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Published on February 24th, 2011 | by Leonard Jackson


Can You Believe What’s Happening in Wisconsin?

Protests in WisconsinAmong the numerous courses in which the Wisconsin teachers are failing miserably these days is one that should be considered what we in the dark ages called a “crib” course. One that the athletes took that was considered “student friendly.” The course I’m talking about is Public Relations. How else could you explain the total lack of seemingly common sense logic that they are showing as they plod mindlessly on demonstrating to the world (not to mention their own students) exactly what they’re all about.

By now surely everyone has heard all the numbers that have been bandied about from both sides. The bill would require union members to contribute 5.8% of salary toward their pensions and chip in 12.6% of the cost of their health insurance premiums. Private industry nationwide employee contribution to health plans is 20% and contribution to retirement was 7.5%. Wisconsin teachers get $89,000 salary and benefits. Average pay in the state is $61,000 salary and benefits. Since the state by law must balance its budget there are no options left to save laying off 1,500 public employees and balance the budget.

I have never understood how unions can make demands against a company or in this case a state that would obviously cause the entity to fail. When the numbers are transparent and they simply don’t add up call in the math teachers if you can’t understand the arithmetic.

Governor Scott Walker ran on a platform that proposed these changes. He won the election. To take any other action or to ignore this problem would be directly opposed to the demands of the voters of the state. Even though President Obama and the Democrat party pushed through an unpopular health care bill that the large majority of voters opposed, this did not set any precedents to disregard the wishes of the people. They paid a huge price for this political legerdemain.

As to the collective bargaining issue and the claim that the new bill would take away the ability for most government employees to collectively bargain for benefits: this is true and now is the time to end this contrived setup that has established an unchecked scheme that perpetuates congressional longevity and is an open invitation for election hi-jinks. They could still bargain for higher wages, but future wage increases would be capped at federal Consumer Price Index, unless otherwise specified by a voter referendum.

An editorial in the Wall Street Journal last week pointed out that “Collective bargaining for government workers in not a constitutional right. Public unions have a monopoly position that gives them undue bargaining power. Their campaign cash – collected via mandatory dues – also helps to elect the politicians who are then supposed to represent taxpayers in negotiations with these same unions. The unions sit, in effect, on both sides of the bargaining table. That’s why even FDR and LaGuardia; opposed collective bargaining for government workers.”

Not only are the actions so transparent there seems to be a complete disregard for all laws and customary procedures rampant on the streets of “Mad Town.” Teachers are absent from a job that they are getting paid to do. There are doctors roaming among the horde handing out phony health advice and prescriptions to those taking a “sick” leave and their representatives have hightailed it out of town to avoid facing a vote on a matter that they were elected to do.

All these folks have been either elected or certified by some state authority to perform these services for the benefit of the people of Wisconsin. Are there no laws in Wisconsin? If they have them are there no penalties for breaking them?

Lesson to be learned in Public Relations 101 – When you have muscled yourselves into the best employee payment situation in the state and the state, like most of the other forty-nine as well as the country at large are looking at bankruptcy in the near future, this is not a good time to make another greed grab for even more of the taxpayers’ money. Let enough be enough for a while.

About the Author

Leonard Jackson

As I prepare my “reentry” into the e-world of blogging, I am advised that I should provide my prospective audience with a brief biographical résumé covering my life’s work and future aspirations so that I, and my work, can be properly categorized and thus judged in the proper venue. Since I will be joining a new group in just a few short months, it came to my attention that for a quick summary I can cover my life span in 20 year segments that pretty well sum up the route that I took to get to where I am today. In December, the Lord willing, I will become a member of that esteemed group known as Octogenarians. . Now that may be a disturbing, even scary, pigeonhole for some folks to find themselves assigned to, but I’m beginning to realize some real benefits from being maturity advantaged. The first 20 years I grew up, was educated and began my married life and my career. Second period was about 20 years in the cotton business in Memphis, TN. Trading this commodity in the world’s largest inland cotton market. Third period was spent in the municipal bond industry in Memphis, Houston TX Chicago and finally to my present home in Kansas City, MO. The fourth 20 years I served as a registered investment adviser to a number of individual clients which I continue to do in a semi-retired capacity. In addition to all this, over all these years, I have been blessed with a loving wife of sixty years, four children, four grandchildren, two great grandchildren, and a menagerie of grand horses, dogs, cats and a donkey. Providentially, none of these, except of course my patient wife, are still living in the family home. And now the fifth period will be consumed in my new career. For the first time in all the years I have an opportunity to share my opinions with the world. I can truly express my thoughts without regard to any extenuating conditions. I can just say how I feel about any subject. How liberating. Let the blogging begin!!!! By the way – what I do in the next period remains to be seen and depends on how well I do in the fifth period.

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