NJ Governor Christie: NJEA = Hotel California

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

He’s going to stab it with his steely knife, and he just might kill the beast…

52 Responses to NJ Governor Christie: NJEA = Hotel California

  1. There are bad teachers, bad truck drivers, bad mechanics, bad whatever.

    Then there’s bad politicians.

    The reason why unions don’t like you is because you’re anti-union.

    Workers HAVE A NATURAL RIGHT to bargain for what they own, which is their own LABOR. Yeah, I know you right wing politicians find that hard to understand, because you get your money from taxpayers who have no control at all over your salary. In fact, when you want a raise, you just TAKE IT.

    So what kind of hypocrisy is this, this person, standing there using the Eagle’s intellectual property without their permission (and I’d be willing to bet dollars to donuts they would NOT want to be associated with this) telling us that we can’t let a segment of our population unionize? Where does that come from? The USSR?

    When you got elected, you went to work 30 or 40 hours a week, maybe, you have months of paid vacation, a whole staff of people to steal money for you, and there will be stealing. What makes you think you’ve got any authority, moral or otherwise, to make any statement about a working person who wants to have a union represent them? And the plain truth is that most workers DO WANT UNIONS when they are given a choice.

    I worked as an electrical engineer in plant engineering for most of my career. I saw EXACTLY how management regards the working class people. They aren’t SHIT to management. They are nothing but pieces of machinery to be used up and thrown out, preferably before they act up or break down and cost the system money. There is NO LOYALTY to the work force whatsoever, even though it is DEMANDED FROM the work force.

    I think the biggest problem we have with the economy right now is that we are losing the middle class. Why do you suppose THAT happened? It’s because we don’t have enough jobs that provide a living wage. So what does this do? It means that people either have to work more than one job, or they don’t have enough disposable income to consume anything.

    This is a direct result of the Reagan Administration’s attack on unions. You know, it wasn’t that long ago that unions LEANED REPUBLICAN but nowadays they’re lefties. How did that happen?

    I think it’s obvious. Reagan went on a rampage to kill unions in the US and he almost did it. Workforce unionization went from 55% to 7% in the last 30 years. The middle class squeeze reflects that, too, except that it’s been lagging behind because of easy credit. So middle class families are leveraged to the hilt.

    I think this attack on teachers’ unions is despicable, and Christie, you’re a jerkwater who needs to find a real job.

    • Patrick says:

      And consumers have a right to bargain for what they buy. If they don’t like buying expensive and ineffective schools and teachers from a government monopoly they should be able to demand effective schools and teachers through choice.

      Union members have no right to hold consumers, parents and taxpayers hostage and force everyone to buy union services at the point of a gun…

      • Patrick says:

        Oh yes, the middle class disappearing. I owned two cars, a tv, an xbox, several hundred books, while putting myself through graduate school by working at Wal-Mart overnight. Life sure is tough for people who work hard.

        Unions don’t protect the middle class they harm it. Unions protect the entrenched workers in industries protected by government forcing everyone else to pay higher prices for goods and services.

      • l says:

        Unions provide a decent wage for workers. Corporations raise prices and outsource jobs so they can pay bigger bonuses to CEO’s and shareholders. Corporations are greedy and nobody does greed better than the Americans!

      • l says:

        The only people holding guns are the nutcase Tea Baggers with low IQs. Don’t blame the schools for the fact that you are a moron. Maybe your mom smoked crack.

    • Actually, Patrick, the plain fact is that the public school system is a proud achievement of America, one of the early adopters that an educated public is necessary to have a democracy.

      It’s also the reason why your comparison to this as a product that you shop for is ridiculous and always has been regarded as such. It’s part of the fabric of our democracy.

      Regarding your middle class comment, it’s quite obvious that you are the exception rather than the rule. I hope Wal Mart keeps that job open for you when you graduate from grad school (which I assume you attended because you couldn’t find a job when you got your undergrad degree).

      • Patrick says:

        Actually I was a high school teacher after graduating college the first time around and saw first hand the problems with public schools.

        Second, public schooling didn’t start out as a government monopoly run by all-knowing bureaucrats and union masters from central office miles and miles from the school, parents, and students.

    • l says:

      You are right on the mark!
      Christie is a low life piece of crap with family ties to the Genovese crime family. He is cutting education while giving a tax cut to the wealthy in NJ. Everything he is doing is resulting in higher property taxes. This isn’t the first time he has shouted down someone trying to express their opinion. Last month he debased a middle aged woman and threatened to throw her out of the room for shaking her head while he was speaking. The state Legislature last week was ready to subpoena him because he would not release public information concerning mistakes he made that resulted in NJ losing 450 million in aid to schools.

  2. matthewladner says:

    Gee William, don’t hold back. Tell us what you really think!

    While you are at it, feel free to explain how you can possibly justify forcing teachers that do not want to join the NJEA to pay dues anyway.

  3. It’s called a UNION SHOP.

    It’s legal. It’s common practice. The people who refuse to join are still covered by all the protections of the bargaining unit.

    So that’s how.

    Now you explain to me how you earned the 40 hour work week, paid vacation, workplace safety standards, insurance benefits, overtime, and so on and so on and so on WITHOUT the help of unions.

    Save your breath. You can’t.

  4. Matthewladner says:

    Legal, common and indefensible.

    On your request for explanation, I choose to work more than 40 hours a week, I negotiate my own vacation and benefits with my employer, and I have never been forced to pay union dues to anyone. I can also be fired at will, and receive compensation according to my perceived productivity.

    If however I were a member of an organization like the NJEA, I would be compensated based almost exclusively on my length of service and it would be next to impossible to terminate my employment regardless of how poorly I performed by duties.

    Now imagine the education of children relying on my productivity, and you get a nice little summary of the NJEA.

    Complain all you like, but the NEA has lost everyone between the ideological space between Christie and Obama because they are using their political power in ways that are damaging to the interests of children.

    • l says:

      The only one damaging children is Chris Christie. Teachers like unions. Most workers, truck drivers, iron workers, telephone workers, etc. like unions. Unions are the only thing standing between the worker and slave labor. Interesting that nobody seems to give a care about the blue collar unions where workers with a 7th grade education get better pay than teachers with masters degrees. Christie is only attacking white collar unions. Why is it ok to pay your plumber $200 per hour, but not ok to pay your kid’s teacher $20 per hour?

  5. You’re not a teacher.

    I’m SURE you choose to work more than 40 hours a week. LOL you either get paid by the hour (contractor) or by bonus or you own the company. Or you have no life.

    I spent a whole big lot of my time working more than 40 hours a week. In one quarter I added up my time slips and the AVERAGE work week was 60 hours, and that was in the 4th quarter which included Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays. Please don’t pretend to lecture anybody about how hard you work.

    Who perceives your productivity? A school board? I suppose not. The government? Probably not.

    But you see, the school board and the government DO interfere with and judge teachers’ “productivity”, don’t they? Ever heard of “No child left behind”?

    This is a wholly bogus metric imposed on schools as an unfunded mandate. I happened to be living in Texas when it came into existence and one of my best buds was a teacher at the local high school. What “No child” did to the teaching profession and our school systems is an atrocity. It created a mountain of paperwork and tried to apply standardized testing in a place where it doesn’t apply. Our high school was in the south of Texas in a predominantly ESL area and my friend was the art teacher. Here’s what he said, back in 1990: The teachers are dropping key life enrichment and general education topics from their curriculum and TEACHING THE TEST.

    Is that how you want your kids educated?

    The evaluation of a job like yours might be how many widgets you make. I was an EE and I got evaluated on how well my projects functioned and how well the timelines were met. But teachers CAN’T BE EVALUATED THAT WAY. I have heard MANY teachers complain that they have “slow” classes from time to time and I BELIEVE THEM.

    I am teaching music privately now and I have seen a pretty fair sampling of students from the surrounding area. They are all over the map with their language skills, reading, etc. etc. One thing that I can say for sure is that the general music education that I got early in school is gone. My students have never heard or sung ‘America the Beautiful’ or ‘My Country Tis of Thee’. They have no idea who Stephen Foster was. I have one 20 year old violin student who actually asked me “Batch, what is that?” while looking at my copy of Bach violin sonatas and partitas. BATCH? How did THAT happen?

    I think you KNOW how that happened. She came up through a system where teachers taught THE TEST and arts funding has been funneled into sports.

    Who’s damaging the interests of the children? It’s not the teachers, it’s the people who think they can sit in the state house and micromanage them. It’s not the unions, that’s for damn sure.

    • Patrick says:

      So you privatly teach students music. Do you take naps at your desk? Do you show up to work late? Do you cancel on students and find some substitute? Do you ignore the needs of your students? Do you blow up at parents when they want you to teach a student a particular style of music?

      There is something very major that you are missing. 1) A teacher who is paid by the parent and only earns an income by stratifying his or her customers needs and 2) a teacher who is paid regardless of how good or how incompetent they really are.

      1) A teacher who could lose their customers at any time or 2) a teacher that is protected by archaic laws from losing their job

      1)a teacher who earns additional money by being good at their job or 2) a teacher that earns additional money by being older than the other guy.

      PS, the unions love the micromanagement – that is how they can exert control. They also love unhappy teachers. Unhappy teachers listen to whatever the union has to say.

  6. allen says:

    It’s always nice to have the likes of William show up for their, inevitably, brief appearances since they provide such a cheap alternative to accomplishment to satisfy that need to feel smart.

    Uhh William? Ron Reagan was the six-term president of the Screen Actor’s Guild, i.e. a union. You figure maybe it took him six terms as the president of a union before he discovered how wicked unions really were?

    Far from leaning Republican, the unions of his era, before and after, leaned to the left. In some cases without even making much effort to hide their warm feelings for the failed political philosophy which rationalized for the violent seizure of the means of production by the proletariat. There’s hardly a lefty cause the NEA’s failed to embrace including some pretty far-off-the-left-edge ideas.

    Maybe it’s me but I seem to be hearing a lot from Chris Christie lately and it pretty much all sounds good. Is there a new star rising on the right? Being from Michigan, and watching John Engler bust the Democrats long-term hold on the legislature then watching him voluntarily flame out, I’d sure like to see another plain-spoken, unprepossessing Republican governor whose claim to fame is making his political opponents look like a bunch of shmucks.

  7. You must have not been in Michigan during the Nixon years. Maybe you weren’t born yet. I’m guessing probably not.

    If you have the need to feel smart why don’t you look at the facts?

    Google teamster support nixon

    Maybe it will satisfy your need to feel smart. Apparently public school didn’t do it for you, nor did 4 years of college. But working at Wal Mart, now that’s something that could be useful.

  8. allen says:

    Looking at your site I’m guessing aluminum foil figures prominently in your choice of haberdashery. Which one of us do you think is right in our respective guesses?

    And since you’re handing out job assignments – Reagan, SAG, six terms. You figure six terms as a union president is what turned him into the union-hater you’d like to pretend Reagan was?

    But since you want to stroll down memory lane, my background sports such high points as membership in the UAW and the Pressmen – shop steward in the latter. So I know a thing or two about unions and the one thing I can tell you as a result of experience is that union’s only encounter with justice is when union leadership is indicted.

    As for salaries and benefits “negotiated” by unions that’s always at the point of a gun, either figuratively or in some cases, literally.

    Oh, and the demise of unions is due to their inherent greed. They may be able to force concessions from employers but sooner or later the free market makes those concessions unsupportable union rhetoric to the contrary not withstanding. Interestingly enough, it turns out that even government unions aren’t invulnerable to the results of their own greed as Greece, California and New Jersey are proving.

    What do you think got Christie elected governor if not union greed?

  9. matthewladner says:

    I don’t see much point in debating the meaning of unions opportunistically endorsing Nixon on his way to a 49 state landslide. Today, teacher unions have much larger problems than right wingers like Christie. For example:

    Flat-earther teacher unionists can cling to tenure, rubber rooms, and the like if they wish, but they will find themselves increasingly isolated.

  10. Name calling is the last resort of the intellectually disadvantaged. Sorry for you. I’m not sure what guess you were talking about, but I guess if you’re a Glenn Beck fan it speaks volumes about you that no one can refute.

    You keep bringing up the SAG like it’s some kind of mantra. I suppose it would be if it were a typical union comprised of ordinary working class citizens. But it’s not and you know it’s not, so who exactly are you trying to fool? Me? Not working. Maybe yourself, eh?

    Maybe since you were a UAW steward you ought to be indicted, too. After all, you are complicit if not actually involved in negotiating wages at the point of a gun.

    As to your afterthought about the demise of unions… I would like to thank you for identifying yourself as a person who equates wanting an equal playing field for negotiations as “greed”. You see, the demise of unions came at the point of a gun, figuratively speaking. I actually witnessed it happen, so please save yourself the embarrassment of saying something that I know to be false.

    The fact about union demise is this: when corporations were allowed to use offshoring as a club against unions, they did it. When Taft-Hartley was passed it outlawed “unfair labor practices” which opened the door for unfair management practices. Now I know you don’t believe it, but I was in middle management and I SAW IT HAPPENING. I guess they must have assumed that since I had short hair and was in engineering that I must have been “OK” to hear what the management had in mind for their work force.

    The basic plan: screw the union. Make it weak and ineffectual so workers wouldn’t think it was worth joining. Threaten the union with plant closure whenever it tried to fight back. Intimidate union workers with drug and alcohol testing. Give “special treatment” to workers who cooperated with the management against the union (such as badmouthing the union to new hires, spreading rumors about union employees, etc.) Fight the union for everything. Every penny. Oh, did I mention threaten them with offshoring?

    Yeah, this is the “point of a gun” thing. The Gillette plant I worked at brought in a union-buster from their Ireland plant to straighten things out. The local Teamsters were in negotiations over the wages in the newest production area. Management was trying to go to an hours structure where people would WORK overtime but nobody would get PAID overtime. He called an assembly of the entire work force, told us that we were an “effing joke” (he didn’t use the word “effing”) and said there was no reason why the equipment couldn’t be packed up and sent to Mexico. Then he packed up an entire mold shop and room of production machinery and sent it to Mexico.

    You see, that’s how management works. They don’t give a rat’s patootie about anything out there on the floor. They just care about screwing labor. I have seen labor take it in the shorts time and time again for poor management decisions and engineering mistakes. That’s just a fact, Allen, you can’t say otherwise because I’VE SEEN IT.

    I guess you either didn’t see that where you worked or maybe even thought it was OK. How did you get all those toys you were talking about while being a college student and working at Wal Mart? Wal Mart doesn’t pay a living wage. What do you think about THIS, BTW?

    http://www.walmartmovie.com/facts.php

    I’m sure you enjoyed/are enjoying/will enjoy your life with Wally World. You know, since there are currently 5.6 people looking for every single job out there, you’ll be lucky to hang onto what you’ve got.

    Oh… another happy management news item… you’ll love this. Companies are beginning to refuse to interview anyone who is not presently employed. Cool, eh? Maybe you’ll have to hang in there and get your PhD.

    • Patrick says:

      That wal-mart movie was terrible. Aside from building the usual straw men and celebrating empty wal-marts and jobs destroyed by not having the wal-mart in town, it blamed all the wrong people. For example, wal-mart getting a $1 million subsidy was not the fault of wal-mart but a fault of the local government (both liberals and conservatives love giving out taxpayer dollars, that has got to stop).

    • allen says:

      Oh, you’re going to start a post with “Name calling is the last resort of the intellectually disadvantaged”? Then I suppose name calling is the first resort of the irony-challenged.

      The reason I keep bringing up SAG is because it’s a union and that puts the lie to your unsupported accusation hurled at Reagan. Since you’ve got no substantive reply beyond “oh yeah!” let’s just assume that whatever the differences are SAG’s a union and Reagan was its six-term president and that proves pretty conclusively you’re more in love with the strawmen you’ve erected for your own convenience then you are in any semblance of the truth.

      Similarly, you don’t have any substantive reply to make to my startling revelation of an up-close and personal knowledge of unions so you have to punt with what in your tightly-constrained world of unrecognized brilliance and conspiratorial injustice passes for a response. It isn’t but it’s some gratifying to see that sort of non-response which indicates that your comments are entirely motivated insights which must not be questioned.

      In any case, enough’s enough. The people of New Jersey, tired of being sucked dry like all victims of parasites have chosen a governor who’ll restore some semblance of justice to the labor situation in New Jersey public education and nothing you can say is going to have the slightest effect on that.

  11. Patrick says:

    How do you get those toys on low hourly wages? ($8.25 an hour at Wal-Mart in the middle of Oklahoma isn’t bad). First, you economize other costs. You don’t live by yourself and eat out all the time. You get roommates. You don’t get cable tv, you just get internet. You don’t get a new car, you get used cars. You don’t hire people to fix things, you learn to fix them yourself. So on and so forth (Nickled and Dimed was written by a woman incapable of rational thought).

    As for living wages, they are completely ineffective AND benefit no one but higher waged workers.

    • Let’s see, $8.25/hour, that’s about $16.5k a year gross. That puts you $6k over the poverty level.

      How many of your fellow Wal Mart people were living under the poverty level? Any idea?

      http://www.pbs.org/itvs/storewars/stores3.html#work

      Working for Wal-Mart
      Forbes magazine, polling business executives (not employees) has ranked Wal-Mart among the best 100 corporations to work for. Yet the employees on average take home pay of under $250 a week. The salary for full-time employees (called “associates”) is $6 to $7.50 an hour for 28-40 hours a week, which is typical in the discount retail industry. This pay scale places employees with families below the poverty line, with the majority of employees’ children qualifying for free lunch at school. When closely examined, this amounts to a form of corporate welfare, as the taxpayer subsidizes the low salaries. One-third are part-time employees – limited to less than 28 hours of work per week – and are not eligible for benefits.

      The company is staunchly anti-union. New employees are shown videotapes explaining that instead of unionizing, they benefit from the open door policy, allowing them to take their complaints beyond the supervisors to higher management. When the United Food and Commercial Workers tried to organize workers across the country, labor experts were brought in for “coaching sessions” with personnel who support unionization. Employees complained that these were intimidation sessions. Many such complaints are currently on file with the National Labor Relations Board.

      Whereas Wal-Mart employees start at the same salary as unionized employees in similar lines of work, they make 25 percent less than their unionized counterparts after two years at the job. The rapid turnover – 70 percent of employees leave within the first year – is attributed to a lack of recognition and inadequate pay, according to a survey Wal-Mart conducted. Yet this can work to the company’s advantage, since it is more difficult for unions to organize when there is constant employee turnover.

      Neato.

      You deny that people need living wages, you deny that people need unions, you seem to celebrate Wal Mart.

      Why do you hate America’s poor so much? Why do you support slave labor around the world? Is it because somehow you got an X-Box to play with because you moved in with your roomies?

      If someone living next door to you walked out into the street and died, would you step over the body or on it?

      • Patrick says:

        Your stats seem a bit outdated. The Wal-mart I worked at started people at $6.50 an hour and this was when the minimum wage was $5.15. They boosted wages another $0.25 an hour for most positions when another Wal Mart opened in town (how about them apples).

        The average Wal-Mart worker makes around $10 an hour. Even the unions claim the average wal mart worker makes over $8 an hour.

        As for welfare, what did you think it was created for? If there are poor wal-mart workers, and indeed some are, shouldn’t they be on welfare? Why denigrate the company for employing poor people?

        In fact, you should be applauding wal-mart. Without wal-mart there would be many more unemployed poor people and even more people on welfare.

        To make matters worse for your position, Wal-Mart does more for the poor than all US welfare programs combined. Not only does it provide the poor with a job, steady wages, the potential to earn more, it provides everyone with low cost goods and services which increases the purchasing power of everyone.

      • Patrick says:

        As for your slave labor comment, how silly. How is voluntarily working for a wage slave labor?

        PS, I don’t hate the poor and I don’t think you do either – even if you support policies that hurt the poor (simply because you don’t understand things like unintended consequences).

  12. Patrick says:

    First, to say that raising the minimum wage will help the poor you must identify who the minimum wage workers are.

    According to the Federal Reserve, US Census Bureau and Department of Labor Statistics, over half of all minimum wage workers are under the age of 25. Meaning, and not surprisingly, they are low-skilled workers. (You are paid based on the value you can produce, period).

    Very few, around 10 percent, of wage workers earning $8.25 or less are the heads of households. The vast majority of minimum wage workers, live in a household where people make more than the minimum wage (and more than $8.25 – this article was written before the latest round of minimum wage hikes)http://www.minneapolisfed.org/publications_papers/pub_display.cfm?id=1256

    Making minimum wage does not mean you are poor. A lot of poor people earn minimum wage but a lot of minimum wage workers are not poor. Income from one individual alone does not determine poverty.

    So the vast majority of people earning around the minimum wage are young and thus low skilled, and, or are low-skilled but are members of households with higher incomes anyway. As for helping poor people and single mothers the minimum wage is highly ineffective – it doesn’t even target them.

    Raising the minimum wage will certainly benefit some people but who really benefits? The ultimate result of raising the minimum wage is to increase the cost of employing an individual. If the cost of that individual rises above the value they are able to produce it makes no sense to employ them. Thus they’re fired (why do you think so many mentally handicap people get fired when the minimum wage rises and the government forgets to write in an exemption for them?)

    So if the raising the minimum wage doesn’t really help poor people, but more or less makes them less employable who benefits? If you said union workers, give yourself a gold star.

    Higher wage workers in unionized labor enjoy the benefits of minimum wage increases. They are already making above the amount but their high priced labor becomes more attractive when you make the low-skilled competition less appealing.

    You have to get up pretty early in the morning to convince yourself this isn’t what happens, but this is exactly why unions love minimum wages and “fair trade”

    Its not about helping poor people, its about screwing them over so higher skilled wage labor can keep their artificially high wages.

    • Yes, whenever poor people get a raise they’re getting screwed.

      You’re management material.

      • Patrick says:

        The people making below the minimum wage make off pretty good if they keep their job. Other people see the value of their former wages eaten away by rising costs. Yet others see their incomes disappear by losing job opportunities go away all together.

        That isn’t exactly helping the poor (especially since most minimum wage workers are young people living with mom and dad).

  13. Patrick says:

    PS, between 97 and 2007 when no minimum wage increase occurred, the number of minimum wage workers decreased by 3 million while we added 5 million wage laborers. Why do you think that happened?

    I’ll give you a hint, it has something to do with greedy businesses giving people pay raises.

    • Then why is the median income of Americans going down?

      http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

      In the same time period you’re talking about the 80th percentile went from controlling 15% of the wealth to 7%.

      In case you’re not into math, that’s about half.

      • Patrick says:

        All that link does is provide data on income, worth and wealth disparities. That says nothing about people earning less overtime. In fact, by all valid measures we are wealthier today than 20 years ago, 30 years ago 40 years ago and so on.

        This website seems quite poorly put together even if they did take the time to describe wealth and income. Even if income or wealth disparities increase it does not necessarily mean that the poor are poorer. It could very well be the case that the pie has simply increased for everyone, just faster for some. That isn’t a bad thing. This website doesn’t seem to leave that possibility open, even though that is exactly what has been occurring in America for decades now.

        When you look at our purchasing power as time, our wealth looks even better. If you think about all the great new technology available to us you can see your purchasing power is even greater (even if we can’t quantify the raw awesomeness of a blue-ray player compared to beta-max)

        Life is better, people live healthier and longer, incomes are higher, purchasing power is greater, and the earth is cleaner. Cheer up, but government had very little to do with any of it.

        Also a refresher for you, most people in the bottom quintile of households have no full-time income earner, while 77 percent of the households in the top quintile of income earners have two full time workers in the family. So much for the myth of the toiling poor! 😉

  14. Patrick,

    It’s difficult conversing with someone when they don’t acknowledge assertions. It’s FUN, but difficult. I appreciate your spirited defense of the status quo. It’s great to know that people like you (Buckleyite GOPERs) exist.

    If we were sitting at the bar over beers (which, sadly, I can’t have any more due to meds) we could catch points of disagreement and beat them into a pulp. (Figuratively). But what seems to happen here is that points go unanswered, or answered with irrelevant facts.

    I suggest that you do a bit of work to get your head straight on a couple of things. Income in the US is going down. Disposable income is going down. Our wealth distribution is becoming more stratified.

    http://www.bsos.umd.edu/socy/vanneman/socy441/trends/median.html

    The cost of health care is a major contributor to many of these problems. The free market system has been an abject failure; sucking 1/6 of the economy while still leaving millions with no regular health care.

    Wages for my last job outside the home (EE) have been flat for a decade. The only way I could get a raise is to change jobs. This is not a unique experience… it’s been the norm.

    My observations above about unions are the result of sitting in hundreds of meetings where the subject of automation, production, and people have been at or near the top of the agenda. America is not friendly to our work force. The standard of living is going down for vast segments of our population as their jobs are shipped overseas and high unemployment rates are creeping up the economic ladder.

    Financial ruin is nipping at the heels of the middle class; people over-leveraged with credit cards, bad mortgage deals, high health insurance costs, dwindling job markets, and so on, are a divorce or health crisis away from losing everything. I personally know several families that have gone through their resources and now 1 paycheck away from disaster.

    It’s hard for me to be cheery in this environment, and I don’t have a dog in the fight. At my age and with my current profession teaching private music lessons, unless there is another 2008 crash or a change in SS/Medicare I should be just fine. But woe to new college grads, students looking for summer jobs, people in the manufacturing sector, and the bottom 80%. You are going to be poorer.

    And you’re right in one sense. The government did nothing to stop it.

    • Patrick says:

      Your assertion was that American incomes were declining and then you put up a link that showed income disparities not that incomes were actually declining. Thus, you didn’t even follow your own assertion.

      The reason it does not show declining incomes is because incomes are not declining over the long term (we are in a recession currently).

    • Patrick says:

      1) Your new chart shows an increasing income over time. As I stated. A recession results in a temporary decrease but the long term pattern has been upward.
      2) Watch out for household incomes, the make- up of a household changes over time making long term comparisons difficult.
      3) We haven’t had a free market in health care. A) the US Government already paid for 50 percent of all health care expenditures before ObamaCare B) the vast majority of private health insurance is bought by employers C) health insurance is a third party payer system that is forced to cover certain conditions because of government mandates. How is that a free market system?
      4) Life has been getting better in spite of government attempts to do otherwise. Incomes will continue to rise unless government spending continues to force tax increases that will just take it all away. Purchasing power will continue to rise so long as government doesn’t increase trade barriers and add expensive or needless regulations. Retirement will be sustainable if government stops making promises it can’t keep (like forcing today’s workers to pay for today’s retirees).

      • The only conclusion I can reach is that you are either insulated or you’re blind.

      • Maybe this will make some sense to you.

        Did you look at all the graphs in the previous link?

        Check this out.

        http://thepoliticsofdebt.com/?p=261

      • Patrick says:

        If personal income is on the rise and if disposable personal income is on the decline then that would suggest people are paying more taxes as a percentage of their income. Or it doesn’t take into account other income like benefits which have also been rising over time.

      • Patrick says:

        Actually, once again you have not proven your point. The first chart does not show a decline in disposable personal income. It shows the rate of growth in disposable income from year to year has declined.

        “Although disposable personal income has been growing (we are “richer” than our parents), the percentage at which disposable personal income grows year by year is smaller and smaller.”

      • Patrick says:

        I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in your posts Mr. Wexler. Each post you make a claim backed by a graph or article that doesn’t prove your point. When I point out the discrepancy you claim I can’t read or that I’m some how insulated from the facts (ad hominem fallacies don’t make you right Mr. Wexler).

        You could at least trouble yourself to prove me wrong by explaining how I misread the article or misinterpreted the graph, but you don’t even do that. Instead, you provide a different claim backed up by yet another chart that still doesn’t prove your own point. Rather, in this last instance, the article you reference suggests you’re actually wrong (as I quoted, the author said we are wealthier today than in years past).

      • Do you think that disposable income is on the decline (possibly) because health system costs are pulling in 1/6 of the nation’s economy?

        What are you going to do when your employer says “Sorry, you’re no longer going to have insurance under our plan because it’s too expensive”? Quit and find another job?

        What if THEY ALL do it? And what if unemployment is still 16% when this happens?

        It might be sooner than you expect. Keep working out, stay away from the beer and donunts. Maybe you can find a policy that will take you (and family) up to $18k a year per person max that you can afford.

        Good luck.

        You’re going to need it.

      • Disturbing trend?

        Disturbing trend is when you keep posting like you know something about what is happening to the American work force and you don’t.

        You think people are making more money. But the fact is that wealth is moving up the food chain. I proved it. You keep saying I didn’t. People at the bottom are losing ground, and please spare me the Bush aphorism about making the pie higher. The pie is made out of debt and the dollar is floating in outer space. The workforce is nothing but military and burgers because that’s all we make here besides old people who need their diapers changed.

        Wake up. The workforce did not cause these problems. The greed at the top of the food chain in the board rooms is what caused it. You are seeing armed people in the streets blaming the government. They don’t really realize yet, but someday they will that it’s not the government that’s the problem it’s the corporations. Corporations that have more rights than a person.

        If you wish to continue this conversation I’ll be over at my website. You can post there.

      • Patrick says:

        You didn’t prove anything. You only provided information on wealth disparity and then a link on the slowing growth of disposable income in which the other stated that wealth was still increasing. You have not even proven that the poor are poorer.

        In regards to rising income disparities you didn’t even prove what was causing them. The real answer is growing wealth building potential, entrepreneurialism, and growing technology.

        Greed is always around – in good times and in bad – and it is not a sufficient explanation for anything.

        As for health care you haven’t proven what would decrease costs only that you have a strange definition of free market.

        As for unemployment, it is now 32 percent higher than the Obama administration predicted in order to scare Americans into accepting his stimulus plan. It won’t be reaching 16 percent because of the free market, but because bad government policies are retarding the economy from allocating resources to their highest valued use.

        As for corporations having more rights than a person – put down the Naomi Klein books and give me a break. Corporations are collections of people and they are given legal protections in the economy and as a group of people they are also entitled to other rights like speech and fair trials. This is all done to reduce risk so people can come together, pool resources, and provide services to the community. But can they vote? No. They don’t have more rights than a real person, give it a rest.

      • Really?

        Corporations now have the “right to free speech”. That means that speech has been granted to a construct, and that figment of our legal imagination can buy more electioneering than anyone else could afford.

        Corporations are routinely given insignificant fines or warnings for workplace safety violations that kill and maim workers (please don’t try to insist you know more about this than I do), unsafe products, chemical spills, long-term pollution violations, and so on and so on. If you or I did something that got someone killed, we’d be held liable for it.

        Not so with corporations.

        Look Patrick it’s been a hoot but you know I get weary of the rhetorical trickery and utter bullshit. We’ve got a huge mess on our hands. You don’t even agree to that, you think everything is going great. Hell, why would anyone need a union? Our corporation friends want everyone to prosper, that’s why we’re all rolling in the green right now. Offshoring jobs? Why, what the hell am I talking about? That never happened. Aliens came and abducted our manufacturing plants.

        Sheesh.

        Have fun. I hope nothing hits you when it falls down.

      • Patrick says:

        Yes, corporations have a right to free speech because they are merely collections of individuals pooling their resources together for a common good.

        Why should they be denied free speech when unions can get all they want?

        Did you not pay attention to the recent Supreme Court decision?

        You probably aren’t paying attention to the fact that unions are taking full advantage of this freedom to political speech while corporations, not surprisingly, are too timid to do much. In fact, corporations have to play it safe to avoid alienating lots of customers while unions make money by extracting wealth by force.

        But maybe your own of those ideologically driven Democrats who supports free speech but only if it, in turn, supports your own positions. That is the reasoning behind the Disclose act which appears to write in an exemption for unions in political speech.

        Next as for safety, don’t pretend government has done much to improve safety. Safety has improved because of new technologies and a changing economy from blue collar to white collar workers. Al government does is jump in front of the progress parade, pass a law and people like you think that without government the world would be chaos, people would be starving in the streets, and children would toil as slave labor in some factory down south. (Check the Historical Statistics yourself, you’ll find the minimum wage has done nothing to improve wages, the 40 hour work week was added when the average wage worker put in 37 hours a week, child labor was outlawed when it was down to less than 3 percent of the workforce and that Coca Cola banned coke from its products nearly a decade before government outlawed the substance.

        As for safety records, kills and pollution, government by far has the worst record.

        The worst polluter in the United States is the United States government. Within the government it happens to be the U.S. Army. The worst environmental disasters are generally caused by governments. The worst oil disaster in the GULF – AMEX, the Mexican owned oil company. And PS, governments have killed over 200 million civilians in the 20th century alone. http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM

        PS, you still haven’t proven that we are poorer today than in decades past. All you’ve served up are platitudes.

      • Patrick says:

        PS, learn what your opponents are actually saying. Don’t mold what they say to fit your predetermined world view about how you imagine they think.

        I didn’t say things were great. I said life has been improving. You have the backward looking belief that life was somehow better in the mythical past.

        Still, Bush and Obama did a lot to really mess things up. Between them, they’ve added considerable amounts to our debt, created nasty moral hazards that will have devastating repercussions on our future, drastically increased education expenditures with no benefit, doubled transportation expenditures and we still saw bridges collapse, centralize government power, start two wars, continue torture, break campaign oaths, fight against free trade, add 4,500 pages in federal regulations, and double the U.S. federal bureaucracy, violate US bankruptcy law, oh and lets not forget the unsustainable health-care entitlements both parties have added over the last 9 years, not to mention an utter unwillingness to address the impending collapse of medicare and social security…

        that said, life is still getting better, even with our government trying very hard to screw things up for everyone else.

    • allen says:

      From the article:

      “The Al Shankers and the Victor Gotbaums …..they’re not around any more,” said Norman Adler, the former political director of the New York City public workers union , referring to public sector union leaders who battled through the crises of the 1960s. “The people who have replaced them are either not as sophisticated or not as talented as the old guard was.”

      I’d vote for sophistication in the form of an understanding that there’s only so much up with which the public will put. Chris Chritie reception, as well as some of the other governors listed in the article, are proof that there’s a limit to political leverage and the unions have found that limit. Shankar understood that limit, which is why he never embraced the sort of attitudes and rhetoric typical of the NEA, but he’s been replaced by more shortsighted officials.

      Oh well.

  15. […] Thus, I have to compliment New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for his courage, common sense and commitment in taking on the powerful teachers union lobby in his state. Consider the nearly five minutes watching this video time well spent (H/T Matt Ladner): […]

  16. l says:

    The first post is dead on!

    Christie is a low life piece of crap with family ties to the Genovese crime family. He is cutting education while giving a tax cut to the wealthy in NJ. Everything he is doing is resulting in higher property taxes. This isn’t the first time he has shouted down someone trying to express their opinion. Last month he debased a middle aged woman and threatened to throw her out of the room for shaking her head while he was speaking. The state Legislature last week was ready to subpoena him because he would not release public information concerning mistakes he made that resulted in NJ losing 450 million in aid to schools.

  17. I have read so many articles or reviews concerning the blogger lovers however this paragraph is in fact a good paragraph, keep it up.

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