This class war thing is more complicated than you’d think

I’ve been following the John Doe investigation in Wisconsin because I have a particular interest in the conservative Midwest governors: Daniels, Walker, Kasich and Snyder. I was looking for a good wrap-up of the investigation so far, and two things jumped out while I was reading it.

First, I wasn’t aware that there had already been a conviction as a result of this investigation:

The current John Doe investigation already has resulted in the conviction of railroad executive William Gardner. Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. and a major donor to Walker, was sentenced to two years’ probation in July after pleading guilty to two felonies for exceeding campaign contribution limits to Walker’s campaign and laundering additional campaign contributions through employees and associates.

Second, this:

Archer, 52, abruptly quit her job on Aug. 19 as the No. 2 official at the powerful Department of Administration. She made $124,000 in that position. She was to start the following Monday as legislative liaison at the Department of Children and Families, but began taking paid medical leave that day.

She is making $99,449 in that job – $39,129 more than her predecessor. That 65% pay hike was possible because Walker’s fellow Republicans turned 39 civil service jobs into political positions earlier this year.

That is an amazingly generous raise, don’t you think? It’s as if Governor Walker is lowering the wages and compensation of the lower-tier “front line” state workers, and moving that money up to the executive or manager level, where the beneficiaries are political appointees.

This got my attention because I’m working in Ohio on the effort to repeal Governor Kasich’s union-busting law, and the best part about doing that is that I’m not working (exclusively) with Democrats and liberals, so I’m hearing some different takes on it. There are more than a few Right-leaning people among the ranks, where I live anyway, and the conservatives or Republicans who are in this are talking about it differently than the liberals or Democrats who are in this.

Listening to the people who I suspect were or are Right-leaning voters (in this case, fireman) they are not ideological union members, they’re not rallying around any broad idea of worker solidarity, nor do they seem to be focused on “fairness” as an abstract principle. The liberals and Democrats are talking about all those things. The Right-leaning people are saying something different.

The Right-leaning people are complaining that wages and benefits are being or will be transferred from them, the front-line workers, up the line to managers. In the (majority) conservative county and small city where I’m working, the city executives gave themselves raises totaling $14,000 (not each, $14,000 total among them: it’s a small city) while they were promoting Kasich’s union busting law as necessary to avoid unnamed but horrible consequences. The city firemen noticed that. That got their attention.

I’m not suggesting that this transfer from front-line workers to managers is indeed the case to the people I’m talking with. It’s not an argument I’m making. I’m simply listening to them frame this issue as a budget transfer rather than a budget cut. They’re repeating variations of this as individuals, independent of the “message” that the We Are Ohio campaign has laid out. They’re convinced there will be no net budget benefit, long-term, and the wages that are taken from them will simply be distributed upwards, either now (which is what they just witnessed with the city executives, who gave themselves a raise while preaching austerity) or as soon as they lose the right to bargain collectively.

This is of course anecdotal. I’m listening to ten fireman, not one hundred firemen or a randomly selected sample of 1,279 firemen, but I am actually listening to what they’re saying, and that’s what they’re saying. I’m wondering about the two different takes on the issue, Right-leaning and Left-leaning, and whether it matters.

124 replies
  1. 1
    nancydarling says:

    Kay, thank you, as always, for your thoughtful,lucid post. I just heard Speaker Boehner say on his news conference, “…essentially jobs creators are on strike…”. Let’s not forget that “jobs creators” is likely a Luntz focus group tested term for the rich and well connected.

    I have a modest proposal. Let’s do a real life redux of the movie “A Day Without Mexicans”. But instead of Mexicans, let’s make it “A Day Without Workers”.

    Let our Galtian overlord “jobs creators” do their own work.

    Let them teach the children, police the streets, put out the fires, run the machines on the factory floors, drive the trucks, deliver the mail, build the roads, pick the crops, milk the cows, slaughter the chickens, heal the sick, serve the food, run the sewage treatment plants, run the water treatment plants, fly the planes, direct the air traffic, mow the lawns, baby sit the children, change the diapers of elderly demented parents, clean the hotel rooms, build the houses and buildings, frack their own damned natural gas wells, repair the automobiles, and last, but not least fight their own god damned wars.

  2. 2
    Mnemosyne says:

    Hmmm …

    Gardner, president and chief executive officer of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. and a major donor to Walker, was sentenced to two years’ probation in July …

    One can’t help but wonder if Wisconsin & Southern’s business was going to suffer if high-speed rail went forward. That would be some flat-out corruption there — I’ll donate to you and you’ll kill the project that will cut into my company’s business.

  3. 3
    Mino says:

    I wonder if they are bothered by the corruption and criminality that will infect parochial government with the return of the spoils system?

    We had 8 years of it in the national government if anyone would bother to expose the systemality of it. Hint, hint, Attorney General.

  4. 4
    Kay says:

    @nancydarling:

    “…essentially jobs creators are on strike…”

    Oh, God, did he really say that? I think that’s hysterical. He’s not cut out for this. He’d rather be golfing with lobbyists. I hope he gets to the point where he hates his own loathsome House members. I think we might reach that point.

  5. 5
    Yutsano says:

    @nancydarling: By law I cannot go on strike (no federal worker can) but we can just not show up. And my union has seriously considered endorsing such a tactic if the bosses in Congress don’t start getting off their asses.

  6. 6
    Kay says:

    @Mino:

    Right. I actually worry about that with teachers. They’ll fire all the liberals, willy-nilly, w/out unions. They’d do it here, in a heartbeat.

  7. 7
    JCT says:

    This administrative re-distribution of salaries is an active issue in academia. I’m faculty at a medical school where our Dean is working hard to dismantle our graduate school as a “needed” response to fiscal tightening. This of course makes little sense given that the grad students are the engine that drives our productivity (ability to obtain funding).

    The most grating aspect of this (beyond the abandonment of our educational responsibilities) has been the non-stop addition of admins and Assoc. Deans while faculty are being fired and or put on “notice” as soon as our grant funding dips.

    It’s a disaster on many levels that will be tough to rectify.

  8. 8
    PurpleGirl says:

    I’m wondering about the two different takes on the issue, Right-leaning and Left-leaning, and whether it matters.

    I think it does matter because the way it will bear on how they react and seek to change the policies. Just because those firemen think there are wage cuts coming for them and that the money will increase a political salary, that doesn’t mean they will join with the liberals/Democrats to do something about it, like reversing those salary cuts and increases. Nor does it mean that they will see in their problem a common ground with other people.

    We have to keep talking to those who will listen to us because we have to find the idea that will bring them around to working with us to change things.

  9. 9
    kay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    This brought down Republicans in Ohio last time around. The employees they use to launder campaign donations through are called “conduits”. It was huge, and Bush 2004 was connected to each and every part of it.

  10. 10

    Your probably Republican friend has a point. He has been robbed to further enrich the upper crust.

    That’s what we lefties refer to as increased exploitation.

    Folks who don’t get off on such terminology might still understand the principle of theft. Perhaps we should ferret out situations where this is taking place and scream to high heaven. We might pull in some allies.

  11. 11
    Napoleon says:

    Kay, whereabouts do you live?

  12. 12
    Mino says:

    @Kay: It’s possible they’ve never heard the term or realized the abuses that grew from it. Andrew Jackson was infamous for it. Maybe you could do some discrete educating?

    Even Republicans want product for their payments. With that system, you don’t get it.

  13. 13
    MikeJake says:

    I’m not sure most folks on the Right are making the distinction between higher-level government officials and regular government employees. If one government worker is overpaid, then they all are.

    Plus, the only time I’ve ever heard about what a government official makes is in a story about government inefficiency or corruption. It rarely comes up otherwise.

  14. 14
    Napoleon says:

    Kay,

    Unless I missed it you did not mention that Kasich did the exact same thing, giving raises to his appointees, which the proponents of repeal are using in their ads.

  15. 15
    Violet says:

    @Yutsano:

    By law I cannot go on strike (no federal worker can) but we can just not show up.

    They can’t stop you from being sick and taking a day off work. That’s just you being thoughtful so you don’t get your co-workers sicks. Just a coincidence if everyone is sick on the same day.

    @Kay:

    I’m wondering about the two different takes on the issue, Right-leaning and Left-leaning, and whether it matters.

    I think it matters in the sense that different issues are important to different people. For the Democrats you’re dealing with it’s “fairness” and solidarity with workers. For the Republicans, it seems they’ve picked up on the budgetary trick that the higher-ups are trying to pull and they don’t like it. You need to figure out if it’s lying of the city executives saying they’re cutting the budget but really just giving themselves the money that’s making them angry, or if it’s the fact that that’s not fair or right, or if it’s the fact that the budget isn’t really getting cut. Or some combination of all three.

  16. 16
    HyperIon says:

    Kay, another great post.

    I can always depend on you to write informative stuff. Keep up the good work and PLEASE continue to post here regularly.

  17. 17
    Mino says:

    I guess what has been so shocking to me is how easy it has been for these governors to enact radical change in the states. It shows how fragile the progressive changes enacted in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s really are.

  18. 18
    kay says:

    @Napoleon:

    No, you didn’t miss it, and it’s a great point. I haven’t seen the ads, but I recall the controversy, where Kasich was saying he had to attract “the best” people, so had to offer them all more money. I do wonder why “attracting the best people” doesn’t work as a high-wage rationale for teachers, fireman or cops, though. Why do we only hear that argument applied to managers? Ultimately, it demeans the work of MOST people to continue to insist it doesn’t matter what kind of interchangeable cogs are working below the “best people”. That’s nonsense, and it’s not true in real life, in my experience.

  19. 19
    danimal says:

    Kay, liberals see the pattern of redistributing wages; conservatives don’t see (or don’t care) about the pattern, but they’re pretty ticked when their wage is cut to give the boss a raise.

    IOW, we see the forest, they see the trees. Either way, wage redistribution is a nice arrow in the quiver chainsaw in the pick-up to use.

  20. 20
    jl says:

    It seems to me that there is a lot of division among the voting population about how to view issues.

    To the extent that a certain portion of the population has accepted the vision of society as a competition for economic survival between atomistic individuals, where losers should be allowed to lose and winners should be allowed to win, shouldn’t we expect that many people will not be moved at all by the slogans of ‘worker solidarity’ or ‘fairness’ in the abstract to be persuasive at all? Those messages may even be dissuade them from joining your side because they see those slogans as signs of dysfunctional attitudes that are the root cause of our economic problems.

    What are they concerned about?

    Maybe it is fairness, but they do not perceive anything as unfair unless they are the victims of it. But they cannot articulate it as such.

    Maybe they don’t care about fairness as an abstract issue, but they see the professed policies of the reactionaries as necessary if unpleasant means to correct economic inefficiency, and they are willing to swallow the medicine. But the professed policies turn out to be not the real ones.

    The result can either be articulated as unfair, or dishonest, since in reality it is both.

    So, maybe they are able to articulate one side of it, but because of their beliefs cannot articulate the other.

    Why not add ‘dishonest’ as an abstract principle to your messaging?

    The fact that they disagree with you on the best economic policy (and also, they are wrong) complicates things. But you can ask whether they would prefer to argue about the best policies with honest or dishonest people.

  21. 21
    Gremcat says:

    Here in Florida, Gov Scott did the exact same thing. State employees haven’t received a raise in more than four years, but most agency heads that Gov. Rick Scott has appointed are making $20,000 a year more than their predecessors.

  22. 22
    Mino says:

    @jl: Wage theft is the coming meme. It helps that it is utterly true.

  23. 23
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I think your dealing with the early stages of doubt. “It would never happen with people like me,” your firemen are thinking. “It’s only liberals that rob from people like me to give to slackers and welfare queens.” Walker and Kasich are doing us a favor by dragging this out.

  24. 24
    Professor says:

    So why don’t you all Liberal/Progressive leaning folks in the Midwest states start canvassing and registering people to VOTE in the 2012 election. This should START NOW!

  25. 25
    Chris says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    “First they came for the…” yeah.

  26. 26
    Mino says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Heh. Interesting that they ignore theft from their “betters”. That old prosperity gospel at work.

  27. 27
    brantl says:

    Yes, the right wing viewpoint is (surprise!, surprise!, surprise!) less complex in basis, and far easier to pack into a soundbyte: it’s one ‘side’ robbing the other ‘side’; this isn’t anything the right-wingers are uncomfortable with, they’re just uncomfortable with not being on the robbers’ side of the transaction.

  28. 28
    aimai says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    I agree with Linda. I think the difference which you are describing is extremely important, and not at all important. Its not important because its just a different cut at the same apple. Very few people exhibit solidarity with unions on general principles. Most people I know who are not in unions exhibit solidarity with unions out of sentimentality or out of a fairly robust (new) understanding about the role unions play as a bulwark for middle class economic status. Its more that people are finally waking up to the canary in a coal mine aspect of union busting.

    But on the conservative side of things the deep and abiding suspicion of “the suits” and of the entire idea of “fiscal responsibility” is a way to start moving people from their authoritarian mindset towards a more revolutionary mind set. One problem that people/voters in general have is that local government is very opaque to them. How it makes its decisions, how much money it takes in, and what it does with that money–especially given the millions of ways that leveraged fake money and fake monetary casino gambling style financing work. I’m thinking of that small working class town in CA which without the voters actually knowing anything about it was paying massive salaries to the town officials and going broke doing it.

    I think your conversations with the firefighters have to begin with a vigorous nodding of your head

    “Exactly! There was plenty of money in the past for good salaries for govt workers and sensible salaries for admin and political appointees. Why now the change? Who benefits?”

    I think people get to solidarity afterwards, not first.

    aimai

  29. 29
    aimai says:

    Geez, I’m in moderation for “solidarity” or “absolutely” or something.

    aimai

  30. 30
    brantl says:

    @Mino: systematality? Systematic nature, bud.

  31. 31
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Professor: (And I am in no way at all saying that Kay is making this statement, because I know she wouldn’t) “But, that might mean Obama will get reelected!”

  32. 32
    Hoodie says:

    I’m wondering about the two different takes on the issue, Right-leaning and Left-leaning, and whether it matters.

    From your description, the “rightwing” take appears to be that it’s corruption, as opposed to the “fairness” frame used by some liberals. “Corruption” is a more effective theme with conservatives because they’re imbued with a high level of Calvinism/Puritanism, which means they discount “fairness” as slacker/loser whining, but they’re more likely to resent someone getting something they don’t deserve through graft, self-dealing, etc. Maybe where liberal politics has failed is in not being more effective at is pointing out the fundamentally corrupt nature of a system that produces the wealth inequality we are starting to see in the US.

    When the news is rife with examples of the type of conspiratorial, collusive behavior you’re describing here, it’s baffling that this isn’t a bigger deal. The idiotic extrapolation of the Galtian superhero arguments of the present day is that something on the order of 95-98% of the US population consists of nothing but moochers, slackers and losers. It hasn’t sunk in to the general population how ridiculous that is, but maybe those conservative firefighters are starting to get a clue.

  33. 33
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @jl: That point relates to my long-cherished idea for a “meta” campaign, which is that “Republicans must think you’re pretty stupid. They lie right to your face as if you can’t see right through it.”

    The fact of the matter is, of course, that far too many people _don’t_ see right through it (for instance, the continual Republican muddying of the waters around “higher taxes,” where they act like Democrats want to raise _everyone’s_ tax rates, usually by using phrases like “billions in new taxes” and other bullshit… which, unfortunately, works).

    But framing it in terms of how “Republicans want to play us for fools, but we won’t let them do that!” creates an opening to align Democrats with everyone’s internal bullshit detector. I think it would do wonders for Democratic-party chances, not just among liberals but also among people who don’t follow politics that closely but hate the idea of being scammed. And kay’s story gives an example of someone who’s already on that wavelength.

  34. 34
    Mino says:

    @brantl: systemic? Why can’t I make up words?

  35. 35
    Barry says:

    @Mino:

    Mino:

    “I guess what has been so shocking to me is how easy it has been for these governors to enact radical change in the states. It shows how fragile the progressive changes enacted in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s really are.”

    It shows how weak the ‘checks and balances’ are when right-wingers want to do something.

    Just like Congress got its gonads back the minute a Democratic President took office.

  36. 36
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @aimai:

    WordPress has a long standing feud with Lech Walesa.

  37. 37
    Rhoda says:

    It seems to me these right-leaning firemen are looking out for themselves and perceive their managers to be doing the same; not worried about the budget. So, this informs progressives that they should focus on not simply general fairness and a rising tide lifting boats yada yada but this is how you get yours; or they are going to get yours instead.

    “They” are a great motivator. Whether black, brown, the rich, the poors, the gays, the ayrabs etc etc etc…it seems right leaning voters need something to organize AGAINST and that they are for themselves. Which makes sense; and the fact that these governors are giving political appointees such big bucks and dismantling collective bargaining and cutting benefits makes it clear.

    That’s my take on the messaging you hear from your conservative allies; it’s how conservatives generally message IMO. They’re mostly against something or other; which is good for progressives to know. We have to give them a common enemy and a progressive solution to win.

  38. 38
    Ruckus says:

    Kay
    It’s me, me me, me, me…

    Those on the right don’t care about others. OK it’s probably not 100% but still. You see it as an injustice to everyone, even if you are not directly involved. They didn’t and won’t notice until it affects them directly.

    Liberals get upset about injustice to everyone, conservatives get upset about injustice (perceived or real) to themselves.

    Look at the Troy Davis affair. Liberals are mad that another injustice of the system has cost another unnecessary life. Conservatives don’t care or are even gladdened by his execution because they see it as protecting them. (He deserved it, he must have been guilty of something)
    Me, Me, Me

  39. 39
    soonergrunt says:

    @Yutsano: Which union?
    I’m AFGE. Our president sent a letter to POTUS, which the Local President took the highly unusual step of forwarding to everybody in the facility on his official email account. I’d copy/paste it here, but it’s formatted as a scanned picture pasted into a word document.
    I’ll email it to Kay if I get a chance.

  40. 40
    Calouste says:

    Somewhat OT, in Failing Upwards:

    Rumor has it that Meg Whitman is going to be appointed CEO of HP this afternoon. I guess we can start the countdown clock to HP’s bankruptcy.

  41. 41
    Barry says:

    @Mino:

    Mino:

    “@Belafon (formerly anonevent): Heh. Interesting that they ignore theft from their “betters”. That old prosperity gospel at work.”

    Americans are very class-conscious, particularly on the right. The twist is that their class consciousness leads to them supporting anything that their ‘betters’ do, while being insanely jealous of anything that their ‘inferiors’ have.

  42. 42
    cleek says:

    @Hoodie:
    “corruption”. yep.

  43. 43

    @Mino:

    I guess what has been so shocking to me is how easy it has been for these governors to enact radical change in the states. It shows how fragile the progressive changes enacted in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s really are.

    That was at the base of the argument between the New Left and the old left back in the 1960s. The old folks were saying that improvement in conditions by incremental changes was temporary. The youngsters were saying that incremental improvements were all we were going to get.

    Earlier than that, Joe Hill [of Haymarket fame] was on the side of temporary improvements, hence one of the songs he wrote talked of “pie in the sky, by and by” offered by the revolutionaries.

    But it is scary, isn’t it?

  44. 44
    Mino says:

    @Hoodie: 95-98% of the US population consists of nothing but moochers, slackers…
    Who pay sales taxes, fees, property taxes, sin taxes, play the lottery, etc.etc. Beginning with Sainted Ronnie, progressive taxes(income taxes)were sacrosanct–where you saw increases were in sin taxes and any other thing that could be increased without calling it a tax. Gradually shifting the burden of taxation in a regressive direction.

  45. 45
    Gilles de Rais says:

    I’m wondering about the two different takes on the issue, Right-leaning and Left-leaning, and whether it matters.

    Of course it matters, and anyone who wants to get anything done with the right-leaning folks (and in Ohio, you’re going to need them to get anything done) is going to have to lay out the issue in terms that will get them to act in their own best interests.

    So you talk about the fatcats enriching themselves. Imply they’ll spend it on frivolous luxuries or immoral pastimes. Hell, imply that they’ll go soft and contribute to Democrats. Whatever it takes. You never talk about the government taking money away, that just sets off every alarm bell they have.

  46. 46
    Loneoak says:

    It is when considering all the ways I’ve had my future opportunities reduced substantially by grift (despite being relatively privileged, but not rich) that I feel most conservative. Not conservative in the GOP sense, but rather in deep distrust of institutions that want to shape my life and thinking I would be better off without that shaping. For instance, the mortgage interest deduction and loan guarantees from Fannie/Freddie: where I live it contributed to soaring housing prices, making it nearly impossible as a renter for me to ever transition to owning a house.

  47. 47
    patrick II says:

    @Kay:
    Conservatives are against government regulations — so in the spirit of deregulation — let’s get rid of that onerous Taft-Hartley regulation for awhile and show these people what a strike looks like.

  48. 48
    Mino says:

    @Calouste: Oh shit. My computer!

  49. 49
    Chris says:

    @Rhoda:

    “They” are a great motivator. Whether black, brown, the rich, the poors, the gays, the ayrabs etc etc etc…it seems right leaning voters need something to organize AGAINST and that they are for themselves.

    If they had no scapegoats to blame and unite against, they’d fly to pieces in a matter of weeks. Days. Hours.

    Which is also why governing by “consensus” and “compromise” with them is impossible. It’s not just that they don’t like us: it’s not just that they don’t want to make us happy: it’s that they literally can’t like us or work with us or do anything that implies we’re something other than flesh-eating demonspawn from hell, because if they did, their coalition would die on the spot. Enemies are what keeps their politics alive.

  50. 50
    Violet says:

    @Hoodie:

    Maybe where liberal politics has failed is in not being more effective at is pointing out the fundamentally corrupt nature of a system that produces the wealth inequality we are starting to see in the US.

    This is not a maybe. Republicans and “conservatives” (they aren’t, but they call themselves that) have excelled in messaging for many years. Democrats think the substance of an argument will work all by itself. If that were the case, advertising would be useless.

    Democrats can scream “fundamentally corrupt system producing wealth inequality” all they want. It won’t work nearly as well as “greedy fatcats stealing money from you.”

  51. 51
    Mino says:

    @patrick II: If you’re gonna deregulate capital, you gotta deregulate labor, too. After all, they’d never miss our production, would they?

  52. 52
    Yutsano says:

    @soonergrunt: NTEU. All the federal employee unions coordinate though. I think they keep us split up on purpose, but then we go and collaborate anyway. We’re such sneaky lil moochers like that. :)

    @Violet: We can always stage a sickout. The IRS cannot interfere with internal union communications, so if a mass e-mail went out on IRS servers to all take the same day off, there wouldn’t be a thing they could do about it. And if my unit didn’t show up for work, heads would roll.

  53. 53
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    Zuckerberg live!

  54. 54
    Thoughtcrime says:

    @Calouste:

    Rumor has it that Meg Whitman is going to be appointed CEO of HP this afternoon.

    They should cross-brand with Quaker Oats:

    http://www.hatewhitman.com/wp-.....er-meg.jpg

  55. 55
    KG says:

    @Hoodie: the key is getting people on one side who are concerned about “fairness” and people on the other side who are concerned about “corruption” to understand that they are talking about two sides of the same coin. A corrupt system is inherently unfair. An unfair system is prone to corruption (a little cash here to grease the wheels, an extra bonus there to keep some mouths shut).

    This is one area where the focus grouping bullshit talk is actually quite helpful. If you can figure out that, “hey, 30% of the population is worried about fairness and another 30% is worried about corruption, and we can craft a campaign to appeal to both of them, we can win in a landslide”… then you might be on to something.

    For those, like @Ruckus who see this as a FYIGM situation, you have to remember, most right leaning people believe that they worked hard for what they got (they might not realize that they also got lucky or had some help along the way), and most all of them did. They bought into a system that they believe rewards hard work, which in theory it does. So, when suddenly the system stops rewarding those who work hard and rewards those who are well connected, their thought process isn’t necessarily “this system is unfair” it’s more likely “the underlying system, which is inherently fair, has been corrupted.”

  56. 56
    Mino says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Interesting., I always assumed the pie was supposed to come from God via religion. Ha!

  57. 57
    Comrade Carter says:

    Well, and this matters because I am in (and OF) Wisconsin, but…

    It just doesn’t seem to matter to anyone outside of the groups you would expect it to matter to… And then, only to the people who are involved in politics one way or another. (Either personally or because they care.)

    This stuff involving Walker doesn’t seem to be making much difference to him, except that they are now “concerned” about the number of people who have gone through the recall thing, despite the fact that it has been as easy or as hard for the last umpteen years.

    I mean, for guys AGAINST government they seem to be awfully concerned that their gravy train is going away… Odd.

    Be nice if the people around here were TALKING about this, and I’m not in a union so maybe those people are (but why they don’t talk about it in public is annoying), but until they get it together, Walker can ride this out…

    Unless of course he’s “involved” as a legal matter, (more than involved as a matter of fact.)

  58. 58
    Mino says:

    @KG: We have gold-plated examples of corporate cronyism in Iraq. Bonus, it even killed servicemen. Where are the trials???

    That should not be off the table. It’s not mushy politics, it’s crooks stealing shit.

  59. 59
    kay says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    also among people who don’t follow politics that closely but hate the idea of being scammed.

    There is an element of that. The “main” fireman, the designated speaker, was asking me this: “what happens to the 1.5% city income tax if they cut our staffing?” (rhetorically: I don’t live in that city). I’ll play, so I said “what happens?” and he said “you still pay it”.

    What he meant was, they’ll still be collecting my money, it will just be going to something other than fire-fighting, or, to his specific point, adequate staffing for fire-fighting and rescue. So, I’M being scammed. Not just him.

  60. 60
    soonergrunt says:

    @Yutsano: We specifically don’t use government resources for internal Union comms. That’s what made the Local President’s mass email so unusual, but since it went to all users (members and non-members alike) there’s not a lot management can do about it since they can’t interfere with the Union’s outreach.
    In our case, if there were a sick our or some other such, they’d almost certainly send it to our home email addresses, and how could management possibly stop (or even prove) that?

  61. 61
    Anoniminous says:

    Listening to the people who I suspect were or are Right-leaning voters (in this case, fireman) they are not ideological union members, they’re not rallying around any broad idea of worker solidarity, nor do they seem to be focused on “fairness” as an abstract principle.

    This has been the ‘ground-state’ of the AFL since Gompers, et. al., organized it in 1881, made ‘even more-so’ in the late-forties when the Reuther brothers, et. al., “kicked-out the commies” from the CIO.

  62. 62
    Mino says:

    @kay: Well Heavens, if they voucherize Medicare to the point old folks are dying on the lawn, and stick SS in the Market and lose it, you must not imagine they would stop collecting your withholding.

  63. 63
    Chris says:

    @Mino:

    We have gold-plated examples of corporate cronyism in Iraq. Bonus, it even killed servicemen. Where are the trials???

    That should not be off the table. It’s not mushy politics, it’s crooks stealing shit.

    I should think the reason this shit never comes to trial, or even that far into the public eye, is because everybody’s involved. Corruption and cronyism and less-than-legal maneuvering was on display in Iraq in one of the most blatant ways ever, but I suspect that so many people have skeletons in the closet (across all party lines) that everyone has an interest in not rocking the boat.

  64. 64
    thesebastiancat says:

    They’re just running the government “like a business”. Cut all the workers wages and benefits and shower the “LT” with cash & prizes.

    I think some of these workers recognize the pattern no matter how right wing they are.

  65. 65
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Mino:

    We have gold-plated examples of corporate cronyism in Iraq.

    Gold-plated pallets of it, even

  66. 66
    Mino says:

    I think they are going to have to RICO these crooks. It’s been a pretty elastic law for prosecutors to use. After the SCOTUS rulings on Citizen’s United and the Skilling appeal, they’ve defined away political bribery.

  67. 67
    Chris says:

    @Mino:

    I think they are going to have to RICO these crooks. It’s been a pretty elastic law for prosecutors to use. After the SCOTUS rulings on Citizen’s United and the Skilling appeal, they’ve defined away political bribery.

    RICO who, the entire Republican Party? That’s how far you’d have to go to make a real long-term difference, but that’s not on the table and never will be.

  68. 68
    mikeyes says:

    Then there is Bryan Deschanes, 26 year old college dropout son of a big donor to Walker’s campaign who got a 26% raise right after he was given an important job in the administration over two very qualified applicants who actually knew the job. http://www.newser.com/story/11.....r-job.html

  69. 69
    catclub says:

    This comes from Tiny Revolution (2008)
    It seemed relevant.

    >>
    Almost all political conflict, especially in the US, boils down to a fight between the Sane Billionaires and the Insane Billionaires. It generally follows this template:

    INSANE BILLIONAIRES: Let’s kill everyone and take their money!

    SANE BILLIONAIRES: I like the way you think. I really do. But if we keep everyone alive, and working for us, we’ll make even more money, in the long term.

    INSANE BILLIONAIRES: You communist!!!
    >>

  70. 70
    Mino says:

    @catclub: Ooops. Robots.

  71. 71
    Bob says:

    Nice to see a BJ post from someone on the front lines, that reports real observations, and asks good questions. You know the other kind…

  72. 72
    jwb says:

    @Mino: You don’t think the current SCOTUS would strike down RICO if it was used this way?

  73. 73
    Mino says:

    Nothing the current SCOTUS does would cause me to hope they wouldn’t. They excell in making bad worse.

  74. 74
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @HyperIon:

    Word.

    This.

    Ditto.

  75. 75
    Ruckus says:

    @KG:
    I think it really is much more than FYIGM. It is a way of looking at the world. Liberals generally look at themselves as being part of the world. A small cog in the machine. Conservatives see themselves as the world. The world is centered on them. They are not a cog, they are the entire machine.
    It’s a perception. It’s that coin having two sides. Liberals look one way and see the whole and try to fit in, conservatives look the other way and see where the rest of the world needs to fit into them.

  76. 76
    aimai says:

    @Ruckus:
    True but not true. The roots of right wing ressentiment is the fear of being a cog and the fear of living a life of quiet desperation while others move up in the machine.

    aimai

  77. 77
    twiffer says:

    I’m wondering about the two different takes on the issue, Right-leaning and Left-leaning, and whether it matters.

    i dunno. maybe an opportunity to mention that gutting unions removes a layer of protection from this sort of corruption? seems an opportunity to educate.

  78. 78
    nancydarling says:

    @catclub: This seems relevant to something I have noticed on a statewide blog I participate on here in Arkansas.

    I have noticed a change from referring to Dems/progressives/liberals as soshulists to hinting at their pinko leanings. Can it be that the word is getting out to the great unwashed that we are already somewhat a soshulist democracy—you know, roads, schools, old age pensions, etc.—and they have switched tactics to a “Red under every bed” meme?

    I have already seen it applied in trying to link Elizabeth Warren to some obscure Marxist magazine that Steffie Woolhandler, MD co-authored an article for in 1990. Woolhandler is one of the co-founders of Physicians for a National Health Program. She is at Harvard and may have some connections with Warren there—don’t know if they have participated in studies together, but with their shared interest in medical bankruptcies, it’s possible.

    Is this something that any of you have noticed and is it a directive from higher ups? Most of our Arkansas trolls aren’t smart enough to try to make the connection on their own, although a few are.

  79. 79
    The Lodger says:

    @Thoughtcrime: That should be “Faker”, not “Quaker”.

  80. 80
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @aimai:

    The roots of right wing ressentiment is the fear of being a cog and the fear of living a life of quiet desperation while others move up in the machine.

    Perhaps “Others” moving up in the machine. Because you’re supposed to rise and fall on your own abilities, such that winners win, losers lose, tough shit; but what sets off rightwing ressentiment seems IMHO to be when the losers don’t sufficiently lose.

    On a series of recent discussions on Facebook triggered by my posting the Elizabeth Warren quotation about how no one got rich on their own, one guy in particular keeps trotting out stuff about how some people don’t pay taxes, and when I confronted him about how he probably meant federal income taxes because everyone who works or shops pays _some_ kind of tax, he came up with a hypothetical case of a guy living in subsidized housing getting paid under the table. It’s not clear how many people he thinks are in that position, but he clearly thinks that they’re _fortunate_, and that that’s unfair.

    So from that anecdote I think it’s not so much that someone else is getting ahead in the machine, but that someone who deserves to be behind isn’t far enough behind. He should be much, _much_ worse off, rather than living a cushy life being… much worse off. I was kind of saddened to hear that. And I think it’s _hugely_ widespread.

  81. 81
    sublime33 says:

    Pointing out “Crony Capitalism” is a great counter argument to right wingers who insist that anything government employees do will be filled with waste and or fraud, therefore we must privatize everything. I point out that everyone hated how the big cities doled out lucrative contracts to well connected suppliers. So you want to take this to a national scale?

    I find the best way to make my FOX News watching co-workers stop and pause is to state that we both agree that the middle class is getting screwed. Where we disagree is who the biggest beneficiaries are.

  82. 82

    @kay:

    I do wonder why “attracting the best people” doesn’t work as a high-wage rationale for teachers, fireman or cops, though. Why do we only hear that argument applied to managers?

    It’s a common tactic elsewhere. For regular employees, we have to pay salaries that are similar to what everyone else is getting. For managers, especially at the very top, we have to pay top salaries to attract the very best. I think it sounds superficially reasonable because there are so few top managers in a company that you ought to be able to get the very best in the way you don’t expect to be able to do with line workers. It’s only when every company adopts the same strategy of paying for the very best managers that things fall apart.

  83. 83
    Mnemosyne says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    when I confronted him about how he probably meant federal income taxes because everyone who works or shops pays some kind of tax, he came up with a hypothetical case of a guy living in subsidized housing getting paid under the table.

    Was he able to explain how his hypothetical person manages to avoid sales tax? Does he buy all of his food and clothing under the table, too? Use food stamps and food banks? Barter for the clothing?

    By the time you get into a scheme that elaborate, it becomes a job in itself, like being one of those extreme couponer people.

  84. 84
    Chris says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It’s not clear how many people he thinks are in that position, but he clearly thinks that they’re fortunate, and that that’s unfair.

    Yes, they’re the fortunate ones, and the CEOs taking billions in bonuses no matter how well their company does or doesn’t do (culminating in the “golden parachute” principle) are the ones groaning under the oppressive heel of taxation.

    That’s why you routinely see CEOs abandoning their posts and all their money and going to live on welfare, because that’s where the really good life is.

    So from that anecdote I think it’s not so much that someone else is getting ahead in the machine, but that someone who deserves to be behind isn’t far enough behind. He should be much, much worse off, rather than living a cushy life being… much worse off. I was kind of saddened to hear that. And I think it’s hugely widespread.

    Yeah. It’s a vindictive, sociopathic, extremely ugly side of humanity, and the GOP’s specialized in pandering to that stuff ever since Nixon.

  85. 85
    Jenny says:

    Funny how you never-ever hear Kucinich talk about problems effecting his home state of Ohio.

  86. 86
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: The details had ceased to be important at that point, I think, but his general approach was to say that there were people who benefited so much from various forms of public assistance that on balance they _weren’t_, in fact, contributing to the general good; and hence that not everyone anted up for the pile of money that built the public resources Warren was talking about.

    Then he moved towards blaming the housing bubble on low-income people borrowing irresponsibly.

    So, clearly, the unifying idea was that someone, a lot of someones, was out there putting one over on the good, rule-abiding people — thus, in his mind, negating the Warren point about how the people at the top benefit from the contributions of people in the middle and the bottom. For him, and sadly many others, there are moochers who don’t contribute, and that’s a huge political problem, pretty much the biggest one there is.

  87. 87

    @Hoodie:

    From your description, the “rightwing” take appears to be that it’s corruption, as opposed to the “fairness” frame used by some liberals.

    No, it’s still a question of fairness, just the other side of the coin. If fairness is defined as everyone getting exactly what they deserve, there are two parts. Liberals are most concerned when somebody gets less than they deserve, and they want to make sure that nobody is denied their fair share. Conservatives are most concerned when somebody gets more than they deserve, so they’re worried about cheaters getting more than their fair share. If you want to sell this to them, convincing them that the Republicans are cheaters who are unjustly enriching themselves.

  88. 88
    Ruckus says:

    @aimai:
    I think we are saying the same thing, you are just taking it to the next step. I was going for the underlying logic.

  89. 89
    Monkey Business says:

    What you’re seeing is the fundamental difference between the two political spectrums. Beyond labels like liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican, there are people who care more about the general well-being of society, versus the general well-being of themselves.

    See, if you care about the continued viability of society, you recognize that unequal wealth distribution, mass unemployment, and an inadequate social safety net is how you get revolutions. And not the paper or non-violent kind either. I’m talking people going up against the wall revolutions. Moreover, you recognize that we are all in this together, and if we don’t collectively do what’s right for all of us, we all end up getting screwed.

    On the other hand, if you only care about yourself, you believe that because you have achieved something, regardless of how or by what means you achieved it, that no one else has the right to take what you’ve achieved away from you. You support your fellow members of society, up until your fellow members of society decide that in order for society as a whole to benefit you have to have a little less.

    Consequently, if you want to drive a message home, you have to talk about it two ways. You have to talk about how it benefits society, and how it benefits the individual.

    Take, for example, the President’s jobs plan.

    It benefits society by lowering the deficit, reducing the unemployment rate, creating new infrastructure, and investing in high growth fields like renewable or green energy.

    It benefits the individual by creating jobs, lowering taxes on the vast majority of Americans, building better cities and highways, and creating new areas for entrepreneurs to expand and create.

  90. 90
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Liberals are most concerned when somebody gets less than they deserve, and they want to make sure that nobody is denied their fair share. Conservatives are most concerned when somebody gets more than they deserve, so they’re worried about cheaters getting more than their fair share.

    PERFECT. Oh, that’s totally right, and so simply put.

  91. 91

    boehner has a mind like a steele trap, if he said the job creators are on strike.

  92. 92
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Ruckus: I don’t think conservatives see very far beyond themselves and their immediate concerns. That’s why a child having cancer doesn’t bother them, until it’s their child. It’s also why, when they start to believe something, no amount of evidence convinces them otherwise until it affects them personally. They can believe that welfare queens exist, but since they have no clue what one actually is, they see no contradition with being on welfare when they need it.

  93. 93
    MTiffany says:

    The Right-leaning people are complaining that wages and benefits are being or will be transferred from them, the front-line workers, up the line to managers.

    I’m baffled that they don’t see this as an issue of fairness. If the front-line people aren’t working less and the managers aren’t working more, then what exactly do they think it is about? FSM, would the charge of “wealth redistribution” only enter their Right-leaning minds if the managers were minorities and all the front-liners were straight white Christian males?

  94. 94
    Chris says:

    @Monkey Business:

    You distilled it down to the key points.

    The British upper class was smart enough to be in the first category and gradually, slowly but surely, abandoned more and more power (political, economic and social) to the masses over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which helped them avoid the turmoil of revolutions, coups and civil wars that much of the continent went through. They lost a lot of power and wealth, I supposed, but 1) got to stay at the top and 2) kept their heads.

    I wish I could say the American upper class was that smart, but I seriously doubt it. Not sure what it is that makes the elites in one country dumber than elsewhere, but whatever it is, we got a bad case of it. Always have.

  95. 95
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    his general approach was to say that there were people who benefited so much from various forms of public assistance that on balance they weren’t, in fact, contributing to the general good

    And this kind of thing goes back to what liberals and conservatives expect from this assistance. I am in part willing to pay taxes to help these theoretical people because I believe we have to take care of each other. But, if he wants to talk about value, I expect my investment to:
    1. Keep children in school where they might otherwise drop out, enabling people in our future workforce. This also tends to keep children in these families out of jails, which costs me money.
    2. Supplying housing and food makes them healthier, meaning they stay out of hospitals, reducing my costs.
    3. Supplying a good education for some who might not otherwise get it will increase earnings in the future, meaning more revenue for the government.

    These competing visions also go back to whether or not we understand how things work together.

  96. 96
    Yevgraf says:

    The Right-leaning people are complaining that wages and benefits are being or will be transferred from them, the front-line workers, up the line to managers.

    Interestingly, in America, the operational ethic is to ignore the happiness and needs of those employees which are most involved with the day to day functional tasks of the department or business (and hence in the greatest contact with those people served), and instead to heap rewards upon the great deciding decisionmakers.

  97. 97
    Hoodie says:

    @FlipYrWhig: That’s where it really gets weird, e.g., your comment about how this flake won’t indicate the scale of this alleged mooching, which, of course, is miniscule or nonexistent and, more importantly, it’s idiotic to run your country based on such nonsense. There’s no sense of proportion or understanding of path dependence. Thus, these guys never ask themselves things like “well, of Billionaire Bill gets X gazillion playing the game, does he really deserve all of it?” or “is a guy worth $10 billion really taking that much of a risk if he invests $10 million in a hedge fund as a opposed to guy making $50K a year investing $100k in a home?” It’s too bad folks don’t play checkers anymore, it might help internalize such things.

  98. 98
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Well, that’s just because the suffering person you don’t know probably brought it on himself and is asking for a handout, but the suffering person you do know, or you, that’s totally different. That guy was just going about his business playing by the rules and doing everything as best he could, he just suffered a bad break and needs a little temporary help. It’s not like he wants to make it a lifestyle and get dependent on it like that other guy, that lazy parasitic bastard.

    Even if you never meet anyone like the lazy dependent moocher caricature, he has to exist, because otherwise why is the economy in such bad shape and why does the government keep having to spend so much money? It’s a self-fulfilling worldview.

  99. 99
    artem1s says:

    Kay,

    I had a weird conversation with a firefighter the other day. It may be related to SB5 or not. He was insisting that universities and colleges were a drain on communities because as non profit entities they don’t pay property taxes. never mind that the property of state universities won’t ever generate any property tax or that the workers at the universities have generally better wages and pay plenty of property taxes (or that the property around those universities are generally deemed to be more valuable). The whole thing came so far out of left field I just didn’t know what to make of it. But it definitely had that ring of something that is being test driven by Faux News pundits or Dittoheads. It was obviously an attack on higher ed, just one I hadn’t really run across before.

    So I was wondering if you were hearing how the other side is trying to split support for repealing SB5. What kind of malarkey are they cooking up for the low info voters?

  100. 100
    Martin says:

    @kay:

    Why do we only hear that argument applied to managers? Ultimately, it demeans the work of MOST people to continue to insist it doesn’t matter what kind of interchangeable cogs are working below the “best people”. That’s nonsense, and it’s not true in real life, in my experience.

    It’s based on a failure to acknowledge the Peter Principle. The right assumes that title is a measure of ability, which anyone who has watched the procession of HP CEOs knows, is a pretty shitty measure.

    Anyone who has worked as a supervisor knows that there are employees that are worth their weight in gold in their non-supervisory, non-strategic-planning job that would be utter disasters promoted up into management ranks. The only non-destructive solution is to reward those individuals for being great at what they do in order to keep them there, rather than try and promote them up into jobs that they would suck at. So the GOP can’t cope with teachers earning a decent wage for being great teachers, they assume that the teachers should have to win some kind of competition to rise up into the rarified principal or superintendent slot in order to prove they are deserving of such a wage – and the GOP have seemingly no problem if the individual is WORSE at the new job than they were at the old one. They won the fight for that job, and that proves the case, and it’s a feature of their world that we get two worse employees (a great teacher turned into a bad administrator, and a bad teacher replacing that great teacher) so long as we preserve the illusion of merit and compensation through a false competitive system.

    I mean, nobody needs to look any farther than the HP CEO job, one of America’s great companies, a Dow 30 security, and they’ve gone from one disastrous CEO to another (another likely named today), each of which has lost billions in shareholder value while earning millions to hundreds of millions in compensation. That’s the illusory meritocracy at work. It’s been so poorly managed that they literally could have plucked out any random HP engineer, given them a 50% pay raise and gotten no worse results, and saving hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation, and possibly saving billions in shareholder value.

  101. 101
    eyelessgame says:

    My right-leaning facebook friends (small-town Midwestern high school friends from the early 80s) express their economic issues as resentment: they resent government, minorities, immigrants, and the poor. But that’s because they’ve been told to resent them.

    Getting them past the politics of resentment is really hard – but getting them to point their resentment upwards, at bankers and businessmen, is quite a bit easier.

  102. 102
    Martin says:

    @artem1s:

    He was insisting that universities and colleges were a drain on communities because as non profit entities they don’t pay property taxes.

    Neither do parks. Or roads. Or city hall. Or elementary schools. Or fire houses. Anything that exists as a service to the community doesn’t pay property tax.

    Now, I think there’s an argument to be made that some universities should lose their non-profit status – mainly those with endowments that generate more income than they collect in student fees. It’s difficult to argue that an institution that is so wealthy as to be self-funded is anything but a for-profit as there’s no reasonable way for them to return all of that money to the community.

  103. 103
    Chris says:

    @artem1s:

    The whole thing came so far out of left field I just didn’t know what to make of it.

    Frankly that’s a problem I run into a lot when having a conversation with conservatives: they’ve lived in their own hermetically sealed universe of “facts” for so long that a lot of the time they’ll start spewing things like this that are so absurd and unconnected with reality that you don’t even know how to react to them.

    “You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.” But try telling them that…

  104. 104
    Ruckus says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):
    Like aimai I think we are all saying the same thing. I was trying to get to the basic logic used and you and aimai are going to the next step and seeing the results of the logic.

    @Roger Moore:
    Liberals are most concerned when somebody gets less than they deserve, and they want to make sure that nobody is denied their fair share. Conservatives are most concerned when somebody gets more than they deserve, so they’re worried about cheaters getting more than their fair share.

    Roger has it right as well. This is the next step in the logic chain, the results.

  105. 105
    Ruckus says:

    @Martin:
    Hell HP could have hired me! I couldn’t be any worse and possibly much better, I’d say 50-50 on that. And they could have saved a tidy sum and I’d still be monetarily happy, no ecstatic.

  106. 106
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Martin: In Athens the city/county council kept making noises about taxing UGA property. When the system built a large building for their tech services they built it just across the county line in the adjoining county. Haven’t heard much of that talk since.

  107. 107

    File this under class warfare:
    A Cincinnati Bengals player had over EIGHT POUNDS of marijuana seized from his home on Wednesday. And he wasn’t arrested.

    So does anyone here want to try their luck? What are the odds that any of us “normal” folks could avoid arrest with even one pound of marijuana, or less?

    America is about due for some REAL class warfare. That the rich have their own separate legal system proves the constitution is a joke and we’ve lost just about everything America once represented. The Indiana Supreme Court just ruled this week that the police can search your home without a warrant.

    LONG LIVE THE USSA

  108. 108
    soonergrunt says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    By the time you get into a scheme that elaborate, it becomes a job in itself, like being one of those extreme couponer people.

    So does the job of the schmuck whose trying to create this hypothetical person to avoid losing the rhetorical argument

  109. 109
    kay says:

    Artem1s,

    I have not seen that. What I have seen is a split between retired public workers who are in favor of the law and current workers who are opposed. That’s ugly, and I saw it play out at a GOP rep’s event.
    I knew it was coming when the retiree stood up, knew the currently working folks who oppose were going to be all over that, and they were.

  110. 110

    @FlipYrWhig:
    I think it helps to understand Conservative attitudes toward many things. Criminal justice is a good example. Conservatives are much more concerned with punishing the guilty than they are with protecting the innocent. They’re even willing to accept executing innocent people as the cost of keeping the death penalty available.

  111. 111
    artem1s says:

    @Martin:

    mainly those with endowments that generate more income than they collect in student fees.

    I have more of a problem with institutions that exist to draw money out of the student loan pool and provide marginally useful degrees in areas that are already glutted with job seekers.

    Endowments are good for non profits generally IMO. They allow organizations that can’t leverage grant funding for general operating to stay afloat. Endowments also allow them to keep up with their infrastructure and maintenance and all those non-sexy expenses that fee paying constituents, funders, and donors don’t want to have any part of.

  112. 112
    Judas Escargot says:

    @artem1s:

    I had a weird conversation with a firefighter the other day. It may be related to SB5 or not. He was insisting that universities and colleges were a drain on communities because as non profit entities they don’t pay property taxes

    This is a standard right-wing town vs. gown trope that’s been around for years, and it’s fueled by resentment. In Salem, the University and the Peabody-Essex museum are often targeted, exactly along the lines you describe.

    The rhetorical antidote is to point out that churches don’t pay property taxes, either, and that there’s a lot more of them than there are universities. This generally shuts them up.

  113. 113
    MTiffany says:

    @Martin:
    You totally nailed it.

    Anyone who has worked as a supervisor knows that there are employees that are worth their weight in gold in their non-supervisory, non-strategic-planning job that would be utter disasters promoted up into management ranks. The only non-destructive solution is to reward those individuals for being great at what they do in order to keep them there,

    But that might mean someone with an inferior title could earn as much as or (horror!) more than their own supervisor or someone else in the company with a superior title. And we can’t condone that sort of thing, now can we? People wouldn’t know their proper place! We couldn’t maintain good order! Society would crumble! Think of the children! Won’t someone please think of the children!!!!

  114. 114
    priscianus jr says:

    I’m wondering about the two different takes on the issue, Right-leaning and Left-leaning, and whether it matters.

    I think it matters in this way. You say they’re not focusing on “fairness” as an abstract principle. Well, that’s normal. Understanding of principles always starts from concrete observations of actual experience (“experiment”), so one thing it shows is that the Democrats are a little ahead of them. The fact is that the ones who understood what was going on right away, even if they didn’t know all the concrete details, were the Democrats, and they are the ones who took the lead in organizing this whole campaign and helping these firemen, policemen, et al. Eventually some of those people will get it, if they don’t already.

  115. 115
    catclub says:

    @Judas Escargot: Plus Universities occasionally make payments in lieu of taxes.
    Never heard of a church doing that!

  116. 116

    I just saw this and was flabbergasted. Apparently Texas has decided to stop offering death row inmates their “last meal” before execution. Because the last guy they iced didn’t finish his.

    I wish Texas would fucking secede already and take all of their assholes with them.

  117. 117
    priscianus jr says:

    @Martin:

    It’s difficult to argue that an institution that is so wealthy as to be self-funded is anything but a for-profit as there’s no reasonable way for them to return all of that money to the community.

    No, I don’t agree. To the extent they are spending that money, they are using it for capital construction, administration, sports and alumni affairs, etc. They are NOT using it for the benefit of their students and teaching faculty. They should be forced to use that money towards scholarships, vastly reduced fees, better salaries and working conditions for professors, more academic hiring, and reducing the exploitative practice of adjunct-peonage. That’s how they will actually serve the public good.

  118. 118
    catclub says:

    @Judas Escargot: And another thing. A large fraction of ‘charitable’ donations go to churches ( where the prime beneficiary is the church staff,
    if not much goes out) and universities ( which are often, eg.
    Harvard, EXTREMELY wealthy.) Opera companies — although they are going through hard times, i hear, are another charity where the donations seem to benefit rich folks.

    I am going to start applying a rule that if a donation benefits too many millionaires — or children of millionaires,
    it sould probably not be considered a tax deductible charitable donation. When I am king this will be one of the first things I establish.

  119. 119
    Canuckistani Tom says:

    @artem1s:
    BS

    My Alma mater has an undergrad student pop of 22800, 3600 postgrads, 1300 profs & TAs, 6300 support staff. Grand total of 34,000 people, all in a campus of about 375 acres in a residential area. How many industries are there that can create that many jobs in that size area, without creating a mess that ruins the neighbourhood?

    Also, most of those 22800 undergrads live on or near the campus, renting apartments, buying food, etc from local businesses. Any major industry would have workers spread far and wide, probably in neighbouring suburbs and spending money that doesn’t go to the same tax base.

  120. 120
    cckids says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    By the time you get into a scheme that elaborate, it becomes a job in itself, like being one of those extreme couponer people.

    This. As a person who’s had to deal with Medicaid for my son, & the hoops you jump through, the insane paperwork, the disdain & outright contempt from the people administering it & the doctors’ offices you have to go to, I cannot imagine scamming this. I’m sure some people do, it just would be a time-consuming, soul deadening way to “make a living”.
    And I’ve only dealt with Medicaid, for a “deserving” (ie, seriously & visibly handicapped) person. The crap for Section 8 or food stamps must be equally bad if not worse. Not many people are going to do this if they have any other options.

  121. 121
    jefft452 says:

    “…hence one of the songs he wrote talked of “pie in the sky, by and by” offered by the revolutionaries”

    ?????
    I think you need to listen to “the Preacher and the Slave” again, unless you think that the Salvation Army were revolutionaries

  122. 122
    The Populist says:

    I’ve become callous on this issue. The right leaning firemen prove to me that the conservative “mind” is all about themselves and no matter how you frame it, they don’t care.

    They sure as hell will care if they keep voting in these corrupt assholes. The time is coming folks. I wish the tide would wipe away this stench but I feel it will get so much worse before people wake up. Young folks are seeing it clearly. Maybe some are buying into minimum Galtian beliefs (leave me alone, I do what I want, etc) but in the end, they do care about their friends and neighbors which gives me SOME hope.

    The problem is basically, these people voted for this crap and now the SAME OLD SHIT is happening but at a much worse clip. I wish I was a jerk who can turn my back and say “oh well, you’ll see and then it will be too late!” while I twist my mustache and scamper off in glee. I can’t be that guy.

    BUT, I am getting to the point that I can’t get over my “you reap what you sow” mentality. Regardless of what idiots like Cornerstone say, we had the chance to turn the tide in the 2010 election but many of us stayed home. I get why, but I don’t accept it.

    To me, it’s about being so bitter right now I almost want to scream: SEE, now lie in it people!

    Anybody have any suggestions or pep talks that can lift my spirits on this? I am still giving money to Obama (yes, call me what you will but I am a pragmatist) and I have given to Warren even though I don’t live in her state.

    I just get so mad that people who “lean” right (and that is most of the independents and a lot of regular working class republican types) can’t wake up and smell what is being shoveled on them.

  123. 123
    Kathleen says:

    @kay: I think the anti Issue 2 ads are very effective. One of the ads hits Kasich hard for increasing his staff’s salaries as he demands cuts from state workers.

  124. 124
    pkdz says:

    The privatization of basic government jobs are a good example of this. Walker got rid of county security guards and contracted with Wackenhut. The new workers made less, but Wackenhut is a for profit company.

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