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Public Union Busting Proposal In Wisconsin

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and the Kids got a lesson that it's ok to call in sick when you are not really sick.

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Governor Walker is pushing for a law to end collective bargaining for most Wisconsin public employees. Seems like a more political act to me, as it would only address about 8% of the state's budget deficit?

Thousands protest anti-union bill in Wisconsin - Yahoo! News

I'd agree that the negotiating power has been unbalanced in the public sector for a long time, and states need some new mechanisms to deal with public employ costs (particularly pension benefits) that are untenable. However, from what has been published, this bill looks too explicit. It drills down to detail level to the point where it will create a system that will be too stiff and thus would end up being bad law. In particular, pegging salaries to the CPI is particularly perverse, as American workers fairly expect to participate in the economy to the level of the CPI plus national productivity increases. Wages tied for any sustained period to the CPI alone will guarantee an overshoot in the opposite direction: public workers falling behind similarly skilled private workers. Then at some point the whole thing would have to be opened up a again when the inevitable state labor shortage became dire enough. If you are going to change things because the current system is unsustainable in one direction, don't just change them to something equally unsustainable in the opposite direction - find a system that creates a more stable balance.

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Governor Walker is pushing for a law to end collective bargaining for most Wisconsin public employees. Seems like a more political act to me, as it would only address about 8% of the state's budget deficit?

Thousands protest anti-union bill in Wisconsin - Yahoo! News

I haven't read the article, but 8% is a GREAT start to the budget deficit IMO. Now if that is all he has, than it DEFINITELY seems insincere. If there are other similar or more impactful things proposed with this, than it might be a nice chunk of the deficit.

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Governor Walker is pushing for a law to end collective bargaining for most Wisconsin public employees. Seems like a more political act to me, as it would only address about 8% of the state's budget deficit?

Thousands protest anti-union bill in Wisconsin - Yahoo! News

Typical... class warfare and vilification from conservatives. Shocking...

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Gov Kasich of Ohio is evidently promoting a similar strategy. My cousin is a prison guard up there and is very politically conservative in most matters. Hoo boy, is he irate. I haven't read most of his comments or links on the matter so am not sure about his specific objections, but noticed a few minutes ago that he's joined a facebook group advocating a recall election.

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Why are middle class people shouldering the brunt of the governments over spending? We can't raise taxes on the rich to Clinton levels, the last time we had a balanced budget, but we can go after the middle class and if jobs get lost, so be it.

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When you start squeezing public sector employees (prison guards thru teachers, but not cops-- oh so subtle there!), you start aggravating lots of hardhats/Reagan Democrats who'll normally stand by a Republican governor as long as he restricts budget cuts to the indigent and other unpopular groups. Not every teacher/prison guard/etc. union member is a Jetta-driving, NPR-listening liberal. Walker probably just bit off way more than he can chew.

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Governor Walker is pushing for a law to end collective bargaining for most Wisconsin public employees. Seems like a more political act to me, as it would only address about 8% of the state's budget deficit?

Thousands protest anti-union bill in Wisconsin - Yahoo! News

Why is 8% a political act? You aren't going to find something to cut that will fix 100% of the budget deficit... in any state... or federally either. 8% is a pretty big chunk.

Wisconsin is just the first state. This is coming home to roost in pretty much every state. And it's a certainty to happen, eventually, as the states are not viable without significant fiscal reform. I can't wait to hear the belly aching here in California. And I say that despite the fact that this will have a direct impact on my family as it relates to my wife.

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When you start squeezing public sector employees (prison guards thru teachers, but not cops-- oh so subtle there!), you start aggravating lots of hardhats/Reagan Democrats who'll normally stand by a Republican governor as long as he restricts budget cuts to the indigent and other unpopular groups. Not every teacher/prison guard/etc. union member is a Jetta-driving, NPR-listening liberal. Walker probably just bit off way more than he can chew.

We're at a point where none of that matters. You realize that, right? Towing the line on the status-quo will never dig the states out of the grave they are now in.

The reality is that there's two ways to go about this. 1. Cut government spending. You can call that squeezing the public sector if you like, I don't care. All sectors have been and will continue to be squeezed. And if they aren't, they should be. Or, 2. Wait until the states default on their debt and cannot raise the liquidity to pay their obligations. Then those public sector employees don't get paid at all. Nor does a lot of other people.

Or I guess option 3. Raise taxes to infinity. I don't think people will go for that, but that's what Gov Brown is trying to do in California. I think he will have a rude awakening. And I don't think any state will get that passed, at least not enough to make a dent in their budget deficits. And if they do try it, you have another whole segment of the populace that will revolt. It's really no win, no matter what happens.

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We're at a point where none of that matters. You realize that, right? Towing the line on the status-quo will never dig the states out of the grave they are now in.

The reality is that there's two ways to go about this. 1. Cut government spending. You can call that squeezing the public sector if you like, I don't care. All sectors have been and will continue to be squeezed. And if they aren't, they should be. Or, 2. Wait until the states default on their debt and cannot raise the liquidity to pay their obligations. Then those public sector employees don't get paid at all. Nor does a lot of other people.

Or I guess option 3. Raise taxes to infinity. I don't think people will go for that, but that's what Gov Brown is trying to do in California. I think he will have a rude awakening. And I don't think any state will get that passed, at least not enough to make a dent in their budget deficits. And if they do try it, you have another whole segment of the populace that will revolt. It's really no win, no matter what happens.

Wisconsin just enacted huge tax cuts for the rich & corporations that caused the supposed deficit crisis. This is class warfare at its finest.

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Or I guess option 3. Raise taxes to infinity. I don't think people will go for that, but that's what Gov Brown is trying to do in California. I think he will have a rude awakening. And I don't think any state will get that passed, at least not enough to make a dent in their budget deficits. And if they do try it, you have another whole segment of the populace that will revolt. It's really no win, no matter what happens.

That's because the average California resident wants to have his cake and eat it too. They want to have the great services, but they don't want to pay extra taxes that would cover the expense.

Raising taxes might not be politically expedient, but it's hard to argue against Brown on trying to.

At any rate, though, this is only the beginning of Republican governors choosing to shoulder the burden of the deficit on middle class government workers. It isn't just the teachers, like Melody said, it's the prison guards, police, transportation workers, etc.

In Wisconsin, they aren't touching police and firefighters for a reason... could you imagine the Wisconsin State Patrol all going on strike?

At any rate, this is a big "F" you to the average state government worker, who unlike what Rush and Sean insist, are ordinary people.

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That's because the average California resident wants to have his cake and eat it too. They want to have the great services, but they don't want to pay extra taxes that would cover the expense.

Raising taxes might not be politically expedient, but it's hard to argue against Brown on trying to.

At any rate, though, this is only the beginning of Republican governors choosing to shoulder the burden of the deficit on middle class government workers. It isn't just the teachers, like Melody said, it's the prison guards, police, transportation workers, etc.

In Wisconsin, they aren't touching police and firefighters for a reason... could you imagine the Wisconsin State Patrol all going on strike?

At any rate, this is a big "F" you to the average state government worker, who unlike what Rush and Sean insist, are ordinary people.

They aren't touching police and fire because those unions are clever. They support Republicans who can split a hair and protect police and fire wages and benefits by arguing public safety. While in the meantime those unions can also have the support of broader labor when they negotiate and need referendums on taxes passed.

Now I buy some of the police and fire arguments about shorter riskier careers meriting better pensions for instance. And I don't want to encourage the race to the bottom any further.

But, their protection from conservatives is purely political.

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Honestly, if he'd stuck to this part there might have been less outrage,

Under the bill, public employees in the Wisconsin Retirement System would pay about 5.8% of their salaries toward pensions, up significantly from 0.2%, Werwie said. And state workers would pay for 12.6% of their monthly health care premiums, up from between 4% and 6% percent.

Pay raises would be limited to inflation, unless a referendum approves of a larger increase.

Now, police and firefighters have dangerous jobs and typically a shorter period of time in which to earn for their retirement because it is physically demanding. They should be afforded special consideration.

But I know that my husband's employer did away with their pension plan altogether some years ago. He still gets his 401K matching, so we are saving. We pay half of our medical and other benefits' expenses and it goes up every year. Is it right that the working people of the state tighten their belts further to provide their "public servants" with better pay and benefits than they are receiving themselves?

Now, they may have a beef re the annual recertifications and other parts of the bill.

This doesn't put the burden on the shoulders of the middle class. It removes the burden of union entitlement off their shoulders.

EDIT: Sorry, left off the link http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/02/17/wisconsin.budget/index.html?hpt=T1

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This doesn't put the burden on the shoulders of the middle class. It removes the burden of union entitlement off their shoulders.

...and puts it squarely on the shoulders of government employees.

Perhaps that's acceptable for most people. But what pisses me off is how everyone acts like public workers live like Kings or something. Maybe a few do, but most don't.

Furthermore, in regards to education, as far as I'm concerned, the more investment into education, the better. Most teachers work really hard in a job that is under appreciated by a large portion of the general population.

Now I agree that most states need to reform pensions. Heck, if the federal government was any sort of serious about the deficit, they'd try and reform entitlements, which is something that needs to be done.

But Gov. Walker crossed the line here, and the reaction has not been surprising.

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...and puts it squarely on the shoulders of government employees.

Exactly how are they doing this? By putting government employees' contributions toward their OWN BENEFITS a little closer to what the rest of us are contributing? By setting pay raises in line with inflation, and in exchange guaranteeing that there won't be furloughs and layoffs?

I can guarantee you that most of us do not get COLA or automatic raises. Our jobs aren't assured.

Sorry, but they sound like a bunch of entitled babies.

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Exactly how are they doing this?

By losing their benefits?

Frankly, part of the issue here is that government workers don't make as much as their private brethren.

Of course they get benefits, but I've worked in the public sector for a summer, and while your job is more secure and the benefits are nice, the actual dollar figure you receive is lower compared to the private sector.

At any rate, I think the issue all goes back to my first comment about what Jerry Brown's talking about doing in California. The fact of the matter is that people want services, but they don't want to pay for them. They want good schools, good roads, etc., but in the end, they don't want to pay for it.

So, as a result, you get what's going on Wisconsin. They just cut taxes for people who can afford to be taxed more, and now they're putting the blame and burden for government spending on ordinary public sector employees.

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Except that arguments like "why should they get COLA and job assurance? I don't get that." sounds a bit like something an entitled baby would say as well.

Sounds to me like the powers that be have done an excellent job of pitting the rest of us against each other.

I'm not necessarily against having these workers pay for more of their benefits, but if they're being singled out for this while the rich and corporations get a huge tax cut (though I would appreciate a link of this information), then that sounds a bit more like somebody using a budget crisis to go after a group that he didn't like to begin with.

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Except that arguments like "why should they get COLA and job assurance? I don't get that." sounds a bit like something an entitled baby would say as well.

Sounds to me like the powers that be have done an excellent job of pitting the rest of us against each other.

I'm not necessarily against having these workers pay for more of their benefits, but if they're being singled out for this while the rich and corporations get a huge tax cut (though I would appreciate a link of this information), then that sounds a bit more like somebody using a budget crisis to go after a group that he didn't like to begin with.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signs tax cut bill into law | postcrescent.com | Appleton Post Crescent

MADISON — Companies that relocate to Wisconsin won't have to pay income taxes for two years under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Scott Walker.

Additional information

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♦ Ribble's Appleton office to open Wednesday

♦ State unions gird for cuts from Walker

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The measure joins three others Walker has signed in his first month in office that he said will send a message that Wisconsin is more business friendly. Walker, a Republican, has seen his legislative agenda speed through the Republican-controlled Legislature even though he has yet to explain how he'll pay for everything in light of the state's projected $3 billion budget shortfall.

Walker is expected to tout the early successes— and start talking about how he'll tackle the budget — in his first State of the State address tonight.

Even though the tax cut bill he signed Monday and other agenda have garnered bipartisan support, Democratic critics say much of what Walker is doing is more symbolic than substantive.

For example, only $1 million in tax breaks is expected to be distributed to qualifying businesses that relocate to Wisconsin under the bill Walker signed Monday. Another tax cut Walker is backing that's tied to every new job created would come with a tax benefit of only between $90 and $315 per job.

But Walker argues the changes will improve the state's business climate.

Aid to public schools, the University of Wisconsin System, local governments and Medicaid programs were expected to be big targets for cuts in the budget Walker will release on Feb. 22.

For his first month in office, though, Walker's been focused on spending money through tax cuts. Two tax cuts he's already signed — along with one that's passed the Assembly — would add about $117 million to the state's budget problem over the next two years.

The $1 million tax cut bill he signed Monday takes effect this tax year and affects taxes due in 2012. Companies that have not operated in the state for two years could essentially get their corporate and personal income tax obligation in Wisconsin erased for a two-year period. At least 51 percent of the workforce's payroll, or at least $200,000 in wages, must be paid to the workers in Wisconsin to qualify.

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There's a lot of this talk going to the left..

Wisconsin Gov. Walker Ginned Up Budget Shortfall To Undercut Worker Rights | TPMDC

Here's the money shot...

In a Wednesday op-ed, the Capitol Times of Madison picked up on this theme.

In its Jan. 31 memo to legislators on the condition of the state's budget, the Fiscal Bureau determined that the state will end the year with a balance of $121.4 million.

To the extent that there is an imbalance -- Walker claims there is a $137 million deficit -- it is not because of a drop in revenues or increases in the cost of state employee contracts, benefits or pensions. It is because Walker and his allies pushed through $140 million in new spending for special-interest groups in January.

You can read the fiscal bureaus report here (PDF). It holds that "more than half" of the new shortfall comes from three of Walker's initiatives:

* $25 million for an economic development fund for job creation, which still holds $73 million because of anemic job growth.

* $48 million for private health savings accounts -- a perennial Republican favorite.

* $67 million for a tax incentive plan that benefits employers, but at levels too low to spur hiring.

Hyperlinks at the link

This is nothing more than ruthless class warfare from the side that's been conducting it for centuries.

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Except that arguments like "why should they get COLA and job assurance? I don't get that." sounds a bit like something an entitled baby would say as well.

Um, specifically to what do you believe I think I have a sense of entitlement? Unless you're talking about not setting aside a public class of employees who are protected from the same responsibilities and sacrifice that the rest of us are facing. Guilty.

Edited by Melody

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Um, specifically to what do you believe I think I have a sense of entitlement? Unless you're talking about not setting aside a public class of employees who are protected from the same responsibilities and sacrifice that the rest of us are facing. Guilty.

Hmm, not sure why you interpreted it that way. I wasn't specifically talking about any one person, it's an argument I hear all the time. And as mtu said, a lot of them took the jobs knowing they'd be getting paid less which sounds fair to me.

There are a lot of workers out there who are afraid to fight for their rights, and don't have a group representing them. That is why they (actually we, since I am in the private sector) are shouldering more of the burden for benefits than people in the public sector.

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