Re: The Wisconsin Teacher's Union. The news is full of reports from the front lines of Madison, so I'm not about to rehash much of what has already been reported and debated in the Press. If you want to really know what's happening in Wisconsin, because the media pretty much lies or reports in a biased fashion about everything, then I suggest you go over to Ann Althouse's blog. She's doing an excellent job in telling you everything you need to know.
Some observations on this entire charade (because despite all the bullshit about Worker's Rights and the 'It's for the children...' nonsense, it is a charade);
a. On the Wisconsin state senators who fled the state to avoid having to vote on a bill that threatens their rice bowl: It seems that democrats love democracy...until they lose. Man up, put your Big Boy Pants on, and take your lumps. There was an election in Wisconsin and the People Have Spoken; they want their state to put it's books in order, and the first part of that process involves renegotiating unsustainable union contracts.
If you really consider yourself to be a Representative of the People, rather than a parasite who preys upon them, you'll go back to work. It is reprehensible that elected officials, charged with the Public Trust, can abandon their posts in a naked parliamentary maneuver designed to protect their sources of campaign cash.
I wonder if these so-called Public Servants are still being paid while on the lam? I wonder if the Governor can order their arrests for dereliction of duty?
b. At the rate we're going, a good number of those Union Slobs are about to lose their jobs, anyway. Unemployment is hovering near 10%, and if you count the people who have stopped looking for work, it's probably closer to 17%. That means that nearly 1-in-5 taxpayers isn't making enough to pay taxes at all. It's those taxes that pay your salaries, Numbnuts! The well is going dry, and when it finally does, you'll get laid off, anyhow. Why not soften the eventual blow, and just agree to do the right thing -- for yourselves -- even if it means giving back a few perks, or making a greater contribution to your own benefit plans?
Oh, right. Sacrifice is something other people are supposed to do.
c. Communism is a bad idea. Always was, always will be. Unions were the initial foothold that communism managed to create in America. If you hadn't noticed -- mostly because you probably can't read, which is why you have a union job in the first place -- the Soviet Union is gone, and the Chinese have all but abandoned ironclad Communism for unbridled Capitalism.
The Labor Union is as anachronistic as spats, hoopskirts, and ox-drawn carts. For organizations that claim to be 'Progressive', it's hard to reconcile that claim with the romantic intellectual attachment to the 1920's, and the serious mental state in which no one has noticed that Times Have Changed, and Things are Different.
The days of the Industrial Robber Barons are gone (unless you happen to be Jeffrey Immelt or Google), and so are the days of the Machine Economy, which still required brute labor and often entailed dangerous, unhealthy and oppressive working conditions. The Unions, it's true, did much to ensure that the horrors of the 20-hour day at the Dark Satanic Mill became a thing of the past, but the economy we live in now bears no resemblance to the one of the Industrial Revolution of the 19th and 20th Centuries. People are no longer victimized by their employers they way they were then, and nowadays, in instances where there is an actual beef about some form of victimization, there's 4,000,000 lawyers who will eagerly leap at the opportunity to sue a Fortune 1000 or a State, and rip off their clients, simultaneously.
Worker's Rights are now chiseled in stone, so to speak. Thank you,Labor Unions. Now please kindly leave the stage. You've done your part.
The playing field has changed. Those teachers in Madison are now behaving much like the caricature of the top-hatted, red-in-tooth-and-claw capitalist, manning the barricades to protect the privileges gained by stealing from the public and by victimizing others.
d. I think the majority of the Union people in the streets of Madison right now are cowards. What they fear the most is having to actually work for a living and having to compete on an even playing field with the rest of us. I doubt that most could, because their working habits have been formed in the Union Crucible, where actual results mean nothing and where talented individuals are hounded out of the herd in order to maintain the same, lower standards for the greater mass, while struggling to maintain a system of high-pay-high-benefit compensation that can no longer be justified.
I have first-hand knowledge of this due to my (thankfully brief) experience working at the Department of Commerce, where the average, room-temperature IQ public employee seemed the type who's employment prospects before government 'work' probably fell somewhere between Orange Jumpsuit and "Can I Super-size that for you?". As for the efficacy of the Union in 'improving working conditions', I'm reminded of the time when I was contracted to do IT work for the New York Shipping Association (Longshoreman's Union), and was sent to build out an emergency data center in a building in Port Elizabeth (the union muster hall,no less) which was crawling with rats, lousy with asbestos, and full of drunks. The rats were rivalled in numbers only by the empty bourbon bottles (only the cheapest kind, bought with Union Funds, no doubt) scattered about the offices.
e. Teachers, as a rule, are typically drawn from the lowest 20% of any college graduating class. There are statistics all over the place attesting to this fact, go find them if you don't believe me. These are not always the best and the brightest, and the results we've seen produced by our Public Education system more than bear this assertion out. Yes, there are some extremely good and dedicated teachers, but the majority are brain-damaged ticket-punchers who only resorted to an Education Degree when it became painfully clear to them that their dreams of becoming an Archaeologist, The Great American Novelist, Chemical Engineer, or C.P.A. were sadly dashed upon discovering that those endeavors require intelligence and a work ethic.
f. Just in case I haven't said this before; fuck unions. The only thing less-useful than a Union is an Islamic Terrorist, who at least has the virtue of blowing himself to smithereens and so ensuring that his mayhem and stupidity are a one-shot deal.
g. This battle is not about economics (even if economic factors have brought the Madison Protests to the fore), or even of fundamental fairness; it's about maintaining a series of often-outrageous privileges which can no longer be justified, and about the ability of the Unions to buy the politicians who will continue the gravy train.
If the teachers in Madison actually cared about the children, they'd be at work, teaching Billy and Jennie proper condom use, or all the finer points of anal sex, subjects which somehow managed to replace rote mathematics, phonics and American History in the typical Public School curriculum. You can, you know, still work and hold negotiations over your contract at the same time. If you really cared about the children, you wouldn't be putting your interests above theirs.
Multitasking is something Unions don't do, either, it seems.
Instead, what they're doing could, in the strictest terms, be likened to extortion. The fact that there might be a contract that gives them the right to engage in this form of extortion doesn't make it morally right. If anyone ever needed a list of reasons as to why the rest of the planet is kicking our ass economically, and why employers are willing to risk breaking the law and hire illegal immigrants, or flood the State Department with H1-B requests, you need only show up at any mass meeting of Unionized Workers. There you will find, in microcosm, everything that's wrong with the American labor market.
This process being played out in Madison has done us a great public service, however unintentional; it has exposed the naked hypocrisy of the unions, and given us yet one more example of what's wrong with our so-called 'Political Leadership'.