And So I Go: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Posts Tagged ‘Unionized government workers


Star Parker is one o my favorite columnist because shespeaksd from experience.  She was born and raise in the ghetto and rose above it with hard work and talent.  Her book,  “Back on Uncle Sam’s Plantation”  should be read by anyone who believes in government handouts.  BB

Star Parker

In Washington, It’s the Money that Talks

by Star Parker

Washington’s latest bailout of bleeding state governments, $26 billion worth, has gotten attention because, among other things, almost half the bailout is financed by cutting $12 billion from food stamps.

But isn’t food stamps a signature program for the liberal Democrats who passed this spending bill? Isn’t government money for the poor what Democrats are supposed to be about?


How, in these tough times, do Democrats who control congress decide who’ll get funded and who not?

This is the latest example, particularly illustrative, showing that Washington is less and less about ideas and values, and more and more about interests, power, and money.

In this case, we’re talking about unions. Of the $26 billion the bill appropriates, $16 billion goes to state Medicaid programs and the other $10 billion to unionized state and local government employees.

Of the top twenty PACs in the country, eleven are union PACs. Number eight on the list is the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Workers ($1.8 million dollars in campaign contributions in the current election cycle). Number seventeen on the list is the American Federation of Teachers ($1.5 million in contributions).

Needless to say, around 100% of these union political contributions go to Democrats.

Union membership today is mostly a government phenomenon.

Whereas 7% of private sector employees are unionized, 35% of government employees are.

So with each incremental growth in government, unionized workers gain disproportionate power and influence over all our lives. Unions understand that big government is their bread and butter, so unions, that represent 15% of all American workers, account for more than 50% of the nation’s largest Political Action Committees.

The problem should be clear. Regardless of the narrative you want to use to explain how we got into the current difficult economic times, there is only one way out. That’s flexibility, creativity, and innovation.

But in areas that are unionized – mostly government – we hit the wall. Union contracts prohibit wage adjustments or any kind of market flexibility.

Over the last ten years, wages have risen for state and local government workers by 19% compared to 9% in the private sector.

Nobel laureate economist Gary Becker writes: “During this recession, wages did fall for many workers, but mainly among non-union workers….For example, the state of Illinois has the largest fiscal deficit as a percent of its budget of any state… It required many of its high level non-union employees to take 24 unpaid leave days, or about a 9% cut in their salaries, since the state government cannot touch the wages of their many unionized employees.”

Regarding pleas about saving teachers’ jobs, it’s not about this at all. It’s about teachers’ unions refusing to make concessions and hard adjustments like all Americans are making.

Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal recently wrote about the refusal of the teachers’ union in Milwaukee to negotiate with the local school board and make any concession in which teachers would have to contribute something to their health plan. Their plan, according to Moore, costs taxpayers $26, 844 per family, compared to $14,500 which typifies private employer plans.

The union held out, letting some teachers get laid off, waiting for bailout from Washington.

Priorities in Washington have always been influenced by who’s got the money as opposed to who’s got the ideas. Today mores than ever.

And for the poor?

The main way to end the poverty cycle is to get poor children educated. And it’s the teachers’ unions that fight school choice.

A major driver of poor youth unemployment is the minimum wage, aggressively supported by unions.

But unions have campaign funds. So they will step ahead of the poor in line when Washington sets priorities. This will be true whether it’s a question of funding existing programs for the poor, like food stamps, or pushing forward innovative market based ideas to combat poverty.

The Millionaire Cop Next Door « Digital Rules –

Joe Guarino has a post about the Council of  Churches now backing government employees right to unions.  Ken Hill commented and suggested we all read this article.  Thank you Ken

The Millionaire Cop next Door is a fact!  It is also why California, New York City and several other states and many other cities are going bankrupt. Public employees were permitted to unionize and their demands escalated to the unreasonable level where the tax payer will not be able to care for their own families with their after tax dollars.

It is said that government workers now make, on average, 30% more than private sector workers. Put that fantasy aside. It far underestimates the real figures. By my calculations, government workers make more than twice as much. Government workers are America’s fastest-growing millionaires.

your average California policeman who retires at age 55. Typical cities in California have a police officer’s retirement plan that works as follows: 3% at 50. As the North County Times of Carlsbad, Calif., explains:Carlsbad offers its police and firefighters a “3-percent-at-50″ retirement plan, meaning that emergency services workers who retire at age 50 can get 3 percent of their highest salary times the number of years they have worked for the city.

City officials have said that in Carlsbad, the average firefighter or police officer typically retires at age 55 and has 28 years of service. Using the 3 percent salary calculation, that person would receive an annual city pension of $76,440.

That does not include health benefits, which might push real retirement compensation close to $100,000 a year.

Who are America’s fastest-growing class of millionaires? They are police officers, firefighters, teachers and federal bureaucrats who, unless things change drastically, will be paid something near their full salaries every year–until death–after retiring in their mid-50s. That is equivalent to a retirement sum worth millions of dollars.

So when you hear that government workers now make, on average, 30% more than private sector workers, you are not getting the full story. Government workers make more than twice as much as private sector workers, on average, when you include the net present value of their pensions.

I want to point out that the Armed Forces  are not included in this group.  Some of the generals retire as millionaires but not the the rest of the officer corp and certainly not the enlisted personnel (non-officers).  However they are government workers but they can not unionize.  Can you imagine a soldier striking and refusing to protect our country?  Take this a step further and imagine our police striking and letting criminals go free, or any other the government services just closing their doors because the workers are on strike.  This is the reason government workers unions always get their demands:  their jobs are vital to the running of the economy.  (Tho I sure do think there are far too many of them for the job they are doing.  It’s like one of those Polish jokes asking how many Pols it takes to screw in a light bulb.  I don’t know about Pols but I believe it takes at least three government workers!  BB)

It used to be that government workers were prohibited from unionizing because their jobs were considered  secure.  They then accepted lower wages  for this security.  They were not subjected to lay offs and even the company going bankrupt and closing all together.  Now that they are unionized we are seeing more and more strikes and demands for higher wages and better benefits.   Their jobs are still secure since governments do not go out of business and their unions prohibit  their being fired.  Good work if you can get it!, as they say.  BB

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