Daily Beast Article; How Public Sector Unions Divide the Democrats

A few days ago 12/29/2014 a article entitled How Public Sector Unions Divide the Democrats…..”Paying for all those pensions inevitably means less money for parks and schools. It’s a conundrum Democrats can no longer ignore.”  was posted on the website the daily beast. (Full Article here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/a…

I think this is a good article to discuss for the meritts that that article proposes, and not blindly say “its not true” or I disagree.  There seems to be some valid points here, and not to defend 100% the Senate President and some of his colleagues with their pension reforms they passed in 2011, but maybe there was some merit to their thinking.  

The article makes a great point that Democrats particularly progressives wish to offer more services in the way of things like full day pre-k, free college education, sustainable procurement, and more, but these all come at a cost.  Unfortunately I don’t think it’s palatable for the public to consider a European approach with income tax rates around 30-40% to pay for public services, so we are left to decide what can we afford.   What has to give? Do we forgo much needed new services to pay for our obligations of the past?

Another point brought up is the concept of work rules, which I agree that there are protections that are provided to shield workers from political privy, but what about the basics of a managers right to change procedures to increase efficiency?  Do certain work rules get in the way of creating true change?

We can possibly see this in a national example of the President who came into office in 2009 with a lot of big idea’s, but in implementing those ideas some things like the healthcare exchange went wrong.  Could this be partly because of bureaucratic rules and procedures that would make anyone’s heads spin?  If so, were these rules created by managers stuck in the past or did they have more to do with the union contracts dictating work ratios and so on.

As I said in the beginning of my post, i’m not trying to skew things in one direction or another i’m only trying to have an open dialog on creating the balance of the Public Unions will and the needs of the people government is supposed to serve.  

Comment (1)

  1. vmars

    One is, why do you call it a “European Approach” to have an income tax at 30-40%?  Until Reagan we had rates much higher than that at the top levels, so why not call it the mid-20th Century American system?

    The second thing is, the pensions aren’t what are preventing parks (and other services).  It’s the local and state governments not paying into the pension system that is preventing parks (and other services).

    Pensions are supposed to be paid into every year, and the fund grows with compounding and increased funding during flush times.  But — also since Reagan — we gave up on that and hoped against all actuarial hopes that Wall Street investments would make up for our poor planning.

    Third, the healthcare exchange went wrong for a couple months, but not only because Obama came in with “a lot of ideas” that were unworkable or too expensive.  Had the states — like NJ — built their own exchanges the system would have worked much better, but instead GOP governors tried to tank the system by forcing the feds to build a much larger system than expected.  

    Yet even with those first two months of problems signups still far exceeded expectations, paid policies far exceeded expectations, and healthcare cost increases are falling at an amazing rate.

    Seriously, have you tried to sign up for insurance using healthcare.gov?  As opposed to your assertion that it is full of “bureaucratic rules and procedures that would make anyone’s heads spin” tons of people found it simple and easy.  If you want a head-spinning bureaucracy try dealing with the insurance company AFTER you have insurance through healthcare.org.  The government side of it is a cakewalk compared to that.

    The ideas Obama came into office with were just fine, and are working better than expected.  Stimulus staved off disaster we actually made money on bailouts, employment is rising, Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid are doing far better than expected, etc.

    Frankly, most of these points are conservative straw men and stalking horses that blame government first instead of seeing where it works.  


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