December 30, 2011

"2011 was a year when unions said 'it wasn't about the money'..."

"... before many of them (including Madison city workers) rushed back to the bargaining table to 'Walker-proof' their benefits before the new collective bargaining law went into effect."
While statewide unions said they would accept the increases in health and pension contributions, many local unions clearly weren't reading from the same playbook.

Speaking of money, during the summer, unions spent over $20 million to [try to] unseat six Republican state senators who voted for Walker's plan. This exposed exactly why it's about the money. Government employees merely serve as conduits for taxpayer funds to work their way to the unions, who then spend money electing obeisant legislators to negotiate favorable contracts. Shockingly, lefty "good government" groups appear not to have a problem with this blatant purchase of favors.
Christian Schneider in Isthmus, "The Wisconsin left made a spectacle of itself in 2011." Read the whole thing.

62 comments:

damikesc said...

I don't understand why the "let's get special interests out of politics" group have no issue with unions basically using their money to elect people to give them ever more money. It's one of the more corrupt vicious circles out there.

And nobody who has ever dealt with them ever believed unions weren't ALL about the money.

sydney said...

The same sort of thing happened here in Ohio. Before the unions won the election that cancelled out our governor's reforms, many public employee unions sat down at the negotiating table with their local political/governing allies to consolidate their benefits just in case the issue lost at the ballot. Ohio is California now.

David said...

Are they gonna fire him too?

William said...

Eventually the Roman Emperor was chosen based on his ability to best represent the interests of the Praetorian Guard.

traditionalguy said...

That was a very well written article. Thanks.

Hagar said...

"Special interests" are you and your friends and associates.

We are patriotic Americans exercising our constitutional rights.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Its always about the money.

When they say 'its not about the money', you can bet, it IS about the money.

MadisonMan said...

Democrats:Unions::Republicans:Roadbuilders -- or, if it's the 90s, prison builders.

Either way, taxpayers lose.

As I said yesterday about this article (which I think is pretty good), I look forward to the LsTTE next week.

The Drill SGT said...

MM.

she only left out the Docs in the square. Beyond that, I think she got all the high points of the WI farce.

rocketeer67 said...

Democrats:Unions::Republicans:Roadbuilders -- or, if it's the 90s, prison builders.

Unions. Roads. Prisons. Which one doesn't belong? Your choice will be illustrative of something.

Joe Schmoe said...

That was a good article. I don't read Isthmus but the inference is that it's a lefty rag (or digital equivalent?). Schneider sometimes writes for National Review and I like his work. If Schneider's article is affirmative action at work, he made the most of it.

Joe Schmoe said...

from the article:
Yet God apparently first appeared in Wisconsin in 1959, when Democratic Gov. Gaylord Nelson signed the nation's first public-sector collective bargaining law.

How come nobody names their kid Gaylord anymore?

MadisonMan said...

Unions. Roads. Prisons. Which one doesn't belong?

They all belong in the group of things that are used by politicians to pay back supporters.

garage mahal said...

This is my fave Christian Schneider line, a "fellow" at the "non-partisan" WPRI:

[Randy Hopper's] charm is infectious. He is a handsome, fit man of 45 with a chin like Buzz Lightyear’s, white hair, and fashionable, dark-rimmed glasses.

Ooops

Joe Schmoe said...

Ooops is right Garage. Bad link.

rocketeer67 said...

They all belong in the group of things that are used by politicians to pay back supporters.

For argument, stipulated. There's still one that doesn't belong.

garage mahal said...

Fixed

rocketeer67 said...

That rascally Randy Hopper - he's just one dead chick from being a Kennedy!

Joe Schmoe said...

So Garage, instead of rebutting Schneider's statements in the article, you want us to look instead at the questionable conduct of a former state senator? Or at least you try to cast aspersions on the author? No dice.

What do you have to say about the union's conduct over the past year?

bgates said...

Democrats:Unions::Republicans:Roadbuilders

Eisenhower:Obama::Interstate Highway System:SEIU.

EDH said...

MadisonMan said...
Unions. Roads. Prisons. Which one doesn't belong?

They all belong in the group of things that are used by politicians to pay back supporters.


Well, except...

There is no competitive bidding process with public sector unions. The point of the union is the elimination of competition, which in the area of public sector construction (at least for the bidders, not the unions that work for them) is called corruption.

With roads and prisons, what remains after the work's done is a tangible asset.

With the public sector unions, what remains is an ever growing, unsustainable pension liability.

garage mahal said...

So Garage, instead of rebutting Schneider's statements in the article, you want us to look instead at the questionable conduct of a former state senator?

I actually like Christian Schneider. I follow him on Twitter, and he's actually a pretty funny guy when not talking about politics. But he is paid to write what he writes. I don't feel a need to rebut because I know it's 100% pure propaganda.

Triangle Man said...

With roads and prisons, what remains after the work's done is a tangible asset.

There's no such thing as spending too much money on prisons or roads?

Patrick said...

Garage, kind of like Paul Krugman, right? EJ Dionne?

Chuck66 said...

I lived for a while in Duluth Minnesota. It is 100% Democrat town. 100% union town (public and private). The city gov't and school board, both elected by Democrat unionists, gave away the store. I haven't kept up on news there for the last couple of years, but last I heard, they had an unfunded pension liability that at some point, may cause the city to go into bankruptcy.

Chuck66 said...

I do have to agree. Tommy Thompson was in pretty close to Big Road Construction and gave lots of contracts to certain companies.

Patrick said...

I admired unions growing up. But the last decade I have come to think of a union member as a me firsters. They seem to be essentially parasites of their neighborly single mom working as a waitress.

Talking to them they all have a party line they have been indoctinated into. That unions are one of the single greatest forces for the middle class in the world. Yes maybe 80 years ago. But today these are just people giving the middle class a black eye.

Chuck66 said...

There is a way you can spend too much money on roads and bridges....if it is for high profile new construction, when existing infrastructure has needs.

Same thing with Big Education. Every university wants to build that big new shiney building. Everyone notices that. They don't notice more routine upkeep to exisiting buildings, so that gets less money.

Patrick said...

Who is the 99 percent? The Tea Party or the OWS. I certainly am in that 0-99 range, yet I have no commonality with the OWS folks. I think they are over hyping themselves, they are probably more like the 1 percent than the 99 percent. So one thinks how are they really different from a Leninist in revolutionary Russia around 1917

EDH said...

Triangle Man said...
There's no such thing as spending too much money on prisons or roads?

That's the point. Price competition tells you when you've spent too much money on prisons and roads.

There's no similar competitive benchmark for public sector unions, even assuming you can quantify what the defined-benefit pension component costs on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Henry said...

Patrick wrote: So one thinks how are they really different from a Leninist in revolutionary Russia around 1917

They're the communists of 1905, not 1917.

(Hat tip to Frank Turner, Love ire & Song, 3:01 )

coolkevs said...

While we're talking about drunk Wisconsin politicians, let's not forget this one:
http://www.redstate.com/laborunionreport/2010/12/16/wisconsin-lame-duck-democrats-bust-a-jailbird-out-to-vote-on-union-contracts/
Fun times, eh?

Joe Schmoe said...

I don't feel a need to rebut because I know it's 100% pure propaganda.


So we'll march day and night
In the capital tower
They have more votes
But we have the power...

Simon said...

"A Democratic Assemblyman yelled 'you're fucking dead' to a Republican colleague on the chamber floor following debate on Walker's plan"

I'd bet that this chump was the first to demand the ritual sacrifice of Sarah Palin at the shrine of Saint Gabby—in the name of civility, you see.

"Obama continues to be a serial offender — federal employees aren't allowed to collectively bargain for wages and benefits."

That is pursuant to statute, is it not, rather than the President?

"[2011] will be remembered as the moment in state history where 'progressivism' came to mean 'don't touch my damn benefits.'"

Great line.

[WV: "scrac." Apellant in seminal case South Carolina Racial Action Committee v. McNair. All kidding aside, I saw a news item the other day where a Chicago exchange wants to trade political futures, and the experts wheeled out made it quite clear that this was a horrible idea rife with potential problems. The exchange was called "NADEX"—which couldn't sound more like the name of the sinister quasi-governmental antagonist in a dystopian scifi novel if it tried.]

Patrick said...

Garage, maybe it would be best to stipulate that in WI, it is not difficult to find a drunk politician from either party.

TML said...

In Wisconsin, 2011 came in like a lion and left like a lion fighting for its health benefits. Newly minted Gov. Scott Walker's proposal to require greater health and pension contributions from government employees, along with virtually removing public union collective bargaining, set off a cacophony of tumult that ricocheted through every corner of the state's borders.

AGGGHHHHH!!! What a terrible first paragraph. Almost unreadable. Things don't ricochet through anything. They ricochet off things. A cacophany of tumult? What does that even mean? Perhaps a tumultuous cacophony. Or a cacophanous tumult. Head spinning...words flying about too randomly...

Simon said...

Hagar said...
"'Special interests' are you and your friends and associates."

Indeed. Complaints about "special interests" are usually pretty shallow. What they mean is the structuring of policy in ways that directly benefit only a subset of the population rather than America at large, but that's analytically facile. Is there any basis for the notion that government cannot do anything that doesn't serve the entire population equally? And even if there was, would we accept such a notion when it's hard to imagine any governmental function that is truly of equal use to all Americans? Governmental regulation of unions serves special interests. Government benefits like Medicare serve special interests. Libraries serve special interests. And so on.

John M Auston said...

EDH said...

There is no competitive bidding process with public sector unions. The point of the union is the elimination of competition


Yes, EDH.

And there is a word for that. A 'monopoly'. This area is a good example of why Liberals are so mad all the time, resort to acting out and emotional 'arguments'. Those are some of the typical symptoms of being in a chronic state of cognitive dissonance. It will make you nearly crazy, eventually.

In this case, they have to hold these two contrary ideas at the same time. They are simultaneously against (corporate) and for (unions) monopolies.

Conservatives have no such problem, being consistently against monopolies, wherever they pop up.

Note: The Leviathan GOVERNMENT is the biggest monopoly of all.

Scott M said...

Things don't ricochet through anything.

As I go back through the chapters and paragraphs of this semi-behemoth I'm working on, retwisting phrases and/or rewording them has become something like second nature, so that caught my eye.

Notice that the phrase is "ricocheted through every corner" or, something bounced into and out of each corner in a given space. I don't see anything particularly wrong with that. I think it's a sentence that's more than the sum of it's parts, so to speak, particularly in the context it was used.

I'll grant you the tumult, but who are we to judge if someone's prose is superfluous verbatim?

rocketeer67 said...

There's no such thing as spending too much money on prisons or roads?

Without a doubt! But where does that line lie that represents "too much?" that's a difficult question with roads and prisons. It's not a difficult question at all w/r/t public unions.

The Drill SGT said...

GM said... I follow him on Twitter, and he's actually a pretty funny guy when not talking about politics. But he is paid to write what he writes. I don't feel a need to rebut because I know it's 100% pure propaganda.

I feel the same way about James Carvel. He can be a political junk yard dog, but occassionally he bites Dem's also. Like the Oil spill stuff. You could tell his tears were real, nt some paid political announcment with a Dem agenda...

Scott M said...

You could tell his tears were real, nt some paid political announcment with a Dem agenda...

I defy you to prove that his eyelids were open wide enough to allow water to pass through.

15 Seconds of Silence said...

"The Wisconsin left made a spectacle of itself in 2011."

That sums it up.
The irony of them chanting "shame, shame!" at everyone else is priceless.

Alex said...

Whenever I read garage, I'm reminded of that sad worker in Orwell's 1984, the one who was totally 100% party-line but they executed him anyways.

caplight45 said...

At the beginning of 2011, my moderate Wisconsin daughter and son-in-law thought Scott Walker had over reached. By summer the unions had lost her and when they launched the recall they lost him. I wonder how many others there are like that in Wisconsin?

Petunia said...

I'm amazed that Democrat Assemblyman Gordon Hintz came out of the massage parlor and dropped his air guitar long enough to yell "you're fucking dead!" at one of his colleagues.

Former Dem representative Jeff Wood ought to appear on the drunk of the year website. How hilarious that a year ago his Dem colleagues bailed him out of jail in a vain attempt to have him be the deciding vote on state union contracts. Talk about a shameful act.

Then when Russ Decker voted his conscience and stopped the attempted contract ram-through, we had the execrable Marty Beil call him a "whore".

And people like that and their supporters have the gall to shout "shame, shame, shame" at people who disagree with their politics.

Curious George said...

"garage mahal said...
I don't feel a need to rebut because I know it's 100% pure propaganda."

Well there you go.

TML said...

Scott M. I'll give you ricocheted into every corner, but still not feeling through as the preposition here.

Triangle Man said...

Without a doubt! But where does that line lie that represents "too much?" that's a difficult question with roads and prisons. It's not a difficult question at all w/r/t public unions.

As a practical matter you could compare the value of the services provided by the public sector employees covered by the union contracts, but I realize that this is an ideological concern. The point, however, is that the Republican budget "fix" had many cuts, but had incredible increases in spending on road building, and that was confirmation to me that the whole process is just the same political bullshit. Walker is cutting areas that he dislikes and putting money in the pockets of his political friends in the road building industry. A democrat will try to put some money back in the pockets of the unions.

rocketeer67 said...

The point, however, is that the Republican budget "fix" had many cuts, but had incredible increases in spending on road building, and that was confirmation to me that the whole process is just the same political bullshit.

With all due respect (seriously), I'll bounce your bullshit right back atcha. On purely short term business and recreational visits I've personally driven on enough shitty Wisconsin roads over the last five years to know that there are places that spending that road money makes sense. On top of that, I've heard the Democratic party practically screaming for the better part of a decade about our nation's crappy, crumbling infrastructure and how we need to "invest" in it that I'm not likely to be sympathetic to arguments that road building expenditures have somehow suddenly become pork.

garage mahal said...

Road builders' donations swung heavily to Walker

This would be the crony capitalism the right has been howling about?

Really a minor deal compared to the stench coming from the WIGOP, DOJ, and Michael, Best and Friedrich

MadisonMan said...

"you're fucking dead!"

Is this describing a Republican's necrophilia, or is it describing his political prospects? I've never quite understood.

Curious George said...

Triangle Man said...
The point, however, is that the Republican budget "fix" had many cuts, but had incredible increases in spending on road building, and that was confirmation to me that the whole process is just the same political bullshit. Walker is cutting areas that he dislikes and putting money in the pockets of his political friends in the road building industry. A democrat will try to put some money back in the pockets of the unions."

This is the idiocy of the left. Even if one accepts that this is a pay for play the money that went to road builders got us ROADS. The money that went to unions got us...nothing.

As far as pay for play...Walker got $128,000. And is shocking that a group that would benefit from Walkers stated policy to improve needed highway infrastructure would want him elected? This goes back years...to 2003...when he pushed for a got the Marquette interchange redone.

Quality roads are critical to Wisconsin. Manufacturing and tourism is what our economy is based on. Of course we had Jim Doyle raiding $1 billion of the transportation funds, causing the state to have to borrow to make good,a nd letting the roads turn to shit.

Lem said...

I heard that when they say its not about the money.. its about the money.

Sofa King said...

The point, however, is that the Republican budget "fix" had many cuts, but had incredible increases in spending on road building, and that was confirmation to me that the whole process is just the same political bullshit.

What is your source for this? I certainly hope it isn't Mike McCabe, because as Politifact pointed out, he's full of shit:

McCabe cited a document produced by Walker’s office on his 2011-2013 budget proposal. It shows that Walker proposed increasing spending on state highways by $410.5 million, or 14.7 percent, "over base amounts." And he pointed out that state money spent on highways goes to private contractors as opposed to local governments.

That figure, however, shows just one piece of a much larger pie. The full pie includes not only general tax money -- the "base amounts" -- but also cash the state borrows for highway improvements.

Department of Transportation budget director Paul Hammer cited a different DOT document that was also provided to us by Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie.

It shows the 2011-2013 budget spends $3.23 billion on highways. That is actually less than what was spent in the previous budget, under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, which was $3.27 billion -- although that figure included $91 million in one-time federal stimulus funds.

So, McCabe cited a figure that the Walker administration used to suggest it was increasing spending on highways. But the total highway spending isn’t a 15 percent increase, but actually a decrease, so McCabe’s first claim is wrong.

AprilApple said...

Unions are just corrupt baby sitting machines that extract more and more money from the tax payer to pay for less and less. Yes--Unions are a corrupt vicious circle.

AprilApple said...

That is to say, we are no longer paying for an improvement in education, or a better road. Instead, we are paying for greedy, over-the-top, unsustainable union benefits.

SGT Ted said...

Unions aren't about money?

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAHAHHHH!

What a big fat lie.

So they negotiate what for their members?

Extra warm and fuzzies in their paychecks?

A retirement plan that sends them good wishes and happy thoughts for the future?

So, was Scott Walker against sending more taxpayer warm and fuzzies and was going to make the union members contribute a bigger precentage of good wishes and happy thoughts than before? That collective bargaining was about things that don't cost money?

"not about the money"...What a crock of shit.

Posts about unions should have a "not about the money bullshit" tag.

Brian Crouch said...

If I only had the time, I'd crunch the numbers on the impact of property taxes on the average citizen's ability to retire.

I can imagine this presented to city, county and state leaders: "The average citizen's retirement is suffering because of the lavish paychecks-for-life that municipal employees get!"

Yes, we need a retirement benefit for employees: why can't it be a 401K like everyone else... why?? Why should I have to sacrifice my retirement (funds allocated to paying down mortgage, funding IRA, an annuity, or reducing other debts) so that these guys can retire with six-figure paychecks?

Unknown said...

Road builders' donations swung heavily to Walker. This would be the crony capitalism the right has been howling about?

You know, it really would be IF...... Wisconsin weren't having to make up for the crony budget thievery of Gov. Doyle.


...the dehabilitating impacts of Governor Doyle’s raids to the transportation fund as now Frank Busalacchi the Wisconsin State Secretary of Transportation is perhaps giving the idea the legislature may be called into special session AGAIN to solve another funding problem done by constant raids by Governor Doyle and his use of the transporation fund for his own personal satisfaction

http://northshoreexponent.wordpress.com/2008/06/23/governor-doyles-transportation-fund-raids-are-really-hurting-the-victims-of-the-flood-who-need/

'Raid' on transportation funds may kill road projects, builders say

http://www.tdawisconsin.org/data/publications/TCT050708.pdf


Republicans in control of the Legislature in 2005 sought to move the Zoo Interchange project ahead by putting $38 million for engineering into the 2005-'07 budget, but Doyle vetoed all but $3 million.

http://dad29.blogspot.com/2009/11/zoo-interchange-its-still-doyle-and.html

and this underfunding and raiding led to this......


The Zoo Interchange in western Milwaukee County raised concerns as far back as 1996 as part of a regular inspection program.

One key bridge in the interchange, the Highway 45 north bound bridge crossing I-94, was deemed so unsafe that the state ordered it closed last week. (that's the 2 busiest interchange in the state)


http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/89561937.html

Local politicians on Friday took the chunks of concrete crumbling from bridges in the Zoo Interchange, turned them into political bricks and tossed them at Gov. Jim Doyle.

http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/70677812.html


A N D


Really a minor deal compared to the stench coming from the WIGOP, DOJ, and Michael, Best and Friedrich........


Its a pretty minor deal when compared to the stench of Judge Sumi not recusing herself when her son is Union Management.

Its also pretty minor deal when compared to """"Between 1989 and 2009, labor unions gave Abrahamson over $190,000 in campaign donations — more than they gave to the other six justices combined."""

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/263609/wisconsin-s-chief-injustice-brian-bolduc

lots of ink coming from the old octopus Garage....

The Sanity Inspector said...

Unions fund and vote for Democrats. Democrats protect and reward unions. "Bargaining" implies some kind of adversarial negotiation, which is not what is happening with Dems and public sector unions' quid pro quo relationship.

FrancisChalk said...

As a member of a trade union I can say with total certainty that unions--all unions--are about two things and two things only: pay and benefits. All that workplace rules and safety stuff is nothing more than a smoke screen.