to donate in significant amounts, virtually assuring that the GOP will lock out both the WI House and Senate as well as control who WI sends to Washington for at least the next 12 years!

A discussion about the relative merits of collective bargaining and union pay is always healthy. But Walker and the other new govs. have introduced state budgets as red herrings to distract voters from what's really going on.
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mac



Joined: 07 Mar 1999
Posts: 4989

PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you don't believe this is about crushing Democrats and supporters of Obama, and fueled by the Koch's, check this out. The transcript of the call from Buffalo Beast to Scott Wilson, where the BB guy posed as Koch:

http://wnymedia.net/buffalopundit/2011/02/buffalo-beast-poses-as-david-koch-calls-wi-gov.-walker/

Tell me again a faux story about fiscal austerity. Better yet, show me a Republican track record that compares to Clinton's.
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NickB



Joined: 30 Jun 2009
Posts: 497
Location: Alameda, CA

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



(http://www.salon.com/entertainment/comics/this_modern_world/2011/03/01/this_modern_world)
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 13837

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope you guys see the differences between private and public sector unions, which include:

Private sector unions negotiate with corporate management for a share of corporate profits, while public sector (government employee) unions negotiate with politicians for taxpayer money. (Realize the government SHOULD BE a non-profit entity.)

Private sector unions and the corporation both know that if the union gets too much of the profits, the corporation is likely to lay people off, move, or close altogether. None of those is going to happen when the “corporation” is the government.

The corporation is dealing with ITS profits, and has a strong incentive to conserve them for research, expansion, a yacht, etc.; the politicians representing the government have almost no incentive to conserve.

On the contrary, the politicians have a very strong motive for giving the unions the sun and the moon; it’s how they buy the strong arm of union votes to almost guarantee their reelection … with our money, to boot.

Thus in every way the public employee union relation with the government favors giving away ever more taxpayer money to government union employees who already get paid much more than private employees, while the private union/corporation relationship favors the corporation which earned the money in the first place and which pays its workers less.

Yet another difference is that when corporate workers strike, the corporation takes most of the hit directly; when public employees -- cops, firemen, air traffic controllers, teachers, many other critical functions -- strike, the citizens at large suffer, sometimes drastically. Those unions have us over a barrel that so far only Reagan had the nerve to smash (after Carter ended public employee unions’ right to negotiate wages).

In non-right-to-work states, union membership is mandatory (and those states are generally losing corporations and workers in droves because they are less profitable).

That’s why public employee unions should not have the same collective bargaining rights as private sector unions and why it’s so important that Walker/WI prevail in this battle; state and federal economies are at stake. .

BTW, Obama garnered millions of votes by promising to put on comfortable shoes and picket with the unions AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES if they would vote for him. I guess like Bush’s promise to shrink the government and control the deficit, that was just campaign BS, huh?
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swchandler



Joined: 08 Nov 1993
Posts: 5696

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to admit to the fact that I'm not a champion for unions. Moreover, I wouldn't have ever joined a union as a condition for work. Nonetheless, I'm not patently against unions, and recognize that unions have played a very important part in growing and sustaining the middle class in this country. Some have argued that unions are no longer needed, and that they actually inhibit business interests and unduly overtax our government resources. Frankly, I don't buy it. Certainly, at least in some states, retirement compensation and benefits sorely need to be addressed, but I'm not convinced that's the problem in WI.

So, I don't believe don't believe in the contrived arguments that isobars is presenting above, not for a second. I saw Governor Walker on Meet the Press on Sunday, and it was exceedingly clear that he was totally avoiding Gregory's questions. It was so obvious that Walker's stand is specious, at best. The targeted public unions (not those that supported Walker bid for governor) have already agreed to take the financial concessions proposed, so it's crystal clear that Walker's goal is to bust up unions and their current right to collective bargaining.

I think that it's well understood that Walker that has already offered financial tax incentives to business interests that will impact revenues in the future. So the deficit problem in WI questionably targets public unions as the source of their financial problems. The pivotal point in the Republican argument is that next year the public unions will strike for more wages and benefits and bust agreements made this year.

What a pantload! The one important thing I haven't heard anything about is past public union strikes that have crippled WI in untoward ways. If collective bargaining is such a formidable problem, where are the past facts to prove it?
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 3958

PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He'd rather give the money to Goldman Sachs and JPM, and bow to the king. Screw the small business man.
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stevenbard



Joined: 11 Nov 1993
Posts: 3958

PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More contrasting photos of liberal progressive government vs capitalism.

http://www.fourwinds10.com/siterun_data/spiritual/pictures/news.php?q=1254861706
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