For quite some time more than a few of us out here in the private sector have been paying into our own retirement plans–if we can–for years. After the Housing bubble burst many of us began reducing the amount we contributed as a lousy economy consumed opportunities, wage growth and jobs–our neighbors jobs or even our own.
Companies, small businesses in particular, that were once able to provide some benefits and 401K matching dollars shifted gears, re-directing that revenue (if they had it) to keeping the business afloat so they could pay enough remaining core employees to keep the company "a company"–with desks, paperclips, sticky-notes, and a space to keep them in. We paid for our own retirement plans, owners and managers paid for theirs, took pay cuts, employees took pay cuts, millions accepted reduced hours, part time status, or were overcome by the recession and had to be let go.
At the same time various levels of government were handing out (or handed) billions and billions of dollars that did not exist, to prop up the public sector unions. These unions, collective bargaining groups (emphasis on collective) were the primary benefactors of the past two years accumulation of debt. Government rules favored them in opposition to all else and in contradiction to common sense, not just for cash handouts but the hand out of sparse jobs as well. Even at the local level, the public sectors union handlers, who are really nothing more than fat cat capitalists selling shares in human flesh for a profit, in the from of a dues check each pay period, have fought against the tide to raise union salaries, benefits, and keep or create more jobs that must be paid for by the people going the opposite direction.
So the public sector unions, operating as nothing more than a private business, whose goal is to grow revenue, continued to do just that at taxpayers expense, all the while whining about private sector greed and malfeasance. We need to call them out for this.
Why are taxpayers not afforded the same kind of consumer protections from the fat cat, union boss, price gougers who hold us hostage with fears of neglected children, and declining public safety if we don’t pony up the extortion money we don’t have to fund wage and pension schemes so far out of parity with our own?
November 2010 was as much a reaction to this addiction to taxpayer money as anything. But the union bosses persist. And many of the employees in their care, stewed in a culture of entitlement, ride along on the tide, while supporting a corrupt and unholy alliance with the democrat party to protect and defend the unions and their monopoly as the legalized money launderers of choice to convert extorted taxpayer dollars into democrat party campaign contributions.
But this isn’t like some business that you can claim (right or wrong) is stockpiling cash to weather a long and uncertain fiscal winter. The evil capitalist fat cats on the other side of the public sector equation (you and I) are the people who have paying into their own retirement, giving up wages and advancement, and losing jobs in the million, while the cost of government–that would be the cost to keep and maintain public sector workers–continues to climb. And there is no magic pot of money to fill the pension and benefit holes. Obama and the 111th congress have spent it all.
All we have left is debt, and no one in the world can pay it off for us. So something has to give.
It is time to put government on a diet. It is time for real equality and fairness in the workplace and if that means forcing public employees to prop up their own pensions then so be it. If it requires us to ask them to pay significantly more for their benefits, then that is how it has to be. If it requires eliminating pensions, benefits, and jobs then that is how it will go down, and there is no time like now to do it.
Never in recent history has there been a more diverse and qualified pool of willing and able bodied persons who would be more than happy just to have a job than there is now. These are people who just want a pay check, and they will work long and hard to get it. They will be dedicated, fast learners, looking for a reliable opportunity, and they are out there in the millions.
So labor is cheap at a time when income for public sector costs and debt service to sustain it is at an all time high. How simple a problem is this to solve?
The taxpayers need to step up and put the public sector union fat cats out of work. When that happens, people who have to work for the taxpayers again may rethink how valuable having a job is in this economy, because there are probably 1000 people who would gladly work longer and harder while doing their job for less, just so they can work.
And the cats can’t eat better than the masters. The money is just not there, and there are no more bailouts to soften the blow. It is time for a public sector union reckoning. And that has to go for non-union government employees as well.
We cannot afford you. If you would like to soul search over how this came to be, feel free to do so. If you would like to play the "can’t cut services" game, then explain why you would let them be cut rather than provide them for less so we can keep them? We’ve been doing it ourselves in the private sector for quite sometime. Now it is your turn.
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