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Wisconsin recall election: Gov. Scott Walker
June 5, 2012 5:35 PM   Subscribe

Chicago Tribune - Wisconsin’s fierce and emotional recall battle for governor appeared headed for a possible photo finish Tuesday as voters swarmed the polls: “I think we're having presidential turnout,” said Kenosha County Clerk Mary Schuch-Krebs as she watched voters flood the polls to choose between retaining Republican Scott Walker as governor or replacing him with Democrat Tom Barrett... This was only the third time in U.S. history that any state has voted on whether to recall its governor. Tuesday’s battle was effectively a redo of the 2010 race for governor between Walker and Barrett, which Walker won by 5 percentage points.

TwinCities.com - Wisconsin recall: Turnout 'just wild' at polling stations around state
Voters and public officials are reporting long lines at many Wisconsin polling places Tuesday, June 5 -- with Dane County Clerk Karen Peters calling the local turnout "just wild" so far. "It ranges from 28 to 42 percent already; it is a huge turnout. We could hit 80 to 88 percent," Peters said of Dane County's turnout... The race is widely viewed as one of the most significant contests nationally this year outside of the presidential race. The lieutenant governor's job, along with four state Senate seats, are also up for recall. "Everything leading up to this election, it completely felt like a presidential (election)," said Witzel-Behl, speaking of the workload, number of officials needed for the polls and the number of absentee ballots her office received prior to the election.

Eau Claire Leader-Telegram - Wisconsin voters divided on bargaining:
Those participating in Tuesday's election to recall Gov. Scott Walker were evenly split on the Republican-backed law that ended collective bargaining for state government workers — about half approved and half disapproved — and passionately divided on the GOP governor's handling of the issue. About half also said they had a favorable opinion of unions for government workers, while just over 4 in 10 viewed them unfavorably. Those were the key findings of preliminary exit polls conducted Tuesday for The Associated Press...

The Guardian: Wisconsin recall election results – live coverage
"8pm: Wisconsin's recall election has been a year in the making – and it all comes down to tonight, with polls in the Badger state closing in one hour and governor Scott Walker's fate decided. Already there is talk of recounts and legal challenges – most likely if the result is close, to within less than 10,000 votes – and anecdotal evidence suggests some parts of the state have seen high turnout, raising the prospect of a long and bitter fight."

previously on MeFi:
Feb. 13 2011: "An assault on unions is an assault on democracy itself"
Feb. 17 2011: Public Workers Protest in Madison
Feb. 19 2011: 'There is a stench in this body!'
Feb. 23 2011: Wisconsin O'Keefed?
March 1 2011: Wisconistan
March 9 2011: A Half-Century of Rights, Gone
March 30 2011: Constitutional Crisis in Curdistan
Apri 5 2011: Scott Walker Pays $81.5K Gov’t Salary to Drunk-Driving Loser Son of Crony
April 7 2011: Waukeshocker
May 20 2011: "Gov. Scott Walker wants to stop defending hospital visitation rights for same sex couples"
July 26 2011:
Voting in Wisconsin Just Became A Lot More Difficult
August 10 2011: Wisconsin recall efforts fall short amid corruption fears
Dec. 15 2011: "Republican Governor Scott Walker filed suit against the non partisan Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB)... This comes hot on the heels of an announcement by Wisconsin Dems that they have reached 500,000 signatures of the 750,000 desired in the recall effort against him in just a few weeks - at a rate of roughly 25,000 signatures per day."
Jan. 17 2012: A Million Wisconsinites Petition to Recall Scott Walker
April 9 2012: "As the recall of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker draws near, the governor has quietly signed "dozens" of bills into Wisconsin law, including anti-abortion, pro abstinence education only laws, the repeal of the Equal Pay law,, a bill prohibiting insurance plans from covering some abortions, and a bill banning damages in employment discrimination suits."
posted by flex (502 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
ThinkProgress: Wisconsin Voters Report Receiving Robocalls Telling Them Not To Vote

From Eau Claire to Beloit, voters across Wisconsin are relaying stories via Twitter, Facebook and online message boards about anonymous “robocalls” from allies of Scott Walker, telling them–incorrectly–that if they signed petitions to recall Governor Walker, their vote in today’s crucial election has been recorded.
posted by flex at 5:37 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


The way to do a robocaller is to call claiming that you are speaking from the future and that with your vote you can stop the zombie constructed robotic horrormancers from raising up the dark godhead from beyond the veil, only their vote can stop the opening of the era of screams, to push it back, back until the next election cycle.
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:45 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


ThinkProgress: Wisconsin Voters Report Receiving Robocalls Telling Them Not To Vote

I saw that earlier. That is some shady stuff.

We get the privilege of seeing all the campaign commercials for the recall over here in Minnesota and I'm telling you, I've had to develop new meditation methods to keep my Scott-Walker-rage at bay.
posted by triggerfinger at 5:47 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Although many in the media and around the country will consider it a failure for the Dems if Walker is not recalled, really there are six people being voted on (Walker, the Lt. Gov and 4 state legislators). Any one of the legislators getting recalled would be a significant victory for the Dems, as it will cut off the GOP majority in the state senate and hamstring Walker for the rest of his term.
posted by darkstar at 5:47 PM on June 5, 2012 [12 favorites]


I did my part. I'm preparing for a big hangover tomorrow, but for now, I've got my fingers crossed.

During Memorial Day weekend, I went to visit my folks in Door County, and had to drive through the Fox Valleys. It was fucking disgusting. Massive Walker billboards, clearly funded by tons of money (I believe he raised something like 12:1 against ALL Dems (including the primary losers). I didn't like how I ended up getting heated about politics with my mother (more than usual, and I felt really really dirty about it afterwards).

I'm not happy about Barrett, but almost anything is better than that shit-weasel douchebag, Walker.

If you haven't heard, the people in his administration when he was County Executive are being brought down in a scheme of election-campaigning while on the public clock. There was an unofficial router literally right outside his office in a closet used by his office in campaigning, and he has the audacity to claim he knew absolutely nothing about it.

My hope is that if Walker does get re-elected, that it will be Nixonian in nature, and he will be forced to resign after criminal charges are brought to bear on him.

There are also State Senate recalls, and if some of those turn, we may be able to put a hold, even if Walker does survive.

I'm going to donate to Senator Dale Schulz (A Republican!) because he has been the only damned Republican to give 2 shits about listening to people instead of pushing through their rightwing ALEC agenda. He's going to have the Tea Party assholes gunning for him for not toeing the party line and for that I feel it's my duty to give him some financial support so he survives a primary challenge.

I can't believe that some places are hitting over 100% registered voters, that's some intense turnout.

If you live here and you signed the recall, you probably experienced the Barrett onslaught in the end. I got called asking to volunteer (I had to decline and hang up on the poor lady), but there is clearly a huge ground game that Barrett had that I have never seen before in any election. It was annoying, but at the same time, if it's reaching people who otherwise may not have gotten out to vote? Well then I'm ok with that. But I did hear of some tactics that don't sit with me. My roomie claims she left a flyer that had my name and other neighbors' names in order to help us sort of push each other to GOTV. I think that's the purpose. I never saw it and think I must have tossed it absentmindedly or something. I wish I could see exactly what it was now.

It's really disgusting to think that there is a good chance that the dickbag could win.

And if that damned clerk Kathy Nicklaus in Waukesha County fucks shit up yet again... ugh.
posted by symbioid at 5:50 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Sounds like Madison is now predicting >100% turnout, and there are polling stations running out of ballots elsewhere in WI.

I hope I hope I hope Walker is kicked out, but am kinda pessimistic after seeing recent polls. And while turnout is very high the demographics of who is voting has seems closer to the 2010 model than than the 2008 model.

(and why the hell could not have Feingold have run? I think he would have walked away with it despite losing in '10)
posted by edgeways at 5:51 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


The wife and I just got back from our polling place. Surprisingly it was empty. Most places are reporting super high turnouts. I assume we just hit a lull as the machine had registered almost 2,000 ballots counted which seems higher than I can recall seeing previously. I'm just happy that I won't be getting any more calls!!!!! I swear we easily hit the triple digits in the number of robocalls we've received.
posted by MikeMc at 5:51 PM on June 5, 2012


I can't decide if this is a triumph or a travesty of democracy... (anyone but Walker, imo.)
posted by gen at 5:54 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]



And if that damned clerk Kathy Nicklaus in Waukesha County fucks shit up yet again.

I may be wrong but I think she is no longer in that position... didn't she resign or somesuch?
posted by edgeways at 5:54 PM on June 5, 2012


What's astounding is how close this is despite the immense gap in spending -- Walker has outraised Barrett eight-to-one, with most of it coming from outside the state. And that's not counting PAC money, including a whopping $1 million from David Koch (among many other billionaire supporters).
posted by Rhaomi at 5:55 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just in case some people are puzzled, the reports of >%100 mean that many voters registered at the polling place, which is legal in WI.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:55 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


“You don't want to talk about it with your friends because you won't have friends anymore,”

Tru dat. I had two co-workers, both sporting "Stand With Walker" t-shirts today, who ran the names of every employee at our facility through the "I Verify The Recall" database to see who signed the recall petition. I can't believe how contentious this thing has become.
posted by MikeMc at 5:57 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


for now.. almost wasn't
posted by edgeways at 5:57 PM on June 5, 2012


God, I really hope Walker loses. He and the Koch brothers and their disgusting ilk are stabbing America in the back.
posted by clockzero at 5:58 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


many voters registered at the polling place, which is legal in WI

I had no idea. This needs to be legal everywhere.
posted by davidjmcgee at 5:59 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


I certainly voted today. There were lots of people there earlier and quite a few people were registering on the spot. I hope this goes well.
posted by graxe at 5:59 PM on June 5, 2012


And if that damned clerk Kathy Nicklaus in Waukesha County fucks shit up yet again.

I may be wrong but I think she is no longer in that position... didn't she resign or somesuch?


I think she said she's not going to run for reelection. Which is good because she's either: A) Completely incompetent B) A GOP operative who tampers with election results or C) Both A and B
posted by MikeMc at 5:59 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


DING! My nucular powered clock says it's 8:00 PM CDT so it's time to start watching the results roll in.
posted by localroger at 6:01 PM on June 5, 2012


I will boycott some cheese don't think I won't.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:01 PM on June 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


Washington Post (blog) - Wisconsin recall spotlight shines on Waukesha county clerk Kathy Nickolaus
The Waukesha county clerk who bungled vote counts in two recent Wisconsin elections has agreed to step aside in the counting of tonight’s gubernatorial recall results. But critics say there’s no guarantee that Kathy Nickolaus still won’t be involved in the race between Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Calling themselves the The Concerned Citizens of Waukesha County, a group of residents emailed County Executive Dan Vrakas Monday and requested that County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus be banned from Tuesday’s election. That group says it is bipartisan, but in reality its mostly comprised of Democrats who have raised concern about Nickolaus...

She came under fire again during this spring’s Republican presidential primary, when results from Waukesha were hours behind and plans to post the totals online fell through. Reporters were left to sort through pieces of paper taped to walls. In April, Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas told Nickolaus to step aside or resign in advance of the recall. She chose to step aside and let her deputy, Kelly Yaeger, take control. But in the recall primary, Nickolaus was found in her office, counting returns. The county told a local news station that it won’t file a restraining order against Nickolaus but the citizens’ group is welcome to observe proceedings. Shawn Lundie, Vrakas’ chief of staff, told the Plum Line, “She will not be involved in the vote counting this evening.”
posted by flex at 6:01 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


edgeways: She did not resign or was recalled, it seems. Supposedly she wasn't supposed to be in charge of this election for the County. I've read a couple of articles that make this seem suspect.
ex: http://www.jsonline.com/news/waukesha/whos-running-the-election-in-waukesha-county-bs5lvh3-157273915.html
posted by graxe at 6:01 PM on June 5, 2012


In Deerfield, some confusion about whether an ID was necessary to vote was mixed up with the requirement of an ID needed to register to vote, was cleared up by a GAB [Government Accountability Board] informational intervention at mid-afternoon....

Translation: a non-zero number of people were illegally barred from voting in Deerfield until somebody who knew the facts made enough of a stink that that the assholes who are trying to steal the election were forced to tell poll workers the truth... around 3pm.
posted by tzikeh at 6:01 PM on June 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


Pundits are saying that this will be a big win for whoever wins, but honestly, how can anyone call such a close vote a "win"?

Republicans, if Walker wins, that doesn't mean you get to dismantle the social contract.
Democrats, if Walker doesn't win, that doesn't mean that Labor trumps Capital.

A race this close to call should be called for what it is; irrelevant.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:01 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


And if that damned clerk Kathy Nicklaus in Waukesha County fucks shit up yet again.

I may be wrong but I think she is no longer in that position... didn't she resign or somesuch?


I saw a claim on Twitter that she'll be doing the count tonight with reporters in the room.
posted by gerryblog at 6:02 PM on June 5, 2012


Watching CNN right now; their exit poll shows a 50/50 split exactly.
posted by lobbyist at 6:02 PM on June 5, 2012


I'm waiting for this AP page to be updated actually.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2012/by_county/WI_Page_0605.html?SITE=AP&SECTION=POLITICS

posted by graxe at 6:03 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nate Silver, yesterday:
Mr. Walker’s lead of about six points would translate into almost a 95 percent chance of victory if we used the same formula we did to evaluate gubernatorial races in 2010, which derives its estimates from the historical accuracy of gubernatorial polls over the past 15 years.
http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/04/late-polls-find-walker-is-still-favored/
posted by NortonDC at 6:03 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Republicans, if Walker wins, that doesn't mean you get to dismantle the social contract.

You are aware that they will attempt this even if Walker loses, right?
posted by delfin at 6:04 PM on June 5, 2012 [11 favorites]


Can't wait to learn how this is bad news for Obama!
posted by Ad hominem at 6:06 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Republicans, if Walker wins, that doesn't mean you get to dismantle the social contract.
And yet, that is exactly the message they will take from a win.

Democrats, if Walker doesn't win, that doesn't mean that Labor trumps Capital.
No one on the Democratic side has ever said that was what this is about. Ever.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:07 PM on June 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


Republicans have been trying to dismantle the social contract since before I was born, but during my lifetime it became quite apparent in 2000 (and soon after).

Also, good luck Wisconsin.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 6:08 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


On preview: I should've said Republicans, Conservatives, Libertarians et. Al....
posted by JoeXIII007 at 6:09 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


A race this close to call should be called for what it is; irrelevant.

I hope you haven't mistaken your apathy and studied lack of insight for sophisticated political analysis.
posted by clockzero at 6:09 PM on June 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


so a 50/50 split means that whoever controls the vote counting wins, right? Is that the GOP?
posted by mwhybark at 6:10 PM on June 5, 2012


Some Milwaukee precincts are running low on registration forms and ballots. (Though did the polls just close? Change tense as appropriate.)
posted by hoyland at 6:11 PM on June 5, 2012


The polls closed but you can vote as long as you were in line at 8 PM.
posted by gerryblog at 6:13 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just want to tell you Wisconsinites good luck. We're all counting on you.
posted by zardoz at 6:13 PM on June 5, 2012 [16 favorites]


If it is really 50/50 close then Barrentt made up some ground... and it also means we likely are facing a recount scenario (something we are familiar with over her ein Mn in recent years)
posted by edgeways at 6:14 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hope you haven't mistaken your apathy and studied lack of insight for sophisticated political analysis.

Ouch! I was trying to say that I don't think the Wisconsin recall means anything. Clear majorities mean something. Statistical ties don't.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:15 PM on June 5, 2012


Results are starting to trickle in. 0.3 percent of precincts reporting so far, according to HuffPo.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 6:16 PM on June 5, 2012


exit polls (grain of salt) are saying Walker won Independents 50/49, in 2010 he won them 56/42
posted by edgeways at 6:18 PM on June 5, 2012


Clear majorities mean something. Statistical ties don't.

Recalls are really hard to accomplish in the best of circumstances. Getting this far is already impressive; if they actually win, it definitely means something.
posted by gerryblog at 6:18 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ouch! I was trying to say that I don't think the Wisconsin recall means anything. Clear majorities mean something. Statistical ties don't.

Just like in Florida in 2000 amirite?
posted by zombieflanders at 6:19 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the post, flex, and all the links!

MA denizon rooting for Wisconsin... I donated twice and have coached my Wisconsin expatriate friends so they would have talking points with conservative family members. It doesn't matter where you live, we really have to try to hold the line against this crap.

Here's a decent elections result map.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:20 PM on June 5, 2012


Whether or not statistical ties mean anything (in general I'd agree that they don't lend themselves to much of a mandate; however gerryblog's point about a recall meaning something is also true), the practical effects are, of course, quite important no matter the margin of victory. Whoever wins has at least some power. We shouldn't confuse the two points.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:22 PM on June 5, 2012


Flex is on fire.

I'm surprised that apparently half of Wisconsin passionately believes that the political process should go to the highest bidder, and that's acceptable and desirable.
posted by bleep at 6:22 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Guardian live blog reports:
9.16pm: Let's dive into the exit poll data from Wisconsin -

• Union households made up about a third of the electorate, and about two-thirds of them backed Tom Barrett, about the same level of support he received among the group in 2010

• Barrett improved on his 2010 performance among African Americans, those with incomes below $50,000 and independents

• Both Walker and Barrett retained more than 9 in 10 of those who backed them in 2010

• About one in 10 voters said they did not vote in 2010 – and they broke heavily for Barrett

• About 9 in 10 in early exit polling said they decided who to vote for before May. Those who did make up their minds in the final month of the campaign supported Barrett by nearly 30 points
posted by flex at 6:23 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's a sea of red. Even Milwaukee is red at the moment. What the fuck just happened?
posted by Talez at 6:24 PM on June 5, 2012


It's a sea of red. Even Milwaukee is red at the moment. What the fuck just happened?

Milwauke has 1.5% reporting. No need to panic just yet.
posted by Winnemac at 6:26 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ouch! I was trying to say that I don't think the Wisconsin recall means anything. Clear majorities mean something. Statistical ties don't.

Ha! Sorry, that was a little cutting of me.

I understand what you mean, but I don't think it's correct in a more objective sense: a lot of big modern elections are very close, and that's (I think) more an artifact of the two-party system than an indication that voters don't care or that the candidates are the same.
posted by clockzero at 6:26 PM on June 5, 2012


A win for Walker would definitely mean something for Wisconsin. I'm saying that a vote this close means very little for the rest of the country. Where's the mandate?
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:27 PM on June 5, 2012


It's a sea of red. Even Milwaukee is red at the moment. What the fuck just happened?

They've barely counted. I don't know why networks even bother with this minute-by-minute update stuff. It's moronic and totally distorts the picture of how elections work.
posted by gerryblog at 6:27 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can't wait to learn how this is bad news for Obama!

Oh, Fox will have fun.

Anyway, Walker and Obama are about equally popular in Wisconsin right now and I would expect Obama to make some serious gains in the state once the campaign is in full swing regardless of who wins tonight.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:31 PM on June 5, 2012


"It's a sea of red. Even Milwaukee is red at the moment."

What color are they using for Hari?
posted by MikeMc at 6:34 PM on June 5, 2012


Clear majorities mean something. Statistical ties don't.

Except that they do. Ever hear of George W. Bush?

Here in Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett won the governorship by a few percentage points. tHe then acted like it was a landslide mandate and backed all sorts of positions he never mentioned in his campaign. Pennsylvania is now owned lock, stock and natural gas, by the big energy companies.
posted by tommyD at 6:35 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dane County clerk's office has rexults as they come in, ward by ward. In early going, Barrett is well ahead of his 2010 pace; both he and Walker are getting more votes than last time, but the effect for Barrett is much stronger. Remains to be seen whether walker will enjoy similar results in Waukesha, or whether dem turnout is elevated statewide. Given e closeness, definitely worth noting that Mahlon mitchell is running one percentage point ahead of Barrett in Dane.
posted by escabeche at 6:36 PM on June 5, 2012


So is this a straight majority rules vote and the precincts are just there for further breakdowns or is it more complicated than that?
posted by jeather at 6:37 PM on June 5, 2012


Tom Corbett won the governorship by a few percentage points. tHe then acted like it was a landslide mandate and backed all sorts of positions he never mentioned in his campaign.

Isn't the hidden radical agenda essentially why everyone hates Scott Walker?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:37 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Rhaomi: What's astounding is how close this is despite the immense gap in spending -- Walker has outraised Barrett eight-to-one

I don't think it's astounding. I think it tells us that there is no question Walker would lose for certain if he didn't have Koch-et-al lining his coffers.
posted by tzikeh at 6:38 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just want to tell you Wisconsinites good luck. We're all counting on you.

(oh god, forgive me, I just could not resist. Could you? No. No is the answer)
posted by aramaic at 6:38 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


The Great Orange Satan has a table of county-by-county benchmarks for gauging Barrett's chances.
posted by Trurl at 6:40 PM on June 5, 2012


The Wisconsin recall may hurt Obama. Or the Wisconsin results mean nothing. I don't care. I'm more concerned that Donald Trump has canceled his subscription to a newspaper.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:40 PM on June 5, 2012


Given e closeness, definitely worth noting that Mahlon mitchell is running one percentage point ahead of Barrett in Dane.

There's no third party candidate in the Mitchell vs. Kleefisch race; the third party candidate (Hari Trivedi) in the Barrett vs. Walker race has 1% so far.
posted by Jpfed at 6:40 PM on June 5, 2012


A race this close to call should be called for what it is; irrelevant.

Would make a great movie: Anecdotal Recall
posted by hal9k at 6:41 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


A win for Walker would definitely mean something for Wisconsin. I'm saying that a vote this close means very little for the rest of the country. Where's the mandate?

OK. Perhaps not strictly a mandate, but perhaps a warning flare to anti-union types: unions got attacked, unions responded with a recall campaign. Recall campaigns are hard to do (I've been in one, albeit on a much smaller scale: against a school board superintendent. Lots of hard work going door to door, getting a coalition, counting sigs and checking their validity or hoping they're valid, etc. etc. Where I'm at it did not succeed.) This recall campaign has made it to the election stage, it is a huge feat.

Bottom line: a win here, no matter how close or certain, is a win, and a huge one considering the hurdles. I come from Michigan: Willow Run, MI, on place of many where the unions used to be strong but got torn apart via many mediums. This brings great hope to a great number of people looking to get out of a long fog of rumors, hard times, deceptions, you name it.

A victory for unions in Wisconsin could restart a recall campaign here in Michigan against Snyder (though I would like to see him get that second bridge in), and start more elsewhere, especially if the methods in Wisconsin are 'portable' and can be used as or more effectively elsewhere.

I could go on, but the arguments get less concrete from here.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 6:42 PM on June 5, 2012


The latest from Twitter:

RT @WisVoter "latest exits adjustment now has it walker 52, barrett 48" #wirecall
posted by gerryblog at 6:42 PM on June 5, 2012


Also, they're saying Kathy Nicklaus will be counting in Waukesha after all.
posted by gerryblog at 6:42 PM on June 5, 2012


*one
posted by JoeXIII007 at 6:42 PM on June 5, 2012


FWIW very very close elections here in MN have meant the difference between Al Franken and Norm Coleman, and Mark Dayton over Tom Emmer. Al and Mark are, let me be crystal clear, light-years better then those that ran against them. It is not even close the stark differences. Anyone who says the Ds and The Rs are the same should look at the candidates in those races and try and say the same thing again with a straight face.
posted by edgeways at 6:43 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would expect Obama to make some serious gains in the state once the campaign is in full swing regardless of who wins tonight.

Obama supporters can rest easy. If the recall succeeds, it gives the impression that his campaign has a populist mandate. If the recall fails, his staff can blame the same corporate money his campaign has been raking in the last year or so.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:44 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Aside from the recall, the most recent polls indicate that Obama is well ahead of Romney in Wisconsin.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:47 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


yep, Waukesha county turnout way up too in the few towns that have reported.
posted by escabeche at 6:49 PM on June 5, 2012


Except that Obama's corporate money has dried up in the last year or so as Wall Streeters who'd supported him in '08 have jumped ship at his first use of populist pro-regulation rhetoric. All that I see suggests Romney and the GOP will have easily double the money Obama and the Dems will. And if a flood of money can save Walker...
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:49 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Try that again: Obama is well ahead of Romney in Wisconsin.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:49 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


MSNBC projects Walker wins, says my wife from the other room.
posted by gerryblog at 6:51 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Although many in the media and around the country will consider it a failure for the Dems if Walker is not recalled, really there are six people being voted on (Walker, the Lt. Gov and 4 state legislators). Any one of the legislators getting recalled would be a significant victory for the Dems, as it will cut off the GOP majority in the state senate and hamstring Walker for the rest of his term.

Wisconsin is a part-time Senate and there are new, normal elections for seats in November. If Democrats pick up a seat it's great but they will literally have no influence whatsoever until after the November elections where post-redistricting Republicans are likely to take the majority again.

And as I write this, NBC called the race for Walker. So I guess I'm just the harbinger of complete shittiness today. Sorry.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:51 PM on June 5, 2012


And if a flood of money can save Walker...

Walker had an 8 to 1 advantage in the money flood and he's just barely squeaking by. Romney won't get that ratio against Obama.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:52 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just want to tell you Wisconsinites good luck. We're all counting on you.

(Gotta support the team)
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 6:52 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sounds like Madison is now predicting >100% turnout

What? How can that be?
posted by cosmic.osmo at 6:53 PM on June 5, 2012


The labor movement is dead. They had a hand in their own demise, but there it is. Working people will not recover.
posted by moammargaret at 6:53 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


It doesn't look like Walker's just squeaking by for the moment, FWIW.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:54 PM on June 5, 2012


This CBS poll might help to analyze the results.

Recalls are really hard to accomplish in the best of circumstances. Getting this far is already impressive; if they actually win, it definitely means something.

Yes, but what? Schwarznegger came to power in CA via a recall; Gray Davis was kicked out of office for having the bad luck to be governor when the state ran into serious economic problems, but then Schwarzenegger massively disappointed most of the state's GOP voters, who had been expecting another Pete Wilson-type conservative and got a process-focused moderate instead. Democrats weren't too fond of him either, although that might change after November when they reap the benefits of the Schwarzenegger-sponsored redistricting plan.

That said, my hunch is that Walker will hold onto power.

Obama supporters can rest easy. If the recall succeeds, it gives the impression that his campaign has a populist mandate. If the recall fails, his staff can blame the same corporate money his campaign has been raking in the last year or so.

Well, call us when the Purity Party has selected a candidate financed exclusively by small change from orphans.
posted by anigbrowl at 6:54 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


>All that I see suggests Romney and the GOP will have easily double the money Obama and the Dems will. And if a flood of money can save Walker...

I don't know if Romney will have 2x the amount of money behind him that Obama does, but he will have so much more that if he wins, credit should largely go to the Roberts-led Supreme Court.
posted by darth_tedious at 6:54 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Walker had an 8 to 1 advantage in the money flood and he's just barely squeaking by.

At the moment, with just under a quarter of the vote tallied, Walker is leading by 23 points.
posted by Trurl at 6:54 PM on June 5, 2012


NBC called the race for Walker

Only 22% has been counted. Let's not give up hope yet!
posted by triggerfinger at 6:55 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


cosmic.osmo: I've heard that greater than 100% turnout in reference to registered voters. In Wisconsin, you can register the day of at the polling location.
posted by graxe at 6:55 PM on June 5, 2012


Except that Obama's corporate money has dried up in the last year or so

I think you'll need a citation better than the NYTimes for that one:

Mr. Obama ended March with 10 times the cash on hand as Mr. Romney.

Wisconsin may or may not recall Walker, but Obama will be okay, either way. Rest easy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:55 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what democracy looks like.
posted by BobbyVan at 6:57 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


At the moment, with just under a quarter of the vote tallied, Walker is leading by 23 points.

Don't read into that, look at the exit polls.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:57 PM on June 5, 2012


Huff Post projecting. Fox is as well.
posted by lobbyist at 6:57 PM on June 5, 2012


Won't the rural counties (more Republican) count faster (smaller populations) and the cities (more Democratic) count slower (larger populations)?

I can't help but wonder if calling it this early (only 25% of the vote reporting) is to discourage those waiting in line from casting their votes? "Leading by 23 points" is impossible with accurate exit polling (without gaming the election, that is).
posted by flex at 6:58 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


NBC called the race for Walker

How about this, network/cable talking heads: why don't you shut your pieholes until all the votes have been counted? If that means you lose ratings tonight and people have to wait until tomorrow morning, so be it.
posted by zardoz at 6:59 PM on June 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


cnn calls it for walker.
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:59 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


CNN projecting. Game over.
posted by lobbyist at 6:59 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


At the moment, with just under a quarter of the vote tallied, Walker is leading by 23 points.


This is exactly what I was talking about! The votes aren't counted in random order; they're clustered arbitrarily. Unless you have expert, precinct-level statistical knowledge they're worse than useless to you.
posted by gerryblog at 6:59 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


>Mr. Obama ended March with 10 times the cash on hand as Mr. Romney.

I don't think a campaign's cash-on-hand will be the pivotal figure in the 2012 money race; if I'm not mistaken, this figure excludes the essentially unlimited expenditures from unaffiliated parties (read: attack ads by plutocrats with an agenda).
posted by darth_tedious at 6:59 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


flex: Are people still in line at almost 9pm? I had no issue voting quickly earlier in the day.
posted by graxe at 7:00 PM on June 5, 2012


flex, polls closed a while ago.
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:00 PM on June 5, 2012


Don't read into that, look at the exit polls.

To quote Nate Silver: Exit polls have been highly accurate in every recent election except 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010.

It's over, and likely by a decent margin.

Won't the rural counties (more Republican) count faster (smaller populations) and the cities (more Democratic) count slower (larger populations)?

Actually, in WI most of the rural counties are very blue.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:00 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


flex, polls closed a while ago.

People are still on line in Milwaukee.
posted by gerryblog at 7:01 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are still people in line in Milwaukee right now.
posted by ocschwar at 7:01 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Won't the rural counties (more Republican) count faster (smaller populations) and the cities (more Democratic) count slower (larger populations)?

That's typically the pattern. [Though I read that Wisconsin's rural counties are less heavily Republican than in other states.] No doubt the final tally will be closer.

But "squeaking by" is wishful thinking.
posted by Trurl at 7:01 PM on June 5, 2012


Compare to 2010.


We
Got
A brand new dance

posted by Winnemac at 7:01 PM on June 5, 2012


Mr. Obama ended March with 10 times the cash on hand as Mr. Romney.

If you're not counting SuperPAC money, you're fooling yourself.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:02 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's over, and likely by a decent margin.

Of course it is, but not anywhere near that 23%. Exit polling is enough to make that very clear.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:02 PM on June 5, 2012


Well, fuck...
posted by codacorolla at 7:03 PM on June 5, 2012


Look on the bright side, folks: in another ten years there won't be any industrial plants in the country to have fatal accidents due to a lack of safety regulations or proper training to begin with.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:04 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


edgeways: "exit polls (grain of salt) are saying Walker won Independents 50/49, in 2010 he won them 56/42"

I don't know that that will be enough for Walker to get the boot, but it should stick in the craw of the Republicans who will think they have some sort of mandate from the electorate if Walker prevails.

anigbrowl: "Gray Davis was kicked out of office for having the bad luck to be governor when the state ran into serious economic problems"

I think you mean Gray Davis had the bad luck to be governor while Enron committed rampant fraud in the newly "deregulated" electricity market, causing prices to rise enough to fuck up the economy and the state to have to spend billions of dollars bailing out the utilities. You shouldn't give the fuckwits a pass by shifting the blame to nebulous "economic problems."
posted by wierdo at 7:04 PM on June 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


At the moment, with just under a quarter of the vote tallied, Walker is leading by 23 points.

That's very impressive. (I went out between starting my comment above and posting it, so I was basing my hunch on the CBS poll.) It will narrow somewhat, but it includes 50% of the turnout from Milwaukee already so I'd say he's just won an huge mandate.

Talk about being outspent 8-1 is misleading, in my view. Union involvement provided recall proponents with a significant resource of experienced political volunteers which does not show up in that analysis, and it's not clear that there's a dollar-for-dollar correlation between spending and vote tallies. To be honest, I do not trust financial explanations offered by one side because they tend to involve enormously selective accounting. It will be interesting to go through the FEC data afterwards, though.
posted by anigbrowl at 7:06 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know that that will be enough for Walker to get the boot, but it should stick in the craw of the Republicans who will think they have some sort of mandate from the electorate if Walker prevails.

This is nothing personal and in fact it's devoid of their political leanings but whenever I hear someone say that they think a member of a party that controls the majority doesn't have a "mandate" as if this is a statement that actually means anything whatsoever to anyone I want to punch them in the genitals.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:07 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you're not counting SuperPAC money, you're fooling yourself.

I can only go with what's been recorded. I have no reason to believe (on this matter, at least) that the NYTimes is misreporting publicly available numbers. Do you have a cite that says different? Otherwise, I'm not sure that making up numbers on the fly is a good basis for a fact-based discussion.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:07 PM on June 5, 2012


If you're in line when the polls close (in WI), you're allowed to stay and cast your vote.

I'm reminded right now of the networks being too quick to call it for Bush in 2000 - Gore started to go make a concession speech on the basis of all the networks calling it, then didn't when they realized it was too close to call, but just the public act of calling it meant that as Gore tried to hang in and contest the votes (to make sure all were counted correctly), people got impatient that he was being a "sore loser" - which he wasn't (he won, but that didn't matter in the end).

It's manipulative of the news media to do this, to "call it" before all the votes are counted, IMHO. But: follow the money, I guess.
posted by flex at 7:09 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Are you trolling, or just being difficult? The whole point of Citizens United was that the PAC money isn't publicly available.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:10 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm just going to remind the old boys of the GOP while they're lighting up the cigars and slapping each other on the back that this vote just confirms that it is very very difficult to unseat an incumbent.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:11 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


GOP groups plan record $1 billion blitz

"By contrast, Priorities USA Action, the super PAC supporting President Barack Obama’s reelection, has struggled to raise money, and now hopes to spend about $100 million."
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:11 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


That Wisconsin was so acquiescent to the tremendous flood of outside money coming into the state's internal races is the part that astounds me the most.
posted by newdaddy at 7:11 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Read that as "data on the PAC money"
posted by zombieflanders at 7:12 PM on June 5, 2012


Republican-oriented super PACs have built a formidable lead this cycle, raising $156.5 million compared with $43.4 million collected by super PACs backing Democrats, according to Political MoneyLine.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:12 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's manipulative of the news media to do this, to "call it" before all the votes are counted, IMHO.

36.8% of precincts reporting
Walker - 59.1%
Barrett - 40.4%

The news media are not going to affect the outcome of this election.
posted by Trurl at 7:12 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think you mean Gray Davis had the bad luck to be governor while Enron committed rampant fraud [...]

No, I meant what I said. I didn't ascribe the problems to Davis and the specifics of what they were is wholly irrelevant to the topic at hand.

How about this, network/cable talking heads: why don't you shut your pieholes until all the votes have been counted? If that means you lose ratings tonight and people have to wait until tomorrow morning, so be it.

why should they? It's OK to be disappointed, but you might as well ask the weathercaster to shut his/her 'piehole' until a storm system has passed over. If you don't like it, don't watch it.
posted by anigbrowl at 7:12 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ugh.
posted by klangklangston at 7:14 PM on June 5, 2012


36.8% of precincts reporting

Really, the votes are not randomly distributed. You can't go by that number without a lot more analysis.
posted by gerryblog at 7:14 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


just the public act of calling it meant that as Gore tried to hang in and contest the votes (to make sure all were counted correctly)

Actually, Gore's fatal error was that he DIDN'T try to make sure ALL the votes were counted correctly. He chose only to recount specific counties in Florida. If he'd chosen to recount the entire state, a lot of analysis is that the SCOTUS decision would have gone the other way, or possibly have been denied acceptance by the court as a case at all.
posted by hippybear at 7:14 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Trurl: if it's as close an election as the exit polling was predicting, that may well influence it, in recounts and so forth, that it was called for Walker this early on.
posted by flex at 7:14 PM on June 5, 2012


Obama Campaign Fears Uphill Climb Raising ‘Super PAC’ Money

Despite being against SuperPACs, the Democratic Party will put effort into raising money through them, and they already have twice the money that their main opponent has (legally speaking, since SuperPACs can't openly collude with candidates). The DNC will be okay (and their paymasters will be okay, regardless of who wins) so don't worry about Democrats. Whether they win or lose, the money is coming in.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:16 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]



This state is chockablock with morons.

And the lack of support from the national dems is insulting and irritating.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:16 PM on June 5, 2012


Why did they pick the same dude that lost against Walker before?
posted by narcoleptic at 7:16 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


why should they?

Accuracy?

Does anyone know where there's numbers on the Senate recalls? I'd be shocked if at least one didn't flip to the Democrats.
posted by jhandey at 7:16 PM on June 5, 2012


Are you trolling, or just being difficult? The whole point of Citizens United was that the PAC money isn't publicly available.

What do they have to report?

Super PACs don't operate with impunity, but just about. They must file reports disclosing donations and spending, but the rules aren't all that stringent. According to the FEC, PACs "have the option to file these reports quarterly or monthly, and may change their filing frequency as often as once a year." This form is what PACs must file, which asks for the name of donors and the amount given.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:17 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


With 34% reporting, Wisconsin must have 450,000 millionaires.
posted by Ardiril at 7:17 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


If Gore had won the recounts, there is an excellent chance that the Florida legislature would have refused to certify the vote, throwing the election into the House of Representatives. I think they had actually passed a resolution declaring that to be their intent.

That would have at least been a Constitutional resolution to the 2000 election.
posted by thelonius at 7:18 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Journal-Sentinel has some numbers. Numbers that do not look good.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:18 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


jhandey: See the AP page: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2012/by_county/WI_Page_0605.html?SITE=AP&SECTION=POLITICS
posted by graxe at 7:18 PM on June 5, 2012


Well, this is depressing.
posted by nonmerci at 7:18 PM on June 5, 2012


The New York Times has called it.
posted by Trurl at 7:20 PM on June 5, 2012


Scott Walker just became the frontrunner for the 2016 GOP nomination. #itgetsworse
posted by gerryblog at 7:21 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


The DNC will be okay (and their paymasters will be okay, regardless of who wins) so don't worry about Democrats.

And the DNC didn't give any measurable support to the recall...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:21 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Scott Walker just became the frontrunner for the 2016 GOP nomination.

That's IF Romney loses and IF Walker can stay out of jail.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:22 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why did they pick the same dude that lost against Walker before?

Because a lot of people felt that Walker had misrepresented himself in the 2010 election and that Barrett would keep every vote he'd got last time plus a lot of independents who were appalled at how far right Walker had swung. With much less time for a new candidate to establish a statewide presence, it wasn't that bad a call.

(plus he did win the primary, so it's not like the party hacks were picking him in the proverbial smoke-filled room)
posted by Etrigan at 7:23 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is what democracy looks like.

It's certainly a good look at what Democracy™ (a Koch Bros. subsidiary) looks like.
posted by scody at 7:23 PM on June 5, 2012 [24 favorites]


"IF Walker can stay out of jail." - That shouldn't be too hard if the jury is from Wisconsin.
posted by Ardiril at 7:24 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


The number of Barret voters is still less than the number of petition signers.

Just sayin'
posted by ocschwar at 7:25 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


That shouldn't be too hard if the jury is from Wisconsin.


Hell, the State Supreme Court would allow him to pardon himself.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:25 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can we now stop pretending that this November's election is going to be easy?
posted by Ironmouth at 7:27 PM on June 5, 2012 [20 favorites]


And the DNC didn't give any measurable support to the recall...

Well, you'll need another cite for that one, too, because that doesn't seem to be true, either:

The Democratic National Committee is fundraising directly for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in an effort to aid Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) in the upcoming gubernatorial election against Gov. Scott Walker (R).

...

What's notable about this fundraising appeal is that the money will go directly to Wisconsin Democrats, rather than to the DNC.

...

Last week, the DNC chair phoned Barrett and pledged to host a fundraiser and provide grassroots support.

"The DNC is going to use both its substantial network of volunteers and supporters, and our online resources to help build the ground game that will be necessary to win on election day," DNC spokeswoman Melanie Roussell told The Huffington Post at the time.

President Barack Obama's campaign has also jumped in, organizing phone banks and canvassing operations to get out the vote for the June 5 election.


Those contributions sound measurable in some way, don't you think?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:27 PM on June 5, 2012


Instant political cartoon

and humorist Andy Borowitz has tweeted an alleged quote from Walker "I'm not worried how history will remember me, because if I have my way there won't be any history teachers."
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:28 PM on June 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


Still think Barrett has a chance, but it's a slight one (he definitely won't squeak this one out without a recount). I think it's likely at least one seat in the Senate will go Democratic, which will result in... well, pretty much more of the same. No Walker juggernaut, but no Democratic groundswell, either.

After everything, it's a net loss for the Democrats - not a catastrophe, but it shouldn't have been this close. I'll chalk it up to a) a bad recall campaign (why did the guy who lost to Walker get renominated?), b) the Iron Law of Institutions - the DNC left the state Democrats out to dry, partially deliberately (a recall win could put the national Democrats in awkward positions), and c) Republican enthusiasm. They wanted it bad, and sometimes, that's just the way the cookie crumbles.
posted by jhandey at 7:29 PM on June 5, 2012


Congratulations to Governor Walker.
posted by red clover at 7:29 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm so sad.
posted by bz at 7:30 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can't even blame this one on Labor. They supported Falk.
posted by Ardiril at 7:30 PM on June 5, 2012


This is a rout.

Walker up by 19 points w/ 56% reporting. He gets a mandate out of this.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:30 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


A clear demonstration of the power of money in politics. And now on to the main event.
posted by mek at 7:31 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was hearing from recall supporters for week complaining about a lack of backup from the DNC. But if the party was putting significant weight behind the campaign, that makes the party's prognosis for November even worse, if not for Obama, certainly for attempts to hold onto a minimal Senate majority and make gains in the House.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:32 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, you'll need another cite for that one, too

"If [Barrett] loses, especially if he only loses by a little, there will be a lot of teeth-gnashing over the distance the national party... kept from the Wisconsin uprising."
posted by Trurl at 7:33 PM on June 5, 2012


Super PACs don't operate with impunity, but just about. They must file reports disclosing donations and spending, but the rules aren't all that stringent. According to the FEC, PACs "have the option to file these reports quarterly or monthly, and may change their filing frequency as often as once a year." This form is what PACs must file, which asks for the name of donors and the amount given.

In other words, the numbers aren't available now, and are not necessarily publicly available until months afterward.

The DNC will be okay (and their paymasters will be okay, regardless of who wins) so don't worry about Democrats.

Yeah, the Dems and Repubs are totes the same, guys!
posted by zombieflanders at 7:34 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


He gets a mandate out of this.

Only if his fellow Republicans don't first make it illegal.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:34 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Walker up by 19 points w/ 56% reporting.

You are jumping the gun. The precincts that haven't reported are in strong Barrett areas.
posted by drezdn at 7:34 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


But if the party was putting significant weight behind the campaign, that makes the party's prognosis for November even worse, if not for Obama, certainly for attempts to hold onto a minimal Senate majority and make gains in the House.

Chickenshits.

The dems deserve to lose. If they are that afraid to help other dems, then well, what ?

Why should I vote for them ? If they won't stand up for themselves, how can I count on them to stand for me ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:35 PM on June 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


In other words, the numbers aren't available now, and are not necessarily publicly available until months afterward.

I just posted some of them, it's enough to judge that the Democrats are far behind at the moment and we will get more numbers as the election moves on. Do you think you want to maybe apologize for calling BP a troll because you didn't understand Citizens United?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:38 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the Dems and Repubs are totes the same, guys!

As far as fundraising goes, you bet. In fact, you should spend less time disagreeing with me for the sake of disagreement, and spend more time reading some of the articles I took the time to point you to:

“I’m undecided,” said Mark Buell, a philanthropist and a major Democratic donor. “It’s really about whether we can afford to take the high road on this. And that is going to be decided by some of the poll data going forward.”

Regardless of who "wins" the vote, this recall is only the lastest demonstration that shows that the people who buy our elections are the real winners, and the voters are the real losers. That's the end game of a two-party oligarchy.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:38 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Why should I vote for them ? If they won't stand up for themselves, how can I count on them to stand for me ?

Because they're not a single monolithic bloc, or at least not to the same extent that conservatives are?
posted by zombieflanders at 7:38 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


And according to the Journal/Sentinel's running count, ALL the recall-targeted State Senators are ahead by LARGER margins than Walker.

As for the state's positive view of Obama, well, the SuperPac ads against him haven't started running there yet...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:38 PM on June 5, 2012


You know, Pogo_Fuzzybutt, I'm a Democrat by default because there's no serious liberal party in the U.S. (in the sense of actually winning elections), and one of the few things I share in common with Republicans is continual amazement at the general ineptitude of the Democratic party when it comes to campaigns.
posted by wintermind at 7:39 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Next up - Wildcat strikes. The People are, after all, paying the wages of the public sector. Guess what, bossman?
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:40 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Because they're not a single monolithic bloc" - That is exactly the Dems' biggest problem.
posted by Ardiril at 7:40 PM on June 5, 2012


Looks like Esquire's Charles Pierce may have been prophetic...
posted by jhandey at 7:41 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why should I vote for them ? If they won't stand up for themselves, how can I count on them to stand for me ?

Echoing zombieflanders -- this "weakness" of the Dems is actually one of the reasons they're a better party. I'd rather my entire party *not* be programmed from the top to act in lock-step on every issue. Healthy disagreement is actually a good thing.
posted by chasing at 7:41 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's the end game of a two-party oligarchy.

Except that one of the parties has changed its end game to total monolithic domination, and may well be within reach of that.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:41 PM on June 5, 2012


I'm having trouble understanding why the media is reporting a winner, even though there are people still waiting to vote. You would think, ethically, they wouldn't want to sway voter opinions.
posted by zarq at 7:41 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm crushed! I need to watch something to cheer me up. I'm off to find "Threads" on youtube so I can pretend that the world is saved from the clutches of Koch types by global thermonuclear war.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 7:42 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Election night party at Walker HQ playing Kelly Clarkson's "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger."
posted by BobbyVan at 7:42 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Wildcat strikes. The People are, after all, paying the wages of the public sector." - That plays right into the Republicans' hand.
posted by Ardiril at 7:42 PM on June 5, 2012


I for one welcome... aw screw it.

This sucks.
posted by Sportbilly at 7:42 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


WTF happened, Wisconsin? You used to be cool.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 7:44 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


zarq, who owns more major media outlets, Democrats or Republicans? That should pretty well answer your question.
posted by wintermind at 7:44 PM on June 5, 2012


zarq: "I'm having trouble understanding why the media is reporting a winner, even though there are people still waiting to vote. You would think, ethically, they wouldn't want to sway voter opinions."

Well, you could understand Fox doing it, but the liberal mainstream media?

Yes... /HAMBURGER
posted by Sportbilly at 7:44 PM on June 5, 2012


Healthy disagreement is only a good thing if both sides agree to that. What we have here is one side believing healthy disagreement is weakness, and the other side disagreeing with themselves and being so very healthy that they can never win.
posted by bleep at 7:45 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Conservatives aren't a monolithic block either, but they definitely have some great party discipline in the coalition they built in the Republican party.

According to their research, some people genuinely know what it means to be a conservative in the current political debate and indeed express matching preferences across all issues. But these “constrained conservatives” (as Ellis and Stimson call them) account for only 26 percent of all self-identified conservatives.

More common are the “moral conservatives” (34 percent), who think of themselves as conservative in terms of their own personal values, be they social or religious. And they are indeed right-leaning on social, cultural and religious issues. But they also like government spending on a variety of programs and generally approve of government interventions in the marketplace, hardly making them true conservatives.

And still others, “conflicted conservatives” (30 percent), are not conservative at all on the issues. But they like identifying themselves as conservatives. To them, it somehow sounds better. “They like the word,” explained Ellis. Or at least, they like it better then their other choices in the traditional self-identification questionnaire: moderate and liberal.

Finally, a smaller group of self-identified “conservatives” (10 percent) could be classified as libertarian — conservative on economic issues, liberal on social issues.

Self-identified liberals, on the other hand, are consistently liberal on all the issues, according to Ellis and Stimson. Two-thirds of liberals fit into the category of “constrained liberals,” who pick the label because it actually describes their worldview.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:45 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


As far as fundraising goes, you bet

False
posted by zombieflanders at 7:46 PM on June 5, 2012


Echoing zombieflanders -- this "weakness" of the Dems is actually one of the reasons they're a better party. I'd rather my entire party *not* be programmed from the top to act in lock-step on every issue. Healthy disagreement is actually a good thing.

Theoretically, sure.

In practice.... Well, how's that working out ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:47 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Obviously, it's early yet... but I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that the 2012 presidential race will be directly decided by the follow-on effects of economic conditions in Europe.
posted by darth_tedious at 7:47 PM on June 5, 2012


*sigh*
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:49 PM on June 5, 2012


Down with this sort of thing.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:49 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


"the follow-on effects of economic conditions in Europe." - The bulk of american voters from both parties must first learn where to locate Europe on a map.
posted by Ardiril at 7:49 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


In other news, independent voters now outnumber party voters. This is a very bright light in a world of darkness. People are really getting tired of all this partisan shit. Our elected officials should be making good decisions. We have real concerns. I want a good job. I want my child to have a good school and a good future. I'd like to help the poor and make a better community for everyone. I don't want to fight a war.

Goddamn. Is that so hard to understand?

We're voting with our feet, and our feet are leaving your large institutionalized blocks of voter affiliation because that system isn't working for us.

Be afraid, political parties. Be very afraid. We independents don't care if our "team" wins. We care about results.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:52 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Real unemployment rate: 11.6%
posted by Trurl at 7:53 PM on June 5, 2012


Could be that the DNC saw this coming and decided they just couldn't spend good money on a failed effort. There are polls and there are polls. Many "Democrats" are jealous of union workers who are seen mostly eating from the public trough these days. They can't seem to understand a living wage with benefits are a result of unions. Unions need to fund schools/scholarships and health insurance cooperatives to reestablish their bona fides. The majority of us have enough to remain independent, until there is enough pain the proletariat will continue to enjoy their cable TV and Internets and cell phones and think about the big questions will Greenbay win the Super Bowl?
posted by pdxpogo at 7:53 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


>The bulk of american voters from both parties must first learn where to locate Europe on a map.

Nah. They just need to look at their bank accounts, and answer the question sure to be drummed into their heads via countless 30-second spots: "Can you afford four more years of Socialist Obamanomics?"
posted by darth_tedious at 7:54 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


C-SPAN2 is simulcasting WISN-TV Milwaukee's local newscast. Stream available here.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:54 PM on June 5, 2012


Next up - Wildcat strikes. The People are, after all, paying the wages of the public sector. Guess what, bossman?

This is exactly why I don't care for collective bargaining or public sector unions (which does not mean I approve of Walker - I don't).
posted by anigbrowl at 7:55 PM on June 5, 2012


Some "photo finish"!
posted by John Cohen at 7:55 PM on June 5, 2012


Sorry, link here.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:55 PM on June 5, 2012


Anyone know of a good Chinese-sourced wholesaler of pitchforks and torches?
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 7:55 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, the #WIrecall tag on twitter is pretty depressing.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:55 PM on June 5, 2012


The DNC obviously saw this coming- that's why the extent of Obama's support was a short tweet. Didn't even spare 141 characters' worth of support.
posted by jenkinsEar at 7:55 PM on June 5, 2012


Scott Walker just became the frontrunner for the 2016 GOP nomination.

Let's not me melodramatic; having a recall in the first place is a black eye for Walker. His star in the national party did not rise because of this.
posted by spaltavian at 7:57 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


WTF happened, Wisconsin U.S.A? You used to be cool.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:59 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ardiril: ""the follow-on effects of economic conditions in Europe." - The bulk of american voters from both parties must first learn where to locate Europe on a map."

Wait, what?! Since when did voters here let lack of actual knowledge stop them from making important decisions?
posted by Sportbilly at 8:00 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


"This is exactly why I don't care for collective bargaining or public sector unions (which does not mean I approve of Walker - I don't)."

Given that the definition of wildcat strike is a strike not authorized by the union, it seems weird to blame unions for wildcat strikes.
posted by klangklangston at 8:01 PM on June 5, 2012 [18 favorites]



The DNC obviously saw this coming- that's why the extent of Obama's support was a short tweet. Didn't even spare 141 characters' worth of support.


Almost certainly. Debbie Wasserman Shultz was out and about over the past few weeks trying to put a positive spin on the loss ahead of the actual election.

The various recall efforts were written off as an anomaly and a distraction from the start. The lack of DNC support from the get-go has been infuriatingly stupid and short sighted.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:02 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm reminded right now of the networks being too quick to call it for Bush in 2000

Florida was called for Gore first, at approximately 7:50 p.m. EST. It went back to being called a tossup by 10 p.m. EST. Then it was called for Bush around 2:30 a.m. EST. Then it went back to being called a tossup by 4:30 a.m. EST. Then the fun started.

Actually, Gore's fatal error was that he DIDN'T try to make sure ALL the votes were counted correctly. He chose only to recount specific counties in Florida.

According to a review of the Florida ballots after the election, Gore would have won a statewide recount, but that wasn't an option. If the Supreme Court would not have intervened, Bush would've won the recount.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:03 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Didn't even spare 141 characters' worth of support.

Uh, you're only allowed 140. And President Obama is a twoosh master.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:03 PM on June 5, 2012


>Be afraid, political parties. Be very afraid. We independents don't care if our "team" wins. We care about results.

Well... in theory, people care about results.

In practice, it's difficult to find accurate measurements of the results of such complex systems as economics and governance, and so it's difficult to choose judiciously from among the various "results" measured by various interested parties. And the most knowledgeable folks, on average, are the most partisan; independents-- again, on average-- tend to be the least knowledgeable, and therefore most susceptible to repetitive messaging campaigns.

To the extent that they follow politics at all, then, people tend to pick and choose the "results" they acknowledge and allow into awareness.
posted by darth_tedious at 8:03 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Given that the definition of wildcat strike is a strike not authorized by the union, it seems weird to blame unions for wildcat strikes.

When you decide that organized labor is baaaaaaaaaad, then everything that happens is their fault.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:04 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


wintermind: "zarq, who owns more major media outlets, Democrats or Republicans? That should pretty well answer your question."

No, it doesn't. I work with media people on a daily basis, and I'm convinced this isn't about that. A longstanding, unspoken tradition within the media is being eradicated in favor of ratings and meeting the pressured demands of a 24 hour news cycle.
posted by zarq at 8:05 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


His star in the national party did not rise because of this.

National Review:
Throughout, Walker has stayed even-keeled, evincing—if not exactly cockiness, then something like the fatalism and serenity of an innocent man in the middle of a trial for his life. An equanimity, and a faith that his reforms would be embraced by Wisconsin voters, that turns out to have been fully warranted.
posted by Trurl at 8:06 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's not me melodramatic; having a recall in the first place is a black eye for Walker. His star in the national party did not rise because of this.

I disagree. This sends a message to GOP leaders across the country that Republicans can take on tough issues without fear. The fact that Wisconsin, the historic heart of progressivism, just rubber-stamped Walker's approach sends an unmistakeable signal across the country.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:06 PM on June 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


Didn't even spare 141 characters' worth of support.

Uh, you're only allowed 140. And President Obama is a twoosh master.


Yeah, that was my point. 141 characters would have been two tweets.
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:07 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's only a photo finish if you use a very wide-angle lens. Not even close.
posted by bc_fred at 8:11 PM on June 5, 2012


Barrett just conceded. His supporters are livid. "Don't do it!"
posted by BobbyVan at 8:12 PM on June 5, 2012


twoleftfeet: We independents don't care if our "team" wins. We care about results.

The hell they do. Independent votes are fickle, inconsistent and frequently have no idea what they're getting for their vote.

These same independents who shrugged Walker to victory tonight are going to turn around in 5 months and give Obama Wisconsin's ten electoral votes. These same independent voters agree overwhelmingly with every aspect of the Affordable Care Act when listed individually and then turn around and say "Obamacare" goes too far. They're against deficits, taxes and cuts. Indeed, they think they're overtaxed when they are paying the lowest tax rates in 75 years. They complain about the foreign aid budget being too big, because polls show they think it's 25% of the budget-- they think it should only be 10% while it's really .5%.

I don't want any results that spring from that level of participation.
posted by spaltavian at 8:15 PM on June 5, 2012 [28 favorites]


Bad news: the guy who really exudes the... feel... of an ethically challenged used car salesman just won.

Good news: Now that the election is over, there ought to be nothing restricting the naming of the Big Name Target of the John Doe investigation.

I'm really hoping for a "Even when he wins, he loses", schadenfreude ending.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:16 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Democrats vs. Republicans
posted by homunculus at 8:17 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Independent votes are fickle, inconsistent and frequently have no idea what they're getting for their vote."

Only when viewed as a group, rather than as the conglomerate of individuals that they are.
posted by Ardiril at 8:20 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, a National Review blurb doesn't get this guy any money in a primary. Just because they rallied around him during a recall doesn't mean his standing rose. No one in the smoke-filled rooms in volcano lairs is looking at this and thinking the recall made Walker look presidential.
posted by spaltavian at 8:22 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


These same independent voters agree overwhelmingly with every aspect of the Affordable Care Act when listed individually and then turn around and say "Obamacare" goes too far. They're against deficits, taxes and cuts. Indeed, they think they're overtaxed when they are paying the lowest tax rates in 75 years. They complain about the foreign aid budget being too big, because polls show they think it's 25% of the budget-- they think it should only be 10% while it's really .5%.

Well, it's confusing. Independents should not be looked at as a group because they are just as polarized as a group as the party folks are. Some are Republicans who don't want to group themselves with the party for various reasons even if they agree with the policies, some are Democrats doing the same. Some agree with some parts of the Republican platform and some of the Democratic platform.

2010 Article: When it comes to fiscal issues, Independents hold positions very similar to the beliefs of Republicans. For example, a recent CBS News poll finds a majority of both groups to disapprove with Pres. Obama's handling of the economy.
-
On social issues, however, another study of greater depth finds Independents in near perfect alignment with the beliefs of Democrats. A majority of both Democrats and Independents think government should be more involved in health care, for instance, according to a 12-year study by the Pew Research Center.

-
In the last 20 years, voters who identify themselves to be Republican declined from 31 percent to 23. Democrats, however, maintained voter identification at 33 percent in 1990 to 35 percent today.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:24 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have had to roll this sentiment out in far too many elections but I offer it as some small solace to the people of Wisconsin, and all the rest of us suffering souls tonight:

I think of Yeats who suffered the despair of a divisive land and ' the weasel's twist, the weasel's tooth.' Auden said that mad ireland hurt him into poetry.

To a Friend whose Work has come to Nothing

NOW all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honour bred, with one
Who, were it proved he lies,
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbours' eyes?
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

W.B. Yeats
posted by madamjujujive at 8:24 PM on June 5, 2012 [17 favorites]


Slap*Happy: "Next up - Wildcat strikes. The People are, after all, paying the wages of the public sector. Guess what, bossman?"

Or a quiet, gradual departure of anyone in the public sector with talent and / or other options. Here's to hoping that the Wisconsin electorate gets the government employees they deserve. I know if I was a Wisconsin government worker I'd be eying the exits right now.
posted by Reverend John at 8:25 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


A friend observed that: "Walker is flawed, but the public employee union left turned this into a referendum on their generous and one-sided compensation contracts."

And I tend to agree. The pensions and benefits are insane. I don't think that it is illiberal to think that government employee union members should not be insulated from being productive, with paid lifetime benefits.
posted by psergio at 8:25 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Governor Walker speaking now, live.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:27 PM on June 5, 2012


The pensions and benefits of government workers are NOT insane. It just appears that way when the pensions and benefits of corporate employees are virtually non-existent.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:28 PM on June 5, 2012 [39 favorites]


Just want to point out that with 82.5% of the vote reporting, Walker is now at 54.4% and Barrett at 45.0%. Milwaukee County is only at 62.6% of the vote reported.

A lot closer than the spread when they called it an hour and a half ago, is all I'm sayin'.
posted by flex at 8:28 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]



And I tend to agree. The pensions and benefits are insane. I don't think that it is illiberal to think that government employee union members should not be insulated from being productive, with paid lifetime benefits.


It would take those benefits and vodka on tap to make me work with teenagers.
posted by ocschwar at 8:29 PM on June 5, 2012 [10 favorites]


The pensions and benefits are insane.

What's insane is that we let our corporate overlords convince us that living wages and decent benefits should be reviled. Paid lifetime benefits, indeed!
posted by madamjujujive at 8:29 PM on June 5, 2012 [37 favorites]


the most knowledgeable folks, on average, are the most partisan; independents-- again, on average-- tend to be the least knowledgeable, and therefore most susceptible to repetitive messaging campaigns.

And yet, independent voters are more likely to be highly educated. I call bullshit on your assumption.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:30 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


WELL THAT SUCKED
posted by echo target at 8:32 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


and the Brewers are losin' too
posted by echo target at 8:32 PM on June 5, 2012


The pensions and benefits are insane.

Do you even know what "the benefits" of the "public employee union left" are, or are you just parroting Fox News talking points?
posted by blucevalo at 8:34 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]



And I tend to agree. The pensions and benefits are insane. I don't think that it is illiberal to think that government employee union members should not be insulated from being productive, with paid lifetime benefits.


My wife and I are employees of the state government of Wisconsin.

We, nor anyone we know that wasn't a walker appointee, is insulated from being productive.

And we don't get lifetime benefits. Our retirement package is essentially a state run 401k. Any portion of state matching funds placed in that account was essentially deferred compensation to compensate for the large difference between private and public sector salaries.

And any health insurance we have after retiring is either paid for via unused accrued sick leave or through disbursement from our retirement allocation.

Anyway, if it's so cushy you should apply. I'm sure the state could really use employees with critical thinking skills as sharply honed as yours.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:37 PM on June 5, 2012 [53 favorites]


I hate republicans. People without hearts. Their day is coming.

Nothing says "people with heart" like making vaguely threatening statements against people with a certain political affiliation. Seriously, you sound like a commenter at Free Republic. Awesome grasp of the nuance and variety of political thought there, champ.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:38 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


"The public employee union left" should publish "their benefits" and their salaries, if they're so proud and altrustic. The taxpayers are paying for them. They "work" for the taxpayers. That should not be a problem, right?

I want to see this "large difference between private and public sector salaries" including benefits.
posted by caclwmr4 at 8:39 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nothing says "people with heart" like making vaguely threatening statements against people with a certain political affiliation. Seriously, you sound like a commenter at Free Republic. Awesome grasp of the nuance and variety of political thought there, champ.

Yeah, I would have to agree. Republicans have hearts and honestly think their policies are best for promoting the general welfare.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:40 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here's one quirky note that deepens the absurdity level - Orly Taitz is likely to be the California senate candidate running against Feinstein. If so, that should be amusing in a car-wreck kind of way.
posted by madamjujujive at 8:41 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


"The public employee union left" should publish "their benefits" and their salaries

State employees' salaries are public knowledge.
posted by King Bee at 8:42 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Game over man. Game over.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:43 PM on June 5, 2012


Whoa. Madamjujujive, are you serious? I would LOVE to watch thoe debates.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:44 PM on June 5, 2012


That would not be a debate for a serious candidate to actually attend.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:45 PM on June 5, 2012


to sir with millipedes: Nothing says "people with heart" like making vaguely threatening statements against people with a certain political affiliation. Seriously, you sound like a commenter at Free Republic. Awesome grasp of the nuance and variety of political thought there, champ.

"Their day is coming" is not a "vaguely threatening statement," champ.

caclwmr4: "The public employee union left" should publish "their benefits" and their salaries, if they're so proud and altrustic.

Their salaries and benefits are a matter of public record given that they're public employees. Your laziness is not the same thing as that information failing to be available.
posted by blucevalo at 8:45 PM on June 5, 2012 [13 favorites]


Independent voters are one of the classic "Things political scientists actually know" things. This is rumor control. Here are the facts.

About 2/3 of independents, well, aren't. They're just partisans who call themselves independents. When we ask independents if they lean towards one party, those that lean Democratic are barely distinguishable from people who call themselves not strong Democrats, and ditto for Republican leaners.

The core that's left of true independents... it's not a club you'd want to be part of. Pick any measure of civic virtue -- caring about the election, turning out to vote, knowing something about the candidates, level of education -- and pure independents are right at the bottom.

This has been consistent and uniform since... I'd have to go pull an article to get a better date, but the 60s anyway. It's an interesting question why a significant portion of partisans have stopped identifying themselves as partisans, but actual, real independents are few in number to start with and vote rarely enough that they're irrelevant except that they add noise to the results of nail-biter elections.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:45 PM on June 5, 2012 [15 favorites]


I want to see this "large difference between private and public sector salaries" including benefits.

Here you go:
• Salaries: It’s often said that public employees receive lower salaries but higher benefits—and sometimes that’s true. In Wisconsin, though, we found that salaries are actually about even between public employees and private sector workers who have similar education and experience and who work for larger employers.

• Health coverage: Act 10 tripled state workers’ health insurance contributions and introduced co-pays and deductibles. However, even after those reforms, Wisconsin state workers receive a health package worth almost $14,000 per year, double the private sector average. Their health package is even worth 20 percent more than the average paid to government employees in the states surrounding Wisconsin.

• Pensions: A full-career Wisconsin state employee receives a guaranteed pension benefit worth 60 percent of his final salary, plus Social Security benefits. Before Act 10, most public employees paid almost nothing for these benefits, while post-Act 10, they now contribute 5.8 percent of pay. But for a private sector worker to receive the same guaranteed retirement benefits he’d have to save over 30 percent of his salary in a 401(k). That’s how generous public pension benefits can be.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:45 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


The pensions and benefits are insane.

No, private pensions and benefits are for the most part pretty shitty and we've gotten used to that, accept it as the norm and then people who actually make living wages with fair benefits are seen as extravagant. This is the big victory that the GOP has had......they've convinced regular people that they deserve less and less. There is a very clear history on worker's rights and why we have them. This is not a race to the bottom, a rising tide lifts all boats, etc.
posted by triggerfinger at 8:46 PM on June 5, 2012 [26 favorites]



"The public employee union left" should publish "their benefits" and their salaries, if they're so proud and altrustic. The taxpayers are paying for them. They "work" for the taxpayers. That should not be a problem, right?

I want to see this "large difference between private and public sector salaries" including benefits.


I'm not your monkeyboy; you can do your own research. All of that stuff is publicly available. Yahoo the Googlebing or something.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:46 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


I am a public sector employee in Wisconsin. My pay is 25% lower than the norm for a worker of my qualifications in the private sector. If I did not get superior benefits, I would have very little reason to work for the state.

In terms of total compensation, Wisconsin private and public sectors are essentially at parity.
posted by Jpfed at 8:47 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Look it up. I'm sure you've used Google before.
posted by blucevalo at 8:48 PM on June 5, 2012


Can I see the Union contracts that protect worthless public workers from discipline and termination?

Sure, just tune in to Rush Limbaugh's show, he'll describe them in detail for you.
posted by mek at 8:48 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]



Uh-huh.

And where are the benefits listed? Pension, health, vacation time, perks? Can I see the Union contracts that protect worthless public workers from discipline and termination?


On the internet.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:48 PM on June 5, 2012


In Wisconsin, though, we found that salaries are actually about even between public employees and private sector workers who have similar education and experience and who work for larger employers.

What about a comparison with private sector union workers? I'm curious if public or private is the issue here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:50 PM on June 5, 2012


I'm in a union-classified position, and all information about our union-classified salaries, pay steps, benefits and accruals are online, on the union's official website.
posted by nonmerci at 8:51 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm getting drunk and going back to cute overload.
posted by desjardins at 8:53 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Can we now stop pretending that this November's election is going to be easy?

You can believe whatever you want about the state of the Presidential race, but today's election is hardly evidence of trouble for Obama.

WaPo: While the totals have Walker ahead significantly, exit polls suggest he did it with a healthy dose of support from voters who are leaning toward President Obama in the fall.

In fact, exit polls show Walker winning 17 percent of Obama supporters — much higher than Democrat Tom Barrett’s 6 percent of Mitt Romney supporters. Overall, the electorate that turned out today is backing Obama by a significant margin: 52 percent to 43 percent.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:54 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah, you're totally right, the public sector should try to emulate the private sector compensation scheme. Yeah because that system is really fucking awesome.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:55 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Hi, we're at the "if you are not trolling, now is the time to make that clear" point in this thread. Please pay attention, or you are welcome to go to MetaTalk]
posted by jessamyn at 8:55 PM on June 5, 2012


I'm not going to link you, because you can easily google various union websites across the United States, or in the state of your choosing, if this is of interest to you. You are pretty clearly trolling, and should be ignored and flagged as such. Cheers!
posted by nonmerci at 8:55 PM on June 5, 2012


Great. Thanks so much for those direct links

We're too busy getting hammered and thinking about how shitty things are going to be as peasants to Donald Trump, alright? Google it.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:55 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: Your laziness is not the same thing as that information failing to be available.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:56 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Uh-huh

What exactly are you looking for? You can find descriptions of the benefits there.
posted by King Bee at 8:56 PM on June 5, 2012


Pensions: A full-career Wisconsin state employee receives a guaranteed pension benefit worth 60 percent of his final salary, plus Social Security benefits. Before Act 10, most public employees paid almost nothing for these benefits, while post-Act 10, they now contribute 5.8 percent of pay. But for a private sector worker to receive the same guaranteed retirement benefits he’d have to save over 30 percent of his salary in a 401(k). That’s how generous public pension benefits can be.

Hey, you're right, BobbyVan. Private sector workers should organize for their due, inspired by the public sector's example which you've outlined here. I'm glad we still have their hard-won rights to look to. Aren't you?
posted by regicide is good for you at 8:58 PM on June 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


I blame Trivedi.
posted by Ardiril at 8:59 PM on June 5, 2012


A full-career Wisconsin state employee receives a guaranteed pension benefit worth 60 percent of his final salary, plus Social Security benefits. Before Act 10, most public employees paid almost nothing for these benefits, while post-Act 10, they now contribute 5.8 percent of pay. But for a private sector worker to receive the same guaranteed retirement benefits he’d have to save over 30 percent of his salary in a 401(k). That’s how generous public pension benefits can be.

This simply isn't true.
A retirement benefit is available to vested WRS employees after you terminate employment and have reached age 55 (50 for participants with some protective category service). Retirement benefits are based on both employee and employer contributions, and are usually paid as a monthly annuity payable to you for life.
It's like a 401k where your retirement is only worth as much as you put in, plus accrued interest.

What exactly are you looking for?


The hard working public sector employee wants the lazy public sector employees to do his work for him.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:00 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well, if the projections are right, this is a bad night for progressives in Wisconsin. It's a bad night for progressives everywhere. What we've seen here is what the Supreme Court has wrought with Citizens United.

From here on in, until it is repealed, nobody ever be able to run for office without the express permission of a pocket billionaire and a superpac. We're so utterly fucked, I cannot even begin to express how disappointed I am.

These projections, if they hold true, prove that you *can* buy an election. Legally. Right out in the open where everyone can see the money changing hands.
posted by dejah420 at 9:03 PM on June 5, 2012 [12 favorites]


Maybe being employed in the private sector and having to save for retirement on meager and terribly flawed investment vehicles like the 401k has altered my perspective.

But value is relative, and the social contract that labor had with private enterprise in the 20th century is ending (or maybe today, ended) because those pensions and benefits are unsustainable without further wrecking things. (Exhibit A: my home state of California)

I feel for those who are employees of the state of Wisconsin.

Change sucks.

I have worked at companies where a new regime comes in (either new leaders or the company is acquired) and then comes anxiety.

That uncertainty factor, the notion that all deals are off and you have to be resourceful and competitive to keep your place. That is the angst of life in the private sector. But with risk comes reward.

BTW, Roth IRA is my favorite way to save for retirement because of its relative accessibility in the event of disaster and the fact that I don't think taxes are going to be lower when I retire than at present. 401ks seem to be based on that assumption.

PS: I really enjoyed visiting Madison and hope to visit and contribute my tourist dollars soon. Bloody Marys in Wisconsin are so well done.
posted by psergio at 9:03 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can find descriptions of the benefits there.

No man, I mean like, what about the hidden stuff those guy don't want you to know about? Ever notice how suspiciously small those teacher's lounges are?
posted by Winnemac at 9:04 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Canada Bracing for Massive Influx of Wisconsin Boat People:

OTTAWA (The Borowitz Report) – The Canadian coast guard was on alert today, preparing for what it fears could be a massive invasion of boat people from Wisconsin. Conor McGlindon, commander of the Royal Canadian Mounted Coast Guard (RCMCG), said that satellite photos had revealed a “substantial flotilla” in the making, as Wisconsinites prepared to flee their state for their neighbor to the North.

“Word has gotten around that we have policemen, firemen, and basic school lunches up here,” Mr. McGlindon said. “You can’t blame these boat people for seeking a better life. But we are under orders to intercept them.”

In Canada, officials fear that refugees from Wisconsin will brave the treacherous journey across Lake Superior in the hopes of giving birth to so-called “anchor babies” on Canadian soil. Mr. McGlindon offered reporters a look at satellite photos showing the boat people larding their vessels with wheels of premium cheddar cheese, possibly in the hopes of bribing Canadian officials on Superior’s northern shore. “We are telling all of our men that under no circumstances should they accept offerings of cheese,” he said. ”These boat people are desperate and they will try anything.”

Reports of the looming refugee crisis coincided with the release of a new poll showing that Gov. Scott Walker is now the most hated man in Wisconsin, narrowly edging Brett Favre.

Speaking at the state capitol, Gov. Walker seemed philosophical about his legacy: “I’m not worried how history will remember me, because if I have my way there won’t be any history teachers.”

posted by flex at 9:08 PM on June 5, 2012 [13 favorites]


"We're so utterly fucked"

We most certainly are not. This is working exactly as it should. Progressives simply need to find their own billionaires to bankroll their own superPACs. The sooner progressives realize this, the sooner the situation will improve.
posted by Ardiril at 9:10 PM on June 5, 2012


psergio: "And I tend to agree. The pensions and benefits are insane. I don't think that it is illiberal to think that government employee union members should not be insulated from being productive, with paid lifetime benefits."

I think it's insane that people can't understand the concept of deferred compensation. I think it's funny how executives get to use it as a tool to evade millions of dollars in taxes with nary a blink of the electorate's eye, while when working class folks negotiate an arrangement to get paid some of their salary after retirement it's some kind of injustice to the taxpayers.

Yes, it sucks that thieves have managed to abscond with billions of dollars worth of private sector pension funds, but that's not really a great reason to deny people the ability to make such contractual arrangements. What is actually called for is the prosecution of those who choose to steal. It would also help if executives and corporations were forced to disgorge 100% of their ill gotten gains in addition to being fined so that it wouldn't be so easy to consider the fines a cost of doing business. The same should go for the public sector.
posted by wierdo at 9:10 PM on June 5, 2012 [16 favorites]


Exactly. This is totally nothing that another link to that whathasobamadone.com site won't fix.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:11 PM on June 5, 2012


$30.5 million: Amount raised by Walker to fight off the recall effort

$3.9 million: Amount raised by his challenger, Tom Barrett, the Democratic mayor of Milwaukee


Looking at the fundraising here, it was out of control in favor of Walker even aside from the PAC spending. It didn't help that Walker was able to ignore the $10,000 individual donation limit while Barrett was not.

It's definitely a mistake to extrapolate out this bizarre situation and apply it to the Presidential election. Obama will, unlike Barrett, do extremely well in direct donations. His PAC money will very likely not keep up with the Republicans, but it won't be anywhere close to as lopsided as this was. It also helps that he is an incumbent with the biggest microphone in the world instead of fighting an uphill recall battle.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:11 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


@Wierdo - I am not defending crony capitalism. My criticism of the state employee benefits should not be construed as condoning the the bad stuff that corporate America does.
posted by psergio at 9:13 PM on June 5, 2012


Can't wait to learn how this is bad news for Obama!

Looking up top the sense is that this is not a setback for Obama. Maybe, maybe not. That said, it IS a setback for organized labor - a setback that Obama and his minions calculated was "worth it".

For me, an Independent, and someone who is hopping mad at the betrayals that Obama has visited on the people he promised otherwise, this is just another example of how BOTH parties collude to hurt working folk. They don't give a damn; workers are expendable. (full disclosure, I didn't vote for Obama, and will write my college political science professor, again. That professor told me a few decades ago that there are few political heroes left in America, and that America was headed for an unprecedented level of Plutocracy - he was right on both counts).

Bottom line: Obama didn't stick up for labor; he essentially voted "absent" AGAIN. I don't like Romney - not one bit. Obama? He's a political coward, not worthy of the office. I guess we're stuck.
posted by Vibrissae at 9:15 PM on June 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


do the Kochs get to put their name on the state now like a stadium, or library?

Kochland, yup that about sums it up.
posted by HyperBlue at 9:17 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


the betrayals that Obama has visited on the people he promised otherwise

[citation needed]
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:18 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


do the Kochs get to put their name on the state now like a stadium, or library?

Wiskochsin?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:20 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: Obama will, unlike Barrett, do extremely well in direct donations.

Nearly 90% of Obama's 2008 small donors haven't re-upped this time.

Vibrissae: Obama didn't stick up for labor

Yeah, his outspoken statement today on behalf of the Paycheck Fairness Act was certainly a sharp stick stabbed right in labor's eye.
posted by blucevalo at 9:21 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


descriptions of the benefits there

The benefits look pretty good - very good - to me, and beyond what the majority of persons in private industry - i.e., THE TAXPAYERS - get. And I assume that this is after downward adjustments made by Walker?

I'm x thousand miles away, but with my slight passing interest in this matter all this time, I never heard the public Union workers screeching "We're paid less than private workers! You shouldn't cut our salaries and benefits, you should increase them! Waaah Waaah! We're starving here!"

Nope, I never heard or saw that. Just, sometimes, at best, laughable "papers" that the public "workers" are at parity with private workers, and biased news reports based on such crap.

This whole recall thing was only a harassment of Walker and his administration, it was totally unethical, even though perhaps just within the letter of the law. Will the Unions push for yet another recall proceeding? And again and again?

Wisconsin voters have spoken, again.

Good.
posted by caclwmr4 at 9:22 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


worthless public workers

The interesting thing here is the subtle, probably subconscious, ambiguous parse of this phrase. On first reading, it's referring to the subset of public workers who are worthless.

But that's not really what this is about. You don't support removing bargaining rights from an entire group of people because you think there are a few bad apples. You do it because you think they're all worthless. None of them deserve to retire in happiness. Not when your own security is so shaky.

Divide and conquer.
posted by formless at 9:22 PM on June 5, 2012 [21 favorites]


the majority of persons in private industry - i.e., THE TAXPAYERS
Are you under the impression that people in the public sector don't pay tax?
posted by Flunkie at 9:24 PM on June 5, 2012 [23 favorites]


Public workers don't pay taxes?!
posted by Brocktoon at 9:24 PM on June 5, 2012


You can believe whatever you want about the state of the Presidential race, but today's election is hardly evidence of trouble for Obama.

I'd be careful picking over some highly dubious exit polls for evidence of Obama's strength. WI grassroots progressives will be demoralized after this defeat, and it'll be tough to make the WI left hate Romney nearly as much as they hate Walker.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:25 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Um, WI progressives are going to be madder than ever if Scott Walker's dirty tricks won the day.

So, no.
posted by bardic at 9:28 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


No, the vast majority of government workers effectively do NOT pay taxes. They are paid FROM taxes, so if they "pay taxes", they are rebating some of their pay back, and that is all. They do not generate any wealth which actually pays actual taxes.

(Let me head you off, I am not saying government and taxes [real taxes on private industry] are not necessary.)
posted by caclwmr4 at 9:31 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


[citation needed]

Here
is a list of what Politifact considers broken promises. However, not every broken promise is his fault and there are reasonable points of debate on the blame for many of them.

Obama will, unlike Barrett, do extremely well in direct donations.

Nearly 90% of Obama's 2008 small donors haven't re-upped this time.


It's quite early, so many will hop on board as the season heats up. Regardless, Obama still holds a significant edge over Romney, though Romney is still heating up.

ABC
: Democrats are heading into the general election against Mitt Romney with a sizable cash advantage over their GOP rivals.

Democratic committees have a combined war chest of $195 million, including cash held at the end of April by Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action.

Republicans, meanwhile, held $105 million at the end of April. That includes cash-on-hand totals for Romney for president, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.


A Walker like money advantage is not going to happen. It's going to be a much more even fight and Obama is simply a better campaigner with the incumbent advantage.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:31 PM on June 5, 2012


This video supposedly shows Barrett being slapped by an unknown woman after his concession speech.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:34 PM on June 5, 2012


I'd be careful picking over some highly dubious exit polls for evidence of Obama's strength.

We could look at the RCP average instead if you want. Obama 49 - Romney 44.3.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:34 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


"We're so utterly fucked"

We most certainly are not. This is working exactly as it should. Progressives simply need to find their own billionaires to bankroll their own superPACs. The sooner progressives realize this, the sooner the situation will improve.


The way forward is for more and more of the national wealth to be spent wasted on non-productive, non-wealth-generating my-dollar-eliminates-your-dollar nothing-gained race to a lower standard of living?

Instead of investing in the future or in wealth or security, we are investing in building and lavishly maintaining a vast parasite class / economic sector - advertising empires that provide nothing of value, but (to paraphrase from Strangelove) Mr President we can't afford a bloodsucker gap! Caught in a trap where the more we're bled, the more parasites everyone else needs too to make sure they're bled even more.

Burning the national wealth as a byproduct of democracy seems very... Roman.
posted by -harlequin- at 9:34 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


They do not generate any wealth which actually pays actual taxes.

Given the incredibly obvious infrastructure and services a state government provides (roads, state police, university professors to educate the state's workforce, etc.), that could not be any further from the truth. But thanks for playing.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:35 PM on June 5, 2012 [17 favorites]


Well, bummer.

Just gotta work harder and smarter.

And for some of us, such as me, it starts with getting off the couch.
posted by notyou at 9:35 PM on June 5, 2012


They do not generate any wealth which actually pays actual taxes.

I'll believe this nonsense the day that people in the private sector stop using public roadways to get to their jobs and refuse the assistance of police, fire, emergency and military services to protect them.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:35 PM on June 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


This video supposedly shows Barrett being slapped by an unknown woman after his concession speech.

lol, no.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:36 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm x thousand miles away, but with my slight passing interest in this matter all this time, I never heard the public Union workers screeching "We're paid less than private workers! You shouldn't cut our salaries and benefits, you should increase them! Waaah Waaah! We're starving here!"

Well, we spent three years with forced (8%) pay cuts in the form of mandatory furlough days that the former governor used to balance the budget and generate a surplus. The unions grumbled a bit, but generally went along with it in order to avoid layoffs.

Walker ended that program in favor of a forced 10%+ pay cut to all state employees to mitigate a budget deficit generated by his tax cuts for his benefactors. It was bullshit, but plays well in Peoria.

So couple the cuts without any COLA salary increases and other freezes in the past 6 years and I now make ~20% less now than I did when I started for the same workload.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:36 PM on June 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


"exit polls show Walker winning 17 percent of Obama supporters"

SCABS!!!
posted by Ardiril at 9:37 PM on June 5, 2012


No, the vast majority of government workers effectively do NOT pay taxes. They are paid FROM taxes, so if they "pay taxes", they are rebating some of their pay back, and that is all. They do not generate any wealth which actually pays actual taxes.

All I can say about these statements is that they certainly appear next to your username.
posted by King Bee at 9:38 PM on June 5, 2012 [32 favorites]



No, the vast majority of government workers effectively do NOT pay taxes. They are paid FROM taxes, so if they "pay taxes", they are rebating some of their pay back, and that is all. They do not generate any wealth which actually pays actual taxes.


I would very much like for you to call the WI department of revenue and get all those years of income, property, sales, and other taxes I have paid back from them, then.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:39 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


This video supposedly shows Barrett being slapped by an unknown woman after his concession speech.

It's not Zapruder quality, granted, but if you freeze the footage at 0:12:83, you can almost smell the bullshit.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:40 PM on June 5, 2012


infrastructure and services a state government provides (roads, state police, university professors to educate the state's workforce, etc.)

State government doesn't provide that, the private taxpayers do.

(It's too bad our public education system is such a disaster.)

If all the private taxpayers leave, who will will pay you all?
posted by caclwmr4 at 9:43 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Burning the national wealth as a byproduct of democracy seems very... Roman.

Seems more Byzantine to me.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:45 PM on June 5, 2012


They do not generate any wealth which actually pays actual taxes.

I always love reading comments like this over the internet, a project originally funded and developed by public sector workers at DARPA in the late 60s, on a protocol centrally designed by public sector workers in the late 80s at a public institution known as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and its National Center for Super Computing Applications.

Remind me, has there been any wealth, taxable income, or jobs generated in this country that are in any way associated with the internet?
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 9:48 PM on June 5, 2012 [45 favorites]


Private business provides nothing for our country, the CUSTOMERS pay for everything so THEY provide it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:49 PM on June 5, 2012 [17 favorites]


caclwmr4: "The benefits look pretty good - very good - to me, and beyond what the majority of persons in private industry - i.e., THE TAXPAYERS - get."

Huh, seems about standard for office-type jobs. Also, it seems a little odd to me that if public worker pay is so artificially high that there are not literal waiting lists to get these cushy government jobs. Maybe that's why unemployment is so high! People are remaining unemployed so that they can be prepared to start work immediately when they make it to the top of the list and get hired into the life of luxury and leisure that is working for the government. Yes, that's it. Government bureaucrats are now the new idle rich.

Since none of that is actually happening, I'm pretty comfortable in the belief that public sector pay is not in fact too high. Sometimes, the market is telling you something.
posted by wierdo at 9:49 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


just, sometimes, at best, laughable "papers"

You do know that putting something in sarcasm quotes does not actually invalidate it, right?

the public "workers" are at parity with private workers

And that the idea that people who work for the government do nothing is the laughable part of that sentence?
posted by flaterik at 9:52 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The anti-government/public sector gobbledygook that passes for conservative economic "thought" is an albatross that hangs around the neck of the US, one that brings the country closer to its knees with each passing day.
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 9:53 PM on June 5, 2012 [13 favorites]


(It's too bad our public education system is such as disaster.)

Huh, if only there was some kind of concept of providing increased reward for quality performance. But that's just crazy talk; the system works fine telling a host of people they don't deserve what they get in a role they chose out of a selfless desire to help educate children, a role made even more difficult by parents like yourself teaching them to be selfish assholes.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:55 PM on June 5, 2012 [7 favorites]



If all the private taxpayers leave, who will will pay you all?

Private taxpayer income taxes account for roughly 3% of the states revenues and about half of the the total income tax revenues generated.

Corporate taxes are about 7% and sales taxes about 17%

Somehow, I think it would be OK.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:56 PM on June 5, 2012


caclwmr4: "They do not generate any wealth which actually pays actual taxes."

Actually, many of them do. The existence of a system of laws and the mechanisms to enforce them through the rule of law instead of by force between parties to a contract enriches us all. It is mind blowing that you could think that no government employee generates wealth, when it is existence of government itself that allows wealth to accumulate outside the hands of kings and their courts.

Governments are people. People are government. The two cannot be divided, if you would like to keep that which you "own." This government vs. the people schtick only serves to disguise the ongoing theft from those with little by those with means, both through legal and illegal means.
posted by wierdo at 9:58 PM on June 5, 2012 [15 favorites]



Uh-huh.

And where are the benefits listed? Pension, health, vacation time, perks? Can I see the Union contracts that protect worthless public workers from discipline and termination?

On the internet.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:48 PM on June 5 [+] [!]


The contracts have nothing to do with termination protections. That contract is called the US Constitution.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:59 PM on June 5, 2012


Guys seriously this is just a hunch but I'm getting the slight inkling that maybe caclwmr4 just doesn't have a clue what the fuck he's talking about
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:00 PM on June 5, 2012 [30 favorites]


I would expect Obama to make some serious gains in the state once the campaign is in full swing regardless of who wins tonight.

Obama supporters can rest easy. If the recall succeeds, it gives the impression that his campaign has a populist mandate. If the recall fails, his staff can blame the same corporate money his campaign has been raking in the last year or so.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:44 PM on June 5 [1 favorite +] [!]


And that his opponents are taking in at a rate 5x more.

This needs to be a wake up call for the purity patrol. A strong energized full-on super left campaign got whipped. We either band together or we are fucked.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:03 PM on June 5, 2012


Maybe drop in some numbers instead of making up catchy nicknames.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:04 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


A strong energized full-on super left campaign got whipped.
The preferred candidate of the "super left" didn't even get nominated. Jesus, where do you even come up with this stuff?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:06 PM on June 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


A strong energized full-on super left campaign got whipped. We either band together or we are fucked.

Dude. The DNC left us.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:06 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, you Wisconsin dems really screwed that one up.
posted by crunchland at 10:07 PM on June 5, 2012


"The DNC left us." - The DNC never joined your cause.
posted by Ardiril at 10:08 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ugh. I'm hearing chatter about a general strike now. So many (mostly young) progressives Just. Don't. Get. It. We couldn't even get enough people to vote! How are you going to convince people to not get paid?
posted by desjardins at 10:15 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Maybe this was a factor and not an Obama doom not shown in the polls? Perhaps?

Some 60 percent of Wisconsin voters said a recall was only appropriate when a public official was accused of some kind of official misconduct. Walker’s recall was triggered when he led the drive to grind down the collective bargaining rights of state government employees — a major policy difference, not a personal failing.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:17 PM on June 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can we get a rebate on corporate subsidies? Maybe airline miles?
posted by Brocktoon at 10:19 PM on June 5, 2012



Vibrissae: Obama didn't stick up for labor

bluecevalo: Yeah, his outspoken statement today on behalf of the Paycheck Fairness Act was certainly a sharp stick stabbed right in labor's eye.


Another token! This, after he essentially voted (by his absence) FOR the increasing insults suffered by the working class, and especially working folk.

How fucking *clever* of Obama today to make that statement when he damned well knows that his cowardice on the Wisconsin issue will have multiplier effects nationwide. The impact of Walker's victory will negatively affect every public employee's chance's opportunity to force collective bargaining.

Essentially, Obama, by his cowardly ABSENCE on this issue, is leaving Wisconsin and other public employees to twist in the wind. Obama, and Romney, both make me sick. They are two sides of the same coin. The working class - the middle class - has been sold out by these fuckers and their do-nothing parties. Worse, I don't see it getting any better - not soon, anyway.

Obama is a traitor to his early promise, period. I am so sick of seeing one political maggot after another, regardless of party, smirk and smile and "eloquently" argue for what they're going to do. These people are owned, and in the process, so have we become, owned.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:21 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


That's the long and short of it, Vibrissae. I will pull the lever for Obama, but only because I think reform is more possible with the Democrats. Both parties are beholden primarily to the moneyed interests, but at least one side is running away from the right thing at a slower pace than the other and are slightly more willing to at least recognize that there are people hurt by their policy of putting the donor class first.

With two or three Romney appointed justices, any real reform would be blocked, even if sanity did manage to infect the other two branches of government at a later date. If Obama puts two or three on the bench, change at least stands a chance at some point in the future.
posted by wierdo at 10:32 PM on June 5, 2012


Essentially, Obama, by his cowardly ABSENCE on this issue, is leaving Wisconsin and other public employees to twist in the wind. Obama, and Romney, both make me sick. They are two sides of the same coin. The working class - the middle class - has been sold out by these fuckers and their do-nothing parties. Worse, I don't see it getting any better - not soon, anyway.

What a laugh. You think Romney is the same as Obama? The parties haven't been this polarized since 1964. Romney is running far to the right of his own parties positions from even 10 years ago.

The President has limited ammo and these elections have incredible risks. The public in Wisconsin voted for Walker. They voted him in last time. Now they were being asked to vote him out. People don't like him they just don't think he did enough to merit being voted out. More people voted for Walker this time. How is it that big daddy Obama has to save every fucking state law cause in the country from gay marriage to Trayvon? How about the idea that it's the responsibility of Wisconsin Dems to get this job done. Seriously. Get real.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:34 PM on June 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Side note: Ever since Ronald Reagan, unions have been systematically broken. What I find truly amazing is that since Reagan, every asshat POTUS has cooperated in decimating union power and private sector pensions.

The HUGE irony here is that along with the decimation of the working class unions and their security nets (pensions), BOTH the Democrats and GOP have managed rhetoric that makes it look like the swindles that THEY (the parties) have perpetrated is somehow the fault of those who were promised retirement safety nets. And, BOTH parties have manipulated the public conversation to convince the PRIVATE sector employees - whose pensions and collective bargaining power have resulted in the latter's reduced socioeconomic status - to somehow *blame* what is left of the union movement in the public employee space for a large part of the private employee's current travail!. Millions of suckers have just been made!

This is face-palm-worthy - i.e. Private sector Americans who have lost jobs, bargaining power, and pensions have been convinced by the asshats that helped to make that happen, that the private sector's ppublic employee peers are to blame for their problems. Mission accomplished! From Reagan, to Bush Sr., to Clinton, To Bush Jr., and now, Obama - all of these fuckers have sold labor and *sustainable* public safety nets up the river. Every one of them are traitors to what this country should stand for. Welcome to Plutocracy!
posted by Vibrissae at 10:36 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Obama is a traitor to his early promise, period. I am so sick of seeing one political maggot after another, regardless of party, smirk and smile and "eloquently" argue for what they're going to do. These people are owned, and in the process, so have we become, owned.

Name one thing he said he would do that he hasnt done or continues to try and do today. It's not even fine print. He never came near promising to do what you now purport he is acting as a traitor about.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:38 PM on June 5, 2012


From Leonard Cohen's song "Everybody Knows":

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied ...
posted by New Frontier at 10:41 PM on June 5, 2012


And, BOTH parties have manipulated the public conversation to convince the PRIVATE sector employees - whose pensions and collective bargaining power have resulted in the latter's reduced socioeconomic status - to somehow *blame* what is left of the union movement in the public employee space for a large part of the private employee's current travail!. Millions of suckers have just been made!

Both parties have said that public employee unions have caused private sector pensions to go down? Do you have a cite for that? Can you find a single Democrat of consequence who has said that?
posted by Ironmouth at 10:41 PM on June 5, 2012


Hey Ironmouth do you have a cite for your 5x claim from earlier? Thanks.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:46 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh god what a glorious read this thread was.
posted by ferdinand.bardamu at 10:49 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Let me see if I have this right. Scott Walker tried to strip public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights, and that's Barack Obama's fault somehow?
posted by chrchr at 11:05 PM on June 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


ironmouth: "Name one thing he said he would do that he hasn't done or continues to try and do today. It's not even fine print. He never came near promising to do what you now purport he is acting as a traitor about"

First, your question/retort is loaded, and is phrased in a way that is designed to elicit responses that let Obama apologists reinforce their own confirmation bias about the man. Obama HAS accomplished some things, but when you ask "Name one thing he said he would do that he hasn't done", that's easy.

You asked: "continues to try to do today" ???? Obama has let labor down! THAT's what he did today - this day, June 5th, 2012. Unequivocally! He looked the other way in Wisconsin because it was a "convenient" thing to do, politically. Obama did not LEAD on this issue! The man is a politician; I expect broken promises from anyone in that profession, but Obama set himself often and early as a progressive Democrat. Give me a break!

Sure, Obama has had a bunch of GOP assholes to deal with in the HOR, but he wasn't even able to rally his own party when he had a mandate. Obama, largely, has just "gone along". He's taking the same road his last several POTUS predecessors have taken - the road to a diminished middle class, in favor of the wealthy contributors who have gained extraordinary access to his - and his predecessors respective POTUS offices.

Obama, plain and simple, is a MAJOR disappointment. He's *lucky* to be facing Romney. In spite of that, he has a slim chance to lose in November. I hope he doesn't, but he is one worrisome candidate; he can't be trusted to even TRY to do what he says, in principle. It's all smoke, rhetoric, speeches, smiles, and mirrors.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:06 PM on June 5, 2012 [5 favorites]



No, the vast majority of government workers effectively do NOT pay taxes. They are paid FROM taxes, so if they "pay taxes", they are rebating some of their pay back, and that is all. They do not generate any wealth which actually pays actual taxes.


Right. Teachers and Firefighters, for instance, don't buy houses, cars or food. They certainly don't spend the money they earn providing a public service on any goods and services in the local economy. They must live under bridges and forage for edible berries. Therefore public employees like that certainly don't deserve to earn a middle class income commensurate with their professional training and dangerous working conditions. They should be more like Bob.

Bob, the non-unionized private factory worker down the street makes half of what they make. It's not fair! But we shouldn't be concerned with raising Bob's living standard, instead we should focus on cutting educational programs, facilities and teacher pay for Bob's kids education so that the millionaire factory owner Ted can get a sweet tax cut to fill his Scrooge McDuck Money Pool with more gold coins.

Then when Bob gets sick and can't work anymore, his poorly educated children who work part time at Walmart can be responsible for paying his medical bills since he's uninsured and the state safety net healthcare has been defunded into oblivion.

A few years later, Ted's factory isn't doing so well. Turns out there's a lot fewer people buying his products since all the public employees got severe pay cuts or pink slips and uninsured people with chronic health conditions are now spending huge portions of their income on prescription medication and emergency room visits. Weird right?

Ted briefly considers adding robotic automation to streamline his production, but he finds it too difficult, since public education has been dismantled, to find qualified workers to implement and maintain the high-tech production line.

So Ted closes the business and sells the assets to a Chinese scrap conglomerate and retires comfortably to a beach house in Barbados. This confirms all of Ted's suspicions about NObamas job destroying policies in Amercia!

Meanwhile, Ted's children have graduated from Harvard Business School and are well on their way to engineering the next great economic meltdown.

It's obvious that TAXES ARE TOO HIGH!!!!

Bob dies.

All of this could have been prevented if we just lower the taxes on the rich it's obvious that the economy will really take off!
posted by j03 at 11:17 PM on June 5, 2012 [30 favorites]


Name one thing he said he would do that he hasnt done or continues to try and do today.

oh, come off it. In the realm of things that required no Congressional cooperation, without even Googling, I can think of: Lesser of two evils, Supreme Court vacancies to be filled, etc., I know, I know. I'm gonna vote for the guy in the fall, and I hope he beats Romney. And this whole thing is a derail. But dude, it really makes political conversations difficult when you confrontationally, and condescendingly, challenge every. single. person. who criticizes Obama.

His timorousness is relevant to this discussion. Exit polls show today's WI voters support him over Romney by like 10 percentage points. Dude didn't lift a finger to help Barrett. He was in fucking Minneapolis the other day. Current AP results are showing 53% Walker/46% Barrett - do you seriously think that having Obama do SOMETHING to assist Barrett, 5 months out from the general election, would kill his chances this fall? Spend a weekend making some public appearances, make some statements in front of a camera, hell, record a sound blurb for local TV spots even? At best it could have swung 4% of those pro-Obama + pro-Walker voters from today, and at worst... what? Fox would spend a news cycle laughing about how his boy lost, as they probably will anyway, and five months from now everyone will be talking about something else.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 11:18 PM on June 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


Obama has gotten some things done, let's not demean the man's record. I have no illusions about the possibility of laws not being written in Congress in the way most helpful to the interests of the donor class, and I don't specifically blame Obama for that. I do find it mildly disappointing that he steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that fact when signing legislation.
posted by wierdo at 11:28 PM on June 5, 2012


They are paid FROM taxes, so if they "pay taxes", they are rebating some of their pay back, and that is all.

Technically all money is issued by the government and therefore all of us are just rebating some of the governments pay back! Fiat currency! GOLD STANDARD!! GOOGLE RON PAUL!!!!
posted by mek at 11:28 PM on June 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


They are paid FROM taxes, so if they "pay taxes", they are rebating some of their pay back, and that is all. They do not generate any wealth which actually pays actual taxes.

Sorry, but that's really a dumbass way of looking at it. I say that as an educator in a public college.

I provide our society a service. I provide highly specialized, highly technical instruction to people to improve their ability to secure and perform jobs in the technology sector. I am therefore a force multiplier in our society, in that I facilitate thousands of people being able to generate wealth through their future employment. As a result, I am responsible for some non-zero enhancement to wealth creation in this world, even though it may be difficult to tease out the exact figures of what that may be.

I am paid by the government because my job is considered so critical to social function, so vital in its force-multiplying necessity to a healthy economy, that our neighbors have decided to collect a portion of their income every year (i.e., their taxes) and pay my salary.

The idea that somehow, because I'm paid via our government revenue collection, that the good or service I provide my fellow citizens does not generate any wealth is just some bullshit ideology talking.
posted by darkstar at 11:42 PM on June 5, 2012 [37 favorites]


Ironmouth: Both parties have said that public employee unions have caused private sector pensions to go down? Do you have a cite for that? Can you find a single Democrat of consequence who has said that?

First, you are misrepresenting what I wrote. Perhaps I wasn't clear. My bad. What I meant was that both parties have, over the last 30 years, presided over the official gutting of private unions, and thus bargaining power, and thus opportunity. That has accelerated hard times. The private sector employees are now hearing, from both parties, that

Look for a cite? Start here - Gov. Quinn's actions have become a national mantra - and then keep looking - you will find lots more. Just look at the ACTIONS of BOTH parties relative to the decimation of private unions over the last three decades! Via non-action and other moves, Congress has helped to decimate the power of unions, and the middle class. They are serving their monied overlords, period.

In fact, you just made my point! Via political osmosis, so that hardly anyone has really noticed, BOTH parties and their respective lame "leaders" have supported and encouraged off-shoring; have FAILED to reinvest in serious, workable, job re-training; have enabled a massive surplus of H1-B, B-1, L-1, and other work visas that have been bought an paid for by every senior executive from Jobs to Immelt!. BOTH parties have sold American workers, and American innovation down the river - flushed them fucking right down the toilet.

I live in Silicon Valley; I know a LOT of middle-aged techies with superior skills who have been replaced by H1-B, B-1, and L-1 workers from India and China. I don't blame the Indians and Chinese; I blame BOTH parties, who have agreed to help private management manage this outrage.

Cite? Just look at the rate of summer employment for teens - from a norm of 4% the labor force, to less than 1% - with desperate 45-70-year-olds scrambling for those jobs. Just look at Obama prance around Detroit and yap about how "Detroit has come back", with workers making a paltry $14.50 per hour. Cite? Just open your eyes!

Cite? Take a look at who Obama's largest contributor/bundler was in 2008; it was the UC system. (2nd place went to Goldman Sachs! - gee I wonder why there are no serious probes to put investment bankers in jail - bingo!) And, not a fucking PEEP for Obama about the unconscionable increases in the system and the brutal cuts to the system - even as UC administrators and Regents vote in unconscionable raises, all under the "discipline" of fellow Democrat, Gov. Jerry Brown.

Obama is not helping; he is managing a slow diminution of the American middle class. It's a given that America has more competition, but it's not a given that we should be led by a punk-ass bunch of POTUS's who take money from their overlords, and act according to the latter's plans. That's Obama, period. He's better than Bush, and better than Romney, but Americans DESERVE better leadership than they're getting.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:52 PM on June 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Given that the definition of wildcat strike is a strike not authorized by the union, it seems weird to blame unions for wildcat strikes.

Sorry, I was busy the last few hours. I'm not blaming unions for wildcat strikes, it's the us v.s them attitude implicit in the threat of wildcat strikes that I disapprove of. You can't be committed to public service and blackmail the public at the same time.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:05 AM on June 6, 2012


"Americans DESERVE better leadership than they're getting."

They would have got just that had they nominated Hillary instead of the ass-clown.
posted by Ardiril at 12:06 AM on June 6, 2012


No, the vast majority of government workers effectively do NOT pay taxes. They are paid FROM taxes, so if they "pay taxes", they are rebating some of their pay back, and that is all. They do not generate any wealth which actually pays actual taxes.

I imagine you having a twirly little mustache and tying damsels to railroad tracks.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 12:07 AM on June 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


How about the idea that it's the responsibility of Wisconsin Dems to get this job done. Seriously. Get real.

For what it's worth, this Wisconsin Dem agrees with you, Ironmouth. I know Obama has some sway, but for the most part, it's actually with the people who were already on board. It's a bully pulpit, but the WH and DNC rightly saw this race as a loser (I don't mean a loss, though that was likely part of the private-poll calculus as well) for them in political domino terms.

Of course, it's all but forgotten now, but may be remembered in time for recriminations, that the recalls weren't a project of the state party at all to begin with -- they were entirely grassroots and at first the party wasn't sure they wanted in. When they decided they couldn't risk being outside if it actually succeeded, they wormed inside and took the effort over, in a way.

If you want the point at which I began having Very Serious Doubts as to the outcome, it was when Russ Feingold decided not to run. Pretty sure he had his own internals that told him it would probably be a blow-out -- and that was running one of the best-admired politicians in recent state history, recent (somewhat shocking) loss of Senate seat notwithstanding. Then we were given two mainstream Dems to pick between (others were on the ballot but never had serious support) in a sprint election that was pretty close to what the Westminster systems have regularly but has become alien to us. All this after Walker had been fundraising through a gaping loophole in the law, which if it were intentional, had been written long before anyone contemplated a Citizens United thumb-on-the-scale situation. Again, I think that was part of the strategic miscalculation -- it didn't become public knowledge until after the rollercoaster was cranked to the top of the hill (a fact which again may have been behind party reluctance). If we knew now ...

But I won't strike out at external factors or actors. I even forgive the Kochs and their ilk to some degree. Somehow, as a state, we've lost the ability to communicate with each other, and I think this is a symptom of a larger national (global, pace Occupy) problem. There's actually a huge segment of the public that didn't care about a single thing he did except lowering their taxes, and I'm not even sure they cared or knew that specifically what he had allegedly done for them. As a party, as a movement, we failed to reach those people. I don't fully understand why, although my reading of Thomas Frank and What's the Matter With Kansas? has given me some waypoints. Somehow, our state has flipped into Indiana. I hope this isn't permanent, but as sane as Tommy Thompson looks to us now compared to Walker, he was re-elected three times. The state hasn't really elected a progressive since maybe Tony Earl; Doyle was a technocrat.

The sign from the protests comes back to me: "You know, we're just trying to have a society here." I wonder how much of that is going to be possible after the newly-minted and clear mandate Walker's been given gets translated into next session's legislation. Open for business? For sale -- all public holdings must go. The legislature also got a mandate for its no-prisoners, paper-over-windows approach to a simulacrum of "democracy" where accountability is so far from an issue, it's not likely that their cadre will ever demand anything like it. It's upside down from my entire experience. I don't know how to talk to these people anymore, even, yet they seem to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. They don't enter into the public conversation; like Nixon's supposed minions, they just show up and vote in a lying, creepy radical with the goal of explicitly "dividing" and "conquering" his citizenry.

Like the character of the professor in Mamet's Oleanna, a conservative figure angered at being pilloried by a scarily-depicted book-banning "group" behind a student who thinks he harassed her, audiences will cheer Walker as he wields a knife or breaks a chair over her head. That visceral thrill makes him a hero in their eyes. The electorate behind this raper of the public good doesn't even care to have a conversation in which we define what of the public good we want to have left at the end of all this. To them, it's fire at will (pun intended). We lost a 21st century industry, the Talgo train factory, in the midst of an adolescent name-calling of a years-in-the-making, initated-by-Republicans high speed rail project, and an attempt at rewriting the mining environmental laws by just passing all the emendations requested by a mining company.

Not sure, at this point, what sort of state we'll have when he is elevated to Washington's power circuit the way Paul Ryan, Objectivist granny-cliff-tossing budget flim-flammer has been.

So yeah, no, I don't blame Obama; we lost Wisconsin ourselves, somehow, and if we're to find it again we don't start looking in D.C.
posted by dhartung at 12:08 AM on June 6, 2012 [19 favorites]


I am paid by the government because my job is considered so critical to social function, so vital in its force-multiplying necessity to a healthy economy, that our neighbors have decided to collect a portion of their income every year (i.e., their taxes) and pay my salary.

This is an excellent summary why we should have a public sector, but it must also be remembered that the same neighbors have the right to revise their priorities or their assessment of the costs and benefits. Sometimes this will result in disagreements, but that's the nature of democracy.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:22 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


"(It's too bad our public education system is such as disaster.)"

I don't take your failures as an indictment of the system.
posted by klangklangston at 12:48 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is an excellent summary why we should have a public sector, but it must also be remembered that the same neighbors have the right to revise their priorities or their assessment of the costs and benefits. Sometimes this will result in disagreements, but that's the nature of democracy.

No. It's a convenient rationale - out of context from another time - for yet another Obama apologist to rationalize the 3-decade-old diminution of labor unions, by both parties...with Obama continuing the tradition.

Bottom line: Obama caved, instead of leading in Wisconsin. He was absent - just like he voted "absent" so often in the Senate. So, what's new? So now we know what we're dealing with. Start looking toward 2016, because neither one of the current asshat POTUS candidates is going to even *try* to change any of this; they're too busy raising money from their party-goers - i.e. the goons who keep lining their pockets with the leavings of the labor that they exploit.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:49 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


No. It's a convenient rationale - out of context from another time - for yet another Obama apologist to rationalize the 3-decade-old diminution of labor unions, by both parties...with Obama continuing the tradition.

Er...I quoted someone refuting the idea that as a public sector worker he doesn't provide value to the economy. He most certainly does. He wasn't even talking about labor unions. Perhaps you were addressing some other comment?
posted by anigbrowl at 1:02 AM on June 6, 2012


I don't think it's quite fair to blame Obama or to blame the people of Wisconsin entirely. I think Obama could have tried a bit harder on "the right thing to do" grounds but I don't think he could have swung this and as I posted above a lot of the opposition here was on the basis that recall elections should not be launched over policy differences. If that was the decision of the people of Wisconsin, it isn't really for Obama to judge.

Out of state money and a fundraising loophole played a major role here too, there just wasn't much local recall supporters could do to change that. National Democrats could have helped out, but, eh...

In the end, it really feels like the Republicans just invested a ton of effort and money in an election that should not have even happened while the Democrats held back for fights that will matter more where money can go further. 8 to 1 fundraising is ridiculous, if that is what it costs to buy an election the process is unsustainable and a bad investment. Spreading that money around to even out races where the Republican is only slightly behind would have been a much more potent use of the funds.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:10 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whoh, I have not been following this thread at all. What did I miss, are we out for blood or bleeding out?
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:38 AM on June 6, 2012


A little while before the 2008 election, the New Yorker ran its feature piece on Obama, the main point of which was "He's a manipulative political son-of-a-bitch who plays cutthroat politics in lieu of any sort of idealism." That was the article that convinced me that my vote for Obama wasn't going to be thrown away.

Obama is as cynical a bastard as you're ever going to find. He's got good ideals at heart – I'd bet he believes all those lofty things he says in the speeches – but he understands the way the political system works, and he's ruthless in doing what it takes to make the largest impact possible within it. That involves a lot of shitty behavior, which for Obama didn't start in 2008: he's done shitty political things his entire career. But those shitty things let him pull off some terrific maneuvers and the country's better off for what he's gotten away with.

I've been very much enjoying Armando Iannuci's new HBO show Veep, because of the way it portrays every last person in politics as practically sociopathic. Not actually sociopaths, simply worn down by the system to the point where there's no such thing as "doing the right thing". Make the smallest political misstep and things go apeshit. If you don't have a media channel devoted to deifying you while calling your opponents unAmerican, you have basically zero political leeway. So the people who make it are ultimately going to be somewhat terrifying, because they're the ones ruthlessly committed enough to their own political gain that they'll sacrifice anything they once held dear to keep it.

Ultimately, in politics, all that matters is what propels you forward, and what you leave behind. Obama's driven, all evidence suggests, by a sincerely optimistic belief in our ability to overcome vast heaps of shit. Not in four years' time, or in eight (I expect people here'll be just as scornful of Obama come 2016), but rather that in the longer arc of the 21st century we can point ourselves in the right direction before the country's completely snuffed out. He's leaving behind a number of significant victories, amidst heavy losses. Hopefully those victories will be lasting enough that when we look back a few decades from now we see them as the real Obama legacy, and all the compromises and letdowns were needed sacrifices to get real change moving.

I'm hopeful that that's the case, that Obama's leaving a foundation which savvy liberals can continue to build upon for years and years. Sometimes I regret the many ways in which Obama's actions disappoint me, but they're understandable actions nonetheless. A weak but steady candlelight is better than a flash of hopeless idealism which is swallowed immediately by darkness. The slow-and-steady is what lasts. In 2008-2012, the slow-and-steady means slowly reversing the snottiness rather than trying to buck it all at once.

This cruel slowness, this willingness to let a thousand victories slide, is what defines most high-level processes, political, business, creative, or otherwise. The people who're best at it are usually awful bastards in a lot of ways: they need to be able to focus on the abstract bigger picture and oftentimes that means being unaffected by the many individuals which might protest. This is absurdly inflated for the POTUS, since an entire nation is trying to speak to him at once and his job is to figure out the best overall path that'll hurt the fewest people in the long run, rather than simply make everybody happy. But Obama's good at this, as good as any Republican (but with better aims), better than almost every Democrat I know (and I wish there were more coldhearted bastard Dems). That's why I like him.

I'm not saying he's gonna have an easy time being reelected, but I'm confident that he'll be reelected nonetheless, because he's brilliant at the bastard maneuvering that defines the political process. Romney's outclassed, both the man and his political team. Obama's not going to win because of hope and ideals. He's going to win because he's ruthless. Yay Obama.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:03 AM on June 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


Exit polls show that Walker got 38% of union-household voters.

WTF??!!
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:12 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is simply ridiculous. Obama's 10 dimension chess? Let me explain it in simple terms.

Obama is Bush with polish. Gay rights were inevitable in the course of history, and he delayed them and dangled them in your face long enough that you lost everything else in this first term and now he finally, reluctantly says "mmm ok gay rights" and you all melt because gay rights is so fucking important.

In the country you are headed to, nobody will have any fucking rights. Then the gays will finally be equals.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 3:14 AM on June 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Democrats appear to take Senate in narrow Lehman win.

I can't help but wonder how much of Walker's victory wasn't just his victory (and make no mistake, the Republicans showed some serious enthusiasm) but the Democrats' defeat, and how much of that defeat wasn't self-inflicted. What started out as a mass movement that morphed into something that took down three state senators apparently ended up as an almost bloodless political campaign. I'm still not entirely sure how Barrett ended up as the best candidate to run against the guy he lost to (yes, yes, I know, primaries and all that, but still - Barrett?).

It almost seems like the party establishment - in the state and the DNC, too - had a greater interest in letting the spirit of the Madison protests dissipate and face a loss with consequences than win while facing the possibility of a victory driven by forces that weren't entirely in the pocket of the party establishment. If I were even more cynical, and had just watched that crappy George Clooney/Ryan Reynolds political movie from a year or two ago, I'd imagine that the Democrats did the David and Uriah the Hittite thing, with the unions playing the role of Uriah, being set up to fail.

Here's hoping Walker's victory lap is cut short by a nice indictment or three.
posted by jhandey at 3:18 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


More from Charles Pierce, who called it:

...Out in the parking lot, I fell into conversation with Phil Waseleski, who was wearing a T-shirt celebrating the U.S. Postal Service that was festooned with Scott Walker buttons. Phil was a letter carrier in the neighborhoods around the Serb Hall for nearly 40 years, but he retired last year when his days were cut back to three a week as part of the fiscal crisis forced upon the USPS by Republican legislators who would like to see it go away entirely.

"A friend once told me, 'Well, we only need mail three or four days a week,'" Phil told me. "I politely told him, 'Dave, we're gonna have to agree to disagree.' I could have told him, 'Dave, you know, maybe at that engineering place where you work, they only need you three days a week, and then you could come help us.'

"The politicians, I think, it's a tough call, because if you don't keep the postal service in business — you and I will both agree that there's nothing more personal than taking pen in hand to write to your mother, sister, or brother. Until June of last year, I gave my heart and soul to my job. I worked right through lunch most days."

Eventually, I asked him why he was here, at the Serb Hall, supporting Scott Walker, whose politics were far more in tune with the people who are trying to strangle the postal service than they are with the people who still work there. Phil told me that it was about his sister-in-law. "The problem is that, when you start handing out free health care out to teachers, that annoys me to no end," he said. "I never got free health care. My brother's wife is a teacher and I once asked her, when I was getting my teeth worked on, what it cost her and she said, 'Nothing.' It should never get to that point where somebody's getting free health care. Something's way out of whack there."


Crabs pulling their escaping comrades back into the pot...
posted by jhandey at 3:24 AM on June 6, 2012 [41 favorites]


Rory - where do Obama's unprecedented expansion of legally questionable drone strikes and proscution of whistleblowers fit into your overarching Obama narrative. I say this not to be snarky, but because I find both of those very alarming and as far as I'm concerned they run in the face of everything you just wrote.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 3:24 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Exit polls show that Walker got 38% of union-household voters.

WTF??!!
.

I saw exit polling showing that some independents felt the remedy was too much, that they disagreed with Walker but felt recall was only for true, proven malfeasance or crime.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:40 AM on June 6, 2012


How about the idea that it's the responsibility of Wisconsin Dems to get this job done. Seriously. Get real.

Scott Walker outspent Tom Barrett 7-to-1 with 70% of the money coming from out-of-state. The Wisconsin Dems needed the DNC elite to step up to match that kind of clout and they didn't, which is why I don't feel the need to blame them for their inadequacies on this one...it wasn't a fair fight.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:41 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rory - where do Obama's unprecedented expansion of legally questionable drone strikes and proscution of whistleblowers fit into your overarching Obama narrative. I say this not to be snarky, but because I find both of those very alarming and as far as I'm concerned they run in the face of everything you just wrote.

There have only been a total of 275 drone strikes under Obama. A truly independent analysis (not the government numbers or methodology, which nobody uses anyway) finds only 434-830 civilians killed under Obama and Bush combined.

The al-Alakwi strike is the only one against a person who could arguably be considered to have the protection of the Constitution, as the question of extraterritorial application of the Fourth Amendment to US Citizens is still undecided. Non-citizens are not covered by th Fourth Amendment overseas.

Obama came into office promising a robust policy in Pakistan and he did what he has said he would.

Although you find it troubling, a February, 2012 poll shows 83% of the population agrees with Obama, according to WaPo.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:53 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The wisest words I've read on calling this recall so far...
"It's not like it was," Craig said to me. "Back then, when we were walking, it felt like we were blessed or something. Now, it's hard work to get this done." Somebody drove by and honked their horn. Craig waved. A movement has been channelled into a campaign, and campaigns die in the summer on days like this one, with the big lake all peaceful and blue, and the gulls circling the bluffs, and the yachts gently tacking away from the shore. Movements need cold winds and lowering skies. They need something to lean against, to push back on, to oppose.
The time, the money, the arc and the alternative figure to Walker of this recall just weren't calibrated right.

There's more than that of course, and I hope it gets fleshed out before the November election. IF Walker sees this as a mandate and goes back to his ruthless and ugly ways, this can still backfire on the Republicans, even nationally.

Some think Walker now is a shoo in for Romney VP shortlist and I'd say that's just nuts.
posted by Skygazer at 5:16 AM on June 6, 2012


As Goes Wisconsin, So Goes Hell. A good (depressing) read from April at The Awl.
posted by armacy at 5:27 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


A truly independent analysis (not the government numbers or methodology, which nobody uses anyway) finds only 434-830 civilians killed under Obama and Bush combined.

That's only like 14-28% of the number of people killed on 9/11. You have to wonder what they have to complain about.
posted by biffa at 5:35 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some think Walker now is a shoo in for Romney VP shortlist and I'd say that's just nuts.

I agree. He's still underwater in terms of his approval rating in the state. People just thought recall was too far, according to the exit polling I'm seeing.

But if you want to know our problem in a nutshell, last night one of Barrett's "supporters" angry that he conceded while votes were being counted, slapped him for conceding early, despite losing by nearly 7 percentage points.

We are going to win some and lose some. That's a fact. If people keep acting like the sky is falling, how are we going to stay together to stop the complete crazies who want in power.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:38 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


A truly independent analysis (not the government numbers or methodology, which nobody uses anyway) finds only 434-830 civilians killed under Obama and Bush combined.

That's only like 14-28% of the number of people killed on 9/11. You have to wonder what they have to complain about


Well, people are acting like we are nuking the countryside over there. We're not.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:40 AM on June 6, 2012


I am crushed by this result in Wisconsin. I just can't believe the depths of complete ignorance and lack of foresight with regard to workers' rights in this country. I am seriously confused and I am terrified about what the future might bring because of this problem. I sent money to Barrett. I will volunteer for Obama and for Elizabeth Warren. What else can we do? How can this turn to the right possibly end well for anyone who isn't already well off? The misplaced ire toward unions and fucking teachers is just unreal.
posted by theredpen at 5:44 AM on June 6, 2012


So your defence of Obama is that although he has caused large-scale slaughter he could be wiping out the whole place but he isn't?

Notable stat from the wiki page you link to:
Drone strikes under Bush administration: 52
Drone strikes under Obama administration: 275
posted by biffa at 5:47 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


They do not generate any wealth which actually pays actual taxes.

Good thing those trucks that move just about every product made in this country travel on those Galtian Super Highways they built back in the 50s! And good thing every creative "wealth generator" is able to file their patents with the Corporate Courts Union; and feel safe when they travel due to the private armies the higher!
posted by spaltavian at 5:51 AM on June 6, 2012


A truly independent analysis (not the government numbers or methodology, which nobody uses anyway) finds only 434-830 civilians killed under Obama and Bush combined.

In Pakistan. Accross the region, estimates by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (which has been incredibly diligent in properly reporting these deaths) are considerably higher. These attacks are often taking place against the will of national governments, and without due process.

Doesn't all that water carrying hurt your arms?
posted by to sir with millipedes at 5:55 AM on June 6, 2012


Rory - where do Obama's unprecedented expansion of legally questionable drone strikes and proscution of whistleblowers fit into your overarching Obama narrative. I say this not to be snarky, but because I find both of those very alarming and as far as I'm concerned they run in the face of everything you just wrote.

I prefer drone tactics to outright warfare for a number of reasons. I'm not politically well-read enough to comment on the specifics of legality; honestly, I'm as appalled by legal warfare as I am when it's illegal. That we have rules establishing when mass killings are and aren't okay is too weird for me to totally grasp. Drones seem to have greatly reduced the casualty count on both sides, compared to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan anyway. That's probably too simple a reduction of the issue, but if fewer people are dying now, that seems to me a step up.

The whistleblower prosecution is upsetting – as is the fact that we need whistleblowers in the first place. I don't know why Obama's upped persecution, and I'm wondering if he's responded to criticism of his actions. A quick Googling suggests not. Considering Obama vocally supported whistleblowers before, I assume there's been something to change his attitude, and I'd hope it's not as cynical as "I'll support them when it means bad news for my opponents, but they'd better stay off my back." I wouldn't be surprised if that's what it boiled down to, though. I can easily see Obama deciding that the ethical pros of supporting them are outweighed by the practical burden they place on him, though. You don't get to be the president if you aren't a pretty enormous bastard, I don't think.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:55 AM on June 6, 2012


This needs to be a wake up call for the purity patrol.

As you pointed out earlier, "Romney is running far to the right of his own party's positions from even 10 years ago." [Indeed, there's a lot of that going around.] The reason he's doing that is because he fears the "purity patrol" on the Right - which has ruthlessly refused to vote for a "lesser evil".

Allow me to repeat this for emphasis. The "purity patrol" in the GOP is moving its party in the direction it wants it to go. You "realists" in the Democratic Party are watching the Overton Window being slammed shut on what little is left of your civil liberties.

I am told - repeatedly - that there is no alternative to the two-party system. If that's true, liberals had better start tea-partying like there's no tomorrow. Because judging from last night's results, there isn't.
posted by Trurl at 5:56 AM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Protect and encourage whistleblowers

Did someone really get that fucking high during the overnight shift and post this as one of the accomplishments of the Obama administration?
posted by moammargaret at 5:59 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Drone strikes under Bush administration: 52
Drone strikes under Obama administration: 275


Dead Osama Bin Laden's under Bush: 0

Dead Osama Bin Laden's under Obama: 1


I wish this tedious and endless ObamaisBush hurfdurf derail would end, because there's lessons to be learned from this whole fucked debacle in Wisconsin and people need to start paying attention and the should start by reading this piece by Abe Sauer that aramacy linked too, above.
posted by Skygazer at 5:59 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


First, you are misrepresenting what I wrote. Perhaps I wasn't clear. My bad. What I meant was that both parties have, over the last 30 years, presided over the official gutting of private unions, and thus bargaining power, and thus opportunity.

Official gutting of private unions? That was done by the gutting of high-priced manual labor through economic forces. We lost steel and auto production, and many other heavy industries which formed the backbone of the labor movement. The jobs that remained were either non-union by pay, or crap and hard to organize because of an unstable labor force.

And the Democrats have presided over it? Exactly how? Two years ago they tried to get elections on showings of cards only. That would have been the biggest cherry yet.

Seriously have you ever negotiated a private labor union contract? I have. Every actually practiced before the NLRB? I have. Know the Act damn well and the regs damn well? Ever actually organized a bargaining unit and won a vote? I have.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:01 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Protect and encourage whistleblowers

Did someone really get that fucking high during the overnight shift and post this as one of the accomplishments of the Obama administration?


It depends on whether you consider the illegal mass dissemination of classified information "whistleblowing" its not under any law the federal government has. It does in the fevered brains of some.

Meanwhile, Obama has presided over a huge increase in the use of the False Claims Act to go after companies ripping off the government. People get their jobs back and a percentage of the claim.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:03 AM on June 6, 2012


Ironmouth, workers rights are protected by BOTH collective bargaining and a functioning regulatory state. The latter has been dismantled, making the former worthless. How do you maintain a robust union movement when you get nothing to show for it?
posted by moammargaret at 6:06 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Protect and encourage whistleblowers

Did someone really get that fucking high during the overnight shift and post this as one of the accomplishments of the Obama administration?


No, what you quoted came from a list of things the quotee wished Obama would have done.
posted by Jpfed at 6:11 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


How can this turn to the right possibly end well for anyone who isn't already well off? The misplaced ire toward unions and fucking teachers is just unreal.

There's a lot of ire towards unions and teachers - things that anyone would normally support in any real world. But instead of just saying, "Whoa, that's unreal! Who hates unions or teachers?" I think we need to actually look at what's been going on.

The unions, teachers union included, have been involving themselves in a lot of political fights lately, particularly around taxes. When they're confronted with the budget crisis, rather than saying completely reasonable things like, "This budget crisis is a terrible thing, and we definitely need to figure it out, but let's not eliminate contractual guarantees people have already been given," they have said "Let's raise taxes on 'the wealthy' and then everything will work out!"

I'm sympathetic to unions, and to teachers, but things like that get my dander up. It's all class warfare all the time, and it's bull. People are talking upthread about crabs pulling each other into the pot - well, that's what that line of attitude is. "I won't be affected, so let's tax those other guys, who are in the minority - they won't be able to vote against it!" It's bull, and there are very good reasons why that irritated people.

I may be the only one to say it openly here, but I'm glad Governor Walker survived the recall effort. Now maybe public legislators can govern without having to spend half their time campaigning against a recall brought about by some people's refusal to accept the results of the last election.
posted by corb at 6:13 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


How can this turn to the right possibly end well for anyone who isn't already well off? The misplaced ire toward unions and fucking teachers is just unreal.

I think you need to understand this in perspective: by and large, when prominent conservatives-the conservatives that matter, i.e. the money people, the blog people, the teevee people, the ones planting the seeds in the Teabaggers who are useless during any of the 23.75 hours out of the day they aren't voting and/or retweeting snarky puns about a candidate's name, when they talk about how they hate "teachers" they aren't talking about actual individual teachers, they are talking about teacher unions, and public school teacher unions, and most likely specifically the NEA. Yes, you've got your black-helicopter gummit-is-brainwarshin'-our-chillun anti-public-schools folks but by and large it's a dog whistle. They hate unions. They hate government control of a public necessity. Teachers are both.

Maddow has made a note of this before, but just a quick factoid here: of the ten largest single entities donating to the Wisconsin recalls over the last year, four supported Democrats. One was the AARP and the other three were labor unions. I would not be surprised to extrapolate this and find similar metrics on a national level.

We have hit this scary point in our culture where Republicans honestly, truly do not even care about hiding this, but they have to lie about it anyway just to make it easier: much as we like to fantasize about this, George Soros isn't going to snap one morning and cut Obama or any Democrat an eight-figure check. Especially post-Citizens United, there is literally only one type of large, collective money-providing entity in America that supports Democrats they was industries like Koch and the Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's PAC do. And those are unions. This is not about the general maximized profitability of Walmart; that is honestly small potatoes. This is literally a political maneuver to eliminate the one possible thing that can match the financial advantage corporations have in American politics. And they won big last night. For a mere $30 million investment, corporate control just bought about 6 or 7 points in every statewide election in Wisconsin for the next... ever.

Is it sad that this happened, and that people voted for it? Absolutely. The last few years or so of punditry should have tipped you off, though: by and large Americans are simplistic, petty, scared people and will sacrifice any long-term, critical analysis of a situation for a short term result. This is even more prominent if said American is convinced that an arbitrary ideological enemy is someone "hurt" by their actions. There are people out there, in Wisconsin, and as we've already seen, on this board, honestly delighted by Walker's victory for no purpose other than "sticking it to the unions." You see that on message boards, and on Twitter, and on signs on Milwaukee lawns. Because in America, the greatest insult to an American is the perception that awful, mysterious "other" someone has it better than you. America is stamping your feet over and over again insisting that life isn't fair to make yourself feel better about not giving a shit and then turning around and being furious that you're the one being fucked. You don't even need to be being fucked; you just have to think it. I mean, hell, I know my ancestors didn't arrive here because they were kidnapped, tortured, chained, raped, and forced into servitude for a few hundred years with lasting effects that still resonate today but man on man am I supposed to be jealous of black peoples' college grant opportunities? Fucking really? What's that, you say? My life is shitty but that person over there got a bunch of people together, successfully negotiated a contract and earns more than I do? Oh fuck them.

And so that's what we had last night. A well-invested $30 million to make a largely working-class, largely-white populace feel good about fucking over other people to compensate for not feeling like life was fair to them. And if you are pretending that this will not happen again in five months, or that it can be corrected merely by insisting on a message board that other people on a message board stop saying mean things about the President, then holy shit, do I fucking feel sorry for you.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:20 AM on June 6, 2012 [39 favorites]


Nail on head, XQUZYPHYR. To which I can only add: WI$CON$IN = Diebold:REMEMBER
posted by dbiedny at 6:26 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


When they're confronted with the budget crisis, rather than saying completely reasonable things like, "This budget crisis is a terrible thing, and we definitely need to figure it out, but let's not eliminate contractual guarantees people have already been given," they have said "Let's raise taxes on 'the wealthy' and then everything will work out!"

When the unions offered to take the specific benefit reductions that were to have been put in place by SB11/AB10 in exchange for not taking away collective bargaining rights, they were pretty much saying exactly "This budget crisis is a terrible thing, and we definitely need to figure it out, but let's not eliminate contractual guarantees people have already been given".

I don't recall any counterproposals on their part that would have amounted to ""Let's raise taxes on 'the wealthy' and then everything will work out!" but if you find one, please, do tell.
posted by Jpfed at 6:26 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


The unions, teachers union included, have been involving themselves in a lot of political fights lately, particularly around taxes. When they're confronted with the budget crisis, rather than saying completely reasonable things like, "This budget crisis is a terrible thing, and we definitely need to figure it out, but let's not eliminate contractual guarantees people have already been given," they have said "Let's raise taxes on 'the wealthy' and then everything will work out!"

That's not what the Wisconsin public employees union did, not at all. They were confronted with a budget crisis and they gave every concession that was being asked for, and Walker responded by completely removing any ability to negotiate contracts in the future.

What makes the Wisconsin story so tragic is how hoodwinked everyone (or at least the voting majority in that state) has become. The recall happened because Walker is a wild extremist, and somehow people aren't seeing that.
posted by mcstayinskool at 6:27 AM on June 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


As you pointed out earlier, "Romney is running far to the right of his own party's positions from even 10 years ago." [Indeed, there's a lot of that going around.] The reason he's doing that is because he fears the "purity patrol" on the Right - which has ruthlessly refused to vote for a "lesser evil".

Allow me to repeat this for emphasis. The "purity patrol" in the GOP is moving its party in the direction it wants it to go. You "realists" in the Democratic Party are watching the Overton Window being slammed shut on what little is left of your civil liberties.


Actually, it's because the GOP has spent the last 30+ years building an infrastructure and displaying a patience very few liberals or moderate Democrats seem inclined to emulate. They know to push hardest on the state elections every 10 years, because the census data means they can control redistricting. They know to take over school boards and county councils to make it harder for grassroots to organize. They know that they can circumvent most any federal-level legislation or Supreme Court decision by rewriting state constitutions or packing state courts. They know that they have vastly more control over the party if they take over the smaller state and local organizations in off years. They know that they can revoke or prevent voting rights and civil rights very quickly in state houses and governorships, whereas public statements from presidents have no direct policy impact and defending and redefining them in the US Congress or Supreme Court takes years or decades and can get derailed much easier.

And yet, every time I mention doing what the GOP did and trying to game the system from the bottom up, I get pushback that that won't accomplish anything, that the most important thing is to stamp our feet and gnash our teeth and punish the national party (regardless of the disparity between elected officials from the left and center) and the President right now. Apart from a somewhat decent effort from Dean in 2006 and the vastly underused Netroots, what I hear is that Obama is essentially Romney and the Democrats are are all Ben Nelson. Some will even claim that the Democrats losing isn't actually that bad since they all "deserve" it, never once pointing out the effect on people that will get hurt if they lose. I usually assume that because of their socioeconomic status or where they live, a lot of them don't actually have to worry very much about losing voting rights, or the right to choose, or the social safety net, and therefore hurting a political party is more important than even a bare minimum of trying to help the country as a whole. It's as if no one bothered to understand either civics lessons or political party composition at all.

I am told - repeatedly - that there is no alternative to the two-party system. If that's true, liberals had better start tea-partying like there's no tomorrow. Because judging from last night's results, there isn't.

There is no alternative at the moment. Doesn't mean you can't work for one--or for a more left-leaning Democratic Party--at the state and local levels while occasionally pulling the lever at the Federal level to ensure that the crazies in the GOP don't run the joint into the ground. Sure, fighting a rear-guard action isn't noble; in fact, it can often times feel really shitty. But for now, at least, attempting to punish the national party and/or president via a third party without generating a lower-level base has backfired horribly (see also: Nader, Ralph; Leiberman's spiteful voting record and public assholery since 2006) every single time that I can think of. It hasn't moved the national party left, in fact it's done quite the opposite, and yet people still want to bang their head against that particular wall over and over again for quick gains instead of trying the slow but steady way for long term gains.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:48 AM on June 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


No, the vast majority of government workers effectively do NOT pay taxes. They are paid FROM taxes, so if they "pay taxes", they are rebating some of their pay back, and that is all. They do not generate any wealth which actually pays actual taxes.

Good thing those trucks that move just about every product made in this country travel on those Galtian Super Highways they built back in the 50s! And good thing every creative "wealth generator" is able to file their patents with the Corporate Courts Union; and feel safe when they travel due to the private armies the higher!


Oh FFS, can we quit with the pile on already and work on some reading comprehension?

I completely understand and agree with what Caclwmr4 is saying. Government workers don't generate wealth that pays taxes. They generate wealth on which OTHER PEOPLE pay taxes. He isn't saying that they don't contribute, he isn't saying that they don't increase tax revenues, he isn't saying that they don't generate wealth. The money they earn in the course of their jobs does result in any tax revenues (sales tax and the like notwithstanding) but their work does.

Quit looking for ways to be offended.
posted by VTX at 6:50 AM on June 6, 2012


I don't think it's quite fair to blame Obama or to blame the people of Wisconsin entirely. I think Obama could have tried a bit harder on "the right thing to do" grounds but I don't think he could have swung this and as I posted above a lot of the opposition here was on the basis that recall elections should not be launched over policy differences. If that was the decision of the people of Wisconsin, it isn't really for Obama to judge.

Definitely. Apparently 60% of voters thought the recall wasn't appropriate unless laws were being blatantly broken. Obama visiting the state wouldn't have change that opinion, certainly not enough to overcome a 7-point, 200k vote margin.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:56 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, NPR's "quality reporting" on the election - while including audio of Walker's supporters jeering at Barrett's concession speech - didn't find time to mention out-of-state money or Citizen's United. [So that in mentioning Walker's 7:1 money advantage, it might as well have all come from enthusiastic Republican constituents.] Nor union organizing efforts. Nor the DNC's distancing itself from the issue. Nor its national ramifications. Spiced with a jeer or two, it's millimeter-deep portrait of the contest could go straight onto Fox and Friends.
posted by Trurl at 7:02 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


What's that, you say? My life is shitty but that person over there got a bunch of people together, successfully negotiated a contract and earns more than I do? Oh fuck them.

It's not about that. It's not even about not wanting unions to be able to exist. Governor Walker never made collective bargaining itself illegal. The law made changes to the way that unions would be able to operate and be negotiated with. Contracts would be limited to a year, so that unions would have to renegotiate contracts according to the current economic climate. Votes would be required, to make sure that the unions were actually desired by the workers. You know, the kind of votes that unions really wanted to happen about Walker? Those kind of votes? And people would....horror of horrors...have to pay their union dues directly to the unions, rather than it being taken directly out of their paycheck. THE HORROR.

Am I missing anything? Please to point me to the place in the bill that made being in a union in Wisconsin illegal.

I don't recall any counterproposals on their part that would have amounted to ""Let's raise taxes on 'the wealthy' and then everything will work out!" but if you find one, please, do tell.

I'm not going to include the rhetoric from all sides about how taxing the rich is the answer to the budget crisis, because it could be argued that there's no proof the person talking was really a union guy, etc. etc. But here's the head of the Steelworkers talking about it. Enough people certainly made an issue of it.
posted by corb at 7:07 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and one more thing on the high-level donors giving so much money to Obama and the Democratic Party: Places like New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle, are among the financial centers of the country and the world. And they're also for the most part very liberal areas in very liberal states. Unless you've got a magic wand that can change that, it's an institutional thing (and one that can be a boon as well as a curse) that we'll have to deal with. With any luck, that means making it work for us much better than it has the last several decades, but it's going to have to go hand-in-hand with treating all politics as local.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:16 AM on June 6, 2012


Am I missing anything? Please to point me to the place in the bill that made being in a union in Wisconsin illegal.

Here is what I believe you are missing. The bill did not make unions illegal. It did, however, make it inevitable that they become useless and then disband, by the following mechanisms:

1. Limiting negotiations to pay increases
2. Pay increases may not exceed inflation

(That is, under Act 10 union negotiations can do nothing to help workers aside from standing still relative to inflation. These two aspects, taken together, make unions not terribly useful to anyone)

3. Requiring union dues be paid voluntarily
4. Requiring annual votes in which >50% of employees, not >50% of voters, must be cast to keep a union from disbanding

(These two, taken together, ensure that only useful unions can continue to exist.)

Once the set of useful unions is empty, the set of unions that continue to exist will be empty. The unions aren't being made illegal outright; conditions are being created that lead to the inevitable dissolution of the unions.

--------------------------

I don't have time to watch the steelworkers video, but I will consider it to say what you say it is saying. That may have "[got] your dander up", but the actual concessions offered by the unions at that same time period were exactly what you say you wanted them to be. In your original post, you said "rather than [x] they [y]", but that implies they did not [x]. In reality, they did [x] at the same time they [y]ed.
posted by Jpfed at 7:25 AM on June 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


1. Limiting negotiations to pay increases

Can you point to this? I think I was fairly clued in at the time, and don't recall seeing this specifically, that it would be illegal for unions to attempt to negotiate for anything but pay increases.


2. Pay increases may not exceed inflation

Except by referendum, right? So from what I recall, this wasn't making it illegal for unions to want larger pay increases, it was codifying in law that they wouldn't be /given/ to them - ie, a stronger public stance under negotiation.

3. Requiring union dues be paid voluntarily
4. Requiring annual votes in which >50% of employees, not >50% of voters, must be cast to keep a union from disbanding


I can understand why people who want unions to continue might not like this, but can you see why ordinary voters would support these measures? If more than fifty percent of employees don't want a union to exist enough to cast a vote for it, a union can hardly be said to represent the interests of a majority of employees.

In your original post, you said "rather than [x] they [y]", but that implies they did not [x]. In reality, they did [x] at the same time they [y]ed.

That's a legitimate criticism, but I think that doing both took away from the impact of only [x], for example. And it's important to remember that [x] wasn't simply trying to prohibit cuts to existing employee contracts - [x] also had components of trying to preserve the union structure and fundraising itself, rather than employee benefits.
posted by corb at 7:37 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can understand why people who want unions to continue might not like this, but can you see why ordinary voters would support these measures? If more than fifty percent of employees don't want a union to exist enough to cast a vote for it, a union can hardly be said to represent the interests of a majority of employees.

Fewer than 50% of the people in Wisconsin voted for Walker last night.... Hell, only around 1 in 5 even voted.

Voter turnout for everything sucks.

It was bullshit of Walker to use that against unions.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:44 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here's the LC memo on Act 10. Sorry for not pointing you at the LRB summary, but I've become suddenly brain-dead and can't find it.

The restrictions on the nature of bargaining start in the fourth paragraph. The third paragraph exempts public safety employees from those restrictions.
posted by Jpfed at 7:47 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Bee Tee Double-You: my coworkers made https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/, a great site for searching Wisconsin law and related documents)
posted by Jpfed at 7:49 AM on June 6, 2012


dhartung - "we lost Wisconsin ourselves, somehow, and if we're to find it again we don't start looking in D.C."

I suggest taking a look at Georgia and other Southern states and their swings away from Democrats toward Republicans. At issue there has not been so cleanly cut as liberal vs conservative, but the drifting of the Democrat party away from what it once was in the South.

Also, I think Democrats have overestimated the liberal tendencies of hispanics. I have talked to hispanics from South Carolina through Nevada and California to Seattle, and for the most part, their allegiance lies more in line with the Vatican than with any american political engine.
posted by Ardiril at 7:57 AM on June 6, 2012


Ironmouth, workers rights are protected by BOTH collective bargaining and a functioning regulatory state. The latter has been dismantled, making the former worthless. How do you maintain a robust union movement when you get nothing to show for it?

There was no regulatory state when the labor movement got started. We have to stop looking to government when the people are obviously unwilling to focus on labor issues as much as we'd like.

Also, we need to talk in terms of less black and white. The regulatory state has NOT been dismantled in terms of workplace issues. FLSA and workmen's comp haven't had rollbacks, just no changes. The NLRB is doing well, I think, far better than it did during Clinton's years of neglect.

I suggest taking a look at Georgia and other Southern states and their swings away from Democrats toward Republicans. At issue there has not been so cleanly cut as liberal vs conservative, but the drifting of the Democrat party away from what it once was in the South.

The issue there is race. Plain and simple. Those people vote regularly against their economic interests to the party that agreed to work to stop integration. Which Nixon did.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:01 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


jpfed: Ah, I see - I am left slightly confused by the wording as to how precisely they're taken, though - I see that strikes are prohibited, but are we talking "anyone who participates in a strike will be arrested," or "Strikes are prohibited, so if you strike, we can fire you, which we cannot currently do under law?" Or with regards to the collective bargaining - I see a lot of current law requiring the employer to negotiate, with proposed law eliminating the negotations. Are they saying, "It's illegal to ask for this and you will suffer fines for raising it?" Or are they saying, "Employers don't need to talk to you about this anymore if they don't want to?"
posted by corb at 8:05 AM on June 6, 2012


1. Limiting negotiations to pay increases

2. Pay increases may not exceed inflation

3. Requiring union dues be paid voluntarily

4. Requiring annual votes in which >50% of employees, not >50% of voters, must be cast to keep a union from disbanding


First off, in the Federal government and in almost every government there are no negotiations for pay. They are legally outside the scope of permitted bargaining. On the private side, that's a constitutional violation--freedom of contract. Pay in the government is set by statute.

Number 3, is bullshit because a union must represent everyone in the bargaining unit whether or not that person decides to join the union. In many situations, its an open shop requirement anyway.

Four, OMG. Annual disbanding votes? What the fuck for? What's the point of the union if the Agency or the Company can just go in and blow it up every year? Do you realize how much effort a union election is? A lot. And the Board or the FLRA is supposed to run an election for every bargaining unit every year? Whose paying for that? You have no understanding of the actual mechanisms of union elections.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:07 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lets be clear--I hate Act 10, but it goes farther than the rights that federal employees have in terms of conditions of bargaining.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:09 AM on June 6, 2012


Allow me to repeat this for emphasis. The "purity patrol" in the GOP is moving its party in the direction it wants it to go. You "realists" in the Democratic Party are watching the Overton Window being slammed shut on what little is left of your civil liberties.


The Overton window is a theory, not a fucking fact. Its based on a fallacy, which is that somehow people aren't making their own decisions.

What little is left of our civil liberties? Really now. What I am going to not get a trial if I commit a crime? There's not thousands of trials with due process going on right now? I just watched an hour of court prior to a criminal appearance. The people there got plenty of process. Please, can we not overstate the crazy?
posted by Ironmouth at 8:12 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lets be clear--I hate Act 10, but it goes farther than the rights that federal employees have in terms of conditions of bargaining.

I don't know if "farther" is meaningful, given the independent axes of variation.

Act 10 says [you can't negotiate on anything but pay, and on the subject of pay, you can't negotiate for more than inflation]. If at the federal level, there are no negotiations for pay, then if there are negotiations at all, they must relate to hours, conditions, etc. - all sorts of non-pay things. Which is to say there's no overlap between what happens federally and what happens in WI under Act 10.
posted by Jpfed at 8:13 AM on June 6, 2012


What little is left of our civil liberties? Really now. What I am going to not get a trial if I commit a crime?

I don't know. Are you a Muslim?
posted by Trurl at 8:14 AM on June 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


"The issue there is race. Plain and simple."

"Yes", and "No". Democrats in the South also once stood strongly for States rights. Further, don't be too swift to dismiss a race issue, one centered on Milwaukee.
posted by Ardiril at 8:20 AM on June 6, 2012


Democrats in the South also once stood strongly for States rights.

Yes, and racists voted for them. Now they vote very heavily GOP. What's your point?
posted by goethean at 8:24 AM on June 6, 2012


Apply that to Wisconsin.

... and drop your bullshit stereotyping of Southerners.
posted by Ardiril at 8:38 AM on June 6, 2012


Obama is Bush with polish.

Untrue! Bush forgot Poland, after all.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:41 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, NPR's "quality reporting" on the election - while including audio of Walker's supporters jeering at Barrett's concession speech - didn't find time to mention out-of-state money or Citizen's United.

You know they have a reporter, Peter Overby, whose entire function is to report on campaign financing? He's reported on the out of state money before and he has reported on the fallout from Citizen's United repeatedly.
posted by spaltavian at 8:44 AM on June 6, 2012


You know they have a reporter, Peter Overby, whose entire function is to report on campaign financing?

Now that you mention it, I do recall one of his pieces about anonymous SuperPAC donors.

Shame they couldn't have brought him on for 30 seconds to correct their misleading impression that outside money wasn't a factor - let alone a huge one - in the results.
posted by Trurl at 8:47 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The issue there is race. Plain and simple."

"Yes", and "No". Democrats in the South also once stood strongly for States rights. Further, don't be too swift to dismiss a race issue, one centered on Milwaukee.


And exactly what "state's" rights were they so interested in preserving?

Let's see, could it be this?
posted by Ironmouth at 9:16 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


What little is left of our civil liberties? Really now. What I am going to not get a trial if I commit a crime?

I don't know. Are you a Muslim?


Exactly how many muslims are not getting trials?
posted by Ironmouth at 9:20 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Act 10 says [you can't negotiate on anything but pay, and on the subject of pay, you can't negotiate for more than inflation]. If at the federal level, there are no negotiations for pay, then if there are negotiations at all, they must relate to hours, conditions, etc. - all sorts of non-pay things. Which is to say there's no overlap between what happens federally and what happens in WI under Act 10.

Well let me be more precise. The only place in the federal system where a union can bargain over pay is in the Postal Service. The rest of the government prohibits negotiations on those matters.

In most states, the federal system is the rule and not Wisconsin's. I think Wisconsin's prior system is better and wish it was the law in the Federal system too.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:22 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Michael Barone (a conservative) aligns the exit polls with the actual results, suggests voter preference for Obama/Romney actually tied at 48-48 in Wisconsin. No Republican has won the state in a Presidential contest since Reagan in 1984.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:28 AM on June 6, 2012


Exactly how many muslims are not getting trials?

A non-trivial number.

I mostly agree with you, Ironmouth, that we libs/Dems are prone as hell to "OH NOES! WE. JUST. LOST. EVERYTHING!11!1" whenever things don't go 100% our way. But on the other hand, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.

Last night, I was bitterly disappointed by the WI recall results, but this morning, I realized that I kinda grokked the stated reason some folks gave for opposing the recall. It's kind of on the WI legislators to fight the good fight against Walker; recall really should be used for things that are far beyond the pale.

So given that so many Wisconsinites feel that way and Walker had that huge money advantage, he should take no comfort in last night's margin of victory. Unfortunately, our media -- including NPR -- is prone to painting Republican victories as absolutely massive and crushing defeats for the Democrats and progressive policies, no matter the percentages or anything fishy surrounding the voting process, so I imagine a great many of my fellow Dems and progressives are going to continue to feel depressed by last night's results.
posted by lord_wolf at 9:40 AM on June 6, 2012


No Republican has won the state in a Presidential contest since Reagan in 1984.

The last time the (official) unemployment rate was 8.2% or higher in an election year was... well, never.
posted by Trurl at 9:40 AM on June 6, 2012


Michael Barone (a conservative) aligns the exit polls with the actual results, suggests voter preference for Obama/Romney actually tied at 48-48 in Wisconsin. No Republican has won the state in a Presidential contest since Reagan in 1984

too bad those exit polls indicate that 18% of people who voted to retain Walker said they'd vote for Obama. He's just blowing smoke.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:41 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Exactly how many muslims are not getting trials?

A non-trivial number.


Except they are getting trials. It will take a while and Congress has forbidden the spending of a dime to move those prisoners to the US, and while not perfect, trials will be had.

Fucking Bush.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:42 AM on June 6, 2012


I agree, Ironmouth. Looking at it a little closer, Barone is assuming a static relationship between Walker's margin of victory and the supposed Romney-Obama margin. It's wishful thinking for Republicans, but Democrats should be nervous. The impact this will have on WI labor organizing abilities is still unknown.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:45 AM on June 6, 2012


The al-Alakwi strike is the only one against a person who could arguably be considered to have the protection of the Constitution

Minor nit to pick: al-Awlaki's son, who was also killed by a drone strike, was born in Denver.

I know I'm to the left of Bill Maher on this issue, but as an American living abroad, the incorrect idea that it's legal for the U.S. government to assassinate Americans just because they're physically outside the United States is galling.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:52 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nate Silver wrote yesterday on how Governors’ Races Can Be a Contrary Indicator for Presidential Elections
.
posted by Perplexity at 9:53 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another minor nit to pick: Samir Khan (US citizen killed in the same strike as al-Awlaki -- al-Awlaki's son was killed in another strike the following month).
posted by probablysteve at 9:58 AM on June 6, 2012


Governors’ Races Can Be a Contrary Indicator for Presidential Elections

I doubt Romney will win Wisconsin. But he'll force the Democrats to spend more money there than they would have wanted to. Which will have extra importance if the SuperPAC money breaks strongly for the Mittster.
posted by Trurl at 10:05 AM on June 6, 2012


"This video supposedly shows Barrett being slapped by an unknown woman after his concession speech."

lol, no.


LOL, yeah.

-----

It's like a 401k where your retirement is only worth as much as you put in, plus accrued interest.

I'm confused. Right before this line, you quoted the following,

"A retirement benefit is available to vested WRS employees after you terminate employment and have reached age 55 (50 for participants with some protective category service). Retirement benefits are based on both employee and employer contributions, and are usually paid as a monthly annuity payable to you for life."

Employer contributions. So if you put in some and your employer puts in some and interest is accrued on all of that, then wouldn't your retirement be worth more than simply "as much as you put in"?

I think it would. And in another post, you wrote that,

"Any portion of state matching funds placed in that account was essentially deferred compensation to compensate for the large difference between private and public sector salaries."

State matching funds. Wouldn't those funds plus the ones you put in would make for a retirement greater than "as much as you put in"?

I would think so. But hey, I can be wrong. Maybe the critical thinking skills on display above are even stronger than they appear. Please, show me how it really is.

And also, your claim that these state matching funds which are supposedly only deferred compensation, making up for the "large difference between private and public sector salaries" was addressed by BobbyVan. Here's a paper arguing that private and public sector salaries are equal. Do you have any evidence showing a "large difference"?

As for the accuracy of this paper, what the authors write about the Wisconsin Retirement System on p. 11, matches up with this page on the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds website, which was first linked by you. I don't know if you read the paper, but the authors account not only for the larger size of the state pensions, but also their lower risk, as they are guaranteed by law. To sum it up, after Act 10 was enacted, we can quantify the value of the retirement benefits by saying,

"that Wisconsin public employees would be roughly indifferent between receiving WRS benefits or receiving a 23.7 percent increase in their annual salaries." (p.15)

That's a 23.7 percent raise on a salary already equivalent to a corresponding private sector worker. You all get other benefits too, right?

You exclaimed that the paper's reporting of the size of the retirement benefits, "Simply isn't true." The paper's arguments and sources are laid out. Where are the errors?

Furthermore, and more importantly, if this paper is correct, it shows how small the reduction in the public sector premium from the passage of Act 10 was, and how much more must be cut before there is public and private sector parity. Never mind of course, that it is the private sector who should be receiving the salary premium in return for the greater employment instability those workers face, but that point is moot as I can't imagine the American taxpayer not being forced to subsidize the entitlements of public sector union members for decades to come.
posted by BigSky at 10:10 AM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


So the solution is to completely excise the ability for unions to negotiate? I call bullshit.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:41 AM on June 6, 2012


I am told - repeatedly - that there is no alternative to the two-party system.

I'm pretty sure you are told - repeatedly - that electoral reform is a superior alternative to the two-party system. Plenty of countries have electoral systems that support myriad parties and enjoy wider, more centered overton windows. (I acknowledge that reform in the USA is extremely difficult, if not outright impossible under present conditions, and that the rest of your point stands, but this bordered on claiming there is no alternative to the failed US system)
posted by -harlequin- at 11:24 AM on June 6, 2012


So the solution is to completely excise the ability for unions to negotiate? I call bullshit.

Me, too. When it comes to basic human rights, I don't think we should play budgeting or political games. If we simply can't afford to have/exercise basic rights such as the unqualified right to organize trade and labor unions in the US, then this is not the nation of the American revolution anymore, but simply another tired old style oligarchy (no matter how well-dressed up to look vaguely democratic) doomed to quickly fade into historical insignificance. Count on it.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:27 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure you are told - repeatedly - that electoral reform is a superior alternative to the two-party system.

And I'm pretty sure folks reply, repeatedly, that the two parties aren't going to agree to destroy themselves.

The two party system is a truly asinine monstrosity. Look at this shit.

Romney: I inherited a bad economic situation, so don't count my first year in office, but you should count it for Obama.

Obama: I inherited a bad economic situation, so don't count my first year in office, but you should count it for Romney


Neither side gives a shit about the truth. We can't sustain this kind of government.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:29 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


"A retirement benefit is available to vested WRS employees after you terminate employment and have reached age 55 (50 for participants with some protective category service). Retirement benefits are based on both employee and employer contributions, and are usually paid as a monthly annuity payable to you for life."

The this read to me implies that, if you terminate employment before age of 55 (or 50 in some cases) all of the employer contributions are returned. Essentially, you're not vesting in the plan until you hit 55. If you leave state employment before that, you're only entitled to get your own contributions back (in the form of a rollover to an IRA or it gets taxed I would guess).

Is that right?
posted by VTX at 11:30 AM on June 6, 2012


"It's like a 401k where your retirement is only worth as much as you put in, plus accrued interest."

I'm confused. Right before this line, you quoted the following...


I don't think it should be confusing - employer contributions happen in 401k's in the private sector, just like they sometimes happen in the public sector, so 401k seems like a fair analogy.
posted by -harlequin- at 11:32 AM on June 6, 2012


Now, why is it that all of a sudden, there are reports coming out that the turnout in Wisconsin was actually quite lower than expected (reportedly only 57%)? Does that make sense to anyone who saw this thing? All the on-the-ground reports were of massive, unprecedented turnout. How did all the pundits and press get the turnout picture so wrong until now?
posted by saulgoodman at 11:33 AM on June 6, 2012


(add an extra "sometimes" to that - contributions sometimes happen in the private sector, and they sometimes happen in the public sector)
posted by -harlequin- at 11:34 AM on June 6, 2012


The controversial idea that collective bargaining for government workers is a "basic human right" is a relatively new one. The AFL-CIO used to think the idea was absurd. And don't forget what the notorious reactionary Franklin Delano Roosevelt had this to say about collective bargaining for public servants:
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:39 AM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


correction: "what the notorious reactionary Franklin Delano Roosevelt had this to say about collective bargaining"
posted by BobbyVan at 11:40 AM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think it should be legal for private businesses to negotiate contracts with the government. Anyone the government appoints to handle the negotiations are restricted by laws on behalf of the whole people.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:45 AM on June 6, 2012


The controversial idea that collective bargaining for government workers is a "basic human right" is a relatively new one.

No it's not. The Catholic Church has held labor organization to be a basic human right going back most of its history (one cite [.pdf], and another).

What should be controversial is how willingly Republican politicians sell out basic human liberties just to get more leverage at the polls. It's all motivated by their desire to hold permanent ruling political majorities, because they have no good faith in our system and the spirit of our democratic enterprise, and because they'd rather just control the process than let it run its course in the best interest of the public if that means losing a single dime that might otherwise be captured in ROI.

Bah.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:11 PM on June 6, 2012


If it's a basic human right, it doesn't disappear just because it might create budgeting challenges. Public worker labor unions are more important as one of the front-line, constitutionally protected checks on government power than they are as a budget balancing lever anyway. The fact that all these so-called "Freedom Lovers" on the right can't see that is just another sad testimony to how corrupted by popular indifference, mindless team-boosterism, and deliberate misinformation our entire political culture has become.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:16 PM on June 6, 2012


All the on-the-ground reports were of massive, unprecedented turnout.

I only really heard that for parts of Madison and Milwaukee. The rest of the state likely dragged the numbers down. I can't understand why. Someone said the weather was "too nice" but I have no idea what that means.
posted by desjardins at 12:31 PM on June 6, 2012


The controversial idea that collective bargaining for government workers is a "basic human right" is a relatively new one.

This is an important point. The left is continually imagining new and improved, fundamental human rights. The rhetoric of "rights" has been a powerful tool in pushing their agenda for decades. These notions have now entered the mainstream. You can hear adults, in all seriousness, talk about a "right to education", or a "right to healthcare", or a "right to housing". I wouldn't be surprised if feminists eventually manage to have a "right to childcare" debated, and perhaps legislated. The chutzpah shown by liberals in taking these positions and also using the word "entitled" with the frequency that they do, is astounding.

Collective bargaining as a civil right is even more difficult to swallow than a "right to transportation". Two parties, an employer and a potential employee, want to enter into a voluntary agreement. A mob wishing to force the employer to do business with themselves, and limit his private business decisions, justify their impositions with some ill-fitting cliches about rights. A "collective right", whatever that might mean.

It isn't controversial. A parody is what it is.

-----

I don't think it should be confusing - employer contributions happen in 401k's in the private sector, just like they sometimes happen in the public sector, so 401k seems like a fair analogy.

I call it confusing because of the context. The poster is claiming that the retirement of Wisconsin state employees is self funded, "retirement is only worth". That is not the case.

-----

No it's not. The Catholic Church has held labor organization to be a basic human right going back most of its history (one cite [.pdf], and another).

WTF?

I'm pretty sure the Catholic Church goes back considerably further than 1891, which is the earliest date I saw in either of those sources. And there was nothing about recognizing a "right to collectively bargain" in 1891, only some weaselly language that "The corpus of ideals that constituted Catholic social thought originated from several sources. These principles were represented in major encyclicals such as Rerum Novarum (Leo XIII 1891) and Quadragesimo Anno (Pius XI 1931)." with the insinuation being that of course these encyclicals recognized collective bargaining. Perhaps they did, but if so why not say it directly? And Catholic recognition would prove nothing except a historical record of a mistake.

The other source claims this right is present in 2000 years of tradition, but the citation is for an interpretation published in 2004.

Still, not bad. This, "Are you guilty of mortal sin because of your actions against labor unions?" is good for a chuckle.
posted by BigSky at 12:34 PM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


ironmouth: Official gutting of private unions? That was done by the gutting of high-priced manual labor through economic forces. We lost steel and auto production, and many other heavy industries which formed the backbone of the labor movement. The jobs that remained were either non-union by pay, or crap and hard to organize because of an unstable labor force.

This is so far from reality that I don't know where to begin. How did we lose those industries? Go back and look at HOW American politicians from both parties gave incentives to companies who didn't reinvest in technologies that would have kept those industries at home. Dig deeper, and you'll find a two-party collusion that has always favored big money at the expense of labor.

And the Democrats have presided over it? Exactly how? Two years ago they tried to get elections on showings of cards only. That would have been the biggest cherry yet.

Seriously have you ever negotiated a private labor union contract? I have. Every actually practiced before the NLRB? I have. Know the Act damn well and the regs damn well? Ever actually organized a bargaining unit and won a vote? I have.


What does that have to do with anything? I'm not talking about the corrupt higher-up union bosses who amped up their members over ever-higher wages, while those same union bosses took home huge money and power. Who got left behind? The workers! This is one of the great ironies of the labor movement.

Labor has been fucked from the top for many decades. Screwed by big money; screwed by both parties; screwed by their own leadership. That's a whole other thread.

Obama is just another in a long line of patsies for wealthy donors, who among other things simple love the idea of inexpensive H1-B, B-1, and L-1 visas, among other insults, and use Obama's "likeable" rhetoric to calm people down as they watch their lives wash away to "new developments" and "structural problems".
posted by Vibrissae at 12:42 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The left is continually imagining new and improved, fundamental human rights.

It's a good strategy, your message that we should allow our fellow countrymen to die of treatable disease, alone and uneducated while living on the streets because they can't travel to a job is not particularly inspiring.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:43 PM on June 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


saulgoodman, I think there's a pretty clear line between private sector unions and unions for government employees. In the former case, a real negotiaton takes place because interests are opposed. In the latter, opportunities for collusion are ripe, and the taxpaying public pays the price.

In the private sector, executives seek to maximize the return for their owners or shareholders; union leaders seek to maximize pay and benefits for their membership.

With respect to public sector unions, the interests often align -- putting taxpayers at risk. If a union is negotiating with politicians that depend on the union for their political support, what incentive is there -- within the context of collective bargaining -- for the politician to protect taxpayer funds to the maximum extent possible?
posted by BobbyVan at 12:46 PM on June 6, 2012


With respect to public sector unions, the interests often align -- putting taxpayers at risk. If a union is negotiating with politicians that depend on the union for their political support, what incentive is there -- within the context of collective bargaining -- for the politician to protect taxpayer funds to the maximum extent possible?

You also oppose government paying private contractors for services, right? Ripe opportunities for collusion?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:49 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a pretty complicated procurement process for the federal government that seeks -- in theory -- to protect public moneys to the maximum extent possible. Obviously you'll find plenty of examples where that process has been distorted, abused or ignored, but it's there for a very important reason.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:51 PM on June 6, 2012


A group of capital owners gets together and forms a corporation that negotiates on behalf of said owners. This is good, the backbone of American greatness.

A group of employees gets together to form a union that negotiates on behalf of said employees. This is bad, a "mob", communism, etc.
posted by dirigibleman at 12:57 PM on June 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


There's a pretty complicated procurement process for the federal government that seeks -- in theory -- to protect public moneys to the maximum extent possible. Obviously you'll find plenty of examples where that process has been distorted, abused or ignored, but it's there for a very important reason.

Ahh, so the correct solution for the unions is to create such a system, not to make it illegal for them to negotiate.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:57 PM on June 6, 2012


Here's a good analysis of the situation via Doug Henwood.

"Suppose instead that the unions had supported a popular campaign—media, door knocking, phone calling—to agitate, educate, and organize on the importance of the labor movement to the maintenance of living standards? If they’d made an argument, broadly and repeatedly, that Walker’s agenda was an attack on the wages and benefits of the majority of the population? That it was designed to remove organized opposition to the power of right-wing money in politics? That would have been more fruitful than this major defeat."
posted by nikoniko at 1:00 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


But furiousxgeorge, the whole point of the procurement system is to introduce competition into the bidding process. Collective bargaining is all about removing competition... That's fine in the private sector when it's assumed that business owners will be incentivized to maximize their returns (and same for the union leaders), but it's very different when you're talking about government workers negotiating directly, collectively, with politicians for a share of the public treasury.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:03 PM on June 6, 2012


This is so far from reality that I don't know where to begin. How did we lose those industries? Go back and look at HOW American politicians from both parties gave incentives to companies who didn't reinvest in technologies that would have kept those industries at home. Dig deeper, and you'll find a two-party collusion that has always favored big money at the expense of labor.

Citation needed. Especially of the Democratic party as a whole as opposed to a select group of people that you choose to paint the whole party with.

What does that have to do with anything? I'm not talking about the corrupt higher-up union bosses who amped up their members over ever-higher wages, while those same union bosses took home huge money and power. Who got left behind? The workers! This is one of the great ironies of the labor movement.

Labor has been fucked from the top for many decades. Screwed by big money; screwed by both parties; screwed by their own leadership. That's a whole other thread.


LOLWUT.

No, really. The vast majority of union actions, especially at the political level, have been about retaining wages and fighting against erosion of worker's rights. You haven't produced so much as a link to support any of this, let alone enough data for an entire thread.

Obama is just another in a long line of patsies for wealthy donors, who among other things simple love the idea of inexpensive H1-B, B-1, and L-1 visas, among other insults, and use Obama's "likeable" rhetoric to calm people down as they watch their lives wash away to "new developments" and "structural problems".

Again, cites needed. As far as I can tell, the only raise in the caps of those types of visas by Democrats was in 1998 (with none at all since 2004) and that if anything, Obama has been criticized for denying more of them than previous administrations.

posted by zombieflanders at 1:12 PM on June 6, 2012


But furiousxgeorge, the whole point of the procurement system is to introduce competition into the bidding process.

You really think there is less chance of collusion and raiding the public treasury when two defense contractors compete for a contract for a jet compared to school teachers asking to maintain good salary and benefits?

How about the $140 billion yearly in no-bid Pentagon contracts?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:16 PM on June 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


BobbyVan: "In the private sector, executives seek to maximize the return for their owners or shareholders; union leaders seek to maximize pay and benefits for their membership."

lolwut? You mean executives seek to maximize their compensation to the detriment of shareholders and the taxpayers who subsidize large parts of their compensation package. The other thing they seek to maximize is direct government subsidy for building factories, employing people, or whatever.
posted by wierdo at 1:24 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think collusion is a risk in both situations. But thankfully we have a process that can be improved for Pentagon contracting (and a bipartisan consensus for doing so... too bad the Obama Administration hasn't lived up to that pledge, but hey, you'll have a choice in November).
posted by BobbyVan at 1:24 PM on June 6, 2012


I think collusion is a risk in both situations.

I asked which is the bigger risk, that a group of public sector schoolteachers will raid the treasury to enrich themselves unfairly or that private sector defense contractors will.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:43 PM on June 6, 2012


furiousxgeorge, what are your thoughts on allowing collective bargaining by public sector unions on all topics, but forbidding them to make any political campaign contributions whatsoever?

It seems like that would preserve the labor rights that you want and would limit the opportunity for collusion that scares BobbyVan and other conservatives.
posted by Aizkolari at 1:54 PM on June 6, 2012


I realize that what I proposed would require overturning Citizen's United but it's just a thought.
posted by Aizkolari at 1:55 PM on June 6, 2012


furiousxgeorge, I would say that the former is the greater risk. Collusion in defense contracting is illegal, and the fix is relatively easy. Determining benefits for public workers via collective bargaining is much more ripe for collusion, and poses an exponentially larger risk to state and local governments.

There is an estimated $2-3 trillion in unfunded public pension liabilities and over $600 billion in unfunded health benefit liabilities for the states to contend with.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:04 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Public worker labor unions are more important as one of the front-line, constitutionally protected checks on government power than they are as a budget balancing lever anyway.

right...that's why the prison officer's union in California has supported a decades-long expansion of the prison industrial complex, 3 strikes etc. Checks on government power my ass.

I'm not talking about the corrupt higher-up union bosses who amped up their members over ever-higher wages, while those same union bosses took home huge money and power. Who got left behind? The workers! This is one of the great ironies of the labor movement.

Well, maybe unions need to get their own house in order, then. If they can't rid themselves of internal corruption or inequity, why should the costs be passed onto the public?

A group of capital owners gets together and forms a corporation that negotiates on behalf of said owners. This is good, the backbone of American greatness.
A group of employees gets together to form a union that negotiates on behalf of said employees. This is bad, a "mob", communism, etc.


The difference being that if you're not happy with the goods or services on offer from a corporation, you can just take your business elsewhere without worrying about strikes, blockades, etc.

It's also worth considering the outcome of some city level ballot propositions in California, where the electorate has voted to place limits on public sector pensions. I support a strong public sector, but I don't think you can sensibly embed a private interest directly within it, which is why I too agree with the argument made by FDR.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:10 PM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's a good strategy, your message that we should allow our fellow countrymen to die of treatable disease, alone and uneducated while living on the streets because they can't travel to a job is not particularly inspiring.

We conceive of rights as relating to something essential in man, they apply to all people at all times. No matter what the cultural context, if someone has been denied of their life or liberty it makes sense to talk of them having been denied their rights. On the other hand, saying an 18th century Mohawk was denied their right to transportation, or a 13th century Mongol was denied their right to education, or a Hmong tribesman from the turn of the century was denied their right to housing, are on their face, ludicrous. These are services we may choose to provide, or not. By framing them as rights, the left attempts to prevent the discussion, or failing that, create an unanswerable objection.

-----

A group of capital owners gets together and forms a corporation that negotiates on behalf of said owners. This is good, the backbone of American greatness.

A group of employees gets together to form a union that negotiates on behalf of said employees. This is bad, a "mob", communism, etc.


Not the same thing. Prospective workers can negotiate with the owner's group or seek employment with a different corporation (and this is making the unlikely assumption for the sake of argument, that they must negotiate with a corporation instead of doing something else). The owner's group can not refuse to bargain with the union. And this, most of all, is why collective bargaining is not a right. They have the right to gather and form unions, but there is no right to impose your presence on someone else.
posted by BigSky at 2:14 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is so far from reality that I don't know where to begin. How did we lose those industries? Go back and look at HOW American politicians from both parties gave incentives to companies who didn't reinvest in technologies that would have kept those industries at home. Dig deeper, and you'll find a two-party collusion that has always favored big money at the expense of labor.

Really? Because I remember the eighties. We hemmoraged jobs to countries who rebuilt their industrial plant when we bombed it out and then staffed it with workers making 65% of what we did. Like Japan. And now the same thing is happening to them vis a vis China. They will then lose those same jobs to some other country with even lower wages. The idea that somehow things will remain eternally static forever might be a nice thing to believe, but it ain't true.

Everybody today wants to make it about some big conspiracy, with the wire-pullers running it all. Wrong. Human society has always been a chaotic mass of forces, and the decisions of politicians reactions to the moment, not gigantic schemes. In fact, even the totalitarian dreamers floated over chaos and were as directed by the moments The rest of us.

This idea that our politicians are supposed to be executing perfectly and if they aren't they're chumps or worse is the result of terrible schools and too much TV. The problem is the real danger of expecting perfection gives room to the Boulangers on their white horses with their promises of order and a freeing from the hard responsibility and imperfect execution of representative politics.

It's time to acknowledge how hard political change is and how much sustained effort it takes and our deep responsibility to not panic and to regard ourselves and continue to work.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:14 PM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


BobbyVan, the existence of those unfunded liabilities does not necessarily mean that they're caused by unfair negotiations by unions. At least some of the blame must fall on the politicians and fund managers who made criminally stupid assumptions about the future value of investments, or who raided those fund to fund other projects or tax breaks.
posted by Aizkolari at 2:17 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not talking about the corrupt higher-up union bosses who amped up their members over ever-higher wages, while those same union bosses took home huge money and power. Who got left behind? The workers! This is one of the great ironies of the labor movement.

The labor movement is corrupt? Huh? I've been involved in it for almost nine years now. This isn't the Fifties on the docks. The Mob is long gone. What corruption are you talking about? Are you even associated with the labor movement or even in a union?

What corruption, cited, do you know of?
posted by Ironmouth at 2:18 PM on June 6, 2012


There is an estimated $2-3 trillion in unfunded public pension liabilities and over $600 billion in unfunded health benefit liabilities

We are spending $1.4 trillion in one year alone on the military. The bi-partisan solution you linked me to is $40 billion a year in savings. Great easy "solution" you have there. This is an organization that lost pallets of cash in Iraq.

The military-industrial complex is the far bigger threat to our nation than schoolteachers wanting to maintain decent wages and the contractors wield far more political power and lobbyist influence in Washington that corrupts the process. You are living in a fantasy world if you think otherwise.

It wasn't the schoolteachers who just spent 8 to 1 to help their candidate win.

We conceive of rights as relating to something essential in man

For man to live in modern society it is essential that he has healthcare, shelter, education, and the ability to travel to a job. Those people you mention in the past were denied those things, and had a habit of dying over it!

Prospective workers can negotiate with the owner's group or seek employment with a different corporation (and this is making the unlikely assumption for the sake of argument, that they must negotiate with a corporation instead of doing something else).

Or maybe their family starves while they look for new work because the corporations decided they won't negotiate. Unions balance out an imbalance of power, they don't create one.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:21 PM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


BobbyVan, the existence of those unfunded liabilities does not necessarily mean that they're caused by unfair negotiations by unions. At least some of the blame must fall on the politicians and fund managers who made criminally stupid assumptions about the future value of investments, or who raided those fund to fund other projects or tax breaks.

It's the cheap ass electorate who wants superior government services, a super military, for less in taxes than before. Salaries are a very small portion of government outlays. They are the easiest to target, however.

Again the largest government, the federal government has almost no wage negotiations.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:25 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge, you're conflating federal spending w/ state and local spending. If states still had their militias, maybe the comparison would be a fair one. But as it stands, your argument is notable for its rhetorical appeal, not its logical consistency.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:25 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, that might have been a little harsh.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:30 PM on June 6, 2012


furiousxgeorge, you're conflating federal spending w/ state and local spending. If states still had their militias, maybe the comparison would be a fair one. But as it stands, your argument is notable for its rhetorical appeal, not its logical consistency.

I am not conflating anything, we are discussing the relative risks to the country of the collusion filled spending on military contractors and on public servants. This is by definition a discussion that will discuss both federal and state spending.

If $2-3 trillion of state spending over decades is a risk to the nation, so is the tens of trillions in military spending over those same decades. At the federal or state level, the money is still coming from the same taxpayers for your $2-3 trillion that took every state into account.

And yet, I'm not hearing any calls to strip the contractors of their legal right to negotiate even though we are talking about a much larger amount of out of control spending. $40 billion is not going to get the job done!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:34 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The labor movement is corrupt? Huh? I've been involved in it for almost nine years now. This isn't the Fifties on the docks. The Mob is long gone. What corruption are you talking about? Are you even associated with the labor movement or even in a union?

I don't know who or what those comments allude to, myself.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:34 PM on June 6, 2012


If you want to bring in national defense spending, the fair comparison is to compare that to Medicare, Medicaid & Social Security spending... not defense contractors vs. school teachers.

We have a federal system, and states need to balance their own budgets. $3 trillion may not seem like an insurmountable mountain of spending when compared to the federal budget, but it's a lot of money to state governments.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:38 PM on June 6, 2012


$3 trillion may not seem like an insurmountable mountain of spending when compared to the federal budget, but it's a lot of money to state governments.

Which state has the $3 trillion bill? You aren't conflating them all together, are you?

Medicare, Medicaid & Social Security spending... not defense contractors vs. school teachers.

Well sure, it's more reasonable comparison in that comparing defense contractor spending to school teacher spending makes it obvious which one is destroying our country and which one isn't, but that was kind of my point.

If you want to talk about that though, we can do that too. Why do you think it was that we weren't able to pass a bill to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices? Could it be that the private drug companies worked together to wield their influence to achieve a more favorable result for themselves? That competition and the free market aren't what decides federal contracts? That this might be by orders of magnitude a much bigger problem than middle class salaries for teachers and firemen?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:48 PM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you want to bring in national defense spending, the fair comparison is to compare that to Medicare, Medicaid & Social Security spending

Oh my god, we're spending more money on the common good of our own citizens instead of killing the citizens of other countries. The horror!
posted by zombieflanders at 2:49 PM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well sure, it's more reasonable comparison in that comparing defense contractor spending to school teacher spending makes it obvious which one is destroying our country and which one isn't, but that was kind of my point.

I thought we were talking about individual states and their looming pension/benefit liabilities. Not sure how we ended up debating no-bid contracts at the federal level, but it's a derail if I ever saw one.

If you want to talk about that though, we can do that too. Why do you think it was that we weren't able to pass a bill to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices? Could it be that the private drug companies worked together to wield their influence to achieve a more favorable result for themselves? That competition and the free market aren't what decides federal contracts? That this might be by orders of magnitude a much bigger problem than middle class salaries for teachers and firemen?

Why not discuss climate change while we're at it?
posted by BobbyVan at 2:59 PM on June 6, 2012


I think you are aware of what we are discussing, BV, the idea that public sector unions being allowed to negotiate is such a danger to the taxpayers that it should be eliminated because of the danger of collusion and out of control spending.

If you can't adequately explain why you don't think the same measures should be taken to handle the far more massive spending problems private companies create for the taxpayers with their huge budgets to corrupt the process it seems like you may be making more of an ideological objection to unions than a practical one.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:08 PM on June 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


I thought we were talking about individual states and their looming pension/benefit liabilities. Not sure how we ended up debating no-bid contracts at the federal level, but it's a derail if I ever saw one.

Neither of the links you provided were about individual states, and the figures you provided were the results of putting all the state liabilities into one pot. And FWIW, the no-bid contracts conversation came beforehand.

Why not discuss climate change while we're at it?

So you post something about Medicare, and when people want to debate what you posted about Medicare, you accuse them of derailing? WTF.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:09 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


So you post something about Medicare, and when people want to debate what you posted about Medicare, you accuse them of derailing? WTF.

Only after defense spending was put on the table.

I'm taking a break from the thread... adios amigos.
posted by BobbyVan at 3:30 PM on June 6, 2012


In Chicago private interests gained the exclusive right to control parking meters in the city.

Bloomberg: Chicago drivers will pay a Morgan Stanley-led partnership at least $11.6 billion to park at city meters over the next 75 years, 10 times what Mayor Richard Daley got when he leased the system to investors in 2008.

This does not seem like a good deal for the taxpayers. If Morgan Stanley was a union, should the Chicago deal have been prevented? If not, why is it wrong for the teacher's union to have an exclusive contract to teach in public schools? If the teachers reformed as meter maids, would they be allowed to pursue exclusive rights then?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:31 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


After ~70% approval by voters, San Jose's pension reform measures head to court.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:37 PM on June 6, 2012


At least some of the blame must fall on the politicians and fund managers who made criminally stupid assumptions about the future value of investments

And I'll give you one guess as to the people that are the ones resisting changing those same criminally stupid assumptions.
posted by gyc at 3:48 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The left is continually imagining new and improved, fundamental human rights. The rhetoric of "rights" has been a powerful tool in pushing their agenda for decades. These notions have now entered the mainstream. You can hear adults, in all seriousness, talk about a "right to education", or a "right to healthcare", or a "right to housing"...Collective bargaining as a civil right is even more difficult to swallow than a "right to transportation".

FWIW, the rights to education, healthcare, and housing weren't just made up by the left willy-nilly on whims. They're all recognized under international law since the 1970s - law ratified by the vast majority of countries in the world (not, of course, the U.S.). You're welcome to disagree with it, to believe the U.S. shouldn't ever ratify the treaty, to argue against the entire notion of international law, but there's a perfectly valid basis for rational adults to talk about these issues as rights. Meanwhile, the right to form trade unions is not only covered by that treaty, but also by this one (which the U.S. has ratified).
posted by naoko at 3:49 PM on June 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


I don't fucking believe it, after everything I have read on here about this idiot Walker and his cronies, they still voted for him.

Well done Wisconsin. Now you will see what how nasty these people are. You will get what you votes for.
posted by marienbad at 4:24 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bloomberg: Chicago drivers will pay a Morgan Stanley-led partnership at least $11.6 billion to park at city meters over the next 75 years, 10 times what Mayor Richard Daley got when he leased the system to investors in 2008.

This does not seem like a good deal for the taxpayers.


That's debateable. The $1.1billion that the city got was calculated based on the Net Present Value of the lease. This is the standard by-the-book accounting calculation for calculating the current value of a long-term lease. Chicago got $1.1 billion in cash; the lessees will make a lot more but it will take them 3/4 of a century to get it. Because of inflation, $1 billion in the year 2083 is going to be worth a hell of a lot less than $1 billion today. That's what NPV calculates; it's the same calculation that causes the lump sum payout on the lottery to seem so much lower than the amount paid over 25 years, although they are functionally identical, or why the mortgage payments over 30 years amount to more than the cash you borrowed because over 30 years you have to factor in both inflation and opportunity cost.

Try using an inflation calculcator; a billion dollars in 1908, adjusted for inflation over a 75 year period, would have been equivalent to a bit over $11 billion in 1983.

Suppose Morgan Stanley finds itself short of cash and sells the meter lease to Somebody Else. You know how much they'll get for it? About the same as what they paid, because the buyer is also going to apply NPV. You seem to think that they're $10 billion better off as a result of a crooked deal. They're not. They'll be $10 billion better off in 71 years time - but each dollar will only have about 10% of the spending power that it does today. While Chicago won't see any of that money directly, nor will it have had to spend money on meter maintenance and infrastructure. I'm not really in favor of such long-term leases, but this nowhere near the ripoff you seem to think it is. In fact, it's a pretty decent deal: the city gets ready cash, the bank gets an unspectacular but very safe investment.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:52 PM on June 6, 2012


"I don't fucking believe it" - That's what you get for believing what you read on Metafilter.
posted by Ardiril at 5:06 PM on June 6, 2012


It's a bad deal because it traded a century worth of more expensive parking (for private profits) for a short term cash infusion that did not solve the budget crisis. It was done to avoid cutting taxes or services, but they are still going to have to be cut.

Additionally, “In effect, the city has sold its right to control its own streets,” Del Valle said. “Under this agreement, the city can’t put in bike lanes, create express bus lanes, or take other actions that might encourage the use of public transportation or provide cleaner and healthier air, without paying the investment company money that we as a city don’t possess.”

But anyway, the question remains, shall we offer a similar long term deal to the teachers to do their jobs, or would the payments owed in 50 years suddenly be "unfunded liabilities" instead of a good deal all around?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:40 PM on June 6, 2012


Oops, link.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:44 PM on June 6, 2012


It's a bad deal because it traded a century worth of more expensive parking (for private profits) for a short term cash infusion that did not solve the budget crisis.

But what difference is there between paying more to the city and to a private company? I have shown that far from delivering a windfall of private profit, the deal is actually neutral once you take inflation into account. The lessee is fronting the money, and cash in hand is cheaper for the city (and its residents) than floating a bond for the same amount.

It was done to avoid cutting taxes or services, but they are still going to have to be cut.

But obviously it meant $1.1 billion less in other cuts or new taxes.

Additionally, “In effect, the city has sold its right to control its own streets,” Del Valle said. “Under this agreement, the city can’t put in bike lanes, create express bus lanes, or take other actions that might encourage the use of public transportation or provide cleaner and healthier air, without paying the investment company money that we as a city don’t possess.”

I don't think a political challenger is an objective commentator. Here is a more detailed explanation of how the contract works; the city retains ownership of the street and can do what it likes, but has to provide the same number of parking spaces or make up the difference to the lessee. On the other hand, the lessee takes on the financial risks (if widespread individual vehicle ownership goes into long-term decline, for example, and fewer of the parking spaces generate revenue). And here is a detailed explanation of how the lease contract was valued. My main problem with the deal is the length of the lease, but the actual terms seem eminently fair.
posted by anigbrowl at 6:40 PM on June 6, 2012


Scott Walker hates honest, hard-working civil servants. Scott Walker is a hero to honest, hard-working taxpayers. Scott Walker is just another example of divisive political theater that keeps us distracted from the reality that democracy is dead in the US.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:50 PM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


But what difference is there between paying more to the city and to a private company?

Private companies aren't worried about votes. We have already seen the price go up, so your faith in your knowledge of the long term costs to the taxpayers is bizarre.

This is how it always works with long term funding issues, tomorrow someone will fuck up your projections and you need to fix it again. See what happened to the last federal surplus.

But obviously it meant $1.1 billion less in other cuts or new taxes.

Government money management doesn't work that way in the long term. Some idiot will want tax cuts and you will end up in the same hole with less options to get out of it, you can't depend on the new taxes actually happening. What we do know is the option to make up any minor differences with parking money will no longer be an option because that money was already spent without solving any long term issues.

You are still dancing around the point though. Good deal or bad deal, the question is why is it a catastrophe to let an organization of teachers make a long term exclusive bargain but not Morgan Stanley?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:56 PM on June 6, 2012


Collective bargaining as a civil right is even more difficult to swallow than a "right to transportation".

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "right to transportation" but the "right to travel" has a long history in the U.S. and elsewhere, is scarcely new, and certainly wasn't invented by "the left."

An interesting Kansas Supreme Court decision from 1890 has this to say:
Public streets are highways, and every citizen has a right to use them.

Each citizen has the absolute right to choose for himself the mode of conveyance he desires, whether it be by wagon or carriage, by horse, motor or electric car, or by bicycle, or astride of a horse, subject to the sole condition that he will observe all those requirements that are known as the 'law of the road.' This right of the people to the use of the public streets of a city is so well established and so universally recognized in this country that it has become a part of the alphabet of fundamental rights of the citizen.
posted by flug at 7:19 PM on June 6, 2012 [3 favorites]



vibrissae: This is so far from reality that I don't know where to begin. How did we lose those industries? Go back and look at HOW American politicians from both parties gave incentives to companies who didn't reinvest in technologies that would have kept those industries at home. Dig deeper, and you'll find a two-party collusion that has always favored big money at the expense of labor.

zombieflanders: Citation needed. Especially of the Democratic party as a whole as opposed to a select group of people that you choose to paint the whole party with.


This is a perfect example of Democratic and Progressive political apologia; it's almost worse than the GOP apologia. I'm not going to look for a cite, because we ALL KNOW we lost steel, auto, consumer electronics, computers, textiles, etc. etc. as American business was given a green flag for decades to outsource to cheaper labor, instead of creating incentives for re-investment of new infrastructure here at home.

"Democratic Party party as a whole"? What? BOTH parties have let this happen because BOTH parties are bought by wealthy contributors, at an increasing scale since Reagan. I think we went over this in another thread. I'm not going to nitpick. BOTH parties have had control during the 25-30 run of labor union demise. Check it out



What does that have to do with anything? I'm not talking about the corrupt higher-up union bosses who amped up their members over ever-higher wages, while those same union bosses took home huge money and power. Who got left behind? The workers! This is one of the great ironies of the labor movement.

Labor has been fucked from the top for many decades. Screwed by big money; screwed by both parties; screwed by their own leadership. That's a whole other thread.


No, really. The vast majority of union actions, especially at the political level, have been about retaining wages and fighting against erosion of worker's rights. You haven't produced so much as a link to support any of this, let alone enough data for an entire thread.


Really? You mean the nonsensical and greedy demands made by corrupt union bosses in the face of decaying infrastructure? Demands that THEY knew would endear them to their membership, but that they ALSO knew was not in their membership's long-term interest? You mean union bosses kowtowing to Democratic leaders and vice-versa, as both danced the night away until the workers figured out that they've been screwed by the politicians from BOTH parties AND their union bosses? This is reality; it's on the ground. Maybe books have been written about it. I don't know. If you can't see what's going on without a cite, I don't know what else to say.

Obama is just another in a long line of patsies for wealthy donors, who among other things simple love the idea of inexpensive H1-B, B-1, and L-1 visas, among other insults, and use Obama's "likeable" rhetoric to calm people down as they watch their lives wash away to "new developments" and "structural problems".

Again, cites needed. As far as I can tell, the only raise in the caps of those types of visas by Democrats was in 1998 (with none at all since 2004) and that if anything, Obama has been criticized for denying more of them than previous administrations.

Look here. I don't know where you live, but I can GUARANTEE you that BOTH parties have let this outrage happen because I have lived in the middle of it since the mid-90's, in Silicon Valley. There are 10's of THOUSANDS of highly skilled, over-40 techies and management types right here, who are long-term unemployed. Yet, requests for immigrant work visas continues to rise.

BOTH Parties have let this happen; BOTH parties have been in power at one time or another (and prior) when this outrage was setting up; BOTH parties took "buyout" money from connected and wealthy business owners who complained that "America is devoid of the kind of talent we need"; they should have said that "America is devoid of the kind of CHEAP and OBEDIENT talent we need". Come on over to Milpitas or Cupertino or Sunnyvale and go to a few lunchtime eateries. 95% of the people are foreign nationals, imported here on H and L visas (not including the slippery student visas that are used to sneak even cheaper labor in). Abuses are rampant.

Zoe Lofgren - traitor to American labor. She's a Democrat. There are MANY more. Look, American workers have less disposable income, less bargaining power, crappier health care, less pension help, less guarantees for steady employment, etc. etc. And you want a fucking cite? The diminution of the working class; the failure to retrain American workers; the wholesale gutting of entire enterprise sectors to outsourced labor overseas; etc. ALL of this has happened under the watch of BOTH parties.

I can come up with all the cites you want, but failing that, try looking around without Democratic or liberal/progressive glasses on, believing all this is due to the evil rich and the GOP. The TRUTH is that the evil rich don't have a party preference, and the GOP isn't the only party that sells out in Washington, DC.
posted by Vibrissae at 7:31 PM on June 6, 2012


zombieflanders: "Citation needed. Especially of the Democratic party as a whole as opposed to a select group of people that you choose to paint the whole party with."

Obviously, there are a couple of exceptions, but yes, the Democrats are selling us down the river in favor of the donor class just as much as the Republicans. The main difference is that the Democrats feel bad enough about it that they throw us bones on occasion.

I don't think it's some kind of grand conspiracy or anything, but there are enough think tanks out there that it's easy to find support for an idea that may have been implanted as the result of a meeting bought by a campaign contribution or a flight out to some golf course on a private jet. It's easy to agree with your "friends."

Read Perfectly Legal and Free Lunch if you'd like specifics. Or read some of David Cay Johnston's tax.com articles (or even his newer Reuters stuff), if you'd like to get much of the information at no charge.
posted by wierdo at 7:45 PM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


But anyway, the question remains, shall we offer a similar long term deal to the teachers to do their jobs, or would the payments owed in 50 years suddenly be "unfunded liabilities" instead of a good deal all around?

No, since they can't offer results up front. Additionally, the cost of capital for the schools themselves is all borne by the government. This might seem unfair, but it's an inevitable result of government's position as monopsony purchaser.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:09 PM on June 6, 2012


No, since they can't offer results up front. Additionally, the cost of capital for the schools themselves is all borne by the government. This might seem unfair, but it's an inevitable result of government's position as monopsony purchaser.

Beautiful. The only way one can be allowed to negotiate a contract with the government, so as to be free of the collusion and corruption often involved, is to be an organization able to pay billions of dollars to the government up front. Because in no way will that encourage a politician to make an unwise short term decision at the expense of future leaders.

So let's say public school teachers DID have a billion dollars on hand to prove their honesty, could we THEN let them negotiate contracts?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:18 PM on June 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Private companies aren't worried about votes. We have already seen the price go up, so your faith in your knowledge of the long term costs to the taxpayers is bizarre.

Have you read the contract? It provides for an initial price and subsequent increases indexed to inflation. Arguably, the meter system was terribly underpriced; until 2005, 75% of parking meters had stayed the same since the 1980s, at 25 cents per hour, and only $1.50 per hour in the loop.

Government money management doesn't work that way in the long term. Some idiot will want tax cuts and you will end up in the same hole with less options to get out of it, you can't depend on the new taxes actually happening. What we do know is the option to make up any minor differences with parking money will no longer be an option because that money was already spent without solving any long term issues.

Well, maybe the city of Chicago should have managed its resources better over the previous 2 or 3 decades, and or managed the $1.1 billion it got for the lease better (my understanding is that most of it went to pay off existing debt, though that's arguably preferable to paying more interest if you previously borrowed at too high a rate). Either way, that's not the fault of the people who paid fair value for the lease of the parking meters. An 8.25% discount rate seems quite reasonable for the term and sums involved.

You are still dancing around the point though. Good deal or bad deal, the question is why is it a catastrophe to let an organization of teachers make a long term exclusive bargain but not Morgan Stanley?

I'm not dancing around it, I just overlooked it because I had to go cook dinner. the simple answer is that Morgan Stanley (or rather the company it owned) had a billion in cash to provide and was prepared to recover it over a long period. An organization of teachers can't guarantee educational outcomes up front. If they (the teachers' union) were offering to take over all the administration and maintenance of the schools as well, and commit to maintaining a certain graduation rate & level of academic performance, it might make sense.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:35 PM on June 6, 2012


Beautiful. The only way one can be allowed to negotiate a contract with the government, so as to be free of the collusion and corruption often involved, is to be an organization able to pay billions of dollars to the government up front.

All contracts involve a bilateral exchange. You wouldn't take out a 30 year mortgage if the bank wasn't offering you a chunk of money up front, would you? I'm not clear on what benefit the teachers' unions are providing over and above that available by hiring the teachers as individuals.

So let's say public school teachers DID have a billion dollars on hand to prove their honesty, could we THEN let them negotiate contracts?

You don't understand the economic concepts at work here. A bank needs to be able to offer liquidity, so you contract with a bank because they can provide money up front and absorb long-term risk. We hire educators to provide, well, education. As I said above, that can't easily be guaranteed in advance; but if the NEA or AFT were willing to commit to a fixed relationship between pay and results, or take on the task of administering the school system and do so more efficiently than the school district, that would be worth considering. This is essentially what charter schools are doing, on a smaller scale.
posted by anigbrowl at 8:56 PM on June 6, 2012


Well, maybe the city of Chicago should have managed its resources better over the previous 2 or 3 decades

Maybe the states should have managed their resources better so they could meet their contracts with the teachers? I thought the solution to bad contracts was to ban negotiations?

When Chicago doesn't like having no parking revenue anymore, are they going to do the same thing that is being done to the unions? Pass a change, prevent the private company from negotiating on it? Or what if the private company uses it's influence to negotiate for more price hikes?

You don't understand the economic concepts at work here. A bank

I thought we were talking about public education? A bank doesn't have taxpayers and parking meters. Oh, wait, right.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:03 PM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


George, stop putting words in my mouth and cutting my sentences up in order to make your case. It's dishonest and I have flagged you.
posted by anigbrowl at 10:05 PM on June 6, 2012


anigbrowl: [...]I had to go cook dinner.

Genuine question: what did you have for dinner? Thanks. I have no ulterior motive, just simple curiosity. A bit OT, but hopefully I'll be forgiven in an almost 500 post thread.
posted by VikingSword at 10:14 PM on June 6, 2012


What I've learned from the right wing in this thread is that we as ordinary Americans simply have too high a standard of living.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:16 PM on June 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


George, stop putting words in my mouth

Oh, that's rich. There are question marks after my sentences for a reason, I don't debate using your dishonest tactics.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:33 PM on June 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here, I have an idea. If the Teachers Union needs a billion dollars to buy the contract to be local schoolteachers from the city government, why don't they just take a billion in loans from the federal government?

I mean, the parking meter guys got federal money.

Morgan Stanley Speculating to Brink of Collapse Got $107 Billion From Fed
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:42 PM on June 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


The labor movement is corrupt? Huh? I've been involved in it for almost nine years now. This isn't the Fifties on the docks. The Mob is long gone. What corruption are you talking about? Are you even associated with the labor movement or even in a union?


I believe the word you are looking for is piecard.

That said, you sure this isn't the Fifties on the docks?
posted by corb at 12:09 PM on June 7, 2012


Genuine question: what did you have for dinner? Thanks. I have no ulterior motive, just simple curiosity. A bit OT, but hopefully I'll be forgiven in an almost 500 post thread.

Grilled pork steaks with vegetables. Get a boneless whole pork loin at the supermarket when they're on sale for about $25; that's about 3 feet of meat (er...) which you can slice up and get 20 pork steaks plus two roastable end joints, all of which freeze well.

Defrost 2 slices the day before. Light your grill, and while it's heating up dice 3 potatoes and half an onion, slice up zucchini and 2 carrots, lay on a sheet of aluminum foil and drench with olive oil. Fold up the foil and close the edges to make a small packet. Put the vegetable packet on the grill, trim the fat from the pork steaks and cook them for around 10 minutes on a side or until they start to sweat. If in doubt, employ a meat thermometer and ensure the internal temperature is higher than 170F. With pork, it's better to overcook slightly than to risk food poisoning. If you prefer your meat more juicy than crispy, parboil first or sweat them inside foil and transfer to the open flame for the last 5 minutes. If you have no grill or the weather is bad, sear over high heat in a ridged grillpan, using a wire mesh screen to avoid oil splashes.

30 minutes from now I will be setting a 6 hour curry in motion. Also baking bread. I cook all the damn time, so if you visit the Bay Area I will feed you lots of hearty food, nom nom.

posted by anigbrowl at 12:43 PM on June 7, 2012


Oh, that's rich. There are question marks after my sentences for a reason, I don't debate using your dishonest tactics.

I'm not the one cutting your sentences in half so that they don't make sense any more.

Here, I have an idea. If the Teachers Union needs a billion dollars to buy the contract to be local schoolteachers from the city government, why don't they just take a billion in loans from the federal government?

I mean, the parking meter guys got federal money. Morgan Stanley Speculating to Brink of Collapse Got $107 Billion From Fed


As I have already pointed out, what people want from teachers is education rather than liquidity. The federal money paid to Morgan Stanley was loaned, secured, and repaid in full. It should also be clear from the story you linked to that the liquidity crisis Morgan Stanley experienced was not as a result of excessive speculation which left them with bills they were unable to pay, but resulted rather from hedge fund clients withdrawing their money for essentially irrational reasons. The financing advanced for the purchase of the parking meter lease is exactly the sort of prudent long-term investment that banks ought to be in the business of making. It yields little real profit, but is a genuinely safe balance sheet asset.

It's all very well to throw large numbers around as if to imply that Morgan Stanley is taking money away from people and dumping it in a swimming pool like Scrooge McDuck, but the facts do not support this view of events. Frankly, I don't think you really understand municipal financing, because while you decry leasing out a large fixed asset at an 8.25% discount rate, you seem indifferent to the fact that the city was servicing development loans with a higher cost of capital. In other words, the amount of money Chicago gave up on the parking meters is less than the money it saved by paying off existing debts early.

You do know that cities and states raise capital by selling bonds, right? And that interest has to be paid on those bonds, and that that's where a large chunk of tax revenue goes? Would you rather Chicago kept paying out more in bond interest than it gave up in parking meter revenue, and if so, why?
posted by anigbrowl at 1:44 PM on June 7, 2012


Thanks, anigbrowl. I'm forwarding this info to my friend who likes to re-create meals; when he's done so, I'll pop on over for a tasting.
posted by VikingSword at 2:23 PM on June 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not the one cutting your sentences in half so that they don't make sense any more.

The full text of your comment is available directly above mine, nobody is confused if I selectively choose which portions I feel like responding to.

As I have already pointed out, what people want from teachers is education rather than liquidity. The federal money paid to Morgan Stanley was loaned, secured, and repaid in full.

The teachers could easily pay back over the 75 year timeframe involved since they have no interest in corporate profit. And if they did somehow end up in a state of financial ruin, well, the government could again secure loans like they did for Morgan Stanley when they faced issues from not having enough money on hand to keep their business solvent.

The financing advanced for the purchase of the parking meter lease is exactly the sort of prudent long-term investment that banks ought to be in the business of making.

Governments should be taking advantage of the public sources of revenue in their cities, first and foremost, not corporations that depend on the government for loans when they are on the brink of ruin.

All of your dancing around on parking meters is still missing the entire point, which is that good deals can be offered to unions too if you allow them to negotiate.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:54 PM on June 7, 2012


The full text of your comment is available directly above mine, nobody is confused if I selectively choose which portions I feel like responding to.

I'm confused for one, because your edits tend to alter the sense of what you're quoting.

The teachers could easily pay back over the 75 year timeframe involved since they have no interest in corporate profit.

Pay what back? I've already explained why education isn't fungible.

And if they did somehow end up in a state of financial ruin, well, the government could again secure loans like they did for Morgan Stanley when they faced issues from not having enough money on hand to keep their business solvent.

Again, you need to reread your own link. They were solvent, had an adequate capital cushion, and were the target of an essentially irrational run following the collapse of Lehman. that's why the Fed deemed them creditworthy to begin with, which view was vindicated by their full repayment of the credit facility plus interest within a short timeframe.

All of your dancing around on parking meters is still missing the entire point, which is that good deals can be offered to unions too if you allow them to negotiate.

You brought parking meters into the discussion, and have yet to justify a single one of your original complaints about the issue. Your point is irrational: teachers have been negotiating collectively for 40 years, and our public education system is still broken.
posted by anigbrowl at 3:59 PM on June 7, 2012


I'm confused for one, because your edits tend to alter the sense of what you're quoting.

You may re-read your comment if you find you don't know what you wrote in it.

The teachers could easily pay back over the 75 year timeframe involved since they have no interest in corporate profit.

Pay what back? I've already explained why education isn't fungible.


Their billion dollar loan from the government to buy the right to be trusted negotiators to be schoolteachers. Obviously they will collect the revenue that has been going to the schools and make a nice profit out of it which they can pay the loan back, and everybody will be happy.

Again, you need to reread your own link. They were solvent

Yes, they were solvent once the government propped them up with a loan. What are you confused about? Companies that have not managed to bring themselves to the brink by coming up a hundred billion dollars short don't need government loans.

You brought parking meters into the discussion, and have yet to justify a single one of your original complaints about the issue. Your point is irrational: teachers have been negotiating collectively for 40 years, and our public education system is still broken.

And private companies have been negotiating for longer than that, and they still end up soaking the public tit for defense projects that go way over budget, for example. Ban them from negotiating!

It is telling that you can only quibble with parking meter contracts and bailout terms instead of facing up to the actual point.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:47 PM on June 7, 2012


Your point is irrational: teachers have been negotiating collectively for 40 years, and our public education system is still broken.

This is stunningly obtuse. Teachers don't collectively negotiate to achieve the best possible education outcomes - workers organize and collectively negotiate for their own interests. Why would it be any other way? The responsibility of managing the education system falls on those who structure and manage it, not the employee. Blaming teachers for the failure of the education system is like blaming autoworkers for GM's mismanagement. Or like blaming doctors for the American healthcare system. People do it, sure, but it's obviously stupid.
posted by mek at 9:58 PM on June 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is stunningly obtuse. Teachers don't collectively negotiate to achieve the best possible education outcomes - workers organize and collectively negotiate for their own interests. Why would it be any other way? The responsibility of managing the education system falls on those who structure and manage it, not the employee. Blaming teachers for the failure of the education system is like blaming autoworkers for GM's mismanagement.

This is completely at odds with the long time position of the teacher's union.The AFT (American Federation of Teachers) website, hosts this article by Richard Kahlenberg, biographer of Albert Shanker, originally published in the Winter 2011-2 issue of 'American Educator'. I quote,

"As Shanker noted many years ago, restricting bargaining to the issue of wages (as many states are now trying to do) is a clever trap in which critics can suggest that teachers care only about money. Collective bargaining should be broadened, not constrained, to give teachers a voice on a range of important educational questions, from merit pay to curriculum. This could help improve the battered image of teachers' unions. But, more important, it could help students."

LOL at the sentiment - but there it is.

P.S. The autoworkers union surely deserves some of the blame for the decline of the U.S. auto industry.
posted by BigSky at 1:48 AM on June 8, 2012


Yep those fatcat union employees in Michigan reaped what they sowed.
posted by mek at 2:57 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yep those fatcat union employees in Michigan reaped what they sowed.

I heard that.
posted by BigSky at 6:12 AM on June 8, 2012


The irony of that "State of the Art" factory is that anarcho-syndicalists, AFAIK, advocate each worker learning each part of the whole process. There are to be no differences between managers and workers. Each and every worker should take part in each and every process to know how it all works together.

Unions do not necessarily *have* to be limited to specific trades like the UAW is complaining about here, that's just how the current union situation has evolved. Look at something like the IWW which is a totally different approach to how unions should work.

So while the UAW may complain about it, and we can critique their approach to this specific technological setup (and I don't know enough about it to say whether as a whole this is a good or bad approach), it's important to remember that this is just one specific Union making one specific complaint about one specific organizational approach, it should not be used to indict all acts of unions everywhere at all times.

I realize you were pointing that out in reference to the "fatcat union employees in Michigan" and not necessarily as an indictment of unions, but well... it seems like that may be the larger intent of your links, to point out how stupid all unions are in general. I may be wrong, but I think that this is an important point to make regarding different types of unions and approaches.
posted by symbioid at 9:31 AM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


So while the UAW may complain about it, and we can critique their approach to this specific technological setup (and I don't know enough about it to say whether as a whole this is a good or bad approach), it's important to remember that this is just one specific Union making one specific complaint about one specific organizational approach, it should not be used to indict all acts of unions everywhere at all times.

I realize you were pointing that out in reference to the "fatcat union employees in Michigan" and not necessarily as an indictment of unions, but well... it seems like that may be the larger intent of your links, to point out how stupid all unions are in general.


I am in sympathy with the desire for each worker to be familiar with the larger process or project. It may not be an achievable, or even reasonable goal, but it speaks well of those who share it. This distinction between the IWW and the UAW is noted. But this isn't the criticism regarding that plant not being able to operate in the U.S. It's their short sightedness that's the big problem here.

It's true, I'm not a fan of unions in general, or of collective bargaining. I think there's something to the argument that they do not help the economy, perhaps even including their own members. But yes, I was more focused on replying to specific comments and attacking the public sector unions, rather than all unions everywhere.
posted by BigSky at 11:27 AM on June 8, 2012


WI$CON$IN = Diebold:REMEMBER

Yeah, are you guys still using those Global Elections Systems Diebold Premier Election Solutions Election Systems & Software machines in Wisconsin? Given nobody involved with that fiasco has ever really been brought to justice, I can't really say I have faith that Walker will be brought down via the justice system.
posted by formless at 6:50 PM on June 8, 2012


Paper and pencil in Milwaukee.
posted by desjardins at 8:56 PM on June 8, 2012


Getting Rolled in Wisconsin: Why Electoral Politics Sold Out the Popular Uprising in the Badger State -- and Why It’s Not All Over
posted by homunculus at 12:45 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


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