OT: Democracy in Action

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Keep your eyes on the recalls in Wisconsin Tuesday. Wisconsin has always been a progressive state, even under Republicans.
But the swing with the election of Scott Walker to the governorship was toward a whole new direction, one that slashes and burns social programs while shoveling money at business. My characterization is not out of line with the reality.
Whether or not this strategy would be ultimately "successful" - whatever that means to the authors of it - I hope we never have to find out.
I hope the recalls succeed and reason is restored. Because we need to drag this country back from corporatocracy. This is a key battle and people who believe in the greater good need to recognize the threat and make themselves heard.
D'ohBoy
"If you ain't bleeding, you ain't woodworkin'."
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On 8/8/2011 7:03 PM, SconnieRoadie wrote:

Perfect manifestation of divide and conquer by the folks who play the game to game the folks.
Asshats one and all ... both sides should be ashamed.
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SconnieRoadie wrote:

Hmm. Wisconsin has certainly been in the news, though not for the reasons you mention. The big fight was over collective bargaining with public employee unions. How you get from that to dismantling social programs is a link I'd be very much interested in seeing.
I'd also like some kind of explanation about "shoveling money at business."
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Viewing the results, apparently folks aren't as stupid as msnbc makes them out to be, eh?
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wrote:

There is a law in Wisconsin that makes legislators immune from recall during their first year. Therefore, the decisive recalls will come later. I am not sure that organized labor isn't featherbedding some of their members, but generally speaking, undoing labor contracts in such a fell swoop to such an extent is not fair. My daughter and son-in-law are both high school teachers in NJ, and the changes in their remuneration (much higher deductions for healthcare and pensions) makes them feel lucky they have help nearby.
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But making us poor slobs in the community where the teachers work pay more and more and more in taxes whenever our health care insurance costs go up and up and up and our gross pay stays the same and being told pensions are a thing of the past is FAIR somehow??
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"You" have given these people contracts, that "you" now are going to just throw out? Once you go that way, maybe the next step is that your pension/SS/whatever will be taken away. "You" is in quotes because the sheeple of NJ have allowed their representatives to do this.
I don't know where you live, but in NJ the legislature has consistently allowed the state NOT to pay into the teachers' (police/whatever) pension plans. Now, gov christie says, OK, you teachers need to pay more, but what of the unfunded state obligations? It almost seems that the state stealing from the pension plans is OK, and the pensioners better fend for themselves.
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On 8/11/2011 7:18 AM, Han wrote:

Police don't seem to be hurting:
"The median salary for the states 20,525 municipal officers was $90,672 last year, meaning half earned more and half earned less.
A total of 6,198 municipal officers made at least $100,000 last year. Ninety-nine of 466 towns that pay police have six-figure median salaries. Most are in North Jersey, primarily Bergen County"
That's twice the US median household income (read two wage earners) paid by the taxpayer.
"Any police officer that says theyre not making enough money needs to re-examine themselves," said Saddle Brook Township Police Chief Robert Kugler. In that Bergen County town, 30 of 31 officers made six figures last year, and the median salary was $121,177.
Police say their salaries reflect New Jerseys high cost of living, years of experience on the job and union contracts allowing officers to quickly rise to the top of the pay scale. They also say they have recently made sacrifices in union negotiations and are being forced to pay more toward their health care."
Making that kind of money, seems like they could afford to pay more toward their health care and their pension plans?
Poor babies ... As a taxpayer who makes no where that, I simply can barely afford any kind of healthcare for my family.
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Yes, the police here are complaining they earn less than in neighboring towns. Because of gov christie's budget cuts and their intransigence in negotiations, some had to be let go. I think 1 "new" position became available the coming fiscal year. They're good, though, and generally polite etc. They came extremely fast when I had fallen and broken my upper arm on July 4 a few years back.
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On 8/11/2011 7:18 AM, Han wrote:

If the contract seems too good to be true.... A contract with the state is in essence a contract with a pollination. Now days the young starting out better be responsible and depend on their own resources to fund their pensions.
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wrote:

?pollination?? Some would think that a fringe benefit like a pension from a (quasi)governmental organization should be trustworthy. That is a rude awakening around here.
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Han
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On 8/11/2011 11:35 AM, Han wrote:

Yeah Pollinations... LOL Thank you spell checker,,,,
30 years ago maybe but the government spends way more than it takes in and it stops some where.
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Well, things like pensions "changed" at companies while I was working there and there was nothing I could do about it.
Health care insurance costs rose for me without notice and there was nothing I could do about it.
My job was outsourced to a low-cost provider and there was nothing I could do about.
Sorry, I just don't like hearing the whining.
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wrote:

It didn't change that much at my academic employer in New York City. But then, it always was a "defined contribution" benefit, rather than a "defined benefit" plan. It was up to me how and where to invest (within the limits of 403b5.
Health care costs kept and keep on rising for my coworkers and me (retired) too, including contributions from us, and copays.
I think that whining is in the eye of the beholder. If you had a contract, did you like it being canceled? My contract was year to year. Luckily, I worked for 34 years with (hardly) a hiatus, although 1 year early on I had to take a 30% pay cut. It's possible that I could have insisted on being paid, but then my performance review could have been bad at the end <wry grin>.
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I just read this closer. To respond, I can unequivocably say that pensions have been changed AND taken away from workers in the private sector.
Whenever a person goes bankrupt, creditors will settle for pennies on a dollar to at least get something. All levels of government are just about bankrupt now and the "private sheeple" who are paying the bills are requesting their representatives to work with the "public sheeple" to renegotiate the contract. This sort of thing is not unheard of in the private sector.
I say "sheeple" because they exist in both the private and public sectors.
As far as honoring contracts are concerned, did you also agree that the rich CEOs and other high-ranking executives should have been paid the millions and millions of dollars that they were due in contracts after the meltdown in 2008? I will bet you that you were one of those people who complained that companies did that even though they were honoring the contracts.
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wrote:

I just read this closer. To respond, I can unequivocably say that pensions have been changed AND taken away from workers in the private sector.
Whenever a person goes bankrupt, creditors will settle for pennies on a dollar to at least get something. All levels of government are just about bankrupt now and the "private sheeple" who are paying the bills are requesting their representatives to work with the "public sheeple" to renegotiate the contract. This sort of thing is not unheard of in the private sector.
I say "sheeple" because they exist in both the private and public sectors.
As far as honoring contracts are concerned, did you also agree that the rich CEOs and other high-ranking executives should have been paid the millions and millions of dollars that they were due in contracts after the meltdown in 2008? I will bet you that you were one of those people who complained that companies did that even though they were honoring the contracts.
I don't dispute any of what you've said. However, as a retired firefighter, I know of many who chose the profession solely because of the "security"; security that is now being surrendered because of mismanagement by the ......managers. The individuals in question usually had skills that would have paid them more *in the short run* but chose a public service job because of the proffered security. I'm in favor of informing future applicants that the so-called security no longer exists and they are well advised to take care of their own but a deal is a deal and the "sheeple public" elected the "managers" so the fault cannot be fairly placed entirely upon the public service workers. IMHO
Max
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wrote:

Exactly, Max. As I said elsewhere, in maybe different words, academic institutions and others have become leery of "defined benefit" pensions, and have started to give "defined contribution" benefits. I had the latter, and can only blame myself for hanging on to underperforming investments, and crow about the well-performing ones.
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wrote:

I did complain that the contracts were written in such a way that they did get those enormous bonuses. A contract is a contract, unless it is illegal, or coerced. Your call now ...
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Well, why did you complain about them? Because they are "rich" and the people you hang around with are not?
I am not trying to be belligerent; I am just trying to make a point. You see, I believe it is this exact type of class warfare that cause a lot of the problems in the world today. For example, all that crap that is happening in England right now. I saw a British newscaster delivering the news from a store that was in the process of being overrun by looters. And the looters were having a good old time! He asked one woman if she knew what she was doing and she said that she did. he asked her why and she said something stupid like, "We're getting back all the taxes we paid." Another interview was conducted with three young girls (in their late teens or early 20s). It was morning, so the newscaster said, and the girls were gorked out of their sneakers on free booze that was handed out. They were asked if they were up all night and they said they were and ghat they drunk the free booze all night (that was stolen). Then they were asked why they did it and they each said separately that it was because of the rich.
This "discussion" is starting to go in the same vein. Both sides need to get together and UNDERSTAND the other side. Reasonableness needs to prevail. Anymore, people try to get 100% of the pie and won't give up until they do.
I understand that is is hard to get by on a smaller salary but if you can get (a) job security, (b) lower health insurance costs, and (c) a good pension, why do you need the same salary as a person who is working in the private sector who is paying more in health insurance costs and gets little to no pension AND has to pay taxes so the public workers can get more than they have themselves.
Reasonableness. I'm sorry that the pendulum has swung way in the opposite direction butt he fact of the matter is that is has. Adjust.
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I have hardly ever complained about the salary I was getting. Considering what it takes around here to live, a real cut in disposable income for my kids here is a hardship. They would live, even if I didn't help, but they would definitely spend less. And the real issue is why healthcare costs are so crazy in the US, compared to elsewhere. Example:
I broke my leg while on vacation in Holland (Wed, 7/7/10, ~10:30 AM). An ambulance crew picked me up and brought me to the local ER, where they determined that both tibia and fibula were badly cracked just above my ankle to halfway up my lower leg. A trauma orthopedic surgeon said he needed to operate right away and put "plates" and screws in my leg. Operation was done and by 2:30 I was out of recovery in a semiprivate hospital room. On Friday afternoon I was released, and was told it was OK to travel by train to Paris on Saturday. Followup care here in Jersey had the orthopedist amazed at the techniques used by the Dutch surgeon. For the hospital stay including ambulance, OR, anesthesia and medications, the total bill was less than 10K. It's difficult to compute because of the changing exchange rates around that time. Luckily my insurance paid except for a $250 deductible. Of course, no one but me paid for my exchanging my tourist class seat for a first class one, so I could keep my leg elevated during the flight to Newark. I'd love to know what a similar operation and hospital stay would have cost hereabouts.
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Han
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