The results of the Wisconsin Recall Election stirred up a hornets nest like no event in the past ever did. The big guns defending their seats at the public trough are being activated.
I could not find a transcript of Chris Wallace interviewing two of the biggest guns, Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association, and Thea Lee, Deputy Chief of Staff, AFL-CIO. The transcript would have helped, but it is not necessary. The howitzers bombarded Wallace with rapid fire talking points; once again proving that interviewing two of the same kind at the same time is always a mistake; it makes their talking points more effective.
I want to address a few opportunities Wallace let slip by; so let’s go to the videotape:
Wallace should have nailed Van Roekel on some of the items in many teachers’ contracts. Things like pensions being determined by a retiring teacher’s salary in the last year on the job. In many contracts a retiring teacher loads up on overtime in the final year. In some cases last-year-overtime can nearly double monthly pension checks until the recipient dies. Everybody at the top of the local education system goes along with it. Cooperation is essential. Others must relinquish overtime so the retiring teacher can pad the bill. The same fraud is commonplace with police and firefighters in many large cities.
Hours of labor
Here’s an unscientific total for private sector workers not counting overtime:
40 hours a week for 48 weeks equals 1,920 hours. I used 48 weeks to adjust for vacation time, paid holidays, and sick days.
Wallace should have asked how many hours teachers work each year? I’m pretty sure Van Roekel would have trotted out the unprovable gambit; i.e., marking test papers, after-hour functions related to school business, and so on. That’s when Wallace could have cornered him by asking how many hours each year teachers’ union members who never set foot in a classroom work?
Naturally, the talking points focused on the “children” on the local level. That’s always an opening to ask the one question everybody in the education industry fears: Where is the constitutional authority for the federal government to be involved in higher education?
Also, when Van Roekel said that teachers paid into their pensions, Wallace missed the opportunity to tell Van Roekel that their salaries are paid with tax dollars; hence, contributions to their pension plans come from tax dollars.
A few years ago I read that the University of California (10 campuses) had 50 billion dollars in its pension fund. Most of that money originated with tax dollars, and that’s just one university. Yet teachers’ unions expect taxpayers to bailout those pension plans in trouble. Years ago I suggested that the education industry use its pension funds to bailout the troubled pension funds of their brothers and sisters instead of asking taxpayers for more.
NOTE: Private sector salaried workers work many more hours than 1,920 hours per year; so their annual hours of labor should be compared to salaried government employees.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America...ation_of_LaborThe American Federation of Labor (AFL) was one of the first federations of labor unions in the United States. It was founded in Columbus, Ohio in December 1886 by an alliance of craft unions disaffected from the Knights of Labor, a national labor association. Samuel Gompers of the Cigar Makers' International Union was elected president of the Federation at its founding convention and was reelected every year except one until his death in 1924.
The AFL was the largest union grouping in the United States for the first half of the 20th century, even after the creation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) by unions that were expelled by the AFL in 1935 over its opposition to industrial unionism. While the Federation was founded and dominated by craft unions throughout the first fifty years of its existence, many of its craft union affiliates turned to organizing on an industrial union basis to meet the challenge from the CIO in the 1940s.
In 1955, the AFL merged with its longtime rival, the Congress of Industrial Organizations, to form the AFL-CIO, a federation which remains in place to this day. Together with its offspring, the AFL has comprised the longest lasting and most influential labor federation in the United States.
In plain English the AF of L was organized to fight for the demands of skilled labor (crafts), while the CIO organized unskilled and sem-skilled workers. Semi-skilled workers learned whatever skills they acquired from their employers. Call it the first application of on-the-job training.
In the early days of the American labor movement AF of L members were bigger S.O.B.s than the owners. They believed their special skills made them superior to unskilled workers in a company. The AF of L’s self-importance was the best friend robber barons ever had.
Parenthetically, union slogans in the early years said “Down with the hated boss” never “Down with the hated owner.” A good labor union man wanted to be an owner, or at least accumulate a few creature comforts. It was Communists attempting to infiltrate the labor movement in its infancy who tried to turn the public to collectivism and against the wealthy; ergo, against wealth, wealth creation, and capitalism. They are still at it.
If Taft-Hartley killed private sector unions in 1947, the merger between the AF of L and the CIO buried them in 1955.
Now, with my comments in mind go back and listen to Thea Lea again. You’ll see that the public sector is her primary concern. She may be too young to understand what she said, but she returned to the early days of skilled labor verses unskilled labor. In the halls of the AFL-CIO private sector workers are unskilled. To Ms. Lee, government employees are today’s crafts in the AFL-CIO structure. Somebody should tell Lee that in the past skilled laborers screwed unskilled laborers in the private sector, while her skilled laborers are screwing everybody.
Lee also said that more money is needed to attract the best people to government. Taxpayers threw money at “the best people” for decades and the country is on the brink of ruin. I hate thinking about the mess giving them more money will create.
About 40 years ago government unions partnered with those who had a vested interest in big government. Together, they embarked on a public relations campaign with the help of the Ministry of Propaganda. The MSM told us that in order to attract the best people to government the private sector producer must throw tons of money at them. The argument for gluttony at the public feed tub basically said that greedy people in government would improve government. The argument also implied that the poor slobs who remained in the private would be downgraded to the worst people.
At the same time the best people began grabbing all they could get. People in the military, who actually defend this country, were told they already had it too good. Ambition replaced achievement as personal political power and exorbitant incomes for doing nothing made a mockery out of public service.
After the initial public relations campaign got underway, I couldn’t help wondering how the United States became the greatest country the world has ever known in the centuries before “The Best People” were given the keys to state and federal taxing agencies.
The public was also told by TV fantasy land that teachers were never politically motivated by more money and more benefits. The public learned that teachers desired nothing more than to enlighten their always troubled charges. It was a tough job, but teachers always rose to the challenge week after week —— resolving this or that problem in 60 minutes —— minus time allotted for product commercials. Problems were always solved when TV kids learned another touchy-feely lesson. Nothing was said in those doses of propaganda about actually teaching young gumps anything of value. That was the closest teacher shows ever came to telling the truth about what is taught in real public education classrooms
Ultimately, the unrelenting message from government employee unions says “Government is good so bigger government must be better.” That message has been numbing the minds of young and old alike for most of my life. Thea Lee delivered the message one more time.
Finally, let me deliver my message one more time. Private sector union members have less reason to support the AFL-CIO than the rest of us because they got screwed the most. More importantly, no private sector American should ever support public sector unions, or the elected officials who represent those unions.