Posted by: Rational Voice | February 28, 2011

Wisconsin and Unions

While the issue of Wisconsin has now permeated the entire nation, we have yet to comment on it. Why, I’m not sure. I think we maybe want to see how things developed instead of just commenting on the initial aspects of it. Now it is a fully developed issue and I feel it’s now necessary to comment on it. That I finally have time for what I’m assuming will be a lengthy post. I’ll say this up front as well, I’ve read plenty on this subject from all sorts of sources but I probably won’t be linking to many of them, so if you take issue with anything, let me know and I’ll clarify and send out some things I’ve read. Before I get into the meat of this though, I want to make it clear I am not attacking teachers or public employees (well, I will always attack the worthless ones but many are great people and hard workers) but rather the unions leaders and politicians who have promised them more than these governments are able to afford. I realize I’m painting with a wide brush here but to narrow it down would mean in me writing a book to make my point, not a long blog entry.

Note: This isn’t my best work. It feels somewhat disjointed but I just wanted to finally get something out there on the subject. I had good posts written in my head the last couple weeks but just never got them out, leaving me with a lot to get out in one large one. Maybe this will be a lesson to me…

First off, with all of this, my question is why shouldn’t these teachers and public employees have to pay into their benefits? Why are public employees so special that they should be exempt from paying for what every other American has to pay for their benefits? Hell, they’re protesting having to pay HALF of what the average private sector employee has to pay while they making significantly more than the average private sector employee does. From sources I’ve heard and read, the average private sector employee in Wisconsin makes about $60,000 a year between pay and benefits while the average public sector employee is making $87,000.  Oh and with the teachers, they get all sorts of holidays off and summers off while still making more than the people that pay them. Those poor teachers are really getting screwed huh?

The next point is something I’ve made before when discussing unions. They don’t care about jobs. They’d rather fight and fight and fight to get their way instead of cutting a deal to make jobs. If the Wisconsin legislature can’t get their bill passed to help them solve their fiscal issues, as many as 5,500 teachers and another 5,000 to 7,000 public employees will lose their jobs.  Gov. Scott Walker is working to save these jobs while the public employee union members are walking of the job and protesting him. What irony! Liberals always speak of themselves as the compassionate ones, the people who care about people but this whole scenario exposes their lie. If this were anything close to true, they’d be the first ones to embrace Gov. Walker’s plans to make the state solvent so they could keep all these public employees employed. With all the terrible treatment Gov. Walker has endured (during this time where we need to be more civil no less), I wouldn’t blame him for just throwing in the towel and letting these whiners lose their jobs. Maybe letting them get slapped upside the head by reality would help them finally see the light that the state simply doesn’t have the money to keep paying them such lavish salaries and benefits (comparatively).

Wisconsin also highlights how liberal are constantly working to control the language of the argument. President Obama says that we shouldn’t “vilify” public sector workers as we work towards solving our fiscal issues. Who is vilifying them? Nobody is attacking the workers. They are attacking the unions themselves and their bosses which have created problems along with the Democratic politicians they have been far too cozy with. But that’s what liberals do. They make a charge like this with nothing to back it up and leave it for us to rebut it, instead of proving it themselves. They always do everything they can to put conservatives on the defensive when we should be the ones leading the charge because we don’t deal with words. We deal with facts, figures, and outcomes to prove out points, not unsubstantiated charges. They are doing the same thing with the issue of a government shutdown that I wrote about last night or the unfortunate shootings in Tuscon last month.

Since all of this started, one question popped into my mind: why do all these people (teachers, government workers, etc) think they deserve to be put on a pedestal and worshiped? Many of them work hard and ensure our government agencies run well and make sure our nation’s children are educated, but many of them also take these jobs because they offer a good living for minimal work. I’ve seen these people and have worked with these people and I detest them. Many of them also get absorbed into the culture where they feel like they’re shielded for responsibility by having a government job, and in many cases they are shielded. While the failures of our educational system have many causes, some of which can be attributed to parents who don’t care or are just irresponsible, some of it comes back to under-performing teachers. In the private sector, if you fail at your job, you’re fired. In the public sector, if you fail or suck at your job, you’re sheltered from being fired and will undoubtedly get promotions and pay raises.

I got away from my initial point in the last paragraph and want to bring it back. Why should these people be honored and not the people who actually contribute to our nation’s economic growth, not subsist off of it? Why should we honor all these “public servants” but not seem to care about the miners who extract the natural resources we use every day? Why do we not seem to care about the truck driver that brings goods cross-country, spending days on the road away from his or her family? Why do we not seem to care about the people that work in dangerous professions who help make our life comfortable? Why do we not seem to care about the people the drill for and refine our oil so we can drive to work or take vacations? Why do we not seem to care about the farmers that produce our food? And why do we not see to care about the business executives who have made the decisions which made their businesses successful so they could provide jobs and goods to not only America, but to the entire world? What about all of them? If anyone really deserves to be up on that pedestal, it’s the people who make this country run.

Yes, yes I know some of you may want to turn this around and say that much of what we’ve done as a nation couldn’t have been done without teachers. To an extent, there is truth to that. At the same time though, much of all our success has been the result of people working and takings risks, using untried methods to try to make things work, or learning from the business experience of others, not from the classroom. The classroom can only teach people so much and the more and more I read about education these days, I truly question what is actually being learned in the classroom. And for those of you that say, if it wasn’t for government, we couldn’t have all the stuff I listed above and that is completely false. Government stayed out of most everything until the 1930s and look at the rapid growth we had in both the economy and technology, all without government aid. Even today, look at cell phones and computers. Government doesn’t meddle in that business and look at how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time. But again I digress from Wisconsin.

While I initially intended to talk about a number of other things, I just want to make one last point. I was listening to some liberal today talk about how the unions are the only ones standing up for the workers. Oh really? Like I said before, who are the ones fighting and refusing to compromise, putting jobs at risk? And since union workers only make up about 10% of the working population, I have to wonder who is standing up for the other 90%, especially since unions go out of their way to make sure their workers get the sweetheart deals at the expense of other workers. And in terms of public sector unions, those workers are fleecing the private sector workers, forcing them to pay more and more of their hard-earned money in taxes just to pay for their outrageous pay and benefits. Who is looking out for those workers? The public sector unions sure as hell aren’t but at least Gov. Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans are.

In all, its hard for me to feel a shred of sympathy for these protesters in Wisconsin. While they’re whining about having to pay a little bit towards their own healthcare and retirement, the people who are paying them are losing their jobs, having their hours cut, having their benefits reduced, or a combination thereof. They are having a hard time just making ends meet in this current economy and having an even harder time putting any money away for their own retirement but yet they’re expected to keep paying huge amounts towards someone else’s? That is beyond wrong and something needs to change. Wisconsin is beacon to the nation of that change.

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