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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 17, 2012 11:49 AM. The previous post in this blog was UC Nike students tiring of shakedowns. The next post in this blog is The sharrows didn't help. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Government employees vs. everyone else, cont'd

You'll never guess which side Bill Bennett is on.

Comments (9)

That which must not be spoken or written in Oregon.

"California should look to Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker closed a large budget hole without raising taxes or cutting education but by going straight to one of the roots of the problem -- public employee unions. Last summer, Walker required union members to contribute 5.8% of their pay toward pensions and 12.6% of their health insurance premiums, while also reforming collective bargaining agreements for government workers.
At first glance, Walker's reforms appeared to be political suicide. But as the returns come in, and schools aren't closing, draconian cuts aren't being made and taxes aren't getting higher. Walker's success leaves his opponents with little ammunition."

Pension reform works.

So does having workers help pay some of their healthcare premiums.

Shared sacrifice.

For the children, since...

The children are our future.

Ain't that right, unions?

The more I talk about politics and ballooning public debt, the more I sense general uneasyness about the future. Folks who otherwise don't tune in are beginning to realize just what a big number $16 trillion is and that there is simply no hope of paying it off (and that's just the beginning).

National politics has set the stage for some of this awakening, but the (somewhat muted) coverage ot the PPS shortfall and the outrageous union benefits at Tri-Met really bring it home. Justified or not, most point to the generous salaries and bennies our politicians hand out to government employees as the main culprit in creating the nation's (and Portland's) fiscal black hole. If you're slugging it out in a private sector job trying to make ends meet in an environment of stagnant wages and escalating health care costs, it's hard not to resent your neighbors with government jobs and bennies -- whether you're a rebublican or democrat. I think most private workers would support these reforms, which explains Walker's new-found popularity in Wisconsin (Oregon is likely another story); I find that many democrats are growing more frustrated with government employee largesse than they let on.

When I filled out my ballot the other day, my wife and daughter proclaimed I was "thumbing my nose" at our system of voting when I wrote in my favorite fictional character instead of casting a vote for Obama. "Just the opposite...this is my way of expressing discontent with where we're headed."

While these numbers won't knock anybody's socks off, I was suprised that in Multnomah County, 3% of democrat voters cast write-ins instead of shading the oval for Obama, and 5% did so on a state-wide basis. This is in sharp contrast to other positions where write-in candidates only grabbed a maximum of 1% of votes cast. I'd say even some democrats are growing discontent, but hardly a ground swell.

The unionistas and Democrats had a major hissy-fit over Walker's actions, so they launched the whole special election thing to throw the bum out. Just one problem: Walker's actions moved the state from deficit into surplus territory. Property taxes there declined this year by 0.4% - the first decline in some 13 years (I can't remember property taxes here ever declining).

The DNC sees it as a lost cause, and local Democrats are fuming over the fact that the DNC isn't forking over any cash for their cause.

Meanwhile, Sammy and the gang ram through their latest effort to resolve the "blight" at PSU.

Before everyone gets too excited, don't forget - This is Oregon. The odds of a politician standing up to the public employees union is minimal.

Heck, they even took $1.1B out of the last budget (out of $15B total) for employee benefits and then decided they don't have enough for schools after all.

Gov. Walker's reforms have worked so well (so far, anyway) that his Democratic opponent isn't talking about restoring union members' bargaining rights and health plans in the election campaign.

Which is interesting because that was why the recall was begun in the first place.

Also of note is that the union-backed candidate lost in the Democratic primary.

Well it appears that we're in the middle of a big welfare state experiment. Some folks have figured out the numbers and are trying to make changes. Others are in full blown denial. And here in Oregon, we have leaders who are hell bent on adding more debt.

My guess is that the model we see in TX, Utah, WI, etc. is the one that is going to work long term. The path that Goldy, Vera and Sam has us on is most likely going to end in bankruptcy.

But just try to tell them that and see what happens! They think they are smarter than us and they aren't going to listen to any negative news about debt.

"Others are in full blown denial."

Indeed. Go read the comments by the portland readers on the Oregonian story about Josephine County's sheriff levy failing on Tuesday.

I love the beautiful high gloss poster graph produced for the governor's press conference. I suggest a 60 inch plasma screen for all future blackboards. Hard copy graphs can't be adjusted as easily.


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