Thursday, February 24, 2011

Collective Bargaining and the Public Sector are Mutually Exclusive

If one had to nutshell an argument against public employee unions it would simply be that government is not in the business to make a profit. The birth of the Industrial Revolution was also the birth of wholesale exploitation of the workers. All businesses exist to make a profit. Higher wages, benefits and safe working conditions usually result in higher overhead costs, so if workers can be forced to work at low wages and unsafe working conditions profits will be higher. There is an inherent adversarial relationship between most private sector businesses and their employees, which was exploited by labor unions and is the reason collective bargaining has been traditionally viewed as a civil right. But these conditions simply do not exist in the public sector. As I said before, the public sector makes no profit. Wages and benefits are determined by how much taxes are collected so there is no inherent adversarial relationship.

“Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: ‘Meticulous attention,’ the president insisted in 1937, ‘should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government....The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.’ The reason? F.D.R. believed that ‘[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.’" The Trouble With Unions by Daniel Disalvo

When unions and collective bargaining invaded the public sector, the relationship between management and labor was set on its ear. First the separation between management and labor in the public sector does not exist, there are only supervisors and subordinates; the difference being supervisors have no obligation toward profitability. Further collective bargaining with public employees is also not based on profitability, but simply what percentage of the tax revenue pool will be dolled out to employees. When contracts are negotiated by unions the government agency negotiators are not an adversary, only other public employees. It was not in the unions best interest to change their rhetoric to address this process so they simply used the tried and true Management vs the exploited workers. Suddenly government employers became the rhetorical evil corporations and government managers became “Management;” its everything the FDR feared would come to pass.

It seems to have been completely lost on Public Employees that “Management” is the tax payers and union demands through collective bargaining, are simply taking more and more tax dollars. The cost of benefits and pensions soon began to spiral out of control as the economy weakened; the price of benefits and pensions then outstripped the ability of the cities, counties and state to pay for them. After years of union's refusal to reduce benefits the only way to reverse the process is to eliminate collective bargaining on pensions and benefits, so the cost can be quickly reduced to a sustainable level. It has become obvious that the public employee unions' only concern is for the welfare of the union and not the workers or the viability of the government that they can only vilify. The tax payers realized this and have voted in new legislators that have promised take the heat and reverse the process. It is not going to be easy. The unions and employees have already vilified these representatives using the same hate-filled rhetoric the left claimed to abhor and blamed on the right, but is the bread and butter of unions and their liberal sympathizers.

Public employee unions are now accusing the conservative legislators of wanting to break the unions; and in a way they are right. But it is only because unions have fled the private sector due to low enrollment and an economy that could not support the benefits and pensions previously negotiated. The unions have shown an extreme resistance to making concessions, even at the expense of massive layoffs, which we are now seeing in the public sector. But private sector unions have withered as public sector unions have grown dramatically and unions have staked their very existence on the unionization of public employees. So you have a once powerful entity with no other place to go, using past rhetoric that has no place in this debate. The ultimate threat from unions is to put management out of business, which is supposedly based on the greater good; but the greater good does not rest with the "paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it," FDR. The result is a paradox where government is viewed by the left as the ultimate good and the tax payer as evil. The inescapable conclusion is collective bargaining and the public sector are mutually exclusive.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Fallacy of the Republican/Democratic Flip/Flop on Civil Rights and Racism

Once again Paul Krugman tries to re-write history as he explains why the South deserted the Democrats; not because they outgrew segregation, but because Republicans were willing to abandon the founding values of their party for Southern votes; it's the old flip/flop theory the Democrats have espoused to try and falsely place themselves on the right side of history. “There was a time when Republicans used to refer to themselves, proudly, as “the party of Lincoln.” But you don’t hear that line much these days. Why? The main answer, presumably, lies in the G.O.P.’s decision, long ago, to seek votes from Southerners angered by the end of legal segregation. With the old Confederacy now the heart of the Republican base, boasting about the party’s Civil War-era legacy is no longer advisable. Abraham Lincoln, Inflationist  

Before I delve into history, lets quickly look at human nature.  History is replete with racists and bigots that have matured and grew spiritually to renounce their bigotry. However there is simply not a case for the reverse; one would have to look far and wide to find a group  that was a champion of civil rights and suddenly became bigoted toward the same group; the concept is absurd.

The short answer of why the Republicans took the south in the 60's and lost the black vote is looking back to the end or WWII when the Southern Democrats continued segregation, while the rest of the country saw this rightly as black oppression. President Truman de-segregated the military (after it had been re-segregated 40 years earlier by Southern Democrat President Woodrow Wilson; probably the most racist president the country has ever known) and then President Eisenhower's Civil Rights act of 1957, which was filibustered and watered by the Southern Democrats lead by the then Speaker of the House Lyndon Johnson. However the writing was on the wall and the Democrats, lead by now President Johnson, realized that the racism of the Southern Democrats would probably end the Democrats prospects for another Democratic President, unless they could persuade black voting block to leave the Republicans and vote Democratic (“Johnson wanted a cosmetic bill that would enhance his presidential ambitions without alienating his white Southern base. “Ike liked Civil Rights” by David Nichols (09-12-2007).); to this purpose Johnson pushed through his1964 Civil Rights Bill, and the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964“I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.” and “These Negroes, they’re getting pretty uppity these days and that’s a problem for us since they’ve got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we’ve got to do something about this, we’ve got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference.” and “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.

While as LBJ said, this was to insure that blacks would be compelled to vote Democratic for generations (200 years), it was not by helping the black man prosper,  but by making blacks almost totally dependent on hand outs from the government, destroying the black family by mandating recipients could not have the father living in the household, and subsidizing illegitimate black births which increased from 9% in the 50's to 70% today.  Johnson's Phony War on Poverty  (V)irtually every liberal, when pressed on the matter, will inevitably claim that the parties "switched," and most racist Democrats became Republicans! In their minds, this historical ju jitsu maneuver apparently transfers all the past sins of the Democrats (slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow laws, etc.) onto the Republicans and all the past virtues of the Republicans (e.g., ending slavery) onto the Democrats! That's quite a feat! Short History of Democrats, Republicans, and Racism

The problem of course is Democrats are on the wrong side of history on this, so liberal revisionists have been trying for 40 years to wash the stench of Jim Crow and segregation from their party. Lets look at history for a moment. First, Abraham Lincoln is the founder of the Republican Party, which was born from the abolitionist’s movement. There has never been a moment that Republicans have not referred to themselves other than the party of Lincoln. Next you have the Civil War, where the Southern Democrat slave owners fought tooth and nail against the Republicans and the Northern army to preserve their way of life. During the reconstruction era, the Northern army occupied the south and federally protected the civil rights of the freed slaves. The only deal that was cut was the “Compromise of 1877,” where the Republican and Southern Democratic Presidential candidates had both won about 50% of the vote. Realizing appointing the Republican Rutherford Hayes would likely re-ignite hostilities in the South, Rutherford made a deal with the Democrat Samuel Tilden, that we would withdraw the Northern troops from the south. The result was the “Redeemer” democrats took control and initiated the Jim Crow laws.

Historians argue that the assurances offered to some Southern Democrats to prevent a filibuster were not a "compromise"(Peskin, 1973). Others argue that the Republican party abandoned Southern Blacks to racist Democratic party rule in order to gain Democratic support (DeSantis, 1982). In any case, Reconstruction ended, and the supremacy of the Democratic Party in the South was cemented with the ascent of the "Redeemer" governments that displaced the Republican governments. After 1877, white supremacy generally caused the South to vote Democratic in elections for federal office (the "Solid South") until 1966.” Wikipedia

To even propose that the old Confederacy is now the heart of the Republican party is to ignore the rise of the Klu Klux Klan, that even ex-President Bill Clinton said of Robert Byrd, was a necessity in the South, “He once had a fleeting association with the Ku Klux Klan, what does that mean? I’ll tell you what it means. He was a country boy from the hills and hollows from West Virginia. He was trying to get elected.” But the Left continues perpetuate the idea that somehow a group of people that have historically been an advocate and savior of black freedom and liberty, would somehow become racist for political purposes. The reality is the only group of people that retained their racism for political purposes were the Democrats that wanted to keep the Democratic party together during the 1950's.

One place the left likes to point to as evidence of the Republican sudden turn toward racism is Goldwaters  opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act; Goldwater's opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act provided liberals an opening to tar the Republican Party as racist, and they have tenaciously repeated that label so often over the years that it is now the conventional wisdom among liberals. But it is really nothing more than an unsubstantiated myth -- a convenient political lie. If the Republican Party was any more racist than the Democratic Party even in 1964, why did a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats in both houses of Congress vote for the 1964 Civil Rights Act? The idea that Goldwater's vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act trumps a century of history of the Republican Party is ridiculous, to say the least. A Short History of Democrats, Republicans, and Racism


History also shows the realignment of the South toward the Republican Party was two fold. First as the Democrats embraced a more progressive platform they ignored their conservative religious base. "A more likely explanation for the long-term shift from Democratic to Republican dominance in the South was the perception, fair or not, that the Democratic Party had rejected traditional Christian religious values and embraced radical secularism. That includes its hardline support for abortion, its rejection of prayer in public schools, its promotion of the gay agenda, and many other issues." A Short History of Democrats, Republicans, and Racism

 Second, the South simply found itself abandoning their long stand in terms of racial segregation and joining the rest of the nation.“Modernization that brought factories, businesses, and cities, and millions of migrants from the North; far more people graduated from high school and college. Meanwhile the cotton and tobacco basis of the traditional South faded away, as former farmers moved to town or commuted to factory jobs. The immediate cause of the political transition involved civil rights.” Wikipedia.

So, the idea that the Republicans abandoned the party of Lincoln to seek a voting base of racists whites in the South, abandoned by the Democrats, is a fallacy simply made up and repeated the by Democrats since the 1960's . The reality however is grounded in the fact that black oppression by the Democrats was simply no longer politically viable. The answer was to create a welfare state designed to make blacks totally dependent on the state. One of the primary vehicles was Johnson's welfare program that subsidized black illegitimacy (rose from 23% to 76%), resulting in the break up of the black family (the subsidy would only be paid if there was no male living in the house), higher incarceration  rates of young black males (in 1960 1350 out of 100,000 blacks were incarcerated; by 2010 that number rose to 4250 blacks out of 100,000; certainly a major driver is their alienation from the family and responsibilities of supporting a wife and children), and abortion levels that are now to equal to live births (over 1 million a year). And of course if Republicans dare talk reform they are branded as racists.


 In 1950, 17 percent of African-American children lived in a home with their mother but not their father. By 2010 that had increased to 50 percent. In 1965, only eight percent of childbirths in the Black community occurred out-of-wedlock. In 2010 that figure was 41 percent; and today, the out-of-wedlock childbirth in the Black community sits at an astonishing 72 percent. The number of African-American women married and living with their spouse was recorded as 53 percent in 1950. By 2010, it had dropped to 25 percent. The Black Family is Worse Off then 60's

 In the 1960s the Democratic Party essentially changed its strategy for dealing with African Americans. Thanks largely to earlier Republican initiatives on civil rights, blatant racial oppression was no longer a viable political option. Whereas before that time Southern Democrats had overtly and proudly segregated and terrorized blacks, the national Democratic Party decided instead to be more subtle and get them as dependent on government as possible.Short History of Democrats, Republicans, and Racism

 It is a shame that Krugman has the notoriety that gives him the space to write such trash. But it does give credence to the Ronald Reagan Quote, "One picture is worth 1,000 denials," or in Krugman’s case, it’s not pictures he denies, it’s the inconvenient truth of historical fact.