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Scott Walker WI governor vs the Packers & teachers


cr8f

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So....Scott Walker was elected. I agree with what he is doing. Everything kosher?

I'm curious about this. Has there been any polling yet for the state of Wisconsin to see what the public thinks about this?If I had to guess, I would guess that a slight majority are backing the governor, because his presentation has been excellent. On the other hand, there are lots of very progressive areas in Wisconsin, so I could be wrong.Whatever the results, it will be very carefully looked at by politicians of other states, that I guarantee. If, for instance, a strong majority either appear to be in support of Walker or opposed to him, that will tell us better than any other indicator whether or not his tactics will be repeated elsewhere.
You had your poll back in November, this is weak even for you.
Weak in what way? What are you even talking about?
I would love to see results to this as well.
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He's saying there was an election, Scott Walked was elected, and that is the opinion poll that matters. It's one theory on democratic representation.

My post was about the effect that this situation will have on other states. That is highly dependent, IMO, based on what the polling in Wisconsin says NOW, not what it said back in November. My post had nothing to do with what "matters" to Mr. Two Cents.
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:goodposting: the cream always rises to the top

Who posted in: Scott Walker WI governor vs the Packers & teachersPoster PostsMr.Pack 54timschochet 54snogger 34Statorama 29Slapdash 26cr8f 23TobiasFunke 23Rich Conway 22Eric Stratton 21urbanhack 16Shtaym Syek 14BigSteelThrill 14Sarnoff 13CletiusMaximus 13ericttspikes 13jamny 13Ilov80s 12Yankee23Fan 12HellToupee 11Thunderlips 11Mario Kart 11KingPrawn 10djmich 10Mr Two Cents 10BoneYardDog 10sts911911 9Tiny Dancer 9Battersbox 9Johnnymac 9tommy300 8pantagrapher 8mad sweeney 8ODoyleRules 7Dr. Awesome 7uwgb96 7BeaverCleaver 6Matthias 6squidrope 6Alex P Keaton 6Sabertooth 5hooter311 4Darrinll40 4tuffnutt 4Mark Davis 4Clarence the barber 4Jackstraw 4bakes 3mr. furley 3the moops 3DiStefano 3Schlzm 3Jewell 3Prussian 3StrikeS2k 3Pipes 3CrossEyed 3bubba191919 3bigbottom 3Bogeys 3Man in the yellow hat 3dickey moe 2GreatLakesMike 2Mr. Pickles 2jon_mx 2GroveDiesel 2knowledge dropper 2Uwe Blab 2Eviloutsider 2itriple 2Widbil83 2PIK95 2Boston 2Rayderr 2Hipple, Long, Ware, & Peete 1killface 1TommyGilmore 1Teumessian Fox 1seahawk 17 1Arsenal of Doom 1Bring The Stink 1Soonerman 1Fantasy_Freak 1LAUNCH 1otello 1Novice2 1Limp Ditka 1RudiStein 1RUSF18 1Orange&Blue 1Debbie Downer 14 - Digit Shark 1NCCommish 1george 1Tony Jabroni 1Jules Winnfield 1joffer 1humpback 1Workhorse 1Neovivo 1Road Warriors 1JerseyEagles 1JFT Ben 1BobbyLayne 1zeamax 1nittanylion 1thatguythere 1Eephus 1

:unsure: I love it when clowns come in here and post something as idiotic as this.Thanks for playing.
curmudgeon
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It's crazy that there is still so much talk about the money the teachers make versus the private sector. It is not that, not at all. Teachers knew concessions were coming and were prepared to give in. The issue is the the fact that Republicans are trying to break the union to help there own voting block. Most unions are democratic and if you get rid of a union this large, you are getting rid of a huge vote that usually goes for the Democrats. Is that to say that these non-unionized teachers won't vote? Not at all, but it does mean that are going to dig into some of that vote as the mindless drones won't get their piece of paper that literally tells them who to vote for.My wife is a teacher in Wisconsin and she gets her voter sheet before every election. She does not follow it verbatim but there are others who do. Breaking the union is not a money saving issue, it's a political agenda issue.

The fundamental problem with government employee unions is, the source of this money is government spending. Essentially, we have taxpayers dollars being used to lobby for more tax payer dollars.
The teachers pay union dues. Maybe I don't understand what you are saying, are you saying that teachers shouldn't use their money to pay their dues?
The government employee unions get money ultimately from taxpayers. They then use that money to elect politicians that will be sitting across the table from them in future salary/benefit negotiations. This is an abomination, and the main reason FDR, not exactly an enemy of unions, recognized that government employee unions are ultimately unworkable.
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So....Scott Walker was elected. I agree with what he is doing. Everything kosher?

I'm curious about this. Has there been any polling yet for the state of Wisconsin to see what the public thinks about this?If I had to guess, I would guess that a slight majority are backing the governor, because his presentation has been excellent. On the other hand, there are lots of very progressive areas in Wisconsin, so I could be wrong.Whatever the results, it will be very carefully looked at by politicians of other states, that I guarantee. If, for instance, a strong majority either appear to be in support of Walker or opposed to him, that will tell us better than any other indicator whether or not his tactics will be repeated elsewhere.
You had your poll back in November, this is weak even for you.
Weak in what way? What are you even talking about?
He's saying there was an election, Scott Walked was elected, and that is the opinion poll that matters. It's one theory on democratic representation.
You have to spell it out for him. Don't throw those big words at him so quickly
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My wife is a teacher in Wisconsin and she gets her voter sheet before every election. She does not follow it verbatim but there are others who do. Breaking the union is not a money saving issue, it's a political agenda issue.

:goodposting: They are trying to divide & conquer. They taking the hayseeds & saying look at how much those rubes are making , they don't deserve that.
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It's crazy that there is still so much talk about the money the teachers make versus the private sector. It is not that, not at all. Teachers knew concessions were coming and were prepared to give in. The issue is the the fact that Republicans are trying to break the union to help there own voting block. Most unions are democratic and if you get rid of a union this large, you are getting rid of a huge vote that usually goes for the Democrats. Is that to say that these non-unionized teachers won't vote? Not at all, but it does mean that are going to dig into some of that vote as the mindless drones won't get their piece of paper that literally tells them who to vote for.My wife is a teacher in Wisconsin and she gets her voter sheet before every election. She does not follow it verbatim but there are others who do. Breaking the union is not a money saving issue, it's a political agenda issue.

The fundamental problem with government employee unions is, the source of this money is government spending. Essentially, we have taxpayers dollars being used to lobby for more tax payer dollars.
The teachers pay union dues. Maybe I don't understand what you are saying, are you saying that teachers shouldn't use their money to pay their dues?
The government employee unions get money ultimately from taxpayers. They then use that money to elect politicians that will be sitting across the table from them in future salary/benefit negotiations. This is an abomination, and the main reason FDR, not exactly an enemy of unions, recognized that government employee unions are ultimately unworkable.
How is it any different then Big Oil, Agriculture, or any PAC? They use their money to help elect politicians that they can then influence for tax breaks, decreased regulations, etc. If we are going to allow large corporations the right to lobby and impact elections/policy, shouldn't workers be allowed the same opportunity? I suppose you would say the difference is that the public unions get their money from taxpayers. Since public workers by definition get all of their money from taxpayers, if they were not allowed to spend that tax money to organize politically, they would essentially have no means by which to compete politically with private business owners.
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So it's kinda like an election? Where the winner gets to staff their office with the people they choose? And if they screw up, people elects someone else and they choose someone else? And the people with the vested interest don't actually walk through the offices and demand accountability from everyone there? Is it kinda like that?

And do you think you're making his point or mine?

Lots of mixing of apples and oranges in here. Teachers are not elected officials.
That's my ####### point.

It's not your ####### job to evaluate the job and pay of teachers. It's your job to evaluate the job of the people that you elect, just as a shareholder you elect a CEO. Everything that happens underneath is not any more of your concern in one case than the other.

So....Scott Walker was elected. I agree with what he is doing. Everything kosher?
:goodposting:

Walker ran on Fiscal Conservatism, job creation, and getting rid of the crazy spending that is bringing down this state.

Liberals want us to treat the election like it was just a suggestion now that they lost. But before this past Novembers elections, all we heard from the liberal crowd was "We won, get over it".

You think Walker is stepping on only liberals?

Bob Jahn, a highway employee from Green Lake and a “proud conservative,” called the plan an intrusion on individual rights which singles out public employees over other Wisconsin workers and goes against every core conservative principle there is. “I have disagreed with my union in the past,” Jahn said, “but I’ve never been more energized to go out and fight with public employees of this state.”

Brenda Kline, a food service worker from Green Bay, said she went to the polls last year to “protect our freedoms from government threat and to create jobs. I never dreamed that this would be the result.”

Janice Bobholz, a deputy sheriff in Dodge Country, called the right to collectively bargain “a freedom that many have died to protect.” Despite the fact that law enforcement personnel is exempt from many of the restrictions in the budget proposal, Bobholz said that “an attack on the rights of one American is an attack on the rights of all Americans.”

http://news.firedoglake.com/2011/02/14/deb...ublicans-waver/

Edited by ericttspikes
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Pat Buchanan was on TV today saying the average wage and benefit package for teachers here is $105,000. With an average wage alone of just over $50,000 that makes benefits worth $50K.

Anyone notice the unions voting for Walker are exempt from his moves but they are supporting their fellow union members.

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Yeah, I can see that and understand your points. Personally, I really wish the police and fire professions were in this as well. I understand why and one point is because if all three were included, then Madison would be going through hell right now, big time. I think, hope, the police and fire find ways to compromise along with what this bill is about. If those two make some concessions... great. If those two do not, I wish they would step up.

Walkers smart in not including the police/fire at this time. Liberals would then get to play the "public safety" card.
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How is it any different then Big Oil, Agriculture, or any PAC? They use their money to help elect politicians that they can then influence for tax breaks, decreased regulations, etc. If we are going to allow large corporations the right to lobby and impact elections/policy, shouldn't workers be allowed the same opportunity? I suppose you would say the difference is that the public unions get their money from taxpayers. Since public workers by definition get all of their money from taxpayers, if they were not allowed to spend that tax money to organize politically, they would essentially have no means by which to compete politically with private business owners.

The rationale for Citizen's United was that "Unions do it, so why can't corporations". Next step....get rid of Unions. Neat, huh?

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archiv...politics/59281/

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You have to spell it out for him. Don't throw those big words at him so quickly

Haven't you been suspended yet?
For what?What did you run and tell mommy that I did?
No, I don't report people. But when a moderator takes a look at what you wrote in post# 695, they should suspend you for it. I would.
But you're a bit of a nancy aren't you?
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It's crazy that there is still so much talk about the money the teachers make versus the private sector. It is not that, not at all. Teachers knew concessions were coming and were prepared to give in. The issue is the the fact that Republicans are trying to break the union to help there own voting block. Most unions are democratic and if you get rid of a union this large, you are getting rid of a huge vote that usually goes for the Democrats. Is that to say that these non-unionized teachers won't vote? Not at all, but it does mean that are going to dig into some of that vote as the mindless drones won't get their piece of paper that literally tells them who to vote for.My wife is a teacher in Wisconsin and she gets her voter sheet before every election. She does not follow it verbatim but there are others who do. Breaking the union is not a money saving issue, it's a political agenda issue.

The fundamental problem with government employee unions is, the source of this money is government spending. Essentially, we have taxpayers dollars being used to lobby for more tax payer dollars.
The teachers pay union dues. Maybe I don't understand what you are saying, are you saying that teachers shouldn't use their money to pay their dues?
The government employee unions get money ultimately from taxpayers. They then use that money to elect politicians that will be sitting across the table from them in future salary/benefit negotiations. This is an abomination, and the main reason FDR, not exactly an enemy of unions, recognized that government employee unions are ultimately unworkable.
How is it any different then Big Oil, Agriculture, or any PAC? They use their money to help elect politicians that they can then influence for tax breaks, decreased regulations, etc. If we are going to allow large corporations the right to lobby and impact elections/policy, shouldn't workers be allowed the same opportunity? I suppose you would say the difference is that the public unions get their money from taxpayers. Since public workers by definition get all of their money from taxpayers, if they were not allowed to spend that tax money to organize politically, they would essentially have no means by which to compete politically with private business owners.
Public workers can contribute to any PAC or other lobby they want, same as corporations. What they shouldn't be allowed to do is elect their future bargaining partners in negotiations that can bankrupt whole states. That is a fundamentally different thing. Again, even FDR was against public employee unions. This was a pretty non-controversial idea until pretty recently.
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You have to spell it out for him. Don't throw those big words at him so quickly

Haven't you been suspended yet?
For what?What did you run and tell mommy that I did?
No, I don't report people. But when a moderator takes a look at what you wrote in post# 695, they should suspend you for it. I would.
But you're a bit of a nancy aren't you?
I don't think people should be making comments about wanting to put crosshairs on Jessie Jackson, or anyone else, for that matter. If that makes me a nancy in your eyes, so be it.
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How is it any different then Big Oil, Agriculture, or any PAC? They use their money to help elect politicians that they can then influence for tax breaks, decreased regulations, etc. If we are going to allow large corporations the right to lobby and impact elections/policy, shouldn't workers be allowed the same opportunity? I suppose you would say the difference is that the public unions get their money from taxpayers. Since public workers by definition get all of their money from taxpayers, if they were not allowed to spend that tax money to organize politically, they would essentially have no means by which to compete politically with private business owners.

The rationale for Citizen's United was that "Unions do it, so why can't corporations". Next step....get rid of Unions. Neat, huh?

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archiv...politics/59281/

Interesting, but outdated. That data is from only 6 months after the court ruling and before any general elections. Do you have any updated data? The WaPo article that the author of The Atlantic article bases his entire piece on states a few other facts:

several large corporate-backed groups have yet to fully open their war chests for campaign ads. The conservative group American Crossroads raised $8.5 million in June, said its president, Steven Law.

"Donors who are from the center-right side of the spectrum are going to close the gap this year,"

Edited by Ilov80s
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These guys won't negotiate a single thing(the GOP). This is a common sense state like Minnesota and that kind of rude, stubborn behavior won't sit well. We can recall them in January so it may be a long fight.

If there was a referendum for disabling union rights that would be one thing but this election was not about unions. It wasn't about tax cuts for the rich either and Walker did that his first week. It was about jobs.

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Public workers can contribute to any PAC or other lobby they want, same as corporations. What they shouldn't be allowed to do is elect their future bargaining partners in negotiations that can bankrupt whole states. That is a fundamentally different thing. Again, even FDR was against public employee unions. This was a pretty non-controversial idea until pretty recently.

I do understand your points. It is different with teachers as opposed to those who work for the state. Teachers bargain with the district they are employed under and unless that teacher is a resident of the district, they don't have a vote for whom is on the school board or school administration. I do think it has been somewhat controversial for longer than you give it credit for. It wasn't long after the Wagner Act that New York opened the door for the unionization of government workers. So that idea has gone back and forth since the 50s.
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http://spectator.org/archives/2010/09/24/t...-gothose-underp

Those Underpaid Government Workers

By Andrew G. Biggs & Jason Richwine

What recession? Government workers are probably wondering what all the fuss is about. The private sector has lost 2.5 million jobs since the Obama administration's stimulus bill was passed, while the public sector -- federal, state, and local government combined -- has added 416,000 jobs over the same period. Although 85 percent of Americans work for private employers, the administration's own Recovery Act database admits that four out of five jobs "created or saved" were in government. Likewise, average pay has risen in the federal, state, and local government, while private sector wages have fallen. More jobs, better security, and rising wages -- it's boom time in the public sector.

Ordinary Americans, along with a small group of elected officials from both parties, have finally been stirred to action. New Jersey's Republican governor Chris Christie is a leader in taking on public sector unions over performance, pay, and pensions, and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has cajoled public employee unions into accepting pension reductions. Even some Democratic appointees -- such as Washington, D.C., public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, who recently took the unprecedented step of firing 241 underperforming teachers -- seem to have had enough.

Despite this, defenders of public sector workers continue to argue that they are underpaid. Union representative Colleen Kelley, in a recent letter to the Wall Street Journal, cited federal statistics claiming that federal workers are paid 22 percent less than private sector employees doing similar jobs. Likewise, recent studies from liberal think tanks claim state and local employees receive significantly lower pay and benefits than private workers. Until these arguments are addressed, fully and directly, the group of policy makers with the mettle to tackle public sector pay will remain small.

A raw comparison between the wages of federal and private workers suggests there is no contest at all. The typical federal employee received a salary of more than $79,000 in 2008, with benefits raising total annual compensation to more than $119,000. The typical private sector worker, by contrast, received pay of around $50,000 and total compensation of just under $60,000. Moreover, USA Today recently reported that federal employees receive higher average salaries than private sector workers in 180 of 216 comparable occupations. These numbers seem to speak for themselves.

Defenders of federal pay are quick to point out, however, that federal employees are more skilled than the typical worker in the private sector -- in other words, they deserve more money. As OMB director Peter Orszag argued, "A comparison of federal and private sector pay...is misleading because the employees hired by the federal government often have higher levels of education than their counterparts in the private sector."

Orszag is right: we do need to account for skill differences in the federal workforce, which is older, more educated, and more white-collar than workers in the private sector. But the question then becomes whether these differences are enough to account for the huge disparity in pay. Using the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, which includes earnings and demographic data on tens of thousands of workers spread across the public and private sectors, we can control for differences in education, work experience, race, gender, marital status, immigration status, region of residence, and several other variables. After doing so, we can see whether the pay gap between federal and private sector workers remains.

This "human capital" approach to explaining wage variation, the overwhelming preference of labor economists, assumes that in competitive labor markets individuals with the same productivity will command similar salaries, even if they work different jobs. The human capital method is commonly used by economists in other contexts -- such as determining whether union members receive higher pay than similarly qualified non-union members, or whether women and minorities receive lower pay than comparable white males.

Even after including the full range of control variables in our own analysis, we found that federal workers continue to earn a pay premium of around 12 percent over private workers. In other words, someone in the private sector has to work an average of 13.5 months to earn what an equally skilled federal worker makes in 12 months. This is not a novel result by any means. Academic economists have been studying federal/private pay disparities since the 1970s, and they generally find a premium in the range of 10 to 20 percent.

Though the data are less precise, benefits like retirement contributions and health insurance rates are also more generous for federal employees. We have calculated that the annual overpayment of salary and benefits to federal workers comes to more than $14,000 per worker, totaling nearly $40 billion per year.

This does not mean everyone in the federal government should get an automatic pay cut. In fact, our data suggest the brightest people -- research scientists, for example -- receive no premium and may even suffer a penalty when they work for the government. If the federal government rewarded skills the way the private sector does, wages would adjust in different ways for different workers. Overall, however, total compensation would go down by around 12 percent, taxpayers would save tens of billions of dollars each year, and the federal government would regain some much-needed fiscal credibility.

BUT WHERE DO CLAIMS THAT federal workers are underpaid come from? From the President's Pay Agent -- not an actual person, but an obscure function headed by the Secretary of Labor and the directors of the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management. Relying heavily on the recommendations of the Federal Salary Council, a panel of labor union representatives, the Pay Agent submits an annual report to the president suggesting how much to increase federal pay. The 2009 report claims, remarkably, that federal workers are underpaid by more than 22 percent relative to the private sector.

Before we discuss the reasons for the large discrepancy between the Pay Agent's results and ours, consider how implausible the 22 percent figure actually is. Why would millions of federal employees accept such a low wage if they could earn thousands more in the private sector? A desire to serve the public can go only so far. High-ranking government officials are no doubt attracted to the power and prestige of their jobs, but what about the vast number of unremarkable paper-pushing jobs the government offers? What is so attractive about these positions that justifies taking 78 cents on the dollar?

Barring an almost unbelievable level of civic-mindedness on the part of federal employees, either federal positions offer non-wage compensation that outweighs a 22 percent salary gap -- in which case these workers aren't truly underpaid -- or the 22 percent salary gap figure is wrong to begin with. We think both are true.

The Pay Agent's figure is inaccurate because of the method it uses to compare pay in each sector. Rather than using skills like education and experience to identify productivity, as most economists recommend, the Pay Agent relies on a survey of job descriptions in various localities. For example, suppose the federal government employs an accountant in Chicago. In order to determine how much to pay him, the government would look at the job descriptions of private sector accountants in the Chicago area. It would try to find the subset of accountants who seem to have the same responsibilities as the government hire, then take the average salary in that set.

Though it sounds reasonable enough, the process is highly subjective. Positions that seem "comparable" on paper could be much different in practice, and some federal jobs have no private sector counterparts. How much should an intelligence analyst be paid based on his job description? Most importantly, unlike the human capital approach, the Pay Agent cannot distinguish between high- and low-productivity workers in the same position. It is just assumed that a particular job description leads to a certain level of output.

That is a rather poor assumption, because government appears to systematically promote employees to higher positions than they could hold in the private sector. An individual who would serve as a junior accountant in the private sector, for example, might be a senior accountant for government. One study found that 77 percent of federal employees are at least one level of responsibility above that of comparable workers in the private sector. This means government positions may appear underpaid relative to comparable private sector occupations, but the individuals filling those positions could be overpaid relative to what they would earn outside of government. The Pay Agent's method is inherently oblivious to this problem.

Even the federal Pay Agent's own analysts have expressed strong reservations about the government's system for setting wages. The 2008 report states, "We continue to have major methodological concerns about the underlying model for estimating pay gaps." Each report between 2001 and 2008 included some version of this warning. Curiously, the first report produced by the Obama administration omitted any mention of reform.

THE PAY AGENT'S FIGURES are even less believable when we consider just how popular government jobs are. At the beginning of this year, federal workers were only one-third as likely as private sector workers to quit their jobs, a difference that exists during good economic times as well as bad. Since perhaps the most common reason for quitting a job is to take another that offers some combination of better wages, benefits, and working conditions, the fact that federal workers don't jump ship implies there is usually no better deal out there. Government job postings also receive considerably more applications than private sector openings, again pointing to their attractiveness.

In 1988, economist Alan Krueger -- currently serving the Obama administration as chief economist at the U.S. Treasury Department -- examined the wages of two different groups of people who were laid off from their private sector jobs. One group took new jobs in the private sector, while the other group became federal employees. The latter group, unsurprisingly, made significantly more money after the job change than the former. These results, together with the evidence on quit rates, application quantity, and sheer gut-level plausibility, form a solid block of evidence supporting the findings of superior federal pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Comparisons for state and local government workers are more complicated, because here it is mainly benefits, not wages, that make government work attractive. John Schmitt of the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) recently wrote, "When state and local government employees are compared to private sector workers with similar characteristics, state and local workers actually earn less, on average, than their private sector counterparts." In contrast to the federal case, there are hard numbers to back up this claim-at least when the case is limited to wages.

While the human capital approach shows a 12 percent wage premium for federal government employees, it tends to show a pay penalty at the state and local level of 10 to 12 percent. It is not clear why state and local workers receive lower wages than federal employees -- competition among the states might play a role in keeping salaries in line -- but unions and liberal think tanks have seized on this finding to claim that state and local workers are undercompensated.

This conclusion does not survive scrutiny. For one thing, state and local employees are five times more likely to be covered by union contracts than private sector employees. Since union members predictably receive higher pay than non-union members, policies to allow collective bargaining by government employees are tantamount to decisions to raise pay. While some analysts would have you believe that state and local employees are paid just like private sector workers, the truth is that they are paid more like unionized private sector workers, which is a different kettle of fish.

Moreover, at both the state and local level, generous benefits are likely to more than make up for any salary gap, large or small. While studies by think tanks like the CEPR claim that benefit levels are comparable between state/local and private sector workers, they employ a serious methodological error.

The basic method of comparing benefits for public and private sector workers is simple: use data on what employers pay for each employee's fringe benefits, such as health insurance and pensions. In the private sector this method usually works fine. Employee benefits take the form of an up-front payment -- a matching contribution to a 401(k) account, for example -- not an IOU like a pension plan.

In the public sector, however, this approach can be quite misleading because a good portion of government employees' benefits come in the form of defined benefit pensions and retiree health coverage. These benefits are both highly generous and severely underfunded, which means that what government employers currently pay for these benefits significantly understates the benefits employees will become entitled to and must eventually collect.

Public sector pension plans reported unfunded liabilities of approximately $500 billion as of 2008. When measured by the more rigorous standards required for private pension plans, however, public pensions are underfunded by more than $3 trillion. Added to this is approximately $500 billion in unfunded obligations for generous retiree health benefits, which provide full coverage from the age of retirement through Medicare eligibility at 65, then supplemental coverage thereafter.

Unlike programs like Social Security, where underfunding can mean benefit cuts, accrued public sector pension benefits are in most states guaranteed either by law or by state constitutions. In other words, state government employees are eligible for $3.5 trillion more in benefits than labor compensation data would suggest, because these reflect only what employers do pay, not what they should pay if they are to meet their obligations. When the full value of pension and retiree health entitlements is included, total compensation for state and local employees rises by approximately 25 percent, putting these employees thousands of dollars ahead of their private sector counterparts.

EVEN LEAVING WAGES AND BENEFITS aside, the intangible perks of public employment -- automatic annual raises, flexible hours, generous paid vacation time -- provide significant added value. Then there is the near-certainty of not being fired. The annual rate of layoffs and firings in 2009 was 24 percent in the private sector but only 7 percent in state and federal government. Given that the average duration of unemployment in 2009 was more than 22 weeks -- and is even higher today -- this additional job security for public sector employees has an expected value of more than $8,000 for a typical federal employee. In practice, individuals would gladly pay even more for this insurance, since layoffs and firings tend to happen at the worst possible times -- when the economy is down and millions of other workers are looking for jobs.

The cost of public sector overcompensation goes beyond higher taxes. Economists Yann Algan, Pierre Cahuc, and Andre Zylberberg write in the Economic Policy Journal that, on average, "creation of 100 public jobs may have eliminated about 150 private sector jobs, slightly decreased labor market participation, and increased by about 33 the number of unemployed workers." Their conclusion, drawn from data on 17 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries over the period 1960 to 2000, is that attractive pay and conditions in public employment make private sector positions less attractive to job seekers. Given what we have seen regarding compensation at all levels of government, that is easy to believe.

Moreover, a number of studies, including by the OECD and the International Monetary Fund, have shown that countries that balance their budgets through reductions in social transfer programs and the government wage bill -- that is, the number of government workers and the generosity of their pay -- are more successful in reducing government debt than those that raise taxes. The reason may be that, because government pay is among the toughest of expenditures to reduce, governments that succeed in cutting it establish credibility with the public and build confidence with financial markets.

For perhaps the first time, a widespread swath of ordinary Americans appear ready to seriously reconsider the pay, benefits, and job security granted to public employees. With private sector workers and their families bearing the brunt of the recession, the existence of a seemingly protected class of government employees has generated a response that goes well beyond the inefficient use of taxpayer dollars to a sense of fundamental unfairness. But like government largesse in other forms, excessive public pay has some tenacious supporters. Public sector unions, for one, appreciate the extra cash, and even non-union government employees tend to have disproportionate political power. The question of public sector pay will be decided by how Americans vote and, perhaps more importantly, by the courage of public officials after the votes are counted. 

In short....private employees wish that they had the security and benefits of being under unions?
Sure we wish it. But we realize that if we forced our employers to give us comparable benefits, our companies would go out of business.
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It's crazy that there is still so much talk about the money the teachers make versus the private sector. It is not that, not at all. Teachers knew concessions were coming and were prepared to give in. The issue is the the fact that Republicans are trying to break the union to help there own voting block. Most unions are democratic and if you get rid of a union this large, you are getting rid of a huge vote that usually goes for the Democrats. Is that to say that these non-unionized teachers won't vote? Not at all, but it does mean that are going to dig into some of that vote as the mindless drones won't get their piece of paper that literally tells them who to vote for.My wife is a teacher in Wisconsin and she gets her voter sheet before every election. She does not follow it verbatim but there are others who do. Breaking the union is not a money saving issue, it's a political agenda issue.

Supporting the union is as much of a political agenda issue as well. That's why there shouldn't be public sector unions -- they succumb to political forces rather than market forces.
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It's crazy that there is still so much talk about the money the teachers make versus the private sector. It is not that, not at all. Teachers knew concessions were coming and were prepared to give in. The issue is the the fact that Republicans are trying to break the union to help there own voting block. Most unions are democratic and if you get rid of a union this large, you are getting rid of a huge vote that usually goes for the Democrats. Is that to say that these non-unionized teachers won't vote? Not at all, but it does mean that are going to dig into some of that vote as the mindless drones won't get their piece of paper that literally tells them who to vote for.My wife is a teacher in Wisconsin and she gets her voter sheet before every election. She does not follow it verbatim but there are others who do. Breaking the union is not a money saving issue, it's a political agenda issue.

Supporting the union is as much of a political agenda issue as well. That's why there shouldn't be public sector unions -- they succumb to political forces rather than market forces.
:shock: No way there isn't two sides to this coin.
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Public workers can contribute to any PAC or other lobby they want, same as corporations. What they shouldn't be allowed to do is elect their future bargaining partners in negotiations that can bankrupt whole states. That is a fundamentally different thing. Again, even FDR was against public employee unions. This was a pretty non-controversial idea until pretty recently.

I do understand your points. It is different with teachers as opposed to those who work for the state. Teachers bargain with the district they are employed under and unless that teacher is a resident of the district, they don't have a vote for whom is on the school board or school administration. I do think it has been somewhat controversial for longer than you give it credit for. It wasn't long after the Wagner Act that New York opened the door for the unionization of government workers. So that idea has gone back and forth since the 50s.
Not exactly. For example, step raises for teachers are embedded in Ohio state law. This is one of the things Kasich is trying to change.

But teachers are a good example of the things wrong with public employee unions. I know several teachers who retired in their early fifties with full benefts. This is allowed because of the perverse nature of bargaining with public employee unions. School boards or other political bargainers can buy peace with the unions by giving them unsustainable retirement benefits that won't become an issue until long after the school board members are gone from the scene. And these benefits often have the force of law behind them, ie it would take a state bankruptcy to change those arrangements.

Now private companies have done similar things. The agreement in the early 70's with the UAW that allowed people to retire with full benefits to retire after 30 years of service was equally unsustainable. The difference of course is that private companies can theoretically go out of business. The public employee unions are doing terrible damage to government budgets at all levels.

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http://spectator.org/archives/2010/09/24/t...-gothose-underp

Those Underpaid Government Workers

By Andrew G. Biggs & Jason Richwine

What recession? Government workers are probably wondering what all the fuss is about. The private sector has lost 2.5 million jobs since the Obama administration's stimulus bill was passed, while the public sector -- federal, state, and local government combined -- has added 416,000 jobs over the same period. Although 85 percent of Americans work for private employers, the administration's own Recovery Act database admits that four out of five jobs "created or saved" were in government. Likewise, average pay has risen in the federal, state, and local government, while private sector wages have fallen. More jobs, better security, and rising wages -- it's boom time in the public sector.

Ordinary Americans, along with a small group of elected officials from both parties, have finally been stirred to action. New Jersey's Republican governor Chris Christie is a leader in taking on public sector unions over performance, pay, and pensions, and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has cajoled public employee unions into accepting pension reductions. Even some Democratic appointees -- such as Washington, D.C., public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, who recently took the unprecedented step of firing 241 underperforming teachers -- seem to have had enough.

Despite this, defenders of public sector workers continue to argue that they are underpaid. Union representative Colleen Kelley, in a recent letter to the Wall Street Journal, cited federal statistics claiming that federal workers are paid 22 percent less than private sector employees doing similar jobs. Likewise, recent studies from liberal think tanks claim state and local employees receive significantly lower pay and benefits than private workers. Until these arguments are addressed, fully and directly, the group of policy makers with the mettle to tackle public sector pay will remain small.

A raw comparison between the wages of federal and private workers suggests there is no contest at all. The typical federal employee received a salary of more than $79,000 in 2008, with benefits raising total annual compensation to more than $119,000. The typical private sector worker, by contrast, received pay of around $50,000 and total compensation of just under $60,000. Moreover, USA Today recently reported that federal employees receive higher average salaries than private sector workers in 180 of 216 comparable occupations. These numbers seem to speak for themselves.

Defenders of federal pay are quick to point out, however, that federal employees are more skilled than the typical worker in the private sector -- in other words, they deserve more money. As OMB director Peter Orszag argued, "A comparison of federal and private sector pay...is misleading because the employees hired by the federal government often have higher levels of education than their counterparts in the private sector."

Orszag is right: we do need to account for skill differences in the federal workforce, which is older, more educated, and more white-collar than workers in the private sector. But the question then becomes whether these differences are enough to account for the huge disparity in pay. Using the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, which includes earnings and demographic data on tens of thousands of workers spread across the public and private sectors, we can control for differences in education, work experience, race, gender, marital status, immigration status, region of residence, and several other variables. After doing so, we can see whether the pay gap between federal and private sector workers remains.

This "human capital" approach to explaining wage variation, the overwhelming preference of labor economists, assumes that in competitive labor markets individuals with the same productivity will command similar salaries, even if they work different jobs. The human capital method is commonly used by economists in other contexts -- such as determining whether union members receive higher pay than similarly qualified non-union members, or whether women and minorities receive lower pay than comparable white males.

Even after including the full range of control variables in our own analysis, we found that federal workers continue to earn a pay premium of around 12 percent over private workers. In other words, someone in the private sector has to work an average of 13.5 months to earn what an equally skilled federal worker makes in 12 months. This is not a novel result by any means. Academic economists have been studying federal/private pay disparities since the 1970s, and they generally find a premium in the range of 10 to 20 percent.

Though the data are less precise, benefits like retirement contributions and health insurance rates are also more generous for federal employees. We have calculated that the annual overpayment of salary and benefits to federal workers comes to more than $14,000 per worker, totaling nearly $40 billion per year.

This does not mean everyone in the federal government should get an automatic pay cut. In fact, our data suggest the brightest people -- research scientists, for example -- receive no premium and may even suffer a penalty when they work for the government. If the federal government rewarded skills the way the private sector does, wages would adjust in different ways for different workers. Overall, however, total compensation would go down by around 12 percent, taxpayers would save tens of billions of dollars each year, and the federal government would regain some much-needed fiscal credibility.

BUT WHERE DO CLAIMS THAT federal workers are underpaid come from? From the President's Pay Agent -- not an actual person, but an obscure function headed by the Secretary of Labor and the directors of the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management. Relying heavily on the recommendations of the Federal Salary Council, a panel of labor union representatives, the Pay Agent submits an annual report to the president suggesting how much to increase federal pay. The 2009 report claims, remarkably, that federal workers are underpaid by more than 22 percent relative to the private sector.

Before we discuss the reasons for the large discrepancy between the Pay Agent's results and ours, consider how implausible the 22 percent figure actually is. Why would millions of federal employees accept such a low wage if they could earn thousands more in the private sector? A desire to serve the public can go only so far. High-ranking government officials are no doubt attracted to the power and prestige of their jobs, but what about the vast number of unremarkable paper-pushing jobs the government offers? What is so attractive about these positions that justifies taking 78 cents on the dollar?

Barring an almost unbelievable level of civic-mindedness on the part of federal employees, either federal positions offer non-wage compensation that outweighs a 22 percent salary gap -- in which case these workers aren't truly underpaid -- or the 22 percent salary gap figure is wrong to begin with. We think both are true.

The Pay Agent's figure is inaccurate because of the method it uses to compare pay in each sector. Rather than using skills like education and experience to identify productivity, as most economists recommend, the Pay Agent relies on a survey of job descriptions in various localities. For example, suppose the federal government employs an accountant in Chicago. In order to determine how much to pay him, the government would look at the job descriptions of private sector accountants in the Chicago area. It would try to find the subset of accountants who seem to have the same responsibilities as the government hire, then take the average salary in that set.

Though it sounds reasonable enough, the process is highly subjective. Positions that seem "comparable" on paper could be much different in practice, and some federal jobs have no private sector counterparts. How much should an intelligence analyst be paid based on his job description? Most importantly, unlike the human capital approach, the Pay Agent cannot distinguish between high- and low-productivity workers in the same position. It is just assumed that a particular job description leads to a certain level of output.

That is a rather poor assumption, because government appears to systematically promote employees to higher positions than they could hold in the private sector. An individual who would serve as a junior accountant in the private sector, for example, might be a senior accountant for government. One study found that 77 percent of federal employees are at least one level of responsibility above that of comparable workers in the private sector. This means government positions may appear underpaid relative to comparable private sector occupations, but the individuals filling those positions could be overpaid relative to what they would earn outside of government. The Pay Agent's method is inherently oblivious to this problem.

Even the federal Pay Agent's own analysts have expressed strong reservations about the government's system for setting wages. The 2008 report states, "We continue to have major methodological concerns about the underlying model for estimating pay gaps." Each report between 2001 and 2008 included some version of this warning. Curiously, the first report produced by the Obama administration omitted any mention of reform.

THE PAY AGENT'S FIGURES are even less believable when we consider just how popular government jobs are. At the beginning of this year, federal workers were only one-third as likely as private sector workers to quit their jobs, a difference that exists during good economic times as well as bad. Since perhaps the most common reason for quitting a job is to take another that offers some combination of better wages, benefits, and working conditions, the fact that federal workers don't jump ship implies there is usually no better deal out there. Government job postings also receive considerably more applications than private sector openings, again pointing to their attractiveness.

In 1988, economist Alan Krueger -- currently serving the Obama administration as chief economist at the U.S. Treasury Department -- examined the wages of two different groups of people who were laid off from their private sector jobs. One group took new jobs in the private sector, while the other group became federal employees. The latter group, unsurprisingly, made significantly more money after the job change than the former. These results, together with the evidence on quit rates, application quantity, and sheer gut-level plausibility, form a solid block of evidence supporting the findings of superior federal pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Comparisons for state and local government workers are more complicated, because here it is mainly benefits, not wages, that make government work attractive. John Schmitt of the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) recently wrote, "When state and local government employees are compared to private sector workers with similar characteristics, state and local workers actually earn less, on average, than their private sector counterparts." In contrast to the federal case, there are hard numbers to back up this claim-at least when the case is limited to wages.

While the human capital approach shows a 12 percent wage premium for federal government employees, it tends to show a pay penalty at the state and local level of 10 to 12 percent. It is not clear why state and local workers receive lower wages than federal employees -- competition among the states might play a role in keeping salaries in line -- but unions and liberal think tanks have seized on this finding to claim that state and local workers are undercompensated.

This conclusion does not survive scrutiny. For one thing, state and local employees are five times more likely to be covered by union contracts than private sector employees. Since union members predictably receive higher pay than non-union members, policies to allow collective bargaining by government employees are tantamount to decisions to raise pay. While some analysts would have you believe that state and local employees are paid just like private sector workers, the truth is that they are paid more like unionized private sector workers, which is a different kettle of fish.

Moreover, at both the state and local level, generous benefits are likely to more than make up for any salary gap, large or small. While studies by think tanks like the CEPR claim that benefit levels are comparable between state/local and private sector workers, they employ a serious methodological error.

The basic method of comparing benefits for public and private sector workers is simple: use data on what employers pay for each employee's fringe benefits, such as health insurance and pensions. In the private sector this method usually works fine. Employee benefits take the form of an up-front payment -- a matching contribution to a 401(k) account, for example -- not an IOU like a pension plan.

In the public sector, however, this approach can be quite misleading because a good portion of government employees' benefits come in the form of defined benefit pensions and retiree health coverage. These benefits are both highly generous and severely underfunded, which means that what government employers currently pay for these benefits significantly understates the benefits employees will become entitled to and must eventually collect.

Public sector pension plans reported unfunded liabilities of approximately $500 billion as of 2008. When measured by the more rigorous standards required for private pension plans, however, public pensions are underfunded by more than $3 trillion. Added to this is approximately $500 billion in unfunded obligations for generous retiree health benefits, which provide full coverage from the age of retirement through Medicare eligibility at 65, then supplemental coverage thereafter.

Unlike programs like Social Security, where underfunding can mean benefit cuts, accrued public sector pension benefits are in most states guaranteed either by law or by state constitutions. In other words, state government employees are eligible for $3.5 trillion more in benefits than labor compensation data would suggest, because these reflect only what employers do pay, not what they should pay if they are to meet their obligations. When the full value of pension and retiree health entitlements is included, total compensation for state and local employees rises by approximately 25 percent, putting these employees thousands of dollars ahead of their private sector counterparts.

EVEN LEAVING WAGES AND BENEFITS aside, the intangible perks of public employment -- automatic annual raises, flexible hours, generous paid vacation time -- provide significant added value. Then there is the near-certainty of not being fired. The annual rate of layoffs and firings in 2009 was 24 percent in the private sector but only 7 percent in state and federal government. Given that the average duration of unemployment in 2009 was more than 22 weeks -- and is even higher today -- this additional job security for public sector employees has an expected value of more than $8,000 for a typical federal employee. In practice, individuals would gladly pay even more for this insurance, since layoffs and firings tend to happen at the worst possible times -- when the economy is down and millions of other workers are looking for jobs.

The cost of public sector overcompensation goes beyond higher taxes. Economists Yann Algan, Pierre Cahuc, and Andre Zylberberg write in the Economic Policy Journal that, on average, "creation of 100 public jobs may have eliminated about 150 private sector jobs, slightly decreased labor market participation, and increased by about 33 the number of unemployed workers." Their conclusion, drawn from data on 17 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries over the period 1960 to 2000, is that attractive pay and conditions in public employment make private sector positions less attractive to job seekers. Given what we have seen regarding compensation at all levels of government, that is easy to believe.

Moreover, a number of studies, including by the OECD and the International Monetary Fund, have shown that countries that balance their budgets through reductions in social transfer programs and the government wage bill -- that is, the number of government workers and the generosity of their pay -- are more successful in reducing government debt than those that raise taxes. The reason may be that, because government pay is among the toughest of expenditures to reduce, governments that succeed in cutting it establish credibility with the public and build confidence with financial markets.

For perhaps the first time, a widespread swath of ordinary Americans appear ready to seriously reconsider the pay, benefits, and job security granted to public employees. With private sector workers and their families bearing the brunt of the recession, the existence of a seemingly protected class of government employees has generated a response that goes well beyond the inefficient use of taxpayer dollars to a sense of fundamental unfairness. But like government largesse in other forms, excessive public pay has some tenacious supporters. Public sector unions, for one, appreciate the extra cash, and even non-union government employees tend to have disproportionate political power. The question of public sector pay will be decided by how Americans vote and, perhaps more importantly, by the courage of public officials after the votes are counted. 

In short....private employees wish that they had the security and benefits of being under unions?
Sure we wish it. But :shock:we realize that if we forced our employers to give us comparable benefits, our companies would go out of business.
;)
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It's crazy that there is still so much talk about the money the teachers make versus the private sector. It is not that, not at all. Teachers knew concessions were coming and were prepared to give in. The issue is the the fact that Republicans are trying to break the union to help there own voting block. Most unions are democratic and if you get rid of a union this large, you are getting rid of a huge vote that usually goes for the Democrats. Is that to say that these non-unionized teachers won't vote? Not at all, but it does mean that are going to dig into some of that vote as the mindless drones won't get their piece of paper that literally tells them who to vote for.

My wife is a teacher in Wisconsin and she gets her voter sheet before every election. She does not follow it verbatim but there are others who do. Breaking the union is not a money saving issue, it's a political agenda issue.

Supporting the union is as much of a political agenda issue as well. That's why there shouldn't be public sector unions -- they succumb to political forces rather than market forces.
:shock: No way there isn't two sides to this coin.
Here's the other side of the coin. I believe it was posted earlier in this thread that money contributed in the last election from the teachers union and public workers union was 97% to Democrats and 0% to Republicans. That is the reason the Democrats tried to push through new union contracts before the Republicans took over the governor's office and both the state senate and assembly, calling for a special session and even dragging a Democratic lawmaker out of jail because they needed his vote.

From December 15th

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It's crazy that there is still so much talk about the money the teachers make versus the private sector. It is not that, not at all. Teachers knew concessions were coming and were prepared to give in. The issue is the the fact that Republicans are trying to break the union to help there own voting block. Most unions are democratic and if you get rid of a union this large, you are getting rid of a huge vote that usually goes for the Democrats. Is that to say that these non-unionized teachers won't vote? Not at all, but it does mean that are going to dig into some of that vote as the mindless drones won't get their piece of paper that literally tells them who to vote for.

My wife is a teacher in Wisconsin and she gets her voter sheet before every election. She does not follow it verbatim but there are others who do. Breaking the union is not a money saving issue, it's a political agenda issue.

Supporting the union is as much of a political agenda issue as well. That's why there shouldn't be public sector unions -- they succumb to political forces rather than market forces.
:shock: No way there isn't two sides to this coin.
Here's the other side of the coin. I believe it was posted earlier in this thread that money contributed in the last election from the teachers union and public workers union was 97% to Democrats and 0% to Republicans. That is the reason the Democrats tried to push through new union contracts before the Republicans took over the governor's office and both the state senate and assembly, calling for a special session and even dragging a Democratic lawmaker out of jail because they needed his vote.

From December 15th

Wow.

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You have to spell it out for him. Don't throw those big words at him so quickly

Haven't you been suspended yet?
For what?What did you run and tell mommy that I did?
No, I don't report people. But when a moderator takes a look at what you wrote in post# 695, they should suspend you for it. I would.
:shock:Wow. An instant classic. They out to put the brakes on you for going into a thread and dominating it with a tsunami of posts
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Public workers can contribute to any PAC or other lobby they want, same as corporations. What they shouldn't be allowed to do is elect their future bargaining partners in negotiations that can bankrupt whole states. That is a fundamentally different thing. Again, even FDR was against public employee unions. This was a pretty non-controversial idea until pretty recently.

I do understand your points. It is different with teachers as opposed to those who work for the state. Teachers bargain with the district they are employed under and unless that teacher is a resident of the district, they don't have a vote for whom is on the school board or school administration. I do think it has been somewhat controversial for longer than you give it credit for. It wasn't long after the Wagner Act that New York opened the door for the unionization of government workers. So that idea has gone back and forth since the 50s.
Not exactly. For example, step raises for teachers are embedded in Ohio state law. This is one of the things Kasich is trying to change.

But teachers are a good example of the things wrong with public employee unions. I know several teachers who retired in their early fifties with full benefts. This is allowed because of the perverse nature of bargaining with public employee unions. School boards or other political bargainers can buy peace with the unions by giving them unsustainable retirement benefits that won't become an issue until long after the school board members are gone from the scene. And these benefits often have the force of law behind them, ie it would take a state bankruptcy to change those arrangements.

Now private companies have done similar things. The agreement in the early 70's with the UAW that allowed people to retire with full benefits to retire after 30 years of service was equally unsustainable. The difference of course is that private companies can theoretically go out of business. The public employee unions are doing terrible damage to government budgets at all levels.

Good points. I guess we can look at who is to blame, the unions for negotiating the best deals possible or the school boards/politicians for agreeing to unsustainable plans for political gain, knowing they will never have to deal with the future consequences. I didn't realize some states had state laws regarding step raises. In my district, 2 years ago, the contract was renegotiated due to financial emergency and the teachers took a pay freeze (only exception was for those whom added a masters to their resume). We compromised on a half step increase in this year's contract. One thing the union did say was if the teachers didn't accept the new contract and the district became insolvent, then collective bargaining and all union protection was out the window. In both votes, teachers in my district were 85%+ in favor of the deals. We also doubled our health care costs in the process and agreed to new teacher evaluation processes. In addition, the state added a 5% pay cut to public employees.

However, it is a crazy thing because every state has such different rules and regulations. Then, within each state, the districts have widely different agreements and relationships. I actually felt like my district and union were really on the same page and the process was amicable. The union reps told us, this isn't like in the past where money was being hidden. Fact finding found the district could not sustain the current wages and benefits, thus the compromise was necessary. The only major complaint teachers had was that 5 years ago the district had a 12% (of the operating budget) surplus and after the school board approved many pet projects (new workout area for the middle school, remodeling of board offices, etc) that surplus was completely gone.

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Out-Of-State Supporters Pick Up Tab For Protesters

600 Slices Of Ian's Pizza Paid For

The slices are on the house at Ian's Pizza in Madison. Owner Ian Gurfield said he's received about 40 calls from people who want to buy pizza for the protesters demonstrating a block away at the Wisconsin Capitol. The cost of about 600 slices of pizza were covered on Saturday, Gurfield said.

Gurfield said he's been getting calls for days from people who paid to have pizza delivered to the pro-labor forces demonstrating against Republican Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights.

He said he had been delivering the pizza, but Saturday it seemed easier to just hand out slices to the protesters packing his store.

Gurfield said he's received calls from as far away as California and Connecticut and by mid-afternoon Saturday they'd paid for $2,500 in pizza.

http://www.channel3000.com/news/26926717/detail.html

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I didn't read everything in this thread, but here's some stuff that is missing:

MPS basically get free reign over deciding how much money they want. No one, Milwaukee's mayor or the governor can do anything about it. Every year my property taxes go up directly because of MPS pushing for more and more money.

Fine. I'd love it if the money was going to improving graduation rates and getting these kids to understand how to move on and get a good job.

Sure, the parents have a lot to do with it, but a lot of MPS kids are raised by a single parent etc.

Anyway, my kids attend MPS and my property taxes are over 5K. I live near Wilson Park if anyone knows the area. Anyway, I don't live in a mansion. But if I were to move to the suburbs and buy a house for twice what mine is worth my property taxes go down at least 2K.

Now, my daughter is lucky to have a good teacher, however my son does not. The whole class is struggling and the teacher refuses to allow the kids to catch up to her. It's about filling in all of their curriculum. That's fine, I guess, but these kids aren't getting it yet and the next part needs the understanding of the previous part for the kids to start understanding that. It's a slippery slope, but the teachers don't care.

However, don't miss a day of school or show up late otherwise they will threaten you with CPS. It's unfair, and ridiculous . The amount of money they make and the amount of children who lose out on a solid future is disproportionate and something has got to give.

I'm glad walker is putting his foot down. He has to. Plus, if anyone thinks the union would just allow the concessions to be made they are fooling themselves. It's posturing and unfortunately for them no one really cares right now. We have jobs to do as well, and we show up for them.

Except for those people that lost out on their pay or lost their jobs outright when they couldn't find/afford day care when school was canceled out of the blue for protesting. Teachers having their kids protest something they don't understand is shallow as well. If they did that with my kids that would be the last day that my child stepped foot in that school. Unfortunately, good schools and MPS don't go together so what can you do?

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I didn't read everything in this thread, but here's some stuff that is missing:

MPS basically get free reign over deciding how much money they want. No one, Milwaukee's mayor or the governor can do anything about it. Every year my property taxes go up directly because of MPS pushing for more and more money.

Fine. I'd love it if the money was going to improving graduation rates and getting these kids to understand how to move on and get a good job.

Sure, the parents have a lot to do with it, but a lot of MPS kids are raised by a single parent etc.

Anyway, my kids attend MPS and my property taxes are over 5K. I live near Wilson Park if anyone knows the area. Anyway, I don't live in a mansion. But if I were to move to the suburbs and buy a house for twice what mine is worth my property taxes go down at least 2K.

Now, my daughter is lucky to have a good teacher, however my son does not. The whole class is struggling and the teacher refuses to allow the kids to catch up to her. It's about filling in all of their curriculum. That's fine, I guess, but these kids aren't getting it yet and the next part needs the understanding of the previous part for the kids to start understanding that. It's a slippery slope, but the teachers don't care.

However, don't miss a day of school or show up late otherwise they will threaten you with CPS. It's unfair, and ridiculous . The amount of money they make and the amount of children who lose out on a solid future is disproportionate and something has got to give.

I'm glad walker is putting his foot down. He has to. Plus, if anyone thinks the union would just allow the concessions to be made they are fooling themselves. It's posturing and unfortunately for them no one really cares right now. We have jobs to do as well, and we show up for them.

Except for those people that lost out on their pay or lost their jobs outright when they couldn't find/afford day care when school was canceled out of the blue for protesting. Teachers having their kids protest something they don't understand is shallow as well. If they did that with my kids that would be the last day that my child stepped foot in that school. Unfortunately, good schools and MPS don't go together so what can you do?

I know little of MPS and don't know this teacher obviously. However, the teacher doesn't have a choice in what they teach. Legislators have created standard and benchmarks that must be followed. It tells the teachers everything that must be covered in a grade or class. Nowhere does it allow for kids who are behind or are not understanding material. We have the same problem at my school with 9th grade Algebra. Kids come in (many from Detroit Public) with the math skills of a 10 year old. Half the class falls behind right away and even though 50% or more of the class are failing, the teacher has to move forward at a fast pace that to cover everything we are legally required to teach. The only days we do not teach a new topic are test days, every other day is something new. The teachers don't like it. We would love to put the kids in other math classes to catch them up, but again MI legislators have decided that all 9th graders must take Algebra (even special ed.) Edited by Ilov80s
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http://spectator.org/archives/2010/09/24/t...-gothose-underp

Those Underpaid Government Workers

By Andrew G. Biggs & Jason Richwine

What recession? Government workers are probably wondering what all the fuss is about. The private sector has lost 2.5 million jobs since the Obama administration's stimulus bill was passed, while the public sector -- federal, state, and local government combined -- has added 416,000 jobs over the same period. Although 85 percent of Americans work for private employers, the administration's own Recovery Act database admits that four out of five jobs "created or saved" were in government. Likewise, average pay has risen in the federal, state, and local government, while private sector wages have fallen. More jobs, better security, and rising wages -- it's boom time in the public sector.

Ordinary Americans, along with a small group of elected officials from both parties, have finally been stirred to action. New Jersey's Republican governor Chris Christie is a leader in taking on public sector unions over performance, pay, and pensions, and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has cajoled public employee unions into accepting pension reductions. Even some Democratic appointees -- such as Washington, D.C., public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, who recently took the unprecedented step of firing 241 underperforming teachers -- seem to have had enough.

Despite this, defenders of public sector workers continue to argue that they are underpaid. Union representative Colleen Kelley, in a recent letter to the Wall Street Journal, cited federal statistics claiming that federal workers are paid 22 percent less than private sector employees doing similar jobs. Likewise, recent studies from liberal think tanks claim state and local employees receive significantly lower pay and benefits than private workers. Until these arguments are addressed, fully and directly, the group of policy makers with the mettle to tackle public sector pay will remain small.

A raw comparison between the wages of federal and private workers suggests there is no contest at all. The typical federal employee received a salary of more than $79,000 in 2008, with benefits raising total annual compensation to more than $119,000. The typical private sector worker, by contrast, received pay of around $50,000 and total compensation of just under $60,000. Moreover, USA Today recently reported that federal employees receive higher average salaries than private sector workers in 180 of 216 comparable occupations. These numbers seem to speak for themselves.

Defenders of federal pay are quick to point out, however, that federal employees are more skilled than the typical worker in the private sector -- in other words, they deserve more money. As OMB director Peter Orszag argued, "A comparison of federal and private sector pay...is misleading because the employees hired by the federal government often have higher levels of education than their counterparts in the private sector."

Orszag is right: we do need to account for skill differences in the federal workforce, which is older, more educated, and more white-collar than workers in the private sector. But the question then becomes whether these differences are enough to account for the huge disparity in pay. Using the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, which includes earnings and demographic data on tens of thousands of workers spread across the public and private sectors, we can control for differences in education, work experience, race, gender, marital status, immigration status, region of residence, and several other variables. After doing so, we can see whether the pay gap between federal and private sector workers remains.

This "human capital" approach to explaining wage variation, the overwhelming preference of labor economists, assumes that in competitive labor markets individuals with the same productivity will command similar salaries, even if they work different jobs. The human capital method is commonly used by economists in other contexts -- such as determining whether union members receive higher pay than similarly qualified non-union members, or whether women and minorities receive lower pay than comparable white males.

Even after including the full range of control variables in our own analysis, we found that federal workers continue to earn a pay premium of around 12 percent over private workers. In other words, someone in the private sector has to work an average of 13.5 months to earn what an equally skilled federal worker makes in 12 months. This is not a novel result by any means. Academic economists have been studying federal/private pay disparities since the 1970s, and they generally find a premium in the range of 10 to 20 percent.

Though the data are less precise, benefits like retirement contributions and health insurance rates are also more generous for federal employees. We have calculated that the annual overpayment of salary and benefits to federal workers comes to more than $14,000 per worker, totaling nearly $40 billion per year.

This does not mean everyone in the federal government should get an automatic pay cut. In fact, our data suggest the brightest people -- research scientists, for example -- receive no premium and may even suffer a penalty when they work for the government. If the federal government rewarded skills the way the private sector does, wages would adjust in different ways for different workers. Overall, however, total compensation would go down by around 12 percent, taxpayers would save tens of billions of dollars each year, and the federal government would regain some much-needed fiscal credibility.

BUT WHERE DO CLAIMS THAT federal workers are underpaid come from? From the President's Pay Agent -- not an actual person, but an obscure function headed by the Secretary of Labor and the directors of the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management. Relying heavily on the recommendations of the Federal Salary Council, a panel of labor union representatives, the Pay Agent submits an annual report to the president suggesting how much to increase federal pay. The 2009 report claims, remarkably, that federal workers are underpaid by more than 22 percent relative to the private sector.

Before we discuss the reasons for the large discrepancy between the Pay Agent's results and ours, consider how implausible the 22 percent figure actually is. Why would millions of federal employees accept such a low wage if they could earn thousands more in the private sector? A desire to serve the public can go only so far. High-ranking government officials are no doubt attracted to the power and prestige of their jobs, but what about the vast number of unremarkable paper-pushing jobs the government offers? What is so attractive about these positions that justifies taking 78 cents on the dollar?

Barring an almost unbelievable level of civic-mindedness on the part of federal employees, either federal positions offer non-wage compensation that outweighs a 22 percent salary gap -- in which case these workers aren't truly underpaid -- or the 22 percent salary gap figure is wrong to begin with. We think both are true.

The Pay Agent's figure is inaccurate because of the method it uses to compare pay in each sector. Rather than using skills like education and experience to identify productivity, as most economists recommend, the Pay Agent relies on a survey of job descriptions in various localities. For example, suppose the federal government employs an accountant in Chicago. In order to determine how much to pay him, the government would look at the job descriptions of private sector accountants in the Chicago area. It would try to find the subset of accountants who seem to have the same responsibilities as the government hire, then take the average salary in that set.

Though it sounds reasonable enough, the process is highly subjective. Positions that seem "comparable" on paper could be much different in practice, and some federal jobs have no private sector counterparts. How much should an intelligence analyst be paid based on his job description? Most importantly, unlike the human capital approach, the Pay Agent cannot distinguish between high- and low-productivity workers in the same position. It is just assumed that a particular job description leads to a certain level of output.

That is a rather poor assumption, because government appears to systematically promote employees to higher positions than they could hold in the private sector. An individual who would serve as a junior accountant in the private sector, for example, might be a senior accountant for government. One study found that 77 percent of federal employees are at least one level of responsibility above that of comparable workers in the private sector. This means government positions may appear underpaid relative to comparable private sector occupations, but the individuals filling those positions could be overpaid relative to what they would earn outside of government. The Pay Agent's method is inherently oblivious to this problem.

Even the federal Pay Agent's own analysts have expressed strong reservations about the government's system for setting wages. The 2008 report states, "We continue to have major methodological concerns about the underlying model for estimating pay gaps." Each report between 2001 and 2008 included some version of this warning. Curiously, the first report produced by the Obama administration omitted any mention of reform.

THE PAY AGENT'S FIGURES are even less believable when we consider just how popular government jobs are. At the beginning of this year, federal workers were only one-third as likely as private sector workers to quit their jobs, a difference that exists during good economic times as well as bad. Since perhaps the most common reason for quitting a job is to take another that offers some combination of better wages, benefits, and working conditions, the fact that federal workers don't jump ship implies there is usually no better deal out there. Government job postings also receive considerably more applications than private sector openings, again pointing to their attractiveness.

In 1988, economist Alan Krueger -- currently serving the Obama administration as chief economist at the U.S. Treasury Department -- examined the wages of two different groups of people who were laid off from their private sector jobs. One group took new jobs in the private sector, while the other group became federal employees. The latter group, unsurprisingly, made significantly more money after the job change than the former. These results, together with the evidence on quit rates, application quantity, and sheer gut-level plausibility, form a solid block of evidence supporting the findings of superior federal pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Comparisons for state and local government workers are more complicated, because here it is mainly benefits, not wages, that make government work attractive. John Schmitt of the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) recently wrote, "When state and local government employees are compared to private sector workers with similar characteristics, state and local workers actually earn less, on average, than their private sector counterparts." In contrast to the federal case, there are hard numbers to back up this claim-at least when the case is limited to wages.

While the human capital approach shows a 12 percent wage premium for federal government employees, it tends to show a pay penalty at the state and local level of 10 to 12 percent. It is not clear why state and local workers receive lower wages than federal employees -- competition among the states might play a role in keeping salaries in line -- but unions and liberal think tanks have seized on this finding to claim that state and local workers are undercompensated.

This conclusion does not survive scrutiny. For one thing, state and local employees are five times more likely to be covered by union contracts than private sector employees. Since union members predictably receive higher pay than non-union members, policies to allow collective bargaining by government employees are tantamount to decisions to raise pay. While some analysts would have you believe that state and local employees are paid just like private sector workers, the truth is that they are paid more like unionized private sector workers, which is a different kettle of fish.

Moreover, at both the state and local level, generous benefits are likely to more than make up for any salary gap, large or small. While studies by think tanks like the CEPR claim that benefit levels are comparable between state/local and private sector workers, they employ a serious methodological error.

The basic method of comparing benefits for public and private sector workers is simple: use data on what employers pay for each employee's fringe benefits, such as health insurance and pensions. In the private sector this method usually works fine. Employee benefits take the form of an up-front payment -- a matching contribution to a 401(k) account, for example -- not an IOU like a pension plan.

In the public sector, however, this approach can be quite misleading because a good portion of government employees' benefits come in the form of defined benefit pensions and retiree health coverage. These benefits are both highly generous and severely underfunded, which means that what government employers currently pay for these benefits significantly understates the benefits employees will become entitled to and must eventually collect.

Public sector pension plans reported unfunded liabilities of approximately $500 billion as of 2008. When measured by the more rigorous standards required for private pension plans, however, public pensions are underfunded by more than $3 trillion. Added to this is approximately $500 billion in unfunded obligations for generous retiree health benefits, which provide full coverage from the age of retirement through Medicare eligibility at 65, then supplemental coverage thereafter.

Unlike programs like Social Security, where underfunding can mean benefit cuts, accrued public sector pension benefits are in most states guaranteed either by law or by state constitutions. In other words, state government employees are eligible for $3.5 trillion more in benefits than labor compensation data would suggest, because these reflect only what employers do pay, not what they should pay if they are to meet their obligations. When the full value of pension and retiree health entitlements is included, total compensation for state and local employees rises by approximately 25 percent, putting these employees thousands of dollars ahead of their private sector counterparts.

EVEN LEAVING WAGES AND BENEFITS aside, the intangible perks of public employment -- automatic annual raises, flexible hours, generous paid vacation time -- provide significant added value. Then there is the near-certainty of not being fired. The annual rate of layoffs and firings in 2009 was 24 percent in the private sector but only 7 percent in state and federal government. Given that the average duration of unemployment in 2009 was more than 22 weeks -- and is even higher today -- this additional job security for public sector employees has an expected value of more than $8,000 for a typical federal employee. In practice, individuals would gladly pay even more for this insurance, since layoffs and firings tend to happen at the worst possible times -- when the economy is down and millions of other workers are looking for jobs.

The cost of public sector overcompensation goes beyond higher taxes. Economists Yann Algan, Pierre Cahuc, and Andre Zylberberg write in the Economic Policy Journal that, on average, "creation of 100 public jobs may have eliminated about 150 private sector jobs, slightly decreased labor market participation, and increased by about 33 the number of unemployed workers." Their conclusion, drawn from data on 17 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries over the period 1960 to 2000, is that attractive pay and conditions in public employment make private sector positions less attractive to job seekers. Given what we have seen regarding compensation at all levels of government, that is easy to believe.

Moreover, a number of studies, including by the OECD and the International Monetary Fund, have shown that countries that balance their budgets through reductions in social transfer programs and the government wage bill -- that is, the number of government workers and the generosity of their pay -- are more successful in reducing government debt than those that raise taxes. The reason may be that, because government pay is among the toughest of expenditures to reduce, governments that succeed in cutting it establish credibility with the public and build confidence with financial markets.

For perhaps the first time, a widespread swath of ordinary Americans appear ready to seriously reconsider the pay, benefits, and job security granted to public employees. With private sector workers and their families bearing the brunt of the recession, the existence of a seemingly protected class of government employees has generated a response that goes well beyond the inefficient use of taxpayer dollars to a sense of fundamental unfairness. But like government largesse in other forms, excessive public pay has some tenacious supporters. Public sector unions, for one, appreciate the extra cash, and even non-union government employees tend to have disproportionate political power. The question of public sector pay will be decided by how Americans vote and, perhaps more importantly, by the courage of public officials after the votes are counted. 

In short....private employees wish that they had the security and benefits of being under unions?
Sure we wish it. But :jawdrop:we realize that if we forced our employers to give us comparable benefits, our companies would go out of business.
:bs:
Politically, I suppose it makes perfect sense. Explain to me how having public employees contribute so little to their own health insurance and retirement costs makes sense, mathematically speaking.
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Politically, I suppose it makes perfect sense. Explain to me how having public employees contribute so little to their own health insurance and retirement costs makes sense, mathematically speaking.

That isn't the issue now from what I'd heard. They said they have agreed to the changes Walker wants but he still won't budge. Now it's all about taking away collective bargaining rights.
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Politically, I suppose it makes perfect sense. Explain to me how having public employees contribute so little to their own health insurance and retirement costs makes sense, mathematically speaking.

That isn't the issue now from what I'd heard. They said they have agreed to the changes Walker wants but he still won't budge. Now it's all about taking away collective bargaining rights.
That would seem like a reasonable compromise. But most arguing in support of the union's side in here seem to think their current benefit structure should be left intact.
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There was a post here somewhere about how the school system had enough subs ready to take the teachers who called in sicks place and tied it to there being this giant excess of teachers who were ready to replace current teachers. That is not a good comparison. Substitute teachers are generally not highly qualified. In Michigan, to be a sub, it only required something like 50 college credits (not even necessarily in anything related to education). Most of the subs that work at my school are not qualified to be teachers and are nothing more than babysitters.

In most districts in Wisconsin, in order to substitute, the substitute has to have certification as a teacher. I know the districts I have subbed in have required certification. One did not however that one had one middle school, one high school, and was, more or less, in the boondocks.
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Politically, I suppose it makes perfect sense. Explain to me how having public employees contribute so little to their own health insurance and retirement costs makes sense, mathematically speaking.

That isn't the issue now from what I'd heard. They said they have agreed to the changes Walker wants but he still won't budge. Now it's all about taking away collective bargaining rights.
That would seem like a reasonable compromise. But most arguing in support of the union's side in here seem to think their current benefit structure should be left intact.
in this thread?cause for most the argument is to keep collective bargaining rightsfire up us the recall
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Yeah, I can see that and understand your points. Personally, I really wish the police and fire professions were in this as well. I understand why and one point is because if all three were included, then Madison would be going through hell right now, big time. I think, hope, the police and fire find ways to compromise along with what this bill is about. If those two make some concessions... great. If those two do not, I wish they would step up.

Walkers smart in not including the police/fire at this time. Liberals would then get to play the "public safety" card.
Agreed. I think teachers are going first and then fire will go in a year or two and then police. They are all going down, it is almost inevitable. The dominoes are falling, in theory.
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As I have written here several times, my sympathies are with the teachers. But, as usual when it comes to protests, they have gone wayyy over the top. I just turned on Fox News and they had some woman screaming into the camera:

UNIONS GAVE US THE WEEKEND AND 8 HOUR DAYS! IF WALKER GETS AWAY WITH THIS, OUR KIDS WON'T HAVE THESE THINGS!!! THEY'LL HAVE TO WORK 7 DAYS A WEEK AND WHO KNOWS HOW MANY HOURS??? THIS IS FOR THE KIDS!!!

Oh please. I mean come on now. I've spent a lot of time in this forum making fun of tea party activists who spouted way over the top rhetoric about Obama. It's only fair to present the other side as well. Do people think any more about this stuff???

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Yeah, I can see that and understand your points. Personally, I really wish the police and fire professions were in this as well. I understand why and one point is because if all three were included, then Madison would be going through hell right now, big time. I think, hope, the police and fire find ways to compromise along with what this bill is about. If those two make some concessions... great. If those two do not, I wish they would step up.

Walkers smart in not including the police/fire at this time. Liberals would then get to play the "public safety" card.
Agreed. I think teachers are going first and then fire will go in a year or two and then police. They are all going down, it is almost inevitable. The dominoes are falling, in theory.
Oh, I agree with this 100%. Just pointing out that it's not because the police and fire unions line Walkers pocket. He'll take them down a rung or two in due time. I find it funny that Walker is just doing exactly what he said he was going to do in the elections and now the Dems are surprised that he is doing just that. First he killed rail, now he's balancing the budget.Life long WI resident and it's about time we get a fiscally responsible elected official into office.
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As I have written here several times, my sympathies are with the teachers. But, as usual when it comes to protests, they have gone wayyy over the top. I just turned on Fox News and they had some woman screaming into the camera:

UNIONS GAVE US THE WEEKEND AND 8 HOUR DAYS! IF WALKER GETS AWAY WITH THIS, OUR KIDS WON'T HAVE THESE THINGS!!! THEY'LL HAVE TO WORK 7 DAYS A WEEK AND WHO KNOWS HOW MANY HOURS??? THIS IS FOR THE KIDS!!!

Oh please. I mean come on now. I've spent a lot of time in this forum making fun of tea party activists who spouted way over the top rhetoric about Obama. It's only fair to present the other side as well. Do people think any more about this stuff???

If I can't trust government to do right by my healthcare....how can I expect them to do right by the workplace?
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As I have written here several times, my sympathies are with the teachers. But, as usual when it comes to protests, they have gone wayyy over the top. I just turned on Fox News and they had some woman screaming into the camera:

UNIONS GAVE US THE WEEKEND AND 8 HOUR DAYS! IF WALKER GETS AWAY WITH THIS, OUR KIDS WON'T HAVE THESE THINGS!!! THEY'LL HAVE TO WORK 7 DAYS A WEEK AND WHO KNOWS HOW MANY HOURS??? THIS IS FOR THE KIDS!!!

Oh please. I mean come on now. I've spent a lot of time in this forum making fun of tea party activists who spouted way over the top rhetoric about Obama. It's only fair to present the other side as well. Do people think any more about this stuff???

If I can't trust government to do right by my healthcare....how can I expect them to do right by the workplace?
There are the obvious funny protest signs, here are a few of my favorites

Walker = Hitler, If you can't tell the difference you must be in a brain coma

A classy shot at Walker being a college dropout (and another Hitler reference)

Many Problems, 1 Solution--> Marijauna

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