Primary discussion forum. Also, feel free this use as a hangout for fans of the funny non-story based comics.
Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:24 pm
So my last political thread wasn't well-received. That's all right, I can try again. This time, the topic of discussion will be the public-sector unions, with some nice, easygoing satire by Andrew Klavan.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su4PwZCWUdg
I do want to try and hold up a respectful atmosphere. We can disagree, and I realize that we will, but there's nothing wrong with being a partisan society, or even with getting overly enthusiastic, as long as you're willing to listen to what the other person has to say.
So, as for the video, what do you think?
Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:07 pm
Fri Feb 24, 2012 12:53 am
Man, you have a real talent for finding really one-sided videos.
It's like I'm watching Michael Moore but on the opposite side of the political spectrum.
Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:32 am
Hey, someone needs to balance that fat fuck's scale.
Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:42 am
Glahardt wrote:Conveniently leaving out the fact that Walker tried to remove collective bargaining rights completely.
Please excuse me for saying so, but as funny as Jon Stewart is, he is not a very trustworthy source of information. For how moderate he claims to be, he's very firmly slanted to the Left and seems to shut out most if not all Right-wing ideas, and dismiss them as stupid. I've seen this a lot, and I know he picks fun at Democrats too, but he's not as critical of actual *policy* as he is with things that he can make jokes out of.
Now, this page
on the other hand is an actual news article (from AOLNews.com). Would you like to use this one as a reference instead or would you rather to pick one yourself that we can both agree on?
Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:46 am
You know what the general public calls an intelligent political analyzer who gives fair consideration to both sides of the argument?
Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:52 am
Exactly. Jon Stewart is an entertainer, not a commentator.
EDIT: By the way, I just realized that the next comment from someone is going to be that I posted a satire video, but rejected the Jon Stewart clip, and you're right. The video was meant to incite discussion. From that point on, we can discuss the issue at hand. It's a very good way to start a discussion, as long as neither party starts lobbing insults at one another, don't you think?
Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:06 am
RuffDraft wrote:Hey, someone needs to balance that fat fuck's scale.
How does that make it right, or convert anyone?
I could find videos that perfectly support my ideology, whatever it is, and it'd be like crack to me. But people don't like having crack pushed on them. If Mr. Klavan actually thinks this will make converts out of anyone, he's gone off the deep end, because only people already enthralled with his position will be able to ignore the disrespect he dishes out.
Unions are both good and bad. To try to make them out exclusively as being on either end is absurd and that's when you know you've smoked the crack pipe.
Unions raise wages in an industry as a whole, even if they benefit the most, because other nonunionized companies are forced to compete and to cut into profit margins to give their laborers a better standard of living. And this then benefits other businesses as all workers have more to spend now.
Unions will also similarly protect outdated jobs for the benefit of a few at the expense of society. For instance, protecting a few thousand jobs sounds good, but if that means the prices in an industry are more raised, then that affects everyone else and actually saps the economy as a whole. And this is often why it's hard to combat them: it's easy to see the effect of a thousand jobs being lost, versus a sprinkling of 2000 jobs created over a wide variety of industries due to more free cash on the part of consumers.
Of course, as it specifies, this is public sector unions, and as such what I said doesn't apply nearly as much. Just because they don't compete doesn't mean they don't face the same problems others do. Walker passed tax cuts and then wanted strip public unions of some of their benefits? That's the absurdity that got many up in arms. It might as well be analogous to how many corporations shed their workforce for a short-term boost in the stock price. If he was earnest about it, and not merely ideological, he would've had tax raises to cover an alleged deficit that wasn't added to by his tax cuts, and then such a proposition would have been palatable to me. Austerity has been terrible for Europe. I'm thankful America has avoided most austerity measures.
I mean really, to argue such a thing in general is ludicrous anyways. In some cases, it is good to have public sector unions. In others, not so much - pensions are crushing my home state of California right now for instance. Pretty much everything is contextual which is why I loathe political or economic ideology, as a practical ideology (that's also descriptive) is an oxymoron.
Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:33 am
Wouldn't the biggest problem with public sector unions be that the firing process is too bloated or unreasonable? I'll pick on the teacher's union since I regard that as the most detrimental public union but iirc an incompetent tenured teacher can only be fired after half a dozen steps are taken. http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/arti ... ps-teacher
Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:40 am
If what you wrote in the previous thread is true:
RuffDraft wrote:I've just been under a lot of stress recently. It's nothing that you guys would be interested in hearing about, though.
Then it might not be the best idea to keep making these threads, since political discussions by their nature always have people questioning each other's worldviews and political stances.
I'm not going to post about labour unions in the USA, because I don't live there and I don't want to spout uninformed opinions.
All I know is, that while linking satirical videos might "incite discussion", it also gives the impression of you patronizing and mocking the other side. Plus satire while fun and all, has the tendency of using the strawman tactic, in other words commenting on hyperbolized impressions of opinions, rather than citing actual opinions.
Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:21 am
RuffDraft wrote:Please excuse me for saying so, but as funny as Jon Stewart is, he is not a very trustworthy source of information.
Within the video clip.
There contains a clip of an interview.
From another channel.
In which Walker admits that he wants to remove the collective bargaining rights.
So... watch again?
Though I will admit that I haven't looked into looking for a better video.
Also, balance the scale? You serious?
Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:18 am
Damn those public school teachers and their jewel encrusted monocles.
Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:38 am
Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:28 pm
"...or in England, where it's the other way around." That line made me laugh so hard.
Anyway, back to the discussion.
@Glahardt: I watched the clip with Jon Stewart before. He cuts off the clip of Walker before he explains his position on those collective bargaining rights. What I'm trying to say here is that perhaps you should not rely exclusively on Stewart for your news. There are people that do that, and if you listen to them talk, you just want to strangle them with their own Che Guevara T-shirt.
The collective bargaining rights are what allow public sector workers to be paid substantially more ([source
]) and/or receive better benefits than their private-sector counterparts. This increases the cost to the taxpayer significantly, and adds to an already unbalanced budget. And as was mentioned in that AOLNews article, firefighters and police are not affected by the plan that Walker put into law. The law only restricts Unions from bargaining for wages above the rate of inflation. How else do you think they managed to get so much in the way of pay and benefits when the average non-union worker doesn't get nearly as much?
The plan Walker put into place was fine, and for Minority Leader Mark Miller to say that it overturned "50 years of civil rights" is like saying that a job is a right, and you're guaranteed a certain wage as long as you demand it. Democrats love pandering to the Unions because they know that if they make people feel like they're looking out for them more than Republicans they'll get the votes. But the policies they employ have crippled the country financially. How else do you think they got a $3.6 billion deficit? Certainly not by electing fiscal conservatives.
@Sentios: Great link regarding teachers' unions. I agree wholeheartedly.
Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:57 pm
Did you read the undercompensated part, Ruff? Have they factored in that many people don't want to work in public sector jobs as a reason to draw in workers with better benefits?
Scott Walkers game wasn't about financial conservatism it was about hurting a group that supported his opponent, it was funny that he could complain about how the teachers' union and the education system was bleeding the state after he passed 2.3 billion in tax cuts. Walker is just in it for his own power trip, 4 of his former aides have been charged with campaign violations, the Koch brothers have pretty much admitted to trying to buy Walker's way into power, that sounds like a role model of a politician. And it's funny how for all of this he still has a budget shortfall and the tax cuts the state is actually in the red for employment gains.
Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:23 pm
Whatever reason is, it's irrelevant. Taking away the collective bargaining rights is overdoing it. What else are they going to do when the cuts go above the limit? What's preventing the state government from utterly messing up the public sector? They've already agreed to taking cuts to their pay so why do it?
Last edited by Glahardt
on Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:26 pm
Because Walker's a corrupt piece of shit and hopefully they kick his ass out of office and to the curb?
Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:14 pm
The reason California is in the shitter is because of direct democracy.
The unions are only a very small part of the problem.
Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:20 pm
That's also true. We strangled off our state's ability to generate income.
Basically we enacted a more extreme version of "tax less, spend more" than what was going on nationwide because politicians didn't have as much power to stop the stupidity.
Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:07 am
Whatis6times9 wrote:Did you read the undercompensated part, Ruff? Have they factored in that many people don't want to work in public sector jobs as a reason to draw in workers with better benefits?
Did you read the stuff after that? It says that there's a lot of stuff not taken into account in the study. It tries to suggest that most people in public sector jobs are basically overqualified for the jobs, and therefore when you "control" for education level (I'm not even sure how that exactly works--are they dividing them into categories or removing them from the picture?) private sector workers earn more. Doesn't this ignore the fact that the average public sector worker is paid substantially more and has almost iron-clad job security?
Whatis6times9 wrote:Scott Walkers game wasn't about financial conservatism it was about hurting a group that supported his opponent,
That amounts to a little over 40% of the state. I don't think public sector workers account for 40% of the state. But even if they did, how exactly did this plan punish his opponent's supporters? Forcing them to take a small pay cut? I thought they were government-employed workers and that their wage was influenced by how much the state can realistically pay them. Would you have preferred he raise everyone's taxes to cover that $3.6 billion deficit?
Whatis6times9 wrote:it was funny that he could complain about how the teachers' union and the education system was bleeding the state after he passed 2.3 billion in tax cuts.
First of all, the figure I read was $1 million in tax cuts; if you have something different, I'd like to see it. Second, the idea behind cutting taxes is that companies will have more capabilities to invest their money back into the company and could expand their production by hiring more people or building another factory. If that happens, revenues from taxes increase. Third, yes, teacher's unions are
a problem; they seem to think that paying a teacher more and guaranteeing that they have a job helps children learn more. Studies have shown there is no correlation between education spending and test scores.
Whatis6times9 wrote:Walker is just in it for his own power trip, 4 of his former aides have been charged with campaign violations, the Koch brothers have pretty much admitted to trying to buy Walker's way into power, that sounds like a role model of a politician.
Okay so four of Walker's aides have been charged with, what specifically? Improperly reporting how much money they got and from where? And the Koch brothers admitted to donating $43,000 to his campaign. Are you saying it's wrong, morally? What are you suggesting this says about Walker's character?
Whatis6times9 wrote:And it's funny how for all of this he still has a budget shortfall and the tax cuts the state is actually in the red for employment gains.
What would you suggest he do to cut $3.6 billion from the deficit? How can you expect him to cut spending without making tough, fiscally responsible decisions?
Sat Feb 25, 2012 12:26 am
Glahardt wrote:Whatever reason is, it's irrelevant. Taking away the collective bargaining rights is overdoing it. What else are they going to do when the cuts go above the limit? What's preventing the state government from utterly messing up the public sector? They've already agreed to taking cuts to their pay so why do it?
The government IS the public sector. That's all "public sector" means. They are all government workers.
You can't give people unchecked ability to demand higher pay. That screws up the economy by artificially manipulating the wage market. If the private market says that a competitive rate for a job is $20 per hour and a government worker is working that same job for $25 per hour plus better benefits, now everyone doing the job at $20/hour feels like they're not being paid enough, even if that's a good wage. Then, the private employer feels pressure from his workers to increase his worker's pay, and if he feels he can pay them that much, great; if not, he tells them he can't pay them that much and runs the risk of a strike. That makes the employer the bad guy even if he hasn't done anything wrong.
Furthermore, when an employer pays their workers more, that means everything those workers produce costs the public more money to purchase. What that should tell you is that higher union wages means they don't get any richer, and everyone else gets poorer. It's a little more complex, I realize, but that's the basic picture.
Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:16 am
If an employee is earning less over a lifetime than his private sector counterpart with a comparable level of education and experience you're going to expect them to trade it off for something else. Maybe if the states and counties hadn't used pension and medical surpluses, there wouldn't be the shortfalls that there are now. And again it doesn't help that with a more teachers needed than there actually are and the fact that most other public sector jobs being miserable, that it costs more for labor. The reason it is so much harder to fire teachers is there are more variables in deciding how successful they are, especially in city schools.
I would have preferred if he found other ways of funding the state than gutting over a billion dollars out of the states education system. And the revenge on the teachers union wasn't the cuts, it was removing their collective bargaining rights. He didn't go after police and fire fighters bargaining rights, because they're heroes and that would have been bad for his reputation. Remember when shit goes wrong in this country the first thing to take a hit is the education system because no one worries about the education system unless their kids are in it.
The Koch Brothers also donated hundreds of thousands more to PACs that weren't affiliated to him (in the same way stink isn't affiliated with shit), they've also pledged to do the same for his recall election. His aides have all been charged with various campaign violations of mostly working on campaigns for Walker and other party members on work hours. He has also traded favors for jobs to an astounding degree. I'll put it to you this way, you don't get recalled as a governor for being on the up and up.
Here's another thing, you don't have to give into the demand of higher pay. Most states have laws in place to force teachers back to the blackboard after a few weeks of striking. Or you bring in a moderator or arbitrator to find a solution. Most of the time the pay increases are nothing more than the standard cost of living increase with maybe a little more for tenured employees or trying to guess what the cost of living compensation will be for the rest of term of the contract. But as of late employers have also been able to get higher contributions to pensions and health.
Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:43 am
Man, I wish the Teacher's Union was as powerful as Ruff makes them sound. Then ya know, I wouldn't have to fight for my job every year even though my program has grown EVERY year. I wouldn't have to fight for wages that will at least pay the mortgage. Or hell, fight for my one good bragging right with my health care. I have seen way too many teacher's unions crumble under budget pressures to think they're a danger at all. That's just me. I've watched it from the side of students and educators, and, frankly, we have, and always will be fucked over. As a music teacher, I will work more hours than the average worker, but get a little under the average worker's salary. A lot of the things I do for the betterment of your children's education will be left unpaid. And then at the end of the year, they will try and cut my program. Every. Freaking. Year.
Off topic rant aside, I might join in later when it isn't 1:43.
Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:49 am
This has been bothering me for a little while. Aren't you 19? That's what it says in your profile. How are you a teacher already? Don't you need a minimum of a Bachelors in Education or whatever they're calling that degree nowadays?
I know that's off topic, but it just puzzles me.
I guess the issue we're having is that a small amount of really big (or just a lot in general) of unions have raised a lot of financial concerns and in some states it's either extremely difficult or virtually impossible to fire under-performing teachers (there's a chart somewhere that outlines the process) and meanwhile, teachers fight for--and receive--more wages, better benefits and so on, and test scores do not improve.
In your case, I'm willing to accept that your heart is in the right place and you're just a victim of the system. My question then is, what's the grade point average of the students you teach? If it's low, is there some reason that your kids aren't getting good grades, or do you think you're just not doing a good enough job? I don't know what subject you teach, if you teach young children, older children, how many students are in your classroom how much you are paid, or how much your mortgage is. But none of this should be used as an excuse for poor performance. By the way, this isn't me accusing you of anything; this is me holding you to a high standard and following up with it. As an educator you should expect nothing less, wouldn't you agree? I don't feel I'm being unfair here.
Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:02 pm
RuffDraft wrote:"...or in England, where it's the other way around." That line made me laugh so hard.
I actually posted it because I thought it was a horrible argument based on the 2 horribly flawed premises that violence is inextricably embedded in Middle Eastern culture and Western culture has a flawless record on protecting human rights. It is the kind of stuff you here from your racist grandpa.
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