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Posts Tagged ‘Unions’
July 18th, 2013 at 5:10 pm
The Wages of Liberalism
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This story would be slightly less depressing even if we hadn’t all seen it coming for years:

Detroit on Thursday became the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy, as the state-appointed emergency manager filed for Chapter 9 protection.

Kevyn Orr, a bankruptcy expert, was hired by the state in March to lead Detroit out of a fiscal free-fall and made the filing Thursday in federal bankruptcy court.

A number of factors — most notably steep population and tax base falls — have been blamed on Detroit’s tumble toward insolvency. Detroit lost a quarter-million residents between 2000 and 2010. A population that in the 1950s reached 1.8 million is struggling to stay above 700,000. Much of the middle-class and scores of businesses also have fled Detroit, taking their tax dollars with them.

This, of course, doesn’t take the analysis back quite far enough. The population and tax base are symptoms, not causes. Why did people actually leave? Well, there were local officials intent on driving out part of the population on racial grounds, the dominance of unions that ended up choking the auto industry, overwhelming crime rates, and a spate of corrupt politicians.

For decades now, Detroit has been a laboratory of liberalism. Today’s news only makes explicit what many of us concluded long ago: the experiment has failed.

August 2nd, 2012 at 12:37 pm
Slate Trips at the Finish Line
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Talk to most people who write about politics for a living long enough and you’ll find that there are certain topics that aggravate them far out of proportion to their ultimate significance. Some issues just get up your nose, even if they’ll never command a news cycle.

For me, one of those issues is the U.S. Postal Service. I’m one of those irritating, libertarian-leaning types that can’t resist the contrarian instinct to object when someone says that the federal government shouldn’t do anything beyond “Protecting our shores, defending the borders, and delivering the mail.” (For the record, I’m fine with the first two).

Perhaps it started when I read about the federal government’s epic battle with the anarcho-libertarian activist Lysander Spooner in the 19th century, when he tried to upend their postal monopoly. But regardless, I’ve felt vindicated in recent years as the the lack of the USPS’s financial sustainability has come to light.

Thus, you can only imagine the joy I felt when Matthew Yglesias, Slate’s liberal economics writer, recently declared himself in favor of privatizing the Postal Service. This was music to my ears:

The model is pretty simple, albeit a little old-fashioned as a way of providing public services. Rather than having taxpayers directly finance mail delivery, Congress has chartered a freestanding entity, the USPS, charged with the legal obligation to provide low-cost daily mail service six days a week to all Americans at a flat rate—regardless of whether it’s cost-effective to do so. In exchange, that entity has a monopoly on ordinary mail delivery. The idea is that the lucrative monopoly over delivery to metropolitan areas will generate enough revenue to cover money-losing rural services without the need for direct taxpayer subsidies. The problem is that the monopoly isn’t nearly as lucrative as it used to be—and barring some wild technological shift, it’s going to keep getting less and less lucrative.

That means that administrative fixes related to Saturday delivery or various schemes to more aggressively lay off workers or cut their pay will only kick the can down the road. Sooner or later the basic model will need a more thorough rethink.

Quite right. But here’s where he stumbles:

But absent open-ended taxpayer subsidies, postal workers are going to suffer. A monopoly on daily mail delivery is an intrinsically much less valuable thing to have in 2012 than it was in 1992, and nothing can change that. A humane approach to privatization would note that the USPS currently owns a lot of valuable assets—not only a good brand, but a massive portfolio of real estate—and that the federal government has no real need for the one-time infusion of cash that would come from selling it. That means the privatized company could be turned over to its workforce as an employee-owned firm. Workers could have a say in how to manage the transition and the ability to benefit as owners from more efficient business even as they lost as workers from the same dynamic.

Those first two sentences are indisputably accurate. The rest of it? Barmy. Outright barmy.

The federal government has “no need” for a “one-time infusion of cash”? The federal government is one slight downturn away from rooting through the cushions of congressional office furniture to pick up spare change! And the preferred method of privatizing the postal service is to turn it into a workers’ collective? That’ll definitely staunch the bleeding from excess union influence.

Want a better model? The answer — and it’s always a bad sign when you have to say this — is to follow Europe’s lead and embrace full-tilt privatization.

Kudos to Slate and Mr. Yglesias for at least leaning in the right direction. But the defect with this analysis — as with the Postal Service itself — is that the time for half-measures is well behind us.

August 1st, 2012 at 1:44 pm
Louisiana Teachers Unions Fight a Desperate Rearguard
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A few months ago, I authored a column here touting the extraordinary accomplishments of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in enacting perhaps the most sweeping piece of education reform in the country. Part of what made the reform possible, I noted at the time, was the relative weakness of teacher unions in the Pelican State:

The laws passed by the Louisiana legislature last week read like a conservative education reformer’s wish list. Teacher tenure, which previously required three years of employment, will now be contingent on educators receiving a “highly effective” rating in five out of six consecutive years. Back-to-back “ineffective” ratings will be a firing offense. Seniority will no longer be a dominant factor in layoff decisions. Decisions about teacher employment and pay will largely devolve to principals and superintendents (they had previously been dominated by local school boards), allowing them to act with the dispatch becoming of an executive.

The reforms go well beyond personnel matters, however. They open up opportunities for charter schools, allowing new providers to enter the market. They offer vouchers that will allow poor and middle-income children in Louisiana’s worst schools to attend private or parochial institutions. They even expand opportunities for online learning.

Had Jindal tried something nearly as audacious in a union-dominated state like California, Illinois or New York, the proposal surely would have been stillborn in committee. But in right-to-work Louisiana, where the unions aren’t subsidized by compulsory membership, the best that organized labor can do is flail in anger after the fact. And flail they have.

Well, the flailing is now reaching a crescendo. As is the tendency of unions that can’t win arguments at the ballot box, organized labor is now taking the fight to the courts. From the Wall Street Journal (subscription required):

On Thursday, lawyers representing the unions faxed letters to about 100 of the 119 schools that are participating in the voucher program. “Our clients have directed us to take whatever means necessary,” the letter reads. Unless the school agrees to turn away voucher students, “we will have no alternative other than to institute litigation.” The letter demanded an answer in writing by the next day.

Louisiana’s voucher program is adjusted for family income and is intended above all to give a shot at a decent education to underprivileged minorities, who are more likely to be relegated to the worst public schools. Forty-four percent of Louisiana public schools received a D or F ranking under the state’s grading system, and some 84% of the kids in the program come from one of those low-performing schools.

Demand for vouchers has been overwhelming: There were 10,300 applications for 5,600 slots. Despite claims to the contrary by school-choice opponents, low-income parents can and do act rationally when it comes to the education of their children.

That last sentence, I think, says it all. Liberals — who reflexively bay about the plight of the underclass — are actively complicit in keeping them “under”; that is, in denying them both opportunity and aspiration. They are there for the poor only to the extent that it does not conflict with the interests of one of their client groups. In this instance, they have chosen the pecuniary interests of the unions over the future of Louisiana’s children. There is much shame in that. Citizens of Louisiana would do well to make them bear it.

May 14th, 2012 at 12:12 pm
Another Big Labor Failure: America’s Only Unionized Strip Club Likely to Close
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One can only imagine the emotional travails of being a devoted liberal; of being completely seduced by the philosophical purity of your ideals, only to so regularly see them falsified by practical experience.

One area where this regularly plays out is with labor unions, where the dream of worker empowerment often yields to the reality that the high costs imposed by big labor weaken businesses and frequently undermine the jobs of the very workers the union is supposed to be defending (see “Automobile Industry, American”).

Based on a recent story in Northern California’s Bay Citizen — about a strip club on the verge of closing down — it seems that there’s no industry free from the corrosive union influence:

Most strip club dancers are “independent contractors” who earn money dancing for tips. Often they have to pay the clubs for stage time, a system that can make the dancers vulnerable to exploitative business practices.

When the Lusty Lady’s dancers voted to unionize in 1997, they wanted to protect themselves from such practices. In 2003, the workers bought the business and turned it into a cooperative, making it perhaps the most San Francisco strip club in San Francisco. The club’s employees receive hourly salaries and those who are part of the co-op also share in its revenue (when there is revenue.)

… Tempest, another Lusty Lady dancer, told the pro-labor newsmagazine “In These Times,” that she has had second thoughts about unionizing, a move she once supported. She questioned whether unionization “is conducive to strip club profits.”

She’s got a point, although the words “strip club” in that last sentence are extraneous. It’s hardly a shame that these young women will likely have to find a more edifying line of work. That being said, the Lusty Lady’s travails are representative of the plight of union shops throughout the nation. It turns out that profits, when ignored, tend to evaporate — no matter the industry.

Most strip club dancers are “independent contractors” who earn money dancing for tips. Often they have to pay the clubs for stage time, a system that can make the dancers vulnerable to exploitative business practices.

When the Lusty Lady’s dancers voted to unionize in 1997, they wanted to protect themselves from such practices. In 2003, the workers bought the business and turned it into a cooperative, making it perhaps the most San Francisco strip club in San Francisco. The club’s employees receive hourly salaries and those who are part of the co-op also share in its revenue (when there is revenue.)

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/1bfiB)

January 5th, 2012 at 11:25 pm
Liberal Paper Smears Conservative Wisconsin Judge

In a case that should make conservatives stand up and take notice, and that merits (and later will receive from me) far more ink (or cyber ink) than this blog entry can provide, yet another liberal media organ, with yet another series of tendentious stories, is doing the work of the organized political left and the Democratic Party (but I repeat myself) by trying to rescue Wisconsin unions from duly passed laws reining in their abuses.

It’s a complicated story, but the semi-short version is this: In an absurd and perhaps unconstitutional attempt at strangling free political speech, organs of the Left brought ethics charges  in 2008 against newly elected Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who had just defeated liberal hack Louis Butler in a hard-fought race. They had the temerity to accuse Gableman of lying about Butler during the campaign, and wanted an organ of the state to adjudge what was and wasn’t acceptable political speech — First Amendment be damned.

The charges failed, eventually, on a 3-3 vote at the state Supreme Court.

Later, last year, Gableman joined a narrow high court majority  ruling in favor of the constitutionality of the controversial new Wisconsin laws reining in the unions. The Left wants that ruling vacated — so they are going after Gableman again.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel suddenly is all hot to report that Gableman’s lawyer during the ethics trial back then worked on a contingency fee basis — in other words, that Gableman didn’t pay the lawyer out of his own pocket. Worse, Gableman later ruled in a number of cases in which the lawyer’s firm was of counsel, including some 4-3 decisions — and ruled in favor of the client of that firm.

Egads! Scandal! The way the Journal-Sentinel-House-Organ-of-Democrats has been playing the story in multiple articles, Gableman accepted a free “gift” in the form of the contingency fee agreement (the firm was never paid because the 3-3 tie vote on the ethics charge meant that Gableman didn’t actually “win” the case, and therefore the attorneys couldn’t collect). When Gableman then was faced with other cases involving the firm that had provided him a “gift,” he therefore was supposedly required to recuse himself.  Or so the paper’s biased coverage overwhelmingly suggests. And of course, it just so happens that one of those cases was the union case, which, by this logic, should be re-opened because of Gableman’s ghastly ethics.

What a nice, neat little package.

And what a crock of, uh, you know, rhymes with mitt.

To make its case, the Journal-Sentinal (pretending to be objective) turned for supposed legal-ethics expertise to Stephen Gillers, “a New York University Law School professor who specializes in legal ethics.” Never mind that Gillers is the same hack that the Left and establishment journalists (again, I repeat myself) trot out any time they need a “expert” to bash conservative legal ethics — because, of course, Gillers always somehow seems to come down in favor of whatever position benefits the political aims of liberals. How convenient.

But here’s the real kicker: How is it that a contingency fee arrangement is suddenly a “gift”? I thought the left, always in hock to the plaintiffs’ bar, loved contingency fee arrangements! That’s what gets the jackpots that are used to fund a huge part of the Left’s political apparatus. Is every plaintiff represented through a contingency-fee arrangement getting a “gift”? Of course not. As Viet Dinh, Gableman’s NEW lawyer, wrote in a letter to the editor that the Journal-Sentinel has conveniently refused to publish (although it did selectively quote from the letter in a “news” story), “Justice Gableman has the same fundamental right to representation as any other individual, and there is nothing improper or unethical about acquiring legal representation through a contingency fee agreement…. The inaccuracies are so persistent, and their pattern against Justice Gableman so consistent, that one unfortunately must consider editorial and journalistic bias.”

WAIT: There’s more. This is rich. It now turns out that a clearly left-leaning Judge in Wisconsin, the Hon. John Siefert, sued the Wisconsin Judicial Commission over a different issue in 2008. And guess what: Siefert did so under a contingency fee arrangement!! One waits with bated breath to see if the Journal-Sentinel will now run a series of “news” articles asking if Siefert improperly took a “gift.”

One will probably wait forever, and one’s breath will remain bated.

September 16th, 2011 at 3:05 pm
House GOP Votes to Rein-in NLRB

Yesterday was a victory of sorts for those of us who want Congress to clip the wings of the regulatory state.  In a near-perfect party-line vote the House of Representatives passed a measure prohibiting the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from harassing businesses like Boeing for moving to business friendly states.

Earlier this year, the liberal majority on the NLRB sued Boeing for opening up a new factory in South Carolina – a right-to-work state – instead of expanding its existing manufacturing presence in Washington state, a union shop state.  For the first time in its history, NLRB interpreted its congressionally delegated authority to include the power to punish a private business for relocating some of its operations to more profitable climes.

Congress now has an opportunity to correct NLRB’s overly broad interpretation.

NRLB’s unprecedented decision merits a brush back response like the one the GOP-controlled House delivered yesterday.  Though the measure is likely to die in the Democrat-controlled Senate, the Boeing-NLRB tussle should be some Republican presidential candidate’s Exhibit A on the regulatory overreach of Obama’s federal government.

Unions can only grow if businesses grow first.  It’s time for the liberals at the NLRB and elsewhere to remember that simple truth.

H/T: Washington Times

August 26th, 2011 at 10:56 am
CFIF Joins Coalition Against Union “Flash Elections,” Big Labor’s Version of “Flash Mobs”
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You’ve heard of “flash mobs,” the growing phenomenon of thugs descending upon, assaulting and robbing convenience stores or vulnerable people on the street? Well, “flash elections” are Big Labor’s economic version of flash mobs.

Flash elections, or “ambush elections,” reference a proposed rule that would shorten the election window in union organizing campaigns to as little as 10 days.  Big Labor, which we noted this week elevates its own political power over American jobs and employee welfare, loves the ambush election proposal and is currently pushing it within Barack Obama’s  rogue National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).  Ambush elections are dangerous for many reasons, including the fact that they would drastically limit employers’ free speech window and ability to present both sides of the story to employees.  In contrast, union bosses would have many months to present their skewed arguments to employees without even allowing employers to become aware that a union organizing campaign was underway.  Moreover, ambush elections are a toxic “solution” in search of a problem, considering that the current median election time is 38 days, and 95% of elections already occur within two months, hardly an eternity.

Accordingly, CFIF is proud to announce that it has joined the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace and 275 other employers and associations in petitioning the NLRB to withdraw this destructive proposal.  Big Labor and the Obama NLRB have already killed enough jobs.  We simply cannot afford to lose even more due to their ideological shenanigans.

August 17th, 2011 at 5:37 pm
Citizens Can Stop Obama’s Big Labor Giveaway
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Ever since the health care debate permanently damaged President Obama’s credibility with the American people, his administration has avoided major legislative confrontations. Instead, the White House has pursued many of its most controversial initiatives through the administrative process, hoping that Americans won’t notice major changes crafted through esoteric rule changes. Now’s your chance to prove the president wrong.

As the Daily Caller reports, the National Labor Relations Board is proposing a rule change that would dramatically shorten the period of time between when union organizers file a petition and when an actual unionization vote is held. The policy, intended to make it harder for management to counter union initiatives, would shorten the period from around six weeks down to 7 to 10 days. 

The Caller characterized one former board member as saying “the Board appears to be rushing to finalize its new policy before more Americans can flood the government with disagreeable comments.” But that looks to be a losing endeavor. The public comment period, which began on June 22, has already resulted in more than 17,000 comments, most of them negative.

There’s still time to stop the NLRB’s anti-business onslaught. The comment period remains open through Monday, August 22. If you’re interested in making your voice heard, you can comment here. The job you save could be your own.

August 11th, 2011 at 7:45 pm
Voters Kill the Messenger When It’s a Union Member

The Fix notes that Big Labor is looking awfully small in recent election cycles.  Citing organized labor’s unsuccessful primary attacks on Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and this week’s failure to recall enough Wisconsin Republicans to take back the state senate, one Democratic strategist speaks the obvious – if anonymous – truth.

“The unmistakable lesson is that every time labor makes it about labor, they lose,” said one senior Democratic strategist granted anonymity to speak candidly. “It’s a messenger problem.”

With public employee unions eating up ever larger amounts of taxpayer money, it’s no wonder the majority of non-union members are revolting at the thought of strengthening labor’s hand.  In reality, the unnamed source mentioned above doesn’t quite draw the right lesson from Big Labor’s election problem.  It’s not just the messenger – it’s the message of more money in a tight recession that’s the problem.  Unless unions get on-board with the national belt-tightening, they’ll experience a lot more rejections in the elections to come.

August 8th, 2011 at 3:22 pm
Verizon Strike: Union Refuses to Negotiate or Acknowledge Today’s Reality
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Yesterday, the union representing 45,000 northeastern and mid-Atlantic Verizon Communications employees walked away from the negotiating table and went on strike.  So what’s the problem?  Unsurprisingly, the union simply refuses to acknowledge today’s fiscal and technological realities.

It’s no secret that traditional copper wire communication – the division of Verizon in which the striking employees work – is a declining industry.  In many homes today, a copper wire telephone looks like a quaint throwback to a bygone era, just as a dial phone looked 30 years ago with the arrival of push-button phones.  That helps explain why wireline services are a declining part of Verizon’s business, and why most of Verizon’s profits come from wireless, not wireline, communications anymore.  Stated simply, cellular phones and Voice over IP (VoIP) provide more advanced services more competitively.

Yet the CWA and IBEW refuse to acknowledge reality, and refuse to negotiate any attempt to share healthcare costs.

Other Verizon employees, including those in its fast-growing wireless phone and high-speed Internet divisions, already share a portion of their healthcare costs.  In fact, 130,000 Verizon employees already do.  This is simply a fact of modern life.

Across America, every employing entity in the United States is adapting to today’s economic and technological environment.   Cities are dropping police and fire departments in favor of coordinating with adjoining cities.   States are reviewing their employment practices and work rules to more accurately reflect the pressures of lower revenues and higher pension costs.   Major companies are re-tooling not just their factories, but their production methods and business lines to more closely adapt to changing customer demands and new technologies.  To that end, every business – from the smallest mom-and-pop stores to the largest telecommunications companies – must deal with the ever-growing cost of health care.  Most Americans recognized long ago that individuals have to help bear the burden of growing healthcare costs.  For its part, Verizon can hardly be said to be abandoning its employees’ healthcare needs, as the company spends about $4 billion per year on healthcare for employees, retirees, and their families.

So it is no small irony that wireline workers’ unions are least interested in evolving to allow their employer to continue to provide high-paying, long-term jobs to their employees and excellent services to their customers.

May 14th, 2011 at 12:54 pm
CA GOP’s Budget Proposal Shows Party Getting Serious

City Journal has a piece by Pacific Research Institute’s Steve Greenhut praising the California Assembly’s GOP leadership for proposing a series of small fixes that would result in dramatic savings for the state budget:

But much more encouraging is that the Republican plan suggests how simple reforms can save serious dollars. Take the provision of medical care for prison inmates. According to the Assembly GOP’s budget white paper, “The cost of providing health care to state prisoners has been the fastest growing part of the corrections budget. After the [federal] receiver took control of the system in 2006, medical costs skyrocketed. They reached $2.5 billion a year, including mental health care. The cost of health care for each inmate per year in California is approximately $11,600, while prison healthcare costs $5,757 in New York; $4,720 in Florida; $4,418 in Pennsylvania; and $2,920 in Texas. While costs have increased dramatically, it has not improved the quality of care enough to take the system out of federal court receivership.” Under the Republican plan, the state would contract out the correctional health-care system, saving $400 million. But that would mean taking on the powerful California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the prison-guard union that just won an absurdly generous contract from the governor.

Other budget cuts in the Republican blueprint include $3.7 billion from programs related to early childhood, mental health, the poor, and the elderly, as well as $1.1 billion from the state payroll. The plan also includes $2.8 billion in other savings from a bill that has already passed the Assembly but hasn’t become law. It doesn’t go far enough toward addressing the size and scope of California’s government, since the state faces even bigger fiscal problems down the road. But Republicans have made their point: California can fix at least its short-term budget problem if Democrats truly want to.

The Assembly GOP’s white paper on their budget proposal balances the state’s remaining $15 billion budget deficit without raising taxes.  Greenhut points out that although the proposal doesn’t fix the structural issues plaguing California’s chronically dysfunctional governing process, it does show that there are at least a few Republicans able to offer a serious solution to the state’s most troubling problem.

March 18th, 2011 at 10:32 am
Gallup Survey: Unions Reduce Workplace Wellbeing
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Apparently, whatever jobs labor unions don’t drive overseas or eliminate entirely are made worse by them.

According to a just-released Gallup survey, “U.S. Union Workers Score Lower on Work Enforcement Index.”  On a variety of measures, from the sense of employee/supervisor partnership to overall trust, unionized workplaces simply maintain substantially lower levels of workplace wellbeing.  Ultimately, as the Gallup report states, unionized workplaces impact the factors that “in turn have well-documented associations to various desirable business outcomes, including customer engagement, turnover, absenteeism, and productivity.”

As critical standoffs between taxpayers and intransigent labor bosses in Wisconsin and across the nation continue, this new Gallup survey sheds some important information on the matter.

March 14th, 2011 at 12:53 pm
Unions, Environmentalists at War over EPA Regulations

Since at least the FDR era, the Democratic Party has served as an umbrella for a motley coalition of special interest groups that have only one thing in common: demanding action from government.  Most of the time, the competing priorities of the groups don’t come into direct conflict.  But when they do, it is a delight to sit back and watch each carve up the other.

Today’s example comes from the pages of the Wall Street Journal.  Apparently, businesses in the energy sector aren’t the only ones fighting the Obama Administration’s job-killing EPA regulations.  Labor unions like the Utility Workers Union of America and the United Mine Workers are demanding a ceasefire on cap-it-or-close-it regulations that could force companies to close 18% of the nation’s coal factories if they fail to comply with the EPA’s proposed climate change rules.

Unions recognize that without factories workers get fired.  Environmentalists don’t want to budge on what the Natural Resources Defense Council calls “the biggest public health achievement” of the Obama Administration.

Simple math is likely to break the stalemate.  Unions in coal states account for millions of campaign contributions and thousands of votes.  With Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin all flipping from Obama in 2008 to the Republicans in 2010, don’t count on the president to sacrifice his reelection chances on the altar of green jobs.

If he does, union voters – and their dollars – just might stay home in 2012.

February 25th, 2011 at 1:34 pm
The Secrets of Chris Christie’s Success

In a characteristically well written piece Matt Bai identifies several political skills wielded by New Jersey’s dynamic governor.  Among them, Chris Christie’s ability to humanize mundane issues like pension policy stand out.

The theme of the week was pension-and-benefits reform, and in his introductory remarks, Christie explained the inefficiency in the state’s health care costs not by wielding a stack of damning statistics, as some politicians might, but by relating a story.

When he was a federal prosecutor, Christie told the audience, he got to choose from about 100 health-insurance plans, ranging from cheap to quite expensive. But as soon as he became governor, the “benefits lady” told him he had only three state plans from which to choose, Goldilocks-style; one was great, one was modestly generous and one was rather miserly. And any of the three would cost him exactly 1.5 percent of his salary.

“ ‘You’re telling me,’ ” Christie said he told the woman, feigning befuddlement, “ ‘that no matter which one I pick, the good one or the O.K. one or the bad one, I’m going to pay 1½ percent of my salary?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’

“And I said, ‘Then everyone picks the really good one, right?’ And she said, ‘Ninety-six percent of state employees pick the really good one.’

“Which led me to have two reactions,” Christie told the crowd. “First, bring those other 4 percent to me! Because when I have to start laying people off, they’re the first ones!” His audience burst into near hysterics. “And the second reaction was, of course I would choose the best plan,” Christie said, “and so would you.

Bai goes on to report seeing Christie’s mixed race audience nodding in agreement that public employees should be required to pay more for the better plan.  As Christie says, this isn’t rocket science, just common sense.  His ability to relate hard truths in understandable terms is a unique gift shared by the likes of Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, JFK, and FDR.  Not bad company for a guy from New Jersey.

February 24th, 2011 at 6:13 pm
We Had an Election, Stupid

Maybe Wisconsin Democrats need Ragin’ Cajun Jim Carville to explain the concept that elections have consequences.  It wouldn’t be the first time Carville unleashed on members of his own party.

But perhaps Ed Morrissey will do as a substitute with his cool reasoning about the proper way to handle a campaign defeat:

If Republicans overreached with their budget-repair bill and unfairly restricted the rights of unions, then let Democrats go on record opposing the bill and make it the centerpiece of the next legislative election in Wisconsin. Under the circumstances, though, the Democrats who have tried to hijack democracy in order to dictate terms should be the ones who fear the next election the most.

The longer Wisconsin Senate Democrats delay action on legislative business, the more authority they lose to negotiate on any other issue this session.  They also shouldn’t forget the lesson they’re teaching majority Republicans whenever they do return: lock the doors and monitor the whereabouts of every quorum-busting Democrat to make sure they don’t pull this stunt again.

Is that really the precedent Wisconsin Democrats want to establish?

February 22nd, 2011 at 12:06 am
Further Proof that Paul Krugman is Unstable
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From today’s iteration of the inimitable (thank God) Dr. Krugman’s column in the New York Times:

… what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t about the state budget, despite Mr. Walker’s pretense that he’s just trying to be fiscally responsible. It is, instead, about power. What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy.

If this is what makes it to print, one wonders what function it is exactly that Dr. Krugman’s ‘editor’ serves. The Grey Lady is on life support.

July 27th, 2010 at 5:19 pm
First Amendment Victory: Senate Blocks DISCLOSE Act
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Amid the flurry of inanity brought upon this nation by Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, it is important to stop and smell the roses of triumph.  One arrived today when the Senate blocked, at least for now, the DISCLOSE Act. 

That act would violate the First Amendment rights of free speech and free association in its attempt to reverse the Supreme Court’s correct Citizens United v. FEC decision, while effectively exempting politically powerful labor unions.   Obama, Pelosi and Reid will surely follow with their usual bromides about “the people versus the powerful,” but the fact is that the DISCLOSE Act is nothing more than a scheme to enable the powerful, namely partisan Big Labor, at the expense of everyday citizens.  It’s a welcome victory for free speech and freedom of association, and a stinging defeat for an Obama Administration that manages to pioneer new realms of cynical partisanship on a daily basis.

April 22nd, 2010 at 4:46 pm
Could Private-Sector and Public-Sector Unions Begin Squaring Off Soon?
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Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has earned high praise from conservatives by making good so far on his promise to clean up the state’s fiscal debacle using established conservative principles.  Christie inherited a $2.2 billion deficit this year and a projected $10.7 billion deficit for next year (over 1/3 of the total budget size), but has managed to cut $13 billion in spending in just eight weeks.  In so doing, he has naturally enraged the usual leftist entitlement class and unionized public employees.

Notably, however, Governor Christie has attracted some support from state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, who is a Democrat and leader of a local private-sector union.  The reason?  Perhaps Mr. Sweeney has recognized that the same public-sector unions whose exorbitant wages and benefits busted New Jersey’s budget also eat into the wages and livelihoods of private-sector union members who pay taxes to subsidize those public sector employees.

Now that the number of public-sector union members exceeds the number of private -sector union members, could we be witnessing the first signs of an intra-labor deathmatch?  This could be interesting…

November 2nd, 2009 at 4:33 pm
Union Workers Punish Ford For… Succeeding
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Last week, we noted that American consumers rewarded Ford for refraining from bankruptcy and accepting federal bailout dollars by significantly boosting its share of domestic auto sales.

So leave it to unionized workers to react to Ford’s admirable success story in a very different way.  As we noted in our commentary last week, many market observers worried that Ford would face a competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis General Motors and Chrysler, which did accept bankruptcy and government largess.  All three Detroit automakers had been on a decades-long course of suicidal labor and business practices, but Ford chose to right its course the old-fashioned way, in contrast to GM and Chrysler.  For this, Ford was rewarded by American car buyers.

But not by union voters, who rejected a contract that would have brought Ford’s unsustainable labor costs in line with those maintained by GM and Chrysler after their bailouts.  As noted by the Associated Press, “workers weren’t convinced they should make more concessions, since Ford avoided bankruptcy and is considered healthier than its rivals.”

So there you have it.  Behave responsibly by reviving your business without taxpayer dollars, and unionized workers will punish you for doing the right thing.  We’ll check back in with these same union voters when they exclaim shock that their jobs disappear overseas or other non-union locales.