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-   -   The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis) (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=6517)

Ocean 03-04-2011 04:20 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 199825)
OK, glad we cleared that up. Here is the question on the table: Given that public sector employees can force their compensation higher through the action of collective bargaining, why does anyone (outside the union) think this is a good thing?

Because it makes public service jobs attractive to highly qualified people so that they can do a better job for the rest of us. Isn't that the obvious?

stephanie 03-04-2011 04:23 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 199825)
OK, glad we cleared that up. Here is the question on the table: Given that public sector employees can force their compensation higher through the action of collective bargaining, why does anyone (outside the union) think this is a good thing?

I gave you my answer already, in 147.

Simon Willard 03-04-2011 04:32 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 199822)
Besides what everyone else has contributed in terms of the functions that public employee unions may serve, I think that public employees are to some degree subject to the change in tides every few years when the political parties in power change. It's not uncommon that jobs may be created or destroyed depending on the specific projects. There may be political pressures to give employment to party favorites, and the like. Unions try to buffer the effects of such changes.

Stability is a fair point, I guess, though I was thinking about compensation.

But wait a minute. I work in the private sector, and I'm affected by changes in supervisors, changes in CEOs and changes in company ownership quite frequently - I'm guessing about every 18 months on average over the past 15 years. And believe me, the people in charge always bring in their friends. It's just the way people work....

handle 03-04-2011 04:46 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 199758)
(*scratching record noise*)

This seems as good a place as any to insert this thing that I just happened across:



Not that it'll persuade our associate from the Von Mises Junior League, Special Zealot Section, but some of the rest of you may enjoy reading it.

But Mr. Keefe, none of those things will ever happen to Unit, in his mind. The free market could never lead to the US becoming a very hostile environment for him, because he will be rich enough, (we're still in his mind) to build an impenetrable fortress to protect him from the communist thugs who might be in desperate need of a burrito. Of course, in his mind, he hasn't entertained the idea of how he will get rich, and stay rich, in an economy that has been gutted by like minded individuals. When the work is gone, there is no need for management, in the real, actual, meat space world.

FYI the airlines determine the seating plans for the planes, not Boeing. And new pilots make almost the same wages as the baggage guys. Just ask American hero Sully Sullenberger who testified before congress. And the most of the regional flights are actually subcontracted out, to avoid liability for crashes. The only thing keeping many planes in the air now, is the self preservation instincts of the crew, and even that isn't always enough. As we saw in Buffalo.

bjkeefe 03-04-2011 04:47 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 199831)
Stability is a fair point, I guess, though I was thinking about compensation.

But wait a minute. I work in the private sector, and I'm affected by changes in supervisors, changes in CEOs and changes in company ownership quite frequently - I'm guessing about every 18 months on average over the past 15 years. And believe me, the people in charge always bring in their friends. It's just the way people work....

Sounds like a good argument in favor of better union strength in the private sector.

You know, like we used to have.

Simon Willard 03-04-2011 05:14 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 199828)
Because it makes public service jobs attractive to highly qualified people so that they can do a better job for the rest of us. Isn't that the obvious?

Sorry, not obvious. Who decides how highly qualified a state worker should be? Who decides if they are doing a good job for us?

I'm not arguing that teachers are overpaid. They are underpaid by my personal yardstick, in the sense that if they made double or triple the salary, I would be one. I also live in a town with outstanding public schools. I pay dearly for them in the form of a high tax rate. I have "skin in the game" as Ann would say. And it was a voluntary choice on my part to live here. And I have the right to vote yea or nay on local tax increases. And I have the right to raise a fuss about it at town meeting.

So I'm raising a question of process. I'm sure you don't want public employees to set their own salaries. So how much influence should they have in their salaries? Should they make what the market will bear? There's no market! I don't think it's beneficial to governance when employees can put the government over a barrel. In the long run, it hurts government, hurts democracy and feeds the far right...

One would hope that Wisconsinners would decide to fund better schools when they want better schools, or when they decide that the kids from Massachusetts are eating their lunch.

Ocean 03-04-2011 05:41 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 199840)
Sorry, not obvious. Who decides how highly qualified a state worker should be? Who decides if they are doing a good job for us?

Your question can be answered at different levels depending on how immediate or distant you wonder the decider is.

Quote:

I'm not arguing that teachers are overpaid. They are underpaid by my personal yardstick, in the sense that if they made double or triple the salary, I would be one. I also live in a town with outstanding public schools. I pay dearly for them in the form of a high tax rate. I have "skin in the game" as Ann would say. And it was a voluntary choice on my part to live here. And I have the right to vote yea or nay on local tax increases. And I have the right to raise a fuss about it at town meeting.
Me too. However, I also realize I am in a privileged position of being able to choose where I live, being able to afford high taxes, and my opinion has more weight than the opinion that some other person may have in the same state but in a municipality with much lower income.

Quote:

So I'm raising a question of process. I'm sure you don't want public employees to set their own salaries. So how much influence should they have in their salaries? Should they make what the market will bear? There's no market! I don't think it's beneficial to governance when employees can put the government over a barrel. In the long run, it hurts government, hurts democracy and feeds the far right...
No, not quite. Generally speaking there are limits to salary setting by unions. Unions can't set a secretary's salary at $500K a year. But they can push that certain near bottom workers have a salary reasonably above the minimum wage, or with benefits that allow some safety for the employee and their families. For what I see there's a balance between public and private sector salaries. There are equivalencies between one and the other in terms of job descriptions.

There's no such thing as putting the government over a barrel. You're expressing an idea that comes from a hypothetical and not from reality. Collective bargaining is just that, bargaining. Each side has some power. Each side has some leverage. These negotiations are going on all the time. Generally speaking the involved parties know how to negotiate and how far to push within some realistic boundaries.

That is until a jerk like the Wisconsin governor comes around and thinks that's a great idea to play all kinds of tricks to screw up teachers and the communities they serve.

The problem with hypothetical ideas, is that that's all they are. We are not trying a new model called "unions". We know how they work and how they operate. We can agree or disagree with some aspects of them, but we know to what extremes they won't go. That is, as long as the other side is negotiating in good faith. If the government starts to play dirty tricks like they have in Wisconsin, I truly don't know what unions will do. I'm in the more radical camp. Otherwise, unions fail altogether.

Quote:

One would hope that Wisconsinners would decide to fund better schools when they want better schools, or when they decide that the kids from Massachusetts are eating their lunch.
The problem is that people are not immediately aware of the consequences of certain political measures. It's always easier to destroy and dismantle than to build and recover. By the time the consequences become evident to everyone and something can be done about it, the solution may be a lot harder and more costly.

But I agree that, in some way, Wisconsinites (?) deserve the government that they elected, and perhaps they needed to learn a lesson. We also should thank them for showing what can happen with some of the elected officials that the Republican party is offering these days. Their sacrifice may teach millions in other states as well.

Simon Willard 03-04-2011 05:42 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 199803)
If the public sector acts as an employer, then the bargaining power considerations are similar. Indeed, to the extent the public sector is permitted to create near monopolies, the power imbalance may be even greater than with many private sector jobs.

Correct. Why should public employees have equal power? Or any power at all?

Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 199803)
Your argument seems to suggest that rather than bargaining like an ordinary employer, the public employer will decide, based on an analysis of competing public interests, what teachers or firefighters or the like deserve to get paid.

Correct, understanding that "deserve" includes consideration of the quality of service the public wants (and is willing to pay for).

Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 199803)
Teachers get paid based on market considerations like everyone else, at least to some extent.

Well, to some extent. Yet teacher job openings are often swamped with applicants.

Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 199803)
If that weren't the case it would (according to economic doctrine, anyway) fail to properly allocate choices among professions, as teachers would be paid more (or less, I suppose, if you don't value them) than careers with similar education requirements and skill sets that have compensation set by market forces.

I'm afraid you've left the topic, which was collective bargaining.

stephanie 03-04-2011 06:00 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 199845)
Correct. Why should public employees have equal power? Or any power at all?

Same reason any employees should.

Quote:

Correct, understanding that "deserve" includes consideration of the quality of service the public wants (and is willing to pay for).
Your premise is false. Like any employee, the public employees will tend to pay what they can get away with paying. (There's nothing wrong with this.)

Quote:

I'm afraid you've left the topic, which was collective bargaining.
No, I'm addressing your idea that compensation by public employers is set based on some idea of what the job merits, instead of based on the market, like other employers.

Since market considerations apply, the same efforts by employers to improve the imbalance in bargaining power should apply. Just as with the private section, however, that doesn't give employees the unilateral right to set compensation obviously (as your arguments seem at times to assume) but merely strengthens their bargaining position somewhat.

Unit 03-04-2011 06:01 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by handle (Post 199833)
But Mr. Keefe, none of those things will ever happen to Unit, in his mind. The free market could never lead to the US becoming a very hostile environment for him, because he will be rich enough, (we're still in his mind) to build an impenetrable fortress to protect him from the communist thugs who might be in desperate need of a burrito. Of course, in his mind, he hasn't entertained the idea of how he will get rich, and stay rich, in an economy that has been gutted by like minded individuals. When the work is gone, there is no need for management, in the real, actual, meat space world.

FYI the airlines determine the seating plans for the planes, not Boeing. And new pilots make almost the same wages as the baggage guys. Just ask American hero Sully Sullenberger who testified before congress. And the most of the regional flights are actually subcontracted out, to avoid liability for crashes. The only thing keeping many planes in the air now, is the self preservation instincts of the crew, and even that isn't always enough. As we saw in Buffalo.

For the record, I have nothing against burritos.

Not4Navigation 03-04-2011 06:17 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 199815)
In any case, I see no point in getting into a debate with you about what Unit meant and whether I understood him properly.

Then you might want to go back and read my first post in this thread where I also did not want to argue your inventions. I too thought Unit would be best suited for that. My additions were additions. If you have no comment on them, conclusion is welcomed.

Unit 03-04-2011 06:26 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 199811)
Question 1: is it possible that worker X would make more money without leaving his current job if he and his employer were not contrained by union rules. This is your example.

Question 2: if we say yes to Question 1, can we assume that in the absence of that union worker X would make more money? This is what doesn't follow.

Question 3: if we say yes to Question 1, can we assume that workers, on average, would make more in the absence of unions. This also does not follow.

I'm still a bit shaky on what the point is here. I'm not trying to establish the claim that in a world were unions were illegal in a given industry (I'm not advocating this) the average salary would thus be higher then if that industry were unionized. Too many variables, too much dynamics. For one thing the number of workers in the two situations could be different. I'm just focusing on the point of view of an individual worker. With-Unions this worker main threat might be a strike, they all sit home for a while, but they're not going anywhere. Without-Union this worker can threaten a "permanent strike", namely to go work for someone else. This is a huge bargaining chip, because employers are competing to retain their valuable workers. That's all. From the point of view of each individual worker, they're better off.

Quote:

I think that when your speculations require you to assume that everyone on the various sides of the particular argument in question are misunderstanding the side they should be on (including employers who you'd think -- if you believe econ 101 -- would do a better job of analyzing the effect on their costs), then you should question whether your speculations are really grounded in fact. It's certainly possibly that they are, but some better evidence would seem to be called for.
Actually employers don't like to be forced to retain unproductive workforce, so I can see that they wouldn't like unions, but in fact they might be fairly neutral on this. As you say they are under various constraints, so they'll deal with each one as needed.

The problem is not with my speculations, the problem is with the existence of "various sides". How is it possible that issue after issue one group of people falls on the Dem side and the other group falls on the Reps side. That's what I find unbelievable.

Ocean 03-04-2011 06:48 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 199849)
For the record, I have nothing against burritos.

:)

handle 03-04-2011 06:54 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 199849)
For the record, I have nothing against burritos.

That was the point genius, they will be after your burrito. You don't read so good eh? At first I thought you were thick, but you just quickly scan our posts, jump to the point you thought we made, and cook up some theoretical counterpoint. It all makes sense now.

Ocean 03-04-2011 06:57 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by handle (Post 199863)
That was the point genius, they will be after your burrito. You don't read so good eh? At first I thought you were thick, but you just quickly scan our posts, jump to the point you thought we made, and cook up some theoretical counterpoint. It all makes sense now.

I thought he was just using humor.

Simon Willard 03-04-2011 06:58 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 199848)
Same reason any employees should.

To negotiate for the maximum amount of money from the employer by threatening to withhold services? That's fine if the employer is a for-profit corporation. That is not a good reason if the employer is the public.

Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 199848)
Like any employee, the public employees will tend to pay what they can get away with paying.

You lost me.

Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 199848)
I'm addressing your idea that compensation by public employers is set based on some idea of what the job merits, instead of based on the market, like other employers.

Well, I propose that it's set based on what citizens (indirectly through elected officials) think the job merits. I deny that there is a robust market mechanism if the state can't go hire elsewhere. I suppose there is a kind of macro market mechanism, where one state competes against another state for quality of life, but this is driven by popular opinion, not by unions.

Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 199848)
Since market considerations apply, the same efforts by employers to improve the imbalance in bargaining power should apply. Just as with the private section, however, that doesn't give employees the unilateral right to set compensation obviously (as your arguments seem at times to assume) but merely strengthens their bargaining position somewhat.

No, I don't believe employees can set their compensation. The question is: why do you assume there needs to be a balance of power?

handle 03-04-2011 07:02 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Not4Navigation (Post 199850)
Then you might want to go back and read my first post in this thread where I also did not want to argue your inventions. I too thought Unit would be best suited for that. My additions were additions. If you have no comment on them, conclusion is welcomed.

You mean where you suckered for my fur bait? I knew you wouldn't be able to stay out of this, and I have been pushing your buttons the whole time. How tight did your sphincter get when you were squeezing out your psuedo-polite drivel?
You don't have any trouble lying about who you are, do you? Should be a clue to others regarding you general honesty, and integrity. See you in another five or so days.... in the mean time, watch out for cramps, they can be excruciatingly painful.

bjkeefe 03-04-2011 07:03 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ocean (Post 199866)
I thought he was just using humor.

I would like to know why Unit isn't opposed to burritos, since they are filled with food products inspected by government workers.

stephanie 03-04-2011 07:05 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 199851)
I'm still a bit shaky on what the point is here. I'm not trying to establish the claim that in a world were unions were illegal in a given industry (I'm not advocating this) the average salary would thus be higher then if that industry were unionized.

Okay. Then I think we are talking past each other. I grant your point (and did initially) that a particular employee may not have the ability to get a higher salary at his existing job due to various union-related restrictions (I don't think that's as common or hard to get around as you seem to, but I don't disagree that it can happen). I just don't think that demonstrates much with regard to the point I care about -- whether unions have a positive effect on compensation overall. Including for that worker, when compared to a world in which the union does not exist.

I'd also point out that in your hypothetical the worker is not disadvantaged by the union, since he is free to go to the higher paying job if it exists (i.e., a teacher can leave to go to a private school, if the private school pays more (which they generally don't)). If that means that good teachers are being lost, the employer has an incentive -- although less flexibility, true -- to address this by renegotiating or raising salaries in some fashion.

Quote:

Without-Union this worker can threaten a "permanent strike", namely to go work for someone else.
That can happen now in most cases (in part due to the weakness of unions, true). Remember, you are the one who pointed out that only 7% of workers are unionized.

Ocean 03-04-2011 07:08 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bjkeefe (Post 199870)
I would like to know why Unit isn't opposed to burritos, since they are filled with food products inspected by government workers.

You have a good point right there. And we all know that government is good for nothing. And the combination of government with public employee's unions is worse! I can't even understand how this country hasn't crumbled already.

We should follow the example of private sector and their free market practices which can never be blamed for any of the current problems we have.

stephanie 03-04-2011 07:16 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 199868)
To negotiate for the maximum amount of money from the employer by threatening to withhold services?

To negotiate for a better compensation package and working conditions. Like we all do, to the extent we can.

And I don't see why people who work for public entities shouldn't have these same rights. Their employers have the same interests in keeping costs down and paying as little as possible.

Quote:

Well, I propose that it's set based on what citizens (indirectly through elected officials) think the job merits.
That just strikes me as fantasy-land. It's set based on the market. School boards don't sit around talking about what teachers deserve to make. They pay what they have to to attract competent teachers given the existing market (what other nearby school districts and private schools pay and given that if they offer too little at least some percentage will leave for other jobs entirely). Just like other employers.

Not only is this idea that the government sets compensation based on what the legislators, in their great wisdom, desire people in those jobs deserve unrelated to reality, but it would be a bad idea if it were really the primary way wages were set. I'd rather trust the market to at least form the framework, which doesn't mean the market stacked to favor the employer. If employers want to band together to increase their bargaining power to something more commensurate with their employers (especially employers with the bargaining power and near monopoly control in some cases, like the gov't), then I have no problem with it.

Quote:

No, I don't believe employees can set their compensation. The question is: why do you assume there needs to be a balance of power?
Why don't you? The idea that I'm a tax payer so I should prefer a world where I can pay teachers minimum wage if I want is just bizarre to me. I don't see anything unfair to employers in employees banding together to increase their bargaining power.

handle 03-04-2011 07:20 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 199868)
To negotiate for the maximum amount of money from the employer by threatening to withhold services? That's fine if the employer is a for-profit corporation. That is not a good reason if the employer is the public.

How many times do I have to point out that it is set up like any corporation? The workers (mostly union in unionized states) negotiate with the non-union management. You oughta see what their salaries (and yes, even bonuses) look like. There are Deans, Provosts, Superintendents, Chancellors, Chairs, Dept. heads, Principals, Comptrollers, Controllers, Mayors, Council members, Senators, Governors, to name a few, and they have assistants, office managers, the list goes on.
They are not in the Union.
NOT in the Union.
This is a fight for a fair piece of the pie, by the workers. When the pie shrinks, as we have seen over the years, the pieces do too.
Retirement packages set in place 15 years ago will be honored under contract, but since the money was squandered in the stock market, the pie has shrunk and new contracts reflect this. More shrinking has occurred and more concessions will be necessary, but taking away the right to bargain is nothing but a right-wing management power grab for a bigger share of the publics money.

graz 03-04-2011 07:27 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by handle (Post 199869)
You don't have any trouble lying about who you are, do you? Should be a clue to others regarding you general honesty, and integrity.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Not4Navigation (Post 199850)
I too thought ... My additions were additions ... no comment ... is welcomed.

...

Unit 03-04-2011 07:29 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 199871)
Okay. Then I think we are talking past each other. I grant your point (and did initially) that a particular employee may not have the ability to get a higher salary at his existing job due to various union-related restrictions (I don't think that's as common or hard to get around as you seem to, but I don't disagree that it can happen). I just don't think that demonstrates much with regard to the point I care about -- whether unions have a positive effect on compensation overall. Including for that worker, when compared to a world in which the union does not exist.

I'd also point out that in your hypothetical the worker is not disadvantaged by the union, since he is free to go to the higher paying job if it exists (i.e., a teacher can leave to go to a private school, if the private school pays more (which they generally don't)). If that means that good teachers are being lost, the employer has an incentive -- although less flexibility, true -- to address this by renegotiating or raising salaries in some fashion.

That can happen now in most cases (in part due to the weakness of unions, true). Remember, you are the one who pointed out that only 7% of workers are unionized.

I'm glad we're converging now. I like your point about being able to leave a unionized job. The way this is counter-acted, as I said before, is that there are other ways the govt can grant benefits to a given industry, for instance it can intervene to remove the competition. In the case of public schools for instance, the govt pays the student's tuition and this distorts the equation.
One of my points in all this is to try and disentangle these "legal monopoly" effects from the unionization issue.

handle 03-04-2011 07:38 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 199744)
There's much more wisdom in econ 101 than econ 200.

Explains why you oversimplify everything.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Unit (Post 199744)
BTW you're also saying the same thing: "socio-economic environments" do affect productivity.

Because the wages are set by acceptable levels of worker dissatisfaction in those environments. In other words, how much management can keep for themselves, and away from workers. Which is a direct result of group negotiating power, which most effectively comes from worker organization.

Simon Willard 03-04-2011 09:11 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by handle (Post 199874)
You oughta see what their salaries (and yes, even bonuses) look like. There are Deans, Provosts, Superintendents, Chancellors, Chairs, Dept. heads, Principals, Comptrollers, Controllers, Mayors, Council members, Senators, Governors, to name a few, and they have assistants, office managers, the list goes on.
They are not in the Union.
NOT in the Union.

We can agree that we do not condone the wasting of money on highly-paid managers. That's a form of corruption that is all too common in all parts of government.

Quote:

Originally Posted by handle (Post 199874)
taking away the right to bargain is nothing but a right-wing management power grab for a bigger share of the publics money.

Let's see, a special class of well-paid white-collar professionals are able to squeeze money from the government because they can threaten to shutdown the schools. I thought that was the very definition of right-wing. I suppose it depends on what one thinks well-paid is, but it's for sure that the government isn't providing middle class jobs to all the workers in WalMart who would like to do better.

handle 03-04-2011 09:42 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 199900)
special class of well-paid white-collar professionals

Just off the top of my head: Policemen, firefighters, teachers, physical plant workers, HVAC techs, clerical workers, parking staff, recyclers, custodial crews, repair technicians, IT people, plumbers, electricians, painters, carpenters... yea you know what you are talking about.

Simon Willard 03-04-2011 09:50 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by stephanie (Post 199873)
I don't see why people who work for public entities shouldn't have these same rights.

Because government doesn't make money. Nor is the purpose of government to provide employment to a select class of professionals. Government has a role to provide certain services to the public, as much as the public demands, and to the extent the public provides the resources. If that is not done efficiently, it's called corruption.

Representative democracy has its failings. I don't know if Gov. Walker expresses the will of the people; I don't follow it that closely. I'm making a philosophical point: we should make every effort to insure that the public is ultimately in control. When it comes to deciding on state salaries, state workers have a conflict of interest, to put it mildly.

handle 03-04-2011 10:00 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 199909)

...I don't follow it that closely....

...we should make every effort to insure that the public is ultimately in control.

What could go wrong?

Simon Willard 03-04-2011 10:04 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by handle (Post 199913)
What could go wrong?

Whatever can go wrong.

stephanie 03-07-2011 04:36 PM

Re: The Week in Blog: Selling Pain (Bill Scher & Kristen Soltis)
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Simon Willard (Post 199909)
Because government doesn't make money.

So?

Quote:

Nor is the purpose of government to provide employment to a select class of professionals.
Others have addressed this. (When people start focusing on teachers and bitching about privilege, though, it does make them sound weirdly jealous of teachers.)

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Government has a role to provide certain services to the public, as much as the public demands, and to the extent the public provides the resources. If that is not done efficiently, it's called corruption.
Sure, but that says nothing about whether government employees should be treated differently than non government employees in terms of their bargaining rights, which is what you are arguing. As the government acts in its function as an employer like an employer -- that is, it doesn't provide jobs as some public interest project, but hires and fires subject to the same kinds of market considerations that other employers do -- there is no reason that it's market power shouldn't be subject to the same tools employers use otherwise to give themselves more bargaining power.

Your arguments to the contrary seem to come down to (1) it's always better if the government pays as little as possible; or (2) the government should get to decide what jobs are worth in the absence of anything that might increase the bargaining power of employees, and I don't see how either makes sense.

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Representative democracy has its failings. I don't know if Gov. Walker expresses the will of the people; I don't follow it that closely.
This is a slight change of subject -- you seem to be arguing that collective bargaining is bad even if the public as a whole are in favor of it, because the government should get to decide what jobs are worth and collective bargaining gives employees too much bargaining power.

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I'm making a philosophical point: we should make every effort to insure that the public is ultimately in control.
Again, the public is not in control, the market is. We don't decide that government employees deserve to make X, we don't vote on these kinds of questions, we pay what's needed to hire enough people with the desired resumes given the market. If private employers pay more, the government will have to; if private employers pay less, the government will also be able to pay less. Given that, the question is whether it's fair for employees to use tools like collective bargaining to increase their bargaining power. Given that the government is acting as an employer and has the same (or more) power that a private employer does, I don't think you've given a good reason to say that employees can't bargain as they do with private employers.


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