February 11, 2011

"We are broke in this state. We have been broke for years. People have ignored that for years, and it's about time somebody stood up and told the truth."

Wisconsin's new GOP governor delivers the harsh news.
Gov. Scott Walker said Friday thousands of state workers would be laid off if the Legislature does not adopt his plan to repair the budget that includes cutting benefits and taking away almost all union bargaining rights from public workers.

Walker also signaled that in a larger budget plan coming later this month he would cut aid to local governments and let local officials deal with those cuts at least in part through savings on their employee costs. Walker wants the Legislature - which is controlled by his fellow Republicans - to act quickly on the plan, approving it by Feb. 25. It could move even faster than that, likely going before lawmakers next week.

The governor also said the National Guard is at the ready to take control of state prisons if correctional officers strike or take job actions. No union official has endorsed such a job action, but Walker said he was prepared for any contingency.

193 comments:

Fred4Pres said...

I blame Madison.

Maguro said...

It will be interesting to see how Walker fares against the public employees unions.

In Illinois, Pat Quinn is taking the opposite approach by raising taxes 75% without asking for any major spending cutbacks.

Who will be in better shape in a few years, austere Wisconsin or spendthrift Illinois?

Big Mike said...

@Maguro, it'll be interesting to see how many firms move their headquarters, and their jobs, from northwestern Illinois into southern Wisconsin.

garage mahal said...

it'll be interesting to see how many firms move their headquarters, and their jobs, from northwestern Illinois into southern Wisconsin.

So far, it's been the other way around.

MadisonMan said...

There are some things Walker wants that are very short-sighted, such as selling off power plants for the state Govt. A friend likens it to selling the furnace in your house, and then paying someone for running it.

If you are relying on things such as that to balance your budget, you're just as guilty as the previous governors who raided funds. Budgets should be balanced with sound financial principles, not by selling off assets if that sale will require increased spending in the future. (The fact that the sales can be no-bid sales is another bad idea).

I think a better tactic would have been to cut everything by 25% (or some such figure). Let the Managers -- who are paid to manage after all -- figure out how to get the job done with less money. I'm not sure that having the Governor choose who gets the most pain is the best way to do this.

There are some programs I would axe completely. Like DPI. ECB. Most of the Legislative Staff. I suspect Legislative Staff Numbers will actually be cut when Monkeys fly out of Scott Walker's butt, though.

1jpb said...

"A friend likens it to selling the furnace in your house, and then paying someone for running it."

What's wrong w/ that. Kenny Boy could squeeze out "efficiencies."

Harry said...

Allowing government workers to unionize will be listed among the causes of death of the Republic.

Jay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Mike said...

@garage, pardon me for the implication that you would lie to us, but can you back up your assertion that "[s]o far, it's been the other way around"?

Jason (the commenter) said...

Maguro:Who will be in better shape in a few years, austere Wisconsin or spendthrift Illinois?

The ant vs. the grasshopper!

MadisonMan said...

I think he's talking about Talgo, which hasn't left yet, but apparently is about to.

Paul said...

Chickens have come home to roost... but only in one state. Over half of them are in the same fix.

Party is over folks.

Jason (the commenter) said...

MadisonMan:There are some things Walker wants that are very short-sighted, such as selling off power plants for the state Govt. A friend likens it to selling the furnace in your house, and then paying someone for running it.

But it's keeping the power plants that is short-sighted. The smaller an organization is the more easily and efficiently it can be run.

If you had to spend a few hours every day manually fueling the furnace in your house, not doing something more productive, you would see the advantage of paying someone else to run it.

Those power plants are expensive distractions at the very least.

sunsong said...

Good for him! Wishing you all much success in Wisconsin!

MadisonMan said...

If you had to spend a few hours every day manually fueling the furnace in your house

Who does this? My furnace -- and the ones being sold -- are natural gas furnaces. The days of people shoveling coal into a furnace are long gone.

Well, not that long gone. When I was a teenager, our neighbor had a coal furnace -- and I had the job of cleaning the furnace -- shoveling out the ash -- when they went away. There was surprisingly little ash, now that I think back on it.

The most alarming thing about the sale is the no-bid nature of it. I am suspicious enough to foresee a very sweet deal for a political supporter of the Governor.

edutcher said...

Looks like Chris Christie isn't alone. Given the Illinois solution was pushed in Jersey (union slugs yelling, "Raise the taxes") and people love Christie for standing firm, I have a feeling Walker is going to do better than Quinn.

garage mahal said...

it'll be interesting to see how many firms move their headquarters, and their jobs, from northwestern Illinois into southern Wisconsin.

So far, it's been the other way around.


It's also very early in the game.

PS If the private sector can run the power plants more efficiently, why not? Each house doesn't control it's own water supply.

AJ Lynch said...

Govt should stick with its core duties and core competencies. Some states and govts get involved in areas where it has no reason to be involved. For instance, in Pennsy, it runs the state liquor/ wine retailers for some age old reason related to the Blue Laws I think.

I am not sure why Wisconsin owns or is in the power plant business.

kent said...

"We are broke in this state. We have been broke for years. People have ignored that for years [...]"

"... but... but... but our holy, high-speed CHOO-CHOOOOOOOOOOOOS -- !!!"
/plaintive leftist wail

garage mahal said...

God you are a moron.

AJ Lynch said...

The overriding question to the new governor is "Is what you said accurate and correct"?

I suspect it is accurate because our state and local govts have been gaming their balance sheet liabilities for many years.

Hence,it's now "Holy Crap, we owe how many bazillions to our pension funds?"

chickelit said...

Lighten up mahal. No need for blasphemy.

MadisonMan said...

I'm not certain the New Jersey comparison is an apt one.

For one thing, my impression is that Wisconsin's Pension Fund is on a pretty sound financial footing as pension funds go, mostly because it's isolated from the Legislature and it can't be raided. Of course, it does depend on the Stock Market to a large extent. It's also Facebook's landlord (There was a blurb in the paper today on that). The one thing I would change is the rule that your last 3 years of salary determine your benefit. That really leads to people trying to game the system.

Happily, the Legislators will not lose their generous per diems, so the restaurants and bars around the Capitol Square won't suffer.

AJ Lynch said...

Btw, this is not a partisan issue even though Garage thinks it is.

MadisonMan said...

@AJ, it's the powerplant that supplies heat to the State Office Buildings in Madison.

ironrailsironweights said...

This man had recently started taking Cialis. At eight in the morning his wife asks him if he'd like breakfast, maybe some pancakes and bacon. "Thanks honey," the man replies, "but this Cialis really kills my appetite."

It's around noon, and the wife asks him if he's like a nice tuna salad for lunch. "Thanks again," he says, "but like I said earlier, I've got no appetite with this Cialis."

At eight in the evening, the wife asks the man if he wants a grilled sirloin steak for dinner. "You know how it is," the man replies, "with this Cialis I'm just not hungry."

Well for Christ's sakes I am starving!" the wife shouts. "Get the f*** off of me so I can finally eat!"

Peter

edutcher said...

AJ Lynch said...

Govt should stick with its core duties and core competencies. Some states and govts get involved in areas where it has no reason to be involved. For instance, in Pennsy, it runs the state liquor/ wine retailers for some age old reason related to the Blue Laws I think.

Disagree.

The state stores were established after the repeal of Prohibition, in much the same vein as regulating when and how businesses serving alcohol could operate (all states do this in one way or another). Beforehand, there was no more regulation of saloons than of hardware stores.

Jason (the commenter) said...

MadisonMan: Who does this? Who does this? My furnace -- and the ones being sold -- are natural gas furnaces. The days of people shoveling coal into a furnace are long gone.

That's not true. Everyone in America uses coal, wood they've chopped themselves, or natural gas purchased in individual tanks to heat their homes. Paying someone else to deal with the distribution when they could do it themselves would be wasteful.

(Even if they did pay someone to do it, THAT person would probably find a way to steal from them!)

chickelit said...

That's hysterical Peter and much funnier than the Kotex video.

AJ Lynch said...

Mad Man:
If that is the extent of the state's involvement in power plants, I'd say it's not a material issue or expense and the governor was misleading in bringing it up.

AJ Lynch said...

Peter - that was hilarious.

Edutcher. thanks for the background and i am sure you agree the state should divest the liquor franchises and make some money.

MadisonMan said...

Jason, the gas company does not deliver tanks of gas to my house.

There are propane tanks in regions where population density is small enough to make distribution by underground pipes uneconomical, but that's not Madison. It's all underground piping, including to the Power plants in town.

Maguro said...

Contracting out support functions is a pretty standard cost-cutting move in government and private industry. There's probably some company out there that's better at running power plants than the state of Wisconsin is. And the contractor won't have to deal with the public employees union, so there's that.

MadisonMan said...

Whenever I visit PA, I take booze to my parents, because the State Store prices are outrageous.

edutcher said...

AJ, I have a feeling the state makes out like a bandit, so, if it keeps taxes a little lower, it's fine by me.

Not being a drinker, I don't much care one way or the other, although seeing some of the hoops through which people have to jump in OH, the state store system makes a little more sense.

AJ Lynch said...

You are breaking the law Mad Man.

MadisonMan said...

You are assuming I'm not paying an import tax as I enter PA on I-80?

I do believe you are allowed to import, for personal use, some small amount of liquor. Dad is 88. Mom is 85. They're not big drinkers :)

MadisonMan said...

Next time I'm taking a case or 2 of Spotted Cow for my nephew. He loves the stuff and can't get it out east.

Radish said...

I've noticed when lefties bitch about Talgo moving to Illinois, they never mention Talgo's (illegal) discrimination against black applicants for employment.

AJ Lynch said...

Shoot I don't care if you break the law Mad Man for some miniscule tax evasion.

My point is govt should not stray from its core duties and core responsibilities. Selling liquor is straying pretty far IMO.

Chris Murphy said...

This affects you, too, Ann. What's your take?

exhelodrvr1 said...

Can he come to Sacramento for a couple of years?

Jason (the commenter) said...

Chris Murphy: This affects you, too, Ann. What's your take?

You mean her opinion, or her cut of the money the state hands out?

Ralph L said...

Governor Coolidge rose to national prominence and the vice presidency by breaking a Boston police strike.

Chris Murphy said...

I was curious to hear Ann's opinion, Jason. Thank you for clarifying.

publishless said...

"Walker said he was prepared for any contingency."

Are we talking any contingency related to budget cuts, or any contingency, period?

Calypso Facto said...

Radio station WMMM lead this story with the comment: "Scott Walker intends to balance the budget on the backs of the working people of Wisconsin, drastically cutting union employee benefits and negotiating power."

My first snarky thought was "what do union employees and their benfits have to do with working people"?

My next was, "time to change the presets on my radio".

jimspice said...

@Maguro said "Contracting out support functions is a pretty standard cost-cutting move in government and private industry."

Yeah, just ask Walker. That's what he did with Milwaukee County Jail security and it only doubled the cost. Look for similar savings down the road at the state level. He really needs to get a better union relations attorney.

PatCA said...

I agree that bargaining rights should be taken away from public unions, in CA too. The legislature gives employees a raise because they know roughly 8% of that payroll will come back to them in kickbacks...er, campaign donations.

It's corruption, plain and simple.

pinkmonkeybird said...

I envy WI. Over here in your neighboring state of MN, we elected split government. So we get to listen to the two parties accuse one another of not doing what's right while they are gridlocked. I expect a state gov't shutdown as they dig in their heels.

Terry said...

In California, the problem is worse. The state has $500 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for state workers. This problem was created when state workers were given the right to unionize by the governor. The governor that created this pension debacle 30 years ago is the same guy that just took office, Jerry Brown.

Milwaukee said...

I was under the impression that Talgo was brought in to build trains, when some company was already there who could have done the job. Some sort of sneaky Gov. Doyle thing. The pension fund is in good shape because Governor Thompson had tried to raid it, and had been discouraged by the courts. Simply make public sector unions illegal. Then look at whether or not some of the previous contracts could be disallowed on grounds of fraud: the public was not fully aware of the contracts their public officials were signing on the public's behalf. In Beloit Wisconsin, police and fire get health insurance for them and their spouse for life. Not until their 65, but for life. Tell the police and fire that the retirees health costs are paid for first, and then current workers. Want to see how long it takes for the union to put their brethren on Medicare? Teachers were to make a percentage contribution to their pension, but for as long as I can remember, the Beloit School District paid both the employers contribution, and the employees contribution.

In Wisconsin they have programs to subsidize the child care of poor women so they could work. A source of huge corruption. Then the state was going to pay millions to install palm scanners in day care so that the state could electronically verify that children who were supposed to be in the day care were. Instead, why not eliminate the program? Let moms get to together, and "I'll-watch-your-kids-when-you-work-and-you-watch-mine-when-I-work." What about the dads? Maybe if the state wasn't so generous with benefits, the women would wait for marriage before having a bunch of brats. Then the dads could work night shift and watch the kids in the day when the mom was working. Novel ideas. Why are taxpayers subsidizing men and women who have children out of wedlock?

Gene said...

You're so right about Jerry Brown. I can't imagine he'd be willing to do anything to actually fix California's problems, because, the second he tries, there goes his union base.

What he's depending on is a vote of the people to raise taxes on themselves. He's trying to look good. He canceled many state employee cell phones (apparently half of all state employees had taxpayer provided phones). And he has announced plans to see much of the state employee vehicle fleet (again absurdly large).

The problem of course that these don't begin to address the real problem--public employee salaries and pensions, not to mention the ever increasing number of people who work for the state.

JAFAC said...

Not sure if this is on-topic or off... But:

Having experienced the Wisconsin road construction crew efficiency (private, for-profit company [Lunda]) versus California road construction crew (public, Cal-Trans); I'll take private for-profit any day.

Even no-bidding the contract will give WI a cost-savings over letting the unionized state employees do it.

David said...

MadisonMan said...
"Whenever I visit PA, I take booze to my parents, because the State Store prices are outrageous."

Yeah, but the selection is bad.

Dan said...

It would seem on the surface that privatizing power plants would lead to the greater efficiency private business practices offer. Unfortunately in this case you would just be creating a private monopoly, which would have no reason to be more efficient. I'd predict the state would pick up a quick cash infusion, but pay for it in generally higher energy costs as the years progress.

Revenant said...

Who will be in better shape in a few years, austere Wisconsin or spendthrift Illinois?

My sister and brother-in-law -- a couple of liberal Obama-votin' Democrats -- are currently trying to get out of Illinois as fast as they can. They literally cannot afford to live in Illinois anymore -- they were having trouble making ends meet *before* the gargantuan tax hike.

Once they're gone, of course, Illinois will be that much poorer, both in GDP and in tax revenue. Illinois is about to learn that the Laffer curve is real, I think.

Revenant said...

I'm wondering how much time would have to pass, after the California government shut down, for it to actually inconvenience most of the people in the state.

M. Simon said...

garage mahal said...

God you are a moron.


Isn't that a bit disrespectful to God?

jgreene said...

Illinois is doing EXACTLY the WRONG thing. Raising state income taxes 75% is actually going to decrease tax revenue. The Democrats in Illinois are economic illiterates as are most Democrats.

They imposed an income tax last October on Amazon affiliates in Illinois. The result, Amazon dropped the Illinois Amazon affiliates resulting in NO SALES TAX for Illinois and put many people OUT OF BUSINESS causing lowered income taxes and people on unemployment.

The ONLY WAY to solve the problem is to CUT SPENDING and cut public employees salaries and benefits or lay them off. The s**t has hit the proverbial fan for many towns, cities and states NOW, TODAY... not down the road.

mrkwong said...

I predict (on no sound basis) that we're going to see - well, not an avalanche, but a flow - of states starting to claw back state employees' collective bargaining rights. But one or two have to get things rolling.

As for Illinois vs Wisconsin - right now IL has the leverage of having friends in high places.

David R. Graham said...

"God you are a moron."

I like that.

It explains the problem of theodicy. Well, claims to.

The Crack Emcee said...

JAFAC,

Having experienced the Wisconsin road construction crew efficiency (private, for-profit company [Lunda]) versus California road construction crew (public, Cal-Trans); I'll take private for-profit any day.

So much of what's being discussed in America reminds me of my time in France - where I learned to hate socialism - it's amazing:

I watched a road crew in France one day. Nine guys, with two doing the work and the rest smoking and joking, and looking at girls, all of them being paid the same. I remember thinking, "This can't work", and then going back to Cali - grateful to be back in America - and finding another version of the same thing. Not to mention the election of a socialist as president.

It's been depressing, but it's also fueled my passion for getting us back on track.

Gene said...

"I'm wondering how much time would have to pass, after the California government shut down, for it to actually inconvenience most of the people in the state."

You remember what stopped the Rodney King verdict riots, don't you? With rioters in the streets the post office couldn't deliver welfare checks. Once that started happening everyone went home.

kent said...

God you are a moron.

Critical snark fail, due to illiteracy. Feeble.

*snort*

kent said...

"We don’t have money to mow the parks or fill the potholes, and we certainly don’t have money for the cops we need. So what does our city council spend its time on? We vote to pull out of Iraq, and to impeach the president and the vice president. We debate the Tibetan flag, and the Palestinian right of return, and whether to embrace Rafa in Gaza as our sister city, and whether it’s right to give hungry people a turkey on Thanksgiving, because it’s violence against the birds."

Huh. Sounds like a perfectly cogent and rational contributing explanation as to why, precisely, Wisconsin is, in fact, broke... doesn't it?

Actions. Consequences.

The Crack Emcee said...

kent,

One day, when I was in college, my counselor (local head of the NAACP, don't you know) decided I was bright and should be a part of the Black Student Union. She'd escort me down and introduce me herself.

So I met her at the desired time, in the desired place, and when we walked through the door, the rest of the students were, of course, engaged in an intense debate - over what South Africa should be called after Nelson Mandela was freed.

The counselor and I looked at each other, and then left without saying a word, and we never spoke again, but with no hard feelings on either one's part.

This is a circus, except the animals are in charge.

AllenS said...

MadMan,

You went to the neighbors house not to shovel out the ash, but to remove the "clinker". You're correct about there being very little ash in a coal burning furnace.

former law student said...

@Maguro, it'll be interesting to see how many firms move their headquarters, and their jobs, from northwestern Illinois into southern Wisconsin.

My guess: zero.

Per taxfoundation.org, as of their most recent (2008) data, Wisconsin had the 9th highest per capita tax burden, while Illinois was 30th.

Is Illinois going to leapfrog Wisconsin? Seems unlikely.

I once worked with a guy who had worked at the Admiral TV plant in Harvard, IL. He commuted from a home in Lake Geneva. According to him, Wisconsin wanted so much of the proceeds from his selling his home that he wouldn't be able to buy in Illinois. I think he ended up renting a room during the week in Chicagoland.

kent said...

This is a circus, except the animals are in charge.

"It's a madhouse! A MADHOOOOOOOUUUUUUUSSSE -- !!!" ;)

Mick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mick said...

Of course the most Liberal states are broke. It's because they are so smart that they're bankrupt.
NY, Cali., and Illinois to name a few.

Ut said...

"It will be interesting to see how Walker fares against the public employees unions."

I'm just curious. Maybe somebody can help me out here. But "public employee unions" are a euphamism for "the government."

These people who belong to those unions are "the government."

Now, they've organized to fight against their employers ... that would be us "the people."

Now someone please explain to me how the United States Constitution allows the government to organize itself in opposition to the people.

We need to end this tyranny.

Cedarford said...

AJ Lynch said...
Govt should stick with its core duties and core competencies. Some states and govts get involved in areas where it has no reason to be involved. For instance, in Pennsy, it runs the state liquor/ wine retailers for some age old reason related to the Blue Laws I think.

=================
Actually, states that sell liquor have one of the few state agencies besides the tax collecting agencies that bring in revenue, vs. spending it.

ricpic said...

If Wisconsin is anything like New York the public employees unions have been winning pay increases and pension deals way in excess of the inflation rate for years and years. Holding them to the rate of inflation or at worst no increase for a year or two will still leave them in a better situation than most private sector workers. Totally doable.

former law student said...


Having experienced the Wisconsin road construction crew efficiency (private, for-profit company [Lunda]) versus California road construction crew (public, Cal-Trans); I'll take private for-profit any day.


If you're considering law school, then may I recommend the (private, for-profit) Kaplan University instead of the (public, not-for-profit) University of Wisconsin?

Prospective undergrads should of course consider DeVry Tech, or the University of Phoenix (largest football stadium of any school that lacks a football team).

Our universities are one of the few things America does better than the rest of the world, and the overwhelming majority of them are either tax-supported or not-for-profit.

former law student said...

Chris Christie has his work cut out for him, because New Jerseyites had the nation's largest tax burden.

Dan said...

We're all broke! Damn near every element that's a government entity is broke: cities, counties, states and federal. And yet, every one of these entities wants to point to another for a bailout. If you have money, at some point, they are going to come for it - in one way or another.

Lisa said...

"But it's keeping the power plants that is short-sighted. The smaller an organization is the more easily and efficiently it can be run."

Huh. Cause they keep giving the exact OPPOSITE argument to justify consolidating school districts.

AllenS said...

At the very least, a complete halt to the cost of living increases that the state workers have been getting. Afterall, those of us on social security and those that also get a VA compensation haven't had a COLA in the two years that obama has been POTUS.

Bob_R said...

Regardless of the current state of the pension fund, it's crazy (and should be illegal) for the state to promise a defined benefit pension to anyone. A state is implicitly promising that another groups of taxpayers will pay for the promises of the current group of politicians and taxpayers. State employees should (from now on) be on defined contribution systems like so many of the rest of us. The contribution is paid by current taxpayers. It's transparent.

MadisonMan said...

At the very least, a complete halt to the cost of living increases that the state workers have been getting.

Who is getting raises?

I've not had a raise in my state job since 2007, I think. My salary now is less than it was in 2009 because of furloughs. I don't think State pensions have had a raise either -- my recollection is that compensation dropped last year. I followed this more closely when the Father-in-Law was alive, as we had a state pension.

MadisonMan said...

Er, He, not the royal We.

Bob_R, Wisconsin's pension system does not -- I'm fairly sure -- cost taxpayers money at the disbursement of pensions phase.

LTC John said...

MadisonMan - you can't get Spotted Cow outside of WI, much less "out East" - argh! I have to swoop in once a year to get my fix of New Glarus products.

I would look at the development around Kenosha to see if IL is alienating anyone - we have, we doubled down on stupid here in November... but IN is gaining more than WI or IA or such.

Fen said...

Father is hitting the blood center three times a week to sell his plasma. And his Union Brats are whining about their allowance getting cut.

"If something can't go on forever, it won't"

AprilApple said...

Public sector unions should be illegal. They are a crime against the tax payer.

former law student said...

Huh. Cause they keep giving the exact OPPOSITE argument to justify consolidating school districts.

Public school districts have a lot of administrators, some of whom should be unnecessary with consolidation. But don't bet on any actually getting terminated.

Compare Catholic schools, which had a minimum of administrative staff because the parents were paying the full freight. During the baby boom, one nun would run a school of 1,000 pupils with one secretary, a school nurse, and a part-time librarian. Everybody else taught classes. Sports coaches were community volunteers.

former law student said...

The governor also said the National Guard is at the ready to take control of state prisons if correctional officers strike or take job actions.

Two questions:

1. How is the governor going to get the Guard back from Iraq?

2. How many businesses will want to relocate to WI, knowing that the governor will seize their patriotic NG employees and put them to work guarding convicts? Is that really the best use of their time and talents?

Chieftain of Seir said...

This New Yorker is curious. I am curious. When you all talk about power plants, are you talking about power plants that generate electricity for the grid or are you talking about power plants that provided heat and what not for large facilities like hospitals, prisons, and collages?

I ask because it seems weird to me for a state to be operating a lot of electrical generating plants. If that is what Wisconsin is doing, it makes perfect sense to me for them to sell the plants off.

But someone made a comment that made me think that Wisconsin is considering the stupid idea of the privatizing the running of the facility power plants. This scam get peddled around to facility managers every so often. But this is setting yourself up to be a hostage of whoever winds up running your plants.

You can contract out most things when it comes to running a facility, but if you are going to contract out the running of the plants, you no longer own the facility.

Lisa said...

Let's compare Catholic schools from 70 years ago to a public school today?

Here's just a partial list of the things that Catholic school from 70 years ago didn't have to do.

Serve special education students

Create and maintain the IEPs (a legal document) to do it

Provide English language instruction to students from 20 different countries

Provide transportation to and from school for all students, including disabled

Teach the state mandated curriculum and prove it.

Maintain instructional technology including computer labs, laptop carts, teachers computers, printers, and portable devices.

Administer the state mandated tests and analyze the data/performance to make improvements.

Evaluate teacher performance and document it with the state (Catholic schools are not required to have certified teachers).

Provide 36+ hours of state mandated professional development.

Track attendance, vaccinations, health appraisals and report to the state as mandated by state law.

Serve all students. Catholic schools could and do kick kids out.

Teach all children Algebra 1 by 8th grade as our latest state mandate requires.

The State and Federal governments have imposed significant mandates upon public schools in the last 70 years.

dont tread 2012 said...

Dr. Friedman identifies the root cause of the financial problems that are coming to a head in this country.

Socialism is great, until you run out of other people's money.

View and understand this video if you are confused about the concept. If you disagree, please provide your thesis.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=iv&annotation_id=annotation_479468&v=5RDMdc5r5z8

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Anyone here employed by the State of Wisconsin? Anyone? Bueller?

Oh well. At least they can't blame the shortfall on economically devastating public transportation schemes.

MadisonMan said...

It is the Facility Power Plants that are to be sold. I can see the appeal for a Politician: Look how I have shrunk the labor force employed by the state!

But do you save money by turning around and having to buy a finished product -- power -- rather than producing it yourself? Let's say a Consortium buys your plant -- let's just call it Enron for short. Is there any incentive for Enron to pass any savings along to the state? Or will Enron just jack up the price as high as they can, all the while contributing to the political coffers of whomever is in the Governor's mansion to keep the blowback from exploding?

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Wow @ Jason showing us his eyes! He's not a bad-looking guy. Good pic, Commenter.

peter hoh said...

Just be grateful that you don't need to build the Packers a new stadium.

LarsPorsena said...

"...Our universities are one of the few things America does better than the rest of the world, and the overwhelming majority of them are either tax-supported or not-for-profit..."

You betcha'. We have the best lawyers, sociologists, anthropologist, lit-crits, political scientists, communicators, art historians, 'philosophers', etc.

The kind of people who make nothing but know how to divide what everyone else makes.

We are the envy of the world.

dont tread 2012 said...

@Lars

"The kind of people who make nothing but know how to divide what everyone else makes."

Yes. The same kind of people that do not recognize that they need capitalism in order to survive. Capitalism is their host. Without it, they die. Because, socialism produces nothing. It is, by definition, demand, because it requires force and coercion to get what it needs to survive.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Knowledge and Ideas = Nothing. Obviously.

Isn't there an economic truism about how more of something doesn't need to mean less of something else? Obviously we can continue producing and exporting knowledge and culture without pissing on the trades, manufacturing, etc. Last I checked, having skilled technicians available to repair a piece of machinery was still a useful and necessary skill, and not something that made smart people stupid or less productive.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

SO lemme just get this straight... The problem lies not in not producing anything or in devaluing manual labor, but in having knowledgeable professionals in this country who are on a quest to "destroy" capitalism. Is that the early morning consensus? Just checking.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

I think there are people here who believe that Hu Jintao's muzzled academic sector (but not his confiscatory property redistribution scheme and more productive labor force) is the key to America's future prosperity. Who knew?

roesch-voltaire said...

Ah yes no collective bargaining and call out the guard to keep the unions in place, sounds like we are rolling back history to the 1870s. I can see contributing more to the pension fund, which is in solid shape and doesn't affect the taxes, and contributing more for health insurance,but then take off the freeze on my salary please. As for Walker's plan to attract business to Wisconsin, he seems off to a bad start. He wants to eliminate our stem cell research projects which is actually generating new biotech companies and attracting researchers. At this rate he will be a one term governor.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Haven't you heard, Roesch? New technology is bad. It requires academic types and creative thinking to come up with it and those things are, according to Lars and our resident Long Island Ice Tea Partier, bad. Harbingers of socialism. Etc.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Why don't we call people are paranoid about socialism "anti-socialists"? They certainly seem anti-social, no?

MadisonMan said...

Just be grateful that you don't need to build the Packers a new stadium.

It would be a new field, not a stadium.

This is the Green Bay Packers that you're talking about, right? The World Champion Green Bay Packers?

shoutingthomas said...

Both sides are missing the point.

New Jersey and New York, not to mention California, have the same problems with public unions.

The issue isn't socialism. It's corruption. The public employee unions give massive campaign contributions to political candidates (always Democrats). Once elected, those Democrats kick back salaries and perks to those public employee unions. The result: public employees now earn significantly higher salaries and get much more generous benefits than employees in the private sector.

This is not something that can continue to go on, because those private sector employees cannot afford to keep underwriting better salaries and perks for public sector employees.

Do the math.

So, the issue here is breaking the cycle of corruption in which Democratic candidates kick back higher salaries and perks to public employees in return for massive campaign contributions.

MadisonMan said...

I think you're missing the point as the topic at hand is Wisconsin.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

I think the answer is simple. Vote for Pedro.

dont tread 2012 said...

@shouting

Do you deny that there are parallels between socialism and (public) unions?

Do you deny that politicians aren't careless about spending other people's money on other people?

New York State has been dominated by big union democrat politics for years, as you have pointed out. Whats not so obvious (I should say 'what they so fervently try to deflect/deny') are real results.

Following this union 'model' to a logical conclusion, based on the real power retained by this relatively small voting bloc (in terms of real numbers of citizens), we citizens should form our own powerful voting bloc to compete with the unions (Tea Party?) for the 'spoils' (i.e. so we get to actually retain what we own - property rights).

Zero himself loves the 'organizing' concept, that is, until those that he wishes to extract property form their own.

Delicious irony.

shoutingthomas said...

Do you deny that there are parallels between socialism and (public) unions?

Do you deny that politicians aren't careless about spending other people's money on other people?

I don't deny anything.

It's just that this is a much more practical issue. I don't see the issue here as a great struggle between capitalism and socialism.

It's a more specific issue. The private sector has run out of the money to fund the lavish salaries and perks enjoyed by employees in the public sector.

Thus, bankruptcy.

This cycle has to be broken.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Yes! Our resident Long Island Iced Tea Partier has it exactly right! Selfish, privileged bastards should organize so that they can collectively bargain on behalf of all their rights!!! Collectively! Social-istically! Right on!

Tricky said...

"Allowing government workers to unionize will be listed among the causes of death of the Republic."

No. Not a bit. Unions are a good thing, lending to workers a degree of power to negotiate for acceptable wages and benefits from employers to whom they would otherwise be mere serfs.

The death of our Republic, which is in a terminal state already, will reach its end stage as a result of the culmination of long-term corruption at the top and among the elites, with a minority class holding a majority of the wealth and all the power, and the mass of citizens disenfranchised economically and politically. There will be a loss of respect for and belief in the rule of law, as the elites exempt themselves from the requirement to abide by the law while using the law as a club against the populace at large. Also, the overextension of the military into imperial adventures abroad, at expense that can't be maintained.

It happened in Rome, it's happened in other empires, it's happening here, now.

dont tread 2012 said...

@shouting

"I don't deny anything.

It's just that this is a much more practical issue. I don't see the issue here as a great struggle between capitalism and socialism."

Can you say, 'microcosm'?

"It's a more specific issue. The private sector has run out of the money to fund the lavish salaries and perks enjoyed by employees in the public sector.

Thus, bankruptcy.

This cycle has to be broken."

Yes.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

"(C)itizens should form (a) voting bloc". Lol.

We, the generic citizens...

Triangle Man said...

To bring this back around to Wisconsin, at lease two public employee unions apparently do contribute to Republican candidates. Police and fire unions will not face any cuts.

AprilApple said...

States are broke, private sector jobs are disappearing, tax payers are tapped, people are losing their homes, and families are losing their retirement nest eggs.

Not so for the UNIONS(D). We must provide everything we can to make sure holy and precious union employees have pay raises, sweet benefits, paid time off, and a full retirement. We must look the other way when union employees abuse the system and haul in hundreds of thousands of tax payer funded dollars in an exchange for sick-time. Union employees and government stooges deserve the very best in life. They are so wonderful; we must sacrifice everything on their behalf.

Private sector unions, like the Auto Unions, are equally wonderful and we should bow before them as they pay people to do nothing and we the tax payer are on the hook to bailout their greed and disgusting mismanagement. Is it any wonder the economic idiot party(D) is in bed with the greedy union?
Union and the democrat party are a wholly owned subsidiary of one another. They use corruption and power to prop-up the greed machine all while Rome burns.

Modern employment laws make unions obsolete.

TermLimits said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

The banks are completely innocent! This whole mess is the result of unions!

dont tread 2012 said...

@Ritmo

""(C)itizens should form (a) voting bloc". Lol.

We, the generic citizens..."

It certainly is getting some attention, isn't it?

I see the irony isn't lost on you.

Bill S. said...

It's actually very simple. Spend no more than what you take in. Start by cutting as much wasteful spending as you can (including public pension reform). Then, raise taxes---but only as a last resort. Here in Illinois, we have a governor who has it backwards--he starts with gargantuan tax increases and does nothing to reduce spending. Wisconsin seems to be headed in the right direction with Gov. Walker. Wish we had him here in Illinois.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

It's getting the attention of people with attention deficit disorder.

No, the irony of that isn't lost on me.

Maguro said...

Let's say a Consortium buys your plant -- let's just call it Enron for short. Is there any incentive for Enron to pass any savings along to the state?

Right, there would have to be some contractual arrangements made at the time of the sale for something like this to work financially for the state.

Maybe a cost-plus type contract where the contractor can only charge a certain amount or percentage over the cost of the natural gas used or something like that.

It could work, but you'd have to be very careful negotiating the service contract.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What he's depending on is a vote of the people to raise taxes on themselves

This is probably going to happen because the majority of people who vote do not personally have to pay the taxes. Many of those who 'vote' are not even legal citizens because voter fraud is rampant in California.

So, just raise the taxes.....it doesn't affect them.

Bond issues that raise property taxes always pass for the very same reason. People who don't own property could not care less if the property owners have to pay for the latest cause d'jour.

It is sooooo much easier to ride in the wagon than it is to pull it..

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Bunny, time for you to lift your fair share of the load.

traditionalguy said...

What is broken are the promises of the politicians of yesteryear. The State Pensions are simply promises of future benefits for present dollars.That business model creates huge piles of cash that can buy up every bauble on every Pol's wish list of accomplishments (a/k/a Pork). When it comes time to pay the future benefits, the business ALWAYS bankrupts.

chickelit said...

Politics aside, what matters is the general opinion of public sector employees and this worsened.

Many are old enough to remember when teacher/firemen/nurse/whatever salaries were well below the average. 20 years or so ago I heard stories about how such people were unable to keep up standards of living. Their prosperity lagged behind a thriving private sector. Resentment politics ensured that measures were put in place to even the disparity.

Now (it seems) the tables are turned. We have a withering private sector here in California and a thriving public sector. It's quite natural for resentment to build in the other direction. I'm all for full disclosure of public sector employee service benefits - because it helps motivate and calibrate the not so fortunate.

Viva la revolution.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Teachers? Teachers are assholes (except if they teach law). Knowledge is a lie. Research is socialism.

TosaGuy said...

"How is the governor going to get the Guard back from Iraq?"

Only 1000 of the 10K of the National Guard is deployed at this moment in time.

http://dma.wi.gov/dma/Deployment/deployed_updates.asp

Trooper York said...

"Roachy said......
He wants to eliminate our stem cell research projects which is actually generating new biotech companies and attracting researchers. At this rate he will be a one term governor."

Sure. Somebody who won't raise taxes and cuts wastefull boondoggle spending will never be popular. All those people who want to pay more taxes so egghead professors like roachy and nina will get raises will run right out to vote against such a jerk. How dare he not raise taxes.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

Facing the reality of bankruptcy certainly throws the left into a tizzy.

It's only just begun, these are the first ripples.

chickelit said...

C4-BDH

Why just new facets of facetiousness?

Trooper York said...

And how is that a respected egghead PHD type dude like MadisonMan can't get a raise.

You should talk to garage and horn in on his gig. Pimping choo choos is good for six figures these days. So I hear.

PETER V. BELLA said...

Walker, unlike Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, is telling the truth. Illinois is on the way insolvency and it will not get better soon.

One third of the budget could be cut with no impact on services. But, these are politically palatable programs or programs to benefit the politically powerful- read people who pay hefty campaign bribes.

Quinn practices the arts of political malpractice and mendacity.

Walker at least tells the truth. We are broke. Cut spending to the bone.

kent said...

Facing the reality of bankruptcy certainly throws the left into a tizzy.

"But I can't possibly be broke, I tell you! I still have plenty of checks left in my checkbook -- !!!"

MadisonMan said...

Now (it seems) the tables are turned.

Certainly, the perception is there that Public sector employees make more. I suspect the truth is that they don't, at least in my line of work. But it makes for a great soundbite.

My nephew, who teaches in Oakland CA, is by no means making the money he could make in the private sector.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

When Rush does it, it's facetiousness. When I do it, it's meant to be taken seriously. Even when I make the opposite point.

AprilApple said...

The average federal worker makes $75,419 a year, while the average in the private sector is $39,751.

PatCA said...

Terry,
I am not clear about what an "unfunded liability" really is. Of course CA does not have the money in an account to pay all the pensions in the next 30 years! But employees make mandatory contributions every month of roughly 8% of pay, and the state does when the fund has a loss rather than a gain.

Right now Calpers has over $200 billion in its fund. Member contributions, state contributions, and investments will continue to add to it. Yes, reform is needed, and it has been happening for 10 years, but is this pension "crisis" here sort of overblown?

garage mahal said...

Certainly, the perception is there that Public sector employees make more. I suspect the truth is that they don't, at least in my line of work. But it makes for a great soundbite.

That's why you see Republicans encouraging their kids to work on a line in Detroit, or collect garbage.

The average federal worker makes $75,419 a year, while the average in the private sector is $39,751.

No cite?

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Don'even play their game, garage. The proper answer to her unsourced almost quote is "so what"?

garage mahal said...

Madison Man-

On an annual basis, full-time state and local government employees in Wisconsin are undercompensated by 8.2% compared with otherwise similar private sector workers.

Trooper York said...

Other than cops, fireman and EMT workers, if you pay government workers a dollar you are paying them too much.

Fire all their asses and start over.

garage mahal said...

Meet the poster child for overpaid people on the public payroll -- Tom Nardelli.

He's already drawing two taxpayer-paid pensions, will soon get a third one, and has just been named by Scott Walker to a $90,000 a year state job


Sacrifice is for the little people not friends of Scott Walker.

former law student said...

MadMan is right: Oakland Unified pays very little.

Starting pay for a BA grad is $39456.20. After five years and 30 more credits, you would get $46,030.46. Realize that teachers must complete a standard BA and take a teacher credentialling program in their fifth year.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...
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MadisonMan said...

I work with many double-dippers. People who retire, wait a month, and then come back to work at their same job. So they're drawing a salary, drawing on their pension, drawing social security. And blocking promotions of people who work underneath them.

If I were in charge you wouldn't get a pension from anyplace if you were still working there. You want to retire? Fine. See you later and don't come back. Think you're indispensable to the workforce? Come to the cemetery near my house and I'll show you similarly indispensable people.

kimsch said...

Uline, the box and packaging company, moved their corporate headquarters from Lake Bluff, IL to Pleasant Prairie, WI. Beautiful new building off I-94. Of course, Lake Bluff is in North East Illinois, not north west...

Also they started the building before the November elections as well. But still.

wv: dingerm

former law student said...

Here's just a partial list of the things that Catholic school from 70 years ago didn't have to do.

Seventy years ago? I'm pretty sure that was before the baby boom. But I don't know why these requirements would materially beef up the administration.

Serve special education students

I'm looking right now at the Down syndrome kid in my 1st grade class picture. I lost track of what happened to him after 8th grade graduation. Somehow he got a primary school education.

Create and maintain the IEPs (a legal document) to do it

Teachers can't do this? They're responsible for executing it, right?

Provide English language instruction to students from 20 different countries

I started 1st grade with a lot of DP kids. They arrived speaking Polish, Lithuanian, and German. Another classmate spoke Spanish. They soon learned how to get along in English.

Provide transportation to and from school for all students, including disabled

The school contracts with a bus service -- what's the big deal here?

Teach the state mandated curriculum and prove it.

This should be the teacher's responsibility, right? They're professionals. The teachers prepared lesson plans and taught per the plans. We also had standardized tests every year. The principal checked up on the teachers.

Lack of a state-mandated curriculum did give Catholic school teachers an advantage because they were allowed to use phonics. Almost all students learned to read at grade level or above.

Maintain instructional technology including computer labs, laptop carts, teachers computers, printers, and portable devices.

The school secretary took care of the day-to-day stuff. If something broke,she called a repairman.

Administer the state mandated tests and analyze the data/performance to make improvements.

Teachers did that and the principal reviewed their work.

Evaluate teacher performance and document it with the state (Catholic schools are not required to have certified teachers).

Groton and Andover aren't required to have certified teachers, either. But principals evaluated teacher performance, and if you sucked you were not invited back the next year. No tenure system kept the burnt-out on the payroll, ruining generation after generation of kids.

Provide 36+ hours of state mandated professional development.

What is the school district's involvement here? Catholic schools had teacher training days built into the schedule.

Track attendance, vaccinations, health appraisals and report to the state as mandated by state law.

Teachers did that, and the data was tabulated by the school secretary and/or the school nurse. We also had vision and hearing screenings, and immunizations.

Serve all students. Catholic schools could and do kick kids out.

True that kids were there because their parents wanted them to be there. Not sure how having hoodlum kids increases the administration overhead.

Teach all children Algebra 1 by 8th grade as our latest state mandate requires.

We started learning Algebra in 5th grade, so I'm glad to see public schools catching up. But again, why would this mean hiring even one additional administrator?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I am not clear about what an "unfunded liability" really is. Of course CA does not have the money in an account to pay all the pensions in the next 30 years! But employees make mandatory contributions every month of roughly 8% of pay, and the state does when the fund has a loss rather than a gain.

Firstly. Many State employees in California do NOT contribute. The employer pays not only their own contribution, they also pick up the employee's contribution. Plus because there are unfunded previous liabilites the employer is paying extra towards that.

In the little services district where I am on the board the amounts are. 8.76% employer, 7% employee and 11% past obligation. So we pay JUST into the Cal Pers fund 26.76% on top of every dollar we pay in payroll. Add to this the Medicare/Social Security contribution 7.65% and unemployment insurance AND the health insurance plan which the employees contribute NOTHING to......the total per dollar amount that YOU the taxpayer is paying over wages approaches 45%!!!

The Defined Benefit is guaranteed based on assumptions as to age, salaries, investment return.

Unfunded Pension Liablities (see this link for a simple explanation) arise when the performance of the investments do not equal the actuarial assumptions.

When the investments do not perform as expected the State/Employers....TAXPAYERS have to kick in more money to make up the future short fall. Because it is guaranteed how much the future retiree will get.

In a defined contribution plan like a 401K....the end result is based on how much you put in and what the performance is. In other words, you takes your chances.

State employees are protected by the Unions from having to live in the real world like the rest of us poor schlubs......and WE get to pay for it.

Calypso Facto said...

Lots of double dipping, garage, as MM points out. The Madison Metro school superintendent pulls down $150,000 from Green Bay for "emeritus pay" whatever the Hell that is, while making $198,500 salary in Madison with an additional $58,200 in bennies. 89 public school ADMINISTRATORS in Madison make over $100,000. Sounds a little top heavy maybe?

And tying all the themes together, there are 3 Wisconsin public school administrators collecting full Illinois pensions while working here and making $250,000 to $330,000. Wonder why people get the impression there's plenty of excess to trim? Hmmm.

Dave said...

Our universities are one of the few things America does better than the rest of the world, and the overwhelming majority of them are either tax-supported or not-for-profit.

I see no evidence our public schools are better than private schools, and quite a lot of evidence they are worse.

Joan said...

Oakland Unified pays very little.

Starting pay for a BA grad is $39456.20


Apparently FLS does not know that salary is only part of total compensation. Benefits for public sector workers far outstrip those of private sector workers, often with little or no contribution required from the public service worker. The article linked in the original post notes in several places that Wisconsin state workers made zero contribution to their pension funds. Nothing! -- which practically describes what employees hired only in the last few years (since 2009) are paying for health insurance -- $20 to $40 per month. Anyone hired before then is paying ... nothing.

Factor all that in, FLS, and see what you come up with.

former law student said...

Our universities are one of the few things America does better than the rest of the world, and the overwhelming majority of them are either tax-supported or not-for-profit.

I see no evidence our public schools are better than private schools, and quite a lot of evidence they are worse.

You think Marquette is a better school than Madison?

Dave said...

Calypso -- why do you think the U.S. 10x fewer school districts than in 1950 despite having twice the population? With consolidation the opportunities for educrat graft are larger, the accountability less. The students and the quality of their education aren't even an afterthought.

former law student said...

Apparently FLS does not know that salary is only part of total compensation.

Unless you know different, it's the only one that works at the grocery store, or that a prospective landlord would care about when the teacher is trying to rent a room with a bath.

Dave said...

You think Marquette is a better school than Madison?

I think the entire over-subsidized education system is clearly wasting huge amounts of money.

To the extent U.S. schools are better, it is because the U.S. has the highest PPP GDP per capita in the world and students come here to learn valuable skills which they can apply in our job market, not because government does a better job of running an education system than it does running anything else.

Michael said...

c4: "Bunny, time for you to lift your fair share of the load."

Let us stipulate that her taxes are a multiple of your income. Does she not carry a fair load? You are one person, she is one person and yet she busts it and is rewarded by having to pay more in tax than you who lay about?

Dave said...

Unless you know different, it's the only one that works at the grocery store

No doubt retired teachers will be shocked to learn their pensions cannot be used to buy groceries or pay rent. Oh, cruel taxpayers, to have played suck a trick on our poor public servants!

ricpic said...

So, have anything constructive to say, snarkmeister Ritmo?....thought not.

Michael said...

rv: " yes no collective bargaining and call out the guard to keep the unions in place, sounds like we are rolling back history to the 1870s."

The very kind of comment that makes people outside the academy suspect you are exaggerating every time you open your mouth. The statement is preposterous. To compare your fat cat status to that of workers in the 1870s underscores why you should not get a raise. You are paid 8.9% less than your cohorts in other markets per the report linked by Garage. So move and get better pay, etc. But don't compare yourself to a person actually repressed.

AlanColon said...

@Maguro:Who will be in better shape in a few years, austere Wisconsin or spendthrift Illinois?

@JasonThe ant vs. the grasshopper!

Unfortunately, the grasshopper has significantly more clout in DC.
This is yet another example of why the powers of the central government were to few and strictly limited.

AlanColon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
former law student said...

No doubt retired teachers

Hey landlord? I realize my salary doesn't look like much now, but I'll be eligible for a nice pension in 33 years. Can you let me slide on part of the rent till then?

Paco Wové said...

...I see the problem. FLS is looking at it from the point of view of the parasite, rather than the point of view of the host.

Michael said...

FLS: I am not sure what teachers in California do with their many months off each year but I became a ranked tennis player during mine. I noted that I wasn't making much money but even in my dumb liberal brain I did a calculation that I was being paid for only the time I was working, not for the entire year, thus concluding that the 9 grand I grossed was equivalent to 12 if I actually worked 12. Oh, and during the time I was actually working at teaching it was not the 60 plus hours a week I put in at my peak in the business world. Teaching is a great gig and I support all efforts to have qualified teachers as highly paid as possible. But I think that there is a tendency to ignore the time off and the reasonable hours and to continue to compare incomes with people who have more demands on their professional time.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickelit said...

Our universities are one of the few things America does better than the rest of the world, and the overwhelming majority of them are either tax-supported or not-for-profit.

You should recognize that even that is fading, and fast. Less than a year ago, my wife was honored at a UCSD awards banquet as a nursing student of the year. She was not alone, one among perhaps a dozen for various aspects. Yet I was struck by the fact that there was not one hispanic name or (excuse my racism) not one obvious hispanic awardee. Yet my kid's middle school is 65% hispanic. There is a huge disconnect in the works.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Apparently FLS does not know that salary is only part of total compensation. "

Unless you know different, it's the only one that works at the grocery store, or that a prospective landlord would care about when the teacher is trying to rent a room with a bath.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you are NOT a government worker and you contribute to your own 401K and towards your own health insurance.....that is real money that you do NOT have to spend at the grocery store or any other fucking place.

When you are a tax payer supported worker and get free pension contributions and untaxed insurance premiums paid on your behalf, not only do you have MORE money to spend at the grocery store than the other poor folk who have to pay for their own benefits....you don't have to pay taxes on the benefits either.

For example.....assume 50,000K earned by a self employed private person then deduct their 7% contribution to a 401k (which does come out pre tax, but is still dollars not available to spend) add in their health insurance for a family at approximately 1200 a month = $17,900 DEDUCTED from spendable income. Throw in self employment taxes and other shit and that 50K is getting pretty small.

On the other hand.....the teacher or other government functionary who earns 50K ....GETS an additional $17,900 added tax free to their income.

Effectively making their compensation closer to 70K.

Gee .....I wonder who is better off? Yet....who are they always coming to for the outrageous demands of the poor put upon Union members. The evil self employed business person or the even more evil people who employ the non government working public.

Poor Unionized Teachers.....Go cry me a fucking river.

Calypso Facto said...

Shoulda known better than to take garage's link in good faith. Some interesting tidbits:

Half of the 8.9% compensation difference quoted is because "Full-time public employees work fewer annual hours". Really? You get paid less when you work less? Who knew? (And I'm sure professors are counted at 40+ hours which, well, my firsthand observations may not reach statistical significance, yet...)

Then, the incomes are "normalized" for organization size. Because, according to the study, 50% of public employees belong to a large (dare I say bloated?) organization, their salaries are apparently normalized "by 35%" for comparison's sake.

And, oh yeah, the study selectively "excludes self-employed, part-time, agricultural, and domestic workers" who tend to be the lowest rungs on the private sector employment ladder.

Bleh. Meaningless propaganda. No...worse than meaningless because of what it purports to prove.

former law student said...

dbq: the same young and healthy person who's not buying health insurance is also not putting money away for his old age.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

dbq: the same young and healthy person who's not buying health insurance is also not putting money away for his old age.

That is a totally irrelevant point that has nothing whatsoever to with the argument (whine) that government employees are 'earning' less because their salaries are less than a comprable job in the private sector.

Try again. That strawhorse won't run.

:-D

Dust Bunny Queen said...

government employees are 'earning' less because their salaries are less than a comprable job in the private sector.

And I might add that the lower salary is not the case as much since many clerks and other government types have larger salaries (in addition to their generous benefit packages) that someone working at a similar job in the private sector.

VW: blight Government unions are a blight on the health of the economy and the welfare of the citizens.

PatCA said...

DBQ,
You obviously understand the numbers better than I do. Everty district is different. And most of the employees that I work with hate the union and wish they were gone, because the union supports deadbeat workers and unsustainable retirements.

I'm just saying, change is happening, and has been for 10 years, and I couldn't be happier. As Chris Christie says, do you want small cuts now or bankruptcy 10 years from now?

As to Catholic schools, of course they worked. They had discipline, even in classes of 50 kids. Diagramming sentences was the only sport. All this blather about funding education means funding teacher salaries/union payoffs to Dems. Most teachers hate their union, too.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

I found Michael's assertion, that financial compensation is the most accurate gauge of the arduousness of one's labors, to be quite entertaining! Delusional, but entertaining.

Maybe someday he will garner as many looks as the average mentally deranged street person. Not yet today, but maybe someday. His style is still too cerebral.

former law student said...

dbq, if you have that much faith in the NPV of a government pension (essentially, same as cash in the teacher's hand), how can you doubt the fiscal soundness of Social Security?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

dbq, if you have that much faith in the NPV of a government pension (essentially, same as cash in the teacher's hand), how can you doubt the fiscal soundness of Social Security?

Who says I have any faith in the net present value of the government pension plan?

I believe that I pointed out that the defined benefit plans are severely underfunded due to poor investment performance and are going to require even more cash infusions to try to make them whole or able to pay the promised benefits in the future.

My point is that the government worker who is NOT taking money from their own current cash flow to put into a pension plan is better off, even IF paid a smaller wage, than the person who has to take current dollars from current cash flow to invest in their own retirement account.

On the one hand....the government lacky is getting something more over and above his/her wages while the other person is taking from wages and reducing available cash.

If you can't see this, or refuse to make the distinction between wages and total compensation...... then there is nothing more to say and I refuse to waste my time on stupid people.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Please please please don't tell DBQ about MATCHING CONTRIBUTIONS, that left-wing scheme!

former law student said...

Wages I can spend right now as I like; "total compensation" I cannot.

You'd think a small-l libertarian would grasp the significance, especially since the government keeps some of the teacher's money in the belief that it knows better than the teacher how to allocate it.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Her awareness of such a thing might cause her to blow a gasket or two.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Wages I can spend right now as I like; "total compensation" I cannot.

Gaaah. You are incredibly obtuse. I'll try one more time and then write you off as a total moron.

1. Wages are $$ that you get on an hourly basis or salary basis and which are taxable.

2. Total compensation = wages + benefit package and other perks which are not taxed.

These are pension contributions (in the case of government workers DB Plans)that are partly the governments mandatory contribution and the amount that the government picks up (the part the employee should be paying and doesn't) PLUS insurance premiums paid for by the employer

3. Non Governmental workers must pay for their benefit packages in total or in part.

4. When you pay out of wages you get less spendable money. Wages - retirement contributions and - health insurance premiums.

You'd think a small-l libertarian would grasp the significance, especially since the government keeps some of the teacher's money in the belief that it knows better than the teacher how to allocate it.

I grasp this concept perfectly and it has nothing to do with the concept of total compensation or parity between government employees who earn the same wage as a non governmental employee who doesn't get all the freebies and have someone else pick up their benefits and insurance costs.

If you think that the teachers should have control over their own retirement funds (as I do), then you should have no objection to canceling the Defined Benefit plans that are funded by tax payers...... and going to a Defined Contribution plan like a 401K where the teachers can contribute their own money...(and yes get a small matching contribution IF they contribute).

You agree with me then? We should do away with the DB Plans and do so immediately. Right?

(Don't bother trying to argue with me on this issue......THIS is what I used to do as a financial advisor. Set up retirement plans of all types for individuals, businesses and other organizations....AND manage the money in the plans)

Michael said...

C4: Snarker man!! Shouldn't you be in the lab or something saving mankind? You are seriously out of your depth on nearly every topic on this blog and it shows. People put some thought into a topic and your idea of making a contribution is to attack them personally. You are a turd on top of being a loser. You presume to know more about finance than DBQ? You are a fucking moron wearing an I am a moron tee shirt.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Facts and knowledge are half the battle, Michael. Reason is the other half.

And then there's something called "integrity", which does and always has eluded you entirely.

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

But I do like being humored by a Wall Street jackass who attempts to "school" me by impugning the working poor as lazy. That took a lot of integrity, Michael. And a lot of knowledge. Not.

No wonder he's pissed. Elites don't like being called out no matter what function they perform. As the Tea Party people are finding out.

Michael said...

c4 Basically you creep me out.

PatCA said...

Not to belabor the point, but I never received a matching contribution to my 401K, and I do pay for some of my benefit package. Re changes, the age has gone up for some workers, and workers hired after 2000 have to work 20 years, I think, to get medical when they leave.

I think the big difference is a DB plan and earlier retirement age, as I compare with friends working in private firms, but even that is changing. (Not for the ruling class or privileged groups tho of course.)

Conservatives 4 Better Dental Hygiene said...

Michael, basically I don't care.

Now go count your money and remind yourself of what a virtuous and moral person that makes you.

Sofa King said...

Michael, basically I don't care.

The personal motto of the government unionist.

Amidore said...

Preventing labor from collectively negotiating on all terms of employment is about as antithetical to free market principles as you can be.

Milwaukee said...

Amidore said...

Preventing labor from collectively negotiating on all terms of employment is about as antithetical to free market principles as you can be.


Do you have any frame of reference for this conversation, or did you, like some very young child, just walk into the middle of the room and the middle of the conversation? Public employees are not part of the free market. They are free to get jobs somewhere else if they don't like the conditions. Public sector unions heavily influencing elected boards to get favorable contracts is not free market. Where is the competition? There is none. When the elections are over, the administrators have to work with the unions, so administrators are more likely to side with the union employee than they are with the member of the public requiring help.

Public sector unions should not even get the right to negotiate salaries. If the salary is insufficient, they can move on. When we notice a lot of turn over, we'll change the conditions of employment, which may or may not include pay.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Preventing labor from collectively negotiating on all terms of employment is about as antithetical to free market principles as you can be.

So explain how it is a 'free market' when we the tax payers are not given any other choices from which to get some services.

Do we have an alternate sources of police, firemen, planning commission clerks, etc?

Since we tax payers are not involved in the negotiations, YET are required to pay for the services. It sure doesn't seem like a free market to me.

If it WERE a free market, we would do away with prevailing wage laws and allow ANYONE who was qualified to bid on government services. Road construction, clerical services, police, schools.

Until this happens you can just quit whining about free market principles.

Amidore said...

I see. So unless we live in a pure capitalist society, then any action that is antithetical to free market principles, such as allowing labor to negotiate terms of employment with their employers, should be Ok. Anyone who points out when something violates core free market ideals, even when they are fair and laudable, should just quite whining until, what?, we're in anarcho-capitalism? I doubt this logic is being used consistently.

You can favor privatization of certain government services, or private contract bidding funded by the public - I guess - and still think the government should not bully labor negotiations with the force of law. Insofar as the government acts as a business, it should act appropriately as one.

Milwaukee said...

DBQ said "If it WERE a free market, we would do away with prevailing wage laws and allow ANYONE who was qualified to bid on government services. Road construction, clerical services, police, schools.

Until this happens you can just quit whining about free market principles."
Yet Amidore is still whining.

Labor unions are about restraint of trade. The prevailing wages laws were about preventing contractors from bringing Black workers in to do work at a lower wage. Loads of government regulations are about preventing people from doing work by erecting artificial qualifications requirements.

That Amidore thinks public sector unions are part of a discussion of free market is beyond comprehension. Everybody pays property tax to the local schools. People with big guns will put you in jail and take away your property if you don't pay. Parents who don't want to send their children there don't have to, but they pay additionally to find some other way to educate their child. A child whose labor will probably taxed, and benefit future society.

If government employees think working for the government, on whatever level, is so odious, they can quit when ever they want to. I would like to think that enough people leaving would be cause for concern, but I have read some research which would suggest that for teachers, that is not the case. We ramp up supply process for teachers, but give little regard to the insanity which is public schooling, and how that might be driving good teachers out of teaching.

Amidore said...

I don't think publically funded services are free market in nature. I think that allowing labor to negotiate their terms of employment without artificial barriers like laws forbidding them from doing so is a free market principle that is important to have even in a mixed economy such as ours. I don't like the way the tenure system works for public school teachers, but that doesn't mean I think there should be a law preventing them from negotiating that as a term of employment.

As I said before, insofar as the government acts as a business, it should act in accordance with with fair market behavior to extent it can. That means refraining, when it can, from gaming the system by leveraging its monopoly on force as it would be doing in Walker's proposal. I'm all for playing hardball in negotiations. I'm not for stripping their negotiation power by legislative fiat.

You don't seem particularly concerned with this if the government is sticking its boot in the throat of somebody you consider a political enemy. I guess that unfortunately characterizes one of the differences between conservatives for whom the market is a slogan of convenience and for those who think it articulates some set of useful and fair principles.

The notion that labor unions are a restraint on trade to be legally crippled if necessary, but employers are not, is just a recipe for employers to dictate terms as they see fit. You know naive liberals who think if not for things like min wage laws employers would force everyone to work for 2 cents an hour in sweatshop conditions? This is the polar equivalent as if employers are powerless in the face of collective bargaining.

Apparently I'm whining if I'm bring this up, but presumably it wouldn't be whining in other instances of free market advocacy even though there is no service or product in our country that is free of government support. I guess that just speaks to the thuggish and hypocritical mentality that too often accompanies Republican's selective use of more libertarianish ideas.

kent said...

Apparently I'm whining

Awareness and ownership of your problem is the first, powerful step forward in overcoming same. Best of luck, little soldier.