What that “evil” Scott Walker accomplished

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Cost savings from worker contributions to health care and retirement, taking effect today as part of the new collective bargaining laws, will swing the Kaukauna School District from a $400,000 budget deficit to an estimated $1.5 million surplus…. The district… plans to hire teachers and reduce class size.

More here

via Ann Althouse

And please remember that unions and democrats (that’s redundant, isn’t it?) fought Walker tooth and nail.

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Of course, this is only in Kaukauna, where the populace is decidedly more conservative than, say, Madison or Milwaukee. It’s no surprise that the savings of a school district within areas such as this can then find themselves able to pay for things that might actually help the children. Contrast that with Madison or Milwaukee, where there will be no positive money flow realized, but only the reduction of their current indebtedness.

Teachers’ Union Rejects Calls for Minor Concessions to Save Jobs
Says Area Businesses Should Donate $94 Million to Milwaukee Public Schools

The union was not willing to give on the issue of pension contributions.
It directed the district to lay off the most recent hires.
__________________
Too bad the teachers union didn’t make those concessions.
Too bad the union didn’t allow the WORST teachers to be laid off rather than the newest hires.
But then, the quality of education of the children is not a priority.

That’s right, folks. You can cut costs by cutting employee pay and benefits.

And just think: The same is thing true with regard to every working person in the country! The amount of money that could be saved–and redirected to someone else–is ENORMOUS.

Greg: That’s right, folks. You can cut costs by cutting employee pay and benefits.

And just think: The same is thing true with regard to every working person in the country! The amount of money that could be saved–and redirected to someone else–is ENORMOUS

Greg.. please. Tell me you aren’t this dense? What do you think that private industry does every day of it’s existance to survive? Why do you think there is no new hiring? Because they have learned how to function, and stay a’float, using minimal crews and maximizing production.

If private industry does it to stay relevant and in business, why the heck do you think that government shouldn’t?

Get a grip.

Greg….You’re an out of stater who has zero clue as to what is going on here in Wisconsin. In addition to the Milwaukee teachers not agreeing to cuts to save jobs, the school district was forced to lay off 500 plus teachers, assistants etc etc…Yet you can bet every one of those laid off will blame Gov. Walker for making adjustments to the gravy train these people have been riding for years…I know what some of these people have for retirement accounts that are completely taxpayer funded. It’s very difficult to feel sympathetic to their “plight”.

Greg, you need to get one of those cute little red shirts with the blue wisconsin raised fist on it and prance around here like a number of the hippies, college students, and out of staters do in Madison, you would fit in perfectly.
P.S. When you start paying my property taxes, then you get a voice…Until then it’s a Wisconsin issue..

(I transposed a couple of words in #3 and can’t edit the post. It should have read: “The same thing is true with regard to…”)

@Bobachek, #4:

P.S. When you start paying my property taxes, then you get a voice…Until then it’s a Wisconsin issue.

As a property owning, tax paying resident of another state, I appreciate that sentiment. However, when multiple republican governors and multiple republican state legislatures are simultaneously launching similar attacks on workers’ unions in each of several states, their coordinated agenda becomes more than a single-state issue.

IIRC the major way the school districts are saving money is that they are no longer required to use the unions’ approved medical plans.
Those plans amounted to a double dipping into the taxpayers pockets to pay union dues TWICE out of the school budgets.
Just being allowed to pick any other non-union medical centers saves each district tons of cash.

Greg, then I believe you should tackle that issue when it comes to your state because you would best know your own states situation….In Wisconsin we seem to get lot of unemployed college students, out of state unionistas etc etc who all seem to know what is best for the income that I earn and how it should redistributed to others in the state…Myself, like many others, are beyond fed up in Wisconsin… It’s astounding how my home and property value keeps declining yet last year my property taxes went up almost 10 percent…I can assure you my salary didn’t increase that much….It needs to stop, Gov. Walker is helping to do just that

@Greg:

Greg… so much for your edjumacashun. No where in that article does it say that there were pay cuts. There have been ZERO. If there have been pay-cuts, please point out the place in the article that says it.

The employees are now required to pay more into their share of the pension and benefits funds. Really what they are doing is reinvesting their money in THEMSELVES rather than the union boss’ pockets.

And if you check the article again-it says the district is implementing MERIT pay as well as hiring more teachers. Doesn’t sound like pay-cuts to me.

@Greg:

Now Greg…on practically every other thread on this forum you’ve been perfectly fine with the redistribution of wealth from one group of people to another. Why the sudden change of heart?

@KitchenKitten, #9:

Greg… so much for your edjumacashun. No where in that article does it say that there were pay cuts. There have been ZERO. If there have been pay-cuts, please point out the place in the article that says it.

If your employer was previously contributing $200 toward your family’s health insurance cost as part of your compensation package, and that amount has now been reduced to $50, assuming that all other things remain equal, compensation for the services you provide has been cut by $150.

The central issue, though, is that Governor Walker decided not to negotiate with union employees for such a reduction, but to simply nullify their contracts and dictate it.

Was it really about the budgetary savings? The public employee unions agreed to make the concessions necessary to produce the budgetary savings. Their concern was about their rights as union employees. What Walker’s move was about was disempowering unions, and by extension working people. And, of course, the Democratic Party.

I think a majority of the people of Wisconsin get this. That’s why Governor Walker’s approval rating is in the toilet, and why 6 republican legislators are facing recall elections.

@Aye:

Now Greg…on practically every other thread on this forum you’ve been perfectly fine with the redistribution of wealth from one group of people to another. Why the sudden change of heart?

I don’t think redistribution from the poor to the rich is an idea that most democrats are comfortable with. Republicans? Well, there’s what they say, and then there are the actual, real world consequences of what they do.

@Greg:

This is not an example of redistribution from poor to rich. Far from it.

In fact, if anything, this is redistribution from high wage earners with high dollar benefit packages to hiring new employees who will have benefit packages that are still generous but not nearly as high dollar.

#13:

This is not an example of redistribution from poor to rich. Far from it.

From a USA Today article, regarding Wisconsin public employee compensation in 2009:

“State, city and school district workers earned an average of $50,774 in wages and benefits in 2009, about $1,800 more than in the private sector.”

So, $1,800 per year more than private sector employees–a significant number of whom are working for lower pay at lower skill levels.

But does $50,774 itself sound excessive? In any urban area, it’s hardly enough for a modest, middle class existence. Perhaps the disparity is actually telling us that average private sector pay should be higher than it is. Public sector employees have made some gains–rather than seeing their real wages remain stagnant for the past 30 years, like the average private sector worker.

Which brings me back to the upward redistribution issue. Increasing that upward trend is the predictable and logical outcome of virtually every point of the republican tax and economic agenda. Finishing off unionized labor–which until recently has still had lingering strength in the public sector–is a central part of that agenda.

Defense of union rights is defense of the middle class.

Greg: Defense of union rights is defense of the middle class.

…. yeah, right. Perhaps the Mexican, Indian or Chinese middle class. Tell your lofty philosophy to those who’ve watched the union negotiations and demands push the business elsewhere, Greg… and be prepared to duck. Me? Been there, done that, thank you. You are, and forever remain, clueless, and desperately clinging to the socialist dream of a non existant utopia.

#15:

Are you suggesting that middle class American workers should have to either lower their expectations to the level of average Chinese workers, or else not be hired at all?

There’s an explanation for what’s going wrong with America, but it’s not the one that republicans are selling.

#17 & #18:

Do you think public employee compensation–both wages and benefits–exceeds that of private employees? When the comparison is fairly made between private and public sector jobs requiring the same education and skill levels, that’s not the case. Public employees earn less than their private sector counterparts when the total cost of wages and benefits is included: Fact sheet: Public employee compensation This has been demonstrated again and again. It’s true that the average public sector employee does earn more than the average private sector employee. That’s simply because the federal, state, and local public sectors don’t include the millions of low skill, low experience jobs that you’ll find in the private sector. Teachers, policemen, firemen, air traffic controllers, government scientists, etc, should be paid a lot more than McDonald’s hamburger flippers–the sort of job that doesn’t occur in great number in the public sector.

You can trot out examples of excessive public sector pensions all day. (Perhaps you should start with elected officials, which include a lot of republicans, I’ve noticed.) The fact of the matter is that these are not typical. According to the National Institute on Retirment Security, in 2006 the average Wisconsin public employee pension was $22,765 per year.

Shall we have a look at private sector pensions that some might characterize as somewhat excessive? How about Samuel Palmisano, IBM chief executive? $4 million per year, beginning at 65. That comes to $75,000 per week.

The average expected annual pension for CEOs at S&P 500 companies is $930,000, according to Paul Hodgson, an analyst at the Corporate Library and author of “Building Value Through Compensation.”

Somebody said something about pigs?

Oddly, republicans never have much to say about examples like that–even when mainstream private sector workers have for the most part seen their pension plans dramatically reduced–or have lost their pension plans altogether–while their real pay has been stagnant for decades. Instead, they try to stir up anger among those they’re screwing over against public sector workers–all the while plotting to strip those same private sector workers of their Medicare and Social Security benefits in the name of a balanced budget. It’s just another diversion, while they pick the few coins remaining from mainstream America’s pockets. They routinely pick one worker’s pockets, and then point toward the worker standing alongside him when the loss is noticed.

Of course, we have to kill off Medicare and Social Security. How else are we going to pay for more tax cuts for those at the top?