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Guest Post: Government Employees, Unions, And Bankruptcy

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by James E. Miller of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada,

During an economic boom, exuberance finds itself lodged in all types of industries.  When profits soar, so does the public’s disregard for prudence.  And as tax revenues rise, politicians can’t help but give in to their bread and butter of buying votes.  Periods of accelerated economic growth typically come in two different forms.  If capital is drawn from a pool of real savings to finance investment in more efficient forms of production, the boost in wages and income will be sustainable as long as consumers remain willing to purchase whatever is being produced in greater amounts.  In the case of a credit-expansion boom fueled primarily by fractional reserve banking and interest rate manipulation through a central bank, the boom conditions are destined toward bust.  Liquidation then becomes necessary as the bust gets underway and malinvestments come to light.

For private industry it means slashing costs, laying off workers, and possible bankruptcy to discharge debt.  For government, it typically means shoring up the lost revenue due to unemployment by raising taxes and promising to cut spending by some significant amount.  Usually those promised cuts never come to fruition.  Political reelection hinges too much upon filling the pockets of voter blocs.   When private enterprise tightens its belt, the state hardly bats an eye since its revenue is dependent on how much it decides to fleece from taxpayers in any given year.

Some levels of government aren’t so lucky however.  Without ready access to a printing press or eager creditors, local municipalities in the U.S. are facing tough choices as the Great Recession drags on.  Unable to cope with the rising cost of providing public services, many cities are taking drastic action.  Three major cities in California have recenlty declared bankruptcy; including San Bernardino which is the second largest city to do so in recent history.  The city council of Detroit, which is facing about $12 billion in pension and benefit obligations, has voted to allow a state advisory board to assist the former manufacturing powerhouse grapple with a fiscal future that is anything but promising.  North Las Vegas, Nevada is facing the same kind of hurdle with a gaping $30 million budget deficit.  According to Mayor Sharon Buck, “We’ve balanced our budget, we’ve paid all of our bills [and] all of our bonds are paid…Our biggest issue is salaries and compensation and benefits. And they’re very unsustainable.”  Most recently, the mayor of Scranton, Pennsylvania cut the wages of city workers to the state’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.  The unions which represent the city’s firefighters, police officers, and other public workers are taking the issue to court.

In carrying out such a drastic pay cut, Mayor Chris Doherty defied a previous court order.  The unions’ attorney called the defiance “incredible.”  The president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 60, lamented that “there are kids working at ice cream stands earning more than their fathers, which is ridiculous.”

In actuality, there is nothing ridiculous about Mayor Doherty’s behavior.  The city is out of money to pay its workers.  After riding the taxpayer-funded gravy train, the trip has come to an abrupt end.  The mayor can’t pay money he doesn’t have.  In his words “I can’t print it in the basement.”

But to this writer, Doherty didn’t go far enough in cutting the pay of city workers.  In a just world, public sector workers would be paid the rightful amount equal to their contribution to society: zero dollars an hour.  If production is to entail mutual exchange and careful consideration toward profit and loss accounting, then government produces nothing without a negative effect on some individuals.  The government worker is paid solely through whatever funds were forcefully taken from actual producers of wealth.  The kid working in an ice cream stand whom the president of the firefighter’s union referred to is providing a valued service to society.  His pay is based off of whatever marginal revenue he brings in.  The firefighter paid by tax dollars is a functioning leech whose pay is totally separated from any measure of consumer satisfaction.  Government workers have little, if any, incentive to serve the public in an efficient or convenient manner.  In America, police have no legal obligation to assist you.  And if you think the local fire company will be there at your beck and call, just ask Gene Cranick of Tennessee who watched his house burn down with fire crews standing by as he neglected to pay a $75 dollar fee beforehand.  The selfless civil servants simply watched the spectacle of a man’s home being destroyed even as Cranick offered to pay the fee for service right then and there.  Compare this to the private, for-profit firefighting that existed in many towns in 19th century America.  As urban historian Mark Tebeau describes it in an interview with NPR’s Robert Siegel nearly two years ago:

SIEGEL: Now, I read this today – and you tell me if there’s any truth to it -that sometimes competitive fire brigades in their zeal to be the one to put out fire, maybe to get an award or be backed by an insurer, might actually have played a little defense against another competing fire company.

Prof. TEBEAU: Yeah. They would race to the fires. This reflected community tensions of the era, as well as a sort of manly pride in being first not only to get to the scene, but first to put the fire out.

No doubt Cranick, who found himself on the wrong end of government’s over-bureaucratization, would have jumped for joy at the prospect of multiple fire brigades rushing to save his home.

By virtue of its monopoly on coercion, the public sector exists wholeheartedly at the expense of society.  Worse are the unions that piggyback off this extortion and kick taxpayers in the gut even harder just to take a few extra dollars out of their wallets.  Unions remain empowered through their government-granted privilege of forcing employers to bargain with them; including the various levels of government.  But this only scratches the surface to the despicable nature of both private sector and public sector unions.  As libertarian economist Walter Block notes:

Yes, unions are disgusting and repulsive institutions, as the right side of the political spectrum properly emphasizes. They restrict entry into the labor market, and either beat up potential competitors who they characterize as “scabs” (where are the politically correct opponents of hate speech when we need them?), and/or get the government to do this evil deed for them, via legislation such as the Wagner Act which forbids employers from hiring replacement workers on a permanent basis.

What the city of Scranton has in common with San Bernardino, Detroit, et al. is that its dire fiscal condition is due to one thing and one thing only: benefits promised to unionized workers.   For decades, public sector workers and their professionally dressed cohorts in plunder known as union representatives have operated under the fallacious assumption that government is the gift that never stops giving.  But in today’s environment of economic stagnation, their dreams of living off of stolen fruits of labor are thankfully starting to represent reality.  Whole countries in the European Union are beginning to crumble under the weight of their bloated government workforces and entitlement programs.  American cities are currently facing up to the extravagant benefits promised to public workers.  In a mater of years, Illinois and California will likely follow.

To quote Pat Buchanan,” The salad days of the government employee are coming to an end, as they have already in Greece, Italy and Spain.”  To those sick and tired of the tax-eater mentality that is destroying the very core of society’s productive capacity and moral base, those days can’t come soon enough.


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Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:10 | 2626818 bob_dabolina
bob_dabolina's picture

Something made this country great. If you've ever worked 16 hour days, lived within your means and led a responsible life, good for you. You probably find yourself living in a country mired in debt and choking regulation, you didn't do that, someone did it for you. I just get vexed when people worry about their future and that of their progeny, y'all probably think you're real smart, well lemme tell y'all somethin - there's a lot of smart people out there. You probably think you worked real hard to get where you're at - well lemme tell ya'll something - there's a lot of people who don't work at all and are doing just fine thanks to your hardwork and tax dollars. We subsidize loans to people who aren't qualified for college, build roads to nowhere, highspeed rails in states that are going bankrupt, and accumulated debt that will never be paid back. We accomplished this as a nation; together.

From the opening monologue of Newsroom:

And with a straight face you’re going to tell students that America is so star spangled awesome that we’re the only ones in the world that have freedom? Canada has freedom. Japan has freedom. The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, BELGIUM has freedom. 

So, 207 sovereign states in the world, 180 of them have freedom. 

And you, sorority girl, just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day there’s somethings you should know. One of them is there’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, Number 4 in labor force and Number 4 in exports, we lead the world in only three categories: Number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending where spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:28 | 2626863 Eireann go Brach
Eireann go Brach's picture

What is the difference between a group of monkeys at the zoo flinging poo at each other and a group of useless govt workers?


Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:40 | 2626885 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

One of my favorite parts of this is how academia is now ruled by big-government loving former "hippies" that just absolutely love the government and believe in their role in that massive, humanity wrecking machine.  Never do they see through the fog of their self-interest to see just how destructive their actions are. 

It is like watching former vegetarians slaughter baby lambs for sport and loving it and never once questioning thieir actions. 

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:01 | 2626951 strannick
strannick's picture

lets vote. whose more responsible for the nations ruinous debt. public sector unions or banks.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:02 | 2626967 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture



Don't confuse the issue.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:26 | 2627017 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

median wage adjusted for inflation should be $90,000/year.


Government workers just sustaining their social contract.

non government workers who thought they were part of 1% just realized they got screwed.



fuck it all. if you are smart, you work for government and actually have time to enjoy your life.



Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:47 | 2627054 Rentier
Rentier's picture

Aldous, this is true.  govt. worker = less job stress and much more free time to enjoy life.  I should know :)...

Da money isn't everything, public workers in some cases could go get a private sector job and make more like $10k-30k (like in IT field) more for same position, but why?  You are then trading time(longer hours at work, maybe travel etc.) for money, smart people know the most important commodity in life is time (even trumps health) is the only limiting factor in life.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 01:02 | 2627077 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

that's why smartest people don't want to get rich...they dont' want to trade their life for more money after certain threshold is achieved.


Europe = smart people = experienced empire building and its woes of war = learn to live with less, work less, enjoy time more

America = dumb people = not experienced failure as nation/state, aspires for materialism = depends on more stuff, more work.....until it is too late


smart people know time > money (you can print this)


founder /CEO of Lazard investment bank....Bruce worth $2.3 B......died of sudden heart attack at age 61.....thanks for all of the hard mind numbing 90hr/week work and the taxes you paid Bruce!

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 02:55 | 2627182 Bananamerican
Bananamerican's picture

i know, without looking, that the down-thread is spittle flecked with "Union Thugs", and "LIBERALZ™" and all the usual right-wing jizz....

As usual, there's a pleasantly ignored "happy medium" between child-laborers and part-time community college history professors making $150,000 a year...

People DO need to collectively stand athwart the feudal HISTORIC tendencies of capital...Jesus, Globalism should have proven that to even the most red-faced Rush lover on ZH...Capital goes where it can GRIND humanity with the LEAST harm done to PROFIT.

American Unions were responsible for raising post industrial living standards in this country above the Dickensian norm of "unfettered capitalism".

However, human nature being what it is, after achieving many of their initial goals, Unions did go too far, fattened up, slacked off and became corrupted, often turning into politically protected corporate extortion rackets....into "Institutions".

Public sector unions for government workers however, ARE a bad idea! Because their "employer" happens to also be their fellow citizens...and the vast, limitless bucket of their FREE tax dollars so fetchingly arrayed around them....

But don't complain about "the passivity of the Sheeple" and then piss on collective action and Unions in toto....

Complain about the tendency of the Human race to swing from pillar to post, class against class, trampling the common ground beneath their feet

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 03:19 | 2627201 Lednbrass
Lednbrass's picture

There aren't many Rush lovers posting on ZH. Most here that fall on the general right side of the political spectrum are as contemptuous of him as of the collectivist left.

He pretty much only gets mentioned by the progressive types here who aren't intelligent enough to conceive of people being opposed to their infantile sippy cup banging redistributionist nonsense, they simply claim their opponent part of the Limbaugh/Fox crowd and lack the mental capacity to discern any philosophical difference. It provides an easy out for the dullards.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 09:59 | 2627789 InjuredThales
InjuredThales's picture

Umm, for a socialist, you're not very up on your Marx.  Even Marx admitted social mobility in the US in the mid 19th century militated against his historical materialism.  (FYI, that was pre-unions)

This is what unions do: they trammel social mobility and lock in class differences/class struggle.  They also ensure that consumers pay more for services than what they are worth, and trap industries in uncompetitive and non-profitable products.  What a social benefit!

American history before unions was one of self-made men.  Look today at America and tell me, in every branch of society, whether that is still the case.  The America of the last 100 years has been one of dynasties and the nepotism of the oligarchs.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 04:30 | 2627262 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

founder /CEO of Lazard investment bank....Bruce worth $2.3 B......died of sudden heart attack at age 61.....thanks for all of the hard mind numbing 90hr/week work and the taxes you paid Bruce!


Of course this sudden heart attack occurred during a marathon sex session with the Swedish bikini team.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 10:48 | 2628026 BigJim
BigJim's picture

I'm sure their involvement had absolutely nothing to do with his wealth

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 05:35 | 2627314 BeetleBailey
BeetleBailey's picture

All that shit may true...but here's the juice.

Damn near EVERY government emloyee I've met is a total dick. I mean, a stinky donkey dick that thinks the world owes them a living.

In fact, now that I think about it, EVERY single government employee I know is a dick.

So, the equation is; work for the government = easy job, but become a dick.


Wed, 07/18/2012 - 05:44 | 2627321 Colonel
Colonel's picture

Another thing you'll notice is they go from government job to government job because they know which side their bread is buttered on AND they'll also turn around deny their dependence on the government teat. They'll say they worked for the private sector in the past for all of 3 to 5 years once upon a time... wooowww. While the other 30+ years were all about accruing those bennies especially the pensions.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 10:52 | 2628041 MilleniumJane
MilleniumJane's picture

Then you would've loved our 2011 Fourth of July party.  Two family members, both working for our financially strapped city, simply gushing over how they love the free monthly one-hour-massage-benefit our tax dollars so generously provide them.  Absolutely sickening.  Made me drink even harder that day.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 07:25 | 2627424 Rentier
Rentier's picture

Aldous, only one's junking your post are the losers who don't get it.  Chasing something they themselves will never have.

BeetleBailey, sound like a jaded private sector worker...keep working for da man & enjoying the hate.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 10:06 | 2627816 InjuredThales
InjuredThales's picture

Yes, parasitic predation off the backs of the hard-working and productive members of society should be upheld as wisdom! 

exsisto iustus quod vereor non

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 08:14 | 2627487 ATM
ATM's picture

Or you could be really smart and work for a GSA. Not really government but it's government. My daughter-in-law just started a job with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Monday. 20% more pay than her private sector job, 20% signing bonus, and of course better benefits!

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 09:35 | 2627725 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

at what point does the devil take the soul she has sold him? your grandchildren will be picked on at school for their hooved feet

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 06:47 | 2627364 brettd
brettd's picture

If you're smart, you'll stop paying the taxes that fund the TSA pat-downers at 90k/year.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:30 | 2627024 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Good Handle Assholocracy. Veddy Funny.

The thing is, it's all about WAR. Wars have to be fought constantly and so in truth, nations have been bankrupt TO the money-men for centuries. 

Everything a government does is to support War. War is the crux, the pivot. As the guys in the Iron Mountain report said, this society would collapse with-out war. 

It's not about debt or responsibility or anything. In the minds of the power-mad, war d-fines everything, ongoinng and planned....

We should worry about such things.



Wed, 07/18/2012 - 01:07 | 2627082 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

war is a symptom of collective greed after failing to achieve through merit

(ie. money wasted on bankster bonuses instead of productive investments)


but nature doesn't reward extreme greed in the long run. population sustains only through collective effort to sustain US over SELF.

How many families rebuild old glory after fighting over inheritance?


Wed, 07/18/2012 - 07:50 | 2627462 NidStyles
NidStyles's picture

had the family members been raised and learned how to maintain themselves and understand the bond between them well enough to know that they had to take care of each other, they never would have that issue.


That is Family though, and you are not part of my family, so why in the hell should I support you? Where were you when I needed help? Where was the government, oh that's right they offered for me to join the military in order to provide for myself. Yeah great gig, I go to war and hopefully survive unscathed physically but have a lifetime full of regret and PTSD for my efforts. That's fine though, the government will take care of me until your money runs out, right?

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:04 | 2626970 LowProfile
LowProfile's picture


lets vote. whose more responsible for the nations ruinous debt. public sector unions or banks.

We'd have to add it up, but so fucking what if they are only responsible for say, 10%?!

I'd even up the score with the banksters first, the military industrial pigs second, but the public unions would be next on my list.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 06:47 | 2627366 sebmurray
sebmurray's picture

Right on, any percentage of a gigantic number is still friggin huge

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:18 | 2627003 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

Are you implying that the banks and government aren't one entity? 

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 01:21 | 2627097 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

bankers = wannabe government employees....they call themselves "federal"

unions = American Bankers Association represnted by union rep Secretary of Treasury

bankruptcy for all

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 03:15 | 2627198 John_Coltrane
John_Coltrane's picture

A better analogy is the banks (principal dealers/FED) are the drug pushers, the government is the (debt) addict.  To break the connection you need to get rid of the debt thus eliminating the role of the PDs and FED.  Get rid of the FED you break the debt cycle, eliminate all government that can't be funded via cash flow (fees and taxes), and thus get rid of the public sector unions.   The the key is elimination of the FED.  It is the one thing that will break the debt cycle and create an economy funded via production and savings.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 10:53 | 2628054 BigJim
BigJim's picture

The government offers to give you back a percentage of the goods it stole from you in the first place.

Such a deal!

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 04:25 | 2627257 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

Hippies were the original anti-governmentists.  Its funny how the oppressed so quickley become the oppressors once they gain the power.  Actually "funny" is not the right word.  God damned hippycrits.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 06:20 | 2627340 Bendromeda Strain
Bendromeda Strain's picture

Beyond that, they became the worst parents imaginable. It's like they decided the Five Man Electrical Band song "Signs" was an instruction manual.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 07:46 | 2627455 MSimon
MSimon's picture

Some of us hippies never gave up the fight. I am as anti-govedrnment now as I was in the 60s. More even. And I tell all my former hippie friends. As well as my "conservative" (Moral socialsim) and "liberal" (Economic socialism) "friends".

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:57 | 2626945 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

The monkeys are earning their keep by entertaining the zoo's customers and govt workers are parasites?

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 01:12 | 2627087 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

today we have workers directly working for the government and workers indirectly working for the government bailed out institutions.


Look around, how many people work for a corporation that is 100% private which do not benefit from tax exemptions, subsidies, bailouts, government contracts, etc.????


agricultural? farm subsidies

energy? subsidies

aerospace/military tech? pentagon budget

private universities? government research dollars and tax exemptions

supermarkets and walmart? depend on SNAP money

small businesses? depend on government sponsored institutions in the town (like military bases, universities, hospitals, etc.)


truth is we are all sort of government is just that some in the "private" sector thought they were capitalists...

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 01:29 | 2627103 LowProfile
LowProfile's picture


Look around, how many people work for a corporation that is 100% private which do not benefit from tax exemptions, subsidies, bailouts, government contracts, etc.????

99% of small businesses & entrepreneurs.


Wed, 07/18/2012 - 09:31 | 2627707 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

 Incorporation itself is a government approved personal liability exemption.

I doubt whether 99% of small businesses disdain all available tax credits, SBA loans and also disavow doing any work for government .

And more generally, how many refuse police and fire protection, fail to use public roads, and 

... there's more, but I think you get the idea.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 10:58 | 2628088 BigJim
BigJim's picture

So, because they're forced to hand over vast amounts of value at virtual gunpoint, and then receive a small amount of it back, they're nett recipients?

  ... there's more, but I think you get the idea.

Yes, we get the idea; you're an idiot.

Hey, the next time the local mafioso wants some 'protection' money, don't feel aggrieved - I'm sure he'll be happy to arbitrate in any disputes that arise in your community.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 13:33 | 2628940 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture


Do base your argument on another MISES idiocy.

“Taxation is theft.”

In this case, regarding corporate taxation.

Incorporation is a privilege, not a right, which is granted by society through government. Without the public infrastructure, without the protections for property and against liability, there would be neither corporations nor corporate profits.

The contention that corporations do not create costs for society is myopic and absurd. To allow corporations and individuals to freely profit by ignoring the social costs would be sociopathic. Taxation is one legitimate way for society, through government, to recoup costs and discourage destructive corporate business practices.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 13:48 | 2629042 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Taxation to pay for public goods is justifiable. Taxation to pay for private goods is theft... or, more accurately, robbery, as theft implies some kind of stealth, whereas taxation is demanding money with menaces.

Remember this? I doubt whether 99% of small businesses disdain all available tax credits, SBA loans and also disavow doing any work for government .

But now here in this post, you're going on about corporate privilege.

Which do you want to discuss?

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 19:33 | 2630111 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

I was sticking to the discussion of Lowprofiles post above (about corporations).

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 10:43 | 2627997 MilleniumJane
MilleniumJane's picture

I don't always agree with AH, but I have to disagree with you...I work for a family run hardware and lighting store.  Including myself, we have seven employees total. They have been keeping afloat selling large amounts of energy-saving lighting products to cities and state parks that receive federal grants.  The bidding process is very competitive.  I think there are more small businesses out there that do this than one might realise.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 11:02 | 2628103 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Yes, the government sucks out vast amounts of wealth from its citizens and then spends it. If you're lucky/smart/hard working, you might get some of the money they took off you and your fellow citizens.

So what? If you ask nicely the local burglar might sell you some of the stuff he stole from you at a steep discount.

The point is, that wealth they took is wealth your fellow citizens were unable to use to buy stuff from you directly.

This is only good news if you are a nett recipient.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 04:48 | 2627164 Harlequin001
Harlequin001's picture

Some of us educate our own children, pay our own medical costs, build our own businesses and plan to pay as little tax as possible. Some of us have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with government employees because some of actually are 'capitalists'. That is of course, when we're not taxed to death to pay for everybody else's welfare.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:46 | 2627053 post turtle saver
post turtle saver's picture

The monkeys don't have a collective bargaining agreement with the zoo.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 01:15 | 2627091 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

monkeys get free food, free protection, free toys, free healthcare, shit cleaned by another human, don't pay taxes, free sex, and best of all don't have to give a shit



that's why whenever you go visit the monkeys at the zoo, they are laughing at you.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 11:05 | 2628121 BigJim
BigJim's picture

Hmmm, so we should all become monkeys in the zoo?

But where will our free food, free protection, free toys, free healthcare come from?

Parasitism only works if there's a host to parasitize.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 08:09 | 2627469 bobnoxy
bobnoxy's picture

Yeah, that's right. Let's get rid of all the government workers! Yeehaw. You may have to adjust your schedule a bit afterwards though.

Let's see, you'll have to make time to teach your own kids. Then before lunch, haul your own garbage to the profit maximizing dump. Then you can police your own neighborhood, and when a gang moves in, just mop that up yourselves.

That private fire brigade will give you a great deal, but when you lose your job and can't pay, just break out the garden hoses. No problem there. And when the street lights burn out, either climb that ladder or pay that private company, which given the added profit margin, will surely cost less than what you have now, right?

If war ever comes here, suit up and form your little militia. No wait, pay Haliburton, KBR and XE whatever the market will bear. You know, when your frightened asses are worried about losing everything. I'm sure that will come cheap. Look how good that worked out in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I swear, this is one of the most ridiculous things ever posted in here, and there you are, cheering like it makes perfect sense.

The politicians pissed away so much money that state and local governments are $3 trillion in debt. Would those pensions be affordable if not for those heavy debt ayments?

The pensions are busted in large part to Wall Street promising 8% returns every year, without fail, and governments under funding them. Then when it all goes bust, let's find someone else to blame.

Let's see, who's the patsy here. Oh, the unions! And you ignorant asshats go right along. Pathetic.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 09:29 | 2627699 ATM
ATM's picture

Your assinine presumption is that none of these things you mention could possibly or ever have been providied by the private sector.

In that you are flat out wrong. 

I already pay for private garbage collection and have snce 1977. They show up every friday and off it goes to the dump, dumbass. Just like if the city did it. what is even better is I am friends witht he owner of the garbage company.

Private fire brigades? There certainly used to be such things, lots of them! And I would bet in my smallish town they could provide fire protection service at 1/10th the cost or less. I'm not too sure why my town of 18K needs 3 multimillion dollar firehouses, 10 large pieces of equipment including 4 fire engines, 1 hook and ladder (the tallest building in town is 2 stories) 1 heavy rescue vehicle, and 3 ambulances, or a seperate headquarters building with their own training facilities which includes underwater rescue. We have no open water in the town besides a small creek and a few retaining ponds, yet by God we need our own Zodiac!

The only wars that have come here are the Revolution, 1812 and the Civil war all started by us. Makes one wonder why that is for a country that has over a 240 year history? Are we so nice and respected and do so much good that we are not a target of invasion and war or is it that even madmen don't usually have suicidal tendencies. 

They call Afghanistan the graveyard of empires. After any invasion here the US would be called the graveyard of _____ insert name of country with death wish. You may denigrate the "little militia" all you want. It just proves your utter lack of perspective. 

You are a MORON. The pensions are bust for three reasons and none of them has anything to do with Wall Street promising 8% returns! They are bust because 1) they promise unpayable benefits. 2) The states an municipalities don't fund enough money into the plans - they use it for other things. 3) Pension actuaries are pressured by the these same municipalities to use higher, unrealistic return assumptions so that these very same politicians can divert these funds to things that get them re-elected. Pensions payments being a form of Ponzi financing whose real implosion is always seen as being far off in the future and thus some other politicians problem.

The unions aren't that patsy. They are the Mob who extort from the productive. I understand the collective bargaining struggle in private business where the owners and the workers can be at odds. But who is it that public employees bargain with exactly? They aren't bargaining with stakeholders with something at risk. They are bargaining with politicians with nothing to lose. So who gives a shit when the county bard signs a lavish benefits deal with the teachers union? The voters don't have any clue, the teachers love it and think they deserve it and the politicians get a whole hell of alot of ready, willing and vocal support. 

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 09:48 | 2627757 bobnoxy
bobnoxy's picture

Typical clueless right winger. Those pension plan administrators under funded those plans specifically due to assuming 8% gains, which financial advisors have long used as their baseline assumption for growth. Go buy another copy of that hack Jeremey Siegel's books and see what he insists are the long term gains in stocks.

Yeah, all those public sector workers make some formidable mob. Makng $40k a year, a powerful bloc there. And with union membership way down, another sure sign of their enduring mob power.

And does anyone really think those private contractors in Afghanistan, with their profit motive and $100k a year pay were a better deal than our regular army, or more effective?

The average public sector pension is about $30k a year. In which fucking country does that qualify as lavish? You are another dimwit, being conned by the very rich into thinking the poor are the problem.

How do you eat without a cheat sheet anyway?

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 11:21 | 2628203 BigJim
BigJim's picture

 And does anyone really think those private contractors in Afghanistan, with their profit motive and $100k a year pay were a better deal than our regular army, or more effective?

If it weren't for the foreign meddlings of generations of government 'workers', we wouldn't be involved in these stupid wars in the first place, doofus. Why do you think they hate us? For our 'freedoms'?

If we hadn't had a regular army, do you think we would have wasted trillions invading Iraq and Afganistan in the first place?

And the Taliban - who are essentially a bunch of independent militias - are doing very nicely, last I heard. So much for our (and the rest of the West's) vaunted standing militaries.

  Yeah, all those public sector workers make some formidable mob. Makng $40k a year, a powerful bloc there.

It's not how much they earn, it's how many of them there are.

 Makng $40k a year... the average public sector pension is about $30k a year. In which fucking country does that qualify as lavish?

What? Their pensions are 3/4 of their salary? Sounds pretty lavish to me.

As it happens, public workers are, on average, paid 8% higher than private sector workers.

Yes we need a rump state - a small professional army to keep invaders at bay while the militias get into gear, a police force, a court system, etc - but 90% of government could be swept away and we'd all be a lot better off.

Except all those who make their livings suckling off the state teat, whose 'skills' would suddenly be subject to market-based price discovery.

I guess that's what you're really afraid of.


Wed, 07/18/2012 - 08:10 | 2627484 midtowng
midtowng's picture

It's interesting how the right-wing has decided that the cause of all our problems are school teachers, firefighters, and policemen.

   Not the people who actually make the economic and foreign policies of the country.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 02:31 | 2627159 Harlequin001
Harlequin001's picture

Well said Bob...

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 04:58 | 2627283 blueridgeviews
blueridgeviews's picture

The US has the burden of paying for all these allies' defence.   And even with that extra money for sicial services,  they are still going bankrupt.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 06:44 | 2627363 brettd
brettd's picture

In canada you DO NOT have the freedom to buy your own medical care!


Wed, 07/18/2012 - 08:37 | 2627518 TrumpXVI
TrumpXVI's picture

Depends upon one's definition of freedom whether or not there is true freedom in the UK, Japan, Australia, and some of the other countries mentioned.

My definition of freedom includes the individual's right to wield lethal force in his own defense.  If one is dependent upon another person, or worse, government, to decide whether or not one's life is worth defending and the manner in which it will be defended and under what circumstances, then that individual is a slave, not a free man.  


Wed, 07/18/2012 - 09:16 | 2627643 Harlequin001
Harlequin001's picture

'My definition of freedom includes the individual's right to wield lethal force in his own defense. '

You already are, you just have to go to court and explain why there was no other alternative that's all.

And I see nothing at all wrong with that...

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:16 | 2626836 veyron
veyron's picture

Could you explain what a private fire department model looks like?

Teachers in most districts are paid very little, where the pension itself becomes a critical part of compensation.  The pension model exists partially to defer the costs of compensating those workers.  Should we instead be paying a reasonable wage to public school teachers?

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:22 | 2626852 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

FUCK THESE HUMPS! In LA, 2 weeks ago, they voted down an ordinance that would hold "teachers" accountable for sexual misconduct.


Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:32 | 2626869 PulpCutter
PulpCutter's picture

Ah, yes, the wonders of life in America before unions...when 8-year old kids worked six 12-hour shifts a week.  Like they still do in the countries that Mitt sent our jobs to.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:38 | 2626881 LowProfile
LowProfile's picture

Ah yes, unions were responsible for that, and mechanization, modern manufacturing, cheap energy and (more fair than today) application of law had nothing to do with raising standards of living so children would no longer have to work like slaves.


Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:43 | 2626904 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

Don't confuse the debate with reality, the union apologists won't get it. 

The unions are responsible for the 40-hour work week, the end of child labor, the sun rising, puppies, ponies, pretty girls and little flowers that bloom 365 days a year.  They are never responsible for extortion, threats, driving industries out of business, costing municipalities ridiculous sums for subpar work or massive profits for organized crime.  Don't bring up anything that might cloud their rosy glasses.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:47 | 2626915 LowProfile
LowProfile's picture

As a former union member, I salute you.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 01:24 | 2627099 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

I have friends who ran cardboard factories. Some were union and some were not. Unions are about what they are NOT going to do and how much they will get paid to not do stuff. I like to say, "Mediocre work at premium pay." There is a reason all their industries have done under or are on life support. The last safe place for them with minimal consequences is government where there are no real cost structures or disciplines.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 02:24 | 2627145 strannick
strannick's picture

There is a reason all their industries have done under or are on life support.

Because they were exported to the Peoples Libertarian Utopia of China (Pluck)? Sorry if I reconfused the issue...

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 04:44 | 2627272 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

which came first the chicken or the egg.  The very unions drove their own jobs to china with the help of the government that their union dues bought and placed.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 03:22 | 2627203 John_Coltrane
John_Coltrane's picture

That's what happens when you remove both competition and the profit motive from the economic equation, and rely on other people's work/money for your income.  What socialists just don't want to understand is NOBODY GIVES A FLYING FUCK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY!  I know I don't.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:38 | 2626883 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Remind me again who signed NAFTA... One sided and lopsided as usual.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 04:59 | 2627284 blueridgeviews
blueridgeviews's picture

Clinton signed NAFTA and both sides cheered.

Both parties get campaign cash from corporations benefitting from cheap labor.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 06:44 | 2627361 Benjamin Glutton
Benjamin Glutton's picture

Following diplomatic negotiations dating back to 1986 among the three nations, the leaders met in San Antonio, Texas, on December 17, 1992, to sign NAFTA. U.S. President George H. W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas, each responsible for spearheading and promoting the agreement, ceremonially signed it. The agreement then needed to be ratified by each nation's legislative or parliamentary branch.

Before the negotiations were finalized, Bill Clinton came into office in the U.S. and Kim Campbell in Canada, and before the agreement became law, Jean Chrétien had taken office in Canada.


we did get this cool flag....

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:44 | 2626895 Colonel
Colonel's picture

Embellishing again as usual. Oh btw thanks to leftists like yourself that keep worshipping bankster puppets with a D after their name AND who think that they can fund union benefits at the same time, you should be implicating yourself for things going backwards. Connecting the dots is hard for leftists.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:46 | 2626913 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

A "liberal" loves only big governmnet.  They believe we are here to feed the government our blood, sweat and labor.  The government allows us to exist only at its mrecy.  Obama made that crystal clear in the past week.  All of the -isms are nothing more than the worship of government, in the absence of religiion. 

Lenin, Mao, Trotsky, et al were nothing more than religious zealots whose only religion was the state.  That sounds so familiar.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:54 | 2626923 Colonel
Colonel's picture

Lefties have this cognitive dissonance on who funds the gooberment ie.. where taxes come from. Made easier by the Bernanke and the printing press to extend and pretend.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:01 | 2626957 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

A "liberal" is morally a hunter-gatherer.


Your productivity is their fruit to pick.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:08 | 2626977 Colonel
Colonel's picture

Unicorns,skittles and Cntrl-P. No wonder why you find so many leftards defending the fed.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:16 | 2626993 Joseph Jones
Joseph Jones's picture

These two collect more tax revenues for war expenditures than any other Senator/Congress person: Democrats both, Judaic Senator Dianne Feinstein and Roman Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, both from California, whose State legislature is Democrat controlled for my entire life (almost age sixty...ban both major parties for all national office.)

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:47 | 2626898 Bawneee Fwank
Bawneee Fwank's picture

So you're that person?  I have been hearing about these fucking children since I was a child...I think it's about time you come up with something else. 

I would rather have a mit that outsourced some jobs than have an Obama who steals taxpayer money and gives it to Chevrolet who in turn takes the money to build plants in China...just saying.  I hate both, but do some research dumbass.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:48 | 2626918 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

I heard that those factories had a cactus that was shaking.  They put it outside and a bunch of scorpioins crawled out.  It was so weird. 


/urban legend

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 02:18 | 2627142 jez
jez's picture

Ah, yes, the wonders of life in America before unions...when 8-year old kids worked six 12-hour shifts a week.

And then Jimmy Hoffa came along and made everything lovely.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:36 | 2626880 yogibear
yogibear's picture

Escape from California! It's hopeless! Let the public workers tax people out of the state.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:49 | 2626924 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

The public workers are only doing that because they are public servants and love the people of the state.



Wed, 07/18/2012 - 01:30 | 2627104 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

No, you are correct. They love the people the way a rancher loves his beef cattle.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 01:10 | 2627084 capitallosses
capitallosses's picture

Escaping from CA is high on my list of daily ponders. 33% of the country's welfare recipients. Very high taxes, going higher. Excessive regulation. Business unfriendly. HUGE pension obligations stretching to infinity. A legislature that cannot resist adopting hundreds of stupid new laws monthly. Ad nauseum.

I blame the public unions for plenty. But you have to blame the stupid, greedy, self-interested politicians (that feed at the union trough) a bit more, for making promises that could never be kept.

When I started my career 40 years ago, gubmit jobs typically offered lower pay, nice hours, and a decent retirement. That has now completely flipped over where decades of COL and other raises and the even richer pension that goes with that have flipped over, so the pay is sometimes twice private sector pay and the pensions infinitely bigger.

It's all completely unsustainable and the math makes it clear that CA is in deep shit and can never recover. And trying to recover meanwhile (higher taxes and more burdens) means they will simply accelerate the exit of productive businesses and people.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 05:03 | 2627286 blueridgeviews
blueridgeviews's picture

You have to give some blame to the voters. They voted for a movie star.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 06:21 | 2627341 RSloane
RSloane's picture

Businesses are evil, didn't you get the memo? I'm sure the good people of California are quite happy that they're leaving the state. Good riddance! 

Besides, Obama's Ag secretary, Vilsack, said that food stamps create jobs. CA will be raking in the dough!

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 01:48 | 2627122 ronaldawg
ronaldawg's picture

HUMPS! - Yes!  Right on!

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:26 | 2626861 Bawneee Fwank
Bawneee Fwank's picture

What is you definition of "very little"?  Looking at this (link below) I think they make a reasonable wage...especially seeing as how most schools are failing to teach basic reading, writing, math, science etc...



Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:28 | 2626864 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

The national average salary for teachers is around $43,000 and their average work year 160 days. I wouldn't say that's too bad. Besides I thought teachers went into that line of work "for the children ".

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:49 | 2626920 kito
kito's picture

doc- you failed to mention the lifetime pension and medical benefits for which their contribution is negligible at best, tenure (as in cant be terminated), and a whole host of other benefits that private sector employees dont have because no company or private sector employer with an eye towards a sustainable bottom line would even entertain them...................

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:52 | 2626929 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

How about all of the part-time jobs they also qualify for?  Cough, cough, coaching, cough, cough. 

I bet that is not factored into the "salary" number. 

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:33 | 2626871 Saro
Saro's picture

"Could you explain what a private fire department model looks like?"

1. You want to finance a new house.  
2. The bank requires you to pay for fire protection (just like they require you to have home insurance now).
3. You shop around and find a fire protection company willing to sell you an inexpensive policy.

And perhaps:

4.  To go along with car insurance spam and mortgage refinance spam, you also get spam mail from competing fire protection companies.

Not really that complicated.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:49 | 2626919 I am a Man I am...
I am a Man I am Forty's picture

i grew up in the burbs in texas and we had a volunteer fire department

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:51 | 2626926 kito
kito's picture

ditto that, our town is still volunteer, as is our ambulance corps.....

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:53 | 2626932 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

My hometown was so rough that we had a volunteer arson department. 

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:59 | 2626947 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

I served on that department in my youth. Weekenders of Schaefer's and lighters were never a good combo.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 01:31 | 2627106 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Lol! WVIdiot, based on your comments, I want tot live in your village. Got to be a hell of a place.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 03:31 | 2627212 John_Coltrane
John_Coltrane's picture

Your town was tough?  Mine was so tough the arson and fire department were the same guys who also ran the extortion and prostitution rings! 

Remember fireman Bill from "in living Color"?

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:21 | 2626974 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

our town of 12K in SW Chi burbs used to be volunteer- now 2 New firehouses in last 3 years and all the slugs are full timers. do nothing but go to car accidents(few and far between) and go to Del Webb subdivision when the old cooters fall and break a hip

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 06:25 | 2627344 GCT
GCT's picture

We still have volunteer fire departments.  70% of our fire fighters are volunteer.  This works for us still and the local business and employers support the guys and gals if there is a fire.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 03:31 | 2627213 mjk0259
mjk0259's picture

Yes, well the one referred to in the article is a volunteer fire company. i.e. private. So if you want people to put out your fire even if you don't pay them voluntarily, you need to make them public employees and pay them via tax which everyone has to pay.
What private system do you envisage which avoids the free rider problem? If you don't need a mortgage what would make you buy fire insurance? And if you don't should the people who paid for it save you when your house is on fire or let you die?

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 04:05 | 2627236 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

Look up the wordz Accountability and (personal) responsibility.

"Dreams Come Due, Government and Economics as if Freedom Mattered", ISBN: 0-671-61159-3, by John Galt
The book is dated, but many of the things it talks about are still valid today

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 11:59 | 2632282 Saro
Saro's picture

If you don't pay someone to put it out, then it doesn't get put out.  Or a fire company will show up and offer to put it out for you at a much higher price than if you had bought the service beforehand.

I'm okay with that.  It's called "personal responsibility".

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:59 | 2626952 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

It is BS that teachers are paid very little. They work roughly 2/3 of the year, get multiple holidays and planning days. Are paid the same or better as comparable workers who work the whole year and if they don't like it, there are people waiting tables with worthless education degrees waiting to get in in most places. Have you seen how teachers do on exams?!? Crapola!

After I finish reading ZH I have several projects to work on and half my friends have been laid off and the rest of us work at 20-30% lower wages than a few years ago! 100% of my family nationwide has lost their jobs if not already retired. You really want me to feel sorry for the protected public union class?!?

What a bunch of sisified morons!

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:07 | 2626978 otto skorzeny
otto skorzeny's picture

the teachers here in IL rarely work a 5 day week w/ all the BS holidays.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 01:37 | 2627110 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

My kids are grown and gone now but I used to ask in high school if they ever had a full work/school week. There was a never ending procession of teacher planning days, assemblies, government holidays, special assemblies, parent-teacher days, field trips, movies, etc. If half the days had instruction I would be surprised.

Good point.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 08:05 | 2627474 Miss Expectations
Miss Expectations's picture

Don't forget (in elementary school), they're not in their classrooms for Gym, Recess, Lunch, Music, Library, Computer Lab, Art.  It's actually a 4 hour work day.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 09:42 | 2627736 sunnyside
sunnyside's picture

I have 5 children.  We homeschooled the older two all the way thru. They are now in college.  My number 3 begged for years to go to school so we let her starting with 9th grade.  She is now getting ready to start 12th garde.  Most of her classes are a joke. She has never gotten anything but A's, and ranked 1st in her class.  Not bragging (I hate most homeshcool parents and their superiority complex.  My kids are normal, not special or gifted and I take no great pride or ego trip in their homeschooling) What the fuck will being validictorian mean if she isn't ready for college when she gets there. 

She has no homework and often little school work.  School starts at 7:30 until 2:10.  On the block schedule, they only have 4 classes per semester, but each teacher only teaches 3 classes.  If 4th period is their planning period, they only teach from 7:30 until 12:30.  With her US history class last semester, the teacher missed at least 1 but usually 2 or more days per week and when she was there, she would sometimes hand out a worksheet to kill 5 minutes or just sit at her desk and either surf or just chat with the kids.  At least once a week was movie time, and I don't mean history movies, but Tyler Perry or Avitar or a couple of times bootleg copies of movies just released.  Her required gym class was just as bad.  We aren't allowed to get the kids exempt, so she had to go.  She dressed out 7-8 times all year.  No bullshit or exageration. She would go in, and this teacher was usually there, but would tell the kids to go sit on the bleachers because she had things to do.  As pisssed as I would get, and we started supplimenting her work at home and with local community college classes to prepare her for college, I feel handtied to officially say anything for fear of retribution against her.


Wed, 07/18/2012 - 03:32 | 2627214 mjk0259
mjk0259's picture

Many work as tutors and make like 20-40K from that tax free.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:13 | 2626992 MagicHandPuppet
MagicHandPuppet's picture

Stop arguing over stolen money. We are all being robbed. Who cares what the goons that brainwash their captive audiences make when their pay is diveyed out from of ill-gotten booty?

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:22 | 2627013 bankruptcylawyer
bankruptcylawyer's picture

big government works well for big cities. america suburbanized a long time ago. cities have gone to shit. you want a public fire department that doesn't give its fire fighters 70% pension with full benefits for the rest of their lives starting at age 50. 

i'll agree that biollionaires influencing politics are the problem. but htat doens't mean there is no substantial public sector problem caused by too many employees and too many promises. 

don't worry the banking cartel will infllate awya their savings and pensions slowly if they can. if they can't. , then states won't be able to pay those pensions off anyways and could default on obligations. they are already are yea?


Wed, 07/18/2012 - 02:58 | 2627187 Styles9002
Styles9002's picture

Citation, please.

Unsubstantitiated declarative statements like these often lead to ignorant remarks.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 06:59 | 2627379 brettd
brettd's picture

The most important teacher is a parent.

Let the parents decide who teaches their kid and how much they get paid!

We'll quickly find out who's "a valuable teacher".

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 07:10 | 2627396 azzhatter
azzhatter's picture

75K for a nine month work year is paid very little? Sorry, most teachers I've met and had as teachers are under achievers just looking for an easy way out

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:18 | 2626840 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

Public Unons Are A Contradiction In Terms! If the taxpayer isn't payng you enough.....go to the private sector and COMPETE for wages! YOU FUCKING HUMP WORTHLESS PIECES OF SHIT!

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:53 | 2626936 WestVillageIdiot
WestVillageIdiot's picture

JFK knew what gift he was giving his party when he allowed federal employees the ability to unionize.  Nobody should kid themselves. 

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:01 | 2626961 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

" and so it was, but later, as the miller told his tale, that her face just ghostly, turned a whiter shade of pale."

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:03 | 2626966 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Exxxxxactly, Gringo!!! Most everyone I know who works for government went precisely because they do not like to compete for jobs, be held to any standard and wanted guaranteed work for life. The trade off was it used to pay less. Now, it pays double.

Did you see the outrageous salaries and benefits in Stockton? No shame, there.

If I had my own business I would never even interview a long term government worker. Not a chance.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:28 | 2627020 MagicHandPuppet
MagicHandPuppet's picture

I laugh when I get a resume from anyone who has ever worked for the gubmint at any level.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 07:00 | 2627383 fajensen
fajensen's picture

However, one cannot have a sucessful business without dealing with the realities of the word as it is: Hiring long-term government workers seem to work out extremely well for banks, medical and defence industries!

Supporting "the right team" is pretty much a key success factor, the way it always was and always will be!


Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:19 | 2626841 derek_vineyard
derek_vineyard's picture

didn't we have this discussion in 2008 and the powers that be choose the status quo?

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:19 | 2626842 JustACitizen
JustACitizen's picture

The only good thing about the crappy situation that we are we hit the wall - it is finally apparent that there is no money to pay for the b.s.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:19 | 2626848 Moon Pie
Moon Pie's picture

A city ceases to be a city when it cannot function as a city.  What ensues is tribalism...the union tribe seems to be the best positioned and well organized.  That they are is a testament to their leadership and a scorn upon the elected leaders who allowed it to gain such superiority.

I am afraid, that the city/state dilemma we are seeing play out before us...and Ms. Meredith was correct (but late in her timing) to nothing but a microcosm of what is set to play out on a national scene.  Particularly if Obama is elected. 

In almost all cases, there is no real shared interest other than self interest...which will galvanize tribalism.

What tribe do you belong to?


Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:20 | 2626849 balz
balz's picture

Time for union bashing again. Crazy libertarians who want more of the same right-wing BS that got us here in the first place.

I remember when unions were powerful. A whole family could live on one wage.

Keep bashing unions. And we'll keep getting poorer.

Unions are what make a country a strong country.

No man is an island.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:30 | 2626867 Moon Pie
Moon Pie's picture

Unions are political and financial thuggery.  Since the union movement of the late 19th century, dozens of laws have been passed by congress to address the issues unions faced then.  Laws with real teeth.  Therefore, unions exist presently to elect politicians and to press on the public tax trough.  Period.  There is NO protection a union offers a worker that the laws do not presently codify.  So why do they exist?  Power...and power hungry people who have NOT the public interest in mind nor truly thier constituents or comrades, but their own aims. 

In short, the Unions have become a shorter and quicker ladder to power than the electoral system.  And until their dues payers realize this...and stop being taken for stooges....they will continue to have the negative effect they've had in the last 40 years upon the public and the tax/revenue system.

Look to California.....see Athens.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:41 | 2626894 kito
kito's picture

private unions did serve a purpose at one point in history...they did help prevent many of the blatant employer abuses that were not addressed by laws....however, that being said, clearly the balance of power has shifted too far...especially in the public sector, where, quite frankly, there shouldnt be unions at all..............

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:56 | 2626943 LowProfile
LowProfile's picture


Except for the violence, I have zero problem with private unions.

Public unions are an abomination and should be terminated with all possible prejudice.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:03 | 2626968 Lohn Jocke
Lohn Jocke's picture

If unions are there to protect workers from being taken advantage of by their employers, and citizens employ the public sector, I must have missed the part where we forced public workers to work brutal hours in inhuman conditions. I vote that we do that prior to allowing the public sector to unionize.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 05:14 | 2627294 tenpanhandle
tenpanhandle's picture

I belonged to the Laundry Workers Union, the Teamsters Union and the Laborers Union.  While I might have been too young to realize what was going on as a Laundry Worker, I can definately say that the teamsters and laborers are not private at all.  They are a branch of the democrat party and funnel huge sums of money to candidates war chests (99% dem) and get lucrative prevailing (Government) wage contracts in return where non-union private enterprize need not apply.  When trying to get union dues back that are used for politics, as is my supposed right, I was threatened with loss of my job.  Approximately 75% of union dues is funneled directly to the democrat machine and I was forced to comply or lose my job.  I pray for the day that 30 million "freedom fighters" beat the living crap out of all union thugs.  Thats right you fucking teamsters, bring a brick to a gun fight.  

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 05:19 | 2627298 Colonel
Colonel's picture

Bingo! Thanks for your honesty. Observed the same thing.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 05:45 | 2627322 RSloane
RSloane's picture

I agree. Why they are still permitted to exist I don't know.

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 23:48 | 2626916 Lohn Jocke
Lohn Jocke's picture

Yes, we Libertarians are crazy because this country wasn't founded on the principle of liberty or anything...


Karl Marx hated unions. He hated them...granted because he thought they were a tool of opression and would delay the revolution, but I digress...


This one wage you speak of? These middle class jobs that our country is losing? I have news for you: turning a crank in a factory was not, is not, and never will be a middle class job. Perhaps no man is an island but if he's selling his labor he can't expect to be paid the same as a skilled laborer like a tradesman.


Unions made this country? What a load of crap. Natural resources and manpower made this country when we were the last man standing after WW2.


If you work hard, and work smart, even a plumber can make over $100,000 today. But that takes skills, and that takes effort. Two fundamental aspects our young and growing labor force seems to be lacking.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 02:22 | 2627144 mjk0259
mjk0259's picture

Turning a crank in a factory is a middle class job in Germany and they lost the wars. Industrialization supposedly multiplied productivity as did electification and computerization. Why shouldn't some wealth accrue to the average person.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 07:13 | 2627402 Lohn Jocke
Lohn Jocke's picture

If average = wealthy, prices inflate.

Examining the mean income of an average American, you can still make that at a non unionized car plant with minimal skills. That's a little over 40,000. Every bell curve has a tail.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 09:35 | 2627724 blunderdog
blunderdog's picture

     Examining the mean income of an average American...

For an examination, you might get the number right.  The average wages paid are around $28K.  $40K is a household income.

It's interesting that even with the line between average wages and the poverty level so close these days, most of the frothing here is about all the workers who have it too good.

There ARE workers who have it too good, for sure, but they're not teachers or firefighters.

Thu, 07/19/2012 - 23:17 | 2634765 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

I owned a 1979 Chevy Citation and later a Dodge Omni. If you know those two beauties I defy you to point out that any skilled labor at all was in their manufacture.

At least they forced me to become a pretty good mechanic.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 04:06 | 2627239 Pay Day Today
Pay Day Today's picture

I have to laugh, the working class and working middle class is collapsing. And your best idea is to blame them for going under. Classy logic.


After 30 years, it should be clear to even the dumbest that America's best export is good paying jobs.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 06:01 | 2627323 Dr. Sandi
Dr. Sandi's picture

EDIT: Fuck this thread.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 07:11 | 2627397 Lohn Jocke
Lohn Jocke's picture

If you work a job that can be replaced by a mechanical arm, and took out loans to buy a house and two cars, you have been living beyond your value to a modern society, and continuing to pay such employees 2 to 3 times their worth for their labor will bankrupt a company. That is the cold reality.

I'll admit, we have exported a lot of jobs, but they only pay well to begin with if you life in India...

As someone who works in exports and brokers deals between commodity producers here in the U.S. and consumers around the world (read: I feed your ass) I doubt you have the slightest clue about the U.S. export program.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 09:01 | 2627583 Pay Day Today
Pay Day Today's picture

" and continuing to pay such employees 2 to 3 times their worth for their labor will bankrupt a company. That is the cold reality."

No, the cold reality is that corporates are making bigger profits than ever from exporting skilled US jobs and keeping US wages low. Its profitable to have poor workers, you see.

"and took out loans to buy a house and two cars"

Lets quietly remember that primary responsibility for the vast majority of bad loans, liars loans and mortgage fraud lies at the feet of the lenders not the borrowers, shall we.

"As someone who works in exports and brokers deals between commodity producers here in the U.S. and consumers around the world (read: I feed your ass) "

The producers, those Iowa corn growers and many others feed me. You're just the parasitic middleman.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:00 | 2626956 Colonel
Colonel's picture

Ever heard the phrase, " You can't have your cake and eat it too?". Unions/lefties should be on the rampage against the banksters and their political puppets of BOTH the R and D variety since the bankster cabal is cutting into union bennies and social programs. Unsurprisingly they aren't (because lefties are partisan idiots) especially when it comes to a D puppet.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:09 | 2626982 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

Public unions are an inherent conflict of interest. There is no cost control or measuring stick so their wages and benefits are theoretically infinite as guns are used to get their salaries. In the private sector there are some cost controls.

Unions dominated railroads, airlines, steel, heavy manufacturing, mining, all industries that have thrived and kicked ass over time. Wait a minute...

If you tell me that a family cannot live on the single salary of NY bus drivers who make $100-$200k per year or a firefighter in Stockton who made $157k, then I am not sure what country you are in.

Us libertarians are all morons, I know. However, you seem to have trouble making your statist crap work without gargantuan deficits and monetary tricks, not to mention large police forces and monitoring systems.

"Socialism. Ideas so good they have to be mandatory." -Unknown

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 04:11 | 2627240 Pay Day Today
Pay Day Today's picture

People actually gave this guy credit for stating a complete fiction that Stockton firefighters made $157k?

Maybe the fire chief, I'll give you that. But most of the guys on the hoses made less than $50k. Of course, that doesn't fit the narrative of blaming the peasants, so keep right at it.



Wed, 07/18/2012 - 06:27 | 2627331 Colonel
Colonel's picture

Stockton is not a big city so their 45K average (not including benefits) goes farther than big city fire fighters.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 07:52 | 2627464 aldante
aldante's picture

Looks like at the average pay in Stockton is only 37k....So if union average is 45k plus the benefits, then I would think the facts speak for them selves. Assuming you are not a troll and really want honest discourse...,+CA

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 09:06 | 2627607 Pay Day Today
Pay Day Today's picture

I appreciate you proving that firefighters in Stockton were not making that ridiculous claimed sum of $157K, which is exactly what I said in the first place.

Now its fashionable to beat up on the very slightly better off working class I suppose? The classic tactic of the elite - get the peasants squabbling amongst themselves while they sit back and laugh it up.

And you just fell for it.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 22:35 | 2630589 FreedomGuy
FreedomGuy's picture

My error perhaps on the city. The point is that there are outrageous public salaries being paid around the country. Do you deny that? The topic of discussion in my state is how the state employees pension is going bust and taxpayers are on the hook to make up the deficit because of poor performance. I find this an intolerable and unacceptable. You cannot obligate me for someone else's contract that I never signed. Maybe their healthcare, daycare and vacation plans are underfunded too and they will just send me a bill.

Here is an example of what happens most everywhere:

I have seen TV shows, radio shows, etc and they are so numerous I cannot remember all of them. My point still stands in the main. Public unions game their systems in a hundred ways besides salary, eg., overtime, top pay for pensions, disability, time off, double dipping, etc. Because there are no cost controls and no real transparency they get away with it...until now when the huge bills are coming due.

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 00:31 | 2627025 NorthenSoul
NorthenSoul's picture

Notice how many negatives you got for stating the facts?

That is why this country is going down the drain; so many righttards and llibertarianofuckheads bashing people barely making 50K a year when their real oppressors make millions upon millions sucking up their wealth via pure rent seeking.

OMFG! How must the ultra wealthy and financiers be laughing their freaking asses off! The density of stoopids makes their adventures in crony capitalism akin to shooting fish in a barrel.

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