Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…

Especially when it comes from the Hoover Institution.

The Case Against Public Sector Unions

Public employees unions have wielded huge influence to gain perquisites for themselves at the expense of the public. Early retirement, job tenure, high wages, and generous defined-benefit pension plans have gained increasing attention from commentators and voters, though many public sector perks are intentionally shrouded and confuse the public debate. What has received far less attention is the pernicious effect of public sector union privileges on the provision of public goods in the United States. Public sector unions have greatly distorted state spending priorities and made it more difficult for states to devise innovative public goods that would benefit their citizenry as whole. For example, prison guard unions have directly influenced penal policy, fighting reduced sentences or decriminalization of drugs. Teachers’ unions fight charter schools and merit pay. The strong organizational rights of these unions, protected or abetted by statute and regulations, enables their outsized influence on public policy.

But crisis is also opportunity. The dire straits of states offer the chance for entrepreneurial governors to abolish public employee union privileges, like the rights to strike, to collectively bargain, to seek binding arbitration, and to collect dues. Public employee unions are the great reactionary force in public life today, using their privileged position both to defend the rewards their members receive and to block innovation. As a result, this recession offers a political opening for both liberal and conservative governors.

For conservatives, taking on public employee unions provides a way to eliminate inefficient spending and create a polity of low taxes and lean government. For liberals, it provides a way to redirect spending to effective public goods, like better educational outputs, that public employee unions frustrate. If both liberal and conservative governors moved against public employee unions, the public would have the best of all possible worlds, a demonstration project pitting a low-tax, small-government jurisdictions against a higher-tax, high-value public goods jurisdictions. It would create a fair fight between the attractive options that conservatism and liberalism can offer. Union contracts, however, prevent most state governments from nimbly responding to changing circumstances. This ossification short-circuits the beneficial competition among jurisdictions created by our federal system, which works best when there are not entrenched impediments to government innovation.

The Wages of Unionization is Death

These people (public unions in particular) are killing your economy. When will you have the guts to tell them “No!” and send them packing?

Detroit wants to save itself by shrinking

DETROIT – Detroit, the very symbol of American industrial might for most of the 20th century, is drawing up a radical renewal plan that calls for turning large swaths of this now-blighted, rusted-out city back into the fields and farmland that existed before the automobile.

Operating on a scale never before attempted in the U.S., the city would demolish houses in some of the most desolate sections of Detroit and move residents into stronger neighborhoods. Roughly a quarter of the 139-square-mile (360-sq. kilometer) city could go from urban to semi-rural.

Near downtown, fruit trees and vegetable farms would replace neighborhoods that are an eerie landscape of empty buildings and vacant lots. Suburban commuters heading into the city center might pass through what looks like the countryside to get there. Surviving neighborhoods in the birthplace of the auto industry would become pockets in expanses of green.

Detroit officials first raised the idea in the 1990s, when blight was spreading. Now, with the recession plunging the city deeper into ruin, a decision on how to move forward is approaching. Mayor Dave Bing, who took office last year, is expected to unveil some details in his state-of-the-city address this month.

“Things that were unthinkable are now becoming thinkable,” said James W. Hughes, dean of the School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, who is among the urban experts watching the experiment with interest. “There is now a realization that past glories are never going to be recaptured. Some people probably don’t accept that, but that is the reality.”

Several other declining industrial cities, such as Youngstown, Ohio, have also accepted downsizing. Since 2005, Youngstown has been tearing down a few hundred houses a year. But Detroit’s plans dwarf that effort. The approximately 40 square miles (103 sq. kilometers) of vacant property in Detroit is larger than the entire city of Youngstown.

Faced with a $300 million budget deficit and a dwindling tax base, Bing argues that the city can’t continue to pay for police patrols, fire protection and other services for all areas.

The current plan would demolish about 10,000 houses and empty buildings in three years and pump new investment into stronger neighborhoods. In the neighborhoods that would be cleared, the city would offer to relocate residents or buy them out. The city could use tax foreclosure to claim abandoned property and invoke eminent domain for those who refuse to leave, much as cities now do for highway projects.

Everything I’ve been predicting is starting to happen…

In a long ago Star Trek episode, Spock stated that a truly successful parasite lives in harmony with its host. The parasites, Public Sector Unions, are killing the host.

Unions are destroying entire sectors of the economy by simultaneously fighting for unsustainable benefits AND for the right to provide substandard services (see education). They are also destroying the ability of Government to meet the needs of the citizenry.

Fairfax faces choice: Raise taxes to fund teacher pensions, or tame local spending

Fairfax County officials are about to run head-on into the same public sector pension funding crisis that is spreading across the entire country, as detailed by the Pew Center on the States’ recent report about the “trillion-dollar funding gap.”

The issue is being drawn with razor-sharpness in Fairfax in the choice now facing local school board officials: They can either ask the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to raise taxes to fund lavish teacher pensions and other retirement benefits properly, or they can reduce current teacher and administrator salaries by eight percent and use the money saved instead.

The Fairfax County Taxpayers Association explained the choice and what led up to it in a recent email alert to its members:
“The FCTA asked why the school board is urging the supervisors to raise taxes by $81.9M although only $9M is needed to pay for next year’s expected increase in student enrollment.

“The school superintendent acknowledged that the reason is the increased cost in employee benefits, especially pensions. According to the schools’ proposed FY2011 budget, employee benefits costs are increasing by $98M, of which $71M is for pensions and another $15M is for retiree medical benefits.
“The school board has been less than straightforward with the community about this. During her opening remarks at the forum, school board chairman Kathy Smith talked about cuts to band and sports, and bigger class sizes, but never acknowledged that the cuts were being made to pay for increased benefits costs. School board members urged the audience to ask the supervisors to raise taxes. If taxes are not raised, then the board will cut band and sports and increase class size to make the pension payments.

“The problem is that while unionized county employees have pensions, most private-sector taxpayers do not. Is it fair to raise taxes to fully fund county pensions when taxpayers rely on 401Ks and those have lost value?

If you support these taxes, you are supporting the destruction of your state and local economy. It’s that simple. People, jobs, companies, and your kids, will just start to leave.

When you take the strange mentality of the public employees into account (i.e 50-50 on whether to keep their jobs or their benefits) you begin to see the scope of the problem. They lack the ability to reason, and they are imbued with an absurd (and obscene) sense of entitlement.

Fire them all. Hire people who have a sense of reality.

Lastly, if you lack the intestinal fortitude to aggressively take these people to task, you better get some. They are killing your town, your state, and your country.

What have I been predicting, you ask.

For about 5 years now, I’ve been saying “You can’t fund a child’s education if you are funding a bloated bureaucracy and padded workforce.”

I’ve also said that the coming financial conflagration would give us an opportunity to successfully attack, and defeat, public employee greed and corruption. I argued that it was only a matter of time before they would start to lose political support.

I was right about that too.

After bankrupting entire industries and driving old people out of their homes…

Why would Unions be popular?

On Labor Day, support for unions plunges to all-time low

This Labor Day brings word of a new Gallup poll showing that American public support for labor unions has taken a sharp dive in the last year and is at its lowest point since Gallup began polling in 1936.

In response to the question, “Do you approve or disapprove of labor unions?” just 48 percent of respondents said they approve, while 45 percent said they disapprove. That’s a steep fall from August 2008, when the numbers were 59 percent approve, 31 percent disapprove, and it’s the first time approval of unions has ever fallen below 50 percent.

Before this year, American support for unions had remained remarkably stable for nearly four decades. In August 2001, in the first months of George W. Bush’s presidency, Gallup’s results for the same question were 60 percent approve, 32 percent disapprove. In August 1997, in Bill Clinton’s second term, they were 60-31. In 1985, during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the figures were 58-27. In 1978, during Jimmy Carter’s time in the White House, they were 59-31. And in 1972, during Richard Nixon’s, they were 60-27.

The new poll also shows that many Americans believe the future is bleak for unions. In response to the question, “Thinking about the future, do you think labor unions in this country will become stronger than they are today, the same as today, or weaker than they are today?” 48 percent said unions will become weaker, versus just 24 percent who said unions will become stronger.

Broken down by political party, Gallup found support for unions has fallen the most among critically-important independent voters. Last year, 63 percent of independents said they approved of unions. Now, just 44 percent say the same thing. Among Republicans, 29 percent support unions, versus 38 percent last year. Only among Democrats does union support remain strong, although it, too, has fallen: 66 percent support today, versus 72 percent support a year ago.

___________

Unions don’t produce anything, they only make what workers produce more expensive. Teacher’s unions don’t educate a single child, they merely make educating children more expensive. There once was a day when you needed a Union to protect you. The fact that today, there are plenty of ways to protect yourself in an employment contract.

Unions breaking the first rule of a successful Parasite

I don’t know if there is an earlier reference, but the credit for the quote below goes to Spock (really some script writer) in the old “Star Trek” series.

I can’t remember the exact story line, but somewhere in the episode, Spock stated, “The truly successful parasite lives in harmony with its host.”

Unions are bleeding the taxpayers and industries dry. This will not end well.

The Truth About Cars and Trucks

The two parties that turned the Big Three into a perennially limping freak of unwritten industrial policy now will take formal ownership of their handiwork. The United Auto Workers (UAW) would own 39% of GM. The federal government would own 50%. The creditors will be shafted with just 10%. (In the Chrysler plan being discussed, labor would own 55%, making it effectively a subsidiary of the UAW.)

The day after any such settlement is finalized, the clock will start ticking down to the next collective-bargaining session between a monopoly UAW and what remains of the Big Three — though now the UAW would be sitting on both sides of the table.

Lately some have doted, with wonderment and admiration, on the Obama administration’s apparent willingness to drive a hard bargain with the UAW as it tries to impose a stage-managed replica of bankruptcy on GM and Chrysler. Please.

In a real bankruptcy, which is the natural fate of companies unable to meet their obligations, Chrysler and GM would be run (or liquidated) for the benefit of their creditors, not their workers. But, here, “pattern bargaining” will remain the law of the Detroit jungle. The UAW will continue to use its unnaturally augmented clout to extract uncompetitive pay and benefits (it can do no other given its internal incentives). As it has for 40 years, Washington will pitch in with one improvisation after another, disguised as energy policy, trade policy, health-care policy or environmental policy, to stop the rivets from popping off. Politics, especially Democratic electoral politics, will play a more dominant role than ever.

When I read about these auto bailouts, I get depressed. I’m proud to be Anti-Union. I can honestly say that I’ve never understood the collective mindset, and regardless of how I may be outnumbered, I’m damn glad I’ve never suffered from it.

You want to bargain collectively? Fine. But you Union-heads have got exactly what you wanted, the power to destroy the companies that employ you. Once your “public union” counterparts finish off the rest of the productive sector through their pension and tax greed, you can all celebrate in your socialist paradise.

It will be a dismal paradise, with stagflation, British style health care, and stupid lazy people acting like they are working, but hey, you won.