Sunday, February 20, 2011

Don't drink the kool-aid, part 2

See also Robert Reich's analysis:

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Budget Deficit Misdirection or Drinking the KoolAid

Have we drunk the deficit koolaid?

1. Public servants especially those in unions are overpaid. According to many media outlets: Employees in public service jobs (union) earn roughly 5% more than private sector jobs (roughly $2000). The average public serve worker earns $47,000 the average private sector worker $45,000 for comparable jobs. Many jobs have no private sector equivalent (fire, police) and vice versa--there are no public sector equivalent for Walmart greeter or part time after school burger flipper.
Though the Economic Policy Institute has figures that show that private sector workers earn 6,000 more per year than public sector workers, while public sector workers are better educated.

BUT, let us put this all into perspective--the average household earns less than $52,000 a year. When any of our politicians talk about tax breaks they are talking about households earning up to $250,000 (and over that if republican)...

Over 20 years comparison:

2.Have Public service unions & collective bargaining power caused State deficits?
IF this was the case than we would expect that in Right to Work states (seen as the most business friendly)that do not allow collective bargaining for their public unions would be in the black. And, the five states that fit this category are running huge budget deficits.

There are 22 Right to Work* states (Ala,Ariz,Ark,Fl,GA,ID,IA,Ka,LA,MS,Neb,Nev,NC,ND,OK,SC.SD,Tenn,TX,Ut,VA,WY)

Of these Va, NC,SC, GA and TX prohibit collective bargaining (its explicitly illegal).

Of these 5 states, 4 have state deficits in billions (Va 2.3b,Tx 1.4b, NC 3.8b, GA 1.7b) (There are 16 states with deficits in the billions. The fifth state's deficit,SC is at 877m.

FYI: unemployment in these states
7% unemployment in VA
8.3 TX
9.7 NC
10 GA
11% SC

(see figure 3 & table 1)

3. SO, Why is Gov.Walker refusing to negotiate on collective bargaining? Why are public service employees being scapegoated? The questions may be answered In part by looking at how Wisconsin went from budget surplus to budget deficit: granting corporations tax breaks.
Why are public servants--teachers, in this case-- civil servants who provide us with the necessities of what we need --education (and an educated citizenry), transportation, safety, security--being held responsible for bringing down the economy, and not the corporations (financial institutions, energy companies, industries, etc) which lobbied for less regulation, lower taxes, etc.?
For some teacher/public servant bashing see:

4. Want a stable economy? Create jobs and make sure those who have worked can afford to live.
What happens when people do not have jobs? They do not spend money. Corporations are supposedly flush, yet they are not creating jobs, not spending, because people are not buying. So,perhaps the way to solve the budget deficits are to create and/or secure jobs so people will spend...
Instead, both sides are talking about cutting funds for things such as home heating programs--and energy costs are going up, energy costs are also not part of the equation for Cost of Living increases for Social Security increases, for instance.

5. Perhaps instead of drinking the koolaid offered, we should speak the truth, demand that corporations pay their fair share of taxes and demand that corporations give back to the public, for the public good.

*Right to Work--do not have to join union (if there is a union to join), can quit at any time, and likewise can be fired without cause or notice.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Where is Democracy found?

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