Billionaires using millionaires to attack thousandaires, and divide the nation

I don’t mind a good political debate. The teachers’ unions aren’t right all the time. But the demonizing of public workers generally and teachers specifically in the Wisconsin story is infuriating. Actually, no. The hypocrisy is what’s infuriating. Jon Stewart gets this exactly right.

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  1. Bear in mind that Gov. Walker is well to the left of FDR on the issue of public employees unions. I think that anyone who equates normal unions with public employees unions is mixing apples and oranges.

  2. I agree there are differences between the two. There are different arguments against public sector unions that I understand. Dan Carlin had a great “Common Sense” podcast about this recently in which I think you and I would both find something to like.

    Private sector unions have declined with the private sector of this country. The argument now seems to be, well, those teachers who have 4-6 years of college, most of whom spend a decade trying to land a permanent job, really shouldn’t be allowed to stay in the middle class either.

    There is economic danger in that argument and political danger in pitting American society against itself. The hypocrisy is the problem. The gutting of American middle class incomes while corporate profits continue expanding will lead us down a road that will eventually hurt everyone. We don’t need to go there. Why try? I swear, it seems to be a religious journey for some, like there is a magical light beam that will burst from the sky when we privatize the fire department. Very frustrating.

    Walker to the left of FDR? Please. On one thin, out-of-context argument RE: public unions maybe. But if we could only have seen what FDR would have done to those whining, scheming opportunists on Wall Street. If we could. Just. Have. Seen. That. It would have been a thing of beauty and I guarantee Scott Walker would not approve.

  3. When we start to use Jon Stuart as a news source, we’ve lost our minds, he’s a comidian for goodness sakes. It’s those “fat cats”, “evil rich”, “union busting” conservatives fault….. Class warfare…..Again…… Lets not talk about students scores going down since we created the Federal Education Dept and the fact we spend more per student on average than other countries with declining results. We pay bad teachers in NYC to go to rubber rooms becuase they’ve been deemed harmful to students and they still get paid because we can’t fire them due to union rules. You can go on and on, but it’s easier to blame the “fat cats”, just like our President.

  4. Stewart is a comedian who has morphed into a relevant commentator because our media has become gutless and incompetent (in some cases openly biased). Does this say some bad things about our times? I think we agree that yes it does. But Stewart’s comments here are relevant, hence my re-posting of them — something I don’t normally do.

    You’re digging into some awfully specific areas in defense of a bad general argument. I’m not defending the Ed Department here (if anything the federal Ed Dept is somewhere between irrelevant and mildly helpful).

    I don’t see why getting mad about Wall Street and the rich getting richer is any more class warfare than pitting public sector workers against the private sector workers squeezed or laid off by the aforementioned ruling class. This national debate is going to some dark corners and we need to be able to talk about the real problems we’re facing here.

    Sure, it’s easy to “blame the fat cats.” You know what’s not easy? Fixing the problem when the fat cats own the media and the government. I’m a pretty mild mannered guy. We get into some scrapes around here, but I respect our differences. I’ve got to draw the line here. I’m not making this argument because it’s easy. A libertarian argument against the government, to me, also requires a libertarian argument against the consolidation of power in the corporate structure. Without that we merely exchange diluted democracy for rarefied autocracy.

  5. I wasn’t really trying to argue that Walker was to FDR’s left in general but rather just to provide a little context for the discussion of the appropriate place, if any, for public employees unions.

  6. Some how the left has lumped individual success with the lack of middle class and union busting. I don’t understand how liberals claim tax payers being concerned over the pension plans they’ll eventually be paying to Wisc teachers is wrong. Are the unions and their millions and millions they give to politicians who’ll support them “fat cats”? I’ve got some advice to the unions, take all that money you use to get Liberals elected and fund your own pensions. As far as education, give parents vouchers and a choice to change schools, you’ll see bad schools with poor teachers go away. When you use the phrase ruling class I cringe. If I started a company and employed hundreds of Rangers for 35 years and did well myself, am I a ruling class guy? If US Steel employed thousands over the last 80 plus years and made a profit for their investors (my father a life long miner bought stock every paycheck) along the way, are they our ruling class? That pretzel logic made me leave the party of JFK 12 years ago. By the way I don’t think JFK would recognize his old party at all. It’s turned into “ask not what you can do for your country ask what your country can do for you” party.

  7. The point, I think, is that this is yet another proxy fight in the culture wars. Cringe? I’ll say. Pensions are a contract. It’s as fair for you to tell workers to fund their own pension as it is to tell Verizon to pay your own bill. There are plenty of bad old deals that were front loaded or raided along the way. That’s not the workers’ fault. Things work better when capital and labor work together. Capital kept five generations of Rangers working. Good. Capital did well. Good. But US Steel would have paid pennies on the dollar or killed hundreds more in the shafts if they had had their way. Balance in all things.

    I’ve already said that public unions are a slightly different animal, but they have their place. I still do not understand the conservative argument on tolerance of bank and Wall Street shenanigans.

    It’s still hypocrisy. I stand by my original point.

  8. I don’t like the fact that public unions, who’s salary and pensions I pay for with my taxes, takes my money in union dues and gives it to a political party I strongly disagree with. If it was a private company I wouldn’t care. FDR and Jimmy Carter both felt it was a conflict of interest, as I do. Just as those pensions were negotiated up by state law makers, they will now be negotiated down by state law makers. It’s how our system works. The running away by Dems in Wisconsin is embarrassing. I assume our Dems will run to Iowa when MN state house and senate try to get our 6 billion debt under control. As President Obama accurately stated, elections have consequences, hopefully this 2010 election will lead to some fiscal responsibility.

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