Where is our money going?
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that one of the greatest reasons that governments on the local, state and federal levels are running major deficits is because they not only have to fund ongoing public safety, education and social programs, they must also fund ever-growing employee wage and benefit programs which offer the average government worker lifelong employment, above average wages and almost obscene health and retirement benefits when compared to the private sector.
"We have far less to spend on core services, such as public safety, education, parks and senior centers," Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote in December of the city's pension costs. "That defies common sense, and it's hurting our city." -- F0rbes
And the reason for this outrageous behavior is because the public has very little input into the process. They have been frozen out of the picture by the unholy alliance between politicians and the unions.
A perfect illustration of the cycle of corruption …
Politicians pander to the unions to obtain the financing and votes to gain or maintain political office. Then they are reluctant to vote against union demands for higher wages and better health and retirement benefits. And because the union can put additional sums of money into paid advertising during election campaigns, is it any wonder that the unions come first and the electorate comes in dead last?
I do not know what disturbs me most about unions …
- The apparently socialistic roots and support for Marxist organizing tactics;
- Their unholy alliance with organized crime in some cities;
- Their leadership which seems to run the union for their own benefit;
- Their acceptance of illegal aliens in their ranks while knowing full well that other illegal aliens are depressing wage rates and taking jobs from their members;
- That the members may have little or nothing to say about which political parties or politicians are supported;
- Their nefarious dealings with government leaders knowing that they have the advantage of possessing “inside knowledge” provided by their membership;
- Their onerous and detailed work rules which have employees sitting idly by while other employees perform the work – or even worse, make a requester wait while employees of more than one union are required to complete a single job;
- A grievance process which makes it almost impossible to fire a poor performing worker;
- A grievance process which intimidates members of middle management to the point where they will simply walk away from egregious behavior because it isn’t worth the trouble of tangling with union representatives;
- A system which rewards seniority over merit and accomplishment and which often results in productive workers being chastised by their slower counterparts for making them look bad or setting a superior standard of accomplishment;
- Their propensity to strike at the most inopportune times to force the general population to suffer mightily as to coerce the politicians to settle the strike on terms favorable to the unions;
- Their association with the democrats, especially in one-party governments, where a disproportionate portion of the waste, graft and corruption can be associated with unionized projects; or
- Their latest flirtation with union organizing: the card-check program which denies American workers the right to a secret ballot and exposes the individual worker to coercion and thuggery.
Look around at most cities controlled by the democrat party and which feature an active union presence. Note the level of decay and political corruption. In my mind, cause and effect.
Why are public sector unions even necessary?
What was wrong with civil service? In many ways, it was almost as cumbersome as union representation – but without the propensity to strike. For years unions have claimed they were necessary to fight against the excesses of the capitalistic private sector. So why are they necessary to protect the rights of public sector employees when a civil service arrangement would suffice? With the added benefit of allowing the public sector employee to keep more of their money as a real stimulus to the economy? Not to mention a corresponding reduction in political corruption?
It is about time to set aside the old myths …
The myth that public service workers are provided with guaranteed employment because they receive substantially lower pay than employees in the private sector has long been disproven.
“In public-sector America things just get better and better. The common presumption is that public servants forgo high wages in exchange for safe jobs and benefits. The reality is they get all three. State and local government workers get paid an average of $25.30 an hour, which is 33% higher than the private sector's $19, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Throw in pensions and other benefits and the gap widens to 42%.” --Forbes
The myth that public safety personnel deserve significantly better benefits because they put their lives on the line is also mostly untrue. Especially when you consider what our volunteer soldiers are actually paid. True first responders and those who risk their lives daily are a relatively few in number when you consider cubicle workers with similar benefits. Yet is is this group of dedicated employees which are always featured in position advertising whenever anyone attempts to cut salaries, overtime or benefits.
The myth that it’s for the children and that we have underpaid union teachers is mostly that: a myth. Paying teachers outrageous sums for non-teaching administrative jobs is also out of control. There is something wrong with the picture of a teacher forced to buy classroom supplies out of their pocket while the school district spends $320 million dollars for a monstrosity of a modern art high-school to soothe the ego of a politically-active billionaire. Especially when the teachers unions complain about crowded classrooms -- when three high schools could have been built for the cost of that modern art monstrosity.
And the worst and mostly false myth of all: that government knows what is wrong and can provide a solution with legislative controls and stimuli.
What Obama has done …
By not demanding work standards and competitive bidding from both union and non-union sources, he has increased the cost of all government projects and subjected them to the usual type of waste, fraud, corruption and mismanagement that plagues most government contracts. Projects which are sure to feature cost overruns and additional funding to complete the project.
By not demanding hiring controls, Obama has promoted another class of government employee who will stay employed long after the stimulus funding has run out – and another 20-30 years of guaranteed employment with wage, benefits and retirement funds which will further cripple government operations. Further draining the treasury and placing a burden upon us all.
“Four in five public-sector workers have lifetime pensions, versus only one in five in the private sector. The difference shifts huge risks from government to private-sector workers.” --Forbes
By enlarging government, Obama has contributed to a critical mass of government employees, many of them union-controlled, that can simply override the public’s input and continue with their self-interest programs to increase their benefits.
By bailing out state and local governments, Obama has rewarded those who spent profligately on special interest projects and social engineering. Perhaps, pumping new life into the political careers of poseurs such as California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
And most importantly, by acting in this egregious manner, Obama has provided aid and comfort to our enemies who want to see our economy and military decimated. If Obama had only studied history, he would have seen that it was Russia’s inability to finance further military and economic actions that led to their downfall. Obama is in the process of insuring that we meet the same fate.
We need to get government costs under control. One, by eliminating unions in favor of civil service programs. Two, by imposing work rules and requirements (for non-sworn personnel) that eliminate any disparity with the private sector. And three, by eliminating politicians from selling their votes – however subtle their actions are. We need to prosecute transgressing politicians and not simply allow them to file amended reports and returns.
We need to educate the people into seeing what corrupt losers their politicians have become and the damage they have done to their community, their state and the country.
Another solution is to separate those first-responders and others who have risky lives or an increased probability of harm from those who live their lives as cubicle functionaries and are more likely to die choking on a donut than while engaged in life-saving activities.
And even these benefits should be capped at some reasonable amount that does not count overtime and other such factors when computing retirement.
Public service people should be employed at will – with no guarantee of life-long employment – and the ability to double dip in the retirement pool. They should be hired for their abilities and fired when they are no longer productive. They should have the same type of 401(k) retirement programs of the private sector.
Remove the employee unions and you eliminate much of the waste and corruption in government. We will deal with the waste and corruption involved with private sector special interests also.
Talk about working for the man …
Here were are, the American public, now forced to work to provide wages, benefits and retirements to an expanding cadre of government workers – benefits which will include healthcare and retirement that will not be available to the average American under an Obama-driven socialized healthcare plan and with the meager amount of money remaining in our retirement plans.
Welcome to the third-world where government and its friends enjoy life and everybody else struggles to make do.
A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…
The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS