Wisconsin, California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York are some of the states that are facing financial crisis due to their inability to fund their expenses and the pensions of state employees. Pensioners from the City of Pittsburgh could have their pensions cut off by 2020 if the state doesn’t drastically scale back expenses in order to fund their pensions. The retirement benefits were negotiated years ago by over-zealous unions (threatening strikes) and inept managers that folded under the pressure. Chicago Mayor Daley (retiring after this term) has stated that property taxes in the windy city may have to double in the next few years to fund its pensions obligations. Sound like Greece, Ireland, and Portugal?!?!
For years state governments have spent more money that they take in. Can you say CALIFORNIA!!! Imagine a household with monthly expenses of $5000 and income of only $4000. Before long, bankruptcy is the only alternative. Unfortunately, the states with the most fiscally IRRESPONSIBLE leaders want the federal government to bail them out! Where does the federal government get its money? That’s right! It comes from YOU and ME! Why should the good people of fiscally responsible states be asked to bail out those that have mis-managed their business for decades?
It is past time to place blame….it is time to act. The state officials and the unions must sit down and develop a plan to rescue themselves. Gov. Christie of New Jersey is the only politician that seems to have the “grit” to tackle the problem head-on! Go, Chris!!!!
Now the latest crisis is erupting in the home of the Cheeseheads, Wisconsin! Governor Scott Walker and the GOP legislature want to respond to the mandate of the Wisconsin voters by developing a plan to eliminate the states $3.7 billion budget shortfall. The Democrats have left the state so the bill cannot be voted on; but, the National President of the ACL-CIO, Richard Trumka, has come to town to support the local unions in the protest in Madison. Furthermore, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has encouraged the protesters and Obama has stuck his nose into state issues once again. The POTUS should be focused on national and international issues, not the state budget of Wisconsin, the police dept. of Cambridge, MA, or the immigrations laws of Arizona!
The unions have orchestrated work stoppages (most people would call them “strikes”), sick-outs that have closed schools, and rowdy protesters marching the streets. Even members of the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers have come out to support the unions. Gov. Scott (Sky) Walker must feel like he is battling the evil galactic unions that have contributed to the downfall of the state.
Unions like The Service Employees International (SEIU), the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), California State Employees (CSEA), the Texas State Employees Union, and numerous others have benefited unreasonably from the collective bargaining process. Their endless desire for higher pay and benefits regardless of the consequences to the state (or company) are partially responsible for the mess we are in. Certainly the UAW was a prime contributor to the demise of GM and Chrysler.
There was a time in America when unions were necessary to gain reasonable working conditions, pay, and benefits for people. But, that time has long since passed. What the union leadership is really concerned with today is the continuing stream of dues paid by members so the unions can use those funds to promote their political agenda.
Stay the course, Gov. Walker. Fight the good fight. And let’s hope that other state leaders are paying attention and have the moxie to follow in the steps of Walker and Christie.