Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Thursday, February 05, 2009

City Pay Raises Come at a Bad Time but with Fair Concessions

I'm not so sure I agree with my friend Bill Carson's assessment of Das William's "attack" on Dale Francisco in the comments of my last post- -I think there is more to it than meets the eye and new council people can take awhile before they understand closed sessions. Considering what is going in DC, it's hard not to think Francisco is grandstanding as well.

Still, his point that this is a rough time for raises is well taken, even though they won't really go into effect for a couple of years. See the Noozhawk article for details on the deal.



Anonymous Red pencil said...

Francisco was not grandstanding. And nothing goes on in closed sessions except the silent recognition they have been blackmailed by the unions who supported most of the council members now "negotitating" these same people's salaries.

Francisco was not bought by the unions so good grief his perfectly reasonable opposition gets branded as grandstanding? Nope, it was the silence of the union lambs in face of Dale's proper objections that was shameless.

Total capitulation with a little Das fingerwagging for effect -he who is pandering for their support as he makes his run for Nava's Assembly seat. Get your players straight here and follow the money - and that is campaign donation money because the city council doesn't care about tax dollar money.

2/05/2009 11:16 PM  
Anonymous Homie said...

No, this pay raise does come at a good time -- time for Das to get publicity for his run as the next pro-union Democratic thug in Sacramento. He let the unions know he supported them and they now need to support him. Perfect Das timing and we know it. And will remember this.

Sorry but he burned his bridges when he bailed on his city council seat and ran for county supe and did so badly.

But I would still rather have Das with his experience over Obama with his none all things being equal for POTUS. Reach higher Das, yes you can.

2/05/2009 11:28 PM  
Anonymous Usually a Union Fan said...

WTF?? A PAY RAISE? at a time when most public employees are facing down furloughs, layoffs, loss of positions. Un-Be-Liev-Able....

2/06/2009 8:13 AM  
Blogger Don McDermott said...

Williams calmly described his feeling that Francisco was "opportunistic" and "grandstanding." Francisco defended the contract negotiations that resulted in savings for the current fiscal year. If you could describe this as an attack, it was mild.

Francisco frequently uses opportunities to make emotional statements to his base of acrophobic, anti-affordable housing, "Paris Metro" hyperbolic, Transit-Adjunct Only, Pro BMW constituency. Francisco does a good job at taking his shots. I'm glad to see various council members respond with soundly reasoned and fact based responses.

2/06/2009 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Alas, public sector compensation is always controversial and emotional. I find it curious that one rarely hears complaints about the compensation of highly paid engineers working at defense contractors, the fairly high salaries of major construction firms like Granite Construction, which make most of their profits building tax supported roads, and the extremely high paid oil workers that toil on facilities that exploit publicly owned oil from under the ocean. All of these workers cost the tax payers plenty but we seem to accept their high salaries without the least bit of envy or dispargement.

2/06/2009 12:57 PM  
Anonymous the chupacabra said...

At this point it dosent seem like fair concessions. The truth is most of our city workers make just as much if not more than private industry but when you add in the benefits package its even better. At a time when the county and state, and many other cities are forced to furlough staff it makes no sense. And for the city to adopt furloughs possibly while giving out pay increases is ridiculous.

The Council has not shown leadership in a time when budgets are in the red and expected to get worse they gave raises. It would be nice to be able to give raises, and I have no doubt the city employees work hard but at this time the economic reality is it shouldnt have been done.

If you also consider the government pensions problem which is huge, their actions just make future problems worse. This council is great for feel good items and proclamations but terrible at leadership and actually making tough decisions.

And while I cheer the Teamsters work at the News Press and normally am in agreement about 95% of the time with AFL-CIO. I am really starting to think that SEIU is a horrible group.

2/06/2009 5:10 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

Some kool-aid drinkers here.

The city (state and nation for that matter) is in a huge financial mess. We're experiencing possibly the worst financial crisis in history. Nearly 600,000 people in the US lost their jobs last month. And some bloggers here still think it's o.k. to give City of SB workers a pay raise. This borders on insanity!

Guess this is why we get so many whacky electeds in this town. Looks who's doing the voting.

Please pass the kool-aid so I can join the stupor.

2/06/2009 9:40 PM  
Anonymous Eat The Rich said...

The only reason we even know Dale Francisco's name is because Brian Barnwell was in the midst of a personal crisis that was capitalized on by his enemies and a local paper that was in the midst of self-destructing.

Dale Francisco will only be relevant until the next election - in which I look forward to voting for his successor.

2/06/2009 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Still the one said...

Chupacabra, you're wrong to compare SEIU-represented workers to private industry workers; the salaries in the public sector are lower, though in some ways the jobs are more secure. The benefits serve as a tradeoff. Most City workers can't afford to live in SB. It's up to the government agencies to take on only the amount of pension obligation it can handle wisely and prudently, and to manage the funds the same way. That hasn't always been the case, but that is not the fault of the rank and file. In substance, the SEIU is just protecting its members, as do the Teamsters.

2/06/2009 11:17 PM  
Anonymous Red Pencil said...

No one gives Granite Construction raises. The city takes or rejects the low bid on construction projects, after tarting then up with "prevailing wage" demands. Could you use more logic next time?

A little competition would go a long way in hiring and firing city workers. I'd like to see them compete for the lowest prices as well, or not get the job. Instead, they sit back with total job security and show up in masse led by their union bosses and pout they are not appreciated enough.

Glad to know they are finally learning how much everyone resents them and their attitudes. Just read noozhawk response to the pay raises, if you really want your eyeballs singed.

2/06/2009 11:20 PM  
Anonymous Blue pen said...

Red pencil, your "race to the bottom" idea, coupled with weak or nonexistent labor law protection, is what leads to dangerous workplaces, polluting businesses, and starvation wages. This economy is a perfect example of what happens when competition is unfettered and unbuffered by humanitarian and other countervailing concerns (e.g., environmental). If we want an economy where no one could buy the goods and services businesses in this country want to sell (other than those who've inherited wealth), let's have competition at every turn. If you want to rebuild the middle class, we need the Employee Free Choice Act.

2/07/2009 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Ok Red Pencil, logic. Granite Construction management negotiates with various unions (Teamsters, Operators, Laborers) and comes to agreements on compensation and benefits. Those labor costs are included in any bid that is made to construct public roadways, which are paid for by taxes. Our taxes pay for the salaries of Granite Construction employees. No one complains about the negotiated compensation and benefits of those employees because they are consider "private sector." However, because such jobs are paid for with public funds they are just as much "public sector" as are police officers, librarians, and sewer plant workers. Finally, it is not only the lowest bid that gets road construction contracts. It is much more complex than that.

2/07/2009 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

Blue Pencil, the Employee Free Choice Act is the death knell for western civilzation. No one but a union mob boss can support it. Greetings.

Obama needs a lesson on the production side of the economy and not just listen to the takers side of the economy. He is so naive but he does owe big time to the unions who bought him.

Obama, who maxed out his credit card 8 years ago and could not even get a rental car at his first Democratic convention (just 8 years ago!!!) and who admitted "he didn't know too much" about buying a home and getting loans and side deals with crook Rezko has no credibility on anything economic or financial.

Obama is blowing in the wind and answers only one question when choosing bailout alternatives: how many government union jobs does this proposal create and which ever is the highest is the one he picks.

One can distinguish between different unions when one organizes private industry workers and ones like the evil SEIU which sucks the life out of taxpayers organizing government workers and gets mandated legislative demands that all public workers have to pay union dues, which provides a huge cash flow of taxpayer dollars which the union bosses use to screw taxpayers even more.

Private industry at least produces something that has the potential to profits. Unions in this case play by different rules. But government employees and the "service" industry produce nothing, make no profits and are supported totally by tax dollars. Unions here are a totally different animal; or rather ravenous beast.

Unionizing both groups have lead to the death of their suppoting industries. And the insidious grasp on taxpayer dollars by SEIU has been the scariest transformation of the economy we have yet to see. Williams needs to wake up and see what a monster he has been supporting, and why.

Tax payer revolt is just around the corner. He cannot run on more raids on the taxpayer dollars to support SEIU. Even Obama has just crossed a bridge too far and there will be a huge backlash against him. Think the Gingrich revolution just two years into the Clinton administration.

The in-fighting, the greed, the corruption of public employee unions can be well researched on the net. Get to know the lurid personalities who run these unions and learn that enough is never enough and always remember every time you support the "unions" you are handing over your wallet to them. You are not also a "member" of their ominous tribe.

2/07/2009 2:16 PM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

90% of the US belongs to the middle class. There is no reason to "rebuild" the middle class. Even Miller-McCune agrees with this figure.

Get a new tune to sing blue pencil, or start telling the truth. The only reason you want more union members is to pay your own bloated salaries with more union members.

Tough sell because taxpayers are paying your benefits when you organized public employees. You should have thought of this when you make your own "middle class" career choice.

No, we do not have to worry about losing the middle class. There are plenty left to go around and only 15% of the middle class are unionized so plenty are doing fine without them.

You really mean to say you want to save more public government employees because the real middle class is tied to productive jobs, not just sucking off the "service" industry. Blue pencil, you need to save your own job but don't use my tax dollars to save yours.

2/07/2009 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Here is a fact for you Red Pencil: During the 1950s and 1960s when the U.S. economy was better than it had ever been or has been since, union membersship was at its highest in terms of percentage of the work force. The economy did just fine when 30% of workers belonged to unions. Unions created the middle class in this country. The middle class may be able to survive without them, but most people owe their current affluence to the past dominance of unions. I paid more in taxes last year than I made in salary in 1986 and I do not begrudge the various public sector employees (including the defense contractors and road construction companies) a single dime of it. Things could always be done more efficiently, but I believe I am getting a great deal for my money.

2/07/2009 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Sorry you hate workers said...

Red pencil, dream on about the extent and breadth of the middle class. During the Bush years, the upper class started paying itself outrageous sums in terms of multiples compared to the rank and file, and good jobs began disappearing. People who aren't wealthy are losing ground and will continue to do so without stimulus and unionization.

You could only be drinking Chamber of Commerce vintage Kool-aid if you believe that the Employee Free Choice Act means the "end of western civilization". Of course, it is just you C of C types who can't tolerate workers standing up for themselves. You can think of them as the "takers" of society, but who's going to make the coffee, change the tires, write the articles in the News-Press, print the paper, fill up Wendy's yacht with fuel and pilot her helicopter, mine the diamonds, if not working people? And why shouldn't they have a voice in their own working lives? All that the legislation does is give workers, instead of employers -- who should have nothing to say about it -- the right to decide whether to have a secret ballot election. This country was doing OK in the fifties and sixties with 30%+ of workers in unions; Republicans don't want to return to those days now, because far be it from the end of civilization, it might mean the end of the Republican party.

2/07/2009 11:37 PM  
Anonymous I'm ready for some sun said...

Red pencil- That internet thing you keep encouraging folks to read to prove your point has a little "quirk" you 'forgot' to mention. You can find something to justify ANY point of view if you like hard enough. See if you find something familiar in this, from an article titled..."In the Shadow of the Goons"

"Some governments and employers are using “goons” to intimidate and attack union activists. By hiring these thugs, they hope to avoid responsibility if the violence becomes known. The practice seems to be spreading. In it it says "Employers and governments who violate workers’ basic rights generally hate being taken to task in public" and that's where goons step up to the plate.

There's no physical violence here, but the ferocity of response from Red Pencil and his sand box buddies is scary. I'm no Union fan RP, but withought them the middle class may not been born, much less exist at the 90% level you quote from somewhere. And BTW, that existence is pretty shaky right now. Your lack of concern for the middle class speaks to a different classification for yourself. Is this one one those "Not me, not my problem" responses?

Unions are't the only answer nor the only problem. The timing of this particular pay raise is particularly poor (character defect shared by anti-union types too, Red Pencil). But in the economic rubble that Bush left behind, I can understand why someone want to feel more secure about their future.

And with respect to the union and the News-Press, blame Wendy pal. Her actions brought them here.

2/08/2009 6:40 AM  
Blogger Don McDermott said...

Bill; Thanks for the news update. I guess you thought you were the only conservative in the village or the only one paying attention to the financial meltdown. We've just had 8 years of Bush cool-aid policy and 30 years of Reagan cool-aid policy moderating the democratic policy. The failures are evident.

The new leadership's policy is to inject "stimulus" into "shovel ready projects." Consider the raises with concessions as a local stimulus, shovel ready project. That's the cool-aid flavor I enjoy.

Red Pencil; "90% of the US belongs to the middle class"<<< Where do you gegt that figure from besides Miller-McCune?

2/08/2009 6:59 AM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

Miller McCune - Nov/Dec 2008

By 2025, the United State will have about 319 million people or about 91 percent of the country's population, in the middle class.

Ranking of middle class millions worldwide:
2002-2004-2006-2008 = US number one
2008 - 271 millon people in middle class, 91%

NB :MillerMcCune is a indpendent, left-leaning social activist publication. Sara Miller McCune had hoped/threatened to purchase the SB NewsPress from Wendy McCaw.

2/08/2009 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

According to US Census figures, only 15% of US workers are unionized. America has done fine without them.

And unfortunately most of the unionized work places have destroyed themselves from within: autos, steel, education, prisons, local governments

Do not be nostalgic about the role of unions creating a middle class. They seemed to have ended the middle class life for their own workers, except for the union bosses who moved quickly into upper middle class salaries and lifestyles.

Small businesses, mom and pop private enterprises remain the backbone of our economy no matter how much money union bosses spend trying to make you believe otherwise. Immigrants learn this quickly and within one generation have often moved into the middle class and no one handed them a government job.

Public employee unions like the SEIU, the AFT and the CTA to only mention a few are the most sinister force out there because they demand your tax dollars, not just a cut of corporate production dollars.

Of Doreen Farr's County Supervisor over half million campaign war chest, $346 million came from public employee unions. (!) Think long and hard about how this affects "local government". And think again about pretending unions are not "special interests". They are. And they just bought a county supervisor race.

Don't be misled by "Central Coast Voters for Better Government" endorsements when you also see the SEIU union label attached to that same endorsement.

The NewsPress had two outstanding articles this Sunday about the Farr/Pappas debacle and the state government worker furlough. How come these stories are not linked here? it is well worth your 50 cents to buy a copy of today's NewsPress.

2/08/2009 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Red Pencil needs to sharpen his or her pencil. 20% of households in the U.S. pull in less than $12,000 per year. Even if we exclude this impoverished 20%, Red Pencil's claim of 90% middle class comes crashing down. The bottom 40% of households make less than $25,000 per year each. Is a $25,000 annual income middle class nowadays? I doubt a family trying to get along on $25,000 feels very middle class. Don't just make stuff up Red Pencil. Your Ayn Rand, Great White Shark philosophy is a valid position from which to make a stand. But if you are going to shill for the top 1% of the income earners, at least be honest about it.

2/08/2009 5:41 PM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

Eckerman, your statistics are too vague for consideration. Cite your source and explain why someone like Miller McCune would get something so basic so wrong and publish it no less. I stand by their report 90% of US is in the middle class. And no, I did not make this up. Source of info cited which is better than your offering.

But we both need to check the census statements on this. But at this point, there is no danger of "losing" the middle class.

Don't doubt people can get by on $25K a year. A lot do. They are retired and have most of their major expenses behind them.

And what constitutes "income" - wages, investments, retirement, rentals, ??? You need to get out more and realize the cost of living in much of America is a lot lower than CA. $25K is comfortable for a lot of people.

The top 1% earners can do what ever they want as far as I am concerned. Just be happy they are still willing to carry the largest tax burden for the rest of us. Rich people are not necessarily happy, so I don't hold them in much envy. Why should you.

"Saving the middle class" is just buzz words for create more over-bloated union jobs and demanding even more benefits and now even "affordable" housing subsidized by someone else.

Personally with 91% of Americans in the middle class, I am more interested in saving the snail darter than the middle class.

2/08/2009 9:21 PM  
Anonymous Eat The Rich said...

Cite your source and explain why someone like Miller McCune would get something so basic so wrong and publish it no less.

Red Pencil: Uh, maybe, it's because the article to which you "strategically" reference (found here) wasn't written by Miller McCune, but was written by a faculty member of that wholly-liberal institution called Pepperdine University - home to, at various points, such left-wing radicals as Kenneth Starr, Ben Stein, and Daniel Pipes.

The article itself documents how, while the U.S. retains the highest percentage of middle class, countries like China and Brazil are quickly catching up in terms of population growth. Red Pencil selectively quoted from the article - which explains, in detail, how the author arrives at the statistical analysis by which he is able to draw some conclusions about the comparative growth internationally of the middle class. Again, I'm not sure Red Pencil understands it, but rather quoted a single sentence as if it alone proved a point.

Anyone - ANYONE - who suggests that $25,000 a year is a reasonable income on which to raise a family clearly lacks the understanding as to the value of a dollar and should be ignored out of hand. While such a suggestion was laughable 15 years ago, it borders on insanity today.

"Saving the middle class" means keeping the middle class away from unscrupulous mortgage brokers and stock-based retirement plans in which they'll likely lose their shirts while being told, from those looking to capitalize while leading them to their misfortune, that the market always yields the best result.

Again, Red Pencil, your level of ignorance regarding these issues is staggering.

2/08/2009 10:42 PM  
Anonymous the chupacabra said...

Heres some numbers you cant argue with although these are state not city but both are SEIU in many cases Im guessing that city employees are probably even higher due to the fact that theres always that "they cant even afford to live here" chant. Which makes me wonder did most of you just move here, how many administrative, clerical, general services, mechanical type professions can afford to buy here?

* the most recent statistics from the state Department of Personnel Administration and Department of Finance, the average state worker is paid $63,048 a year, compared to $56,004 for the average California worker, which is about 15 percent above the national average.

*According to the state employee pension system, the average state worker receives $2,291 every month in retirement, as well as health coverage.

Unions have done some great things and have been relevant in many cases today. I do think the SEIU and prison guards though have worked to get their members better deals at the expense of the state.

As for the city of SB's raise it may turn out to be a raw deal for many members in the end. With current budgets in the red with no solution in sight its likely we will have layoffs of city staff. Add to that any gains that might have been made through a possible furlough wont be as effective, if you consider there are built in raises and benefits in the next few years. Therefore the city will have to cut even deeper than before.

As residents we will lose out on the discretionary programs and the odds of locals accepting any new taxes will probably not be good. That in light of expected raises in state sales and income tax would make it extremely difficult for "our leaders" to get a tax increase on the local ballots that would pass as theirs would be post state increases.

But hey Das might run for Nava's seat and Helene wants to be Mayor they have done such a fine job at showing leadership on the council lets promote them. By the way a important part of their job is maintaining a financially sound city so we can have the green, after school, and alternative transportation programs we all like.

2/08/2009 10:56 PM  
Blogger Bill Carson said...

This city's finances are in a nose dive because local government spends too much and provides not enough in return. Sacramento is doing the same thing, just on a much bigger scale.

No matter how you slice it, considering the current financial crisis, you cannot justify increasing the wages of local government workers. Doing so will just increase the red ink.

2/08/2009 11:06 PM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

Yes, one can live on $25 K a year.

You keep saying "families" living on 25K, but the average household is not a "family". The world does not revolve around your own personal situation or bad choices.

Stop buying all your toys, shop thrift stores, unplug and unsubscribe, cook your own food and start eating more beans and rice, turn out the lights, use the library, walk or take a bus, and get a garden. Of course plenty of people can live on $25K. Lots of retired people do this all the time.

Boy, have you got a lot to learn. Learn it and enjoy it. And stop sticking your hand out because you think you are entitled to have someone pay you what you don't earn.

BTW: why does a leftie claim 90% of the US are already in the middle class? Isn't it their agenda to "save" them? They are saved. Leave them alone.

Lenders did not prey on the middle class, they preyed on the sub-class, low information voter types. The middle class can read a contract and make independent decisions. If they signed up for subprime loans, they did it for greed. The subprime mess was just a wealth transfer system and affordable housing scheme for all. Eat it and pay for it.

2/09/2009 7:07 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Ok Red Pencil, I will cite my sources: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2007 the mean household income for the lowest 20% of households was $11,551.

Bill Carson, over half the California State budget goes to finance public education and we have one of the lowest per pupil funding rates in the nation. Prisons take up another huge portion of the pie. I might agree that there State programs that could be trimmed, but I would not say that the State is not providing enough return on the tax dollar in schools and prisons. There are just too many students and ciminals for the amount of tax revenue we have available under the current tax system.

2/09/2009 8:07 AM  
Anonymous late to this thread said...

I'd like to know who, which job classifications, the city is planning to furlough. My bet would be that it would be the lower levels while the upper level planners hitting close to $100K/year stay on. How about cutting back on some of these who spend so much time trying to browbeat the citizen-based commissions?

5% of 100,000 is considerably more than 5% of 35,000. I'd also like to see what the total pay plus benefits is for each position. I don't begrudge city workers making comparable pay - I do begrudge there being more workers than essential. The retirement at 50 is obscene, especially since they go around crying that they can't afford to live in Santa Barbara while they work here.

And Eat the Rich: the next election is this November. Francisco is not up for it --- but there will be three seats that are, plus the mayor's. He will have company, especially if this vote is remembered.

2/09/2009 12:36 PM  
Anonymous late to this thread said...

PS Did that 5% raise include raises for themselves as city employees?

2/09/2009 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

Here is an interesting wrinkle in the "shrinking middle class" controversy - more of them are moving into the upper class ..............

Looks like few of us can be real experts on this issue so it should not be used to beat us into irresponsible housing schemes that (gasp) benefit primarily public employees.

2/09/2009 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Oh Red Pencil, it is much more sinister than "affordable housing schemes." It is about the redistribution of wealth, where we allow the rich to live among us in exchange for their taxes and they pay high tax rates for the pleasure of being rich. One third of the elements that result in one being rich is luck (the other two thirds are comprised of hard work and good judgment in equal portions). High taxes on the richest 1% are basically a tax on luck. Lincoln was correct in his assessment that we should not make it impossible to be rich. On the other hand, he was in agreement that the rich share a responsiblity to the community that allows them to be so. The middle class is a rather recent development, and we are still find our balance between what we owe the community and what the community owes us. In my view, as someone who feels middle class, to make every attempt to tempor personal greed with altruistic generosity.

2/10/2009 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

Eckerman, you sound like we have not created a single social safety net in this entire country.

Even Octomom disagrees with that. She sees and demands the many services already in place and seems to be doing just fine on other people's largesse.

There are plenty of social safety nets as well as bootstraps compliments of both the rich and taxation systems. There is something called "enough".

And what we offer right now is enough. It is time for more bootstraps, but don't ever even hint society has not already provided plenty already.

You must have just read the study that proves the worthlessness of vitamin pills and also read American pay over $2 billion dollars for these worthless vitamin pills. Just one of many examples of how it really about choices America makes for itself, and not on lack of resources.

You need to look into why you need to sentimentalize the "poor". You yourself might be feeling guilty, but I don't. I see endless safety nets and endless choices.

I see America today providing very adequate social safety nets for everyone. And I also see Americans today making really awful choices for themselves and demanding others suffer the consequences. I am sure we differ in this perception.

You see "poverty" and "riches" as insatiable resources - one to fill endlessly and one from which to take endlessly. Why is that? And if wealth depends so much on luck, then with a little more luck the poor shall all be rich too. Bon chance.

In fact the poor believe so much in luck, you see them disprorportionately at the Chumash casino handing over their discretionary cash so firmly also believing in this very luck.

Oh wait, I already gave my sermon about inappropiate choices, didn't I?

2/10/2009 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Another planet reporting in said...

Red pencil, you are delusional if you see adequate safety nets in this country. Employers provide health care in this country, but not in the other western countries where government pays the tab (as it should), which makes employers less competitive, which in turn makes for higher unemployment. The schools in this country are underfunded and teachers underpaid. Our infrastructure is on the blink, our broadband is losing ground, our public transportation systems, especially in SoCal, suck.

Meanwhile, the rich in this country have gotten exceedingly richer in relation to the rest of us, thanks to Bush. And how are the bankers and the other greedy business people who had an awful lot to do with our current crisis paying for their errors? Barely more oversight while they slurp at the government trough bigtime, and barely called on it either. When the UAW workers wanted their auto companies to get a bailout, OTOH, people like you said the problem was with the unions, which is total nonsense.

There are plenty of people who work hard, but don't have the tools, the time, the skills, the good fortune, to become wealthy. Maybe some of them have gone bankrupt because of a gravely ill child. Some people inherit; what did they do to merit wealth? Almost all have profited both from their own ideas but also from the sweat of others, who should be treated with respect, dignity and appropriate compensation. Our prison industrial complex is an overcrowded disgrace.

Those who are wealthy got that way through the good grace of society, as well as luck and skill. Corporate protection, courts, property laws, police and fire, all made possible by taxes.

One thing that the rich can buy with their money is escape clauses when they screw up and harm others, criminally or civilly. Poor people end up in the slammer. How is that fair?

No one is talking about absolute equality, but the safety net is thoroughly shredded and in need of a vast upgrade.

2/10/2009 11:30 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

I don't completely disagree with your last post Red Pencil. Bad choices have consequences and we cannot rescue people from every bad choice they make. On the other hand, it is within our power to establish some baseline conditions, which provide a stable and secure launching pad for good choices. To get back to the original subject of this string,the whole purpose of unions has been to build that stable and secure baseline platform. Using profit at the top for cement on the foundation is what maintains the safety nets (to mix a metaphor). We can argue about how safe the net should be or how stable and secure the foundation should be. Out of the tension of such arguments good policies emerge.

2/11/2009 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

While it might be the purpose of unions to "build a secure baseline" too often we see they destoyed the very industries they attacked and their union bosses walked off with salaries and perks that compete with any Wall Street excess.

I see on the liberal blogs they are still thriving on class envy as evidenced by the puppet talk in the post above. As long as liberal blogs keep beating up inconsequential scape goats, we have changed nothing.

Business profits also support dividends for shareholders who invest in the future of American business and general well-being. Non union auto plants in the South are creating a perfectly fine standard of living for their employees.

This 15% union work force needs to be expanded argument and Obama sell out is a fraud. Our business back bone has always been private employers and unionizing more of our work force is a sure way to kill it.

Funny the previous poster only sites unionized workers as those deserving more and more public benefits. Teachers are well paid already, have more paid time off, work 9 mont years and get guaranteed benefits few else would ever dream about, let alone keep complaining about.

Nope, the union stench perverts most of the arguments here and it needs to be exposed for what it is - a huge power and money grab that exceeds even Wall Street excesses when added all together.

Listen up, selling out to the unions to pay them back for your election is NOT a bail out plan for the rest of us. No wonder the market held its nose yesterday while you had your prep-set press conference with your well-coached answers.

More and more people are finally sensing something is very much wrong with their new President. There is a cavernous gap between what he says and what he does. Now he cannot escape this scrutiny. But now it is too late.

2/11/2009 9:41 AM  
Blogger practical101 said...

The bottom line is the city and county are running a deficit. They are thinking that they can raise taxes and fees to cover their expenses. Eventually they will realize they need to cut staff, cut salaries and cut benefits. The sooner they wake up to this the less cuts they will need to make.

2/11/2009 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

The only wake-up taxpayers need is to get rid of every incumbent city council person this upcoming election and lay in wait until the next election for the rest of them. Anyone who re-elects this pack deserves to have the bill stuck to them.

Public employee unions are an odd duck in the union world. The sooner they are outlawed the better. No union should have direct power over our tax dollars. If private industry wants to have unions suck out their profits, that is their choice on how they do business.

But no public employment using our tax dollars should ever have a union whose only goal is to get more and more of our tax dollars. Something is very wrong with this formula.

If the public is such a bad employer that employees need protection, then you throw the elected bums out and elect someone who is better. But you never unionize public employees and have them pay our tax dollars that go against our best interests. Never.

SEIU has had so much corruption at the top, how on earth can tax payers let this organization take our money for their dues and then keep giving them more and more of our tax dollars for their benefit.

Wake up people. Stop electing pro-union candidates. It is in your hands to being a stop to this public rape of tax dollars.

If public employees want a raise, they can stop paying their union dues and get one ASAP. Except they can't. The unions got the legislators to confiscate union dues off the top first and hand them over to the union bosses without even having to write a check or notice how much is getting drained out of their tax-dollar funded paychecks.

2/11/2009 8:23 PM  
Blogger practical101 said...

Great Red Pencil -- what about a ballot item to make it illegal to have any public employee unions? I will be the first to sign the petition!

2/11/2009 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Red Pencil, you have begun to repeat arguments that have been soundly refuted. Repition, while a valid rhetorical device, does not make you right. One thing that you simply do not seem to understand is that many of us who have never belonged to a union and never benefitted from union negotiated compensation packages still support unions. We do so because the lesson of history is that the U.S. economy was at its most robust and the middle class at its most affluent when unions were at their strongest (30% of the workforce). Shareholders are gamblers, they are taking big risks with the hope of big payoffs. If they want a guaranteed return, they should lend their capital rather than invest it.

2/12/2009 7:42 AM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

practical101 - where were you when Schwarzenegger tried to get those 4 ballot initiatives passed his first year in office.

He needs to resubmit them to the voters before he leaves office now that we got to see what 6 years of living without them accomplished - total union employee greed breakdown of our entire state system.

Send a letter to Schwarzenegger to put those initiatives back on the ballot. ASAP and then when the unions with your tax dollars dupe you again, you will get all your friends to vote in favor of the ballot initiatives this time. Some of them almost won. This time let's get all 4 of them passed.

Schwarzenegger knew exactly what was wrong when he took on the "special interests" (public employee unions) who were robbing this state and grabbing as much direct power buying legislators (aka Pedro Nava), but he was not prepared for the massive PR campaign they would unleash and the lack of will of voters to stare them down.

Voters just dumped Gray Davis and it was reasonable they really wanted change. So this shows you how insidious public employee unions are subverting the public will.

Yes, you have to look teachers, police, fire fighters UNIONS etc in the eye and just say no. You can no longer say you want lower taxes and a healthier govenment and keep saying yes to the teachers unions, the police and correctional officers unions, the fire fighters unions, the public health care workers unions --ALL PAID WITH YOUR TAX DOLLARS AND WHO ARE GETTING PAID EXTREMELY WELL. Check it out and compare what you are already paying them, what you are getting back with your money, and compare to what you are getting yourself in private industry employment.

No one is saying these groups do not provide services, but that is what we pay them to do. They are not donating their time. They are paid to do the jobs they do. It is time to stop them blackmailing the public for more and more money for doing less and less.

Just say no next time any public employee union backs any candidate or demands they are underpaid and under-appreciated.

2/12/2009 8:40 AM  
Anonymous the chupacabra said...

The other side of the coin to all this would be Ventura, where their public employees including SEIU are either accepting or considering a 5% pay cut to save jobs. They recognize that we are in a economic crisis and are willing to work with city government to save their own jobs and assist in taking on the crisis.

Which also highlights a huge problem with our council why couldnt they have negotiated better with our local union. We have a deficit here as well but our council just rolls over, great leadership! Santa Barbara has a problem but they are not willing to address it, especially not in a election year. Nick Welsh's read today on how they dealt with the State/De La Vina issue last night was dead on, no leadership because hey that might mean someone could not get to be mayor.

At this point neither Helene or Iya or any other member of the council deserves a vote for Mayor. Its great to talk about all the important programs we need but part of that is actually having the cash to pay for them otherwise its just lip service for the "sheeple". And since its a foregone conclusion that the state is raising taxes across the board (which is smart) there is little or no chance the city could get approval from the voters in time to increase revenue.

2/12/2009 5:32 PM  
Anonymous the chupacabra said...

Also a interesting note on Ventura it has a larger population yet less than half the amount of city employees...

2/12/2009 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Outer space calling said...

Red pencil, unions wouldn't need to spend so much on politics if corporations -- including employer lobbies, polluters, industry lobbyists, et al -- weren't outspending them 10 to 1. They are a counterbalance, and a weak one at that.

Schwarzenegger got soundly trounced for going anti-union -- that is not only not what the public wanted him to do, it was bad public policy to attack unions, whether they be teachers, engineers, correctional officers, social service workers, librarians, accountants, parks and recs workers, water district workers, sanitation workers, bus drivers, or what have you. They are the people who make our cities and counties liveable and functional, and they should be treated fairly and with respect, not dumped on every time the economy takes a dive, as if it's their fault. In down times, generally public employees suffer like everyone else, with layoffs and pay cuts; look at what's happening to state workers. But we aren't facing economic Armageddon because of public employees, or unions in general. No, it's the Republican obsessionswith tax cuts, no regulation or oversight, constitutional violations and deliberate non- and malfeasance in government (i.e., appointing incompetents and "foxes to guard the chicken coops") that have put us in this ditch.

I'd say, "Wake up, red pencil", but I think you're already conscious. Just heartless, soulless and without powers of observation to see through your red-glazed glasses.

2/12/2009 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Earth to Outer Space said...

Outer Space is really out there, and dosent have a clue what they are talking about. The truth is from 1989-2008 the top 20 political donors were 14 for Democrats of which 12 were Unions, one was GOLDMAN SACHS, the other was Trial Lawyers Association. The Republicans had 4 of the top twenty including the No 1 spot from ATT closely followed by the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employess at No 2. There were also two which were considered fence stragglers one of which was CITI Group and that leaned Democratic.

Thats all public information perhaps you should get a idea of what you are talking about before you try to get all preachy. Of course if you have to lie to make your argument well enough said lets just hope you were ignorant.


2/12/2009 9:23 PM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

Outer space, that dog don't hung any more.

Can't play the "guilt" card (heartless, soulless, etc) any more either. Nope, it is the other way around now. It is people like you who love to keep people down so you can claim to speak for them. Away, anon.

Your faux paternalism borders on creepy authoritarianism. Plus you like to beat up people who don't agree with you. Nope, you are the one proven to be uncharitable.

I want people moving up. You want to keep them down and dependent as if they were your own special pets. That is what is heartless and souless, outer space. Come back to earth when you get it right.

2/12/2009 9:57 PM  
Anonymous Nut House said...

Earth to the rest of us - do your homework to learn how Obama's will "community organize" us to our untimely demise:

Can't know the players without a score card. PUEBLO is an ACORN organization.

2/13/2009 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Yes Red Pencil, let's move everyone up! Let's decrease the vast inequality of income in this country and have a more equal distribution. Of course the free market is unable to accomplish this (or it would have done so by now). So we have to help it along. Let's adopt the economic philosophy of Denmark where no person is allowed to be obscenely wealthy and on the other hand no person is allowed to be abjectly poor. Denmark has, by some polls, the happiest people in the world, despite their lousy weather. Let's go Red Pencil and keep everyone moving up. That's all the unions ever wished for.

2/13/2009 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Monkeyshines said...

Well said, Eckermann. We have been creating more inequality over the last decade, and we need not wonder why.

Nuthouse, you've chosen your moniker well, given the paranoid wingnut site you've linked to. Yes, we're all just going to run (or is that Rush) ol' oxycontin Boy out of town, out of the country, his patriotism ("I want Obama to fail") notwithstanding. The haters have left (most of) the building, except for the Rethuglican minorities in Congress and racist, sexist right wing radio and Fox. But y'all are sinking your own ship faster than any Dem pipe dream could make it happen. Au revoir, dudes, and don't let the portal door hit you on the rear as you abandon ship!

2/14/2009 12:46 AM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

A few points monkeyboy:

1. American Thinker is not a wingnut site: some of the responders are wingnuts, but its core article resource is not. Obots and rightwing nuts belong nowhere. You and I both know this. Go to Townhall for excellent articles and links if you don't like American Thinker.

2. Obama has already failed. And this is a Good Thing. Be careful you don't give Limbaugh too much credit as a US opinion maker; but do respect he resonates with a larger number than Obama's union hack crowd produces.

3. Obama always operated with a threat of violence in the primaries, his campaign and now in office. He rides on threats of fear. He is an extremely negative political force. "The streets will run red with blood if he is not elected" was no small misquote the eve of the election by leftwingnut, Erica Jong.

4. No one showed more racism, sexism and agism than the Obama campaign on all levels. As well as extreme low-information anti-intellectualism.

5. See you on the other side of the mid-term elections when this national Obama nightmare will be over. Until 2010, dude.

2/14/2009 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Here is an alternative prediction Red Pencil. By the time 2010 roles around, the economy will be recovering and 100% of the people in the U.S. will be covered by reasonably priced health insurance (free for poor people). The financial sector will be requlated and stable once again, and credit will be readily available. The Republicans will run on a racist and anti-immigrant message and promise to dismantled the health care reforms established by the Democrats. The Republicans will lose miserably, be cast out into the cold (actually the Southeast and non-coastal West), where they will writhe and gnash their teeth on right-wing radio.

2/14/2009 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Forgive the hater said...

Red pancil panicker, your dissemblling knows no bounds. Townhall is another wingnut site, so enjoy it. Fun to talk and play with oneself, isn't it?

Naturally, you don't specify how Obama has already failed, and that's because he hasn't. Insofar as he has had a chance to do anything, he has been far too centrist for the most part. He is also facing unreasoned obstructionism from the Repubs, who talk bipartisanship and remain totally unreconstructed and in denial about the last election. Kind of like you, RP.

Yes, haters like Limbaugh do resonate amongst the racist sexist hater wingnuts. It's too bad for you (though not the rest of humanity), but that era is over.

You deliberately misinterpret Jong's comment, which was meant to convey that given Obama's consistent lead in the polls, and how blacks and the poor are routinely disenfranchised, and how Bush stole the election in 2000, if there would have been another theft in 2008, there might have been unrest. That was not coming from the Obama campaign, as you well know.

Speaking of hating, there was hate coming from McSame/Palin, who spoke of the "real" America of the right-wing exurbs and evangelicals, implying that the urban centers, where most of the population of this country resides, is something other than "real." Which suggests that liberals, people who live in apartments, and people who are not Caucasian, are not "real" Americans. Bigotry circa 2008.

You can't seriously be suggesting that the Obama campaign was anti-intellectual, when we compare Obama's own education and advisers with those of the bottom of his class McInsane and his running mate, "I don't really read much and I went to a lot of nondescript schools" Palin. Do you think if you lie enough people will believe it? That's one of Rush's ploys, and also one of Bush's.

The only nightmare we've been facing is the one Dubya produced, that Obama is busy repairing. I hope we have enough time to clean up his deep and horrid mess. But I think when the economy turns around and we continue to have a president who respects people and the environment and isn't solely interested in helping his cronies, the results in 2010 will surprise those who expect the usual small setbacks in midterm.

2/15/2009 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Red Rover said...

Good link:

2/15/2009 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

Speaking of links, I do like Townhall. Some background info to bring you up to speed on your Chosen One - a Legend in his Own Mind:’s_all_about_the_“o”_the_arrogance_of_barack_obama

2/15/2009 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

Let's just deal with one of your rebuttals, hater, by going to the source material ala Erica Jong and friends:

If you stop swilling the Obama Kool-Aid you will see she makes two statements. One is flat out saying the voting machines are rigged. But she knows somehow they are only rigged in favor of Republicans, not caring a whit just as easily they were rigged to favor Obama. After all he is the tech-savvy POTUS. Nope, the rigging in the eyes of prescient Ms Jong is only to favor Republicans.

So no, her quote was not taken out of context. The context is Democrats always cried foul when McCain took the lead in this see-saw race and then claimed all was virtuous and correct when Obama thugged back the lead with his outrageously misleading ads, and as we see with this Jong interview with threats of violence. My original point.

Nice take on Obama democracy, hater. If Obama lost it would only mean a rigged election. But if Obama won, it was the true voice of the people speaking in one pristine democratic thunderous roar.

No my good man, Obama always carried the threat of violence in every thing he did from thugging the caucuses, to threats of DNC riots if he did not get the nomination and sweeping the lily white suberb liberals who send their kids to private schools and drive their imported non-union cars, living scared sh*tless real America will invade their door steps.

Add Fonda to your collection of liberal whackjobs and tell me again how has the most wingnuts on board. But hey, your wingnuts beat up my wingnuts this time. No contest. And magically, no rigged voting booths. Magic, just magic.

No need to fight the McCain-Palin ticket any longer as justification for electing the fraud Obama. It is all now your baby, and quite frankly there is some pleasure watching him go down in flames even if he is taking us all with him.

But this time at least we get to point our fingers at you people and go naaa, naaa, naaaa. The simple pleasures of life on someone else's dime.

You can't keep fighting Bush, Obama enabled him too and never took any courageous stands against his war or his policies while he actually had to vote and have his name recorded.

I hated Bush too, so you will not get far with that arugment. McCain-Palin won over a lot more than your contemptuous collection of "real americans". They made their case that conservatism is the only way to be in America and that the Republicans failed us as badly as the Democrats.

They started the long road out of failed pork-ladden Congressional greed on both sides of the aisle and for that we are grateful. You tried to make a cartoon and a joke out of them and succeeded with low-information voters. We have proof of that with more to come out each day.

We now see there was no change with Obama - the fingers now point to Democratic greed in such short order and even worse very short Democratic memory. But it is fun to watch Obama implode, but it is certainly no surprise. He is all hat and no cattle.

So yes, do spend more time hating Bush, McCain and Palin. I'll just settle on the Obama fraud to hate. I think I will win or at least be more relevant.

The nightmare is rushing to pass legislation without adequate study of costs and consequences. Why does that still have such a familiar ring to me.

You err if your only response is to also say naaa, naaa, naaa, Bush was worse. Because dear fellow I agree he was bad. I withhold judgment that he is worse because we have only a few weeks of Obama's personal meltdown to consider. You man may still yet win that destruction derby.

How did Obama fail already - he sure did not bring us all together. He has not been transparent. He never reached across the aisle to concede anything. He reached only to demand everyone think like him, whatever that entails.

Obama looks at any issue with one lens and one lens only - does this create union jobs. If it does he is in favor of it. If not, it is history but only after he uses it to trash Republicans as heartless, cruel and incompetent. Nope, no way he is going to bring anyone together. And we knew all along that was just a cover for think like me or else.

Nor should we all come together. No, there must and shall be a loyal and vocal opposition because no person as shallow and incompetent at Obama should ever have a blank check to do anything.

And we shall carry on so you can waste your time dregging up ridiculous rebuttals and I can waste my time showing you wrong on every count. And that leaves us in the same unchanged state of differing perceptions and realities, depending upon the glass we are looking through. Yours is half empty and you can never fill it. Ours is full and overflowing.

Now if you can stop evoking Bush, McCain and Palin as your bete noir raison d'etres, we can keep exploring the issues regarding this Obamination phenomenon unfolding before our eyes right now.
It is only going to get worse so best you put your childish things away and stop blaming Bush et al and look clearly and closely what Obama is doing to you right now too.

2/15/2009 11:04 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Red Pencil, if by "it is only going to get worse," you mean that we are only going to implement more and more progressive social policies that will turn us in the direction of European style social welfare programs, then you are correct. The economy, on the other hand, will get better as a result of Democratic economic policies. Over the last 90 years, in every case but one (President Carter 1977-1980) the unemployment rate increased during Republican administrations and decreased during Democratic administrations. Democratic economic policies are more conducive to higher rates of employment than Republican polices are. Higher rates of employment are better for the economy. Also, once we implement health care reform the New Deal will be complete and the vast majority of citizens will benefit and a great ecomomic burden will be spread evenly over the whole society making it lighter (i.e., less expensive) for each individual. In your eyes this may be "worse," but some of us perceive this as "better."

2/16/2009 8:04 AM  
Anonymous Crackers said...

Red wingnut, I will try not to waste as much time as you have. Mine is apparently more precious than yours.
And you do repeat yourself.

Bush is certainly gone, but the mess he left us remains to be cleaned up. That isn't going to happen overnight.

Democrats generally prefer that everyone vote; it's Republicans these days who want to reinstate and promote voter restrictions, even though there is virtually no evidence of actual voter fraud. Rethugs purge the polls and make it difficult for poor people, and people of color to cast their votes. The overwhelming thefts of elections in the recent past have favored Repubs, so this isn't a fantasy.

OBama's stimulus plan was watered down by the few Repubs who joined in. What reaches across the aisle have Repubs made since Obama was sworn in? Zero.

During times of severe crisis, the pols are supposed to join together to get things done. Bush squandered the last moment after 9/11; the Repubs are obstructing again now that we face the greatest economic mess since the Depression. Obama can't wave a magic wand and pull everyone together. The righties have to be willing to compromise for the greater good. That's simply not possible for them, apparently.

I wish you were right that Obama sees everything through a "union jobs" lens, but alas, it ain't so. And Tim Geithner is doing all he can to protect Wall St. execs. So, there's another one for the Repubs.

McSame/Palin would have been a scary duo trying to run the country. That's what we need, another angry frat boy with his finger on the button, seconded by an ignorant jackass who can't abide urban folk. That would have been just swell.

So take your delusional nonsense back to the fake ranch at Crawford, or to the corrupt melting glaciers in Anchorage, and we'll see if we can't improve things while you rant and rave in an exile for which the rest of us are grateful.

2/16/2009 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

Obama and ACORN wanted so many people to vote they registered them 17 times and added Minnie Mouse to the voter rolls. Virtue is not yours to claim.

The concern is the return to the unregulated massive welfare state abuses, expanded entitlement of Octomoms and $500K familly babysitters, the unions expanded destruction of US industrial power, and the creation of Congressional fat cats to replace Wall Street fat cats.

The meltdown and intransigence of California governance is a reminder of too much union and Democratic power.You need look no further why there is alarm.

A little more European socialism would be good along with their enlightened monarchies that go along with most successful European models. Add them up. Who are you going to nominate for our reigning American monarchy.

Nope, Kennedeys don't count. No dignity and shaggy origins. Who best embodies the dignities of the American experience that can guide our European constitutional democracy models?

I am not ready for more of the Chicago way no matter what you say or think. I do despair as I think America is far sicker than just in its current politics. I also see there is little to do during this major transformation of our country and the world's history. We will reach bottom. Then we will rebuild.

When all wealth is redistributed, it ends up back in the same hands 3 generations later. I see discretionary cash going to the Chumash casino and I fear the expanded democratic base.

Yes, I am an elitist. Save your breath. I am an elitist. Secretly you are too, but you feel guilty about it. I don't. Republicans will rebrand going upscale. And you will wish you were part of it. You will come over later. I know you will. You will soon be the liberal who got mugged. And you will come over.

Democrats are not as good as you think. And Republicans are not as bad.

2/16/2009 12:12 PM  
Blogger Don McDermott said...

Red Pencil>> please just give them Democrats a chance to screw things up as bad as Republicans have over the past 8 years.

Red Rover >> provides a link to the Journal columnists that wants President Hussein Obama to drop the doom and gloom rhetoric in favor of some optimism. So now "Disaster Capitalism" is the tool of democrats?

Below is Moody's Economist link and take with doom and gloom and comments on shattered confidence and pessimism.$750_Billion_Fiscal_Stimulus_Package.pdf

Even Rush Limbaugh dittoheads should be able to "find" in this article recommendations for spending that benefits the GDP and if you "find" "Temporary Increase in Food Stamps" the economic benefit for every $1.00 spent is $1.73 (presumably no matter how much or little fraud.) Social spending seems to have the best bang for your buck or "multiplier effect."

If you "Find" the economic benefit for "Make Bush Income Tax Cuts Permanent' it is rated very low along with all other tax cuts as their multiplier effect are dismal by comparison to food stamps.

So if I could tie this all in with this little raise the city workers will be getting, consider it to be our own local "stimulus package."

2/17/2009 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

New poll shows 90% of Americans still employed. 70% are not worried about losing their jobs. Yet, 80% believe things are going to get worse.

Nice bit of PR work spreading gloom and doom, Obama. Best to listen to McCain afterall - the fundamentals of our economy are sound.

Only Obama and the unions greedy for federal bailout money and more union memberships will tell you otherwise.

The only thing we have to fear, is Obama himself. (And what his brand of big bailout governance is going to the stock market.)

2/17/2009 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Not this time said...

Red P, there will always be industrial and Wall Street fat cats, rest assured. The question is, will there be a middle class, and will those fat cats have to give up their 500-to-1 salary ratios to somehow get by on a mere 150-to-1? Unions built this country, and it prospered when unions prospered. Now that unions have been weakened and we are left at the mercy of the industrialists, the unbridled greed has soaked and corrupted the economy for the betterment of the very very few Dubya friends and allies.

The budget mess California faces is due to the intransigence of the Repubs, coupled with a dysfunctional budget process that requires a 2/3 majority to pass a budget. Republicans don't care about schools, parks, libraries, infrastructure or much of anything other than sucking up to business interests. That will continue to haunt them. The only mugging going on around here is the responsibility of the Repubs, who deny that anyone should be helped out by government other than themselves, though businesses reap the corporate welfare each and every day.

2/17/2009 2:11 PM  
Anonymous Had enough yet? said...

Red P, your true cruel colors are showing. Ten percent is a lot of unemployed people who are suffering, trying to support themselves and probably a family. Not only do a majority of people think the economy will worsen, so do most experts. According to you, we should just adhere to the definition of insanity, and continue to follow the destructive policies of the Bush era, all the while expecting them to make things better instead of worse. Fortunately, we had an election that eliminates that possibility, even as the Obama administration foolishly and naively seeks to extend a bipartisan hand to those who would do this country harm -- and I'm not talking about foreign enemies, I'm talking about Republicans.

2/17/2009 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

10% unemployment is not cruel. Nor does it require a trillion dollar bailout. Do the math. Stop jerking the guilt chain. And your anti-Republican jag carries no water either. You are not part of the solution so you remain part of the problem.

McCain said it best to Obama. If you wanted to run against Bush, you should have run 4 years ago (Afterall, Obama was equally qualifeed 4 years ago as he was now).

We have social safety nets already in place. We have too many people who refuse to take jobs they think are beneath them. We will have an unemployment problem when, and only when, we see illegal immigrants lining up to go back to Mexico.

Meanwhile anyone claiming to need a job simply is not looking at the millions of jobs illegal workers are very willing to take and use to bootstrap themselves into the American dream and still send money home to their relatives.

Your crocodile tears are misplaced.

2/18/2009 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Please stay in denial said...

Red pencil, apparently no amount of unemployment is too high for you, so yes, you do (again) reveal yourself as heartless. That is the main indicator of a downturn, but by no means the only one. Are you denying that this economic crisis is real, or is the worst we've faced since the Depression? If so, you're now contradicting not merely Obama, but all of your Repub cretin friends, too.

McSame did want to perpetuate the Bushian policies of business/crony suckup, endless war, torture, anti-unionism, tax cuts at all costs, incompetence in government (how about that Palin?), anti-environmentalism, corporate rapaciousness, and health care and education for the rich. Yes, Johnny, the economy is sound indeed -- a statement he tried to disavow.

Employers like many hotels, restaurants, growers, and car wash owners, like to pay their workers subminimum wage and dare them to complain. That's a wonderful part of the economy to invite the unemployed to enter. Are the huge layoffs that are being reported every day the fault of workers? You no doubt think so, since business people and corporations are infallible -- or at least Repubs think so (unless those corporations made the mistake of adhering to workers' mandatory wishes of union organization).

Part of the Rethugs' problem is that they have misplaced their humanity, and have become incapable of empathizing with anyone not making six figures a year, or who lacks a yacht. That is not the way to win elections, and I'm glad you're insisting on sticking to that approach.

2/18/2009 7:04 PM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

If illegals still line up for jobs, there is no unemployment here. There are just people who refuse to work. Not my problem. It is theirs.

Stick with the issues. Take your class envy someplace else. You embarrass yourself. Get a house in north county. You can afford them on minimum wage, double earner. Enough of this whining.

Have you ever tried to win arguments with good ideas rather than resorting to just trying to shame your opponents? Beef up your playing cards, okay?

I am telling you: you can find jobs here and you can buy a house. Now. There are no problems here outside of the ones people make for themselves with their own selfish choices.

Now wring your hands over that statement of fact. There is a huge social safety net in this town. Huge. More than any other place in California. If you can't make it here, you can't make it anywhere. Rethink your life plan. Make it work for you instead of demanding other people hand it to you.

Find a partner, both of you accept minimum wages and buy a house in North County. The banks have plenty to choose from at very low prices. And be done with this shame game trying to get someone else to bail you out.

2/18/2009 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Red Pencil, you seem to be assuming that those who are arguing with you are unemployed and asking for a handout. I have been reading this string from the beginning and I have not read that anyone on it is complaining about losing his or her position. I do not know this for a fact, but I would guess that most of the liberal posters on this string have well-paying jobs, pay lots of taxes, and own their own homes here on the South Coast. We feel very fortunate indeed that the economic troubles currently plaguing the Country are not affecting us that much, and we feel responsible as a society for the care of those who are hurting at this time. Liberalism is about embracing our responsibility to the community and resisting selfish impulses. I'll let you define Conservatism.

2/19/2009 7:42 AM  
Anonymous Sad specimen said...

Red P, how do you know me so well? Answer: you're clueless about who I am and what I have or don't have, and how I live. But I don't plan to enlighten you. I have won my share of arguments, though.

Unemployment is real. It means people who can't find work, and in order to qualify, they have to be looking and not finding. There happens to be a lot of that going around right now. I happen to be fortunate enough not to be in that category.

When the economy is losing jobs, that, believe it or not, is not the fault of the people laid off. It may or may not be the fault of management, though they tend to suffer least, if at all.

I am challenging your skewed perspective; it's not about shame, it's about denial and inability or unwillingness to see that you've got your facts wrong.

True enough, people make choices that turn out badly for themselves. Others make decisions that turn out badly not for themselves, but for those they employ and for society. Many of them are called Republicans (e.g., Dubya, Cheney, Bybee, Rove, Yoo, Powell, Rumsfeld, Feith, Abrams, Paulson) and greedy investment bankers, or just anti-union trogs (e.g., McCaw, car wash owners, Frank Lorenzo, many others you haven't heard of).

Face it: society cushions capitalists quite a bit more than it does those in dire need of the actual (shredded) safety net that Bush and Ahnuld have trashed but not totally obliterated. But your personalizing of these issues shows you to be 'way off base. Not to mention boring. We're done here. Buh-bye.

2/19/2009 7:52 AM  
Anonymous Red pencil said...

Unemployment always runs 6% or so and even saying this, it is well-established NO ONE has a real handle on these numbers in the first place, nor is there a consistent definition of "unemployment" or the latest twist "underemployment". So this is at best a fake benchmark for normalcy.

So even a fake rise to 10% "unemployment" besides being a number riddled with error from the start, show no great catastrophe that Obama with is pro-union growth agenda is making it out to be.

Shame has no part in this equation. Make sense or else your professed departure from this discussion is welcomed. And the paucity of your argument has quickly been exposed.

BTW: If you owned a house you would not be making the arguments you were making. You would have a better understanding of personal choice. That is why it is easy to "read your mind".

2/19/2009 9:15 AM  
Anonymous The gift that keeps on giving said...

Red Putz, owning a house doesn't deprive the owner of the ability to sympathize with those who don't. And certainly being a Repub heartless selfish thug doesn't improve your ability to perceive or discern humanity and motivation in others, or to make credible arguments.

But you have said it all by stating that we're not in a catastrophic economy right now, because of high unemployment and other factors. I urge you to keep believing that spew, and more importantly, I implore you and your Thuglican brethren to keep saying so, loud and clear and in public, so you can keep losing elections.

2/19/2009 11:21 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

So, in the new California budget deal taxes will be increased an amount that none of us will really even notice, but public education is going to take an $8 billion cut. California already ranks in the bottom half of all U.S. states in per-pupil spending, and now we are going to race to the bottom. Conservatives like to say that California has among the highest rates of sales tax and income tax, but they leave out the fact that we have one of the lowest property tax rates. How can anyone with an once of morality suggest that we cut public eduction when, by any measure, our per-pupil spending is low? As a state we are a bunch of stingy, grasping, misers. We are stealing a decent education from our children in order to hoard pennies.

2/20/2009 8:48 AM  
Anonymous School Daisy said...

Cut CA education funding even more. California teachers are already over paid, under-worked and vastly under achieving. No more pouring good money after bad. Voters are sick of teacher union bullying and whining.

Lower pay means you weed out the bad teachers who only want to slide, and keep those who love the job because they know the rewards of working are not measured only by dollar signs.

Bring on the Washington DC public education model ASAP. Let teachers choose to forego tenure for merit based pay or get job security at lower wages. Bring on more charter schools beyond the reach of dastardly teachers unions.

Stop paying teacher union dues for an instant salary increase. Apparently, according to Eckerman, they haven't delivered to their poor abused members any benefits so send them packing.

And then take that French Literature degree and go find a real job in the private sector that pays you the oodles of money you deserve.

2/21/2009 9:24 AM  
Anonymous No bootstraps 'round here said...

Daisy, you don't know whereof you speak. Teachers all over the country including California are underpaid and overworked. Only voters who already hate unions for reasons having nothing to do with educational issues and commonsense want to blame our educational crisis on teachers or their unions. As for the DC model, it's by no means clear that it will work, but it isn't about lowering teachers' pay, whether or not they give up tenure. As Newsweek recently described it, "(Superintendent) Rhee's toughest fight, by far, is coming up. She has proposed a new contract for the union that would undermine tenure, the teachers union holy of holies. The carrot is money. By tapping Mayor Fenty and private philanthropists, she is hoping to make D.C. teachers the best-paid in the country. Current teachers would actually have a choice. If they are willing to go on "probation" for a year—giving up their job security—and can successfully prove their talent, they can earn more than $100,000 a year and as much as $130,000, a huge salary for a teacher, after five years. If not, they still get a generous 28 percent raise over five years and keep their tenure. (All new teachers must sign up for the first option and go on probation for four years.) Rhee predicts that about half the teachers will choose to take their chances on accountability for higher pay, and that within five years the rest will follow, giving up tenure for the shot at merit pay hikes."

So, while teachers who give up tenure stand to gain major increases, even those who don't will also be treated generously. This is in keeping with the idea that if we want to maintain and improve the educational system, the carrot is far more effective than the stick. And the "lazy teacher" myth is just another anti-union shibboleth advanced by people who think government workers don't do anything for their pay, and everything should be privatized. Heckuva job, Daisy.

2/21/2009 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

School Daisy, I must admit that you truly test my ability to stay within Sara's language and personal attack limits, but I will strive to answer your obviously ill informed and illogical post without resorting to calling into question your parentage and intelligence. Teaching children is one of the most noble public services practiced by human beings. Most school teachers are dedicated far beyond the level of most other workers. Teachers are highly educated and intelligent most of them could probably do your job in half the amount of time it takes you to do it. While California teachers are reasonably compensated, they are by no means the highest paid teachers in the nation. We have raised two children, both of whom went to public schools in the Santa Barbara area and we have nothing but praise and accolades for the fine job our children's teachers did in educating our children and contributing to their past and current success. Are some teachers better than others? Of course. Is there always room for performance improvement? Yes there is. Could the system as a whole have better prepared our children for their university educations and professional lives? I hardly think so. And all of this was accomplished on shoestring budgets. Now Californians want to erode our school system by starving it of the revenues it needs to maintain even minimally adequate programs. School Daisy, I doubt whether you have the mental capacity to take a degree in French Literature. Otherwise you would not have made such ill conceived statements.

2/21/2009 2:31 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Eckerman -- thanks for your restraint :) I half expected you to say that "your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberry".

2/21/2009 3:35 PM  
Anonymous School daisy said...

Today's news report about SB becoming a basic aid school district says teachers make $72,000 a year ---for a 9 month year with loads of paid vacation, holiday, sick leave, personal leave days that private employees never even think about getting.

Teachers either get 3 months off in the summer to do nothing or get another job and pick up even more bucks.

You just gotta start putting numbers on your claims teachers are "underpaid". They are not. And the sooner this union scam and constant harangue gets exposed, the better.

Listen up. Teacher unions can whine all they want about being over-worked and underpaid but their real bosses are the tax payers and the taxpayer are fed up and disgusted with the waste of money for so little results in our public schools.

You need to develop a little respect for who has been paying your bills all these years. You act like it is a money tree you can shake at your own will. Well shake up your attitude. Earn your keep instead of treating your cushy jobs as an entitlement.

2/22/2009 9:22 AM  
Anonymous School Daisy said...

Californians do not want to "starve" the system you admit already pays adequately, it wants flexible and accountable systems whose only product too often is failure.

It wants childen who come out of the system with a love for learning. It wants teachers who are qualified and love their subjects enough to inspires every student with that same love, even if it is Freanch Literature.

It wants children to have the opportunity to persue skilled crafts as well as cramming college prep on every kid, whether it is appropriate, timely or right and not have any one scream racism.

Which classroom do you want your child in. The one where the teacher chooses tenure and lower pay of the one where the teacher is motivated and rewarded for doing his or her best and is willing to be held accountable for his or her efforts. Which role model do you want for your children.

The current union choked inflexible system has enough history of failure to be tossed out in its entirety, yet there is one roadblock and one road block only that keeps California education from thriving - the teacher unions.

If they were not so greedy and self-interested in their own membership dues power base, they would be at the forefront for educational reform and be willing to trade accountability for renewed public confidence in this critical public institution.

If you think I am ignorant, please thank the California public education industry for my example. I am one of their best products. And you, my dear friends are their worst apologists.

2/22/2009 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Read closer School Daisy. The article you cited said that the "cost" of a teacher is $72,000. That is not what they get paid. The article did not mention what was included in those costs, but I imagine it includes things such as social security, unemployment insurance, employer contribution to retirement and health insurance, and may include some non-compensation related overhead costs that school administrators spread across all the salaries. I know a relatively young teacher in L.A. who makes about $45,000/year after several years of teaching, not terrible but by no means excessive. Everyone loves to say that teachers work only 9 months a year. This is a misleading and disingenuous statement. Most teachers work at least 10 to 12 hours each day and put in a few hours during weekend during the school year in order to get all the grading and class preparation work done. Consequenly, they put in a full year's work (in terms of hours expended) in only 9 months. I agree that curriculum should be restructured to provide a structure for students who do not aspire to a university degree. High schools used to provide such a curriculum, but after Proposition 13 significanlty reduced educational funding, these programs were among the first to go (along with severe reductions in sports and arts programs). Finally, to repeat the most salient point, California is not even near the top of per-pupil spending nationwide. What that statistic tells me is that the California educational system has already achieved financial efficiency. Last time I check, we were 27th in per-pupil spending. I guess some folks won't be happy until we're 50th.

2/22/2009 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Cut off thy nose while you're at it said...

School Daisy, you cast a wide net when you falsely claim that teachers "make" $72K a year. If you check out an informative website,, you see they start in the $40s, or below, and no doubt take many years to get into the $70s. One teacher I know in the LAUSD who has worked a dozen years is in that range. What you are perhaps referring to is the total cost to the school district of a teacher, which includes health care and pension, and you still may be overstating it. But that is what those who want to complain about alleged overpaid workers do -- they add on all the bells and whistles and falsely state that that's what the employees "make", suggesting it is all salary.

Another source states that the average teacher salary is $65K, and the salaries on the Central Coast range from the $30s (Bradley Union) to the $90s (Montecito).

Of course, you tout the DC system where teachers would be paid over $100K in salary alone, and yet you don't complain about that. The teachers I've known and seen in action make a lot less than $72K, and they have to buy their own supplies, they may have to cart their materials from room to room, and they work in overcrowded classrooms.

If you want teachers who perform well and ensure a bright future for our children and this country, then you need to pay them well, reduce class size and keep them learning and inspired. The issue of education isn't all about keeping the cheapo taxpayer happy; it's too important to be guided by those who would pay the least and will probably opt out of the system with their own kids. No, this must be left to the educators who know what they're doing, and are willing to put our pocketbooks where their mouths are. Let's get miserly on things like corporate filings and ability to skirt taxes, and let the rich pay for their own police protection. And let's let the defense contractors pay for their own wars.

2/22/2009 6:07 PM  
Anonymous School Daisy said...

You miss the point.

If more money actually made a difference in Calif public education improving, it would be great to offer more. And finally get the best.

But when you have a system that demands deadwood be retained, fights accountability measures, and constantly whines they are underpaid and under-appreciated and offers nothing in return for always insatiable pay demands why would anyone want to pour more money on these whiners to perpetuate their present systemic failure model.

We don't buy your "put more money in the classroom" fraud any longer. We have finally learned this means put more and more and more money into teachers pockets and don't ask a darn thing from them in return. You will need a better campaign slogan to hoodwink the voters next time.

Parents of private school kids think it is okay to pay $10K-15K-20K per child because they know their kids will get educated and not get caught in all the dead end teacher union job security demands that have made Calif education such a dead end failure.

Sure, $100K for merit based, no-tenure teachers is fine because teaching should be a highly competitive and sought after profession. I just can't see pouring more money into its present failed state.

However, if you can find a single study showing paying more and keeping the same union mess leads to better education, I will support its application to our local schools.

The $72K quote was for SB schools; not LA schools. Take your out of district pro-union arguments somewhere else. Basic aid schools here in SB country are even doing better paywise. Teachers in SB County are paid well. And many of them deliver well for that pay. It is the whining and greed coming from their unions that turns everyone off.

And in case you don't know this, but most professionals don't work on the clock and routinely put in much longer than 8 hour days. That is why they are professionals. Get out of your ivory tower. That is why your arguments fall on deaf ears. No one feels sorry for you anymore.

If you want to punch a clock, work your way up the ladder at McDonalds.

2/22/2009 11:13 PM  
Anonymous School Daisy said...

YOu got smaller class sizes, which led to hiring more teachers and creating more teacher union members and dues. And this led to NO improvement.

Parents are voting with their pocket books and sending their kids to private schools and signing up for charter schools, homeschooling and demands for vouchers. They want anything but the dead end of teacher union slackers teaching their kids.

Blaming Bush, his war or defense contractors for your own failures and your unions insatiable greed and job protection with NO accountability does not win any taxpayers hearts.

Get a good grip here, the status quo of California education has to change. You have the chance to change if from within and that means moving out of the union demand strangulation of the entire public system with job security tail wagging the dog mentality.

It means giving parents choices, risking merit based pay and the removal of poor teachers. Stop obstructing charter schools is a good place to start and to show your "professional" sincerity and dedication to the class room.

Voters now say "huh" when you claim give us more money and leave education to the professionals. They have given you money. They have given you smaller class rooms. And all they get is your hand out demanding more and more and more and not seeing a darn thing called educational improvement.

Be happy with what you have and when you finally figure out on your own how to improve things, then maybe more people will come to this profession and competition for good teachers and good classrooms will finally motivate the market.

You need to heal yourself first before you ask for more money to keep doing the same rotten job under the same rotten conditions. You people have it good in Santa Barbara. We are sick of your greed. Save it for taxpayers who don't care.

2/22/2009 11:24 PM  
Anonymous School Daisy said...

WSJ has a great article about what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Compare these qualities to those who would rather sit in union employee jobs and take pot shots at the mean bosses who don't appreciate them.

Here is what it takes to make it on your own instead of demanding someone else take care of you:

1. Willing and able to take great financial risk
2. Sacrifice your lifestyle for potentially many years
3. Like all aspects of running a business
4. Making decisions on the fly with no playbook
5. Have a track record executing your ideas
6. Are persuasive and well-spoken
7. Passionate about your concept
8. Are a self-starter

Since one finds none of these qualities in union member employees, they need to realize they are lucky to get what they get and if they want more they need to develop all those qualities and start their own private charter schools where they can get the rewards they think they deserve ..... and earn.

2/23/2009 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

Dream on School Daisy, your anti- union, neo-conservative, supply-side theories have been debunked by history. They were based on sloppy scholarship and pushed into public policy by plutocratic predators. They have decimated the middle class and nearly bankrupted the Country. In case you haven't noticed the Reagan Revolution died sometime during the Bush II administration and it will not be revived anytime soon. We are finally going back to the New Deal principles that brought us so much prosperity in the years between the late 40s and late 60s. Unions are not going away. In fact they will be back and we will all be better for it.

2/24/2009 7:48 AM  
Anonymous School of Hard Knocks Daisy said...

Correction Eckermann, the unions will be ....... backing down ...... and we will all be better for it.

And employees ditching monthly union dues will give them an immediate pay raise.

No better picture of the Obama economy than the graph in the WSJ today showing the market was recovering in the final days of the Bush II administration only to start its current steep and steady plunge to record lows after Obama took over and kept up his Soros friendly drumbeat of gloom, doom and irreversible disaster.

Soros is making a bundle in his hedge funds betting against the US. He needs Obama as his tool and he is getting his money's worth having purchased his election.

When one person (Obama) keeps getting it so wrong on the economy, this current post Jan 2009 mess now all rests at his feet and you get to no longer blame Bush. Nice try but the numbers are making you a liar and it will only get worse. Go look at that WSJ chart.

Your kid was not ready on Day One and he never will be. Thank you for all that Hope and Change. Buddy, can you spare us all a dime?

But hey, even I know blame solves nothing. But your blind Bush hatred as operating ideology and the mantra of the Progressives and union lackies at this point is petty and destructive. You go the chance to run things; stop ruining things.

You want to think big; abolish the capital gains tax for two years. That is all you have to do.

Forget the rest of your nanny-state redistributions of wealth schemes. And deeply begin to suspect George Soros is not your best friend.

2/24/2009 9:22 AM  
Anonymous IWW said...

School Daisy, to echo Eckermann, your (and the WSJ's) fantasy about the heroic messianic entrepreneur, and the negative by implication bigotry about union employees, are by now exposed as pathetic drivel. Let's leave aside those wealthy people who inherit their fortunes, or marry and/or divorce their way into it, or do something brilliant and original like flip houses on their way to it, or better yet, poison or injure people in their pursuit of money (e.g., tobacco, oil, coal mining, railroad robber barons, etc.). There is a naive belief that these entrepreneurs are somehow better than the rest of us, and/or that they did it all by themselves, without the help of workers, government, courts, police, law enforcement, tax breaks and development assistance (including the legal fiction of corporate identity) and a social structure. No one is saying that entrepreneurs should be denied all the fruits of their ideas, efforts, risk-taking and innovation. But they should not be able to use that wealth and concomitant power to harm others, truncate the rights of others, and deny others their fair share of opportunity, and equity in and out of the workplace. Yet that is precisely what the Repubs and other corporate shills have been advocating forever, with greater and greater success since Reagan. Unions are the answer to corporate amassing of power, and they must be respected and permitted and encouraged to flourish, because they are the ticket to the middle class, they are a counterbalance to the abuse we see now among the corporate elite, and they are a way to ensure justice for those who haven't amassed that financial power, as individuals. Of course this is anathema to people like you, but entrepreneurs aren't morally superior because they took a risk, and union represented people aren't "less than" because they banded together for mutual aid and protection. That kind of effort is actually encouraged in our law, and is an international human right and principle. Keep tilting at windmills and keep reading Ayn Rand, but don't support the lawbreakers, polluters, discriminators, retaliators, antitrust violators, unionbusters, and violent employer thugs and frauds, who are too present amongst your holy capitalists.

2/24/2009 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Eckermann said...

It would be humorous if not so tragic that there are people remaining who believe in the supply-side hoax. It never made any sense as an economic theory and created real pain and suffering in practice. Reducing the marginal tax rates on savings income (i.e., the capital gains tax rate) has never affected the rate of savings and investment. This fact is just now showing up in the economics text books. If you think about it, the marginal tax rate is nothing compared to the interest rates as a motivator to save, and even fluctuations in interest rates does not materially affect the rate of saving. All of that supply-side mumbo jumbo was just so much sophistry to justify giving tax breaks to the rich. I never blamed Bush II for the mess we are in. Rather, we can blame Milton Friedman, Reagan, Greenspan, and Bush II. Bush is taking blame now because the wheels came off during his administration.

2/25/2009 7:39 AM  
Anonymous School of Hard Knocks Daisy said...

Don't overlook all the charitable foundations and donations made by the rich. Pull all that money out of your Obama reform schemes first, and then give me the number he uses to make up for that. And where he is going to get it.

Oh yes, He is just going to confiscate this ill-gotten wealth and He alone will choose how this will be spent. And a million flowers will bloom in Chicago.

The rich will always be with us and the poor will always be with us. Don't envy the rich. Learn to live with them. They are not as well off as you like to fantacize. Nor are the poor as desperate as you pretend.

We as a society have an obligation to remove artificial barriers to success, provide public education for all, support a decent national commerce infrastructure and fair and just legal enforcement, and a limited social safety net for the developmentally disabled among us who have no other resources. (See charitable foundations above please)

But we have no mandate to confiscate wealth or prevent people from making bad personal decisions or their own failure to take advantage of all of the above already given to them by the state.

Everyday immigrants prove you can bootstrap yourself out of desperate conditions into productive lives. Those who remain poor and desperate in America today have only themselves to blame. And the sooner they start blaming themselves first instead of others, the better their own lives will become.

Your class envy is irritating. Do you have any other purpose? Please move into a post-partisan world. Diatribes have no use any longer. You won. Now produce.

Oh gosh, the market just went down again after Obama's speech. Get crackin. Your Chosen One is still making a mess of things.

And go extend your charity to your fellow union members at the SF Chronicle -one more industry destroyed by unions.

BTW: you have silly ideas about "capitalists". Really, very Charlie Chaplinesque. You are a museum piece. Why am I wasting my time here when all I get is trite stereotyping from you. Pays to understand the opposition is all I can say. Yours is a paper tiger. But damn, you are passionate defending your ignorance and envy. Denial might be a better word and I need to do better not getting hooked into your need to be disruptive and attention getting.

We remain locked in a circular face off. So if I leave you with the last word, celebrate you have exhausted this exchange into meaninglessness. We have changed neither's opinions nor won over any points. Except proving Obama's "bringing us all together" was just smoke-screen for demanding everyone think just like you. Not a chance.

2/25/2009 8:55 AM  

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