Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Unsustainable Unionacracy of California

From "The Beholden State: How public-sector unions broke California," by Steve Malanga in the City Journal:

"The public sector unions’ political triumphs have molded a California in which government workers thrive at the expense of a struggling private sector. The state’s public school teachers are the highest-paid in the nation. Its prison guards can easily earn six-figure salaries. State workers routinely retire at 55 with pensions higher than their base pay for most of their working life. Meanwhile, what was once the most prosperous state now suffers from an unemployment rate far steeper than the nation’s and a flood of firms and jobs escaping high taxes and stifling regulations (see nearby chart). This toxic combination—high public-sector employee costs and sagging economic fortunes—has produced recurring budget crises in Sacramento and in virtually every municipality in the state."


"How public employees became members of the elite class in a declining California offers a cautionary tale to the rest of the country, where the same process is happening in slower motion. The story starts half a century ago, when California public workers won bargaining rights and quickly learned how to elect their own bosses—that is, sympathetic politicians who would grant them outsize pay and benefits in exchange for their support. Over time, the unions have turned the state’s politics completely in their favor. The result: unaffordable benefits for civil servants; fiscal chaos in Sacramento and in cities and towns across the state; and angry taxpayers finally confronting the unionized masters of California’s unsustainable government."

62 Comments:

At 4/21/2010 9:12 AM, Anonymous morganovich said...

in san francisco, our muni bus drivers routinely earn 100k in salary and have a breathtakingly gold plated health and pension plan.

as a result, muni is perpetually in the red and attempts (and mostly succeeds) to take in money from other groups and taxes. they fight bitterly against any kind of cost cutting or increases in rider prices.

making it even worse, drivers are totally unfirable leading to poor service, erratic timing on buses, route reductions, and a truly dire safety record.

these issues are perpetually in the media here, but nothing ever changes.

 
At 4/21/2010 9:17 AM, Blogger Paul said...

It's the Democrat-union feedback loop until the whole system comes crashing down.

 
At 4/21/2010 9:23 AM, Blogger Tom said...

Declare California bankrupt, rip up the contracts and pension obligations, and start over. No bailout.

 
At 4/21/2010 9:26 AM, Blogger W.E. Heasley said...

Always enjoyed Milton Friedman referring to unions as “the aristocracy of labor”. Friedman was spot-on.

 
At 4/21/2010 9:33 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

If you want to get rid of unions, do something meaningful that resolves why they're in place. That is, you don't try to kill the union and its supporters as if you were smiting them from above.

You provide the respect at a lower cost. You don't lord over employees or use temporary labor as a weapon.

 
At 4/21/2010 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time for a tax revolt come November. I believe the republicans will get a second chance starting in 2011; warning republicans, don't blow it!

 
At 4/21/2010 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to get rid of unions, do something meaningful that resolves why they're in place.

Good point, Sethstorm.

If you want to get rid of Demopcrats, do something meaningful that resolves why they're in place.

 
At 4/21/2010 9:42 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

sethstorm: "If you want to get rid of unions, do something meaningful that resolves why they're in place."

We've done that in the past. We elected Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Unions perform a useful function. But when elected officials write laws which enable the abuses such as MP described, unions become their own worst enemies.

 
At 4/21/2010 9:47 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"If you want to get rid of unions, do something meaningful that resolves why they're in place."

It already exists. It's called finding another job or starting your own business. There's no gun to anyone's head making them work for a particular employer.

 
At 4/21/2010 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Declare California bankrupt, rip up the contracts and pension obligations, and start over.

Following the bankruptcy of Vallejo, the public employee unions instructed their Democrat puppets in Sacramento to change the bankruptcy laws in order to protect their ill gotten gains:

Highly controversial, union-backed legislation that would make it more difficult for local governments to declare bankruptcy has made it out of the Senate Local Government Committee after a nearly yearlong stalemate.

The measure, backed by public employee unions, would require local governments to get permission from the California Debt and and Investment Advisory Commission, which is dominated by Democratic officials with union ties, before filing for bankruptcy.

Local government groups oppose the measure, contending that it creates a mechanism for their unions to extract conditions, such as a pledge not to abrogate labor contracts, in any bankruptcy action.

Sacramento Bee

Look for this effort to be duplicated across the country as more and more local governments are faced with the challenge of trying to pay the bill for Democrat/union corruption.

Public unions should be declared illegal, no one should be allowed to organize against the people of the United States.

 
At 4/21/2010 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is how the public union thugs respond if you dare criticize their wages and benefits:

According to the blog that broke the story, Watch Sonoma County, “North Bay firefighters launched a boycott of a Napa Valley winery this weekend after its owner criticized their wages and benefits in a letter published in the St. Helena Star.” But more than a boycott was launched, as the winery owner has received veiled threats online from some public safety employees, potentially refusing to fight a fire at his home or winery, or save him from choking in a restaurant.

Calwatchdog.com

If they refuse rational adjustments to their wages and benefits, fire them all, eliminate public sector unions and rehire.

 
At 4/21/2010 10:09 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4/21/2010 10:11 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


We've done that in the past. We elected Ronald Reagan in 1980.

The problem is that he (at the advice of Giuliani) engaged in political action with a very far-reaching consequence. When he only wanted to make a statement against PATCO, the consequences also applied non-unionized.

What he failed to do is to make it only a union issue. By allowing it to affect all labor, he declared "open season" on his own supporters. The consequences only were realized in 2003.


It already exists. It's called finding another job or starting your own business. There's no gun to anyone's head making them work for a particular employer.

Not everyone has that option or can fully exercise it as you think they can. Look at it as some people having some form of a Hobson's choice - while the option exists, they really don't have the choice to go elsewhere.

Mutual respect (and nondisposability) is not limited to those for whom can write their own paycheck.

 
At 4/21/2010 10:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HADDONFIELD, N.J. — They're the kind of obscenity-laced schoolyard taunts that could get a student suspended.

But the target of this tirade is New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie — and the perpetrators are the state's teachers, irate over his calls for salary freezes and funding cuts for schools.

In Facebook messages visible to the world — not to mention their students — the teachers have called Christie fat, compared him to a genocidal dictator and wished he was dead. The postings are often riddled with bad grammar and misspellings.

AP

The voters of NJ sided with Christie today, rejecting the majority or district budgets.

 
At 4/21/2010 10:20 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"Not everyone has that option or can fully exercise it as you think they can. Look at it as some people having some form of a Hobson's choice - while the option exists, they really don't have the choice to go elsewhere."

nonsense.

 
At 4/21/2010 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, "sethstorm", my heart bleeds for a bunch of greedy bastards who have gamed the political system to rip off taxpayers. Unsatisfied with secure jobs paying good wages and benefits, they decided to organize against their fellow citizens in order to extort ridiculous compensation packages. Even that was not enough for many of them, as they turned to gaming overtime and pay scale rules in order to pad their pensions. There are, no doubt, many diligent public employees who play by the rules, but they have remained silent about these abuses and through that silence, lent their support. It's time to put an end to the corruption and declare public unions illegal.

 
At 4/21/2010 10:38 AM, Anonymous morganovich said...

public sector unions are different from private sector ones.

in the private sector, management still has a reason to bargain on the other side from unions.

in the public sector, unions have become such massive vote influencers and political donors that the people who are supposed to be negotiating to keep costs low for "we the people" instead are incentivized to screw their constituents and roll over to union demands.

this is a disgrace and has led to massive cost prirals for public employees who are not only paid far more than their private peers but get astoundingly generous health and pension packages.

these unions are lobbying leaders to give them money to lobby leaders.

that's a one way expense ratchet if i ever saw one.

amazing how the same people who scream "foul!" when private companies make political donations never seem to mind when public sector unions do so and pick their pockets directly.

 
At 4/21/2010 11:03 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Yeah, "sethstorm", my heart bleeds for a bunch of greedy bastards who have gamed the political system to rip off taxpayers.

Well, limit your damage to the public sector unions. If they game the system, fine - just don't have the consequences for your actions spill over.

 
At 4/21/2010 11:10 AM, Anonymous Benny The Man said...

In Los Angeles, the most powerful unions are the public safety unions--fire and police.

They usually get a "pass" from scrutiny, from either right or left.

Afetr just 25 years of service, an officer can retire form the LAPD and draw a lifetime pension. An officer might be in his late 40s, and start drawing full benefits.


By the time this fellow passes on, taxpayers will have paid the officer's salary for 25 years, and retirement pension payments for another 40 or so.

Public safety pensions are the real time bomb out there.

One solution is to let officers off the force after 25 years, but redeploy them as librarians, rec workers etc, but under any circumstances do not pay anybody retirement benefits until age 68.

 
At 4/21/2010 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Not everyone has that option or can fully exercise it as you think they can. Look at it as some people having some form of a Hobson's choice - while the option exists, they really don't have the choce to go elsewhere."

From the standpoint of human acheivement, this is not true.

We limit our choices through our own limited perceptions. Open your mind and your perspective and you can find other options.

Look at Louis Pasteur. While others in the 19th declared his theory of germs as fiction, he pushed forward and now it is an established fact. Scientists in the 19th century refused to believe in other options, but thankfully, one person was able to expand his horizons.

 
At 4/21/2010 11:13 AM, Blogger W.E. Heasley said...

sethstorm said...

“If you want to get rid of unions, do something meaningful that resolves why they're in place. That is, you don't try to kill the union and its supporters as if you were smiting them from above.

You provide the respect at a lower cost. You don't lord over employees or use temporary labor as a weapon.”

A major problem has arisen, and has been occurring for years, with the union leadership focus being on political clout.

Further, unionization of public employees has caused the bureaucrats of the public service sector to negotiate with public sector unions based on the fourth category of spending as outlined by Milton Friedman. Hence someone else (government), spending someone else’s money (tax payers) on someone else (unions) has enriched public sector employees to the point of their average compensation is much greater than the private sector.

Meanwhile, this enriched public sector union has major political clout with the same organization that negotiates with them. In other words, the union is politically active with the government (employer) as well as being the very same entity representing the union membership (employee).

 
At 4/21/2010 11:21 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"They usually get a "pass" from scrutiny, from either right or left."

There's absolutely no hope from the Left. Arnie at least tried to take on the unions. Look to New Jersey where Chris Christie is kicking ass and taking names. Where are the Democrat Chris Christie's?

 
At 4/21/2010 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seth,

Enough whining. Get a job.

 
At 4/21/2010 11:22 AM, Blogger KauaiMark said...

What Tom said!!! YEA!!!

"...Declare California bankrupt, rip up the contracts"

 
At 4/21/2010 12:42 PM, Anonymous Benny The Man said...

Paul-

The right-wing tends to glorify anyone wearing a uniform.

A soldier can retire after 20 years in the federal military. The soldier might not yet be 40--and taxpayers have to cover his pension and VA beneofts until he dies, which, according to acturial tables, will be another 40 years or so.

So, taxpayers pay a soldier for 20 years of service, and then 40 years in retirement.

As wioh the LAPD, a better idea would be to retire all federal employees at age 68. If someone wants to switch careers, let them redeploy to Parks Service, Border Patrol, wherever.

But under no circumstances should a federal employee draw a federal pension until age 68.

In this day and age, taxpayers simply cannot afford to pay pensiona and health benefits for people who will live another several decades, whether civilian or military.

Maybe the new Tea Party will wrestle federal pensions to the ground. I hope so. I doubt it. MOst likely, the Tea Party will be co-opted by Republican stalwarts, and will not address federal pensions at all.

 
At 4/21/2010 1:13 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"A soldier can retire after 20 years in the federal military. The soldier might not yet be 40--and taxpayers have to cover his pension and VA beneofts until he dies, which, accord.."

My buddy James was wounded in Iraq and, to say the least, will never be the epitome of physical fitness he was just a few years ago. I have no problem with him riding a desk for a few more years and then letting him retire with pay. How much is your health worth to you? I bet he'd trade his pension for a normal life in a heartbeat.

"Maybe the new Tea Party will wrestle federal pensions to the ground. I hope so. I doubt it. MOst likely, the Tea Party will be co-opted by Republican stalwarts, and will not address federal pensions at all."

We know for sure it won't be Barack "Gonna paint the nation purple with SEIU!" Obama. You know, the guy you voted for like all the cool kids did.

 
At 4/21/2010 1:41 PM, Anonymous Titus Pullo said...

Raise the taxes on the rich Hollywood actors to pay public sector employess. People like Barbra Streisand and Alyssa Milano are always talking about how great it is to pay taxes. Give them the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is.

 
At 4/21/2010 2:15 PM, Anonymous John said...

Public service unions hurt taxpayers and everyone who is a recipient of public service.

Private sector unions hurt consumers.

Unions of all types lead to lazy workers, poor service, and an entitlement mentality.

 
At 4/21/2010 2:26 PM, Anonymous eightnine2718281828mu5 said...

When comparing the relative cost of economic injustices, it might be useful to recall that unions didn't get paid hundreds of billions of dollars to invent CDO's and destroy the financial system.

 
At 4/21/2010 2:47 PM, Blogger grant said...

Get rid of the buses and replace them with chevy volts.Public transport loses money virtually everywhere it operates on the planet.Isn't remuneration relevant to the ability and physical effort required to complete the task so how much of this is needed driving a street car.[volt recently reviewed in new york times take a look].

 
At 4/21/2010 2:50 PM, Blogger W.E. Heasley said...

eightnine2718281828mu5 said...


“When comparing the relative cost of economic injustices, it might be useful to recall that unions didn't get paid hundreds of billions of dollars to invent CDO's and destroy the financial system.”

Here is a suggestion: purchase John B. Taylor’s book Getting Off Track. it’s a 100 page book hence quickly read. The price is very modest at approximately $11.

Once you read the book, please get back to us on “…didn't get paid hundreds of billions of dollars to invent CDO's and destroy the financial system.” You may find the blame needs to be placed elsewhere.

 
At 4/21/2010 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Not everyone has that option or can fully exercise it as you think they can. Look at it as some people having some form of a Hobson's choice - while the option exists, they really don't have the choice to go elsewhere."

nonsense.



At some level, yes. Realisticallyt, no.


I have seen people in traps. If the spring is stronger than you are, yu remain trapped, through no faulet of your own.

 
At 4/21/2010 3:16 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

It's not just public sector unions that broke California. Also:

Government spending projects where costs far exceed benefits.

High level of business hostility, which reduces investment or raises risk.

Large population of uneducated Third World immigrants and their children creating greater inequality.

Massive welfare programs to reduce inequality.

Extensive consumer protections causing high costs to businesses and landlords.

Intrusive government that controls almost everything.

 
At 4/21/2010 3:38 PM, Blogger OA said...

The failure of those tax increase measures in 2008 was a good sign. The real test for CA is this November. If the same crew ends up in Sacramento and there's not a wholesale change in the legislature, it's not worth hanging out to pay the bills.

More importantly, the news media has to get it's act together.

Any attempt to make cuts and the tv commercials with teachers, nurses and firefighters come out crying about loss of services. And the newspapers jump right on board. Of course those front line folks are a tiny fraction of the government employees.

As an example, most money for education is spent on administration and you could whack that without ever touching a classroom. Although the couple years to tenure is ridiculous. I had several teachers who should have been fired years before I ever took their class. In fact they should have been forced to give back money for defrauding the government as they weren't mentallh showing up for their job.

I still remember CALPERS increasing pension benefits above their promised levels during the dot com boom. They said their returns were so good they could do that. I don't see how it was legal to do that as the high returns should have allowed taxpayers to put less in. What did the media say about that? Nothing that I know of.

Here's a reference to that. I hadn't realized it was where the final year determining the pension came from.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2272762/posts

 
At 4/21/2010 5:06 PM, Anonymous Benny The Man said...

Paul-
I am deeply sorry that your friend Paul was injured in Iraq.
If he was in the U.S. military, he was a professional soldier, not a draftee.
If he is of sound mind, I am sure he could make an good civil servant, and could be of use in a civilian office job, where he should work until retirement age, which should be 68 for civil servants.
We taxpayers simply cannot pay people not to do work for decades on end.

 
At 4/21/2010 5:32 PM, Anonymous Lyle said...

I think there is a distinction between being injured in the line of duty either in the military or police or fire, and just early retirement. If you are injured at disabled you deserve a pension, but if able to work, there are desk jobs, the issue is that since the civilian side and the military (first responder) sides are under different rules, its clear that one can be unable to to a military(first responder) job but able to do any number of civilian jobs.

 
At 4/21/2010 5:52 PM, Anonymous Benny The Man said...

Jeez, Lyle, there must be a million civilian jobs in the federal government that any competent soldier could handle, even minus some limbs.

Beyond that, I suspect it would be far better for the injured sodier to have a desk job, and feel some sense of contribution, than doing nothing and receiving a disability pension.

Lastly, taxpayers cannot afford to pay people to do nothing. I want a tax cut, and if means ripping up pensions, then that's what it means.

We simply have to slay the government pension dragon, whether for soldiers or civilians, federal or local, or state.

Many sacred cows have to get gored.

 
At 4/21/2010 5:59 PM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

The answer is to replace as many state and local government functions as possible with private companies selected through a competitive bid process.

Today in California, savings START at 50% by contracting out, and the service usually improves to boot.

Perhaps equally as important, any functions contracted out gets rid of further public employee hidden pension and retire health care costs.

But most important, you get rid of the public employee unions and the considerable clout they wield in electing their "bosses."

Gut the public employee unions. It's our only hope.

 
At 4/21/2010 6:05 PM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

We should look to Sandy Springs, Georgia as our now government model. A new city of 60,000 incorporated a few years ago, they chose to contract EVERYTHING out. The city has TWO city employees!

Of course, they had to contract with some government agencies for some functions -- notably police.

But the bottom line is that PER CAPITA, Sandy Springs runs at half the cost of surrounding cities. And it has none of the unfunded liability problems hanging over just about every state and local government in America -- and indeed, the world.

 
At 4/21/2010 6:07 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Benji

"We simply have to slay the government pension dragon, whether for soldiers or civilians, federal or local, or state.

Many sacred cows have to get gored."

It all starts at the ballot box. Not a chance in hell Obama is going to slay the dragons who spent tens of millions of dollars getting him elected, and anyone paying attention would not have expected it from him. But I loved how you heaped the responsibility onto the shoulders of the private citizen Tea Party rather than your boyfriend. I guess you couldn't use your Red State Socialist smear since we're talking about California.

 
At 4/21/2010 6:22 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

John: "Unions of all types lead to lazy workers, poor service, and an entitlement mentality."

I don't know, John. I agree about the entitlement mentality. But I'm not convinced that all union workers become lazy or that they provide poor service. Some organizations have been able to work with their unions, remain productive, and provide the highest levels of service. Two examples:

United Parcel Service invested heavily in training its union workers. At the same time, the company implemented win-win incentive systems which led to striking increases in courier productivity.

Southwest Airlines is the most unionized of all U.S. passenger airlines. Management and employees alike at the LUV airline religiously follow The Golden Rule: Treat others as you wish to be treated. As a result, Southwest employees remain highly motivated and consistently outperform their competition.

Some corporate managers have proven that unions are no barrier to high organizational performance.

 
At 4/21/2010 6:37 PM, Anonymous Benny The Man said...

Paul-
Should any state be subsidized by other states not for years, not for decades, but for generations?

We have states, such as Wyoming, LA, New Mexico, any farm state in the Midwest, Mississippi, Alabama that have been getting back $1.50 or more for every dollar they send to DC-for decades now.

They can never stand on their own two feet. Their farmers conatantly need subsidies, their roads, water and power systems, telephones, postal service etc all subsidized. They are mollycoddled weakling states, enfeebled by lifetimes of suckling on the federal teat.

You knwo the three kinds of rain that mean farmers need a subsidy?

1) Too much rain. Crops are ruined. Need subsidy.

2)Drought. Crops are ruined, need subsdiy.

3) Perfect weather-bumper crops, no profits, need subsidy.

Other than those three conditions, our farmers are rock-ribbed free-enterprisers. Tough men who stand on their own two feet.

 
At 4/21/2010 6:39 PM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

Jet Beagle makes a valid point. PRIVATE unions can indeed not be too damaging to an unusually well run business. Stated differently, the harm that they cause is not necessarily sufficient to dramatically undermine the company.

These success stories are also sometimes called "weak" unions -- normally by critics who have no concept of a market economy.

In essence, the successful companies' union bosses understand that to keep things rolling, the company has to make a profit, and perform better than competitors.

My concern is with PUBLIC employee unions -- rapacious outfits that represent employees working for MONOPOLY employers who use force to extract money from its "customers."

And the only real way to get rid of public employee UNIONS is to get rid of the public employees.

 
At 4/21/2010 8:12 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"You knwo the three kinds of rain that mean farmers need a subsidy?"

Completely irrelevant from the topic at hand. But since you asked, you know the two candidates in '08 we had to choose from?

The GOP candidate made a career of fiscal responsibility and standing up to Big Ag. The other one, the Democrat, rode around in ADM jets and fought the Bush Administration to keep the Brazilian ethanol tariff. And back to the topic at hand, the Democrat also is in the pocket of Big Labor, he promised to paint the nation purple with SEIU and they rewarded him handsomely during his campaign. Andy Stern has been to the White House at least 22 times since Obama took office making sure they get their money's worth.

It was an easy call, but Benji the self-proclaimed True Economic Conservative jumped on the Hopeandchange bandwagon with all the cool kids.

 
At 4/21/2010 8:39 PM, Blogger bobble said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4/21/2010 9:16 PM, Blogger bix1951 said...

I agree with everything.
Chickens are coming home to roost.
Be careful not to kill the goose.
It will all come out in the wash.
And you can't get blood from a turnip.
Things have a way of getting worked out.
What do the public servants really do anyway?
Often they just get in the way of business. So with fewer public servants we will be better off.
I am more afraid of the police than I am afraid of my neighbors.

 
At 4/22/2010 4:36 PM, Anonymous Lyle said...

I would modify the pension arguement to say that you can retire at any age with an actuarial equivalent pension to that at 68. The cost to the government is the same in this case. So you can retire earlier for less pension. The factors are very well known for this type of thing. Even Social security does this somewhat in that if you start at 62 you get a lesser benefit than starting at 66 or indeed up to age 70. Then since the long term cost of the pension is the same you can start with whatever amount you are owed at any time, with zero long term impact on the budget.

 
At 4/22/2010 8:03 PM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

The problem with leaving defined benefit (DB) plans in place with "reforms" is that the unions will work day and night to jack the benefits back up. And ultimately they will succeed.

It's like cutting out "some" of a cancer, and figuring the problem is fixed. Rest assured, it'll grow back.

First, end all DB programs that can legally be terminated -- certainly for new hires (a weak solution that would take two decades to have meaningful effect).

Second, get rid of as many govt employees as possible.

 
At 4/22/2010 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Benny, I'll agree that it doesn't seem fair that some states get enormous subsidies for decades on end, but you don't know hay from straw about farming.

Or who is subsidizing whom.

Without farms being protected we are all vulnerable to a higher cost of living because of residential development.

Keeping rural spaces means eliminating thepublic service demands of scattered inefficient development.

Cattle don't go to school, and seldom get arrested, but those are services that existing residents pay for when new homes are built in rural areas.

Expect to see more, and not less of "subsidies" in terms of payments for carbon sequestration, leases to wind tubines (which are subsidised), watershed protection, and other kinds of payments for environmental services which benefit residential and urban areas.

Some times subsidies exist to correct market failures.

 
At 4/22/2010 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My buddy James was wounded in LAPD and, to say the least, will never be the epitome of physical fitness he was just a few years ago.

His buddies who were not wounded will be able to retire at the same age he does.

 
At 4/22/2010 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lastly, taxpayers cannot afford to pay people to do nothing.


The time may not be so far off when we have to re-think that idea.

So far as actually producing and distributing everything we need goes, we could probably do it with 25% of the work force.

The only reason we don't is this archaic idea that we need to save or produce jobs for people to do.

The time is coming when it will be a privilege to hold a job, and you may have to pay to get one. More and more people will be ill-equipped or unable to live inan ever more complex society, let alone contribute to it meaningfully.

In the meantime, expect more poor and fewer rich.

 
At 4/22/2010 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lastly, taxpayers cannot afford to pay people to do nothing.


The time may not be so far off when we have to re-think that idea.

So far as actually producing and distributing everything we need goes, we could probably do it with 25% of the work force.

The only reason we don't is this archaic idea that we need to save or produce jobs for people to do.

The time is coming when it will be a privilege to hold a job, and you may have to pay to get one. More and more people will be ill-equipped or unable to live inan ever more complex society, let alone contribute to it meaningfully.

In the meantime, expect more poor and fewer rich.

 
At 4/22/2010 9:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Taxpayers can't afford to pay people something to do nothing and taxpayers can't afford to have capitalists pay people nothing to do something, either.

 
At 4/22/2010 9:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about if we tax people in kind?

Require everyone to take a government job for 15 or 20% of their working life.

I expect we would hear a lot less about government incompetence and also a lot less complaing about government pay and pensions.

 
At 4/22/2010 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...in san francisco, our muni bus drivers routinely earn 100k in salary.

You couldn't get me to drive a municipal bus for 100k in San Fancisco.

 
At 4/23/2010 12:05 AM, Anonymous Lyle said...

Re Anon at 9:27 what you have suggested existed from 1940 to 1972 for the military its called a draft. We taxed young men to fill our military rather than now taxing all to find those willing to serve for a fee. Recall that eventually Rome had to pay people to sit around or the mob came and rioted. (Bread and Circuses). As we come to an economy where machines can provide most goods with minimal human intervention
(in ag and manufacturing) its services that remain as the employer.

 
At 4/23/2010 4:53 AM, Blogger sethstorm said...


The time is coming when it will be a privilege to hold a job, and you may have to pay to get one. More and more people will be ill-equipped or unable to live in an ever more complex society, let alone contribute to it meaningfully.

...and you want to do what with these people? Consider your answer carefully as you will eventually become one of those people.

What you just described is bribery.



The time may not be so far off when we have to re-think that idea.

So far as actually producing and distributing everything we need goes, we could probably do it with 25% of the work force.

The only reason we don't is this archaic idea that we need to save or produce jobs for people to do.

The problem with that idea is that having gainful employment is not an archaic idea.

That 75% idle capacity just became your worst nightmare.


As we come to an economy where machines can provide most goods with minimal human intervention
(in ag and manufacturing) its services that remain as the employer.

The problem with that is that services cannot completely take place of manufacturing. You just want disposable people or disposable machines doing the work.

 
At 4/23/2010 11:23 AM, Blogger Richard Rider, Chair, San Diego Tax Fighters said...

Machines will produces everything with just a few workers? The few who work will have to support all that don't? the employed will have to PAY to work?

Okay. In this sci fi society, why work?

And since work is for a select few fools (doubtless leftie wing-nuts who gladly work simply for the "greater good"), why should society pay to educate the general populace? Isn't that a terrible waste of resources?

 
At 4/24/2010 3:36 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

sethstorm: "The problem with that is that services cannot completely take place of manufacturing."

What planet do you live on, sethstorm? Employment in manufacturing and agriculture has been declining worldwide for a couple of decades while more goods are being produced. At the same time, total worldwide employment has continued to rise and global standard of living has soared.

Automation has enabled service sector jobs have exactly take the place of manufacturing and agriculture jobs. And the world's population leads much better lives as a result. That's here on planet Earth, sethstorm. Again, what planet do you live on?

 
At 4/24/2010 3:39 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Correction to my last comment:

"Automation has enabled service sector jobs to exactly take the place"

 
At 4/24/2010 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just pay militant extortionist unionist with I.O.U'S. Sooner than later they will realize that realistically they have been fired.I'll bet they haven't covered that in their employment contracts.
Most working people are a genuine asset to the company they work for and good employers should be retained and trained for more responsibility and promotion.
Muni's were continuously running deficits year in year out since the 1980's and hoping that the next years income would cover the interest on the [deficit] loan. This house of cards collapsed but the perpetrators were out of office and didn't have to front the payers. So I think they won. xxxxx

 
At 7/01/2010 8:23 AM, Anonymous Sid said...

I have no problem with him riding a desk for a few more years and then letting him retire with pay. How much is your health worth to you?

 

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