Monday, February 08, 2010

Bringing Home the Bacon and the Tea Parties

Our founding Fathers set up a Republic form of government with checks and balances and Constitutional safeguards designed to prevent the calamity that befell most previous democracies - the looting of the public treasury by a majority class of free-loaders.

Although they may not be able to articulate the specifics of their discontent, the Tea Party movement has exploded as more and more working Americans rebel against the plunder of their labor in the form of “Bringing home the bacon” and the corruption of ‘public sector’ unions.

This has been going on for a long time, but it took the excesses and the ‘in-your-face’ outrages of the Obama Administration to focus middle America on this problem and unite the opposition.

A time-honored way that Congressmen have retained their seats has been to “Bring home the bacon”. You vote for my project and earmarks, and I’ll vote for yours. This has to stop if we are ever to get control of government spending and government intrusion into all our lives. We also have to demand that the power and remumeration of public-sector unions be brought under control. In my home state of Rhode Island, public sector unions run the state and have bankrupted it.

Government worker? Good for you!

By Rich Lowry National Review February 6, 2010

For most Americans, the Great Recession has been an occasion to hold on for dear life. For public employees, it's been an occasion to let the good times roll.

The percentage of federal civil servants making more than $100,000 a year jumped from 14 percent to 19 percent during the first year and a half of the recession, according to USA Today . At the beginning of the downturn, the Transportation Department had one person making $170,000 or more a year; now it has 1,690 making more than that.

The New York Times reports that state and local governments have added a net 110,000 jobs since the beginning of the recession, while the private sector has lost 6.9 million. The gap between total compensation of public and private workers has only widened during the downturn, according to USA Today . In 2008, benefits for public employees grew at a rate three times that of private employees.

Public employees have developed an inverse relationship to the rest of the economy -- as it shrinks, shedding jobs and cutting salaries, they draw on a never-ending taxpayer bounty. It used to be said that the Great Depression wasn't so bad, if you had a job. The Great Recession has practically been a boom, if you have a government job.

Public employees can thank the union label. In 2009, for the first time ever, a majority of union members worked in the public sector. Unionism has seen a long, secular decline in the private sector (down to 7.2 percent of all workers), but increasing in government (up to 37.4 percent of all workers).

These public-sector unions are flush with cash, politically connected and unabashedly self-interested. They are an active and growing conspiracy against the public purse. The states where they are most powerful -- California and New York -- lumber toward insolvency. The federal government follows not far behind, on the kind of diet geese enjoy prior to becoming foie gras.

Public-employee unions can effectively occupy both sides of a negotiating table.

They donate to and elect the politicians who bargain with them at contract time. Understandably, union-backed politicians forget which side they're on.

Fred Siegel, a visiting professor at St. Francis College and contributing editor at the Manhattan Institute'sCity Journal , recalls then-New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine telling a huge rally of state employees in 2006: "We will fight for a fair contract!"

How often does a union hear that from management? This is why even Franklin Roosevelt maintained, "The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service." He'd blanch at the ways of 21st century government.

In the Golden State, the California Teachers Association has all but become a branch of state government. Its exertions have given the state some of the worst schools in the country -- and the highest-paid teachers. California's prison guards have a powerful union -- and also the highest salaries in the nation. The state instituted a reckless pension plan for public employees in 1999 that means more than 5,000 of them get more than $100,000 a year during retirement. It's not a coincidence that California was reduced to issuing IOUs to cover its obligations for a time last year.

Government by and for the public-employees unions is bankrupting, both fiscally and ethically.

In his post-Massachusetts explanations of why health-care reform stalled, President Barack Obama vaguely acknowledged a few lapses in transparency. But he never mentioned the grossness inherent in inviting union bosses to the White House so they can exempt their members from a tax. That would cut too close to the bone, since it's hard to tell where the unions end and the Democratic Party begins.

"You must first enable the government to control the governed," James Madison wrote, "and in the next place oblige it to control itself." That's impossible if government employees use public funds to muster themselves into a political machine devoted to their own interests and expansion.

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At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Joe said...

When I retired from my job as a town public employee, the first thing that I did was get out of their union which is part of the AFLCIO and is called AFSCME. It wasn't because I no longer had to be a paying member, but it was the fact that I didn't agree with being a member of a union that supported a political party that I had grown to detest. Their free monthly newsletter had touted what an outstanding job that people like then, Senator Paul Wellstone D. Min. and Ted Kennedy were doing for the union which made me want to up chuck. As you probably know, Paul Wellstone was a popular far Left Liberal Senator of the state Min., who was up for reelection and wound up getting himself, his wife and daughter killed in a plane crash during a fierce snow storm that no one in his right mind would have gone to on a night such as that, but He had to get to that rally. I think that you heard about the memorial service that they had for him in which his own son turned into a political rally. Trent Lott who came to pay his respects at that service was booed. The Democrats got so desperate that they dug up Walter Mondale, blew the dust off him, and encouraged him to run against Norm Coleman. The rest is history. I don't know about you, but these aren't my kind of people and I want nothing to do with a party made up of people like this. The union business agent that I talked to over the phone was a little perturbed with me when I told to take me off his union list and stop sending me the "Public Employee" newsletter. I told him, "sorry pal, but I no longer need you."

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