05 March 2011

Government Unions to Taxpayers: "Me Master! You Slave!"

One can see the economic future of at least half the states and cities of the US, by looking at California. Nowhere in the US is the power of unions so total and uncontested, and nowhere is the Democratic Party so dominant. And nowhere in the US is the economic future so rutted into a predictable  path to total collapse. The complete fusion of government unions with the US Democratic Party presents a picture of corruption and an apparent impossibility for meaningful reform which staggers the logical mind.
The Democratic Party has folded Sacramento into one of the tightest one-party grips in contemporary American politics. In November, bucking the national trend, Democrats in California won not just the governorship but 51 Assembly seats to Republicans’ 29, 24 state Senate seats to Republicans’ 14, and every statewide office. With the passage of a referendum lowering the number of legislative votes required to approve a state budget (from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority), California is that rarest of land masses for the 2011 Democratic Party: conquered territory. State Democrats have freedom to rule virtually unchallenged by the scattered, rusticated Republicans.

As 72-year-old Jerry Brown enters his second governorship, he has an agenda to match that power, with visions even greater than those that haunted his two-term administration of the 1970s and ’80s: building 20,000 megawatts of renewable power, laying a new high-speed rail network that will connect the state’s major cities, forging a statewide infrastructure for alternative energy, hiring thousands of green employees. The new governor’s environmental agenda is ambitious, untenably expensive, and indelibly popular with voters and lawmakers.

Yet when Brown looks out on Democrat-controlled California, he seems less like Caesar at the Rubicon than Wojciech Jaruzelski at the Gdansk Shipyard. Brown is champion of a workers’ party with monopoly control, yet all his plans are being derailed by a labor movement nobody can harness. _Reason
The 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. 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. _CityJournal
California may be more beholden to government unions than most US states, but it is far from alone. Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, Illinois, New York, and a score of other states are deeply wrapped within the web of government union power, and may find it ultimately impossible to escape doom.
...public-sector workers are spoiled rotten. Government employees earn 21% more than private ones and are 24% more likely to have access to health care. Only 21% of private workers enjoy a defined-benefit (DB) pension, which guarantees retirement income based on years of service and final salary. But 84% of state and local workers still receive DB plans.

All this might be grand if states and cities could afford it, but they cannot; unlike the federal government, they have the pesky obligation to balance their budgets. The recession has already drained pension funds. _Economist
US governments are corrupted by ties to government unions from the top to the bottom. Good government is impossible under these conditions, much less a viable economic plan for commercial prosperity.

The enslavement of taxpayers by government unions is virtually complete in California, and at least a handful of other states. But the Obama government wants to put every US state into the same position as California and Illinois. It is not clear that the nation could recover from such a disastrous plan, if achieved.

More: Even the NYTimes is beginning to see the handwriting on the wall for government unions. Anyone still pro government union by now, simply has no brain. Such people are generally referred to as zombies, in the age of Obama. ;-)

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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