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Saturday, February 19, 2011 3:49 AM


Scapegoating Madness "Mom, Susie Hit Tommie Too"


Some people are so blinded and obsessed with one problem they fail to see any other problems or the significance of them. As a case in point, and in a totally misguided rant, Prof77 on Dregs of the Future claims I am Scapegoating Public Employees.

Here is my rebuttal.

The Real Deal

  1. Public unions have bankrupted cities and states and receive unjust pay and benefits by tactics that include coercion, extortion, bribery, political pandering, and fear-mongering. That is a simple statement of fact and I have numerous videos to prove it.

  2. Public unions get into bed with management and politicians and work out sweet deals for themselves at taxpayer expense. No one looks out for the taxpayer. Even FDR understood the problem.

  3. Attempts to tie public union pay to problems of executive pay is preposterous. The problems are separate and distinct.

  4. Taxpayers foot the bill for public unions, Taxpayers do not foot the bill for executive salaries.

  5. No one protested more than I did the bank bailouts. I would have gladly let the banks go under. I am not an apologist for the banking industry and have dozens of posts to prove it. However, had the banks gone under, or executive salaries to zero, it would not have done a damn thing to fix problems with public unions.

  6. Proff77 failed to include pensions in his analysis. Public union pension at the state level are $3 trillion underfunded. That does not count cities and counties. It is safe to assume the overall problem is two or three times the problem at the state level alone. $6-9 trillion is a hell of a lot of money.

  7. Escalating executive pay is partly a function of boom-bust cycles caused by the Fed. I would abolish the Fed. Again this has nothing to do with public unions.

  8. Even if one taxed executives at some high rate, it is beyond absurd to suggest that public unions are entitled to a penny of it.

  9. Regardless of how one feels about executive salaries, it is idiotic to defend the coercion, extortion, bribery, political pandering, and fear-mongering tactics of public unions.

  10. Government should attempt to provide the most services for the least cost. The goal of unions is to do the least work at the most cost. Once again that is a simple undisputed statement of fact.

  11. Public union members are supposed to be public servants. However, the teachers' unions do not put kids first, nor do police or fire unions put public safety first. If unions did things "for the kids" teachers would take small pay cuts rather than let teachers go increasing class size. The same applies to police and firefighters.

  12. Forced collective bargaining is extortion.
Executive Pay Distributed

Prof77 goes through a hypothetical example that takes $150 billion in bonus money of executives and gives $500 to every man woman and child in the country. Excuse me for asking such simple questions but ...

  • Exactly how would that fix the problem of union extortion, bribery, coercion?
  • Exactly how would giving everyone in the country $500 fix the a $6 trillion (or whatever) pension hole?

Preposterous Math

Taxprof77 also cites preposterous math that says TARP recipients got $12 trillion. He failed to point out those were loans not gifts. To be sure, taxpayers are on the hook for AIG, Fannie and Freddie, GM and numerous other things but it is absurd to present this as if was a gift of $12 trillion.

Even if it was, how would it excuse bribery, coercion, fearmongering, ect, by public unions. Since when do two wrongs make a right?

Comparing Private and Public Sector Compensation

Prof77 goes through more misguided analysis that attempts to defend public union salaries on the basis of education levels. For starters I highly doubt public union workers are better educated.

Look at all the prison guards, transit workers, police, janitorial services, etc most with nothing more than a high school education plus a little training. Many of those groups have 6 figure pensions.

Nonetheless, let's pretend for a moment public sector workers are better educated. Certainly teachers in general are likely to be better educated than the average person in general. I will grant you that.

However, what are most of those degrees worth in the private sector? What is an English degree worth? Art? Poetry? Teaching? PE?

Let's now consider hundreds of presumably highly educated persons working for the BLS figuring out the unemployment rate. What are they really worth given a Gallup survey produces comparable results (if not better) for far cheaper?

Personally, I would scrap the entire department of labor, the entire department of energy save perhaps something like the strategic oil reserve, HUD and dozens of other agencies. All of the people in those bureaucracies may very well be highly educated, but how many of them do anything useful that the private sector would not do better, faster, and cheaper?

I am quite sure that there is a small percentage who would make far more in the private sector. However, many of them, if not most of them would struggle to find a job.

Let's return to some of the initial points I made.

Coercion, Bribery, Fearmongering

1. Public unions have bankrupted cities and states and receive unjust pay and benefits by tactics that include coercion, extortion, bribery, political pandering, and fear-mongering. That is a simple statement of fact and I have numerous videos to prove it. Here is a sample. I can easily find 1000 more.

Give Up the Bucks



SEIU Spokesperson Threatening California Lawmakers with Union Retaliation



Colorado Teachers Unions Abuse Non-Union Teacher Paychecks



New Jersey Governor Chris Christie explains how public sector unions control politicians




Governor Christie Explains Who Is To Blame For Teacher Layoffs



California Treasurer Bill Lockyer on Public Sector Union Influence



Armand Thieblot on Public Sector Unions (part 1)




Armand Thieblot on Public Sector Unions (part 2)



Even FDR Understood the Problem

2. Public unions get into bed with management and politicians and work out sweet deals for themselves at taxpayer expense. No one looks out for the taxpayer. Even FDR understood the problem.

Message From FDR

Inquiring minds are reading snips from a Letter from FDR Regarding Collective Bargaining of Public Unions written August 16, 1937.
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management.

The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations.

Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees.

A strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable.
Bank Bailouts Separate Issue and I was Against Them

5. No one protested more than I did the bank bailouts. I would have gladly let the banks go under. I am not an apologist for the banking industry and have dozens of posts to prove it. However, had the banks gone under, or executive salaries to zero, it would not have done a damn thing to fix problems with public unions.

April 16, 2010: Barofsky Threatens Criminal Charges in AIG Coverup, Goldman Sachs Abacus Deal, TARP Insider Trading; New York Fed Implicated

April 16, 2010: Rant of the Day: No Ethics, No Fiduciary Responsibility, No Separation of Duty; Complete Ethics Overhaul Needed

March 2, 2010: Geithner's Illegal Money-Laundering Scheme Exposed; Harry Markopolos Says “Don’t Trust Your Government”

January 31, 2010: 77 Fraud, Money Laundering, Insider Trading, and Tax Evasion Investigations Underway Regarding TARP

January 28, 2010: Secret Deals Involving No One; AIG Coverup Conspiracy Unravels

January 26, 2010: Questions Geithner Cannot Escape

January 07, 2010: Time To Indict Geithner For Securities Fraud

October 20, 2009: Bernanke Guilty of Coercion and Market Manipulation

July 17, 2009: Paulson Admits Coercion; Where are the Indictments?

June 26, 2009: Bernanke Suffers From Selective Memory Loss; Paulson Calls Bank of America "Turd in the Punchbowl"

April 24, 2009: Let the Criminal Indictments Begin: Paulson, Bernanke, Lewis

If all those people were behind bars, pray tell what would it do to fix pension $6-9 trillion in the hole?

Pensions

6. Proff77 failed to include pensions in his analysis. Public union pension at the state level are $3 trillion underfunded. That does not count cities and counties. It is safe to assume the overall problem is two or three times the problem at the state level alone. $6-9 trillion is a hell of a lot of money.

Interactive Map of Public Pension Plans; How Badly Underfunded are the Plans in Your State?
According to a report by the American Enterprise Institute, public pensions are underfunded by more than $3 trillion. ...
It is likely some of that is recovered in the latest rally. However, pension plan assumptions of 8% are absurd, and in a couple years the problem is highly likely to be far worse.

Amazing Sense of Entitlement

8. Even if one taxed executives at some high rate, it is beyond absurd to suggest that public unions are entitled to a penny of it.

Indeed, Prof77 was gracious enough to prove that point himself. He cites a hypothetical example that takes $150 billion in bonus money of executives and gives $500 to every man woman and child in the country.

  • Exactly how would that fix the problem of union extortion, bribery, coercion?
  • Exactly how would giving everyone in the country $500 fix the a $6 trillion (or whatever) pension hole?
12. Forced collective bargaining is extortion.

Collective bargaining is not what its name indicates. In fact, it means exactly the opposite of what you'd guess. Collective bargaining refers to the obligation of an employer to recognize the elected representatives of a group of workers and his further obligation to negotiate with those representatives. This last part is what makes 'collective bargaining' extortion.

Under collective bargaining laws, employers have to recognize an elected union and have to negotiate with them.

Imagine if the tables were turned and employers had the right to 'employer bargaining', under which the employer could demand whatever pay reductions or workday increases he wanted, the employees had to negotiate with the employer, and employees couldn't quit!

Such an arrangement could only be classified as slavery.

The right to terminate the employer-employee relationship is a fundamental right of both employer and employee. Employment should be mutually beneficial to employer and employee and open to termination by either when it becomes non-beneficial (limited of course by any voluntary contractual agreements).

Freedom of Choice

No person should be forced to join a union to get a job, nor should union dues be used to extort money from taxpayers.

That last sentence says all you need to know. Unions rob people of their right to choice. Unions then go on to threaten others to do the same. Eventually they extort, bribe and coerce their way to salaries and wages that the private sector does not get.

The solution is to end collective bargaining of public unions, repeal Davis Bacon and all prevailing wages laws, and make every state in the union a right-to-work state.

"Mom, Susie Did It Too"

There are so many holes in Prof77's post that it is time consuming and tedious rebutting them all. He did not address any serious issues with public unions. Instead he used two child's ploys.

1. Changing the subject
2. Using "Susie"as a scapegoat.

Mom to Joey: Did you go down to the beach when I told you not to?
Joey to Mom: Well Susie hit Tommie yesterday.

Hopefully you see the irony in this. The person scapegoating is none other than Prof77. Instead of addressing very real and very serious issues with unions, he changed the subject pointing a finger at banks just as Joey pointed a finger at Susie in my example above.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com
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