Tag Archives: budget deficit

Big Labor Unions. Are They a Big Help or Just a Big Business?

Bookmark and ShareBig labor unions have recently been in the forefront of political expression.
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Since last summer many unions have had their members clash with Tea Party protesters.   Some even pretended to be Tea Party protesters and made and carried inflammatory  signs  in an attempt to define participants of the Tea Party movement as racists.  On several occasions union members even physically attacked Tea Party protesters.
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Recently in New Jersey, dozens of public service unions hired busses and bodies to attend what was billed as one of the largest protests of its kind.   It was a protest aimed at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.   Not long ago, he blamed the New Jersey Education Association for creating two classes of people in the state, one that pays for rich pensions and the other that enjoys rich pensions. Then he proposed a cap increase on public employee wages and benefits at 2.5 percent annually and added to that  a measure that would replace pensions with employee contribution plans. So more than 35,000 union members from allover the region descended upon Trenton to threaten Governor Christie for his fiscal responsibility.

Not long after that, hundreds of Service Employee Internationaly Union members trespassed on the property of a bank executive’s home to protest the activities of the Bank he works for, Bank of America. The man was not home, and so the 500 or more angry union hacks simply terrorized the bank executive’s 14 year old son, who hid from the unruly mob in the bathroom.

Now the SEIU is protesting the state of Arizona because they do not like the fact that Arizona is doing what the federal government fails to do…..enforce immigration laws.

All of this got me thinking about big labor unions and their activities, tactics and even their purpose.

Where do we  begin?

Do we begin with the fact that many big labor unions have outlived their purpose and lost track of their original purpose?

Do we begin with the fact that they have become “for profit” businesses of their own that rake in lucrative salaries for big labor’s leaders and managers at the sake of their members? Do we even begin to address the fact that the liberal-Democrat federal regime is taking taxpayer money and the dividends of shareholders of auto companies and giving them, not to employees, but to unions?.

Labor unions were borne out of a true need for better wages and working conditions in the early 1900’s.

At the time, there was no Department of Labor, there was no minimum wage, there were hardly any federal safety codes, no OSHA, no inspectors, and essentially nothing that prevented a business owner from taking advantage of hard working people whose livelihoods were at the mercy of the business owner and managers.

Unions provided that, and ultimately led to the creation of federal laws that have in many ways made unions, less necessary. And so unions deserve a certain amount of credit for making life better for working Americans and overall, for improving the quality of life in America in general.

So while before the rise of unions in the 1900’s a working class American had no protections, now they have many. They exist in the form of federal and state laws.

The redundancy of these protections has essentially turned contemporary big labor unions into boondoggles for union leadership and management that make them rich off of the sweat of their working class membership. And while unions force the working class American to pay costly dues, the leaders of public unions also hold entire states hostage as they threaten to strike and stop the productivity of their workers in order to take more money from their customers….the citizens of those states.

Unions have destroyed a state like of New Jersey.

Between pensions, exorbitantly high minimum annual pay raises and state contracts that are hammered out through extortion and patronage, taxes can’t be raised fast enough to account for the unduly high costs incurred to state government by its public workers unions. In New Jersey, the biggest culprits are the teacher’s New Jersey Education Association union and the Communications Workers Association union. Governor Chris Christie has made it clear that these once well intentioned unions have become enemies of the state. So what do they do in turn? The teachers union, which cries poverty, has spent millions of dollars to put ads on the air against Governor Christie. For a bunch of people who are in such need of money, they sure know how to spend it, and it isn’t on “the children”.

And in the mean time, who is on board and in bed with this contemporary union Ponzi scheme……well in New Jersey, former Governor, liberal-Democrat Jon Corzine, was the boyfriend of now former Communications Workers Association President Carla Katz. And up until his recent resignation as head honcho of the Service Employees International Union, White House records show that Andy Stern, former president of the SEIU, was THE MOST FREQUENT VISITOR to the White House…..the most frequent visitor.
You see how much access to power you get when you donate $70 million in campaign contributions to Democrats, as did the SEIU?

Of course it is Andy Stern being wined and dined in the White House and bedded in the Lincoln Bedroom, not the hard working union members who have a portion of their salary garnished by the union that they are often forced to join in order to get the job that they want.

When you think about it, the marriage between big labor and liberal-Democrats is more than just a marriage of convenience. It is a perfect pairing of harmonious synchronicity where one hand washes the other so thoroughly, that you can hardly make out the fingerprints that they leave at the scene of their economic crimes.

One does not even begin to realize how much the liberal laws-to-union demand ratio, raises the price of everything and overall cost of life in America. And many refuse to see the basic problem that unions are presenting to entire economies.

While we see that private sector wages and benefits have stalled during the current economic climate, many state and local governments are continuously forced to increase the compensation packages and salaries of public workers.

In 2008, while state and local workers received combined salaries and benefit packages of $1.1 trillion. That amounted to exactly one half of the total spending by state and local governments. In 2009, those compensation packages amounted to more than half of the total spending by state and local governments. And in the coming years these costs are expected to continue to rapidly rise because of increasingly lucrative compensation and benefit packages. Not to mention health care costs too. Can you say “increased deficit”?

The bottom line is that unions have made themselves too expensive to do business with and states cannot afford their ponzi schemes. The financial costs of union demands are rapidly outpacing the revenue of the states that they hold hostage. And at the same time, the added costs of union demands which is built into the cost of everything from items purchased and services provided, often prices those goods and services out of the reach of the consumer. And ironically, it even puts many of those goods and services out of the reach of the consumer who is also a union member that is paying union dues to wealthy American labor leaders.

Now you can argue that while Democrats are in the pocket of big labor, Republicans are in the pocket of big business. But your argument would be weak. Democrats are on par with Republicans when it comes to donations from big business. Just look at BP and their contributions to President Obama. But when it comes to “big labor unions” few of them are donating $70 million to Republicans as the SEUI did to Democrats.

Furthermore; while the laws that regulate business in the areas of working conditions, minimum wages, time off, insurance, paid leave etc., are practically infinitesimal, the number of laws that regulate big unions pale in comparison. In fact if anything, there are far more laws that give big union all the advantages. No business can demand that you pay them back $45.00 a week to keep your job. Yet the laws are written so that in order to get certain jobs, you must pay a union to represent you whether you want them to or not.

Not all unions are abusive and there does still remain a need for organized representation of workers interests among management, but such a collective representation does not require it to become a business of its own that provides perks and pay to people who call a dinner meeting work. This does not mean that a public sector union such as a transportation union, should be able to shut down the entire infrastructure and economy of entire cities. It just means that unions that are sincere about their mission, need to scale back their political agenda and focus on the real needs of their members without screwing over the taxpayers and consumers who pay their salaries.

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YOU CAN TURN RIGHT ON RED BUT DON’T TURN LEFT TO GET ELECTED

antjohnashbrook1972boxWith the holidays upon us, family, friends, faith and other personal aspects in life come to the forefront, as they should. Although the world does not stop rotating, priorities do shift, at least for a few brief hours. Among one of the first fields of endeavor to experience a temporary cessation in hostilities is politics.

Considering the amount of headlines pointing out the treachery and lack of sincerity often associated with politics, a stop, even a brief stop, in the business of politics is warranted during this more spiritually sincere time of the year.

With the winding down of its activity, one becomes very reflective about politics. It makes you stop and think……what is it all for?

Is all the posturing, deal cutting, eloquent speeches and snappy catch phrases done for the betterment of the people? Or is it done for the personal advantage of the deal cutters, eloquent speakers and snappy phrase makers? Is it all done to achieve personal power or acclaim? Is all the demonstrated frustration and anger involved in the process caused because of the failure to pass a particular piece of legislation that benefit’s the people or is it arrived at more because of personal failure to be credited with passing a piece of legislation?

Politics, can be a wonderful arena of ideas for maintaining a prosperous and civilized civilization or it can be a cesspool of humanities worst motivations.

It is that way because politics is comprised of politicians and politicians are only human. Some are good while others are just inappropriate or downright bad. So it is only natural that as human beings, their policies are also a mix of good and bad.

Being human, politicians bring to the table all the human frailties that we as humans possess.antnoleftturnshtma2

The hope is that the best ideas and directions win the day due to there being a preponderance of humanities best people involved in the process. Unfortunately, I am afraid that many of today’s elected officials in the game are not humanities best, most sincere and altruistic people. I believe many of them simply want the power and perceived admiration of the masses. Many are in it simply for themselves. Take Illinois’ Governor Rod Blagojevich for instance.

So this leads us to wonder how we tell the difference between someone who wants to win for the sake of winning or to make a true change for the betterment of al the people.

The coming year will give New Jerseyans the chance to answer that question.

As the state gears up for a gubernatorial election, Republicans have to choose a nominee to run against liberal Jon Corzine.

Popular thinking would lead one to believe that, given the polls in New Jersey, a liberal approach would be the more expedient path to victory for Republicans in Jersey.

If  any Republican running for governor takes that approach, than I will know one thing about them.  I will know that they are not sincere.

The Republican who runs to the left in this election is the Republican who wants power for their own benefit and to win for the sake of winning, not for the sake of improving the lives of others.

The Republican who tries to avoid offending illegal immigrants by not demanding a strict enforcement of laws regarding their illegal presence and who avoids taking control away from unions like the National Education Association and giving more power to parents is the candidate afraid of standing up to the influence that those who impede progress may wield in the election.

Any candidate who allows the fear of losing an election to take precedence over doing what is right, is not running for governor for the right reasons. They would be demonstrating that they are running for themselves, not for the people.

The Republican nominee for Governor must be willing to stand up to the power brokers who have held the state hostage through secretive union negotiations and outrageous pension plans.

The Republican nominee for Governor must be willing to address the fact that municipalities in New Jersey must begin to consolidate. Our nominee needs to demonstrate that fewer governments throughout the state means less burden on the taxpayer and less of an affordability problem for residents.

Of course no local municipal king wants to give up their kingdom, but the people must hear about the advantages of reducing the costly proliferation of governments. They must be made aware of the fact that government has become the problem and that fewer governments in the state will lead to less of those things we don’t need. Like less government corruption, fewer operating costs, fewer bureaucrats and bureaucratic entanglements .

We need a nominee who will challenge that which hinders progress, not a candidate who goes along to get along.

Some might say that that is no way to win an election. They would argue that by offending the hands that organize volunteers and pours the mothers milk of any political campaign, money, into an election, is a road map to defeat.

Conservative Ohio Congressman Joh Ashbrook

Conservative Ohio Congressman Joh Ashbrook

If that is true, than I suggest we go down in defeat.

I would rather see Republicans lose by standing up for what we believe in than win by offering the same policies that liberals have provided us with.

I believe, like former Congressman John Ashbrook, who when asked why he often stood against the popular tide, explained that by representing what he believes to be right, the only thing he could lose was his seat in Congress.

For Congressman Ashbrook ideals meant more than power or winning an election.

His strong, uncompromising defense of conservative ideals did not always make him a popular figure.

Elected to Congress from Ohio in 1960, he came to Washington just as liberalism and big government was about to sweep out from Washington and through the rest of the nation. Yet he consistently stood against the tide of the time and articulated a hard line against communism, big government, social engineering and discrimination.

By 1970 a poll considered Ashbrook one of the 5 most influential conservative leaders in the nation.

In Congress he consistently added amendments to legislation important to liberals and successfully blocked their most detrimental effects.

In 1972 Congressman Ashbrook found himself fed up with the leadership of his own party.

Richard Nixon was President and despite his campaigning as a conservative, Ashbrook saw Nixon governing more to the left than the right. So in typical fashion, John Ashbrook opposed accepted popular thinking of the time. He ran against Richard Nixon for the Republican Presidential nomination.

Many Republicans were outraged that he would dare challenge “our” sitting Republican President but Asbrook wanted Republicans to be true to our principles and he believed that along with neglecting to fulfill campaign promises, Nixon was weakening our already lagging military.

As we know, Nixon was re-nominated but John Ashbrook was content with his poor showing in the primaries. Of it he said “I spread my message. So I guess you don’t have to be on the winning side to be victorious.”

From then on, not only did John Ashbrook continue to win the favor of the voters in his congressional district, he also continued to be the voice of the conservative cause.

By 1980 many in America realized that mediocrity was not what we needed in our leaders and along with John Ashbrook, people turned to Ronald Reagan for leadership.

For almost two decades John Ashbrook swam against the tide. He never gave up or took the path of political expediency. Ashbrook stayed in the game for the long haul and helped to turn the conservative movement into a mainstream movement without compromising conservative principles.

In 1981 the Congressman decided to take his conservative leadership to the United States Senate. He began to campaign against then popular incumbent Ohio Senator Howard Metzenbaum. For Ashbrook the race was to be an historic battle pitting conservatism against liberalism. Unfortunately the hoped for clash of ideas never came to be. Congressman Ashbrook died in April of 1982.

With his passing, we lost a man less concerned with himself and motivated more by doing what was right than what was popular. We lost the type of leader that Republicans need today. Leaders who campaign on the issues that differentiate us from the liberal agendas of Democrats.

Yet despite the loss of Congressman Ashbrook’s physical presence, we are still blessed by his spirit of unwavering commitment and the lessons he taught us.

Bumper Sticker From Ashbrook's 1972 Presidential Campaign

Bumper Sticker From Ashbrook's 1972 Presidential Campaign

He taught us that no one and no political party should establish or compromise their beliefs based on popular perceptions of the time

Ashbrook’s leadership proved that when one is right, others will eventually come to that realization. But if one fears to give the right answer because everyone else is thinking differently and offering the wrong answer, than no one will ever know what the right answer is.

Unfortunately, Republicans have been unwillingly to be honest about the answers we need to hear. Instead they run campaigns that duplicate the answers being offered by liberals and it obviously isn’t working.

Republicans are losing and rightfully so. Many candidates are not embracing the conservative principles that have led to our past successes. They have been more concerned with personal success at the voting booth than they have been with making life better for the voters.

During this holiday, when the spirit of giving and goodwill dominates the season’s atmosphere, I can only hope that Republicans in New Jersey can find a candidate who is willing to carry that sense of sincere goodwill and giving into the political atmosphere. I hope we can nominate a person who is willing to provide us with solutions to our problems rather than rhetoric that they think will deliver them a shallow victory at the polls.

John Asbrook campaigned for President on the slogan “no left turns”. At the time,  Americans were comfortable with the status quo. A few short years later, Americans were running away from the status quo that they once wanted. Instead they turned to the conservative principles that brought us out of the problems that the left and left leaning decisions created.

With the perceived popularity of President-elect Barack Obama some in New Jersey may feel that campaigning to the left is the politically expedient way to win an election but is political expediency good public policy?

In the words of Congressman Ashbrook the difference between the conservative and the liberal is that the conservative worries about the future while the liberal worries about the next election.

That being said, I want a Republican nominee for Governor of New Jersey who worries about tomorrow, not the next election. I want a nominee who is more concerned with doing what is right for the people not what the left wants to hear.

If Republicans want to achieve a victory in November that means something, they need to make sure that they take “no left turns.”.

punchline-politics21

Coast Guard Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas and all through each state,
Coast Guard families were starting to celebrate.
Just then from the white House came an urgent call,
A crisis had arisen that would affect one and all.

In fact the U.S. State Department was frantic,
For Santa Claus had just landed in the Atlantic!
It Was foggy as ever; Rudolph had made a blunder.
Santa, sleigh, and eight reindeer were going under.

Though the stockings were hung by the chimneys with care.
Poor Santa gurgled, “I’ll never get there.”
When what to his wondering eye should appear;
But some coast guard cutters with their rescue gear!

The officers and crew were so lively and quick;
Sure was a lucky break for good ole Saint Nick.
With a nod from the captain. they went right to work.
Rudolph was embarrassed, he felt like a jerk.

Poor Santa was soggy, but as anyone could see,
He was very grateful to the U.S.C.G!
And we heard him exclaim as they towed him from sight,
“If it weren’t for age and weight, I’d enlist Tonight!”

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Ask Not What Your Country Can Spend For You. Ask What You Can Spend For Your Country

PhotobucketI am no economist but in reviewing the assessments and suggestions of major economists there seems to be some very valid suggestions, at least from what a layman like me can understand.

Despite my lack of economic expertise, I do know the basic fundamentals of the economy and I believe my understanding of those fundamentals is what can sometimes create some confusion when reviewing the advice of so called financial experts and leading economic government officials.

All the suggestions offered by them are based on spending.

Spending is what grows our economy. The more we consume and spend, the more that is produced. The more that is produced increases the need to employ more people to meet those production needs. By employing more people we are empowering others to spend more and from there the cycle continues in an ever growing circumference of increased wealth.

Sounds pretty simple. Yet other factors help to complicate things and break the seemingly simple and free flow of this cycle. Things such as unexpected shortages of materials, import and export troubles, natural disasters which influence the chain of events, and many more all factor in the process.

While understanding this, what is responsible for the current economic crisis?

Has there been some sort of natural disaster that has depleted a particular basic and essential resource that our economic cycle relies on? Has there been a total collapse of certain industries which have thrown the cycle off with an inordinate amount of unemployment and consumption which further deteriorate the supply and demand cycle?

To a certain, small extent, events like that have taken place but not in some kind of all consuming way. There have been droughts effecting crops and downturns in some markets that have produced layoffs. But none have been to the extent which has, for example, made wheat crops extinct or stopped cars from being made.

So what’s the problem?

Well in my unprofessional, economic, opinion, the problem is rooted in something that government financial experts are not discussing. In fact, in my opinion, most solutions being initiated by government officials, past, present and future, are the problem. They are trying to put icing on a cake before they baked it. They all promote spending.

In tune with the laws of supply and demand, spending is good. However; the focus on spending has been accentuated and promoted so much and for so long that it has brought about a couple of misguided generations that have taken that advice too far.

As a society we have become accustomed to spending more than we have, and responsibly. should.

The predatory promotional practices that financial markets undertake ,in an attempt to make more money of their own, is a big part of the current economic crisis. It is a crisis brought about by the chickens coming home to roost and the bill coming forward to be paid.

We have taken the advice of Republican and Democrat leaders and we have spent. The government has even taken their own advice and spends. The government has spent money in order to give us money to spend with. They call it an economic stimulus. The problem though is that

  1. The government doesn’t really have enough money to do that. They have their own, our own, deficit, and…….
  2. The money they gave us back in this so called stimulus package was ours, so maybe they should have taken less from us in the first place.

Those two points alone raise doubts about the soundness of the “spending solution” given to all of our problems. Yet, those in charge still offer it as the most sound solution to our problems. They even go a step further and ask people to not save any of the monies given out in stimulus packages.

Although I do not have a problem with spending,………. all you have to do is tag along with me at clothing or shoe store to realize that,….. I do have problem with spending money that we don’t have. And there in lies the problem.

The promoting of spending practices has created generations of spenders. These spenders don’t even use real money. They use plastic. We all use plastic. In some instances you can’t even pay for a good or service without credit.

This has led to our getting accustomed with living on borrowed money,……. plastic,……..fake money.

For decades now, the government has encouraged this practice. Government policies have encouraged borrowers and lenders to enter into deals that neither can really afford. The greatest example of this was the Homeownership Initiative that was created under the Clinton administration. It forced lenders to make a significant number of loans available to unqualified borrowers, borrowers who could not pay these loans back. The practice was so popular that it helped to create the banking crisis that ushered in the current crisis.

The promoted “spending” solutions that have dominated our problem solving efforts with the economy are, in and of themself, part of the problem.

Americans need to get back to an economy that is based on sound fiscal policies. That statement brings into play many suggested economic theories and actions but when I write “sound fiscal policies” I am not making reference to some deep epistemology of mankind or the ontology of finances. Nor am I debating the importance of the Keynesian school of thought. I am simply saying that society…..our citizens, needs to begin living within its means.

If one is not sure if they have enough money to put food on their plate, they should not be buying cell phones and using it to send out text messages asking if they can borrow money for dinner. I mean I am sure AT&T or T-Mobile appreciate the fee that your purchase and contracts will cost you but you will they be pleased with the bill collector that they have to employ to get their money.

My point is, we have gotten away from living within our means. We have become accustomed with living life on borrowed money. This practice has brought us to where we are today. And truth be told, there is no end in site.

I believe that we are about to enter a very tough transitional time that will last for many years. It is a time that will have us getting familiar with living within our means.

Doing so will mean less spending. Less spending will lead to less employment, and so on and so on. But this does not mean that the sky will fall and the economy will ultimately implode. It means that we will endure a difficult adjustment period but once we have become reacquainted with real money, sound personal financial habits and living within our means, the economy will eventually stabilize and growth will again be seen.

I am not alone in this thinking. Former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson has recently made a video addressing this same issue. In it, he takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to our current “spending solutions”.

Take a moment to view it. You’ll get a kick out of it. It left me wondering where the Fred Thompson, that we see in this video, was when he ran for the G.O.P.’s presidential nomination?

 

punchline-politics21

Post Election Toast

The Election Is Over, The Results Are Known.

The Will of the People Has Been Clearly Shown.

So Let All Get Together And Let Bitterness Pass

I’ll Hug Your Elephant, And You Kiss My Ass.

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