Our first last-stand?

All eyes are on Wisconsin as battle for fiscal sanity shifts to state

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ABC's Christiane Amanpour looked at the Tea Party movement and saw "extreme." Now she looks at the union protest in Wisconsin and sees "people power."

Andy Manis/AP Photo
On the sixth day of large-scale protests, opponents to the governor’s bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers demonstrated in the rotunda of the Capitol in Madison, Wis., on Sunday.

We hope the people of Wisconsin and other cash-strapped states are smart enough to see past such incredibly biased reporting and discern the truth: The Battle of Madison is a fight for the taxpayer's wallet, pure and simple -- a fight between greedy and inflexible unions and new Republican leadership at the Capitol that truly is fighting for the people.

It's not just about the fact that public employees in Wisconsin (and most other states) have grown fat on sweetheart benefits provided by private-sector taxpayers who have had their own benefits shrink to near-nothing in recent years.

Rather, this battle is for the real systemic change that is necessary to save the states and the country.

Public-sector unions are eating the country alive.

If this society is going to survive the leaner times that are surely ahead, it absolutely must shed the very nice but overly burdensome and unrealistic benefit cushions in the public sector.

Just one example: Increasingly, private-sector workers, if they have any retirement program at all, are enrolled in "defined contribution" plans -- 401(k)s -- which are, as the moniker implies, defined by how much money is contributed to them. That's how much you have to live on in retirement.

Many public employees are enrolled in "defined benefit" programs that, again, are defined by the benefits: They get a certain amount per month for as long as they live, without regard to how much money is available.

That's why so many pension plans are "underfunded" for a growing population of retirees who may expect to live longer than previous generations -- driving up pension costs all the more.

It's not sustainable. And even if it were, it would still mean that private-sector employees would, in the future, be asked to do with even less in benefits and wages in order to support the unchecked wages and benefits of public workers.

So, to media liberals like Amanpour, those backbreaking, out-of-step demands of public workers on their "friends and neighbors" who support them with taxes are some kind of heroic "people power."

Meanwhile, in the case of the teachers' unions, it's becoming clear that throwing all that money at public education hasn't resulted in soaring results. Indeed, the unions, despite all the talk about "doing it for the kids," exist to protect teachers, good and bad.

They certainly threw the kids under the school bus to take time off to protest.

We may see in Wisconsin just how much power the people really do have. They need to rally behind their state leaders in the fight to take back control of the public purse.

The rest of the states are counting on it: With the federal government even more out of control, and a former "community organizer" in the White House blithely backing the unions, the war to save America from financial ruin has shifted to the state capitals.

Wisconsin could be our first last-stand.

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soldout
1283
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soldout 02/21/11 - 11:22 pm
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0
Those who protest don't

Those who protest don't understand math. Over 30% of those teachers send their children to private schools.

Name Not Important
0
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Name Not Important 02/21/11 - 11:32 pm
0
0
Because they know how bad the

Because they know how bad the public schools really are. My aunt is a teacher with two elementary school age kids. The public schools where she lives(Hawkinsville, GA) are awful none of the schools are even rated as "adequate". They never get high ratings or do anything of note. She's nearly bankrupted herself keeping them in private schools so they don't have to enter the public school program. I'm sure not all of that 30% are rich beyond their wildest means and swimming in money or anything. Here at the AC.com it's hard to see the BIG picture sometimes isn't it?

Rozzie2003
5
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Rozzie2003 02/22/11 - 12:05 am
0
0
Hadn't the governor given 230

Hadn't the governor given 230 million dollars incentives to big businesses, Wisconsin wouldn't had a big deficit.;ioo million children are enrolled in public schools throughout America and 80% are doing well.Some schools in improvished areas is where many children don't do well.Most of our public schools are doing fine. We are one of the few countries in the world that try to educate all young people and it can't be done too sucessfully. Don't play down our public schools because they had made America a great country.

usapatriot
0
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usapatriot 02/22/11 - 01:46 am
0
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I see how fine a job the

I see how fine a job the public schools did rozzie.

The WI gov gave incentives because that is one way jobs are saved, businesses enticed to come or stay. Had the US corp income tax rate been lowered from 35%, maybe many corps would stay in the US and not relocate overseas.

Business is needed to employ people and contribute to state tax revenue. After all, WI spends $10,600 per student to get that "quality" education you speak of.

If you understood incentives, it's not "giving" money to anyone. It's deferring taxes and fees. Taxes and fees that wouldn't have been there in the first place had the business not started there. Meanwhile, employers and employees pay wage taxes.

"...80% are doing well. Some schools in improvished areas is where many children don't do well."

Don't know where you get your figures. Since the federal govt began the Dept of Education, achievement has declined. If you'd have understood or received teaching on the constitution, you'd understand that "Education" is not an enumerated power and is therefore left to the states.

The unions exist for money and power. Millions in dues to pour into Democratic campaigns. 93% of all union contributions were to Dems. Democrats return the favor thru collective bargaining sessions, bestowing no cost pensions and health care and other goodies.

The party's over.

Jon Lester
2478
Points
Jon Lester 02/22/11 - 02:16 am
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I thought you guys believed

I thought you guys believed in incentives. You're proposing to make government work even less attractive to the most qualified (and otherwise motivated) potential applicants. Great.

usapatriot
0
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usapatriot 02/22/11 - 02:50 am
0
0
Get some facts Jon Lester.

Get some facts Jon Lester. Public sector employees already out pace the private sector in wages, benefits and less time to that golden, no cost pension.

Incentive should mean to work hard at your job, improve year after year and show tangible results for your efforts. Union incentive is you won't be fired no matter how bad you are.

Typical of the liberal crowd to seek monetary rewards for breathing.

usapatriot
0
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usapatriot 02/22/11 - 02:52 am
0
0
The less government does, the

The less government does, the better. The private sector is what makes the USA great, not bureaucrats.

Great teachers help, but not without motivated students and not with unions.

A dose of selflessness goes a long way too.

Riverman1
93268
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Riverman1 02/22/11 - 04:38 am
0
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About the protests. They have

About the protests. They have signs calling the Governor and Republican legislatures Nazi's. They try to shout down Fox reporters giving their reports. They are passing out phony doctor's excuses by the hundreds, yet the media, sans Fox, says nothing about all this.

When the Tea Party had rallies, Nancy Pelosi, carrying a huge gavel for show, and other Democrats walked right next to the protestors and the media went out of their way to report that the Tea Party people were rude. The very few signs comparing Obama to Hitler were shown and discussed on every network.

Talk about being out to lunch as an objective journalist.

carcraft
28426
Points
carcraft 02/22/11 - 05:32 am
0
0
Roozie- Wisconsin has a 3

Roozie- Wisconsin has a 3 billion dollar ($3,000,000,000.00) deficit. The incentives you talk about are $250,000,000.00 amount to about 8% of the deficit. The deficit does not go away. If the benefits to teachers are kept teachers will have to be laid off. All he is asking is that union representation is renewed each year and benefits are reduced to teachers so teachers can keep their jobs!

linux
96
Points
linux 02/22/11 - 05:44 am
0
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The key is "unsustainable"

The key is "unsustainable" benefits, mostly the pensions. Defined benefit pensions are about extinct in the public sector and for the few industries that still provide it, retirement is more like 25% of your last couple year's salary with no COLA's. Most public sector pensions are at 60%, salted by copious overtime the last year, and with yearly cost of living raises.

As the article correctly points out, states can no longer afford that, and with more baby boomer employees entering retirement, this will be a serious problem for years to come. That is the main reason that states like California, NY and Illinois are broke.

The taxpayer are fed up paying for that.

robaroo
877
Points
robaroo 02/22/11 - 06:27 am
0
0
Breach of Contract - There's

Breach of Contract - There's a big problem with eliminating pensions for those who have been earning them so far. That was part of their pay package, so Wisconsin can't just decide to eliminate the money already earned.

What they can do if they choose is stop contributing more to the earned benefits of the employees, and eliminating pensions for new employees.

southernguy08
532
Points
southernguy08 02/22/11 - 06:37 am
0
0
Publeck skuuls are doin just
Unpublished

Publeck skuuls are doin just fine. They don't need no fixin! Yeah, I'm laughing! In international competitions for math and science, our kids are coming in behind countries that spend far less per student such as China, India, and Russia. This is humiliating, but liberals seem to think we don't have a real problem. Despite what we've been told, pouring more money into the problem won't solve it. Studies show that parochial schools not only do a better job of educating, but in the long run, educate at a lower cost. VOUCHERS!

Rhetor
1082
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Rhetor 02/22/11 - 07:13 am
0
0
1. According to news reports,

1. According to news reports, the Wisconsin unions have already agreed to the economic concessions that the governor wanted, so I respectfully submit that the Augusta Chronicle editorial misstates the problem completely. 2. With respect to pensions, public sector employees often accepted wages far below what they would have received for similar work in the private sector, in part because the states promised pension benefits. The Wisconsin taxpayers were happy to let these people collect their trash, supply their water, fix their sewers, and maintain their roads in the dead of the harsh midwestern winters, and now have decided to break the promises on which this work was premised.

justthefacts
24906
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justthefacts 02/22/11 - 07:39 am
0
0
Rhetor, from the editorial

Rhetor, from the editorial above, "Rather, this battle is for the real systemic change that is necessary to save the states and the country." It is not just about the current issue, concessions. I think the ACES does get it.

DuhJudge
206
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DuhJudge 02/22/11 - 07:47 am
0
0
Schools are used by the

Schools are used by the government to keep the citizens dependent. When a home requires two incomes, if one is private sector, the other is usually public. Benefits like insurance are important to young families and teaching school gets it for them. If you don't need insurance because you can get it at work then it is probably going to be a single income home or poor. Honestly since we do not create much any longer in this country, I don't see where the money comes from to pay for it all. They just keep printing it I guess. Retirement benefits are double dipping too. How many can retire from a public job and still have enough years to retire from another or two. And the private sector does not want to have to compete for their jobs with the people that are comfortable in their public jobs. This is one of those equilibrium problems that just are not easy.

Beck Tears
0
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Beck Tears 02/22/11 - 08:00 am
0
0
These evil union people

These evil union people already agreed to lower wages, or continue not having their pay increased- so they've agreed to the concessions. I'm not sure why so many people hate on public workers. Do you expect Wal-Mart, or other private businesses to educate our children, pick up trash, answer 911 calls?

Education has been declining, and one way to fix it is to give the ability to fire teachers that perform poorly, no more of this longevity will save everyone. Another way to fix it, is for more Americans to take education seriously. We are falling behind, and it's embarrassing. And I'm willing to bet all the monies in pocket that the same people who think that teachers are living a fat and cushy life being lazy liberals, are also the same people who don't understand science, and will argue about educators and scientists speaking of global warming, and evolution. And we cannot stay competitive in this world if we dismiss education and science, which leads to technology advances, which also helps us staying ahead militarily.

Anyways- stay angry at public workers, and the people in Wisconsin for refusing to submit. Stay angry at the public workers who provide, educate and protect our communities. Let's continue taking away from the middle class, while giving more and more breaks to the top 1-2%.

justthefacts
24906
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justthefacts 02/22/11 - 08:13 am
0
0
"Education has been

"Education has been declining, and one way to fix it is to give the ability to fire teachers that perform poorly, no more of this longevity will save everyone." Beck, agreed, but the unions have a problem with that idea.

Gov.Palin
0
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Gov.Palin 02/22/11 - 08:14 am
0
0
Rosie2003, ‘ Hadn't the

Rosie2003, ‘ Hadn't the governor given 230 million dollars incentives to big businesses,’
Yeah, and those businesses would have gone too a state that did and Wis. Would be out of even more jobs. Perhaps I should teach a course on how our economic system works. It seems that many do not have a clue but I guess they are just repeating what they hear in the liberal media.

Beck Tears
0
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Beck Tears 02/22/11 - 08:27 am
0
0
Gov Palin: What do you call a

Gov Palin: What do you call a business that gives a candidate 130 million dollars, who wins, and then gives that business a 130 million dollar tax break?

Also- people around here say "You can't tax a business, otherwise the business will just leave the state." However that logic doesn't apply to public workers. Either you pay them a fair wage, or people will leave the state. And that occurs- and then people complain why they are in line for half the day at a DMV, or make some other gripe about whatever service they are using.

Gov.Palin
0
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Gov.Palin 02/22/11 - 08:28 am
0
0
Beck Tear, ‘I'm not sure why

Beck Tear, ‘I'm not sure why so many people hate on public workers.’
Below is a link to an article in the VERY LIBERAL Huffingtonpost. Yeah, teachers unions are great.
Hundreds of New York City public school teachers accused of offenses ranging from insubordination to sexual misconduct are being paid their full salaries to sit around all day playing Scrabble, surfing the Internet or just staring at the wall, if that's what they want to do.
Because the teachers collect their full salaries of $70,000 or more, the city Department of Education estimates the practice costs the taxpayers $65 million a year. The department blames union rules.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/06/22/new-york-teachers-paid-to_n_219...

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 02/22/11 - 08:34 am
0
0
Gut public sector pensions

Gut public sector pensions but allow Wall Street banks who were bailed out to the tune of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to pay their CEOs and officers whatever they wish, right ACES? A people's revolution is headed to these shores, and it won't be a Tea Party skirmish.

Gov.Palin
0
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Gov.Palin 02/22/11 - 08:34 am
0
0
Beck Tear, ‘Gov Palin: What

Beck Tear, ‘Gov Palin: What do you call a business that gives a candidate 130 million dollars, who wins, and then gives that business a 130 million dollar tax break?’
I call that small fry compared to what the unions gave the community organizer. But the community organizer is repaying them so don’t worry.

Beck Tears
0
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Beck Tears 02/22/11 - 08:44 am
0
0
A line from the article you

A line from the article you posted: "Saunders said she was charged with petty infractions in an effort to get rid of her: "I was charged with having a student sit in my class with a hat on, singing.""
The union is trying to save her job from such a silly... not even sure what you call it. So the evil union is trying to help her out, and you have a problem with it? Granted- unions are not perfect, and there needs to be an effective and fair way to push out teachers, and anyone really, who does not perform to standard. However from your own article, it demonstrates the importance of a union, to protect workers. Also, cost of living in New York is staggering high, and a $70,000 a year salary won't carry you as far as it would in Georgia.

justthefacts
24906
Points
justthefacts 02/22/11 - 09:03 am
0
0
And why is the cost of living

And why is the cost of living so much higher in NY?

badboytoys
1
Points
badboytoys 02/22/11 - 09:07 am
0
0
They have to keep robbing the

They have to keep robbing the tax payer so they can keep supporting all the illegals thats sucking the system dry

Gov.Palin
0
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Gov.Palin 02/22/11 - 09:09 am
0
0
Beck Tear, ‘However from your

Beck Tear, ‘However from your own article, it demonstrates the importance of a union, to protect workers.’
If you read that article and come away with ‘However from your own article, it demonstrates the importance of a union, to protect workers.’ you are BEYOND any help.

Dan at The Scott Daily Post
0
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Dan at The Scott Daily Post 02/22/11 - 09:10 am
0
0
FYI: I read that the Gov. of

FYI: I read that the Gov. of WI has has only proposed to stop collective bargaining for wages above the consumer price index. For wages below the index, collective bargaining can still happen. In other words, the union would still be able to negotiate if the employer wants to pay less than average but can't negotiate for above average wages. Sounds pretty reasonable to me...

justthefacts
24906
Points
justthefacts 02/22/11 - 09:13 am
0
0
"Gut public sector pensions".

"Gut public sector pensions". Wee bit of hyperbole right there.

effete elitist liberal
3191
Points
effete elitist liberal 02/22/11 - 09:42 am
0
0
Have you no shame, Michael

Have you no shame, Michael Ryan? For the second time in just four days, Ryan has ranted shamelessly and dishonestly about the showdown in Wisconsin over public unions. What Ryan is dishonest about is his calculated insistence on focusing solely on benefits enjoyed by what he calls the "greedy and inflexible" unions and their members. What Ryan avoids with equal calculation are the provisions of the bill supported by Wisconsin Governor Walker intended to destroy the state's public unions
by stripping them of most of their negotiating rights. In truth, this is Walker's "never let a serious crisis go to waste" moment. He wants to use Wisconsin's current fiscal crisis, which is real and needs to be addressed, as a cover for settling an old, longterm political score with unions, which he and other conservatives have wanted to destroy for years. Talk about "inflexible"! If Michael Ryan were honest on this subject, he would acknowledge the truth that the leaders of Wisconsin's public unions have said repeatedly they are willing to sit down with Walker and negotiate down current union benefits. It is Walker who is being inflexible. He has refused the invitation from union leaders and announced the bill's union-busting provisions are "non-negotiable." Perhaps the most pathetic aspect of Ryan's piece today is the crocodile tears he editorially sheds over "private sector" employees, including presumedly, those in private unions, although Ryan carefully avoids naming them. What a joke! The AC for years has bashed all unions, both public and private. Ryan wants to sound all wonky talking about the difference between defined contributions and defined benefits, but apparently lacks the courage to admit to Wisconsin governor's real agenda, the destruction of the state's public unions.

Dan at The Scott Daily Post
0
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Dan at The Scott Daily Post 02/22/11 - 09:53 am
0
0
EEL: The governor only wants

EEL: The governor only wants to take away collective bargaining for above average wages. The individuals are free to negotiate on their own. In addition, collective bargaining rights would remain when the employers attempt to give below average wages.

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