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Steve Lunetta: That’s it, I give up

Right about now

Posted: August 15, 2010 1:22 p.m.
Updated: August 16, 2010 4:30 a.m.
 

I give up. I absolutely give up. On Aug. 10, President Barack Obama signed a $26 billion spending bill that protects the jobs of 300,000 teachers, police and other government workers from potential layoffs.

Why do I bother working in the private sector? Why should I work outrageous hours, have tremendous stress, make less money and have fewer benefits? Why not just surrender and go work for the government?

So, let me get this straight. When the economy is suffering, folks are losing their jobs and tax revenues are down, government does not need to cut back. The public-service employee unions (read: teacher’s unions) do not believe that they should share the hard times with the rest of America.

“Let them eat cake” is their reply.

President Obama, taking another step towards being a one-term chief executive, paid off a political “marker” by spending another $26 billion that we do not have.

The tremendous irony is that the president claimed the bill would “protect children” by insuring that teachers would remain in classrooms. One of the sources for the money ($12 billion) will be the food-stamp program for the poor. Obama “protects” children by starving them to death.

This is a brilliant plan. I guess the president believes if we starve the kids, then we won’t need to educate them later.

When will the greed of the public-employee unions end? Unfortunately, it knows no bounds.

In our nation, many of the governmental, business and social institutions we create have checks and balances. Remember civics in high school? Each branch of our federal government has a power over and a limitation from another branch of government. This prevents any part of government from becoming too powerful.

Business has the same mechanism. A CEO must answer to a board that, in turn, answers to shareholders. Ultimately, shareholders benefit or lose depending on the actions of the CEO. Checks and balances.

Nonprofit groups and charities work the same way as well. There is usually a director who answers to a board, that answers to donors, as well as recipients of the organization’s largesse.

Ditto for churches and temples. Sports teams, school boards, SCOPE, the NRA — you name it. Almost any organization you can think of has some form of check-and-balance system. This is healthy and prevents excesses that can destroy the organization.

Even industrial unions have  checks on their power. Business contends with labor, and both keep the other under control.

During America’s formative years, unions arose to check the abuses brought on by industry due to rapid industrialization.

Unions made sense and brought balance to the system.

In later years, most businesses recognized that treating employees decently was smart business, eliminating much of the need for unions. Hence, the decline in overall union membership in the United States has been dramatic, going from about 35 percent in 1945 to around 12 percent today, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The exception to all of this is public-employee labor unions. These groups have helped create a system where there is no limit to their power.

Think about it. A public-employee union can fight for more pay and benefits. Who opposes them? In the past, it was elected officials, who are put in place by the public to safeguard the general coffers and assure that the state can perform effectively. Today, the elected officials do not stand in opposition to the unions.

The money these unions can put into elections is tremendous, assuring that the union’s choice is elected. The politician so elected will not oppose the people at the bargaining table who put the aforementioned official into office.

With no opposition, there is no reasonable check on the ability of the union to get its way. This explains the “sweetheart” pension deals and outrageous growth of salaries and benefits for public-sector employees.

It also explains the stunning growth of public-sector unions. While private-sector union membership is shrinking at 7 percent, public-sector unions are at 36 percent and growing. Nothing inhibits the growth in power, numbers and influence of these unions.

The obvious solution is to forbid public-sector unions from contributing money to political campaigns. This would break the quid pro quo relationship between elected officials and labor unions.

The other solution is just to join the public sector and be done with it. I give up. Let someone else be productive and build America. I’m joining the gravy train.

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita resident and will soon be working at City Hall sharpening pencils. And laughing all the way to the bank. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of the Signal. He can be reached at slunetta63@yahoo.com.

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