Friday, March 25, 2011

polly wolly doodle all day


at this time of year around 7:30 am, the rising sun is in a DIRECT line with cook road facing east from lexington avenue to south main.
here are a few shots from this morning.
these were focused throught the frame.
what i really wanted was to focus on a tiny point; those shots will come later.

the opposing sides in labor difficulties rarely tell us what the squabbling  is really about.
you wont see it discussed on tv or  read about in the press.
here's an attempt to impartially point out a few facts about the wisconsin-ohio public worker debates.

i don't really have a dog in this fight and don't want to change your mind about anything.

don't necessarily buy the yarns that either side is spinning.

an overriding fact of city life in the future is how expensive it's going to get to function at the local level.
if you buy a house in a depressed area, the taxes may be more than your mortgage.
whatever happens, your local government will continue squeezing.
every time you turn around, there will be local increases in fees and fines, and new charges.
registering your car, licensing your dog--lots of things are going to  go up.
soon ohio will try to require you to report what you bought out of state on the internet for purposes of taxing it.

the unfunded liability issues that states and local governments are going to have to pay are going to drive up the cost of living tremendously in the future.
of course, fees aren't included in cost of living calculations, so there will be 'no or little' calculated inflation.

the raises for public employees have only increased slightly in the last 10 years, but private industry wages have decreased considerably.

in a recession, the fed increased 16,000 workers last year.

in discussing wisconsin and ohio there are 2 issues.
one is the budgetary issue and solving the shortfall by reducing public employee wages and benefits.
the second, more sensitive issue, is political.

ohio and wisconsin are targeting the political strength of those public employee unions which are almost exclusively democratic.

in the 2010 election, 95% of public union campaign money went to democratics.

this seems, to me, like political payback from the republicans  to the public unions for supporting democrats.
live by the sword; die by the sword.

the rights that public workers have are statuatory, not constitutional.
they can be revised by statute.
they were granted by statute.
most state public employees didn't gain collective bargaining rights until the 1950s. it started in new york city.

public employee rights came about because of the wholesale changes that took place when political power changed parties by elections.  this happened to teachers, as well.
we don't want to go back to that kind of activity.
you cant waltz in and fire somebody, in certain specifically designated positions(at the federal level).
you cant specifically terminate civil service people because they supported your political opponent like you once could and did.

the traditional trade off for public employee unions was to put employee protections in place to compensate for slightly lower wages than in the private sector.
public benefits may be better, but public pay has been traditionally, until now, less.

today, federal employees, including benefits now make 20 to 40% more than private employees.

one of the ironies is that our federal judges make considerably less than senior law partners who appear before them.
that's crazy.

we need, in my opinion, a merit based compensation system for teachers.
the demands that are placed on teachers because they are used as a delivery vehicle for education, meals, discipline with their hands tied, and medicine are more than considerable.
today's teacher has to be a constitutional law scholar, social worker, and, among other things,  psychologist.

public sector unions operate in the same manner as the private sector unions, with respect to seniority.  higher paid longer term employees always outrank competence.
last hired=first fired

union workers have the ability to vote out their union officers.

the single biggest contributor in 2010 on a political level was afscme(american federation of state federal and municipal employees), 95% of its contributions funneled to democrats.

this phenomenon of overwheming democratic support is really quite recent.
unions used to spray both sides a bit more fairly.

lots of big business money is thrown into politics, but is currently spread more fairly.

gm pensions were bailed out when gm rolled into bankruptcy, it could have avoided most of its pension obligations, like it did with  its loyal bondholders and stockholders.
the government stepped in with tarp money to make sure that this overwhelmingly democratic employee group was protected.
will they(you and i) step in to bail the public union workers, as well.

lots of people who have no pensions and many folks who made $30/hr. and now make $12/hr wont be sympathetic to public worker needs and demands.

the pew media research organization(most would call it liberal) in 2010 projected $3.5  trillion in retirement, healthcare, and pension  responsibilities that states have promised with $2.35 trillion on hand.

this gap will be dealt with one way or the other; the political problem will resolve.
either way, you and i are going to pay far more to live in our states and communities, and we don't have it.

if you drive a train for the boston metropolitan transfer association, you  retire at age 41.
in california, a prison guard with 20 years seniority can  retire at age 40.

the republican governors of wisconsin and ohio have, to me, greatly overestimated their political clout and   mandate and are  be doomed to political failure, for the most part.

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