Latest Scape Goat: Public Workers Unions

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I know I’m going against a headwind here, but the problems we face locally and as a nation are not the fault of labor unions. There is plenty of history of graft, mob connections and slackers who are not held to competitive standards and none of that is good for unions or the people they are supposed to serve.

The fact remains that when unions were strong, so was the country. And when unions have been weak, the workers and country suffered from recession to depression to recession to depression. The problems we have now — the ones that threaten our sovereignty and national security — have nothing to do with the strength of unions. And the members of unions, including public service unions have not seen their wages go up any more than private workers — neither one was able to keep up with inflation and they all depended upon credit to try to maintain their standard of living until the money and the credit was gone.

Our problems stem from the fact that Wall Street tricked cities, counties, states and even the Federal government with zany financial instruments which in hindsight even Alan Greenspan admitted he didn’t understand. The megabanks were running things because we trusted them more than they ever earned. We trusted because we had “leaders” who gave us the impression that at least they understood what they were doing. Everybody was hiding the fact that nobody knew anything.

The system was running amok because the regulators were told to lay off Wall Street and because even the regulators who wanted to do their job were presented with a growing monstrosity that was made to appear so complex it was incapable of being analyzed by human eyes. So they trusted the output of a computer whose synthetic programming was designed to give answers that the megabanks wanted people to see.

Anyone who sent out warnings was sent out to pasture. They were marginalized as chicken littles who were delusional about the sky falling. And even though they were right and even though they are saying the same thing now, they are still marginalized and we still don’t want to believe that this thing could get worse and that our system is still running amok in the banks, in the courtrooms and in the legislatures. We still want to believe that now our fearless leaders understand what is going on when the fact is they don’t. We still want to believe that the banks could not be as stupid as I have been saying along with others who preceded my dire warnings in 2007.

Yet here is the truth: banks don’t get smarter, they just grow bigger. And if they are running outside the boundaries of our trust and what the society and financial system needs, they will make the situation worse as they grow. That is exactly what happened. The power of the banks has been consolidated into even fewer banks than we had before the 2007 disaster, and the ones that are left have grown by huge margins — which means that the original horrendous situation that broke in 2007-2008 and became obvious at the beginning of 2009 has worsened proportionately to the growth of these monstrous banks.

This year, 2011, will be the year that cities, towns and even states default on their bond obligation. This year may be the year that U.S. debt might be downgraded by the very rating agencies that should have been replaced when the original problems surfaced. This year, will probably be the year when the U.S. dollar is no longer used as the world’s reserve currency. Absent the capital being hoarded by Wall Street, the business world will see continuing high unemployment, lower wages and more foreclosures, homelessness and “doubling up” by families merging two households into one.

All this is at risk, as well as our sovereignty, our country as we knew it, unless we accept the fact that the situation is getting worse and that current policies, guided by Wall Street data and influence, are hurting everyone and in the end there will be nobody excluded from the economic carnage. Of course if throw aside our belief systems for a moment, if we jettison ideology just for a little while,  and focus on the facts, if we fix things that can be fixed no matter how loud the howls from the Wall Street wolves, then maybe we can have a softer landing or even a positive result. I’ve been trying to come up with a combined word that gives us one party instead of two, since that appears where we really are heading — Republimats? Demublicans?

As long as we see the issues as the fight between one party and another, one ideology against another, then the fight is about power. And that is probably the way it will be. But if we could just have enough people in the country say we’ve had enough of this gamesmanship, brinkmanship, and power plays. If we could really make it clear we wanted results — a shot at prosperity for everyone, individual rights, applying the Constitution (instead of ignoring it) using all ten amendments and not just some of them in the Bill of Rights, then things would be different. Sadly, I’m afraid they hoodwinked too many of us. We support people who should be out of office or even in jail. We allow policies that are an affront to human morality and American ideals. We got in the habit of shooting ourselves in the foot and we have done it for so long — decades — that most of us think that is just the way things always were and just the way the world works.

When I look at history I don’t see anything that was all good or all bad. I see people who did some good and some things that were not so good or even bad. But until now we always had the momentum in the direction of human rights, better conditions for workers, an opportunity for prosperity if you stay within the lines of right and wrong. Until now we always had a moral compass. It’s not the unions who shoved us off the path. We may not like some things about unions but they aren’t to blame for the weather nor are they to blame for our current economic status. We know that isn’t true. We know our moral compass has been defective for years. Let’s polish it up and get it working again.

24 Responses

  1. The only way to fix this broken government is to get a new one.

    Sign the petition

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/alter-and-abolish

  2. To Ian, So now your silly rant expose’s that you are a business owner trying to tell employees that they don’t need a union any longer.

  3. John-I haven’t looked for work for almost 30 years. I own my own business. I don’t think that 9% of the US workforce holding the other 91% of the US workforce hostage is a good business plan. I think that state and federal law demanding that certain work or businesses be union is an even worse business plan. Because we have all known that the only reason that this is so is because the unions have “influence” and “lobbyists”. Additionally, the only way the 9% can do it is through legislation,laws,etc. Because an action like this can’t move on its own. And that is because it doesn’t make any sense. Things which don’t make any sense never move. They whither on the vine. This is what you get for your vote.

  4. In a time of massive deflation, our leaders can
    not bring themselves to cut public wages and benefits across the board to avoid layoffs and our
    local, state and national governments going bank
    rupt.
    In the private sector, if revenues are 20% below
    expenses, everyone takes a 20% haircut in order to
    balance the budget and avoid layoffs.
    Our leader said he would have to stop any pay
    increases for federal workers and now he wants to
    raise the debt ceiling.
    How about this, all Federal workers set an example by taking a 20% cut in wages and bene’s
    so the debt ceiling does not have to be raised.
    Neither Republicans nor Democrats have talked about this because they are gutless and it is easier
    to just let the country go broke.
    Teapartiers, let us hear from you on this!

  5. To Ian & The Dying Truth…..I guess looking for work is hard enough in todays unstable job market but being a scab in a country where the best paying jobs are union must be the shits.

  6. usedkarguy,

    Yes — Quite some time ago studied US corporations who were going under. Research revealed pensions was major cause. But, although corporations ceased “generous” pensions— public systems did not — public employee still retire early with nearly full pay — paid by us.

    Nothing against these employees — but — behind a corporate system that long ago said no.

    Cannot continue to fund — and cannot to fund public employee pensions with adjustable rate mortgages — way above the market rate — assessed against borrowers who cannot NEVER pay that rate or payment. And, why was such a rate assessed against them??? Maybe because they were 30 days late on a credit card, maybe because they were ill, maybe because they lost their job — that was sent overseas.

    Government cannot rely on fraud to fund public employee pensions.

    As to Neil’s article above —Unions serve a purpose — when we have a real product to sell to the rest of the world. We no longer have that.

    We cannot continue to a nation of services — will not work — will not last — will not allow America to grow. We need growth HERE — not just abroad.

  7. Ian,
    Bravo! 😮 >

  8. Jonn- while unions/labor laws were necessary when they were first brought into existence, following the publication of The Jungle,regarding the inhuman conditions in Chicago’s meatpacking plants, and the 14 hr days of “breaker boys” here in NE Pa. coalmines,etc., it has since morphed into something altogether different. As only 9% of the nation’s labor force belongs to a union,and a good portion of that governmental, it would appear that union wages and benefits are just another tax on the rest of us working stiffs. Speaking of janitors,why do you always see 3 of them sweeping floors with 2’wide brooms? I would think you would give one of them a 6′ broom and fire the other 2. And politicians always announce that they have gotten the backing of this union,or that union. So what? What does that mean to the rest of us? Nothing. And what does that mean to the union members and the union hierarchy? It means you gave them your vote, now you want the status quo maintained. More money. More benefits. Better job security. More job security. This is how alot of us feel. After all, we are just the silent majority, who ask for, and receive,nothing.

  9. I hope this website is about helping people that can and will help themselves. The middle class that do have pensions and unions and homeownership that is being slowly robbed by the bankers. Not the people that find fault in everything and was given a chance to have a home but lost it because of laziness or just plain stupidity.Working people need unions. I can’t believe the hate I hear for our professors that teach our children or the janitor that picks up your shit everyday.

  10. I have to agree with E. Toile. It is a war–Wall Street vs. America. However, the really scary part here is that the US Government is also a part of the scam. The mega banks and Wall Street have been setting up the House and the Senate to create laws that rob us of our property, our wealth, our freedom (Homeland Security, whatta joke) and our rights under the Constitution. They will not stop until we stop them–cold. http://www.challengingforeclosure.com Sirak@challengingforeclosure.com

  11. “OH MY, Public Service Unions! Who would’ve and How could we not have seen this Problem!?!” j/k

    I Strongly disagree
    Come on, we’re not all idiots here Neil. Cops, Firefighters, Sheriffs, Judges, Clerks, Politicians etc.. are all FREE LOADING. Our Country is in crisis from the ground up, so they’re obviously not doing their jobs (most of which are actually useless, worthless etc..), they made the call to pull the Ejection Seat to the Street Lever on all of us, why should we care if it happens to them? We’re People they’re PERSons, We have nothing because of them they still have Houses and Pensions (I can’t wait to see all that get taken away from them, Karma’s a B!*&#), and on top of all of that those “deadbeats” got mortgages on our States without our permission to pay for their worthless employment and free houses and are now defaulting. I mean come on now, the same should apply to them. They get kicked out (Houses and Jobs FOREVER) and we stick them with the BILL, they borrowed that money from China not us they can pay for it (if they’re not executed for treason), this is what their greed and corruption should reap.

    Republicans + Democrats = Purple (does that solve your problem?)

    “If ‘moral compass’ broken, need no worry, not need fix, We still have warranty” > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Declaration_of_Independence

    > http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/alter-and-abolish/

    AGAIN & AGAIN.

  12. Folks, our municipalities aren’t going up in flames due to the unions. That’s exactly the same type of rhetoric the banksters have used, successfully I might add, against all of us deadbeats who bought more house than we could afford, and used our houses as ATMs. They, the banksters pulling the strings behind the scenes laugh all the way to the banks when they hear in-fighting such as this.

    Of course the unions need to step up to the plate and help reorganize America before it collapses, if that is at all possible. I have my doubts.

    No, our municipalities are being destroyed from within through debt added upon debt, by borrowing yet more and more from the Sachs and B of A’s out there, who behind the scenes write deravitives that forever capture local towns, counties, states, all of the way up to the oval office in debt pyramids of biblical proportions.

    Check the speed dial listings of our Treasury Secretary, who is supposed to be working for us Americans, not his corporate masters who placed him there. Investigate them all.

    Check Bernanke’s speed dial, and prosecute each and every villain on his phone list for crimes against humanity. Bernanke and Greenspan have both been publically called out for being in bed with Wall Street, at the detriment of the rest of us, called out by high ranking critics at the Masters of the World Teton Fest and at Basel. They laughed it off.

    Don’t even bother checking Henry Paulson’s speed dial. Just round up him and everyone he’s ever said hello to. He should be enemy #1 with his mug displayed at each and every post office in the land.

    All of the corporate elites have one thing and one thing only in mind, the furtherance of their twisted schemes that position them forever at the top of the world, due to the entire rest of the world being in debt to the tune of trillions upon trillions of dollars, payable in high interest debt that our grandchildren will still be making minimum payments on long after we’re gone.

    It’s high time we realized that we’ve been taken over entirely without a single musket ball being fired. When laws stood in the way, they had them changed. And that statement shouldn’t be read only in the past tense. It’s happening as we speak, with high priced and placed lobbyists telling our so called representatives what should be stricken from and added to each and every bill.

    Soon, according to Bill Black and Randy Wray, the bill will be introduced, probably in the dark of night like HR3808 was, trying to race it through quietly tucked inside some 3″ thick bill unnoticed.

    It will absolve Mers and each and every one of the crimes associated with this artifice of fraud that has been instrumental in raping and pillaging our municipalities more than any combination of union practices or foreign terrorists could ever accomplish. That’s when we will know that it’s a done deal. Nothing will ever be the same, the line has been drawn.

    Wikipedia says about tyranny: [those] who places his or her own interests or the interests of a small oligarchy over the best interests of the general population, which the tyrant governs or controls.

    Can anyone here argue that that is not then case here? Please, I’m listening.

    Wikipedia says about anarchy: “Absence of government; a state of lawlessness due to the absence or inefficiency of the supreme power; political disorder.”[

    If you don’t think we have that now, you haven’t been paying attention. But just wait. As soon as the Republicans entrench themselves and start playing their silly political games, it will truly feel like Nero and Rome all over again.

    It is passed the time to stand up and demand change. We’ve tried changing our own situations, and that isn’t working. More and more of us are losing everything each and every day. They’re not listening to us, only to their corporate masters. It’s time to change them, however that is accomplished. It’s time to toss the gauntlet. Pass the musket please.

  13. Unions were necessary when workers didn’t have labor laws. Times have changed and the unions are no longer necessary. I say this from first-hand experience in being a (forced) member & later a steward in a major healthcare union (thinking I could help change things/make things better for the members – silly me). Unions deliberately promote an adversarial management/labor relationship, keep the morale low and the job performance mediocre thanks to the protection of deadwood slackers. They have a big bag of dirty tricks, just like the politicians. They, like the big corrupt banksters, only care about their own kleptocratic interests. There is also pension spiking, double-dipping and other abuse rampant here in CA. I’m not against a reasonable pension for firefighters or cops, but NO ONE deserves 90% of the public’s money. That is INSANE and just asking for state bankruptcy, especially with the incompetent management of the PERS system over the past decade or so.

  14. If you believe that the local governments are broke, that the state governments are broke, that the federal government is broke. then maybe you should check out this guys website. cafr1.com and try and show where he is wrong.

  15. You can’t pay janitors $78,000 per year and let them retire at 55 to draw full pensions for life. You can’t pay professors $200,000 per year to teach two classes a week and retire them with full pensions. But this IS the grasp the unions have on the public entities (universities and colleges) and on the local communities.

  16. Don’t be hating on unions. The construction unions have helped take care of my family for years. Just because you work for pennies dosen’t meen I have too.

  17. Lets first start off by saying, that all of you so called no union workers, SORRY that you chose the wrong career path.

    When all of you were living the high life before all of this fraud was exposed and lost you jobs, dont try to pin this mess on the unions.

    Lets remember that the police, firemen, teachers, garbage men are all union workers, they are blue collar workers that are also working 2 jobs to make ends meet. We are not in nice AC rooms like some have claimed. When our salaries were in the toilet for tons of years nobody seemed to care. But NOW ITS OUR FAULT…give me a break.

  18. It should read: The latest Ponzi Scheme exposed: Public Workers Union.

    People were promised and paid into a system, now that it is time to pay them (Union Workers) Ponzi Scheme is exposed.

    NEVER AGAIN.

  19. Well let’s be honest Neil part of the reason we have not had any “civil unrest” in American for the last 40 years is because they unions got everything they wanted….to the point where major industries like GM was uncompetitive and lost half its market share over a period of 20-30 years.

    I expect we’ll start seeing a little more civil unrest in the future, but half the population is “dumb fat and happy paying no taxes” collecting a check every week from the gov’t and the other half is working two jobs, struggling to survive and paying 80% of all taxes.

    We wrecked the moral compass and the family unit over the last 4-5 decades and only a real crisis(2008-2010 was a walk in the park) will wake up “the people.”

  20. Neidermeyer

    I love how everybody wants to make the unions out to be the problem. Let’s just make something clear the vast majority of union members aren’t sitting in AC offices, they are police, teachers, firemen, garbage men and all the other blue collar workers out there fighting to make ends meet.
    I love how all the private workers are now complaining that they have lost their jobs, when they were living the high life and us union workers were making nothing.

    I guess you should have become a fireman or teacher then. Stop Bit*#- about a bad career choice!

  21. neidermeyer is repeating a very popular load of crap – all the way back to the Waterfront, “management” doesn’t want to take care of workers, and they sure don’t want them to own houses!

  22. The Federal Gov’t , owned by the Wall Street Banks is the “Attack against a civilian population” ,, the public sector unions were illegal at one time for a very good reason, created by a FDR front man intent on securing Socialism as the political structure , they are now bankrupting the states and have been causing hardship on ALL of us for decades.

    Listen to them whine when their pensions are denied , just as they have denied most Americans the ability to save for retirement through the exhorbitant taxes needed to keep these pampered dolts sitting in an air conditioned office reading the newspaper and planning where to go to lunch.

  23. E. Tolle……..I’M WITH YOU !

  24. Neil….while I agree with your very astute statements above, your end findings, i.e. “our moral compass is defective, let’s polish it up and get it working again” is so simplistic and naive as to be almost childlike.

    We are in the midst of the largest financial crime in the history of humanity. Never before has CRIME been formulated, excecuted, and delivered upon a populace like this.

    All of the people in charge of the major banks, from the CEO’s, CFO’s, COO’s on down need to be investigated and charged with not only the obvious financial crimes, but also with crimes against humanity.

    “Attacks directed against any civilian population’ means a course of conduct involving the multiple commission of acts … against any civilian population, pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy to commit such attack.”

    If in fact you truly want to “fix the moral compass”, it is apparent that pitchforks are warranted. TBTB are quite cozy living the good life, while the rest of us go down in flames.

    Please don’t continue the old narrative of let’s do this or that…. let’s vote for him or her….it’s not working. Only by threat of life, limb, or business as usual will these captured entities see that they are better off serving the masses, than their dollared up corporate masters.

    Make no mistake, this is war. It’s Wall Street v. America. And our government has secured a very hard core entrenchment against Main Street. No foreign terror group could possibly be threatening our nation more than these factions.

    It becomes clearer every day, when they, our so called leaders, call out for more laws favoring the interests of Wall street, laws that lessen our rights. It’s done so openly these days as to be embarrassing. Save for Elizabeth Warren, does anyone on the Hill give a rat’s ass about the average American?

    If Bill Black is right when he recently wrote that Congress is about to write legislation erasing all of the fraudulent activity of the past decade or so, perped upon all of us by Wall Street, that, IMHO, will be the signal to march on Penn Avenue.

    I, for one, will not stand by while our laws are rewritten to legalize the push of millions of hard working Americans into foreclosure, bankruptcy, financial ruin, and all of the hardships that follow simply to aid and abet the overthrow of our government and our way of life that we’ve fought so hard to establish.

    It’s now or never.

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