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What the Wisconsin union uproar is really about


Once again, The World's Oldest Rule  -- Follow The Money -- explains the issue simply and ellegantly:

Wall Street Journal June 11, 2009 - Unions In Debt

Alarm is coming even from inside the AFL-CIO -- specifically, from Tom Buffenbarger, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, who sits on the AFL-CIO's finance committee. Bloomberg News reports that he is circulating a report claiming the AFL-CIO engaged in "creative accounting" to conceal financial difficulties heading into last year's Presidential election. As recently as 2000, the union consortium of 8.5 million members had a $45 million surplus. By June of last year it had $90.6 million in liabilities, or $2.3 million more than its $88.3 million in assets. "If we are not careful, insolvency may be right around the corner," Mr. Buffenbarger warned.

... As for the SEIU, as recently as 2002 total SEIU liabilities were about $8 million. According to its 2008 disclosure form, the union owed more than $156 million, a 30% increase over the $120 million it owed in 2007. Its liabilities now equal more than 80% of its $189 million in assets. Net assets fell by nearly half last year, to $34 million, from $64 million in 2007. The debt includes an $80 million loan the SEIU took out in 2003 to purchase a new headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C. But the liabilities also stem from political spending, including at least $67 million last year on political and lobbying expenses, twice what it spent in 2007.
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel March 3, 2011 - Largest unions pay leaders well, give extensively to Democrats

• National Education Association. Membership: 3.2 million; assets: $216 million. The NEA, representing most of the nation's teachers, has 31 headquarters officers and employees who earn more than $200,000 in pay and benefits. The president, Dennis Van Roekel, received $397,721 in salary and benefits. Of the $3.7 million NEA spent on political activities in the last election cycle, 98% went to Democratic candidates. The NEA has 98,000 members in Wisconsin.

• Service Employees International Union. Membership: 1.8 million; assets: $187 million. The SEIU, whose membership has increased in recent years, has been organizing hospital, home care and nursing home workers, along with local and state government employees, janitors and security officers. The union has nine headquarters officers and employees who earn more than $200,000. The former president, Andy Stern, was paid $306,388 in salary and benefits from the union in 2009. Stern resigned in 2010 and was replaced by Mary Kay Henry, formerly the executive vice president. Over the past two years, SEIU gave almost $2 million to Democratic candidates and $8,500 to Republicans. It has 18,000 members in Wisconsin.

• United Food & Commercial Workers. Membership: 1.3 million; assets: $157 million. The UFCW, whose members work in meatpacking, food processing and retail grocery stores, has 17 headquarters officers and employees who earn more than $200,000. The president, Joseph T. Hansen, received $360,737 in compensation in 2009. Of the $1.9 million the union donated to political candidates over the past two years, 99% of it went to Democrats.

And so on.  You get the idea.

Here's the bottom line: weakening the stranglehold the NEA and other unions have over their members will allow workers more freedom to decide whether union membership is their best option, rather than having the union forcibly decide "yes" and demand compulsory dues payments, or throw up one roadblock after another to prevent workers from exercising their rights under the Beck decision

And that would mean the end of the gravy train for fat cat union bosses and the Democrat party.  Union leaders must be really scared, because their organizations are collectively hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and their only source of revenue is union dues.  If workers were ever empowered in ways that would allow them to organize against their own unions, and withhold their dues in order to force the unions to open up their books and explain their own Enron/Madoff-style accounting tricks, then the unions would collapse under the weight of their own corruption.

And frankly, it's about damn time for that to happen. 
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Comments (112)

It definitely explains the ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

It definitely explains the 'wailing and gnashing of teeth' going on there now. Both from the union bosses and the Democrats.

It's not the collective bar... (Below threshold)
jim m:

It's not the collective bargaining issue that scares them. It isn't even having to recertify because thy know they can intimidate enough people to get that done.

The worry is that the state won't automatically collect their dues for them. I think it was Indiana where they stopped doing that and union receipts from dues dropped 60% because the members found out how much they were having to give.

If they are on the brink of insolvency losing the automatic collection of dues will push them over the edge.

OK, so let me see if I unde... (Below threshold)

OK, so let me see if I understand your argument:

For workers to be able to have more freedom, unions must be forbidden from actually being able to go on strike.

Can you make a flowchart of that?

I think Glenn Reynol... (Below threshold)
macofromoc:


I think Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit would call it the Union Bubble about to burst.


"For workers to be able to ... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

"For workers to be able to have more freedom, unions must be forbidden from actually being able to go on strike."

Which unionized workers are you talking about? Those in the public sector? Those in the private sector? Both?

I'm talking about both. If ... (Below threshold)

I'm talking about both. If the argument is "what's good for worker freedom", I don't see how taking away their collective bargaining rights helps their freedom.

I think Glenn Reynolds a... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

I think Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit would call it the Union Bubble about to burst.

More like the union zit.

Dear Jim x,Reading... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Dear Jim x,

Reading comprehension is so not your strong suit.
Tossing nonsequiturs is also something you need to stay as far away from as possible as seen here:

"For workers to be able to have more freedom, unions must be forbidden from actually being able to go on strike."

The article above make absolutely NO mention of strikes, anywhere. As a matter of fact it specifically targets unions favorite method of financing extorting dues from 'members' which is having government doing it for them.

Here in AL, as previously mentioned elsewhere, the AEA is suing the State and several school boards in a vain attempt to overturn just such a law passed by the newly elected Republican majorities in the House and Senate. No more state sponsored extortion passed directly to union coffers.

Boo F'n hoo.

Members are no longer having funds directly transferred from their pay to the unions by the state. Never should have been done by the state for the union and with any luck never will again.

(if strikethru didn't work ... well...'financing' is a euphemistic term)

No wonder the unions and De... (Below threshold)
Stan:

No wonder the unions and Democrats are working hand in glove. They both have spent their respective organizations into bankruptcy. The unions are bankrupt from the bosses dipping into the till and the Democrat party spending money the states and the federal governments do not have. The both of them have robbed Peter to pay Paul for so long, it became a lifestyle. Now that zit is about to burst and they are scrambling to cover the mess that they made. Oh by the way, organized crime had their fingers in the pie too. Raking their 10% or better off the top.

You'll have to pardon jim x... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

You'll have to pardon jim x. He just parrots the Democratic/Union line. He doesn't THINK about it.

Chris Todd and Barney's Fra... (Below threshold)
914:

Chris Todd and Barney's Frank were unavailable for comment.

Lay off the stupid pills jim x.

"For workers to be able to ... (Below threshold)
davidt:

"For workers to be able to have more freedom, unions must be forbidden from actually being able to go on strike."

Anybody can go on strike anytime they want.

Freedom 1: the quality or s... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

Freedom 1: the quality or state of being free: as a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action
State workers will have the freedom to work without the coercion of joining a union

b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another

State workers will be liberated from Union constraints

: independence c : the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous

State workers will be able to choice to pay there Union dues and vote to keep or dissolve unions

Collective Bargaining: Takes away individual achievement it renders all works the same. It puts all the control and money in a hands of few. How free will those workers bee when thier Unions go bust? How secure will the pensions be when the Cities go bust?

You want to know what worker freedom is?

You have continually to assert that people have a moral responsibility which they must accept. Moral in the widest sense of the term. Moral responsibility for their own actions. We must exorcise the idea that if you do something wrong it is not your fault but the fault of society around.

... The encouragement of variety and individual choice, the provision of fair incentives and rewards for skill and hard work, the maintenance of effective barriers against the excessive power of the state, and a belief in the wide distribution of individual private property ... they are certainly what I am trying to defend.

Let our children grow tall (and some grow taller than others), if they have it in them to do so. We must build a society in which each citizen can develop his full potential, both for his own benefit and for the community as a whole: in which originality, skill, energy and thrift are rewarded; in which we encourage, rather than restrict the variety and richness of human nature.

... It is not my job, nor the job of any politician to offer people salvation. It is part of my political faith that people must save themselves. Many of our troubles are due to the fact that our people turn to politicians for everything.

Freedom, subject to law and individual responsibility, is basic to the western democratic order.

ML, All my adult ... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

ML,

All my adult life, from age 15 to 50, I worked diligently and consistently... in order to better my and my family's circumstances. Sometimes holding down two or three jobs at a time. I didn't live off of someone else's labors. The deal was: You put your best effort into the business, company or organization you worked for, and they in turn paid you compensation equivalent to your efforts.

Going on "Strike?" WTH is that? If I didn't believe in the company or what I was doing, I would have put in my notice and resigned... or in the case of the military - faithfully completed my term of enlistment for which I contracted. The philosophy being... one should be as good as one's word - and finish what you start.

I believe where one ends up later in life, is a sum of all the decisions, preferences, and choices one made earlier in one's journey. Good luck had a lot to do with it - and I admit I've been lucky. But that doesn't mean I could have had a lot the latter without a great deal of the former. Always stretching out as far as one can reach and doing the best one possibly can, creates its own special kind of breaks in life.

There is a season for everything... and trials and tribulations have a way of coming around. For those who only consume while others work, and satiate themselves with the waters that others carry, those individuals are in for some very tough times ahead. But, for those who are not afraid to peer into the abyss, see the future, and take immediate action - they will be able to meet the challenges of the future on their own resilient terms... in other words, if one were to make an analogy about the tensile strength of character: The strongest steel comes out of the hottest fire.

For those (trolls perhaps?) that will be wailing and complaining the loudest about the unfairness of the circumstances they put themselves in (when it arrives), there is another apt saying: When you throw a rock into a pack of Devil Dogs, the one it strikes... yelps every time.

Semper Fidelis-

I think that the Wisconsin ... (Below threshold)

I think that the Wisconsin fight and Christie taking on the teachers union in NJ are the first cracks in the dam that is going to break wide open. For decades, public-sector unions have been sucking away like mad on the taxpayers' teat, appropriating themselves fat salaries, luxurious benefits, and ginormous pensions. This has been going on for decades. And now the teat is just about dried up, and the men who dare point this out (Walker, Christie) are facing the full brunt of the unions' wrath, who do not want to have to ever give up their cushy perks.

I think we're going to be seeing a lot more of this in the years ahead. I think we're going to see some serious defaulting on debt, with municipalities, and even entire states, going bankrupt. It's not going to be pretty, but it's becoming more and more apparent that the socialists are running out of other people's money.

The article above ... (Below threshold)
The article above make absolutely NO mention of strikes, anywhere.

Uh-huh.

Gmac, what's the title of the article?

"What the Wisconsin union uproar is really about"

What's the uproar in Wisconsin?

As we all know, Governor Walker is trying to strip unions for state workers of their collective bargaining rights, including the legal right to go on strike.

Are you attempting to claim that the author is referring to some *other* uproar in Wisconsin?

If so, what is this *other* uproar that involves unions, that the entire nation is watching?

Anybody can go on ... (Below threshold)
Anybody can go on strike anytime they want.

Come now. Do we really have to split hairs like this? What does this serve?

As we all well know, Governor Walker is trying to remove the *legal* right for state workers unions to go on strike, and to collectively bargain in other ways.

914, I don't have any stupi... (Below threshold)

914, I don't have any stupid pills left. Sarah Palin took them all, and gave some to Bristol. It's a shame she didn't give Bristol the pills that actually would have worked instead of abstinence.

How free will thos... (Below threshold)
How free will those workers bee when thier Unions go bust? How secure will the pensions be when the Cities go bust?

Here's the thing: the economic straits our states and cities are in is because the financial sector collapsed. And unions did not have anything to do with that.

So it doesn't seem logical for unions and their workers to suffer for other people's mistakes. If anyone should be paying for them, it should be the Wall Street financiers that pumped up the balloon and then popped it. But somehow they're always insulated from the tough love that everyone else is supposed to take for the good of the country. Why is that?

Jim X,Is that the ... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Jim X,

Is that the best you can do? Try building a business, adding something to your community and society, or working for yourself and being your own boss... and then see if you can go on "Strike."

Your claimed "Right to Strike" is not compatible. Is it?

There is dignity and worth in all work. Without road crews, drivers ed teachers, trash collectors, bus drivers, and even, ahem... lawyers, society cannot function. We are all partners in this together. God bless each and every one.

Here is some advice from someone older and who has broken a few things along the way and had to be patched up by the doc's more than once. If I can do it, so can you. So, why not become an entrepreneur, start a business, and take charge of your life? Its never to late.

Semper Fidelis-

Brucepall, I'm not sure wha... (Below threshold)

Brucepall, I'm not sure what you're referring to as "the best I can do".

If someone has a legal right to do something, they have a legal right to do it.

If someone tried to take away your legal right to do something, wouldn't you resist it?

Then the unions in Wisconsin are doing exactly what you would do, if someone tried to take away one of your legal rights.

As your closing signature states, "Semper Fidelis". Yes, I know it's a Marine saying. It also literally means, "Always faithful". Our nation's unions are uniting in faithful solidary with their fellow members in Wisconsin, because the governor is trying to take away their rights to collectively bargain even *after they've conceded everything else*.

You know you wouldn't stand for that if someone tried to that to you.

JIM X,Per 19. Your... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

JIM X,

Per 19. Your optics are really bad. Its tax season (that's why I'm up at 3 AM)... Do you really expect a lot of sympathy about who is at fault and who should really pay?

Semper Fidelis-

Oh and FYI, Brucepall, I am... (Below threshold)

Oh and FYI, Brucepall, I am an entrepreneur and also a private contractor. I have not been a member of a union in my entire life. For whatever that's worth.

Here's the funny thing - I have some very conservative members of my family who are all members of unions. None of whom liked unions - until they needed them.

Now "their union is okay".

Unions are just like lawyers, in that sense. Everyone talks crap about them until they need one. Then the crap-talk somehow goes away.

And you're right, there is ... (Below threshold)

And you're right, there is dignity and worth in work. There's also money, and benefits, which is why we do it. There's also dignity and worth in employing people. But companies won't employ people unless there's money in it. And just like companies have the right to bargain, so do employees.

Brucepall, re: 22 - if my o... (Below threshold)

Brucepall, re: 22 - if my optics are so bad, then please enlighten me.

What did I say in 19 that is wrong or inaccurate?

All I expect is that American people act in a manner that is honorable, just, and pragmatic with the long-term self-interest of America and then the world.

Jim X,There are a ... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Jim X,

There are a lot of reasons for the last recession... excessive credit, monetarisation of debt, as well as a financial failure.

Truth be told, the debt hasn't gone away...its just been socialized. Kind of like what the Unions do with spreading around their pension and health care cost with the rest of the greater tax-paying non-union public.

I hear you, when you talk about fairness and I agree one should receive a living wage. Amen. Congratulations on being an Independent Contractor too.

But do you think Union bosses who get paid more than state Governors or our US President are being fairly compensated? I don't. And the irony that I am struggling with my taxes, is something that I have to do that goes in its own way to pay for this largess. But I will pay it, even though there is some bad mixed in with the good it does.

And yes, I'm a retired Jar-head... so you got me figured out there.

Semper Fidelis-

Jim X,I hear in yo... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Jim X,

I hear in your comments the fear of local/city/state (and higher) default. And yes, I acknowledge Union members are tax payers too. How about a little empathy for the rest of us tax payers who will have to foot the bill for the mess too? That's what I mean about your optics being bad...it is tax time... and so your timing is just awful.

I could easily write 10,000 words, easy, on the economics of it all. Our country has had a leadership failure for a long time now. Case in point, if you go to www.treasury.gov, and look at the Bureau of the National Debt... you will find that the last year that our nation owed less money on the national debt than the year before was... wait for it... the year 1960. That's longer than our current Commander-In-Chief has been alive. Kinda puts a stake through the heart of the lie of budget surpluses in the late 1990s/early 2000... doesn't it? Yes, this is a big problem, and its been going on for a very long time.

So if you have the idea that its only going to be put on the backs of those who can't say no...unlike Unions who have collective bargaining rights... forget about it. That's just a pipe dream fantasy. Everyone will have to pay and sacrifice if we ever hope to escape from the financial hole we have dug for ourselves.

And that's the truth.

Semper Fidelis-

Jim X,In 19. You ... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Jim X,

In 19. You said," So it doesn't seem logical for unions and their workers to suffer for other people's mistakes."

Can't pass off the buck, or kick the can down the road any longer... to whom would you have it passed to? Your children? Your grandkids? Some might rightly say, "that's child abuse." After all, those not yet born can not say no.

When I was 15, and got my first paycheck, I wrote a nice letter to the Social Security Administration requesting to opt out... because it was a really bad deal. Its even worse for 15 year olds today. They pay more in SS taxes on their first earned buck than you or I ever did. At age 30, I twigged to the fact that those not yet born would be paying my old-age and retirement benefits out of their future paychecks (ouch, that hurt).

So who owns this little debt problem... that can't be put off any longer? Yes I own it, and Jim X owns it, and Unions own it too... and so does 310 million other Americans. We all own it. And we will not be able to get a handle on it and resolve it, until we collectively acknowledge it, and start electing leaders who will stand together with us to 1) stop increasing or debt, and then 2) start paying off the bill that is due.

We owe this to our posterity.

Semper Fidelis-

Judges will be found, crime... (Below threshold)
Don L:

Judges will be found, crimes will be ignored, stimulus money will be found. Like the old soviet sytem - this is is the government at work. I see no revolution (tea party) strong enough to change the status quo. We have a society that no longer holds family values -character (as they said in Bill Clinton's election) doesn't matter, most folks want to be lied to (that free lunch, sexual freedom, "I'm number one, self-esteem, single mom, drugs "R" us, education, news and entertainment as propaganda,have taken their toll. Obama's likability numbers are through the roof in comparison to the damgage he's done and is doing. The GOP is only testing how to pretend being tough without offending anyone and upsetting their cushy applecart, any who appear dangerous to the system (Palin) are stampeded and crushed by all sides, the God fearing patriots are scapgoated as gun-clinging religious zealots. The unions, anmesty, the eco-frauds, unprincipled businesses will all cozy up to the power structure - regardless how unconstitutional or harmful things done are. America has seen her day in the sun - the only question is how long she'll sputter along on her feeding tubes before she finally succumbs. Negative message or good observations? Time will tell.

Public sector unions should... (Below threshold)
Ryan M.:

Public sector unions should be able to contribute to politicians campaigns OR collectively bargain. . but not both.

I'm surprised no one else c... (Below threshold)

I'm surprised no one else called out jim x's stupidity on this one...

As we all know, Governor Walker is trying to strip unions for state workers of their collective bargaining rights, including the legal right to go on strike.

Public sector employees -- even those in Wisconsin -- do NOT have the legal right to go on strike. It's a direct violation of their contract. That's why there were those doctors handing out the phony "sick notes" -- any kind of job action by teachers is a firable offense. It's something they agree to with the existing contract.

You really don't see the difference between public sector unions and private sector ones, do you, jim x? Here's a hint: there are a LOT of differences. This is just one.

J.

Jay Tea,No one cal... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Jay Tea,

No one called him on it because we all were asleep at 3 freaking AM

Jim X.1. Yes money... (Below threshold)
hcddbz:

Jim X.

1. Yes money and benefits we call it total compensation. Which is why when a teachers works 9 months out of the year is paid 58K and gets 58K in benefits compared to a some who makes 70K and get 30K in benefits we say the teachers is making more.
See the fully funded cost of the teachers is 116K.
The real problem is that many of those benefits occur down the line. Public sector workers can retires at 20 or 30 years with 70% of their pay and full benefits someone has to absorb that cost. Politicians have kicked the ball down the road and now it is coming due.
The private sector has to work more years in order to support the public sector benefits.

2. Strikes are not a right as jay pointed out. That is why sick out occur.

3. Cities have gone Bankrupt and all payments have ceased.
4. Unions have made bad investment, over contributed to campaign and have seen pensions un funded. When that occur that debt becomes the responsibility of Tax payers.

5. The vast majority of workers in America are non union now that is why the Unions have gone after the Public sector. They need money so they can influence things like card check.

6. The American worker is one of the most efficient and skilled in the world. This efficiency has done damage to Unions. Less workers producing more goods means less union dues. This is why unions divide up work and skill sets so more people can be used. This is reason why Foreign car companies use factories in the south to take advantage of American Skill without the overhead of Unions. see block quote

7. Unions severed a purpose once when their were few labor laws on the books. Now we have many.

When I was growing up I had an Atari 800 Xl, Atari 1040ST and terminal access to computer running System V. All those computers served me well but now I need another set to do my because the world has changed.
Public Sector Unions need to realize the world has changed.


n 2009, the most recent full year for which international data are available, our manufacturing output was $2.155 trillion (including mining and utilities). That’s more than 45% higher than China’s, the country we’re supposedly losing ground to. Despite recent gains in China and elsewhere, the U.S. still produced more than 20% of global manufacturing output in 2009.

The truth is that America still makes a lot of stuff, and we’re making more of it than ever before. We’re merely able to do it with a fraction of the workers needed in the past. Consider the incredible, increasing productivity of America’s manufacturing workers: The average U.S. factory worker is responsible today for more than $180,000 of annual manufacturing output, triple the $60,000 in 1972.

jim x must think people act... (Below threshold)
TexBob:

jim x must think people actually give a rats ass about what has to say.

Sorry jim, you are wasting your OFA or Moron.org funded time here.

It is fun to point and ridicule you though.

You really don't s... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:
You really don't see the difference between public sector unions and private sector ones, do you, jim x? Here's a hint: there are a LOT of differences. This is just one.

Here's another one: public employers are exempt from the National Labor Relations Act and Labor Management Relations Act. Therefore, public employees have no "right" to collective bargaining. There's no other source for any claimed "right" to collective bargaining. There's only the state's decision to engage in collective bargaining, from which it may withdraw at any time. That is, unless the Democrats manage to deadlock valid governmental action by running away.

Public sector empl... (Below threshold)
Public sector employees -- even those in Wisconsin -- do NOT have the legal right to go on strike.

OK, right you are. Just replace "strike" with collective bargaining. Which actually makes Gov. Walker's actions even worse - he wants to prevent public sector unions from even being able to deal fairly with their management. But, so it is.

jim x wrote:<blockquo... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

jim x wrote:

So it doesn't seem logical for unions and their workers to suffer for other people's mistakes. If anyone should be paying for them, it should be the Wall Street financiers that pumped up the balloon and then popped it.

In other words, life's not fair. Financially, Wisconsin is in extremis and it's not fair that Walker wants to limit the incompetent teachers to pay raises at the rate of consumer inflation and wants them to contribute 6% of their salaries to their pensions.

Grow up. Or, run away like the Democrats did.

All,While I have t... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

All,

While I have to say I am in agreement with the majority of commentators here, and I hear the frustration conveyed by Don L (among others) ... I have no bone to contend with you folks. You all have your stack-n-swivel on straight and have it figured out from a moral, rational, and mature perspective.

Jim X on the other hand is like an anti-thesis. What is scary to me - is that his vote is just as important and equal to mine. That is why I engage him and chide him gently. As long as we are honest with what we convey, and acknowledge what is truthfully said... then a valuable conversation takes place. If I can just get him to open up, and at least acknowledge and see a wider world view - then there is hope for a new change in the direction of our country and a better world for those who will follow in our footsteps.

So I say let him rip... and give em all the rope they want to say foolish things. Yes, the warriors among us will call BS immediately when its required (that would include you Mr. Tea)... kinda like being a referee, eh? But in the final analysis, when all is said and done, persuading one's antagonist to come around to your world view using your strength of argument is the best possible outcome. Yes, its yeoman's work, helping to open-up one closed mind at a time... but if there is any hope at all left for our Democracy and country, outside of a revolution, it must be done.

Semper Fidelis-

There are a lot of... (Below threshold)
There are a lot of reasons for the last recession... excessive credit, monetarisation of debt, as well as a financial failure.

If you're applying all of the above to banks and financial companies, then yes. Absolutely none of which has anything to do with unions.

Everyone will have to pay and sacrifice if we ever hope to escape from the financial hole we have dug for ourselves.

And that sounds great to me. Everyone. The problem is that the only people who seem to be sharing the pain are the poor and middle class. And the unions in this specific case have already agreed to everything Gov. Walker was demanding except their right to collectively bargain. So it's not even a monetary issue any more. Stripping their collective bargaining rights does absolutely nothing for the state debt.

If Gov. Walker was actually concerned about the future of Wisconsin, he wouldn't have cut taxes on the rich. Which is going to affect the state far worse.

Which makes again the point - where is the sacrifice on the part of those who can most afford it?

Welfare for the wealthy, tough love for the masses.

JIM X if the legislature ... (Below threshold)
Olsoljer:

JIM X if the legislature passes an act which makes strikes "illegal" then the law (passed by the majority) makes it illegal to strike, does it not? Make up my mind gasbag, are you for or against the democratic process?

Brucepall, you're probably ... (Below threshold)

Brucepall, you're probably a nice man to have a beer with.

But as for calling BS, honestly. There's probably three threads I've posted on this site in the past week - and in every single one I've factually disproved incorrect assertions.

Facts really don't matter to most of the conservatives posting here. Which really calls me to ask the question: why do I bother?

But i do keep hoping to get through, just a little bit. Probably dashed that hope on this page with this very comment, but I am trying to speak directly.

Olsoljer, I call you a gasb... (Below threshold)

Olsoljer, I call you a gasbag through the ancient law of "I'm rubber and you're glue. It bounces off me and sticks to you."

If the legislature passed a law requiring you hand in all your guns, would you consider that a just law?

Just because a legislature passes a law doesn't make it right, let alone a good idea, let alone even *legal* - that's why our system has a judicial branch to weigh in on the constitutionality of laws.

As you well know.

In other words, li... (Below threshold)
In other words, life's not fair. Financially, Wisconsin is in extremis and it's not fair that Walker wants to limit the incompetent teachers to pay raises at the rate of consumer inflation and wants them to contribute 6% of their salaries to their pensions.

Sure, life's not fair. It doesn't make sense to me add unjust laws **that don't actually fix the problem**.

Wisconsin is in extremis, ok - it's doing better than a lot of states, but yes it has things to deal with. But if the unions have already agreed to all of Gov. Walker's financial demands, why take away their rights to collectively bargain?

And if Wisconsin's financial state is really so gosh-darned important to Walker, then why cut taxes for the wealthy and make Wisconsin's future ever worse?

Do you see the dichotomy there?

Mr. Jim X, I see ... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Mr. Jim X,

I see a flicker of light with your acknowledgement that you miss-stated the facts in your response in 36... but then you go and repudiate what you just said in 41.

Man up Jim, what you say is either El Toro Poo-Poo or its not. Be honest... you can't have it both ways.

Semper Fidelis-

why take away thei... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:
why take away their rights to collectively bargain?

For the same reason that the union doesn't want to give it up and for the same reason that public employers are exempt from the National Labor Relations Act and Labor Management Relations Act (and thus aren't obligated to engage in collective bargaining)--it gives too much power to the union.

Do you see the dichotomy... (Below threshold)
Evil Otto:

Do you see the dichotomy there?

There is no dichotomy there, unless we accept your argument that cutting taxes for the wealthy will make Wisconsin's future even worse. We don't. And you've made no effort to prove that... because you simply accept it on faith.

Ask the state of Maryland what happened when they raised taxes on the wealthy. Within a year, the state had a lot fewer wealthy people living there, and rather than gaining the 100+ million dollars in additional revenue they had been counting on (and had built into their budget) they were $100 million further in the hole. That's right... they raised taxes on the rich, and LOST money. And they're not alone... states that have high tax rates are bleeding wealthy people to states that don't, resulting in deeper deficits.

I'm curious, and I'd like an answer to something: what is the purpose of taxation, Jim? Is it to fund the government, or is it to redistribute wealth?

From JimX... (Below threshold)
Rose:

From JimX

If the legislature passed a law requiring you hand in all your guns, would you consider that a just law?

Just because a legislature passes a law doesn't make it right, let alone a good idea, let alone even *legal* - that's why our system has a judicial branch to weigh in on the constitutionality of laws.

He finally got one right. :-)

Everything he said ALSO applies to Democratic legislative majorities - something that seems to be forgotten in current discussions.

Just because past Democratic controlled legislatures have given concessions to union members (who coincidentally gave them 95%+ of all their political contributions), it doesn't mean that the decision was "right", "just", "a good idea" or even legal.

The people who elected the current legislature don't seem to think so or they would have retained the past majority party in power.


Mr. Jim X,I tire o... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Mr. Jim X,

I tire of the same old class warfare rhetoric of tax the rich. Folks like you tried using that argument for raising my taxes back when I considered myself dirt poor, at age 15, back in 1971... and again in 1973, 1985, and really in every year since I started working. At age 15 - do you really have the vote and the voice to say "No?" Hell, your not even considered an adult in some places - but in those circles they have no problems with taxing you like one.

Resentment and envy cannot be a basis for winning an argument. Its unbecoming... and our national problems will never be resolved by declaring that the strength of our democratic republic and free enterprise system reside inside a zero-sum game.

Where is the acknowledgement (and reinforcement) for the savers and producers that makes this country grow? Where is the acknowledgement (and reinforcement) for becoming a part of something greater than one individual can be? How can you say on one hand you are an entrepreneur, and then on the other hand display a world view that engages in counter-productve illiberal rhetoric? It appears dishonest, and does your argument an injustice. That is the dichotomy here.

I feel compelled to repeat myself... in that those who consume while others work, who satiate themselves with the waters that others carry, and are comfortable with obtaining sustenance from the trough of good will and compassion of others ... are in for some very tough times.

The truth is Jim X, financially - we are flat broke as a nation. We are teetering on bankruptcy.

Leave my family, but take all my money and other worldly possessions- destroy it all - and while that would make me grim and sad for awhile, I am capable of starting over and beginning anew... can you honestly say the same?

Semper Fidelis-

All,On a slightly ... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

All,

On a slightly off-tangent subject topic... I need some help with my taxes please, in dealing with the term "earned income." It seems our government has deemed income is only earned when its derived from working for someone else.

Setting aside for a moment the ridiculousness of this assertion, and separating it out from the many acceptable definitions of "income;" could someone please point me in the direction where I may declare the efforts to derive my and my family'd sustenance, which resulted from hard work and management our own affairs, as earned?

I really hate doing taxes. Bureaucracies never change, and are the same all over the world. Pffft.

Semper Fidelis-

Mr. Brucepall,I do... (Below threshold)

Mr. Brucepall,

I don't see admitting fault to be a problem. I had the fact of an issue wrong, so I admitted it. Why not?

What I am referring to in # 41 is people who have been presented with facts proving their information is wrong, then refusing to admit their error.

So with that in mind, I'm not really sure what you're saying in this statement:

Man up Jim, what you say is either El Toro Poo-Poo or its not. Be honest... you can't have it both ways.

Are you saying that either everything I say must be without a single mistake, or otherwise everything I say must be wrong?

I don't see how that follows. Can you please explain that to me?

Do you see the dic... (Below threshold)
Do you see the dichotomy there?

There is no dichotomy there, unless we accept your argument that cutting taxes for the wealthy will make Wisconsin's future even worse. We don't.

Okay then.

Here's the thing: cutting taxes for the wealthy **does not necessarily** improve the economy. In fact, the evidence of supply side AKA "laffer curve" aka trickle-down aka "voodoo economics", is that it does not work.

This is the considered expert opinion of nonpartisan mainstream economists. If facts will change your minds and you just want to see them, let me know and I will post them here.

But, be that as it may - the unions have already agreed to Gov. Walker's spending cuts. The sole rationale for curtailing unions' collective bargaining is the hypothetical that it will save money in *future* budgets.

So, a hypothetical budget benefit that hurts a large sector of Wisconsin's poor and middle class - that's just fine. But a hypothetical such as *not* cutting the taxes of the wealthy, just in case it *might* cause those wealthy to spend it by hiring people - instead of just saving it, buying stocks with it, or outsourcing out of state or overseas...**that** hypothetical case is just too important to risk.

Why is a hypothetical that minimally affects the rich always more important than a hypothetical that definitely hurts the middle class and the poor?

Just because past ... (Below threshold)
Just because past Democratic controlled legislatures have given concessions to union members (who coincidentally gave them 95%+ of all their political contributions), it doesn't mean that the decision was "right", "just", "a good idea" or even legal.

Sure. What should be noted, however, is that those past legislatures laws **have** been approved by the judicial branch, with precedent going back for decades.

As for politicians giving concessions in exchange for contributions - the wealthy and corporations lobby for influence all the time.
And in return they get direct results from BOTH parties. So, what is exactly so wrong with unions doing the same?

Why is it right for corporations, but wrong for unions?

All,I found it, IR... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

All,

I found it, IRS Publication 590...says I cannot put my compensation inside a Roth IRA wrapper... so its too damn bad.

But I'm not out of luck. I don't need my government's permission (or now, assistance apparently) to set up a mechanism to ensure my family's future outside this government sanctioned wrapper. There are no strings, as long as I pay my taxes on its gains, so I'm still free to do with the proceeds whatever I please - give it to charity, throw it out the car window, or... whatever.

And so it goes.

Semper Fidelis-

I tire of the same... (Below threshold)
I tire of the same old class warfare rhetoric of tax the rich.

OK. And I tire of the same old class warfare rhetoric of "blame the poor and middle class for the problems directly caused by Wall Street".

So we're both tired of what we perceive as rhetoric. What should we do? Seek the facts.

Fact: the poor and the middle class didn't cause the financial collapse.

Fact: unions didn't cause the financial collapse.

Fact: unions have already conceded to Gov. Walker's financial demands.

Fact: we know, just from simple accounting, that Gov. Walker's tax cuts for the wealthy will have far more of a negative effect on Wisconsin's budget than Gov. Walker's financial demands.

I believe in responsibility and accountability. That means if a person or group in the middle class screws up, they should make it right again - and if a person or group in the upper class screw up, that person or group should make it right again.

I don't see how if the upper class screws up, it's all on the middle class and the poor to clean it up. That doesn't make good sense to me, as either economic policy or simple pragmatic good sense.

Where is the ackno... (Below threshold)
Where is the acknowledgement (and reinforcement) for the savers and producers that makes this country grow?

Freaking everywhere.

Where is the acknowledgement that for a healthy economy, businesses need **customers**? And if a business is going to stay healthy, it needs as many customers as possible? Which means the poor and middle class need money to spend?

That's the basis of a healthy economy.


...those who consume while others work, who satiate themselves with the waters that others carry, and are comfortable with obtaining sustenance from the trough of good will and compassion of others ... are in for some very tough times.

If only they all were equally. What I don't understand is so hard for you to accept is - many of the people you describe are ***wealthy****.

And we're all supposed to be equal in America, right?

So then, aren't unearned benefits for the rich at least just as bad morally and for American's future as that for the poor?

Oil companies don't need subsidies. But they get them. But giving poor people enough pennies so they have heat for the winter - which then goes DIRECTLY into the economy and has direct benefits instead of the at-best-hopeful trickle-down economics...that pragmatic AND moral benefit, somehow we just can't afford that.

How does that make economic sense?

The truth is Jim X, financially - we are flat broke as a nation. We are teetering on bankruptcy.

Yes we are. And you know what would go the longest way to fixing that?

- closing corporate loopholes, both here and the overseas Cayman Island nonsense

- stop giving corporations tax breaks to outsource jobs overseas

- simply returning the tax rates to where they were under Bill Clinton. Which is the closest we've gotten in maybe ten decades to actually starting to reduce the national debt.

If the debt really is so important, then it makes no sense to look at the molehills of debt that benefit the poor and the middle class, while ignoring the mountains of debt benefiting the rich.

Leave my family, b... (Below threshold)
Leave my family, but take all my money and other worldly possessions- destroy it all - and while that would make me grim and sad for awhile, I am capable of starting over and beginning anew... can you honestly say the same?

Oh, come on. Really.

Leave my family, but take away the roads, the sewers, schools, teachers, police protection, the fire department, the FDA, the military, the myriad of agencies that handle foreign trade, the people that make sure businesses and individuals follow through on their contracts, that settle disputes, that make sure doctors and hospitals are competent and don't cheat...and there will be your perfect libertarian paradise.

How will you and your family fare start over, without those things? Not well. No family would. It would be like the Road Warrior without the great cinematography.

Paying for all these things which people need requires money. And people can't be depended on to just give in terms of charity, so there's taxes.

And if the poor and the middle class have to pay their fair share, the rich should too. To shift the burden solely away from the rich, is true class warfare.

Sure. What should ... (Below threshold)
Rose:
Sure. What should be noted, however, is that those past legislatures laws **have** been approved by the judicial branch, with precedent going back for decades.

Speaking of a lack of facts .... ;-)

True - SOME of the past decisions of legislatures have gone through a judicial review process. Saying "all" have is an assumption, not fact.

Also, even if judicial review says something is "legal", it does not automatically make if "right" or "just".

Great example from just this week .... the fact that Westboro "Church" can legally randomly choose a soldier's funeral and shout the comments they did there does not make it "right" or "just" that they do so.

The vast majority of decisions do not go to legal review either due to a lack of time, money and/or standing on the part of those who oppose it or for a much simpler reason: Every 2 to 4 years Americans can go to the ballot box and vote out those with whom they disagree.

Even constitutional amendments have been repealed when the people decided that past decisions did not work.

As for politicians giving concessions in exchange for contributions - the wealthy and corporations lobby for influence all the time. And in return they get direct results from BOTH parties. So, what is exactly so wrong with unions doing the same?

So you either didn't read the report posted on Wizbang detailing that unions give disproportinally to Democrats or you believe it is factually incorrect .... in which I would be interested in seeing your proof.

Without it you haven't proven that unions are "doing the same"?

Why is it right for corporations, but wrong for unions?

Since I have never posted an opinion on what corporations do, this is another assumption, not fact.

However it is a very telling assumption for you to make based on what your past posted statements have been.

Why is it right for unions, but wrong for corporations?

Mr. Jim X, When I... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Mr. Jim X,

When I was young, I worked in a bank back office...basically crunching tax returns and business plan numbers for the risk assessment officer. I learned what the risk assessment officer would and would not finance... a great learning experience on how our world really works -if you were willing to keep your mouth shut and your eyes wide open.

You wouldn't believe the number of folks who lived in the nicest houses one could find in our community, who drove the fanciest cars (of the day), and who expected an immediate bridge loan to finish their housing development and golf course... when they already owed more money than their net worth.

They acted really put out, when they had to be bothered with supplying their personal tax return data. It got to be real easy to sniff them out based on this simple personal interaction alone - because as was the case, time after time, they were already really and truly bankrupt.

This situation applies with a Union analogy. Forget about external appearances, or what someone claims. This thread is about, "Following the Money." No economist, or family for that matter, can construct a viable financial model that borrows and spends OPM (Other People's Money) forever. You cannot spend your way out of debt, or tax your way to prosperity. Open the books and crunch the numbers. It can only lead to the equivalent of financial death - i.e.- bankruptcy.

For Unions, the public trough to pay for their member's future retirement benefits and medical care is way over drawn. Resending (by law) public sector union collective bargaining is just one or of the preliminary steeps needed to restore the public's finances in our states. Believe me, Jim X, it will be much worse if Unions persist in going down the road of local/municipal/ state bankruptcy while they temporarily get what they think is their fair share due.

What part of bankrupt do you not understand? A smaller pension today is better than no pension at all 5 years from now. Forget about appearances, as you look around. Crunch the numbers, and do a real budget... and see for yourself that what you want isn't going to fly.

Its disingenuous for you to claim otherwise that every thing will be OK, and that the tax paying public can afford your precious Unions, if only the "rich" pay their fair share... hypothetically and necessarily wise (which are the words you used to characterize it).

Did you goto www.treasury.gov and look at our Bureau of Public Debt? I don't think so... because if you did you would have to acknowledge that we (as a nation) have spent the greater part of your life (or depending on your age, perhaps your entire life) spending money we don't have.

So you might weasel like politicians, and say "we're good for it." But we're way beyond the point where such words are believable. And just like when I was a kid working at the local community bank - run the numbers and see the bankruptcy in your future for yourself.

Semper Fidelis-

"What part of bankrupt do y... (Below threshold)
Jlawson:

"What part of bankrupt do you not understand? A smaller pension today is better than no pension at all 5 years from now. Forget about appearances, as you look around. Crunch the numbers, and do a real budget... and see for yourself that what you want isn't going to fly."

They're not broke, Brucepall - they've still got checks!

It used to be a joke. Now it seems a sad reality. You're right - we're in deep trouble, for all the protests that we could just 'tax the rich' and have 'enough'. There's never 'enough' - as long as people want to keep spending and spending and spending...

I wonder how the US would file Chapter 11?

Please vote! The Governor ... (Below threshold)
TaterSalad:

Please vote! The Governor of Wisconsin needs your help now. Please forward this to your friends for a vote also:

http://lacrossetribune.com/poll_83ff952c-3891-11e0-ab9f-001cc4c03286.html

Hello JLawson,Its ... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Hello JLawson,

Its been awhile. I see you still have that edge. Good for you. I'm having a heck of a time getting Jim X speed... and yet to get to the point where I can talk him into to reading some books like Reinhart and Rogoff's, "This Time is Different," or Richard Duncan's work... or even Schumpeter's.

Reminds me of the sad story about the fella who just wakes up one day wondering what-in-the-hell just happened???

Anyways, its good to read your post on wizbangblog, I gotta goto Hawaii again at the end of the month on business; will be gone about three months. Take care.

Semper Fidelis-

The sole rationale... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:
The sole rationale for curtailing unions' collective bargaining is the hypothetical that it will save money in *future* budgets.

Not really. Our society has limited union power for government employees at least since the passage of the National Labor Relations Act and Labor Management Relations Act. The reasons for this are many. Back when teachers knew how to teach, I learned about why it was bad for people like, say, police and firefighters and air traffic controllers to be able to threaten strikes. I think I learned that in third grade.

There are a lot of other reasons, having to do the nature of private enterprise versus public entities. I don't have the time or energy to instruct jim x about those differences. He needs to go to Wisconsin and buttonhole a teacher to learn about this. Good luck.

The more important point is that the people of Wisconsin have spoken by electing Walker and a Republican legislature. They have said that collective bargaining for public employees is out. The state has no obligation to bargain collectively.

But, now, the unions are joining with the Democrats to successfully thwart the will of the people. To hell with that "majority rules" bullshit.

"Democrats and unions--joining together to prevent what the majority wants."

Makes a good bumper sticker.

Jim X, We (as a n... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Jim X,

We (as a nation) are currently on track to borrow and blow through 7,500,000,000.00$ right now, today, and each and every day for years to come. Using the back of an envelope calculations... take and confiscate every penny of the estate of the 50 wealthiest billionaire rich Americans under the guise of taxation. How long would that take the USA to blow through that windfall? 120 days. Well lets be charitable and call it 125 days. Next up, go after the next 50 richest and do them the same way... and we blow through that in 47 days.

Get the picture yet? When they start to work down into the middle three quintiles... it would actually take a couple of years (4.875 by my calculation) to tap them out...cause there are a great deal more of them than everyone else. Care to estimate how quickly such an event would take to kill off the lowest income quintile? Let me help you out - 67 days.

Way before we reached that 10.35 year point to finish the task, our economy would be in shambles, your Federal Reserve Notes (Dollars) would be worthless in trade on the world markets, and we would be in the midst of a revolution in this country. Hell, I wouldn't give it 2 months before the knock-on secondary effects kick in.

You might say, they'd never get to you, so that'll never happen...but have you ever though about what the effects of national bankruptcy or more correctly... default... would have on the precious FNRs that you so fondly covet and think you deserve.

Or how about the end of the US dollar as the world reserve currency, and the price of a barrel of oil from Venezuela, or a bunch of bananas from Costa Rica? Well perish the though - the price of bananas would be so far down on your priority list as to be functionally non-existent.

Tax the rich and make em pay their fair share... that'll fix it. Pffft. No matter how you define it (the wealthy) there is no way to make the numbers work. There just isn't enough $ in the world to pay for the insatiable demands you espouse. And guess what? To some Americans you are the rich Jim X.

So whatcha going to do when they expropriate everything you have? You would no longer a free person - you would be a slave. Now I doubt you would be singing the praises of our new all powerful and magnificent state at that point, but you never know...for such a state to exist, some of their slaves... I mean citizens... would.

Semper Fidelis-

True - SOME of the... (Below threshold)
True - SOME of the past decisions of legislatures have gone through a judicial review process. Saying "all" have is an assumption, not fact.

No, it's fact. If something is passed as law and it hasn't been successfully challenged, then it is approved by default. That's how the law works.

Also, even if judicial review says something is "legal", it does not automatically make if "right" or "just".

Sure, of course. And?

So you either didn't read the report posted on Wizbang detailing that unions give disproportinally to Democrats or you believe it is factually incorrect .... in which I would be interested in seeing your proof.

I didn't see it, but it makes sense. I don't dispute it. And?

Is there some constitutional principle I'm unaware of, that says groups have to give equally to both parties in order to be "good" groups?

Since I have never posted an opinion on what corporations do, this is another assumption, not fact.

It's a general statement on conservative principles. I never ever see conservatives upset about wealthy influence or corporate lobbying.

But if this is not what you think, then please correct me.

Do you think the Koch brothers are equally as wrong for their lobbying as the Unions? Yes or no?

Unless your statement is yes, I see no reason for you to state my assumption is wrong.

Why is it right for unions, but wrong for corporations?

How in heck did you get that out of my statement?

I would prefer no lobbyists at all. If corporations do it, and we know they do, then unions should be able to do it. If you want unions prevented from doing it, then you should want corporations prevented from doing it also.

Please explain what is wrong about that.

Mr. Brucepall,I co... (Below threshold)

Mr. Brucepall,

I could insert a similar long statement based on my own personal past, which I would hope to be as well written as yours - but which would also be irrelevant to what we are discussing.

Instead, I would love it if you could do me the service of directly answering several of my questions that I've already asked. Ideally as "Yes or no", and then why.

If someone tried to take away your legal right to do something, wouldn't you resist it? (# 21)

If everyone is supposed to share the sacrifice of fixing our nation's economy, where is the sacrifice on the part of those who can most afford it? (# 39)

Aren't unearned benefits for the rich at least just as bad morally and for American's future as that for the poor? ( # 55)

As for

What part of bankrupt do you not understand?

...the part I don't understand is: how cutting taxes on the rich doesn't ALSO make us more bankrupt.

Please explain that?

Since trickle-down economics has been proven not to work by nonpartisan mainstream experts, I would love to hear what other explanation you have for this.

Iwogisdead, I said:<b... (Below threshold)

Iwogisdead, I said:

The sole rationale for curtailing unions' collective bargaining is the hypothetical that it will save money in *future* budgets.

And you said:

"Not really."

I guess I wasn't precise enough; I should have said Governor Walker's sole rationale for curtailing collective bargaining rights.

I said this, because that's the only rationale I've heard him use.

Is there some other rationale Gov. Walker has used for this, which I'm unaware of?

Tax the rich and m... (Below threshold)
Tax the rich and make em pay their fair share... that'll fix it. Pffft. No matter how you define it (the wealthy) there is no way to make the numbers work.

No, you're wrong. The numbers worked just fine under the Clinton administration - when the upper range of incomes were taxed only 3% higher, and the money that came from that was invested into the poor and middle class.

That was the most recent time when we not only had a surpplus, it was so huge that we almost started paying off the national debt. Until a certain conservative got in, who believed in trickle-down economics. And doubled down on it by cutting taxes in wartime - which, as well we all know since we've all lived through it, was nowhere near the success of Bill Clinton's economy.

Those are the facts.

That was the most ... (Below threshold)
That was the most recent time when we not only had a surpplus, it was so huge that we almost started paying off the national debt.

Yeah, it was amazing what the Republican-led congress of the 1990s accomplished, wasn't it? And over Billy Jeff's objections, too. Kind of gives you a warm feeling, doesn't it?

Congratulations, JimX.... (Below threshold)
Rose:

Congratulations, JimX.

You have successfully tied your own argument into a pretzel in record time. ;-)

What you initially claimed had to do with "right" and "just" and "legal", you have now reduced to a not-completely-accurate claim about the meaning of judicial review and the law and implied that it trumps the will of the electorate at the ballot box.

For the record, the article that you claimed not to have seen but do not dispute is IN THIS THREAD. Apparently you responded to it without reading it.

As to the rest of your comments .... you were moving the goal posts so fast to cover the gaps in your own logic, it came across as pretty incoherent.

The people of Wisconsin made a decision at the ballot box. They CHOSE to turn out the majority party from before and bring in a new majority party. In four years, they may turn around and do the opposite. It is THEIR decision.

The decisions and actions of one majority party are not universally always correct ("just" "right") and the other always wrong.

When people actually start believing that is the case, they stop believing that elections are important. I've lived in a country where there were no elections and I would prefer never to do that again.

That's an interesting memor... (Below threshold)

That's an interesting memory of history, OregonMuse.

So, as you remember it, Bill Clinton raised taxes thanks to the Republican-led congress?

And also when Bill Clinton forced a showdown with Gingrich over unneeded tax cuts that resulted in a shutdown, resulting in Bill Clinton winning and the tax cuts not going through - this was also thanks to the Republican-led congress?

Interesting.

Rose, I'm not seeing how, a... (Below threshold)

Rose, I'm not seeing how, according to you, I've contradicted myself. Can you cite some specific posts, by #?

Also the same for your claim that I've moved goalposts. Can you please cite them by # as well?

As for this argument,

The people of Wisconsin made a decision at the ballot box. They CHOSE to turn out the majority party from before and bring in a new majority party.

...while campaigning, Gov. Walker made no mention of his plan to take collective bargaining rights away from workers. Which is why now, his polls with the same people who voted for him are in the toilet.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_state_surveys/wisconsin/wisconsin_governor_walker_43_approval_rating

From a 52% victory to a current %34 approval, would seem to indicate Wisconsin doesn't like his direction.

Besides which, I find the argument of "our guys were voted in! Now they get to do whatever they want!" pretty amusing. It didn't apply for one second to Obama's landslide victory, did it? Then why should it universally apply to conservative candidates? Besides the fact that you guys like conservatives better, of course.

Oh and Rose, here are some ... (Below threshold)

Oh and Rose, here are some specific questions I asked in # 64 which you haven't answered, but have instead changed the subject:

1. "Do you think the Koch brothers are equally as wrong for their lobbying as the Unions? Yes or no?"

2. "If you want unions prevented from doing it, then you should want corporations prevented from doing it also.

Please explain what is wrong about that."

These are in post # 64.

And Rose, as for this,... (Below threshold)

And Rose, as for this,

For the record, the article that you claimed not to have seen but do not dispute is IN THIS THREAD. Apparently you responded to it without reading it.

Ok. So I don't dispute that article, as the commenter posted it. And?

My main disagreement with this article, is the poster's own proposition - that you can increase worker freedom by removing the rights of workers to collectively bargain.

Which is like saying you can increase consumers' freedoms by taking away their right to boycott.

Anyone care to note that "D... (Below threshold)

Anyone care to note that "Democrats" and their foreign and domestic mobbed-up union activists, cohorts and cronies have long long long owned operated and controlled the machinery of the feral, state and local gummints and of the world's many many many UN and NATO and every other mobbed-up Frankensteinian kind of international political kleptocracy, lootocracy and launderer -- and that they are all in the same state?

Why? Because the vast RICO-racketeering, organized criminal empire that prefers its propagandist pamphleteer "press" wing and the rest of us know it by its street name: the "Democratic" Party has, since the time of the traitor, F. Roosevelt, he of the so richly Soviet-agent larded "administration," loyal sycophant of his beloved "Uncle Joe" -- and creator of the world's biggest ever Ponzi scheme -- been looting them -- and us. And has been looting the every international agency upon which that execrable gang has ever squandered America's confiscated wealth.

And now, beginning in Madison, where the shot has already been fired that will resound around the world, We, The Sovereign American People are confronting it.

You may call what is going on in our beloved fraternal republic by any other name.

But I shall continue to call it The Second American War of Independence!

Brian Richard Allen
Lost Angels - Califobambicated 90028
And The Very Far Abroad

So, as you remembe... (Below threshold)
So, as you remember it, Bill Clinton raised taxes thanks to the Republican-led congress?

Nice attempt to change the subject, but the topic of discussion was budget surpluses, not taxes. And I merely pointed out that Clinton was forced to sign a balanced budget given to him by the Republican congress. In other words, it certainly wasn't the wastrel Clinton who tried to restore some semblance of fiscal sanity, but rather it was the congressional Republicans.

Jim X,Where to beg... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Jim X,

Where to begin? While this is a free country and one is entitled to one's opinion... you loose credibility if you feel entitled to your own facts.

Lets start with your last. According to treasurydirect.gov when President Clinton left office our national debt totaled $5,807,463,412,200.00 (nominal) or $7,152,048,537,192.00 (real). These figures are for fiscal year 2001.

Today's national debt, according to our real time national debt clock is:
$14,214,XXX,XXX,XXX.XX. The X's represent digits incrementing upward so fast - so quickly - that they cannot be recorded or conveyed.

Back to treasurydirect.gov. Current interest paid on our national debt this fiscal year (2011), which are the months of October thru February (5 months so far) is $191,120,000,000.00 Or round figures if you like of 191 Billion bucks... so I would submit to you Jim X that we will pay 400 Billion dollars just to service the interest on our national debt this fiscal year alone. And that is with a steady interest rate of about 3.5% on the 10 year treasury.

And that's just our primary (on the books) budget...add a 157 Billion of smoke and mirrors from Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae (where we loan these conservatorship entities Billions more, just so they can pay the treasury back 10% interest on what we already have loaned them) and there you go. But that's not all... there are Trillions more in off budget (and off the books) debt that is not counted in this total. In Federal Reserve quantitative easing, and I'll mention one you may be familiar with - an obligation to pay back the Social Security Trust Fund Trillions more that have been spent within the primary (on the books) budget. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of such ( again, off the books) programs which our government has to account expenditures for regularly. I know, cause I read dozens of treasury spreadsheets which are published every month at treasury.gov. Don't believe these facts? They are just a few clicks away, if you are really interested in the facts instead of opinions. Go check it out for yourself.

Having cleared the air a little bit. What do you think our country could do instead with the $400 Billion in interest we piss away this year, Keeping in mind of course that not a penny of principal is being paid down? That's a lot of Do-Rea-Me, and our primary debt under former President Clinton (almost a decade ago) was nearly half of what it is today.

What I'm doing here with these numbers is demonstrating to you that you don't know what in the hell your talking about when it comes to the status of our national debt today, or what our debt was during President Clinton's term of office. If in fact there was a budget surplus (as you have claimed) during any of the years of the Clinton administration, then we would be able to discern a decrease in our national debt from one year to the next (nod your head yes). Well if you'd just click over to the treasury's website... you will find that this didn't happen. The numbers are what they are.

Jim X, you've been spun (and deceived) by one of the masters of Boomer-esque spin; deception that has become an art-form of this generation's leadership. Yes there was a primary budget surplus - but that isn't the whole story. If you neglect to account for off budget expenditures (and play other games - like project no increases in budget line-items out for a decade), make other one time adjustments and gimmicks (like moving a federal payday from one year to the next, 30 Sept to 1 October)... then yeah, you can tell what is in reality a bare-faced lie. You stated, " Clinton had a surplus, and we almost started paying off the national debt." What a crock - and you fell for it (because you wanted so much to believe) - hook, line, and sinker. Ever hear the ditty - figures lie and lier's figure? But the numbers in the published debt record speak for themselves.

We were not " just fine" with taxes or the budget under President Clinton then... and its even worse today. We truly face an abyss. Here is something to chew on.

Because our Federal Reserve has driven interest rates to almost zero (primary banks can borrow overnight at one quarter of one percent at the discount window). The Treasury has moved Trillions and Trillions of dollars of our debt to the short end of the yield curve... where interest on the national debt is the smallest amount to be paid as possible (which is way less than the 30 year treasury yield). The risk here is that there is a refinancing rollover risk of Trillions of dollars in debt that come due...on top of the additional Trillions of new debt that has to be financed each year with quantitative easing and each year's annual fiscal short fall. Any idea what can happen if Mr. Bernanke and Githner hit a refinancing wall? And interest rates double or triple seemingly overnight to service our debt? Here's a clue - the $400 Billion we piss away this fiscal year on the interest payments on our national debt will begin to look like chump change.

Take a look at commodity futures (bloomberg.com)...which is basically wholesale...a lb. of cotton is as high as it has been since the American Civil War. Ditto for the skyrocketing cost of a barrel of oil (a gallon of gas was 19 cents BTW when I first started driving at age 15), same with wheat, soybeans, coco beans, coffee, copper, silver, platinum, gold, live cattle... you name it. You will see at the retail what the markets are already seeing at wholesale. And that is because the dollar is depreciating at a rapid clip against just about every other currency in the world. Its a sign of a lack of confidence.

Jim X, I thought to answer your other points above... which many other commentators have already answered (much better than I could) if you'd just calm down enough to put on your critical thinking cap and read and listen; I've already gone on way too long here.

My final point to you here is that you are completely missing, by several orders of magnitude, the imperative that our government get its spending under control if we desire to find an exit without a serious bout of ruinous inflation or even worse (default). The expenditures collected (read taxes) can and will be adjusted (on the margin - which depends on economic realities more than anything), but as I demonstrated to you above, it is so true that there is not enough money in the entire world (as a % of global GDP) that can be had (read taxed) to cover our on and off the books expenditure obligations 20, 15, or even 10 years from now at current trajectory. I've said this twice to you now, in different ways. Stop and think about what that means... and then do it again over the next few days. Let it sink in, and then think about it some more.

If you then get inspired, try reading some web: econobowser.com, pensiontsunami.com, treasury.gov, bpp.mit.edu, economist.com, bloomberg.com, and if you can handle that stress - goto zerohedge.com or look up Gordon T. Long's stuff.

Semper Fidelis-


"The Showdown Over Public U... (Below threshold)
dom youngross:

"The Showdown Over Public Union Power"

"If Gov. Walker succeeds in Wisconsin, it's likely that other reformers will follow his lead and explore ways to restrict public-sector unions' use of members' dues. Tax advocates in California, for instance, have proposed an initiative that would require a government union to gain the approval of individual members in order to divert dues into political campaigns. Such measures would give opponents around the country a new playbook to follow in countering the rich resources and deep influence of public unions over taxes and spending."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703293204576105760131773034.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

and,

"The case against public sector unionism"

"To admit as true that government employees have power to halt or check the functions of government unless their demands are satisfied, is to transfer to them all legislative, executive and judicial power."

http://www.professorbainbridge.com/professorbainbridgecom/2011/02/the-case-against-public-sector-unionism.html#tp

As for this argume... (Below threshold)
Rose:
As for this argument,

"The people of Wisconsin made a decision at the ballot box. They CHOSE to turn out the majority party from before and bring in a new majority party."
...while campaigning, Gov. Walker made no mention of his plan to take collective bargaining rights away from workers. Which is why now, his polls with the same people who voted for him are in the toilet.

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_state_surveys/wisconsin/wisconsin_governor_walker_43_approval_rating

From a 52% victory to a current %34 approval, would seem to indicate Wisconsin doesn't like his direction.

Besides which, I find the argument of "our guys were voted in! Now they get to do whatever they want!" pretty amusing. It didn't apply for one second to Obama's landslide victory, did it? Then why should it universally apply to conservative candidates? Besides the fact that you guys like conservatives better, of course.

"You guys"???? LOL!

Assume much???? LOL!

Given the nonsense claims that you have made about Clinton and a "surplus", I am not going to assume that your claims Walker "made no mention" of changing the collective bargaining rules during the campaign. ("Taking them away", of course, is not factual. Again an overstatement of the actual situation that weakens your premise.)

If the people of the state of Wisconsin believe that Walker has done something in violation of his office, they have a number of legal remedies they can take. If they CHOSE not to or they fail in their attempt, he is up for reelection in 4 years and they can vote him out - as I have already covered.

I, of course, NEVER made the claim that you attribute to me about "doing anything they want". I said that, when an electorate turns out one major party for another, it is an indicator that the electorate wants something different than they have been getting. If they don't like what they get, they have the option of changing their minds in 2 or 4 years.

But, since you have made the claim that ONLY the EXACT campaign promises made by a candidate can be put into practice, please provide a link to the release DURING CANDIDATE OBAMA's CAMPAIGN of the 2000 page health care bill.

Since I think your premise that an office holder can only do EXACTLY what he promised in the campaign and nothing more is completely unrealistic, I will even allow for some language change - just make sure that EVERY single major provision in the bill can be traced back to a specific speech Obama made during the campaign. Anything less will be an example of you moving a goal post.

(Again, JimX, just having some fun with you. You and both know you cannot make the connection and that you are holding Walker to a standard that you are unwilling to hold President Obama to ... for whatever reason.)

jim x: Oh and Ros... (Below threshold)
Rose:
jim x: Oh and Rose, here are some specific questions I asked in # 64 which you haven't answered, but have instead changed the subject:

1. "Do you think the Koch brothers are equally as wrong for their lobbying as the Unions? Yes or no?"

2. "If you want unions prevented from doing it, then you should want corporations prevented from doing it also.

Please explain what is wrong about that."

These are in post # 64.

Before I get into this, let me comment on your post about "the article". You referenced the wrong one. I was referring to the informaton that started this thread - which detailed union disportionate giving to Democrats (95+% to Democrats in comparison to Republicans).

As you recall, you attempted to claim that corporate giving and union giving was equivalent. I was disagreeing with that being factual - not with whether or not they had a right to favor Democrats so widely.

As to your questions:

I didn't answer them because I found them incoherent in the context of the rest of your argument and the statements that I actually made.

You had been making the claim that if judicial review had occurred and the law approved, it had become a "right". You further argued that if judicial review had not occurred, the law was "right" by default.

While I understand that you want to control the discussion by demanding "yes" or "no" responses to your questions, your questions have to make some sense in the context of your greater arguement or they are a waste of time.

Your first questions demands that I respond to whether or not I think Koch brothers actions are "equally wrong" as the the unions.

That question assumes that I said the unions were wrong. As I have stated several times, what I said was wrong was your statement that they were "equivalent". Your question is equivalent to "have you stopped beating your wife?"

The second problem with your comment is that the issue has already gone to court as I recall. The Koch brothers have the same right to lobby their opinion as George Soros and any number of liberal minded multimillionaires do - and have.

Attacking the Koch brothers (and by extension Soros and the rest) undermines your earlier comments about judicial review makes something a "right".

I also cannot answer the second question because it relies on your assumption of my views and not on my actual statement about my views. As I have stated a number of times, I was questioning the accuracy of your claim that they were "equivalent'.

I have to agree with whoever suggested you read more carefully.

Nice attempt to ch... (Below threshold)
Nice attempt to change the subject, but the topic of discussion was budget surpluses, not taxes.

Nice attempt to avoid how I disproved your statement, but it was the increased tax revenues that gave us the budget surplus. And it was the government shutdown which forced Gingrich and co. to give up on tax cuts, which protected the budget surplus and allowed it to continue to grow.

Brucepall, from what I can ... (Below threshold)

Brucepall, from what I can see you still haven't answered my original questions. Can you please start with those?

Given the nonsense... (Below threshold)
Given the nonsense claims that you have made about Clinton and a "surplus",

If its nonsense it should be quite easy for you to refute, shouldn't it?

I invite you to do so. Please show me exactly what is wrong with what I've said, with a factual citation from a nonpartisan source.

"Taking them away", of course, is not factual. Again an overstatement of the actual situation that weakens your premise.)

Please show how Governor Walker is *not* trying to take away the public sector union's collective bargaining rights. I expect both he and the unions would be interested to find out that's NOT what he's doing.

If the people of the state of Wisconsin believe that Walker has done something in violation of his office, they have a number of legal remedies they can take.

Sure. And they can also fully support the public sector unions in their struggle. Which is what the people of Wisconsin are actually doing.

I, of course, NEVER made the claim that you attribute to me about "doing anything they want".

OK. If that isn't your position, then my mistake. Please clarify your position for me.

At what point do you think someone who's voted in, doesn't have a mandate for the people? At what point after being elected does that elected official have to bow to the *current* will of the people?

And if Gov. Walker has such a mandate to pursue, does that mean Obama does also?

I'm making this comparison between the two of them, because I want to understand your position on executive power.

jim x reckons any governmen... (Below threshold)

jim x reckons any government, ever, increased its revenues via increased rates of taxation.

And reckons that the Republican-controlled Congress wasn't (while the recidivist, treasonous, lying, looting, thieving, mass-murdering, co-serial-rapist Billy-Bubbah Blythes were busy selling, for fractions of Pennies on the Dollar, Trillions of Dollars worth of America's every nuclear, aerospace, computer and military secret, looting FEMA, Fannie and Freddie of Billions, stealing FBI files and White House furniture, pardoning felons for cash, being convicted of serial serious felonies and disbarred and facilitating the September 11 2001 atrocities) entirely responsible for the 90s balanced budget.

And that pigs can fly.

I didn't answer th... (Below threshold)
I didn't answer them because I found them incoherent in the context of the rest of your argument and the statements that I actually made.

OK. My questions are my responses to you. If you aren't going to answer my responses but are attacking my statements, then we are not in an equal dialogue.

Your first questions demands that I respond to whether or not I think Koch brothers actions are "equally wrong" as the the unions.

If that's the case, then all you have to do is answer the question, and then also state "I also don't think the unions are wrong" - if that is how you feel. To use your example of "have you stopped beating your wife?", the answer would be "I have never beaten my wife in any way, as you well know."

I also cannot answer the second question because it relies on your assumption of my views and not on my actual statement about my views.

Once again, you can fully answer the second question also. You can either follow it or precede with a statement of what your actual views are, if I am in fact so wrong with my "assumptions".

It's fully your choice not to play. I am just pointing out to you how you are avoiding a full discussion.

The second problem... (Below threshold)
The second problem with your comment is that the issue has already gone to court as I recall.

Which is completely irrelevant to the question.

Perhaps what will clear this up, is if I explain where my question is coming from.

I have noticed often how people raise all sorts of objections to funding for causes they **don't** like, but somehow raise none of these objections for causes they do.

I have noticed a lot of complaining in conservative circles about the alleged "huge influence" that unions have, and how unfair it is, that it shouldn't be legal, etc. In these same conservative circles, I have noticed effectively zero complaining about the absurdly huge amount of cash influence that corporations and the wealthy have, over the same politicians.

Every single complaint about unions' influence here applies tenfold to corporations and the uber-wealthy in general, and the Koch brothers in particular. And since we are talking about Wisconsin, it seems clear that the Koch brothers are a specific counter to the Unions' influence.

So my question is an attempt to show you the contradiction in such a position, if you have such a position.

If you don't have such a position, you can also simply state "I don't think the Koch brothers should have such a degree of influence either." Or whatever else your position may be, towards BOTH the unions' influence and the Koch brothers.

Is there anything about that which is unclear, or doesn't seem to follow for you?

jim x reckons any ... (Below threshold)
jim x reckons any government, ever, increased its revenues via increased rates of taxation.

No instead Jim X, who is rather enjoying referring to himself in the third person, reckons that historical facts exist and theories should be based on them. Not the other way around.

If anything Jim X has said is factually wrong, Jim X cordially invites you to prove so using nonpartisan sources with citations.

Jim X thanks you, and will now address his subjects.

It's fully your ch... (Below threshold)
Rose:
It's fully your choice not to play. I am just pointing out to you how you are avoiding a full discussion.

Why thank you for giving me permission. LOL!

I would happily engage in a full discussion with you despite your reliance on pre-formulated "talking points" that you don't seem to see conflict with one another.

(For example, judicial review is all important ... unless it involves the Koch brothers and then it is "irrelevant".)

What I am avoiding is capitulating to your demand that the discussion proceed ONLY as you dictate.

I have already answered many of your "responses" (stated as questions) and others have already addressed the phantom Clinton "surplus" issue. Whether or not you choose to find those answers acceptible to you and how you want to control this conversation is irrelevant to me.

Jim X, 21. Would ... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Jim X,

21. Would I resist if someone tried to take away my legal rights? Let me put it to you this way, this is the oath I took when I enlisted (from memory):

I do solemnly affirm that
I will support and defend
The Constitution of the United States
Against all enemies, foreign and domestic

That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same
That I will obey the orders of the President of the
United States, and the Officers appointed over me
According to the rules and regulations under the
Uniform Code of Military Justice

That I take this obligation freely
Without any mental reservation
or purpose of Evasion
So help me God.

A remarkable oath, isn't it Jim? Note: Its an oath of allegiance, not to a King or a Potentate, but to an idea - the USA is a constitutional republic... a most remarkable thing, if one is a student of history.

Your context was within the realm of Collective Bargaining Rights under state law in Wisconsin... sorry to burst your bubble, but that's not applicable to me, and never has been while I was enlisted into Federal service, nor is it inalienable. As already pointed out to you previously (which you chose to ignore)...even our beloved Constitution can be amended - and has. State laws frequently change too, and I accept that as well. You have a right to petition your government and have your grievances heard, you have a right to vote, but you do not have a legal right to ignore or not follow the rule of law.

39. If everyone is suppose to share the sacrifice for fixing our economy, where is the sacrifice on those who can most afford it?

You have twisted my words and taken them out of context (again!), sigh... the basic premiss I conveyed is that those who incur a financial obligation (in this case, debt, whether State of Federal) have an obligation - nay a responsibility - to discharge or pay said debt.

In context of the discussion, Jim goes straight for the cut - and determines the undefined rich (who are perhaps more wealthier than he) are those who should deliberately offer to relinquish what they have (-ie- sacrifice) because... well, they can most most afford it.

Its a good thing you don't run things by dictate Jim, there are laws that prohibit selective punitive penalties - i.e.- there are no laws in our land that divide citizens into classes of wealth (even though you try - like rich or poor). I for one, am opposed to incurring debt that cannot be discharged by those that are living (and actually cause the debt to be created), I'm dead set against enacting laws that require future generations (-ie- those not yet born) to pay for the debts passed on to them by previous generations - even if that might be your own parents or grandparents). Its more than a bone for me, as much as I like the idea of a social safety net (AKA Social Security) I abhor the law's mechanism that makes the younger generation pay for the benefits of the previous generation... I detest and hate this aspect so much, that (God willing) if I ever reach full retirement age - I will donate my entire Social Security check to an organization who's purpose is to ensure Social Security's demise.

You know Jim, lotsa Democrats think that those who can most afford it, ARE those who can least say no (like the not yet born), and just like their financing scheme in Social Security, they think its just fine to put financial burdens on them. Case in point - Wisconsin Union Collective Bargaining with the State has put the financial burden of Union retirees health care costs and pensions onto the backs of future state tax-payers (and many of those are children now - or not yet born).

Before you get on your high horse (which I have anticipated), just because this is traditional way of doing things, doesn't mean its the only way these schemes could be done. I believe if a person (or organization) wants these benefits - they (the person or organization) should set up the scheme so that they pay for it.

Jim, our Democratic Republic of a country has been set up with checks and balances of a limited government, in order to have free citizenry and to keep tyranny at bay (in both its majority and minority forms). When Wisconsin Unions (the minority) receives wage, retirement, and medical benefits through collective bargaining in excess of what the average citizenry (the majority) have - then this is unequal, and something is seriously out of balance.

Resending collective bargaining for Unions in Wisconsin, will go a long way in restoring the financial balance with all the citizenry of this State in the future. I know you claim Governor Walker's proposed legislation "does nothing to for State debt." Sorry if I just gored your Ox, I understand (because I hear it in your words) that you have a vested interest; but you can see that I respectfully disagree.

55. Aren't unearned benefits for the rich at least as bad morally for America's future as that for the poor?

Unearned - Bad - Moral - Rich - Poor? Sorry fella, I don't put my fellow citizens in classes (poor/middle/rich). It smacks of coming from BNU (Better-N-You). Neither do I classify income as you do. Unearned benefits is also your term (not mine)... you already know from immediately above what I think about placing financial burdens on those least able to say no.

Morals? I can tell that you and I have very different backgrounds and formative experiences. The way things are set up in a free and civil society is so that we can express or differences (for example, like here on wizbangblog) without ripping each other apart. I've been reading your writings here on this thread, and frankly, I think the attitude which underlies your comments appears to be petulant and selfish at times. But I'm hanging in there with you anyway... so be it.

In closing I would like to tell you about one of the many things I learned in my formative years. I once had a summer job cleaning the roadways as a teenager. We cut weeds and grass, and picked tons of trash. It was hard manual labor under a hot sun. Many of my coworkers had problems... alcohol, mental, or drug, and came from hard-scrabble backgrounds, broken homes - minimal education, many couldn't read or write.

But they were working anyway, and not hanging out on the block like some do. Yes, it might be construed as menial by some - but I saw it as an important job... it had to be done, and just like all jobs like this - society couldn't function if they were not.

These fella's were working, doing the best they could, earning an income, providing for their families, and contributing to the betterment of their community and society. I learned to appreciate and value what they did, and how and why they did so, despite their past circumstances or individual current situation. They had what I could best characterize as "dignity," and thus they earned my enduring respect.

Semper Fidelis-

I would happily en... (Below threshold)
I would happily engage in a full discussion with you despite your reliance on pre-formulated "talking points" that you don't seem to see conflict with one another.

Lol! Great. You know, we could even skip all the previous questions, if you just do this right now:

please just list clear how my "talking Points" are in conflict with each other.

You see, what's going on here is:

- I say something.
- you say I'm wrong.
- I respond to your argument by:
a) asking you to show how I'm wrong, OR
b) showing you an example intended to illustrate how the principle you state doesn't apply
- you refuse to respond to me.

I'm also still waiting for you to list how, as you previously said, there are logical holes in my argument. Or, alternately, please also list how you claim I've "moved the goalposts".

Or, also, please explain how you got this next bit from *anything* I've said.

(For example, judicial review is all important ... unless it involves the Koch brothers and then it is "irrelevant".)

Please quote the specific item you get that from.

What I am avoiding is capitulating to your demand that the discussion proceed ONLY as you dictate.

What I am requesting is that this actually be a two-way discussion. I have been happy to answer any of your direct questions; you have avoided answering every one of mine that I can see.

So, until you're actually willing to answer my questions, I don't see you actually willing to discuss anything. So I'll save both of our time.

I do hope some day you are open to answering questions as equals. But until then, enjoy your worldview. Who knows? You could be right. I think the facts say differently, but we can't come to an agreement on what those facts are until you're at least willing to enter into an open discussion.

21. Would I resist... (Below threshold)
21. Would I resist if someone tried to take away my legal rights? Let me put it to you this way, this is the oath I took when I enlisted (from memory):

I do solemnly affirm that
I will support and defend
The Constitution of the United States
Against all enemies, foreign and domestic

OK, great!

So those Unions are doing just what you would do, in your view. They are attempting to defend what they say as their own Constituionally-protected rights from what they see as a power grab from the Governor's house. They see themselves as not only protecting their individual livelihoods, but an entire chunk of free citizens' rights which will be lost if Governor Walker has his way.

39. If everyone is suppose to share the sacrifice for fixing our economy, where is the sacrifice on those who can most afford it?

You have twisted my words and taken them out of context (again!), sigh... the basic premiss I conveyed is that those who incur a financial obligation (in this case, debt, whether State of Federal) have an obligation - nay a responsibility - to discharge or pay said debt.

I haven't twisted your words at all. I'm showing that they shouldn't apply only to the poor and middle class - but currently those are the only people they are being applied to.

But let's focus in specifically on the concept that those who incur a financial obligation have a responsibility to pay that discharge or pay a debt.

Where among the wealthy, among the corporations, are the people who do that?

Where is this in Wisconsin, specifically? If the debt is such an important obligation that those who run Wisconsin have not only an obligation, but a *responsibility* - why cut the taxes for those who can most afford it? And try to make up the difference by taking it out on the people who can least afford it?

Isn't that, by your own definition, creating a future crisis that is irresponsible?

55. Aren't unearned benefits for the rich at least as bad morally for America's future as that for the poor?

Unearned - Bad - Moral - Rich - Poor? Sorry fella, I don't put my fellow citizens in classes (poor/middle/rich).

Well, sorry fella, but our fellow citizens are in those classes. That's reality, whether or not it makes you uncomfortable to acknowledge it.

But okay, let's say you don't acknowledge that but really consider all Americans to be one class. I guess it's safe to say then that all people should share the pain of putting our economy on the right track, regardless of their income. You can agree to that, right?

In closing, Brucepall, I wo... (Below threshold)

In closing, Brucepall, I would like to tell you of something I saw in my formative years.

I spent grades 4-8 in a wealthy suburb, where the school had everything it needed. Books, desks, a comfortable student-teacher ratio, a metal shop with a furnace, excellent math teachers, excellent science teachers, and a college program. The high school, which I didn't get to go to, had a shop with a freakin' robotic lathe - which wasn't even used, because everyone was going to college.

I then spent grades 9-12 in a lower-middle-class suburb, in the same state. In this town the industry had gone and the schools had far less funding because it was a lower tax base. The books were falling apart, the classes were overcrowded, the metal shop was nonexistent, and the college prep was a part-time job of an overworked office staffer. And the kids in that school were just as smart as the kids in the wealthy area. They worked just as hard, if not harder. But they would not go near as far as the other kids - *mostly because of the tax base difference*.

Same union. Same state. Just a money difference. But people want to blame it on the teachers, on the unions, on everything but recognizing the simple fact that what makes a difference in everything really is **money**. It really is.

Some people are born on home and have to bunt to first. Some people are born on third base and get an easy walk to home. To think this is solely due to individual virtue is simply to not recognize reality.

JimX, You answered... (Below threshold)
Rose:

JimX,

You answered my questions? Really?

Perhaps you can repost the link that you posted early showing that corporations support one party or the other at a rate of in excess of 95% - which is what you would have to do in order to prove your claim that unions are doing the "same" thing that corporations do.

I just looked through your responses again and don't find that you have answered that particular question of mine.

You also failed to provide any links to the speeches where Obama (as a candidate) specifically called for each an every major provision contained in the 2000 page health care legislation.

I understand that you are desperately trying to control the conversation.

Arbitrarily claiming that you have answered all my questions and I have answered none of your does not make either point true, however.

When you are ready have an open discussion based on facts let me know.

Jim XThat's a piti... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Jim X

That's a pitiful negative response... who were your roll models, mentors, and teachers in your formative years? Perhaps you raised yourself?

I reject your victimhood and characterization that it boils down to the all mighty dollar. I could care less who your mommy or daddy is, whether you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, where you went to school, or even your mannerisms and outward physical appearance. Strength of character, honesty, responsibility, and the ability to see the world and one's behavior as they really are... ARE the driving forces that enables one to grow into a fully functioning well-rounded citizen. If I have to make an evaluation and judgement call about a person... believe me, I'll look into your heart for the latter... because these are the things that really matter.

Here is an example of what I'm talking about:

Ever get a speeding ticket? A normal response is to first evaluate one's actions. Its like, "wow, I can't believe I did that... I got caught breaking the law," and of course you feel pretty bad about it.

But then two weeks later... "it was that snake in-the-grass sheriff who bush-wacked me," and "why didn't he ticket those speeders in the convoy in front of me that I riding caboose?"

Can you see what's happening, Jim? Its much easier for some to put (or project) the blame for one's own behavior onto someone else. That way, they don't have to change. No change in attitude, no change in behavior, no-self reflection honesty = one doesn't have to grow (up).

I've known lotsa folks that are unable to see the world as it really is, or themselves as they really are. For if you can't be honest with yourself, then how can you be expected to be honest with others? And if you can't be honest with others...then how can one really judge one's prospects in the world? You can't... and that's a real handicap... and they stop growing.

Jim, I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. They belong to no one else but me. I take responsibility for each and every one of them, skeletons and all... and that's the reason why I don't make the same error twice.

FWIW, Semper Fidelis-

Rose, Your awesom... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Rose,

Your awesome for persisting in fighting the good fight. You'd make one hell of a Marine. Following through on this tread - I see tough times for not only for the Unions, but for the rest of us too, economically speaking.

In some ways we're also along for the ride - i.e.- we're all in the same boat. It looks to me like monetary inflation is immanent in our near future.

But just because we know what's going to come down - doesn't necessarily mean we know what's the best course of action to prepare for it. I'd like to meet the challenge on my own terms... but am I as prepared for it as I should be? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter, if you would please.

Semper Fidelis-

Perhaps you can re... (Below threshold)
Perhaps you can repost the link that you posted early showing that corporations support one party or the other at a rate of in excess of 95% - which is what you would have to do in order to prove your claim that unions are doing the "same" thing that corporations do.

Perhaps you can scroll back up to # 64, where I already dealt with this argument of yours:

Is there some constitutional principle I'm unaware of, that says groups have to give equally to both parties in order to be "good" groups?

Unions are obviously doing the same thing that corporations are doing - donating and lobbying for influence. Many groups do this besides Unions, as you well know. Church organizations, state and local interest groups, Boy Scouts, etc. etc.

The fact that you may not like what Unions do, or the fact that Unions probably donate more to the Democratic party than the Republican party, in no way makes Unions any more or less lobbyists than any other group.

I'm in fact not seeing what your point is. How is it bad that Unions lobby and donate, when in fact that is what **every** organization does? It isn't merely that you don't like Unions or Democrats, is it? If so, that's hardly the basis for a fair outlook on policy.

You also failed to... (Below threshold)
You also failed to provide any links to the speeches where Obama (as a candidate) specifically called for each an every major provision contained in the 2000 page health care legislation.

Frankly, you failed to provide the need. But I'll play.

If what you are trying to create is a parallel between Obama and Walker as candidates, this is to what - show Obama and Walker are equally "bad" in some way? By surprising those who voted for him with an extreme agenda once he got in?

The thing is, the liberals, Democrats and Independents who voted for Obama are still supporting him, to a far higher extent than those who supported Walker are supporting Walker. This is because Obama has basically done what he said he would do - put through health care reform. If anything, liberals Democrats and Independents are angry with Obama for not being radical **enough**. We wanted single payer, or really just the continual expansion of medicare.

You may not like what Obama is doing - but you can't say it isn't some radical departure from what he was voted in to do. This is quite different from Walker, as far as I can see.

Now Rose, in addition to av... (Below threshold)

Now Rose, in addition to avoiding answering my questions, you have accused me of many different things in our conversation here. I have repeatedly ask you to show evidence of them, and you have refused.

If my reuqesting a direct response is "attempting to control the conversation", so be it. I might point out that your refusing to answer questions or back up accusations is the same, on your part. And so we're at an impasse.

If you actually want to answer even one of the many questions I've asked, that would be great. Otherwise, toodles. : )

That's a pitiful n... (Below threshold)
That's a pitiful negative response... who were your roll models, mentors, and teachers in your formative years? Perhaps you raised yourself?

Well Brucepall, all I can say is that it's shame you're choosing respond in way that borders on personal insult.

I reject your victimhood

First, you'll notice nothing in the above that refers to my victimhood. I have done just fine, thank you very much. I was very fortunate, in that I had the innate skills and loving family to do what I wanted with myself. But if that support net wasn't there, as I saw it was missing for many kids that I grew up with, it could have gone quite different. I saw kids just as smart as me or smarter get taken out by this or that random crap that they just didn't have the resources to weather through.

And that is reality. Good, bad or mediocre parenting and a well-funded school, will still have a child in a better position than that range of parenting and a broke school.

and characterization that it boils down to the all mighty dollar.

OK. But as I'm sure you know, just because we reject things doesn't affect whether or not they're real.

I could care less who your mommy or daddy is, whether you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, where you went to school, or even your mannerisms and outward physical appearance.

Sure, **you** could personally care less. But you can rest assured that the world pays strict attention.

Strength of character, honesty, responsibility, and the ability to see the world and one's behavior as they really are... ARE the driving forces that enables one to grow into a fully functioning well-rounded citizen.

In an ideal world, yes. In a real world, no.

Here, I'll call upon your military background. Let's say you have two forces fighting in a field. Both have equal amounts men, with equal amounts of great leadership, strength of character, honesty, responsibility. One side is rested, fed, has new and functioning equipment and plenty of ammo. The other side is starving, tired, and has old weapons with limited ammo.

Which side wins?

I think you know the answer.

Therefore, I think you can see that it doesn't come down only to intangibles like strength of character. This is true in all of life, not just war which is an extreme example of life. I think resources matter the most. However, I'm sure we can both agree that resources have a major impact, can't we? Again, from looking at the above example.

Ever get a speeding ticket?

Yes I have, and it's been my fault and I've paid it.
Now, I've also seen police lie in court, I know of police who've been bribed, and I've had police lie directly to me. For whatever that's worth.

But to your larger point of blaming others for one's own mistakes - that's a shame. But that's different from acknowledging realities.

It is a fact that Wall Street caused this financial meltdown that we're still recovering from - not the middle class or the poor. So to always say that "it's always the poor's fault that they're poor", is just as out of step with probable reality as to say "it's always the rich's fault the poor are poor".

And to be clear, I'm not saying, and don't believe, that it's always the fault of the rich that the poor are poor.

What I DO think is, the best way forward for our entire nation, rich, middle-class and poor, is for the rich to share in the betterment of everyone just as much as the poor and middle-class do.

Certain tax policies work for the nation and others don't. And fair should be fair for all income classes - which means either all classes and groups can do the same things, or none of them can.

All this noise over how terrible the deficit is, and just about the strongest thing we could do to attack it is put the taxes back where they were under Clinton. But instead, the benefits to the poor and middle class like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid - *that* is what always has to go.

Hm, it's almost like those with less money have less political power? Nah, that can't be, right?

FWIW, I see you as an individual with a lot of personal integrity and a long life of experience. I just think you are, idealistically perhaps, missing some points of what the world is actually like.

Semper Fidelis back to you.

Jim X,All (of the)... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Jim X,

All (of the) Boomers are idealist. Its a character signature of their generation. Did I ever get a seeding ticket? Yes in 1971... Sure I paid it just like you. I also took a hard look at the ticketing system, and figured out how it works all on my own (causation, revenue generation, profiling, etc), Haven't had a ticket of any kind since. Can you make the same claim? From how you go straight to the projection ( -ie- transference) when you write (police lie- bribe) is an indication to me that you repeat errors... Am I right, Jim? Its OK to be honest and say "Yes." Its pretty common for folks to need reinforcement before they get it... although some never do.

The most desired leadership trait, bar none, of warriors is "Integrity." There are others: Justice, Judgement, Decisiveness, Dependability, Initiative, Tact, Bearing, Unselfishness, Courage, Knowledge, and Enthusiasm. These traits are inherent in everyone... but just like any tool in your tool box - if you don't sharpen the edge, they atrophy.

Notice I didn't mention money in all that... or talk about where you came from, or your formative background. In my world, it truly is immaterial. Nice thing about the Corps is that they will give you all the responsibility that you can handle, and they are very understanding of mistakes (excepting integrity ones), because that is how you grow.

My first fire-team leader right out of bootcamp was one awesome non-commisioned officer (a Corporal). He was a hard but fair, an extraordinary task master who expected at lot (-ie- only your best). There wasn't anything he would ask of you that he wasn't willing to do himself. I knew right away he would go far.

Having served under him in harms way, you learn everything that is possible to know about your fire-team members - not just strengths, but weaknesses... and who their girlfriends are, and their family history, and everything they ever did growing up. Well the Corporal was from a holler up in West Virginia... and he never had shoes growing up. The Marine recruiter gave him his first pair of shoes (boots actually) that he ever had (and they bout killed his feet).

Twenty-seven years later I had the good fortune and opportunity to serve under him again... but this time I was a Master Gunnery Sergeant (instead of a Private) on the Division battle staff, and he wasn't a Corporal but my Assistant Commanding General ( a Brigadier General). Going to Private to General is unusual, but not a surprise to me.

The point here is: There are examples in every rank of individuals who have already come far, and have tremendous potential to grow and take on the duties and responsibilities of much higher rank or other positions later in life.

Jim, so what if your school books were falling apart, your class sizes were large, and nobody used that wizbang lathe in the metal shop (the reason for that which you gave me is also a projection). Nobody gives a damn about any of it - talk to me about leaning how to think critically, what's right and what's wrong, a sound and moral foundation, or a great story about one of your teachers, mentors, or roll models there... and you'll have my attention. I couldn't give two figs if your school needed painting or air conditioning.

As I see it, Jim, you have limited your world by dividing folks up into classes (everyone was going to college so it wasn't necessary to learn to master a lathe). Ever here of SCAD - Savannah College of Arts and Design? Your prejudices put people in nice little boxes of income, ability, opportunity and so fourth. Pffft. That's why I reject that narrow minded focus.

Jim, I never went to war by myself. There was always someone on my left and my right. A team - who works together to get the job done and the mission accomplished. Men who would never let you down, and who would do whatever was necessary to come to your aid.

My world is chalk-full of high powered folks like that. Friends, Co-workers, bosses, neighbors - teachers and mentors every one; with positive drive and energy, who are doing things and going places, and who help you along and lend you a hand when you need it.

That's why I asked you about your life and formative years. You wrote back that it was wonderful (entrepreneur, loving intact family, do what you want) ... hummm, a little bit of defensive projection there perhaps? If its not roses, then why not? If you have "issues" still, then deal with them, just like everybody else does - acknowledge them, self-reflect, be positive, change and grow.

FWIW, Semper Fidelis-


Haven't had a tick... (Below threshold)
Haven't had a ticket of any kind since. Can you make the same claim?

Yes, actually. For me it was even simpler: never go more than 7 miles over the posted limit, and stay within the flow of traffic.

From how you go straight to the projection ( -ie- transference) when you write (police lie- bribe) is an indication to me that you repeat errors... Am I right, Jim?

I haven't gotten more tickets, if that's what you mean. So, no, you're wrong. Not that I've never made mistakes in my life; of course I have. Some of which I have made more than once. That's no one's fault but mine.

But it is interesting to me that you seem to bristle at the thought of imperfect police, and want to mkae this simple statement of observed fact mean something about me and my inner workings.

That's your privilege. I can engage in similar speculation as to your thoughts. Perhaps your response comes from an inner need to justify authority no matter what? Perhaps this a sign of a worldview where any criticism of accepted authority **must** be due to faults within the criticizer - and not the authority?

If that's the case, and that is your worldview, perhaps you may want to look at the effect of this view in your own life. Such a worldview can tend towards a high-handedness with others, which they tend not to appreciate no matter how well-intended. Which may have led to some of the mistakes that you mention. And may have even led to you repeating some of them.

Jim, so what if your school books were falling apart, your class sizes were large, and nobody used that wizbang lathe in the metal shop (the reason for that which you gave me is also a projection).

So what? So that means income classes are unequal. So that means that children with the same potential don't have the same outcomes, for no fault of their own or even of their parents.

So that's no good for America, and it's best if something can be done about that. And this is only one example of how class issues affect every one of us, all of our lives.

I notice that you did not respond to my direct example. I think this is because we both know that, all other things being equal, the side with lesser resources is at a distinct disadvantage. A quote you may be familiar with is, "God fights on the side with the best artillery."

I'm going to take your getting increasingly personal with me as evidence that I am making you think about things you don't really want to acknowledge.

If so, you don't have to admit. Just really do think about it. War is a very specific example of life. There are plans, and great intentions, and resources, and teams working with and against and parallel to each other, sometimes with the same goals, some times differences. Of course character, integrity, and personal responsibility matter. But to pretend that they are all that matter, is to have a deliberately blinded worldview that would not last one day unprotected on the battlefield - or unprotected in life.

OH, and just to go over the... (Below threshold)

OH, and just to go over the obvious re: the tale you mention of the corporal who never had shoes growing up, who was given his first pair of boots by the Marines.

The Marines is a department of the US Federal government agency that, like all military organizations, is mandated to treat everyone as equals. There is a baseline of equal treatment, resources distributed as needed, and an expectation that you will be treated well if you do well.

It is thus completely unlike schools, which are wildly unequal even within the same state; let alone all the other places within which civilians work and live.

So, yes, that sort of meritocracy is possible within the military. Outside of it, not so much. That's part of what makes the military such a good deal for so many impoverished areas of the country. That doesn't change the reality of the poverty in those areas, if the people can't join the military.

Perhaps, Brucepall, after a... (Below threshold)

Perhaps, Brucepall, after all that, what will really make my position clearer to you is if you watch this:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504803_162-20038876-10391709.html?tag=contentMain;contentBody

Ah, never mind above link. ... (Below threshold)

Ah, never mind above link. More like this one:

http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2011/03/60-minutes-the-other-america

Jim X,I hear you e... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Jim X,

I hear you expressions about the military. But since I spent the majority of my adult life as a Marine, its very easy for me to tell if you have been there, done that (and got the T-shirt). You nice little theoretical boxes are not even close to the reality of it... but I understand and give you some dispensation because you are trying to be empathetic and relate.

As I tried to convey to you before, I perceive that you and I come from very different backgrounds and experiences. We are so different that it is amazing we can communicate at all. I believe that (regardless of age) that if you ever stop learning, you stop growing - and you might as well be dead.

hcddbz's post @ 13 above, says it better than I ever could. Indulge me please, and re-read it. I like to hear about freedom, and he (or she) speaks my language. Listen to the tone and cadence as you read it... he (or she) is a very good communicator. I also understand why Unions are held in such low regard... as I hear their out of balance excesses expressed in many ways throughout this thread. And while I acknowledge one's right to organize and build associations as one pleases, I can also acknowledge that there are valid reasons why I hear so many disparaging comments about Union interactions and effects on this thread as well.

When I ask you about your association, or vested interest, in a Union - I get a denial (I'm an Entrepreneur/Independent Contractor). This isn't the first time I've heard this refrain from you Jim. I give everyone new a trusty clean slate, and the benefit of doubt... until shown otherwise. Its the right thing to do... if I don't understand something, I can always ask for amplification and clarification. It helps me understand who I am conversing with, and lays a foundation for where they are coming from.

I spent 30 years in an organization of people from every corner and background in America; it is a manpower intensive organization. I've also been around the world (literally and figuratively) multiple times, and one of the things you learn from such diversity and experience is to be able to read and understand people.

My observations of the received feedback from you is negativity and combativeness - to the point of extremism. Expressions of envy and class warfare will not win you any arguments outside of that tightly closed world of a box you have constructed for yourself. And so my advice to you is to step outside of it, and go, and do, and experience new things. Breathe it in.

Trust me, it won't bend you, kill you, or give you some kinda cooties. Sure you'll feel uncomfortable at first; that's normal because its unfamiliar. But it can also be liberating and free one of biases and constructs. You'll learn a lot, and grow a lot too.

Semper Fidelis-

Well, JimX, if you decide t... (Below threshold)
Rose:

Well, JimX, if you decide to stay with your latest version of what your opinion is, then you have demonstrated that there are similarities between what unions do and what corporations do - not that they are the "same" as you earlier claimed.

The massive one-sided giving of union dues to only one political party - even when it puts its own solvency at risk - is, of course, not the same as the actions of corporations who give to both parties in order to protect their solvency.

As to your inability to find a single link to a single speech of Candidate Obama calling for the major provisions of his health care bill .... I already knew that you would fail because they don't exist.

This standard that office holders can only do what they campaigned on is your standard, not mine. As I stated earlier, I find your standard to be wholly unrealistic. I was just curious if you would apply it evenly and, as we have seen, you did not.

Your use of polls as "proof" was, however, amusing. It explains the spin. :-)

Jim X, I wat... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Jim X,

I watched the videos and read the commentary too. Its not Hidden as the title says. Poverty is a relative thing. In my community, our church runs a food bank and feeding kitchen for the city homeless shelter; I volunteer there with my church members. At our last board meeting I brought up the difficult topic of what we are going to do when many more of our members/and families loose their lively-hood and turn to us for help (because I am very concerned about the direction our nation is headed)... an open and frank discussion ensued.

You and I can agree that chronic unemployment, homelessness, and poverty needs addressing. It seems that you and I cannot agree on how to address it as a community or a nation. I see these videos and what is going on in my own community as a harbinger of conditions that will intensify...things can get a lot worse, and very fast. Why, because our public expenditures are totally out of control - I do study economics (among other things) and I can read a balance sheet. Our (nation's) current account balance, budget balance, and trade balance is, in aggregate, the worst of any G-20 country in the world - and has been for a long time (most all my adult life).

You look around you, and see wealth, and think more money allocated towards resolving these pressing problems will provided the necessary relief... and to do that a transfer of wealth is in order. That is compassionate of course, but we are way beyond that already.

What you see around you that you identify as wealth is really an illusion. Take that dollar bill in your pocket - what is its value? Did you know that it has already depreciated 50% in my lifetime? Well then, lets just print up 100% more and we'll all stay even! I'm sorry to tell you, it doesn't work that way... even though Mr. Bernanke at the Federal Reserve acts like it does with his Quantitative Easing (were now running on version II).

The chairman is a consument politician (albet appointed) just like our US Treasury Secretary, Mr. Geithner, and they spin their BS, and kick the can down the road a little bit longer... I think because they don't know what else to do. I wrote his predecessor, Mr. Pauleson, a polite letter back on 2 May 2008, outlining my displeasure with his policies explaining why. The canned computer generated response I received made me ponder: if the response would have been the same if I had wished a cursed death upon him and his minions. But I did not follow through on this supposition, as I might have received a courtesy visit from the FBI.

I could go on and on about why this is, but in the interest of brevity the summary version is you don't see what's coming. Millions and millions of Americans don't either. Just because it has never happened in our country, doesn't mean that it will not happen. But I have yet to hear you dispute - that we can't spend our way out of debt, or tax our way to prosperity.

The title of this thread is, "What the Wisconsin union uproar is all about." I think the article and comments have covered that well.

You and I on the other hand are off on tangents now, talking about poverty, unemployment, and homelessness. I did watch your videos. What do Unions and their financing schemes have to do with it?

Oh right, money. Who's money? The taxpayers. And who should be required to make sacrifices. I've explained my position, and gone to lengths to explain why. I have yet to hear from you and acknowledgement of the excesses that unionism has hoisted on the future taxpayers (born and not yet born) of Wisconsin, and how that should be resolved... The only answer I hear from you is to go back in and tax the rich some more, and then tax the rich some more, and then tax the rich some more. And I already told you buy breaking out the numbers why that will not fly.

And here we are.

SF -


Bruce,Thank you fo... (Below threshold)
Rose:

Bruce,

Thank you for your kind words, but you give me too much credit.

I share many of your concerns. At a time when I can finally afford to provide some shorterm employment to do some long needed work at my home, I find myself hoarding my pennies as a hedge against potential future inflation. I raised by Depression surviving parents and it shows.

I actually spent nearly 30 minutes trying to explain why, longterm, I still have faith that we survive in this country (only to repeatedly erase it), but then I realized that those who believe that you only join the military because you have no other options or the amenities of your school dictate what future you have will never get it anyway.

I have little faith in our current crop of elected officials but a great deal of faith that real leaders are being created at the grass roots level in this country everyday. Many local leaders, male and female, learned those leadership skills in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most are simply everyday people who want better for their kids than they had for themselves just like my parents did.


Rose, I'm up becau... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Rose,

I'm up because the markets are fixing to close in Asia and open in Europe. Last week I tried to buy some silver and gold eagles from our US Treasury... but they were all sold out and have been for a while (they complain about not being able to procure adequate blanks as the reason they cannot comply with their public law mintage mandate)... Bottom line - its another bad sign. APMEX (among others) still has inventory... for the right price.

For me, to prepare, its a question of resource allocation - how much can I afford to ensure I don't get wiped out in a tsunami - kinda like buying insurance in case you house might burn down someday.

There are other resources of course: family, community, spiritual... and they have their strengths and a vital place in the mix, but I focus on financial because I seem to have a talent for it.

God bless you and your family.

Semper Fidelis-

Rose,God bless you... (Below threshold)
Brucepall:

Rose,

God bless you. I too have faith in America, and its folks like you that are the reason. Don't worry too much about the trials and tribulations ahead, you and your kids will get through them...even though it can get so bad, that at the time you'll say it can't get any worse, and it does.

I've been reading about historical events in Chile circa 71 -73, England 46- 52, and Russia 91-95, mainly to find out how individuals and families dealt with the adversities.

The take home is that most physical things don't get destroyed, and it does finally pass, and like the following of any storm, the sunshine does comes out. Financially, what happens is a great transfer of wealth takes place, and globally, the world is building up for the record event - which will be something you and yours will be able to say you lived through one day.

Semper Fidelis-

Bruce,Funny you me... (Below threshold)
Rose:

Bruce,

Funny you mentioned Chile. I lived there - not in 71 to 73, but a few years later.

I got to witness that transition period that you spoke of and it did indeed transpire as you said.

I am not as talented in the financial, but am doing what I can to diversify in that regard. I am also covering the basics - getting my food storage up-to-date and planning the summer garden for the maximum production.

Have a great day.

but I understand a... (Below threshold)
but I understand and give you some dispensation because you are trying to be empathetic and relate.

That's positive. That's exactly how I feel towards your comments.

My observations of the received feedback from you is negativity and combativeness - to the point of extremism.

Funny enough, those match my observations of your feedback as well. Including a rather unexpected detour in my personal background. But be that as it may, that's fine. No questions are off the table in a reasonable discourse as long as knowledge and learning are the intended outcome.

Expressions of envy and class warfare will not win you any arguments outside of that tightly closed world of a box you have constructed for yourself.

And denial of the reality of class differences will not give you an accurate view of the world around you, outside your own tightly closed box.

I can try and reason you out of this box, by bringing up the real-world comparison that you should see well - how a team in combat with great leadership, intelligence, training, and character are at an obvious disadvantage towards a team with the same qualities, but access to better resources.

But you refuse to address this, and so it is. We'll all move on I gather.

From your other reponse:

You look around you, and see wealth, and think more money allocated towards resolving these pressing problems will provided the necessary relief... and to do that a transfer of wealth is in order. That is compassionate of course, but we are way beyond that already.

First, you are once again completely misunderstanding me. I don't want a "transfer of wealth". I want an *investment* in the future. The right sort of investment creates more wealth for everyone involved, ***including the rich***. Basically the same kind of economy that we had under Bill Clinton. Which was better for everyone involved.

Second, I don't see how we are "well beyond that already". Money is money and debt is debt. If we can't afford such a deficit, then returning the taxes to where we were under Clinton will do far more than all the discretionary spending cuts that are currently being discussed.

If you know so much about accounting, why can't this be done? What is the pragmatic, ledger-defined reason for not doing this?

It seems clear to me that the reasoning for this on your part is ideological, and that you don't want to face this as the rationalization that it is. If so, so be it.

Best of luck to you in all of your future endeavors, and when you need help from the government - which we all will, regardless of how independent we think we are - may you receive it.

Cheers and best,
~j : )

The massive one-si... (Below threshold)
The massive one-sided giving of union dues to only one political party - even when it puts its own solvency at risk - is, of course, not the same as the actions of corporations who give to both parties in order to protect their solvency.

Sorry, but once again I don't see how that difference is significant. Once again, I fail to see anything in the Constitution that says one group's rights are dependent on them giving to both parties.

If you are aware of this element or principle to the Constitution or to any other relevant law or democratic/republic principle, can you point it out?

As to your inability to find a single link to a single speech of Candidate Obama calling for the major provisions of his health care bill .... I already knew that you would fail because they don't exist.

Oh, please. I didn't bother, because the question itself was founded on a false equivalency.

Fine! Read this, and it should answer most of your allegations.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CC0QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.barackobama.com%2Fpdf%2Fissues%2FHealthCareFullPlan.pdf&rct=j&q=obama%20campaigned%20on%20major%20policies%20in%20health%20care%20reform&ei=F9p6TYFPg8mrAfj4yOUF&usg=AFQjCNGf8MBihuQFi5TlSgJc_nAytyE3nQ&sig2=nKqwsr2HsJKg8JplAvcu2A&cad=rja

The only one he didn't campaign on before the 2008 Presidential primary, to my knowledge, is the mandate. That was Hillary's campaign platform.

Your use of polls as "proof" was, however, amusing.

Thanks. : ) I found it so, too, as it completely undermined the false equivalence you were trying to create.

It's interesting to me that you interpreted this as a "proof". What it was, was a disproof.

But whatever. Best to you.

My apologies for you not liking my answers. However, they are answers. Where are your answers to my questions, even unsatisfactory ones?

Nonexistent. Which makes this next part of your comment even more ironically amusing:

I find your standard to be wholly unrealistic. I was just curious if you would apply it evenly and, as we have seen, you did not.

When you answer any one of my questions, even unsatisfactorily, it may make sense to continue. Until that point, it does not.




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