The Other Klein

Via digby, the Joe variety:

[I]t seems to me that Governor Scott Walker's basic requests are modest ones [. . .]

I'm no expert in the field, but I'm thinking that asking a union to give up the right to collectively bargain is pretty much the opposite of a "modest request." But, I'm sure Klein will 'have a lot more to say on this issue -- but first [he'll] have to learn more about it."

Speaking for me only

< Overrated, Underrated, Properly Rated | Keep Law Enforcement Away From Bail and Detention Policy >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    WTF? (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by lilburro on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 03:42:03 PM EST
    An election was held in Wisconsin last November. The Republicans won. In a democracy, there are consequences to elections and no one, not even the public employees unions, are exempt from that.

    Where was all this talk in 2008??  During the healthcare debate?  Etc. Etc. Etc.  

    Beyond that (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 03:43:37 PM EST
    the relationship between the government and a public union is employer-employee, not voter-elected official.

    Well, sadly (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by lilburro on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 04:21:21 PM EST
    many people seem to believe that public employees, such as teachers and non-elected civil servants, are actually owned by the voters.  Part of the "leverage" someone like Walker has I guess.

    IMO this was stunning (none / 0) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 04:22:16 PM EST
    Public employees unions are an interesting hybrid. Industrial unions are organized against the might and greed of ownership. Public employees unions are organized against the might and greed...of the public?

    It's bargaining (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 04:24:57 PM EST
    Not a battle of good and evil.

    its back to the point I made in another thread (none / 0) (#12)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 04:28:37 PM EST
    the point of unions is to bargain collectively for things like pensions and other perks.
    not to protect incompetent workers and promote mediocrity  

    Hear, hear. (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 04:47:52 PM EST
    Plus losing 10% of your paycheck (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 03:55:46 PM EST
    or more, with no way to crawl out of the hole with the other clauses in Wisconsin's bill, is not to be dismissed.  (But that point is being overwhelmed, as the governor obviously plotted, by the non-state employees' attention to the anti-union clauses.)

    Some state employees never had the right to collectively bargain but also have just had the hit to their paychecks conceded by the union head there.

    Those state employees have not had raises for five years, have had the forced "furlough" pay cuts for two years but have been ordered not to miss any work, and will take hits of 12% or more because their furloughs continue after the new bill hits.  And the unions there did not back them in fighting for decades for these same collective bargaining rights.

    There is a lot to learn about the mess there.

    With respect (none / 0) (#94)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 03:12:39 PM EST
    I am 100 percent pro-union.  Always have been, always will be.  I was also a state employee (not in Wisconsin) for quite a few years and know how ill-treated most are, union or no union.

    BUT forgive me if I'm unable to squeeze out a lot of anguish about folks not getting a raise in the last 5 years, or even about 10 or 12 percent pay cuts.

    We're in a recession.  I sure don't want to echo what Walker is parading around on, but everybody but the rich is hurting, there are a lot of people out of work and even more who've taken income hits far worse then 10 percent in order to keep working.

    The public employees and their unions in Wisconsin appear to have it right-- give up a little more money because we're all suffering and those who have decent jobs, pensions and health benefits are suffering less than an awful lot of the rest of us-- but never, ever, ever give in on basic bargaining rights.


    Klein's Reagan moment - and he too wins! (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Yes2Truth on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 03:58:23 PM EST

    Final outcome matters little.  Klein is shrewdly earning his bones.  It's how the system works, folks.

    ".....lack of knowledge...." (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by NYShooter on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 05:25:37 PM EST
    I'm not a voracious consumer of current events news, yet it still shocks me when I watch any of the broadcasts and a "news reader" makes a statement as if it is "hot off the press, breaking news," and yet, I've known about it for days. Then, of course, the other "reader," mouth agape, exclaims, "Really? How about that!"

    Thank God for the remote....click!

    This whole issue is a loser for dems (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Slado on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 07:26:28 PM EST
    While teachers, firefighters and other public union employees do important and thankless work they do not deserve a job that is not affected by fiscal reality.

    How many of the rest of us have been enduring furloughs, pay cuts, higher benefit payements etc...?

    Dems are basically asking taxpayers to look the other way and ignore the fact that many of these people are demanding to not have their standard of living reduced in hard economic times.

    The president of "change" is attempting to protect the status quo and the rest of the country is moving on without him.

    If democrats honestly think protecting public sector unions whose salaries are paid for by taxpayers is a good political strategy then by all means please go down that path.

    All states are in a fiscal mess.  It's only a question of how bad.   For democrats to make this fight only shows how out of touch with reality they really are.

    A few thoughts (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 08:03:20 PM EST
    (1) Are we talking about envy? Are we seeing attempts by the likes of Walker and other aggressive Republican governors to divide the middle class and those in the middle...the "hey, hey, don't look at us, look at those lucky public employees...yea, they certainly must be lazy, go sic 'em?"  If so (and it sure looks like it), it is reminiscent of class differentiation in the segregated South, wherein sociological studies found a common practice of pitting lower economic status whites against blacks in order to obscure who was getting an unusually large piece of the economic pie.  The ol' "divided we fall" routine.

    (2) Why are we not hearing more about some states--say, for example, Minnesota and other states without combative Repub governors--that have found ways to "balance the budget" without putting the preponderance on the working man and woman? In Minnesota, I understand that the Democratic Governor Mark Dayton is finding a way of raising more revenue than neighboring Governor Walker by very slightly (.3%) raising state tax on millionaires. Aren't we really talking about how we allocate the burden?

    (3) How does Wisconsin Governor Walker's proposal to limit union/state contracts to 1 year and require annual recertification of public employee unions have anything whatsoever to do with budgetary issues? Is it a coincidence that Governor Walker has a record of seeking de-certification of public unions?


    Why do the rich get to escape fiscal (5.00 / 3) (#46)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 07:41:33 AM EST
    reality?  I don't mind paying my fair share but that isn't what is going on here.  We bailed out the banks and their management write themselves paychecks that nobody can even fathom.  The rich getting giant tax cuts under Bush which this administration chose to extend is the other half of getting here.  I did not do this, Government employees did not do this, our leaders and the rich that own them did this and now they want to pay for all of it on my back.  That is the fiscal reality!

    Yeah- as Matt Taibbi pointed out on (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by ruffian on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 11:30:22 AM EST
    Bill Maher last night, the state pension funds are in trouble partly because they were defrauded by the very investment firms that got bailed out. Now they are asking the workers to make up for it?

    I missed Bill Maher last night (none / 0) (#63)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 12:02:18 PM EST
    I'll make sure I get it tonight since I now now Taibbi is on.

    It has always made me insane that we bailed out the institutions so that pensions would not be destroyed....that was one of the reasons given out as to why it had to happend immediately with no questions asked about any of it. I was all about the pensions being 100% saved too but I knew they wouldn't do it.  They had so much out there in derivatives....the GDP of the entire globe couldn't even cover it.  And what did they do with all that money, they used it to cover their asses on the derivatives that they had all sold each other.  They got their own spreadsheets to appear okay via the money and the new voodoo bookkeeping they get to use now, and then they wrote themselves billions in salaries and the pensions were still just as phucked as ever.  It makes me so god damned mad.


    Again, not true in Wisconsin (none / 0) (#68)
    by Towanda on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 01:41:50 PM EST
    which is the point, the first target of the attacks.  The coverage, even in the conservative paper, makes quite clear that the Wisconsin public employee pension system is the envy of the country for its good management, the most solid of all.

    So there must be some other reason that Wisconsin's governor is going after that employee benefit -- for which employees sacrificed, as the stories state, raises after raises for years when promised that their benefits would compensate?  (And even so, their total compensation in Wisconsin is well behind now because of years of no raises, pay cuts, etc.)  All of this is so easy to search and find, folks.


    Reality (1.00 / 0) (#17)
    by Slado on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 07:31:41 PM EST
    This is what the govenor is asking...

    Governor Walker is facing a $3.6 billion budget deficit, and he wants state workers to pay one-half of their pension costs and 12.6 percent of their health benefits. Currently, most state employees pay nothing for their pensions and virtually nothing for their health insurance. That's an outrage.

    Exempting police, fire, and state troopers, Governor Walker would end collective bargaining for the rest. Unions could still represent workers, but could not get pay increases above the CPI. Nor could they force employees to pay dues. And in exchange for this, Walker promises no furloughs or layoffs

    Explain to the taxpayer why the governor is being unreasonable president Obama.


    Two reasons,for starters. (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by observed on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 07:41:43 PM EST
    1. Ending collective bargaining is an outrage,and not necessary,especially because
    2. State unions agreed to cuts last year,and Republicans wouldn't allow it.

    They are allowed to organize (1.00 / 0) (#19)
    by Slado on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 07:49:17 PM EST
    just not negotiate as a monopoly.  

    I don't know about your second point.

    Either way dems will loose this issue because the rest of us have had no choice in how our employer treats us for almost 4 years and we all pay taxes for these employees.

    On a bigger level some americans like myself wonder why unions are even allowed to negotiate contracts with employers (politicians) who take money from them to get elected.

    It's all a status quo issue for dems and they're on the wrong side of it.   The violin's can play all night but the majority of Americans don't care.


    Ignorance must be bliss (5.00 / 4) (#22)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 07:55:19 PM EST
    as the facts that counter your myths are all over the media, too, y'know.

    Such as that the governor created the fiscal crisis with givebacks to his donor groups and other bills; the state was projected just six weeks ago to have a surplus this year.

    Such as that, no, not all state employees there have had the right by law there to collective bargaining.

    Such as that the bill, if you actually would read it, removes the ability to negotiate by unions about almost everything, requires unions to reorganize every year, and worse.

    Such as that the hit in take-home pay for workers would be almost 10 percent of paychecks starting in only six weeks, with no warning until now, and while the 3 percent fake "furlough" hit to their paychecks continues.

    And more, much more.  But you obviously do not really want to know the reality, or you would.


    10% (2.00 / 0) (#26)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 08:25:03 PM EST
    A ten percent cut!!!  Wow, I know plenty of folks that would be happy to trade their cut for a measly 10% cut.

    And I know "plenty of folks" ... (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by Yman on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 08:40:21 PM EST
    ... for whom a 10% pay cut is far from "measly".

    So what?


    Well it's just reality (none / 0) (#29)
    by Rojas on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 09:03:56 PM EST
    In our case it started with 10% across the board for all salaried employees and then we went to a four day week with an additional 20%. That was a reality for most in the industries we service.

    I have no idea what "our case" is, ... (none / 0) (#48)
    by Yman on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 08:17:49 AM EST
    ... but once again, ...

    ... so what?


    Our case (none / 0) (#56)
    by Rojas on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 10:40:37 AM EST
    Private sector business competing in the world economy.

    Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by christinep on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 11:33:06 AM EST
    notes the tactic of dividing the middle class and pitting them against each other...a tactic used by Republicans now in Wisconsin. It is an old political tactic (and I referenced it above.) Essentially, it goes like this: Here is your piece of the pie, middle class...sure it may be smaller, so you'd better hurry and start eating because your neighbor has the larger share of the small piece we gave you...fight over it (and, as John Boehner would say, "Leave me alone.")

    Really. Doesn't it make more sense to stop, take a breath, and ask for the factual basis for the purported economic situation in a state, proceed to a look at different options, and make a determination in the open about the whys & wherefores of burden-sharing? Appropos of MT's statement here that the wealthy seem to be in a separate "do not touch" category: What should it look like...how should the burden be allocated...what is the sensible & just thing to do? And, very importantly, don't we have the right and responsibility as citizens to ask for an open accounting rather than dejectedly saying something like "Thats the way it is?"


    Christine, the people can ask for the facts, (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 03:35:04 PM EST
    but I think the chances of them getting those facts, in this WE HAVE TO FIX THIS NOW climate, are slim to none.  I mean, what governor, what politician, is going to say, "Busted!  You caught us - the numbers we've been throwing around are bogus, we've been hiding the real numbers so that we can take an axe to programs and initiatives we really, really hate, and we're hell-bent on breaking the unions?"

    It's like they're holding a gun to people's heads and saying, "if you don't decide right this very minute to accept what we're proposing, we're going to shoot you - so you can choose to die, or you can choose to live, and be grateful you even have a job."

    Here's an excerpt from a story, from today's Baltimore Sun, that made me see all kinds of red:

    And so continues the work-vs.-stay-at-home debate for mothers, one that seemed to have been settled long ago, if only by economic necessity: More than 70 percent of mothers work outside the home, the U.S. Department of Labor says, and, as the recession put more men out of work, increasing numbers of women are their family's sole breadwinner.

    But the debate was revived here after a newly elected Board of County Commissioners voted two weeks ago to cut the county's entire $2.3 million share of Head Start, about half of the program's budget. That was shocking enough to some county residents, but what ignited a fierce dispute was how two of the commissioners took the opportunity to say that it was preferable for women to stay home with their young children as their wives did.

    "As many of you know, I had a lot of kids, and my wife stayed home at significant sacrifice during those early years, because she knew she had to be with those kids at that critical age," said Commissioner C. Paul Smith, the father of 12. "I know everybody isn't able to survive doing that, but clearly, as we can strengthen marriage we can decrease the children that we have to reach."

    Another commissioner, Kirby Delauter, offered a similar view: "I'd just like to say I had four kids that graduated from Frederick County public schools. My wife, college-educated, could go out and get a very good job. She gave that up for 18 years so she could stay home with our kids, we had to give up a lot to do that. ... I never relied on anyone else to guarantee the education of my kids."

    To many, the comments smacked of cluelessness and sanctimony, with their assumption that the strongest marriages and the best parents were those in which the mother stayed home. Others in this largely conservative county rose to defend the commissioners, who said the funding cut was needed to help close a multimillion-dollar budget deficit.

    To their credit:

    The White House and other supporters, however, say the program is needed to help level the educational playing field for disadvantaged children. Coincidentally, on the same day as the Frederick vigil, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visited a Head Start center in Adelphi to highlight sections of President Obama's recently released 2012 budget that call for $8.1 billion for Head Start and an additional $350 million for an early childhood learning fund.


    Frederick County's funds will stop flowing to Head Start at the end of the month, and a federal contractor has been named to run the program for now. The contractor, Community Development Institute, has said it hopes classes will not be disrupted. It expects to rehire most of the current 80 employees -- although at lower salaries and benefits, given the reduced funding.

    For the life of me, I can't figure out how cutting funds for education programs for children, which has the additional consequence of lowering salaries and benefits for workers, is something that will help the economy, even if it helps close the budget gap.


    Your last paragraph says it all (4.33 / 3) (#75)
    by christinep on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 03:58:43 PM EST
    The nickle & dime stuff of going after the lower rungs of the economic ladder is lots of things, certainly. Mostly, tho, it doesn't make economic sense.  What I'd like to see is a compilation of other approaches (by less ideologically motivated governors)that have been or are being used to address shortfalls. What kind of approach--from slight increases on the millionaire plus club to miniscule sales tax increases to other forms of revenue-enhancement that the tax-guys might tell us here?  

    The taxi cab drivers in madison have joined in...honking in unison in Madison. The crowd has grown (per AP and police estimates) to @70,000.  A few of the Governors like Walker seemed panting to go after public employee unions...maybe they shouldn't have moved so fast. There is growing evidence that the true intent of union-busting and its ramifications is being exposed to more & more average janes and joes. I really believe that Madison will bear much healthy fruit.


    Unfortunately Robert Reich had (none / 0) (#66)
    by Rojas on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 12:59:05 PM EST
    one hell of allot less influence in that administration than Robert Rubin. So the fate of the AFL took quite a different turn that that of Citibank.

    Oh, please (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Yman on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:36:14 AM EST
    In our case it started with 10% across the board for all salaried employees and then we went to a four day week with an additional 20%

    There's been no such thing for "us".  Some private sector employees have had their pay reduced and some have been laid off, just as some public sector employees have had their pay reduced and some have been laid off.  That doesn't make a 10% pay cut "measly", and many public employees have taken more than that.  Funny how the grass always looks greener on the public employee side when the economy's bad.  That imaginary shade of green looks so good to some, you would think they would hop the fence to the lush pastures of the public employee.

    Once again, ....

    ... what's your point?


    And the governor rejected (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 10:02:00 PM EST
    today the unions' agreement to that, just as he rejected their concessions even before all of this.

    So, do you think that maybe you could address the other points above which must be what this is about?


    That's really the problem (5.00 / 4) (#36)
    by Madeline on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 10:50:53 PM EST
    That voices like yours are willing in a minute, to give up and give in.

    Sure, to keep a job in this economy, people are willing to give up 10%, even 15, 20.  Isn't that just how it works?

    Frighten people into submission because if they don't submit, there are those layoffs and job cuts. No health insurance. Please, by all means bring them to their knees.

    Everyone of us, now or later, are or will be, Wisconsinites if the government leadership continues to treat people like deadbeats and criminals  when the criminals are the one's who are really in charge.



    right on, Madeline....This (5.00 / 3) (#41)
    by NYShooter on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 02:30:51 AM EST
    is the modern  version of  "clockwork orange"

    Who created this fiscal "disaster?"
    "The People?"
    "The corrupt politicians & their corporate masters?"

    and who are they demanding sacrifice from?
    "The people?"
    "The corrupt politicians & their corporate masters?"

    and why not? When you have willfully ignorant, uninformed weanies who slavishly, and obediently vote away their rights and futures......just for a pat on the head from Rush, the $300,000,000 spokesman for "real Amuhrcans."

    So now the nightmare these self-hating losers voted into office reveal themselves for the sadistic brownshirts some of us always knew they were,  they squeal like little stuck piglets because some Real Americans refuse to join these cowards in their sickening surrender to the Masters.

    My advice to the losers: go squat before your masters, go back to your boot licking, butt kissing, or whatever your personal choice of degradation is. but don't get too close to us, it might get ugly, some courage may be called for; we've got a country to try and save, and some of us simply won't go down as easily as you've decided to do.


    Tell me (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 10:38:17 AM EST
    why in hell a cut for ANYONE is OK.

    This whole Charlie got a 20% cut so Georgie shouldn't complain about a 10% cut is just more pit worker against worker rot.

    You should be ashamed of yourself.


    How does that go? (none / 0) (#59)
    by Rojas on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 11:16:39 AM EST
    first they came for the autoworkers but I was not an autoworker so I said a little NAFTA might be fine for me.
    Then they cam for the machinist but I was not a machinist so I said a lot of GATT might be good for me.
    Then they came for the carpenters union but I was not a carpenter and a few million illegal immigrants might be good for the Democratic Party and me.

    We are talking about (none / 0) (#65)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 12:58:15 PM EST

    We are talking about people paid by the taxpayers, many of whom have experienced cuts greater than 10%.  

    It is a mystery why state employees (whose compensation is a reported 100K+ for the average Milwaukee teacher) can't contribute half as much toward their health care and retirement as the average private sector worker that earns less while paying their salaries.


    Oy (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by cal1942 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:38:12 AM EST
    Salaries for public employees are lower than their private counterparts.  Good benefits, pension, health ins are make-up compensation.

    Many classifications are difficult to recruit because of low salaries.

    Benefits in some states have already been degraded (in Michigan defined benefit pensions were eliminated for new hires in the mid or late 90s) making recruitment even more difficult.

    Fortunately altruism is not entirely dead in spite of the non-stop campaign by Conservatives to kill it outright.


    No, you are not talking about (none / 0) (#67)
    by Towanda on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 01:38:47 PM EST
    state workers; Milwaukee K12 teachers, and almost all K12 teachers, work for and have their salaries and benefits set by their local school districts in this land of ours.  (Perhaps you are not in the U.S.?  The few exceptions to this would be K12 teachers in state institutions for juveniles -- who also have to be prison guards!)

    The average salary for a state worker in Wisconsin is $45,000, according to media there (see jsonline.com and madison.com).  That includes custodians, clerical workers, etc., so state workers with higher credentials, hired in a national market, get higher pay.

    As for Milwaukee teachers, your source?  That salary googles up only for teachers at the local (county-paid) vocational college.  And that is a scandal there, I see, as they are paid more than the professors at the UW in Milwaukee.  (Who are paid 12% to 20% less than comparates elsewhere.)


    So the $45,000 figure (none / 0) (#69)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 02:07:10 PM EST

    is salary alone and not total compensation.  Is that correct?  

    I tried your jsonline.com suggestion and found this.  Nothing relevant on a search for "45,000"

    BTW, is are those making the $45,000 average all full time workers working 12 months a year?  

    Including part timers, seasonals, as well as part year quits, fires, or starts can get an average pretty low.  For example if you were hired in December for a $100K job your salary for that first year would be only about $8,000.  



    You really still don't get (none / 0) (#70)
    by Towanda on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 02:16:32 PM EST
    how the public sector is organized in this country.  You link to information on local school districts.  You can't tell state apples from local oranges?  Really, even after my explanation above?

    Please explain just how little basic civics info you know about the U.S., so I know where to even start, or whatever I look up for you (as I can) and send for you still will not make sense to you.


    perhaps you don't understand (none / 0) (#71)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 03:11:23 PM EST

    The state of Wisconsin pays a portion of those local government salaries indirectly through payments to localities.  Walker's budget cuts those payments as well.  

    Ah, then perhaps you're playing (5.00 / 0) (#72)
    by Towanda on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 03:34:25 PM EST
    a shell game like the Repub governors are doing.

    Switching from apples to oranges to apples still makes this an impossible discussion to conduct.

    So what's it to be?  Who sets K12 teacher salaries or who is the source of some funding for those?

    Far different things, y'know, and not be mixed fruits unless you are looking for a discussion that just turns mixed fruits into mush.  If so, I don't play those games.


    Forget the fruit, Towanda; (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 03:36:37 PM EST
    we're talking nuts now...

    How sad is that?


    Part time (none / 0) (#85)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 07:51:22 PM EST
    Big surprise about subsidies (5.00 / 2) (#77)
    by christinep on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 04:16:17 PM EST
    When you get right down to it, Abdul, just about everyone is subsidized in one way or another by all of our taxpayer dollars. The old crapola about one group of middle-class workers getting-more-for-doing-less is (in almost every case) just that. A myth. A story to keep the middle divided and to keep their attention on each other by fighting over "nickles & dimes."

    C'mon you would have to know better. Whether its the multimillionaire golden-parachutes of recent vintage or the infamous $6K bathroom curtains or the infamous Enron con-game, you have to know the difference in $$$.  Sometimes it is nice for all of us--you, me, all of us--to get off the old ideological perch. We can all learn. For example: A major less for Republican ideologue occurred in 1995 when Newt Gingrich was publicly tagged with pushing an agenda that resulted in government shut-down. What happened? People quickly re-learned (those that had forgotten) how interrelated we all are in very concrete ways when it comes to taxation...the concrete in roads, buildings, schools, the spill-over to construction, even the subsidized building materials for airplane construction.  The list is too long for this thread.


    Am I ignorant (5.00 / 7) (#33)
    by cpresley on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 10:04:49 PM EST
    or aren't State workers and Teachers also taxpayers.

    Call Wisconsin! We have the solution (5.00 / 0) (#79)
    by Towanda on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 04:31:19 PM EST
    and the "Wisconsin 14" (anyone else recognize Ed Schultz's great historical reference?) can come home!

    Here it is:  The state workers accept the huge hit to their take-home pay, and in return, they don't have to pay taxes.  Wait, is that only state taxes?  That won't be enough of a match, so Walker can just ramrod through a bill that exempts all state workers from federal taxes, too.  

    No, huh?  Well, then, looks like about 5% of Wisconsin families, those with state workers, just have to take yet another huge hit in take-home pay -- and more than 10% of Wisconsin families, those with state or municipal or school district workers, just have a hit coming when they no longer have collective bargaining rights worth anything, either.

    Now, does anyone see the wee little problem that Walker is setting up?  Hmmm, that when the single largest employer in the state, the state itself, cuts pay by more than 10%, the hit will follow to state income tax revenue, too?  Yep, and that's how he's following his longtime pattern, I read, of continuing to manufacture "fiscal crises" to continue to wage the politics of fear in Wisconsin for years to come.

    Or not for that many years to come.  Interesting analyses suggest that he knows this is such a loser ploy tht he won't be running for reelection -- not as governor.  Nope, he'll be running for the Senate seat in Wisconsin in 2012.

    U.S. Senator Scott Walker.  Now, that's politics to fear, and perhaps in little more than a year.


    Yup (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by cal1942 on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 09:43:53 AM EST
    Sure do pay taxes just like everyone else AND work for lower pay.

    Finally,why charge state teachers (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by observed on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 06:52:42 AM EST
    for Republican incompetence?

    Wha (5.00 / 3) (#52)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 10:22:03 AM EST
    They are allowed to organize just not negotiate as a monopoly.

    You don't seem to get it that this amounts to union busting.  No collective bargaining is the same as no union at all.

    And it's not even remotely reasonable.

    Public employees are working people who are no different than anyone else.  They have often given up scheduled pay increases and on top of that are paid LESS than their counterparts in the private sector.

    But let's get to the bottom of all this.  

    The ambition of Walker and the GOP in general is to break unions once and for all.

    Unions are the only institutional supporters of the Democratic Party that supports economic justice.  Break the unions, diminish their strength still further and the last powerful voice for economic justice is silenced and the Democratic Party is finished for good.  Without unions don't expect some magical left-center party to miraculously spring up in its place.

    Whatever anyone thinks of the performance of the Democratic Party in Washington in recent years it's still the only national party with even a grain of support for economic justice.

    Add to this the Citizens United decision and we're staring right straight at one party rule.


    This is the most ill informed comment (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 12:36:31 PM EST

    Collective bargaining is the heart and soul of a labor union.

    You want to abolish labor unions, then say it straight.


    One more thing (1.00 / 1) (#21)
    by Slado on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 07:54:32 PM EST
    The problem dems have on this issue is they're trying to play the heart strings of the public.

    The problem is they look like spoiled children when they do so.

    I'll let a Wisconsin women speak for me...

    I am so proud of our Governor today. I am so glad he has the guts to stand up to these pathetic people. We pay $7000.00 a year for our health Insurance alone. As far as a pension, those are from a bygone era. These people should be happy they have a job and if they think a job with these benefits is bad, I'm sure there are a lot of people who would be happy to do the work for what we in the State of Wisconsin can afford right now. My husband's employer gave NO raises this year to anyone

    'a Wisconsin women' is pathetic. (5.00 / 4) (#30)
    by Jymn on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 09:06:10 PM EST
    She (or they) pay $7 grand a year on health insurance and is proud of it! Pathetic. People 'should be happy to have a job'? Idiotic. She's content her hubby didn't get a raise. Un-American. What is with the right? They pay out the nose to corporations and brag about it. Ye they want to rip off teachers and every union that did not fill Walker's pockets. Rightists are so blind they will pay a fortune to rich insurance companies and celebrate lack of initiative in earning raises. Losers.

    Out of touch (none / 0) (#31)
    by Rojas on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 09:18:37 PM EST
    How much do you think people pay for health insurance for a family if they don't work for
    A.) government
    B.)a regulated industry?

    Government workers pay less ... (5.00 / 3) (#49)
    by Yman on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 08:22:29 AM EST
    ... for health insurance and retirement benefits, because they agreed to take less salary than their private sector counterparts.  In total, it works out that govt. workers are slightly underpaid compared to private sector workers.  http://epi.3cdn.net/8808ae41b085032c0b_8um6bh5ty.pdf

    Not a study I would put much stock in (none / 0) (#53)
    by Rojas on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 10:28:30 AM EST
    There is a lot of weighing going on there.
    You might could say that public sector workers with a bachelors degree are slightly underpaid compared to private sector workers with a bachelors degree employed by firms with over 500 employees. Typically, those firms are going to be in some kind of regulated industry. Most people in this country work for small businesses  with fewer than 50 employees

    Yeah, you COULD say that ... (5.00 / 1) (#88)
    by Yman on Sun Feb 20, 2011 at 08:54:38 AM EST
    ... but you'd be wrong.

    You might could say that public sector workers with a bachelors degree are slightly underpaid compared to private sector workers with a bachelors degree employed by firms with over 500 employees.

    When you look at employees with college degrees, the gap actually grows to 25%.

    State and local governments pay college-educated labor on average 25% less than private employers.


    We are fortunate to be able to include a control for each sampled full-time worker's employer's organizational size

    But nice try.


    Not true, since job openings (5.00 / 4) (#34)
    by Towanda on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 10:23:30 PM EST
    for many state jobs have been listed for months, with no takers.  Perhaps her husband could let her out of the kitchen long enough to apply for those jobs to be a prison guard, a night-shift nurse, or a teacher in the inner cities there or on the reservations there.

    Of course, if she was the one who was so ungrammatical, she ought to stick to prison guard.


    This is the kind of ignorance that (5.00 / 8) (#35)
    by Anne on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 10:50:48 PM EST
    I can find no excuse for.  None.

    We already know that Walker has manufactured this crisis for the poorly-disguised purpose of breaking the unions.  

    Public employees across the nation have already forgone raises for several years, accepted unpaid furlough days in lieu of layoffs, accepted reductions in insurance coverage and increases to cost-sharing.  In other words, pretty much the same kinds of things private-sector employees have been dealing with.

    No one's been riding any kind of gravy train in this economy, but people like the Wisconsin woman you quoted wouldn't be happy even if the public employees were working for nothing; for people like her, anyone with a government job is lazy and incompetent - but you can bet that, when she doesn't get the services she feels she's entitled to, she'll be screaming the loudest.  

    What a piece of work; a real gem.


    If I had a 10 (none / 0) (#42)
    by Towanda on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 05:35:06 AM EST
    it would be yours.

    GEEZUZ (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 10:47:13 AM EST
    This woman, if she's an actual person and not a plant, is a victim of divide and conquer, worker against worker.

    An old tactic of the very wealthy, tried and true.


    Is there any objective reason (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Rojas on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 08:20:12 PM EST
    to exempt police, fire, and state troopers?

    According to MSNBC the troopers (none / 0) (#38)
    by hairspray on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 11:59:09 PM EST
    and police unions supported Walker.  What they may not believe is that if Walker pulls this off they will be the next to go.

    The police and firefighter unions (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by Towanda on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 12:04:54 AM EST
    know it, and they are there at the protests, very prominently -- in full uniform, speaking at the rallies (to huge cheers), and more.  They know what you're saying, because they're saying it, too.

    So it's simply a matter of patronage (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by Rojas on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 08:09:08 AM EST
    This would seem to make it clear that the governor is not seriously addressing a fiscal crisis but is in fact manipulating the situation to settle a score.

    Chime! (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by Towanda on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 08:48:03 AM EST
    You would be amazed at all the patronage that this guy has pulled in only a matter of weeks, paying off the people who put a college dropout in their state Capitol.  I read a roundup of his bills so far, pushed through by his Repub legislature now to creat this fake fiscal "crisis" -- or at least, at long last, pushed through by Repubs until now.

    And the roundup ranged across the upper Midwest for the best tally I have seen yet of just how huge was the Repub sweep in 2010 midterms -- in seven states, from two governors to six and from one Repub legislature to almost all as well.

    This is just the beginning.  Will it be stopped in Wisconsin?  Will the national Dems see that this is the 2012 election to be won or lost now?


    Where's the link (5.00 / 3) (#28)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 08:56:27 PM EST
    for your quote?  I'll give you another quote:

    the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau recently released a memo detailing how the state will end the 2009-2011 budget biennium with a budget surplus.
    In its Jan. 31 memo to legislators on the condition of the state's budget, the Fiscal Bureau determined that the state will end the year with a balance of $121.4 million.
    To the extent that there is an imbalance -- Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit -- it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January. If the Legislature were simply to rescind Walker's new spending schemes -- or delay their implementation until they are offset by fresh revenues -- the "crisis" would not exist.
    The Fiscal Bureau memo -- which readers can access at (Link) -- makes it clear that Walker did not inherit a budget that required a repair bill.

    And here's the Link


    There seems to be a disconnect (none / 0) (#43)
    by Rojas on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 06:50:58 AM EST
    From The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Nov. 19, 2010

    Madison -- Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's administration on Friday told Republican Governor-elect Scott Walker that he would have to cope with a $2.2 billion deficit in the state's upcoming two-year budget, but this brighter-than-expected forecast contained more than $1 billion in hidden pain.

    If this is all manufactured why did the previous governor hand over a projected deficit of 2.2 BILLION that assumed One BILLION in cuts? Was Doyle complicit in the manufactured crisis?


    Well, first, that once-great union paper (none / 0) (#51)
    by Towanda on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 08:52:16 AM EST
    has become totally conservative.

    Still, yes, a reason that Repubs swept Wisconsin in 2010 was reaction to the Dem governor Doyle.  He began the huge hit on state workers' take-home pay, by the way, and apparently just as autocratically without discussion as does this new Repub governor.

    Wisconsin used to be so free of corruption, but not anymore.  Now it's no different from my Illinois -- except that we put our governors in prison.


    So the paper is just a rag (none / 0) (#58)
    by Rojas on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 10:52:00 AM EST
    and the previous Democratic administration was/is complicit in the conspiracy.

    Could it be that the projected shortfall is in the next budget for which revenue has to be allocated and expenditures adjusted now?


    One of the reasons he has a (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by hairspray on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 11:51:25 PM EST
    budget shortfall is that he gave almost 200 million dollars in tax breaks to corporations within weeks of becoming the new governor.  The unions have offered to negotiate the pensions and other benefits and that is entirely fair.  However, when approached by the unions on this point he refused.  He wants to break the unions because they are powerful supporters of the Democratic party. And by the way, it is not us taxpayers against them.  They are taxpayers also.

    I read that his state employees (5.00 / 4) (#40)
    by Towanda on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 12:13:44 AM EST
    are saying this:  That they are the ones being made to pay the full price of the governor's gifts to the corporate friends who bought him the election.

    Custodians making $20,000 a year should pay more than 10 percent of that for this huge break for CEOs and corporations?  Clerical workers makign $20,000 a year should pay more than 10 percent of that for the rich to get richer, too?  Nurses, teachers, game wardens, librarians, file clerks, DMV receptionists, etc., etc., all ought to pay more than 10 percent of their pay for the rich?

    In Illinois, with a far worse deficit -- and not a fake one created by our governor -- we just upped the state sales tax and fixed it, with everyone paying a little bit more so that no one has to pay a lot more.  Wisconsin has one of the lowest sales tax rates in the country.  One local paper wrote that if everyone in Wisconsin paid $63 a year more, rather than just state workers each paying many thousands more, the fiscal crisis there -- that the governor created in only six weeks to pull all of this -- would be solved.


    The new Republican governor of Michigan (none / 0) (#76)
    by hairspray on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 04:13:11 PM EST
    said that even though his state is suffering shortfalls as well he is not going to go down that path to solving the state's problems.  Good for him.  The Wisconsin governor is a tea party darling who was elected with the police and state troopers support as well as the corporations.  The state police and local police will be next to get the ax.

    Budget Shortfall a bit off (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by cal1942 on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 10:34:15 AM EST
    I've read that Wisconsin's budget shortfall is $137 million not $3.6 billion.  Of the $137 million Walker is responsible for $117 million in the form of business tax cuts.

    This means that Walker's attempt at destroying the union has nothing to do with the budget.

    It has everything to do with weakening the union movement in this country.

    Oh.  Like any right-winger past and present he keeps the police on his side.


    One is annual, one is biennial (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by Towanda on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 11:52:37 AM EST
    because Wisconsin (don't all states?) has biennial budgets.  One is the current battle, the "budget repair bill" (because, as you note, Walker broke it) for the next three months, the final months of this biennium.  The other is, I think from reading up on this, his projection for the next biennium -- because what Wisconsin state workers know is that you have seen nothing yet compared to what he has coming in a week or two in hits for the next two years.  (The head of the UW-Madison campus got an interview with the governor and says that the coming budget cuts for the next biennium would require that campus, to maintain programs at all, to raise tuition 26 percent for the next two years.)

    Of course the next budget would be troublesome -- that's what happens when the single largest employer in the state, the state itself, cuts the pay of state workers by more than 10 percent.  So the income tax they pay back to the state would go down that much or more, and the hit on many businesses that rely on state workers (around UW campuses, for example) is expected to be another $1 billion.

    And from census data, as best I can figure, state workers are the source of income for at least 5  percent of Wisconsin families -- while all public workers, local as well as state and also losing in the current and coming budget bills, and their dependents add up to about 10 percent of the state population.


    oddly, (none / 0) (#82)
    by cpinva on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 06:48:02 PM EST
    it was just fine for these public employees to make less than their private sector counterparts, when the economy hadn't yet been trashed by bush. now, those very same people, who've already endured pay freezes, furloughs, deteriorating working conditions and increased contributions to their pensions and health insurance premium payments are suddenly living the life of reilly.

    go figure.


    probably not. (4.75 / 4) (#10)
    by cpinva on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 04:24:26 PM EST
    But, I'm sure Klein will 'have a lot more to say on this issue -- but first [he'll] have to learn more about it."

    mr. klein and many of his ilk have proven time and again that lack of knowledge is no bar to being a highly compensated political pundit.

    FDR? (none / 0) (#45)
    by vector on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 07:39:53 AM EST
    I am a poorly compensated and moderately educated non-pundit.

    In the wake of the Wisconsin situation, I am suddently getting e-mails and facebook messages from conservative acquaintances, containing alleged quotes from Franklin Roosevelt attacking the whole concept of unionization by
    government workers.

    Are these quotes truthful?  Out of context?  Anyone know?


    not to be harsh, (none / 0) (#81)
    by cpinva on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 06:44:13 PM EST
    but i would suggest doing a bit of research on your own. perhaps "snopes.com" might be of some assistance.

    Joke is not alone (none / 0) (#5)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 04:01:24 PM EST
    that is the village meme

    oh man (none / 0) (#6)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 04:02:24 PM EST
    Wisconsin: The Hemlock Revolution

    saints preserve us from literate puds

    So who (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 05:18:34 PM EST
    is drinking the hemlock?  I suppose Joe thinks the public employees are, but I think it's the state.  What kind of educated professionals will want to move there if the public schools and public services are trashed?  What kind of tax base is the state going to wind up with if businesses that depend upon a highly educated work force leave because they can't get anyone to work there?

    Kind of like California under Reagan (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by christinep on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 07:49:40 PM EST
    ...and the devastated school system. Myself still remembers that even that beautiful state had problems attracting educators at that know-nothing time.

    It's true (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Zorba on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 08:04:01 PM EST
    Not only did he devastate K-12 education, he made so many cuts to the California university system that it became rather normal for students to need five years to get their bachelor's degrees, because they couldn't get all their required courses in four years due to faculty cuts and lack of availability of the necessary classes.

    first comment (none / 0) (#7)
    by Capt Howdy on Fri Feb 18, 2011 at 04:10:42 PM EST
    Jk Congratulations for your courage. Maybe the media is ito remove their rose colored glasses.
    Now let's get the truth out about Obama.


    Are progressives just going (none / 0) (#78)
    by Slado on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 04:23:01 PM EST
    to pretend that unions are not biased towards democrats?  BTD, do you maintain that these unions negotiate in good faith with the taxpayers money?   That they don't support the very party that will consistently raise their salaries and benefits for political support.

    That is the pink elephant in the room and the average american isn't naive enough or biased enough to pretend it isn't the case.

    As to the "budget crisis" the idea that this governor is any way responsible is laughable.

    This is pro union democrats defending the status quo.  If you think it's fine and not a coincidence that 40% of public sector employees are unionized as compared to 7% of private sector employees then by all means fight for the unions.  

    It is quite simple. (5.00 / 4) (#80)
    by Dadler on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 05:49:55 PM EST
    In America, people died, many people died, so that workers could have the right to earn a decent wage.  If you do not think individuals have the right to organize and bargain collectively, if you think they should just accept being squashed by giant conglomerations of capital, then just say it.  Say how firefighters and cops and teachers and electrical workers and all the rest, say they don't have the right to organize themselves as free Americans to collectively bargain for a better deal.  Stop hiding behind b.s.  Say it: I don't believe any free American should have the right to join a union.  Or maybe you think they should have the right, just that unions shouldn't havet he right to fight as hard as the more powerful do.

    It is a sick, sick country that, instead of going after the billionaires who have thieved and destroyed, you seek to make the villains average working folks SMART ENOUGH TO STAND STRONG and maintain what little power they have against either the state or corporations (and, in America today, the state IS the corporations).

    If private sector workers had not let themselves be divided and conquered (that is, if they had not fallen for the old trick of getting workers to fight each other instead of the powers that be), then they would have a higher standing of living to show for it.  You seem content as hell to let giant conglomerations of money run roughshod over everybody.  

    This is workers defending their one right to organize against the fiscal powers trying to bust them.

    If you can't see that, then you are a bigger fool that America should ever create.

    F. O. O. L.

    But seriously, keep thinking this is all Republicans vs. Democrats, keep believing that, keep believing people are really out there because the status quo just has them so flush with cash and bennies that they don't know what to do with themselves.


    And thanks for absolving the governor of any responsibility. He gave away the house to his wealthy funders and you don't have the honesty to even mention it.  Be an evolved adult and at least stand up and talk about what the governor did. At least have the nads to say "Okay, yeah, what he did was shady, but this is still out of bounds because of X,Y,Z..."  But you have no interest in that.

    You are about union busting. Or you are about wild ignorance. Or both.  Take your pick.  Are you a union buster or a world class mental dwarf?  Now...let people with functioning and  rational intellects do the real work for you.


    The budget arguement (none / 0) (#92)
    by Slado on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 11:10:08 AM EST
    is weak.

    He is in office for two months.   The 3.9billion dollar shortfall is for this year and that budget was in place before he got here.

    Did he give some tax relief?  Yes.  But he like I believe we have a spending not a tax problem.

    We can differ about tax policy but that argument is irrelevant when it comes to the structural problems this and many other states have when it comes to long term deficits.

    Democrats are stuck in the past on this issue.  The days of big pensions for state and public sector workers are over.  At least in terms of their size and scope.

    Most Americans who aren't in a union have zero sympathy for people who are complaining that they won't be receiving checks from the government long after they've retired when they currently make more money then someone working in the private sector.

    If you want to fret about the "little guy" lets talk about them.

    The class warfare argument simple won't cut it anymore.


    Wow, the Democratic party is handing out (5.00 / 3) (#86)
    by Anne on Sat Feb 19, 2011 at 08:18:50 PM EST
    raises now if you belong to a union?  Really?

    I wasn't aware that any political party had the power or authority to hand out raises in exchange for political support.

    However, if given a choice between supporting a political party that sees unions as being in support of workers, and one that wants to bust the unions so companies can lower salaries, benefits and the quality of working conditions, it doesn't take much in the way of brain power to figure out which party union members are going to support.  Or am I missing something?

    Public employees pay taxes, too, and they spend money; cut their salaries, and that's less tax coming into the treasury.  Cut salaries and that's less money to be spent in the community.  Less spending = less demand.  And we all know where that leads - or we should, by now.

    And you might want to do a little checking on what Wisconsin's governor handed out in the weeks leading up to this "budget fix," if you have the balls.


    The emmotion expressed by unions (none / 0) (#91)
    by Slado on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 11:04:58 AM EST
    is to be expected but it does not

    As for the emotional "squashing" of workers by capital; that analogy simply doesn't cut it when it comes to public sector workers.  

    Look to California for the other extreme and the reason many Americans yawn as union supporters prattle on about "the little guy".

    The argument for private sector unions to me is at least sensible.   The problem for progressives is the quid pro quo structure democratic legislatures have set up for union workers.  Fiscal reality has a majority of Americans saying enough.


    48% is a plurality, ... (none / 0) (#93)
    by Yman on Mon Feb 21, 2011 at 12:28:39 PM EST
    ... not a "majority", and it's surprising it's not a higher number given how many uninformed people believe winger myths such as public employees making more money than their private sector counterparts.