Archive for February, 2011

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING: How are Unions like Bullies?

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

By Elois Zeanah

Unions are like bullies.  They stage protests, sit-ins, name-calling, intimidation and sometimes violence in their demands for “entitlements” and power over legislators and taxpayers.  Unions are accustomed to power and they get their power through collective bargaining

This is why unions and President Obama’s political machine, Organizing for America, are staging union protests across the country.  This could be a turning point in the balance of power.  Heaven forbid that the new posse Republican governors coming up the hill might fight might for right! 

Unions are alarmed that taxpayers, who make up the majority of “working families” and have been abused repeatedly for years, may no longer silently relinquish power to muscled unions despite their small size.  After all, voters including some union members did vote for Republican governors in Democratic states because of their alarm over disastrous budget deficits and the mountain of debt that will bury their children and grandchildren.  Unions refuse to put balanced budgets ahead of their “entitlements” and the next generation’s future!  So out to the streets they spill!

What  is “bullying”? 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice Fact Sheet #FS-200127, “Bullying is a form of abuse.  It involves repeated acts over time attempting to create or enforce one’s person’s (or group’s) power over another person (or group), thus an “imbalance of power”.  This is why collective bargaining is so important to the teachers and legislators who play hooky from work when they don’t get their way.  Like bullies, they want power over taxpayers

How do Unions get Power over Politicians? 

The power of unions comes from union dues, which total millions of dollars every year in every state.  Union bosses in turn do not have to use this money to represent employees in the workplace but can use this “slush fund” to buy off politicians.  And that’s what they do. 

Ever wonder why President Obama is so pro-union and is helping fund the union protests in Wisconsin and other states?  Money!  Unions spent over $400 million to help him get elected in 2008.  This is an abuse in itself against union members.  Union dues can amount to $500 to $1000 a year. This is how unions have become so powerful despite their small numbers.

How are Unions Tied to Welfare and Bailouts?

Unions fight for power.  When they own politicians, they own taxpayers’ dollars.  Unions have become a “welfare state”.  They expect taxpayers to not only give them more benefits than they receive themselves but to bail out their excessive pension plans and their health insurance plans which they contributed very little to.    

These “entitlements” have become unfunded liabilities and are one of the biggest burdens of state budgets.  Recent studies show that states have approximately a $3.4 trillion shortfall.[i]  The Washington Post explains:  “Public employees often enjoy more generous pension and health-care benefits, and these are at the foot of the long-term budget problems confronting many states.”[ii] 

  • California’s “annual retirement costs for public workers have risen to about $6 billion a year, from $1 billion in 1990 and $2 billion in 200.”[iii]
  • New Jersey’s pensions could go bankrupt by 2020.
  • Wisconsin “faces an immediate $137 million budget shortfall and a $3.6 billion deficit over the next two years.”[iv] 
  • Michigan:  “About 70 percent of local districts’ operating budgets are consumed by compensation for teachers, and every detail of this compensation is dictated by collective bargaining agreements.”[v]

And the list of states in budget trouble goes on. 

Why should unions receive welfare from taxpayers while they’re receiving larger salaries than the average worker in the first place?  Why should taxpayers bailout unions’ pension and insurance plans while having to pay for their own?  Unless politicians find the spine to deal with unions, taxpayers will be forced to bailout unions retirement plans because these contracts are not funded!

Union “Entitlements” Hurt the Younger Generation

It’s criminal that politicians promise unions benefits (giveaways at taxpayer expense) that they know are not paid for to get unions’ backing to get elected and when they know these entitlements will bankrupt states.  But so what?  Someone else will have to deal with these promises down the road after they’ve left the accident scene.  Young people will have to pay higher taxes and live on less than their parents to bailout unions’ unfunded pensions and health insurance plans

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels talks about “compacts with the young”.  He stated, “If a foreign army invaded, we would set aside all secondary disputes and run to the ramparts.  We must bring that air of urgency to the spending crisis.  It is our generational assignment.”

Is President Obama right that Changing Collective Bargaining is an “assault on unions”?

Who’s assaulting whom?  Unions are abusing taxpayers, not the other way around.  This statement by President Obama is also hypocritical in that it ignores the fact that even he as CEO of the federal government has not allowed federal unions to collectively bargain for wages and benefits. 

“Washington pols aren’t about to let unions run their town….On the state level, union campaign dollars are primarily contingent upon Democrats agreeing to allow public-employee unions to allow public-employee union to milk taxpayers dry.  On the federal level, union dollars are primarily contingent upon Democrats agreeing to pervert federal laws and institutions so that private-sector unions get special privileges over employers and nonunion companies – consider project-labor agreements, Davis-Bacon and card check.”[vi]

In closing, why do unions insist on keeping their power of collective bargaining?  “Innocent Americans assume that unions use collective bargaining solely to obtain better pay and benefits.  Not exactly.”[vii]

The hidden agenda is to insist on retaining the power unions have over taxpayers and the state.  Unions are hugely responsible for state governments going bankrupt and this will not change until states have flexibility in balancing their budgets and the ability “to contain the excesses of the past – to enable the modern welfare state to live within its means”.[viii]  Let’s hope that posse makes it to the top of the hill.

[i] Heritage Foundation Morning Bell:  Government Unions vs. American Taxpayers;

[ii] The Post:

[iii] “public-Pension Fight Surfaces in California,” by Jim Carlton, February 19, 2011

[iv] “Wisconsin’s Newest Progressive” by John Fund, Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2011

[v] Mackinaw Center for Public Policy Newsletter, summer 2010

[vi] Ibid

[vii] Wall Street Journal opinion “Union Power for Thee, But Not for Me,” by Kimberley A. Strassel, February 25, 2011

[viii] “Wisconsin’s Newest Progressive” by John Fun, Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2011


Friday, February 25th, 2011

By Elois Zeanah

Why do Wisconsin Democrat politicians play hooky and run away to border states to hide out?  This prank reminds me of students who play hooky to avoid tests they know they would fail.

For the governor and legislature, the issue is about how to balance state budgets, a requirement by law.   For unions, it’s all about how to continue milking the cash cow that long ago ran dry.  Taxpayers have been unions’ cash cow and they are determined to keep milking that cow til it’s dead. 

How much do taxpayers give away to public unions?

Public-sector unions have used collective bargaining to rip-off taxpayers for years.  Union members contribute “one-fifth of a penny” on every dollar of their wages for their pensions and milk taxpayers to pay the rest.  Union members contribute “one-fourth what private-sector workers pay for health insurance.  Taxpayers, of course, are milked for the difference.[i] 

Unions have enjoyed the bounty of the cash cow.  There’s been plentiful milk, even enough to churn butter and have leftover milk for ice cream.  Unions have gotten rich stealing the fruits and living off others’ labor.  Unions feel entitled to free benefits paid by taxpayers that working families who pay for them don’t get themselves.  I rhetorically ask, “Is this redistribution of our wealth fair?”

Unions have Milked the Cash Cow Dry

After many years of negligence, the healthy cash cow has been milked dry and is now spooked.  Something’s gotta give.  The spooked cow has been roused and must protect itself from udder collapse. 

Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker has ridden to the rescue to protect abused taxpayers who’ve been milked to such weakness that they can no longer prop up fat unions.  Gov. Walker has taken a flyswatter to Democrat pols who act like flies and insist on swarming.  Walker is telling unions and their Dem pals that their pattern of plunder must end.  Unions can no longer live off the teat of the taxpayer and must be weaned. 

Who’s in Charge of our Political System?

Democrat politicians claim unions are America’s “working families” – when in fact unions are only a small minority of America’s workers.  These same pols insist that union entitlements must be protected through collective bargaining.  Their philosophy is that the majority of working families must bear the burden for the plump benefits for union members through higher taxes.  The fact that taxpayers are overburdened and states are going bankrupt does not faze them.  As long as unions have collective bargaining over wages, pensions and health benefits, unions, not voters control the political system.

Voters have said this has got to change.   It’s only appropriate that this change start in Madison, Wisconsin, the place where union giveaways started.  This is why the Democrat politicians of Wisconsin are playing hooky and running across the border to hide.  They aren’t up to the test that voters gave them on November 2, 2010:  to balance the budget.   

[i] Charles Krauthammer, “Getting serious about national debt,” February 25, 2011


Thursday, February 24th, 2011

By Elois Zeanah

As Fat Albert and his gang learned, playing hooky from responsibility doesn’t always get you what you want.  As Donald stated in the “Playing Hooky” Fat Albert video, playing hooky puts a mark against you name.   Will voters (the “boss”) put a mark by the names of those who hide, flip off rules and responsibility, and set a poor example for students? 

The message disappearing Democrat pols in Wisconsin and Indiana send to students is that if you have a test you don’t like, play hooky.  If you don’t get your way in school, pout and play hooky.   If voters don’t treat AWOL politicians who play hooky from work like they treat students who play hooky from school, a new norm will be set.

Hey, hey, hey, if voters act like “parents” and hold pols accountable for playing hooky, we can get politicians who fail in their duties to disappear from capitols.  Now the idea of politicians disappearing is an idea I could warm up to.

Then there’s the conflicting message teachers, who are also playing hooky and getting fake doctor notes, send their students about bullying.   Teachers are engaging in bullying through rough-and-tumble protests.  Should they be rewarded?  What message would this send elementary students about bullying? And, hey, hey, hey, teachers are putting on a pretty good performance.  They are really good at bullying!  So much for all that anti-bullying classroom lessons.

My next article will analyze the test that Democrat politicians fear and play hooky to avoid, and why teachers take to the streets while playing hooky from classrooms and becoming hypocrites by playing the role of bullies.

JOBS: A Basketball Analogy for the President

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

By Elois Zeanah

Mr. President, your air balls on jobs are ree-jected!   It’s time to stop the jaw!  You talk, talk, talk about creating jobs but work to kill them.  You talk, talk, talk about reducing deficits but spend billions to soar them.  You talk, talk, talk about trade imbalances but do nothing to stop them. Two years and billions later, you can’t buy a basket.  Take a time out and stop the bleeding.  There’s an easier, quicker, and much cheaper way to create jobs.  It’s called drilling.

Bury the three-point shot and nail jobs, deficits, and trade imbalances – with one basket.  With drilling you can really dish the rock.  You talk, talk, talk about jobs and greenbacks green energy can yield in the future but not now.  Do you know how many millions of dollars oil gushes into U.S. coffers a day now:  $95 million.  Do you know how many trillions of dollars would flow into U.S. coffers if you unlocked America’s oil and gas reserves in the future?  An additional $1 trillion to $2 trillion.  Come on, lift the moratorium.  You can be a streaky shooter. 

You like stimulus.  Consider a stimulus that doesn’t require spending money we don’t have.  You know what happens if you open up drilling?  Fuel and energy costs will drop, sparking a stimulus of gushing revenues.  You’d really be banging in there!  Hey, you want to change your image to gear up for re-election?  Here’s your chance to be a rainbow jumper. 

But wait, we’ve just started.  When you rack up jobs and revenues, you can really sky for those rebounds.  When America pumps more oil, America imports less and sells more.  What a way to slam the trade deficit and ratchet up GDP!   See any similarity with all that green stuff you’re sticking with? 

Even if you ignore scientific evidence that global warming is Chicken Little, the simple fact is we’re stuck with fossil fuels for at least 10 years, even if you’re a lucky kind of fella with your dreaming. Why not light up the scoreboard?  Dunk one for jobs – real jobs!  Dive into America’s 100 billion barrels of untapped oil.  Dominate the boards.  That’s 10 million barrels a day for 30 years. 

Then there’s gas.  Do you know the U.S. has as much natural gas as Saudi Arabia has oil?    It’s estimated we could supply all American needs of natural gas for 100 years.  Man, you could play an up-tempo game.  Come on, it’s clear:  Future green energy and today’s oil and gas don’t match-up well size-wise.  Hey, cut the talk, talk, talk about green energy.  Put your game face on and step it up!  Create jobs, catch gushing revenues, and cut trade imbalances.  Now that would be shooting well from downtown!  Tell those refs to let ’em play, that there’s a new chant for “yes we can”:  Drill, baby, drill! 

NOTE:  This article was inspired by facts reported by Jonah Goldberg in “A Solution at Obama’s Fingertips”,  January 21, 2011.