Is Obama the President of a Union, or President Of The Union? United States Presidents are supposed to be the leader of These United States, and not just labor unions. Obama came out today swinging at anyone he perceives as against unions. What about the taxpayers, who represents us?
Click on the Picture to see the speech
Public servants will agree with that. Democrats and republicans agree with that. In fact many public employees in your respective states have already agreed to cuts. But let me also say this, I don’t think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified, or their rights are infringed upon. We need to attract the best and the brightest to public service. These times demand it. We’re not gonna attract the best teachers for our kids, for example, if they only make a fraction of what other professionals make. We’re not gonna convince the bravest Americans to put their lives on the line as police officers or firefighters if we don’t properly reward that bravery. So yes we need a conversation about pensions and Medicare and Medicaid and other promises that we’ve made as a nation and those will be tough conversations but necessary conversations. As we make these decisions about our budget, going forward though, I believe that everyone should be at the table and that the concept of shared sacrifice should prevail. If all the pain’s borne by only one group, whether its workers or seniors or the poor, while the wealthiest among us get to keep or get more tax breaks, we’re not doing the right thing. I think that’s something the democrats and the republicans should be able to agree on.
Again I ask, what about the taxpayers? Who represents us? We don’t get a say in when our tax dollars go to public union wages. We don’t get a say in public union’s healthcare. We don’t get a say in public union’s pensions. What about our rights as taxpayers? We pay for public employees’ wages, healthcare and pensions.
This straw man argument that the wealthiest get tax breaks is pure nonsense. The wealthiest get taxed at higher rates. Just look at the tax rate tables in the IRS 1040 form.
As you can see, the percent tax rate goes up as you make more money. Where are the tax breaks?
And who is denigrating and vilifying public workers? Other than the public workers themselves, and their actions. Look at the acts of violence committed by union thugs, verbal and physical assaults, against non-union protesters and news reporters.
Obama wading into the Wisconsin union issues is completely inappropriate and unconstitutional. Wisconsin is trying to get control of its budget by getting the unions to release collective bargaining. The reasons are more than just money; it’s about power, and not about fairness. This article in the WSJ uncovers some interesting information regarding the union’s benefits:
The average Milwaukee public-school teacher salary is $56,500, but with benefits the total package is $100,005, according to the manager of financial planning for Milwaukee public schools. When I showed these figures to a friend, she asked me a simple question: “How can fringe benefits be nearly as much as salary?” The answers can be found by unpacking the numbers in the district’s budget for this fiscal year:
What these numbers ultimately prove is the excessive power of collective bargaining. The teachers’ main pension plan is set by the state legislature, but under the pressure of local bargaining, the employees’ contribution is often pushed onto the taxpayers. In addition, collective bargaining led the Milwaukee public school district to add a supplemental pension plan—again with no employee contribution. Finally, the employees’ contribution (or lack thereof) to the cost of health insurance is also collectively bargained.
As the costs of pensions and insurance escalate, the governor’s proposal to restrict collective bargaining to salaries—not benefits—seems entirely reasonable.
That last part is interesting. First, collective bargaining at the local level has pushed the cost of benefits into the taxpayers. Second, the Governor Walker is only asking to restrict collective bargaining to salaries, not benefits. They’ll still have a Cadillac healthcare and pension. So this claim of union busting is simply not true. They’ll still be better off than the private sector.
Still not convinced? How about when the teachers union asked the courts to force taxpayers to pay for Viagra in their health plan? Talk about screwing the taxpayer.
What’s For Dinner?
Hawaiian Billfish over Spanish Rice Pilaf