June 10, 2012
Scott Walker and Mitch Daniels vs. Rob McKenna
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels says:
he sees the results from Wisconsin's recall race as a "turning point" in trying to curb the influence and benefits enjoyed by public-employee unions. ... it's "now visible to voters almost everywhere that it really needs to be brought under sort of control in the interests of people who pay the taxes,"
Visible to folks everywhere, except to Washington's Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna, who
has repeatedly distanced himself from [Wisconsin Gov. ] Walker and says state workers have no reason to fear him if he's elected governor. He's also called collective bargaining a right.
"Collective bargaining isn't the problem in our state. It's the people doing the bargaining who have been the problem," McKenna said in an interview last week.
I'll save a longer discourse on McKenna's gubernatorial campaign for another time. I'll vote for him in November, but I'm less positively impressed by candidate McKenna than I expected to be.
Candidates generally don't have the flexibility to express all of their opinions and aspirations like the rest of us can. I don't know what McKenna truly thinks about government union collective bargaining. But any thoughtful and honest assessment says that (1) government union collective bargaining is not a "right" but a privilege which has been granted by statute and which can be revoked by statute; (2) The single biggest obstacle standing between the citizens and responsive, cost-effective government is government unions -- with their collective bargaining privileges, and with their ability to take tax dollars by way of mandatory and automatic "dues" collection, and spend those tax dollars on self-serving political activity.
Implementing any of the pro-citizen reforms that McKenna promises is contingent on eliminating the government unions' de facto veto over these reforms. So I'll give McKenna the benefit of the most charitable explanation I can think of for his above comments. I'll allow that although he made an unnecessary and reckless rhetorical concession, he's bowing to the reality that there's nothing he can do to roll back union privileges without a legislative majority. In which case, winning a conservative majority in the Legislature is at least as important as electing a Republican governor.
The upshot for me -- again, vote for McKenna in November. But there are a lot of races on the ballot and we all have finite budgets of time, money and energy to invest in campaigns. Invest wisely, in the combination of Presidential, Congressional, Legislative, Judicial, initiative and other statewide contests where you believe your invested resources will make the most difference in our future.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at June 10, 2012
11:59 AM | Email This
Stefan writes, "...Any thoughtful and honest assessment says that (1) government union collective bargaining is not a "right" but a privilege which has been granted by statute and which can be revoked by statute;"
You're playing word games. Sure, it's not a right in the constitution or the Bible. Lots of "rights", such as this one, are conferred by law. And people differ on whether it should be a moral right.
"(2) The single biggest obstacle standing between the citizens and responsive, cost-effective government is government unions -- with their collective bargaining privileges, and with their ability to take tax dollars by way of mandatory and automatic "dues" collection, and spend those tax dollars on self-serving political activity."
You provide no evidence for this assertion -- not any assessment, let alone a "thoughtful and honest assessment", let alone a case that any "thoughtful and honest assessment" would prove it. And you provide no evidence that these unions are bad, let alone the "single biggest obstacle" to the good government you seek.
2. Bruce @1 -- anecdotal evidence that government unions are bad -- you choose, like I do, to send your kids to a non-union school. I don't think that's a coincidence.
Collective bargaining in the public sector is collective bargaining against the American taxpayers which includes those for whom the bargaining benefits. That is despicable. WHO is on the other side of the table representing the interests of those paying the bills?
If Bruce's House of Crazy, as private entity, wants to have a union - go for it. But to have people who work FOR the people bargaining against the people is insane and expensive as failing cities, counties and states all over the country can attest. And more than expensive is the horror that those not producing, those utterly failing and those abusing the people who pay them can't be fired.
How the heck the government go into the protection racket, I'll never know, but they've learned well from and usurped the Mafia of old and it has to end.
WE THE PEOPLE need protection from the government and it's often lazy, always arrogant, entitlement mentality.
Bruce's House of Crazy can negotiate amongst themselves.
4. Stefan @2 -- anecdotal evidence that Republicans are bad -- you choose, like I do, to live in a Democratic city. I don't think that's a coincidence.
5. Bruce @4 -- first explain why teacher-union schools are good enough for other people's children when they're not good enough for your own children, then I'll address your non-sequitur about living in a Democratic city.
6. Stefan@5, I've addressed that before on SoundPolitics -- oddly enough, in a thread (unlike this one) that was actually about that topic.
7. So, in other words, Bruce is just another hypocritical leftist. Got it.
You can find any number of studies showing public employees are enjoying higher wages and better benefits than their private sector counterparts. To think collective bargaining has nothing to do with this is simply naive. If McKenna thinks he can work miracles as a negotiator, good luck. But if/when the government comes with their hand out for more taxes from the public, they won't find much sympathy until they address that first.
The salient point in the post is that McKenna can't do anything about collective bargaining anyway without a legislative majority, so there's no point in even talking about it and giving his opponent an issue to attack him on.
9. Wait... Bruce doesn't like public schools? Really?
10. Who is this Shahram Hadian fellow and is he going to be a spoiler who pulls defeat from the mouth of victory. I know people, who after hearing him speak at the rally Friday, who are pretty darn excited about his message. Uh oh.
McKenna - its a no-brainer. He may seem like a RINO now, but he is a whole lot more conservative than Inslee. This state seems similar to Massachusetts, in that R's seldom win the big elections. Hadian is a spoiler and should be cornered about his intentions, so it would be well advised to inform the extreme right wing that it is unwise to vote for him in the General election, if he runs as a third party candidate.
By the same token, Scott Brown is a whole lot more conservative than faux-Indian Warren.
12. McKenna is a wimp who is playing prevent defense and the cute guy that worked at McDonalds when Mt. St. Helen's blew...SO WHAT!!!!????!?...PLEASE Can we have a man run...Dino Rossi Wimp...can we just say it...Schools will be funded first and jails first and courts first....and green fraud last ....highways are now overgrown and WSDOT has beautiful $100k trucks without a weed sprayer....Tolls everywhere without general road lanes...$300m spent for the Bellevue downtown rollercoast ramps!!!... rusting ferries...$2 BILLION spent on 3% of transit trips and the other $1.2b spent on 97% of car trips...Rob Please...
13. First McKenna must get elected. I don't know if McKenna will change his mind or his approach to public sector unions in this state, but I'm confident that Inslee won't. Campaign promises are soon forgotten. Vote Rob. He's the best chance we have.
Bruce, if public employee unions are of such a benefit to taxpayers, then why was FDR so opposed to them?
And regarding McKenna's public union pandering.... disgusting, but not something that really is surprising. He knows who really runs the state, and it certainly isn't the people taxpayers elect.
FurryGuy@14, I never said public employee unions are "such a benefit to taxpayers". I never said they were of any benefit to taxpayers. I think there are pros and cons to them.
But Stefan's statement that they are the biggest problem with our government is ridiculous, and his claim that "any thoughtful and honest assessment" would conclude that is even more ridiculous.
Bruce @4 - Seattle is very much a Democrat
/leftist city, but definitely NOT a democratic
city, the bastardized term meant to imply representative government. Without district representation, Seattle does not pass muster.
An easy way to de-fund the public employee unions would be to eliminate whatever stupid provision allows the automatic "dues" collection from a state workers' paycheck.
Let the union collect the payment direcly from the employee they are representing by cash, check or credit/debit just like any other business has to.
Wonder what their accounts receivable would look like in 90 days?
18. Do public sector unions serve a purpose?
... The entire purpose of unions is, ostensibly, to protect the workers from abuse, unfair treatment and outright danger from capitalist bosses. When profit is your motive, every dime spent on wages comes out of your bottom line. Ensuring worker safety, providing essential benefits and stimulating offers of other enticements are costly items on the balance sheet which need to be minimized wherever possible.
So who do the workers go to when they face such inequities? The government, of course. Government at all levels is responsible for making sure that the Big Boss doesn't abuse the workers to the point of endangering them, discriminating against them or otherwise taking advantage. But what if you work for the government? If your employer is the entity which is supposedly responsible for looking out for your welfare, what is the rationale for having a union?
If we say that even public sector workers need protection from their employer we would seem to be making a rather uncomfortable admission that the government isn't terribly good at their job of protecting workers in the first place.
BINGO! Of course Bruce will ignore inconvenient facts and common sense.
American people in a government union are bargaining against the American people for protection form the government who employs them.
Perhaps LOGIC should be a required high school course ... instead of diversity training and sex education.
19. The End Nears for a 50-Year Mistake
... When unions bargain with management in the private sector, both sides are contending for a share of the private profits that labor helps produce -- and both sides are constrained by the pressures of market discipline. Managers can't ignore the company's bottom line. Unions know that if they demand too much they may cost the company its competitive edge.
But when labor and management bargain in the public sector, they are divvying up public funds, not private profits. Government bureaucrats don't have to worry about losing business to their competitors; state agencies can't relocate to another part of the country. There is little incentive to hold down wages and benefits, since the taxpayers who will be picking up the tab have no seat at the table. On the other hand, government managers have a powerful motivation to yield to government unions: Union members vote, and their votes can be deployed to reward politicians who give them what they want -- or punish those who don't.
Note to noisy lefties ... and Bruce:
Christian apologist C.S. Lewis wrote, "We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.",
Ragnar@19, taxpayers have no seat at the table in government/union negotiations? Who elects the government? What could be a bigger seat than that?
I think you're just not happy with who those taxpayers elect. Tough.
21. Thank you for PROVING my point Bruce. I couldn't have done it any better... of course, I already did so there we are.
Collective bargaining is the #1 issue in other states, and while I'm not a fan, bloated pay etc is not the driving issue of Washington's problems.
McKenna can get what we need w/out picking optional fights with unions.
AND, Bruce, those ELECTED don't bargain, entrenched BUREAUCRATS who keep theirjobs no matter who is in office do.
I don't remember bureaucrats being on my ballot.
So, let's do an exercise to make liberal heads explode, Bruce:
YOUR government (federal, state, city, county ... whichever,) is totally completely broke, on the verge of collapse and bankruptcy. There are no more taxes to raise. You are in charge and you have only TWO choices:
Massive (>50%) welfare cuts or public sector union cuts/dissolution.
I think you're just not happy with who those taxpayers elect. Tough.
I take it from that Bruce that you were OPPOSED to the attempted recall of Scott Walker in Wisconsin? What an unexpected bit of good sense. I guess it's true what they say about broken clocks being right twice a day, huh?
How about a new voter initiative? State employee annual pension payout may not exceed 80% of the states median wage? Per recent census data that would be about 45 grand for WA state. Surely a retiree could live on that.
Ragnar, of course we don't directly elect every individual government employee. Nor, in the private sector, do we directly hire and fire any single employee through our market power as consumers. But voters and consumers ultimately have as much control as they want to assert.
I will admit to a shade of gray here even though you have expressed your disdain for shades of gray: Union rights are needed less in the public sphere than the private since there is another check on potential abuses of power by the employer, namely that we elect the employer. But that doesn't mean unions of government employees are entirely evil.
28. Nor, in the private sector, do we directly hire and fire any single employee through our market power as consumers.
That's a lovely false narrative you've got there.
No, private entity CONSUMERS do not have input into hiring and firing. But INVESTORS do, because they expect excellence in pursuing return on their investment.
Should private INVESTORS care to submit to the whims and demands of a union that's their right to do so with THEIR OWN MONEY. I'm a stockholder. Should I dislike the direction a company is taking, I sell the stock. If as an investor I hate private unions which I acknowledge have the right to exist I don't invest in companies that allow them.
I and every other taxpayer have no voice and no choice when it comes to public sector unions that bargain against us with our own money and then waste it to great excess and more disregard.
A.G. Rob McKenna is stuck in the same hole that Senator Scott Brown is. He must represent a bright-blue electorate, while possessing attributes of honesty, fiscal probity and concern for all citizens equally, which he must shield to some extent to postpone the vicious attacks, joyfully amplified by the MSM, which partisan leftists would reflexively hurl at such a naive and unpartisan candidate.
Item: remember he was kicked off the Sound Transit Board for honestly addressing the financial unfeasibility of the Democrat gravy train.
Hence his tenure at the A.G.'s office has been mostly plain-vanilla concerns like consumer protection, with only the participation in the State's lawsuit against Obamacare flagging his concern for the rule of law and signalling his deviations from blue-state lockstep.
And Bruce is never heard from again.
I may not be the most articulate debater but I never run from a good argument.... or a bad one.
A couple of headlines for Bruce the great government union defender:
Private Jobs Down 4.6M From 2008; Fed Jobs Up 11.4%. Huh. I guess that messes with the Koolaid narrative, eh Bruce? Oh wait. Bruce is MIA.
State spending up 14% Yoo hoo Bruce. Remember saying this: But Stefan's statement that they are the biggest problem with our government is ridiculous? Oh wait. Bruce is MIA.
School union wins 'right' to eat expired food - Yep, GREAT use of taxpayer resources, eh Bruce? Oh wait. Bruce is MIA.
One just has to wonder if MIA Bruce the great public union defender is perhaps PART of a government union....
Rag@30, you win. You are absolutely right. Aside from electing the government, we taxpayers have no say in who the government is. It's scandalous!
Oh, and I've never been a member of a union -- public sector or private. (Nor did I defend unions anywhere in this thread, contrary to your lies.) But now you may have the last word (and I suspect you will have many), because I'm done with this thread.
Rag@30, you win. You are absolutely right.