Sunday, June 28, 2009

Public Employees Must Suffer To Appease the Ruling Class

A recent Tampa Tribune editorial explains what I have been telling my clients, friends and anyone who would listen for years. Twenty years of devolving the middle class into oblivion from the private sector viewpoint would not appease the wealthy ruling class. Such a travesty must now include public sector employees, as well.

When I first began public employment 35 years ago, public sector employees were distinctly underpaid by private sector standards. Over time, the disparity decreased but only because those who controlled wages in the private sector, were able to largely neuter the unions who protected the rights of employees in private industry. No matter what means were used, it happened.

“Private industry only pays 75 percent of the average pay given to employees of state and local government, according to research by the U.S. Department of Labor. The biggest disconnect is on benefits for retirement and savings. Government pays on average $3.14 an hour while private industry pays only 96 cents.

Pensions have become rare in the private sector, and many companies have temporarily eliminated their matching contributions to employees' 401(K) plans. According to a recent survey, companies do plan to resume contributions to help workers save for retirement, but the new trend will be to link the matching contributions to the level of company profits.”

Notice words above that should incite some thought. “Private industry only pays 75 percent of the average pay given to employees of state and local government…” In the sixteen years I worked in government, my wages were earned and nothing was given to me or my colleagues.

“Pensions have become rare in the private sector…” As a private sector employee, I have no pension and am very likely to become, along with my colleagues, a ward of the state because I cannot put enough money in my 401(K) plan to live on when I get too old to work. Well funded pensions are surely preferable to having senior citizens holding out their hands seeking “alms for the poor.”

The wealthy ruling class screwed themselves when they decided it would be a good idea to make sure future generations were denied any portion of the wealth they helped to create. Now they want to make it worse on everyone by taking any semblance of wealth from public employees.

But then, that is just my opinion and… Oh yes, have a nice day! wjc

Hypocrisy Abounds On Both Sides Of The Aisle

I am troubled by the recent revelations about marital infidelity of certain lawmakers. The infidelities are not the problem, nor that they are Republicans. Ds have issues as well. My underlying concern is that we are so hypocritical about what we expect from our leaders. The so-called vetting process we use to determine who is worthy of public office is going to reduce the pool of available suspects to the point wherein there is no one left with any real potential for success.

Is the press largely responsible for the revelations of humanity exposed by their incessant search for gossip, or is the public responsible because we make our political determinations based on our desire to have the “perfect” candidate rather than an imperfect candidate who has the capacity to achieve success.

Most recently, we found that a family values Governor had spent 5 days in Argentina getting laid when he should have been at work or at least hiking. Before that, a conservative Senator got caught in an affair with a staffer.

A quick internet check revealed a shocking number of “scandals” at the federal level. The party in power at any given time seems to command a lead in scandalous behavior. State and local government provide even more interesting incidents of corruption of morals. Check this site:

My point is that these human but “holier than thou” elected officials are no more hypocritical than anyone else who falters because they are human. We, the voting public and the press, are the real hypocrites because we require that they either lie or at least pretend to be perfect in order for us to vote for or approve of them. After they have told the lie, we search until we discover the lie, then we act like they betrayed us by doing what we demanded.

Since we assume that all politicians are either morally corrupt or on the take, why do we react so unfavorably when we find they have lived up to our expectations? Who are the hypocrites?

In order to be considered for public office, one must NOT smoke marijuana, drink to excess, cheat on a spouse, need money, smoke in public, lust after women or men, be gay, be a Muslim, Jew, atheist or agnostic, like to party or be influenced by trusted friends and allies That is not all. A candidate must pander to the right to lifers and to the freedom of choice groups, must hug trees yet want to extract all the oil that exists in North America as well as clear cut the trees for copy paper. A successful candidate must be intelligent but not too intelligent and must speak to the general public in terms only a junior high scholar can understand.

That same candidate must want government to provide only certain limited services and at no cost to the public. Which service will depend on who is in the audience.

No wonder these people are so corrupt. That kind of pressure to be hypocritical would cause practically anyone to lie, cheat and steal.

But that is just my opinion and… Oh yes, Have a nice day! wjc

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I do not know what happened to me, but...

OK, I had this politically epiphanal moment while driving recently. There was this realization that I have been all wrong in my lifetime condemnation of the Republican Party. My family and the state of the world warped me into looking at life only from the viewpoint of a Democrat.

It is not about the party. It is about the viewpoint of the candidate. My new mantra is... Vote for the candidate that fits your values not the party. I was just a blind follower of a political dogma that has become passé. R & D / liberal and conservative do not have the meaning they once did.

Here are the top ten political traits that I will seek in a candidate. I will assume that this person is not dedicated to the destruction of government by finding ways to disallow the provision of vital services by asserting that paying for those services through taxes is Un-American.

1. Must be willing to let a woman decide her own reproductive destiny;
2. Must be willing to separate church and state;
3. Must support the First Amendment;
4. Must appreciate the role of the working person and the value of collective bargaining to society;
5. Must have more concern for persons of color than how cheaply they will work;
6. Must be willing to provide some meaningful oversight to business and industry;
7. Must be willing to attempt to remove us from the strangle hold of the fossil fuel industry;
8. Must be willing to seek peace in a way that does not presume total annihilation of anyone who disagrees with the USA.
9. Must have enough intellect to be willing to accept the reality of evolution;
10. Must believe that the environment is more than an outhouse for humanity and a playground for development.

Should such a person exist who is registered as a Republican, I may vote for that person.

I am not worried about ruining my prior record of never having voted for a republican. I guess I set my standards too high.

and ... Oh yes, have a nice day!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Public Sector Employees Are In The Cross Hairs Of The Right Wing.

A Google search of “public sector unions” returned an alarmingly negative response.

Here is a sample of the more than six million Google hits I found:

Public Sector Unions Gone Wild: This morning we warned you about the Public-Sector Union Threat to Economic Recovery….

Public Sector Unions Are Killing United States: If you are a member of a government employee public sector union, enjoy your job security while it lasts….

Public-Sector Unions Are a Major Obstacle to Fighting Waste, Abuse: …public-sector unions are among the biggest obstacles to efforts aimed at addressing state and local government waste, fraud, and abuse.

Public Sector Unions Must be Banned: …the solution of course, is to ban public sector unions and to ban defined benefits.

Public Sector Unions Holding Taxpayers Hostage: …study in 2005 by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute estimated that the average public-sector worker earned 46% more in salary and benefits than comparable private-sector workers.

Jump in Public Sector Unionization Raises Overall Rate Again in 2008: Public sector unionization last year grew to 36.8 percent from 35.9 percent in 2007. This increase of about 275,000 members came largely through gains in local and state government, where unionization in 2008 reached 42.2 percent and 31.6 percent, respectively.

No, not all the hits were this dramatic but most were negative comments about public employees and their right to collectively bargain. Remember, not all states allow collective bargaining for public employees. The Employee Free Choice Act and The Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act have caused the right wing to mobilize as possibly never before to mute the voices of public and private sector employees.

Organized labor has been the target of the right wing since somebody figured out that workers banding together would give them strength against their bosses. Unions in the private sector have been suffering to the point of near annihilation while public sector labor unions have grown steadily.

Now, it is time for the public sector unions to feel the pain of the spot light. The economy is in shambles; tax reform is the key word of the century; and public employees are being forced to finance the prior bad decisions of the politicians and management with give backs, take backs and layoffs.

The governor of Colorado just vetoed legislation which would have allowed firefighters to collectively bargain without prior approval by the employer. The governor of New York vetoed a fire and police pension bill the day before. Just days before, the governor of Florida vetoed a workers’ compensation bill that have allowed injured employees the same access to legal representation as have the employers.

Here is a quote I frequently reflect upon. It is Nazi leader Hermann Goering’s ramblings during his incarceration after WWII.

“… it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

Here is another: “Education is dangerous - Every educated person is a future enemy”

This country and its workers are at war on multiple fronts internally and externally. Its people are being led to economic doom by those who will demonize the opposition (public employees) as the source of the problem much like the Nazis targeted the Jews, Catholics, gays, Freemasons, intellectuals, gypsies, physically and mentally disabled, trade unionists, Poles and other eastern Europeans.

No, I am not suggesting that today’s anti-government right wingers are Nazis or fascists, but they are using the same tactics to divide and defeat.

If you cannot see where this is heading, no one can help you. There are things that the citizens can do to stop or at least slow down the successful attacks on career public servants, but first it will take a realization that there is a severe crisis. Then it will take an organized effort to defeat the sources of the problems.

Throwing out the right wing politicians who want to defeat government from within by starving the employees who provide the service that the public requires is the only answer. …But then this is only my opinion. Caveat Lectores. And… Oh yes, have a nice day.