Archive for February, 2011

What Wisconsin Government Employees Need to Accept

February 27, 2011

The Wisconsin government employees who are complaining about proposed legislation affecting collective bargaining need to recognize that in a democracy, government employees exist to serve the taxpayers, not the other way around. Unions representing government employees need to accept the fact that a union cannot have equal status with the officials who exercise sovereignty on behalf of the people.

President Franklin Roosevelt generally favored unions, but as he explained the situation in a letter to the president of the National Federation of Federal Employees in 1937, the situation of unions representing government employees differed from the situation in the private sector..

“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.”

I worked for county government for 23 years as a janitor. During part of that time I belonged to the SEIU which represented me until the elected county commissioners decided to stop negotiating with unions. I didn’t agree with their decision, but I accepted it because I recognize that in a democracy we “hired hands” cannot have equal status with those who are chosen by the population at large which pays us.

Government employees generally have better job security than private sector employees.

Pay may be lower, but the employer isn’t going to move to another state or country. Some government agencies can be shut down, but most must continue to function. Government may have to lay off some employees from time to time, but someone must be available to teach in schools, fight fires, catch criminals or clear snow off the highways.

Consumers of private goods and services have more options that taxpayers. Consumers may stop buying new cars or eating in restaurants. Consumers can switch to less expensive products.

But if taxpayers decide to stop paying taxes, government can take their money or property. Taxpayers don’t always have the option of moving to a jurisdiction with lower taxes. They can only band together and vote for officials who will reduce taxes to more affordable levels.

If military personnel attempted to pressure the U.S. government into providing higher pay or other benefits we would recognize the action as a potential threat to elective government. If the military formed an alliance with one party to pressure the other in to giving it what it wanted voters would understandably react against that party.

The fact that the demonstrators in Wisconsin are civilian government employees rather than military employees doesn’t change the fact that they are attempting to pressure elected officials into taking orders from them instead of from the people.

Government employees don’t have a “right” to collective bargaining because that would allow the minority of government employees to have as much of a voice in government spending decisions as the population as a whole which would violate the “one man one vote” doctrine of the 14th Amendment.

The proper response to the proposed legislation would be to accept it for now and attempt to elect legislators in 2012 who will reverse the legislation. The confrontational approach union members are currently using might be useful for bringing down Middle Eastern governments, but is more likely to strengthen anti-union sentiment among Wisconsin Republicans.

Media Sheep Love to Attack Snowball (Palin)

February 7, 2011

After the animals took over the farm in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, the pig named “Napoleon” decided to use the sheep to help destroy his rival “Snowball” . For example, he would have them bleat during the speeches of Snowball who was a better public speaker.and had more success in winning public favor.

The Democrats’ Media Sheep have been treating former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin the same way Napoleon’s sheep treated Snowball.

They go out of their way to blame her for anything that goes wrong like the recent shooting in Tucson. In blaming Palin they conveniently ignored the fact that pollster Mark Penn in an interview by Chris Matthews after the November election suggested that President Barack Obama needed something like the Oklahoma City bombing to reconnect with voters. I doubt that Obama’s supporters had anything to do with the Tucson shooting, but Obama did use it to improve his public standing..

The Media Sheep didn’t say anything when University of Tennessee law Professor Glenn Reynolds in a “Wall Street Journal” article accused them of a “blood libel” because they were trying to blame Palin for the shooting. The Media Sheep didn’t start bleating about the term until Palin repeated Reynolds’ accusation.

They will try to twist whatever she says to make her look bad. For example, the Media Sheep criticized Palin for doing creating the new word “refudiate” as if only certain people are allowed to create new words. Journalists can come up with ridiculous words like “Monicagate” as a term for Bill Clinton’s sex scandal, but the Media Sheep objected to Palin suggesting a word that sounds like it should be an acceptable word.

One of the strengths of the English language is that it allows creation of new words such as by combining existing words or adding a suffix or prefix. New meanings can be given to existing words. The Huffington Post article criticizing “refudiate” used words for the sounds birds make, “twitter” and “tweet”, with their new definitions for cryptic phone text communications. “Refudiate ” makes more sense as a new word than the Facebook term “unfriend”.

The Huffington Post also supported the tempest in a teapot regarding Palin’s use of “crib notes” in the form of a few key words written on her hand, apparently to remind her of some concepts she wanted to comment on.

These same Media Sheep see no problem with President Barack Obama using a teleprompter to insure he says what those who bought the White House for him want him to say. Palin used only a couple of words to remind her of topics she wanted to mention.. Obama needs to read complete speeches.

It’s more important that politicians communicate what they want to communicate than that they memorize everything they want to say.

Since 1968 political reporters have had a tendency to think that a losing vice presidential candidate is somehow the logical choice for the next presidential nomination. They have this attitude in spite of the fact that in the last 200 years only one losing vice presidential candidate ever won a presidential election. And, Franklin Delano Roosevelt didn’t run until 12 years after he lost and he won in large part because he ran against an incumbent in the middle of the Depression.

I suspect many of the Media Sheep are jealous of Palin’s popularity. She’s the new Queen of Perky. She’s energetic and personable.

Palin is a real person. She’s more like former President Harry Truman than the artificial type politicians who think they must act in certain ways and say what their advisers tell them to say. As comedian Flip Wilson’s alter ego Geraldine Jones might say with Sarah Palin “what you see is what you get”.

People support to her because she sincerely believes what they believe. Unlike most politicians, she doesn’t just take positions because some public opinion poll says that is what people want to hear. She speaks for her supporters rather than to them.

I don’t know whether she has presidential ambitions or not. If she does she would be better off delaying a run for the White House until she can get more administrative experience such as by serving as a cabinet secretary in a Republican administration. Her experience as a governor of Alaska provided better training for the presidency than serving in the glorified debating society known as the U.S. Senate, but the federal government has more employees than Alaska has people.