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No Holds Barred

In the wake of the still-not-quite-settled dustup with the public-sector unions in Wisconsin, we are learning that the rules are changing in regards to what is and is not acceptable in political disputes. And we should take very, very careful note of them.

The most important, I think, is the adoption of the principle "the personal is political." The division between politics and other aspects of one's life is no longer recognized, and people and groups who dare to get involved on the "wrong" side of a political dispute find that they will be punished for their advocacy.

It seems to have started in California, with the Proposition 8 on gay marriage situation. Those who donated towards opposing gay marriage found themselves targeted, their home addresses and work places publicized, and their businesses boycotted.

Wisconsin took it a step farther, with some of the more prominent public-sector unions targeting businesses that had donated to the governor with letters. The letters informed the businesses that they had a choice: they could publicly declare their support for the unions against the governor, or face a boycott.

And here in New Hampshire, the teacher's union (NEA-NH) recently took exception to an Op-Ed piece written by Steve, Duprey, a Republican National Committeeman that recommended an end to teacher tenure, as well as an end to collective bargaining by public sector employees.

In response, the teacher's union called on its members to boycott the businesses Duprey owns.

OK, so that's the new standard. It's here, we gotta deal with it. So, what are our options?

The first one -- just ignore it -- is not feasible. This is a very potent tactic, and it needs to be addressed.

The second one is to cave to it. If the pressure gets too high, if the price of participating in the public process is the loss of one's livelihood, that's a hell of a burden. On an individual basis, one cannot blame someone who has to make that choice, and chooses their own economic well-being. Our Founding Fathers pledged their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor," but that is not something we can demand of every single citizen. There are those who will put their own political beliefs secondary to their family's needs -- and that is something that we have to accept.

That leaves one choice: to fight back.

The first option that comes to mind is to counter-boycott. Imagine if some targeted company were to put up signs that says "we are currently being boycotted by the National Education Association of New Hampshire. In cooperation of that move, we refuse service to any and all public school teachers." And if other businesses were to post similar signs, saying they are supporting the boycotted business by also denying service to teachers.

The next is to not play their game, but recognize the declaration of war, and fight back. But not on their grounds -- that is to give them too great an advantage. No, we need to fight them on our own turf, on places and in ways where we hold the advantage.

In Wisconsin, like in New Hampshire, the Republicans hold sway thanks to the 2010 elections. (Although we still have a Democratic governor).All it would take would be a simple law decertifying any public sector unions that are deemed to have gone too far in their zealous advocacy.

This is the fundamental flaw with public sector unions. The unions have developed a symbiotic relationship with the Democrats -- the unions give tons of money taken from their members to the Democrats, the Democrats in turn give the unions tons of money from the taxpayers.

This is where the model breaks down. In the private sector, matters are hashed out between the unions (representing the workers) and management (representing the owners). Both sides have to keep the best interests of whom they represent in mind at all times, because they are answerable to them.

But in the public sector, it's a bit more complicated. The workers are also owners -- but a very small minority. However, through their unions, they have a hugely disproportionate say in hiring the "managers" -- the politicians. And they can then insulate the politicians from the logical consequences of giving away too much of the owners' money. It's a vicious cycle -- the politicians give the public's money to the union members, who funnel it back to their unions, who then use it to buy more politicians.

But that model goes all pear-shaped when the Democrats (pretty much a wholly-owned subsidiary of Big Labor) loses power. Suddenly, the unions are left dealing with new "management" that they not only didn't hire, but put everything they had into keeping them from being hired. It is no wonder that the new management starts looking at ways to cut costs and preserve the owners' money -- and if that means undoing the work of previous management, so be it.

And if the unions decide they want to play rough -- such as these boycotts and gross attempts to intimidate their opponents, like they're doing in Wisconsin with death threats and mobbing their buses and accosting Republicans whenever they venture out in public, even if it's just to get a bite to eat ---then it's time for the Republicans to hit back.

There were a lot of illegal actions taken during the Wisconsin siege. The unions were behind that, organizing and planning and encouraging it. Bring on the criminal investigations.

And there is no legal "right" for the public unions to be certified -- it was granted by law. And that law can be repealed at any time.

And now seems like a very good time.

At that point, the unions have two choices: they can open negotiations, preserving their certification in exchange for other concessions and pledges. Or they can double down on their threats.

Personally, I'm really pissed off at the unions over how they've conducted themselves recently -- which is a step up from my prior "generally pissed off" attitude. So I'm hoping they fight back.

'Cuz this is a fight they won't win. And I'd really like to see them lose hard.

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Comments (72)

Careful to note the not wit... (Below threshold)
epador:

Careful to note the not withstanding, one will have to wait until there is a new DOJ head in town.

Here's another thing you ca... (Below threshold)
glenn:

Here's another thing you can do. I don't know about New Hampshire but in California the media establishment is pretty much aligned with the public sector Unions. Let the busineses who advertise in the local papers or on the other media outlets that fail to report evenhandedly know that you won't patronize them. Then do it. We need to find out right now if there are more of us than there are of them.

A local Radio Talk show hos... (Below threshold)
Rodney:

A local Radio Talk show host in Milwaukee came up with a good idea. He recommended going to these business buying from them and letting them know that you support them.

One of the companies under State Police Boycott is a gas station convenience store, that is based in Wisconsin, serves mainly Wisconsin and uses about 40% of it's profits to help local charities in Wisconsin. They are being boycotted because one employee gave $2000 to the Scott Walker campaign.

Bring on the criminal in... (Below threshold)

Bring on the criminal investigations.

Which is a nice idea, unfortunately the (union) police seem complicit.

1: This guy did X!

2: I did not.

1: You did so, it was right in front of that cop.

cop: I didn't see anything.

judge: Case dismissed.

This really is incredible.<... (Below threshold)
Hank:

This really is incredible.

The public sector unions, fighting to maintain their ivory tower benefits and better than private sector wages. This while their chosen party and president bankrupt the country.

It seems they have forgotten who they work for.

Well, I'm not going to forget. And I'm especially not going to forget the words of the former NEA GC who stated:

"It is not because we care about children; and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power."

No doubt at all. They really have forgotten who they work for.

Time to remind them.

People's personal and polit... (Below threshold)
James H:

People's personal and political lives I've always considered separate, personally. I'm completely against terrorizing people where they live.

It seems to have started in California, with the Proposition 8 on gay marriage situation. Those who donated towards opposing gay marriage found themselves targeted, their home addresses and work places publicized, and their businesses boycotted.

But this makes me curious. I read of a sandwich shop in San Francisco that was popular with the gay community. Then the owners donated money to support Prop 8 ... and the gay community stopped visiting. Is this right? Wrong? While I wouldn't care for people picketing a place of business over this, I nevertheless believe that a person can choose where to take his business.

I don't see any scenario wh... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I don't see any scenario where this ends well.

With the slight provocation that is Wisconsin the left is already pouring out death threats against not just the politicians but their supporters as well. With the dems going out and exhorting their union thug friends to "go out and get a little bloody" it is just a mater of time before they do just that.

And when (not a question of if) they make good on their death threats you can rest assured that the media will blame the victim and that they were against "democracy", because threatening and then assaulting or murdering your opponent is what "democracy" looks like. Count on the response to be that the right is the problem because by sticking up for what we believe in we are forcing the left to commit acts of violence.

The only ray of hope in this is that we outnumber them and if we refuse to keep silent we will be able to prevent them from winning their war of intimidation.

Don't fight if your opponen... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Don't fight if your opponent controls the time/place & terms of conflict.

Anybody else notice that a civil lawsuit was recently filed against the SEIU under the RICO Act?

James H,I have no ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

James H,

I have no problem with the gay community choosing to eat at a different sandwich shop.

The difference is that the gay couple next door are not likely to stand outside the shop and threaten and intimidate the clientele. They are not likely to throw bricks through the front windows of the owners home. They aren't likely to go to the bakery that supplies the sandwich shop's bread and threaten them with bodily harm if they don't stop doing business with the sandwich shop.

That is how the unions operate. That is the attitude that we are up against.

And don't forget to patroni... (Below threshold)
glenn:

And don't forget to patronize those businesses that the Unions are threatning and boycotting. Exclusively if you can. And let their competition know why you are doing so.

Those union goons are just ... (Below threshold)
Roy:

Those union goons are just big pussies who can't stomach a long drawn out battle. So make it a war of attrition. Keep voting in legislators and governors who will dismantle them piece by piece over time, just as is happening now. And patronize boycotted businesses, since they are the front line troops and need resupplies of ammunition. As McClane said "Welcome to the party, pal".

What's wrong with a boycott... (Below threshold)
john:

What's wrong with a boycott? And what's wrong with opposing a boycott by patronizing the businesses being boycotted?

Our Founding Fathers pledged their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor," but that is not something we can demand of every single citizen.

Our Founding Fathers also boycotted. Read up on the Non-importation agreements.

There are those who will put their own political beliefs secondary to their family's needs -- and that is something that we have to accept.

If you believe that a boycott will result in receiving concessions that will benefit your family's needs, how is that putting political beliefs before your family?

Just not seeing what's so w... (Below threshold)

Just not seeing what's so wrong with boycotts, sorry. Also nothing wrong with opposing a boycott either, so go for it.

Sorry, I misread that last ... (Below threshold)
john:

Sorry, I misread that last statement. Though if you forgive someone for "caving" to protect their own economic interests, I don't see how you can blame someone else for choosing to protect their economic interests via a boycott.

Last line of paragraph 1 sh... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

Last line of paragraph 1 should read "note of them" not "not of them". Jay Tea, please take note

I also see nothing wrong wi... (Below threshold)
john:

I also see nothing wrong with prosecuting those few who resorted to violence, or to the legislature using the legal process to try to repeal certification. Though how about when the Democrats eventually take over "management", they refuse to grant business licenses to those who supported Walker? That's just "fighting back", right? Hell, we can even just have each legislature repeal all of the laws of the previous one every time it changes hands, can't we? What a great way to govern that you advocate.

Unions have always been a f... (Below threshold)
Constitution First:

Unions have always been a form of Organized Crime, abet with a smiley face mask.

Not only has that mask has slipped a-bit lately, but the increasingly bad press union thuggery has generated for itself, has seemed to have inclined the unions to adopt some mighty unsavory bed-fellows for support, like the 911-truthers, the Palestinian terrorist sympathizers, code-pink and north-west coast anarchists of every stripe.

"Stop, children, what's that sound, everybody look what's going down..."

I have no problem in genera... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

I have no problem in general with boycotts and counter-boycotts. People can spend their money where they like.

It's different, however, when a public sector union is involved, for several reasons. One is that there is no competition; the public sector union holds a monopoly on providing that government service. Those unhappy with a sandwich shop that supports Prop. 8 can always go to the Reach-around Inn for their sandwiches. That's not true in respect of many public sector unions.

Another, and even more troubling one, is that many public sector unions are involved in critical functions, e.g., law enforcement. A boycott of any stripe - or other intimation that service will depend on cooperation - by them is totally unacceptable, and the most compelling reason for banning all public sector unions.

I struggle with this issue,... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

I struggle with this issue, because I think we have all noted a powerful inherent advantage that the left has held over the right for generations.

Namely, they are the ones who are willing to take to the streets, to shout down (i.e. deny free speech to) their adversaries, to break laws and feel wonderful about themselves for doing so, and now (or maybe always), to indulge in the outright thuggery and misanthropy we have seen of late.

They are willing to do so, with little encouragment, backing, or "training", if you will, and what not.

The right is not. They are just not interested in such nonsense. As has been noted, they basically feel they have more important things to do, and their inherent ideology is that the state should not matter enough to our indivdual lives to drive people into the streets over it.

(Note to left: In case you haven't figured it out yet, the more you demand the state to be involved in our lives, the more you turn virtually every question about the role of that state into a life or death bloodfight. Duh.)

And I don't see how to right that activism imbalance. I mean, it seems until the right has multitudes of people willing to return thuggery for thuggery, they will always be at a disadvantage. And *I* sure as hell do not want to be such a thug, and neither does anyone else here, I'll wager (except the trolls).

So it's tough. Never never never never give up, and vote vote vote VOTE!!!!! for the love of God, but the struggle will never end, because this behavioral imbalance will be the case for as long as we will all be involved.

Frustrating, that.

I also see nothing wrong... (Below threshold)

I also see nothing wrong with prosecuting those few who resorted to violence, or to the legislature using the legal process to try to repeal certification.

Here's a thought, john: these people are fighting for their COLLECTIVE rights. They are fighting to be treated as a unified group. Therefore, the entire group should be held accountable for these actions.

Unless, of course, the group would like to take action itself against those that misbehaved...

J.

Andrew X, street theater/ac... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Andrew X, street theater/activism and thuggery is a behavior. They are used (and exist) for one reason only - it's worked for them in the past. To take it away from them all you need to do is find ways to prevent it from working.

On the other hand,imitating their behavior is the same as jumping up and down and screaming at the top of your lungs, "Me too, me too!" That's a poor utilization of finite resources. It's also allowing your opponent pick the time, place and terms of conflict, which is a huge mistake.

So, make their approach less effective while striking at their vulnerabilities. For instance, it's not that difficult to create a video of someone wandering around on the streets carrying a huge puppet head that makes them look stupid. Or the video could catch protesters littering and creating a mess and then showing how the town had to clean that mess up. It really isn't that hard to show your opponent in the bad light they themselves cast.

Each opponent has their own vulnerabilities, but in the case of the unions access to power and money would be two big ones.

As FDR and George Meany not... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

As FDR and George Meany noticed, public sector unions are a bad and unworkable idea, period.

If any public servant - cop, firefighter, or DMV clerk - denies, delays, or otherwises alters service due a member of the public for ANY personal reason, that employee should be immediately fired and forever barred from public employment.

That said, private boycotts are private matters. They never work on any large scale - the sandwich shop owner may feel the pain, but so does any business owner who does something to repel his customers.

BTW, my boycott of Comcast is now in its 25th year and still going strong, thank you very much.

One problem with a boycott ... (Below threshold)
cirby:

One problem with a boycott by a public sector union is that it can result in (effectively) a no-bid contract.

If an area has two gas stations, both used by state police to fill up state police cars, and they boycott one of them, they've basically decided to favor one contractor for completely political reasons.

...and that's not even getting into the "hey, nice business - shame if the police and firemen never get around to responding to calls because they're in an active boycott for other reasons." And yes, you know that's going to happen. They've already shown their bias by refusing to enforce the law on union thuggery in some of the protests.

Here's a though... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Here's a thought, john: these people are fighting for their COLLECTIVE rights. They are fighting to be treated as a unified group. Therefore, the entire group should be held accountable for these actions.

At one time, IIRC, unions in the UK were held financially responsible for damage they caused during a strike. Makes sense to me.

Andrew X, street theater/activism and thuggery is a behavior. They are used (and exist) for one reason only - it's worked for them in the past.

Extortion, I believe it's called.

Interesting how if groups s... (Below threshold)

Interesting how if groups some don't like are involved, large protests and activism become thuggery. And even more interesting that, according to # 20, entire groups should now be held responsible for individual actions.

Tell me, is this also true if a group you like is protesting, such as the Tea Party?

No, Jim x, thuggery becomes... (Below threshold)

No, Jim x, thuggery becomes thuggery. Physically occupying a building, shouting down lawmakers in session, bouncing around their bus, hounding them in restaurants, damaging public property, issuing death threats... that's thuggery.

The Tea Party, as many have noticed, tends to behave themselves -- and usually leaves their protest sites cleaner than when they arrived.

Plus, at Tea Party events, if anyone gets assaulted, it's usually the Tea Partiers...

J.

Jim x-There is a d... (Below threshold)
Brian The Adequate:

Jim x-

There is a difference between peaceful protest and thuggery. I do not recall any commenter here ever calling for leftist to not be allowed to peacfully protest.

I also have never seen any reports of Tea Party groups occupying buildings and refusing to leave. You can certainly not point to any incidents remotely like those that routinely occur at the leftist protest against the world bank or G7 summit meetings.

And yes, if the Tea Party moves from peaceful protest to violence, they should be held accountable.

This is the fundamental ... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

This is the fundamental flaw with public sector unions. The unions have developed a symbiotic relationship with the Democrats -- the unions give tons of money taken from their members to the Democrats, the Democrats in turn give the unions tons of money from the taxpayers.

What you are describing is typical of the relationship between all lobbyists and politicians.

What you are describing ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

What you are describing is typical of the relationship between all lobbyists and politicians.

The point, for those who apparently missed it, is that a "negotiation" between a Democrat politician and a public sector union is a sweetheart deal, since both parties are on the same side of the fence. It's not an arm's length transaction; both parties want the union to get as much cash as possible. (Or conversely, neither party is trying to minimize the cash layout.)

The politician wants this because he knows that if goes into the tank for the union - at the expense of all non-union workers who pay taxes - the union will shovel campaign cash back toward him. This is called a "kickback" in any other context. He is, in effect, selling his services as a public official in return for a bribe.

It is much like a house "sale" between family members to minimize taxes, i.e., not a legitimate transaction.

Or, for those who hate corporations, it is indistinguishable from a company arranging for the "purchase" and "sale" of corporate assets between subsidiaries at rates chosen to minimize taxes. Something that is illegal, btw.

Tina, the lobbyists don't c... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Tina, the lobbyists don't compel their clients to give them money, they are employed by their clients... i.e. you haven't made a cohesive argument.

#28Have ano... (Below threshold)
914:

#28


Have another swig of kool-aid Tina.

Jay Guevara, all of your ar... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Jay Guevara, all of your arguments against unions apply just as well to politicians who give special tax credits & other benefits to corporations.

Or, for those who hate c... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Or, for those who hate corporations, it is indistinguishable from a company arranging for the "purchase" and "sale" of corporate assets between subsidiaries at rates chosen to minimize taxes. Something that is illegal, btw.

Jay Guevara, it's not about hating corporations, it's about recognizing that they act in their own best interest.

"Jay Guevara, all of your a... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"Jay Guevara, all of your arguments against unions apply just as well to politicians who give special tax credits & other benefits to corporations."

Sounds like you don't want the govt to have and use such power in either case. Good. We'll make a small-govt Tea Partyer out of you yet.

Jay Guevara, it's not ab... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Jay Guevara, it's not about hating corporations, it's about recognizing that they act in their own best interest.

And unions? And politicians? And race hustlers? Even Democrat politicians? Blasphemy, I know, but in whose interests do they act? Hmmm?

Have another swig of koo... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Have another swig of kool-aid Tina

I don't believe corporations because they act in their best interest even when they say they are not. I believe politicians (democrats & republicans) rarely if ever give the real reasons for the positions they take. I don't believe political pundits because they are too biased. Who's kool-aid am I drinking?

Tina, you've unwittingly ma... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Tina, you've unwittingly made my point. Everyone acts in his own best interests, as he perceives them, all the time.

That's why a good faith negotiation requires the best interests of the two sides to conflict. If the best interests of the two nominally opposed sides actually coincide, we have a - say it with me - conflict of interest.

Dem politicians "negotiating" with Dem-supporting unions against taxpayers' interest is much like two companies fixing prices to hose consumers. The companies' interests are not opposed, as they should be for competitors; instead they are colluding to screw third parties. That's why anti-trust legislation exists. Help me to understand how that differs from Dem politicians giving sweetheart deals to Dem-supporting unions and getting campaign contributions in return.

Shorter Jay Guevara:<... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Shorter Jay Guevara:

Everyone acts in their own best interest. The best interest of dems and unions is contrary to the best interest of the taxpayers.

Exactly. It's a corrupt system and the dems and the union thugs will do anything they can to keep it going.

"Who's kool-aid am I drinki... (Below threshold)
914:

"Who's kool-aid am I drinking?"


Well, if you voted for Barry you are privy to unicorn flavored on a daily basis. I would suspect that is who's cool aid you dip into while you blog.

The whole idea, Tina, is to... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

The whole idea, Tina, is to achieve equity through setting people's interests against each other. Sounds bad, doesn't it? But it isn't.

If you want to buy something, you want to pay as little as possible for it, right?

The seller wants you to pay as much as possible, right?

At some point you compromise, and the deal clears. You pay more than you'd like (i.e., more than zero), but less than the seller would like (i.e., everything you've got).

When you and the seller both want the price to be as high or low as possible, you're on the same side of the deal, and it's not a valid arm's length transaction.

That's the problem with Dem politicians and unions.

Note that the problem does not usually arise with Repub politicians. Why? Because they're so noble and principled? No. Because they know they're unlikely to get a dime from the union, regardless of what they do, so there's no incentive to play ball. No kickback, no conflict, no problem.

Everyone acts in t... (Below threshold)
Everyone acts in their own best interest. The best interest of dems and unions is contrary to the best interest of the taxpayers.

First, let's note that dems and unions ARE taxpayers.

Second, let's also note that their best interests are no more contrary to best interest of ALL taxpayers, than are the interests of the repubs and corporate management.

In fact, the argument could be made that what's in the best interest of corporate management is *most definitely* not in the best interest of the majority of taxpayers - since what's in the best interest of corporate management is shifting the **corporations'** tax burden onto the poor and middle class taxpayers.

First, let's note that d... (Below threshold)

First, let's note that dems and unions ARE taxpayers.

Second, let's also note that their best interests are no more contrary to best interest of ALL taxpayers, than are the interests of the repubs and corporate management.

A point I addressed in the original article; the unions are a VERY SMALL MINORITY of taxpayers, but their financial contributions to Democrats give them a hugely disproportionate power in the equation.

And toss in how when taxes go up to give better pay and benefits to public employees, they get a bit of "kickback" on that because they usually get more money in the increases than they lose in the higher taxes.

Pay an extra thousand a year in taxes, for a five-thousand-dollar annual raise? Sign me up for that!

J.

First, let's no... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

First, let's note that dems and unions ARE taxpayers.

No, they're not. Public sector union members are not net payers of taxes. They are consumers of taxes. If I pay you $10 and you give me $5 back, have you paid me $5? No. Of course not. The government could perfectly well just pay those public sector union members less and forget about collecting payroll taxes, and nothing would change.

Put another way, if government employees were taxpayers, we could solve the unemployment problem by giving everyone a government job, right? I hope it's obvious why that wouldn't work. Please tell me you see why. Lie if necessary.

And as for those Dems paying taxes, does that include Geithner, Rangel, Kerry ($500,000 on his yacht – you can't make up stuff like that), Daschle (on his limousine, and $350,000 of unreported income – I always forget a couple hundred grand too) and most recently Claire ("I forgot to pay $300,000 in taxes on my private jet") McCaskill? Scratch a Dem, find a tax chiseler.

JT,not to mention ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

JT,

not to mention the self dealing the unions do for some of their benefits where they charge the government significantly more than market rates to provide beefits for union employees. The union collects the inflated benefit payments from the government and rolls it back into payoffs for dem candidates.

It's not just the inflated salaries. It's the free collection of dues for the unions. It's the selfdealing on benefits. The unions have created layer upon layer of corruption that has magnified their influence way out of proportion to their size.

In fact, the ar... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

In fact, the argument could be made that what's in the best interest of corporate management is *most definitely* not in the best interest of the majority of taxpayers - since what's in the best interest of corporate management is shifting the **corporations'** tax burden onto the poor and middle class taxpayers.

Duh. Of course not. Corporate management is legally obliged to act in the stockholders' interest, not the taxpayers'. In fact, corporate management operates in its own (i.e., not the stockholders') best interest to the extent they can. You operate in yours. I operate in mine. Everyone operates in his own best interests, as he perceives them. Try to keep up, OK?

shifting the **corporations'** tax burden onto the poor and middle class taxpayers

Corporations fold taxes into their prices. It's a cost of doing business. Raise taxes, they raise their prices. No problem. (Note that taxpayers have no ability to do the same thing.)

The government likes corporate taxes because a) they then get corporations to collect taxes instead of being seen to do so themselves, and b) a lot of idiots (not mentioning any names here) do not understand this and are therefore susceptible to Marxism Lite class warfare type of rhetoric.

Come on Jay, do you really ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Come on Jay, do you really think that corporations pass tases on through their prices? But the dems have always said that raising corporate taxes wouldn't effect the little guy. It was getting back at "the man" and making him pay his share.

I'm shattered to think that the dems have been lying to me all these years.

Jim, yup, that's exactly... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Jim, yup, that's exactly what I believe. The amazing part is how few people grasp this.

I recently drove across the AZ-CA stateline, and watched gas prices shoot up $0.60/gal in the space of a few hundred yards.

I wonder how many CA liberals noticed that, and figured out why.

The sorry thing is that the... (Below threshold)
jim m:

The sorry thing is that the libs think that what the corporations should do is just take the taxes out of their profits. The dems sell jacking up corporate taxes by implying that is what will happen.

Reality is that corporations do what anyone else would do and pass the increased tax expense along to the customer. At some point the increased cost will mean decreased sales. The corporation has then to cut costs in operations to keep the company profitable. That is often seen in lost jobs.

In the extreme case the corporation relocates to a state or country where the tax climate is more favorable. That is why we see jobs fleeing overseas and why Illinois by jacking up their tax rate will likely see declining tax revenues not increasing ones (they may get a bump but it won't last).

And yet somehow the left seems to think that they are the only ones who will alter their behavior to avoid taxes and that everyone else is either too stupid to avoid paying excess taxes or evil for trying to do so.

At some point the increa... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

At some point the increased cost will mean decreased sales. The corporation has then to cut costs in operations to keep the company profitable. That is often seen in lost jobs.

Who else knows this?

And yet somehow the left seems to think that they are the only ones who will alter their behavior to avoid taxes and that everyone else is either too stupid to avoid paying excess taxes or evil for trying to do so.

The amazing thing to me is that leftists get it sometimes, but then ... lose it. For example, they'll support taxing, say, energy, to discourage people from buying and consuming it. At that point, they get it.

But then, in other contexts, they lose it, and think that they can raise taxes without any impact on people's behavior.

Someday I will understand this. It's just not gonna be today, that's all.

Dem politicians "n... (Below threshold)
Dem politicians "negotiating" with Dem-supporting unions against taxpayers' interest is much like two companies fixing prices to hose consumers

Or, as I like to describe it, two wolves arguing with a sheep over what's for dinner.

Public sector union members ar... (Below threshold)
Public sector union members are not net payers of taxes. They are consumers of taxes.

Well by that standard, no one who works for Defense Contractors is a taxpayer either. Or anyone in the military. Or anyone receiving social security.

Or every single person working for a bank that a bailout. If they were far down enough the totem pole to pay any taxes of course.

Makes that a rather problematic definition of "taxpayer", don't you think?

As opposed to the real-world definition, which is that if you pay taxes that you makes you a tax-payer.

It's different, however,... (Below threshold)
john:

It's different, however, when a public sector union is involved, for several reasons. One is that there is no competition; the public sector union holds a monopoly on providing that government service. Those unhappy with a sandwich shop that supports Prop. 8 can always go to the Reach-around Inn for their sandwiches. That's not true in respect of many public sector unions.

What are you talking about? No one threatened to withhold services (although doing so would just be "fighting back", according to Jay).

All they said was they will not patronize businesses. What does a teacher choosing where to buy a sandwich have to do with monopolies?

For example, they'll sup... (Below threshold)
jim m:

For example, they'll support taxing, say, energy, to discourage people from buying and consuming it. At that point, they get it.

I doubt that they really think that taxes will discourage a behavior. I think instead that they merely want to punish a behavior they disapprove of. Not only do they not expect the behavior to change they depend upon that behavior continuing so they can get taxe revenues far into the future.

Take tobacco for instance. They tax that but they really don't want people to quit smoking. Where would they get the tax revenue to replace it if people quit?

No they don't get the link between taxation and economic behavior at all.

Corporations fold ... (Below threshold)
Corporations fold taxes into their prices. It's a cost of doing business. Raise taxes, they raise their prices. No problem.

No, that's not true - at least in any industry that has competition. That's the essence of the free market, remember?

Those companies that take the costs out of their profit margin will have lower prices, and get more customers. Therefore they will either out-compete other companies and win, or force other companies to do the same.

Market pressure isn't always and only upward.

Therefore, the entire gr... (Below threshold)
john:

Therefore, the entire group should be held accountable for these actions.

Ah, the return of "guilt by association". Another value the right is fighting to resurrect.

Ah, the return of "guilt... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Ah, the return of "guilt by association". Another value the right is fighting to resurrect.

It's not guilt by association, it's collective guilt, you know, kinda like how all whites are to blame for any and all problems of, well, pretty much everybody else?

Also, would this be a bad time to mention prosecutions of corporations, e.g., Enron, Exxon (for the Exxon Valdez), WorldCom, to name few, for corporate malfeasance? Bear in mind that a union is a corporation.

Everyone operates ... (Below threshold)
Everyone operates in his own best interests, as he perceives them. Try to keep up, OK?

I shall. You too, ok?

Since the comment I was responding to was saying how bad unions were for allegedly contrary "to the public interest", I greatly appreciate you agreeing with me that the corporations can be just as bad.

What you missed from my larger comment is the whole "majority of taxpayers" thing.

You know, where corporations aren't even human beings, but still the burden gets shifted off of them onto the majority of taxpayers who *are* human beings.

So the corporations can then further outsource, and get another short-term boost that in the longer term further degrades the amount of money and work available in the country. Which means less taxes from the poor and middle class AND a rougher economy, which somehow always means further cutting benefits for the poor and middle class while increasing welfare for those at the top.

etc. etc.

Jim x,Corporations... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Jim x,

Corporations are legally obligated to operate for the benefit of the ownership (stockholders) and not for the explicit benefit of the middle class or any other class. Sometimes those ends overlap but that is not always the case.

A corporation will deal with increased taxes by passing them along to consumers or by cutting costs. If cutting costs means laying off people then they do so. The corporation has to stay in business to do any good and if it means cutting staff then they do that. Maybe if you made it more profitable for them to keep staff here they would, but in many cases union work rules and lefty taxation policies have destroyed companies' ability to maintain profitability.

Take a look at Detroit (just look, don't stay there). The unions and the state taxes have driven the auto industry from the state. Detroit was once the 4th largest city. Now it is a burned out shell. (heck there have been proposals for turning the empty blocks back into farmland) Foreign automakers building plants in the US have chosen other states where they can be free from the unions and get lower taxes.

Look at Illinois. They are jacking up taxes to try to meet a revenue gap and what is happening is that businesses are fleeing the state. Jobs are declining. People are out of work and can't find a new job because businesses can't pay the highest tax rate in the world and be competitive.

Yes market pressure tends to keep prices down, but when there is a countervaling pressure to increase prices like a tax increase, that hits all companies equally (such as in Illinois), the risk of raising prices is relatively low.

Two examples 1) the airline industry. When one airline raises rates the others often follow suit. If they don't then the first airline drops their proces back. 2) The blood industry. Costs of collecting and testing of blood had increased significantly due to mandates from the FDA. In 2000 (or there abouts) the American Red Cross dramatically increased their prices (more than double in some areas). All other blood centers follow suit. The economic pressure was equal on all businesses within the industry. When one player moved to recover costs from the consumer, the others followed. There was no collusion involved. It was just a matter of time before someone made a move and once having done so the pressure for the other businesses to do the same increased untill they all adjusted their prices.

No, that's not ... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

No, that's not true - at least in any industry that has competition. That's the essence of the free market, remember?

Of course it's true. Don't be silly. You need to think more clearly.

Suppose companies in a given industry are making substantial profits, and then their taxes increase. Sure, then one or more of the competing companies may decide to eat the tax increase and undercut competitors, and thereby force others to do the same. That part is true enough, but is generally a temporary situation. (Why? Because if there's lots of money to be made, i.e., a bonanza on offer, competitors will enter the market. Quickly.)

But eventually that process leads to a sticking point where companies have to either raise their prices to cover additional taxes or go out of business, because it's not profitable for them to continue. Getting more customers doesn't help if you're losing money on each one.

(Note also that the Feds take a dim view of any company driving all competition out of business. Can you say "predatory pricing practices?" I can.)

The point is that the model you're propounding is not sustainable in the long term. Corporations cannot eat tax increases indefinitely. Any more than households – or governments – can be cash flow negative indefinitely. For a while, yes. Indefinitely, no. As we're finding out now.

Look at it this way: suppose you had to take a pay cut to keep your job. You might do it at first, but at some point, it's no longer worth your while to keep the job. Make sense?

What are you ta... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

What are you talking about? No one threatened to withhold services (although doing so would just be "fighting back", according to Jay).

Not in so many words, John, but implicitly, yes, the police union did just that in Wisconsin. They sent a letter to businesses that had supported Walker that said something to the effect of "they would remember who their friends were." (I paraphrase, and will dig it up if you wish, but that was the gist.) The implication was clear: how the police viewed you and your business might just be a function of your politics. It's like the line from The Untouchables: "Nice business you got here. Be a shame if anything happened to it," was not an expression of good wishes, but a threat. How else could you interpret a letter from the cops that they were aware that you stood on the opposite side of an issue from them?

You know, wher... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

You know, where corporations aren't even human beings, but still the burden gets shifted off of them onto the majority of taxpayers who *are* human beings.

You still don't get it. Suppose corporations paid all taxes. Every penny. Where would they get the money to do so? Seriously. Answer that question.

Which means less taxes from the poor and middle class AND a rougher economy, which somehow always means further cutting benefits for the poor and middle class while increasing welfare for those at the top.

Jim x, the poor don't pay taxes. Forty-seven percent of "taxpayers" pay no Federal income taxes. Any. At. All. None. (See http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Nearly-half-of-US-households-apf-1105567323.html). In 2009 the top 10% paid 73% of all Federal income taxes. So the poor don't pay shit, and neither do a substantial fraction of the middle class. They're free-riders. So don't go populist on me. Half the population enjoys the benefits of government, but doesn't pay a goddamned thing.

Well by that stand... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:
Well by that standard, no one who works for Defense Contractors is a taxpayer either. Or anyone in the military. Or anyone receiving social security.

That's absolutely true. You're starting to get it. Anyone who pays less in taxes than he makes from taxes is not a net taxpayer.

The military, employees of defense contractors, public sector employees, and recipients of Social Security, to name a few, are not net taxpayers. They are consumers of taxes.

Think. Could we have an economy in which everyone was on Social Security? Or was a member of the military? (Aren't lefties always bleating about the money "wasted" on military spending? I don't consider it a waste, but they are right that it is not economically productive.)

Of course not. Understand me, I'm not deprecating these people, who in many cases are performing essential jobs (in the case of the military, police, and firemen), but they are not productive jobs, in the sense that they are not creating wealth. They are protecting wealth that has been created by others. That's important in the real world, but in an ideal world - one lacking external enemies and internal crime - we wouldn't need that protection.

Contrast two cases. In economy #1, everyone makes shoes (or cars, or electronics, or whatever). We could trade shoes to other countries for good and services, right? That's a potentially viable economy.

In economy #2, everyone is on Social Security. No one produces anything, just gets a check, and perhaps returns some fraction of it in taxes. What could they trade? No way they are viable as an economy.

That's the point.

I greatly apprecia... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:
I greatly appreciate you agreeing with me that the corporations can be just as bad.

You know, where corporations aren't even human beings, but still the burden gets shifted off of them onto the majority of taxpayers who *are* human beings.

You are aware that unions are corporations, right? By which I mean they are legal constructs that are treated as an individual entity for many legal purposes, e.g., entering into contracts. This is why the law sometimes refers to a "natural person," i.e., a real person, as opposed to a constructive "person." A corporation is a group of individuals acting in concert and treated legally for many purposes as though having the bodily form of an individual. The UAW would be an example. GM would be another. They enter into contracts just as two individuals would.

Reflect on the etymology of the word "corporation." It has the same root as "corporeal."

They sent a letter to bu... (Below threshold)
john:

They sent a letter to businesses that had supported Walker that said something to the effect of "they would remember who their friends were."

Oh, BS, you paranoid hysteric!

In the event that you cannot support this effort to save collective bargaining,
please be advised that the undersigned will publicly and formally boycott the
goods and services provided by your company.

Oooh... insidious!

Corporations cannot eat ... (Below threshold)
Evil Otto:

Corporations cannot eat tax increases indefinitely.

Or infinitely. It's not as if future liberals would restrain themselves from calling for further increases in corporate taxes.

America's 20% Hard-Left and... (Below threshold)

America's 20% Hard-Left and its folie à plusieurs have already created here the kind of European cult of personality that saw millions of those Europeons who fell under the thrall of their own narcissistic leaders' (at least one of whom had at least previously made Corporal – and could hang paper and paint houses) then happily engaging in every kind of pseudo-science and other intellectual dishonesty, deceitful reporting and hooliganism and eventually and inevitably, as the fear degenerated into rage and their rage into loathing – into the perpetration of every kind of imaginable crime and unimaginable atrocity.

And, such being the banality of most every known and unimaginable manifestation of evil, most of its activists are as if the public service union member the bloke next door.

In America, as the RICO-racketeering Democrats' Military-Industrial-Complex has morphed seamlessly into the RICO-racketeering Democrats' Climate-Change-Industrial Complex, we are already well past every kind of pseudo-science and other intellectual dishonesty and hooliganism and are also well past retaining any doubts about deceitful reporting.

But how long, I wonder, before the 20% Hard-Left-mongered fear degenerates into rage – and so on?

We are indeed, as the few-decades-old urban myth says Confucius or some other dude said a few thousand years ago: Living in Interesting Times!

But more seriously We, The People, will win this Second American War of Independence -- or will lose My America -- and Judeo-Christian/Western/Human Civilization, too.

The teachers in WI not show... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

The teachers in WI not showing up to teach... that wasn't withholding services? ;)

You still don't ge... (Below threshold)
You still don't get it. Suppose corporations paid all taxes. Every penny. Where would they get the money to do so? Seriously. Answer that question.

OK, I'll answer it. If they couldn't get that money from their profits, they would have to raise their prices.

Now, please answer my question:

Where did I say corporations should pay ALL taxes?

I don't WANT all corporations to pay all taxes. I just want them to have to pay their fair share, like I have to pay mine.

If I could set up a Cayman Islands dodge, that would at least be fair. Since I can't, they shouldn't be able to either. And so one for all the other subsidies and corporate welfare that they can get, which no individual taxpayer can.

Do you see what I'm saying?

Jim x, the poor do... (Below threshold)
Jim x, the poor don't pay taxes. Forty-seven percent of "taxpayers" pay no Federal income taxes. Any. At. All. None.

Really? That's interesting. So sales taxes don't exist?

But if you want to talk only about income taxes, I guess it's how you define the poor. So change where I said "Poor" and swap it out with "lower class".

The same argument remains: tax burdens shouldn't be shifted from corporations to the lower class and middle class. It doesn't make pragmatic economic sense or moral sense.

Don't be silly. Yo... (Below threshold)
Don't be silly. You need to think more clearly.

Physician, heal thyself.

Suppose companies in a given industry are making substantial profits, and then their taxes increase. Sure, then one or more of the competing companies may decide to eat the tax increase and undercut competitors, and thereby force others to do the same.

Okay then.

But eventually that process leads to a sticking point where companies have to either raise their prices to cover additional taxes or go out of business, because it's not profitable for them to continue.

Then you are not talking about the same situation I am. I am talking about taking the costs out of their profits, see?

So if you're saying they won't be able to take the costs out of their profits, then you are describing a situation which is fundamentally different than the one I am.

So, please apply your clear thinking to this situation and come up with an argument that is actually working from the same model mine is. Rather than a new hypothetical that is different, silly.

That's absolutely ... (Below threshold)
That's absolutely true. You're starting to get it. Anyone who pays less in taxes than he makes from taxes is not a net taxpayer.

Oh, wow. You're actually going to go down this road? Ok.

But I think I see what's going on here. You see taxes and spending as a zero-sum game. WHat you are missing is that money invested properly grows - and that there are more ways to invest money than directly in business. That tax money that is invested in the military makes all other business ventures possible. Even more so the money that goes into our legal framework, which settles disagreements and enforces resolution of disputes.

The roads which enable business, the education that enables a workforce, the firemen and police that keep society safer, the groups that inspect our food and medicines - and social security which enables us to have some measure of safety and security when we have become too old to work.

Please honestly think about that a little bit before you respond. Picture a world where none of these things happen.

Where would our economy be without these things? How could we have these things without people to make them? They can't be done by corporations - corporations are by design only loyal to their stockholders.

All of these things, and more, are accomplished by these people who you are saying aren't "net taxpayers". They make the rest of our entire system possible.

You are aware that... (Below threshold)
You are aware that unions are corporations, right?

Well maybe in the most abstract sense. Of course, unions are beholden to all their members and elect their members, in ways that corporations almost never do. Also corporations have many legal rights which unions don't have at all.

But perhaps I'm not getting your point here. And?

So what if unions and corporations have similarities, at a high enough level of abstraction? I'm not seeing how that means...well much of anything, in our current discussion.




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