I have been watching the news in Wisconsin and Ohio with some interest. I am a manager and belong to no union, though I have been a manager in a unionized business in the past. To put all of my cards on the table, my parents were teachers, I have 3 siblings who are teachers and I have a brother who is in the State Police. The business I manage covers 80% of the cost of medical insurance for full time workers. We are a small business with 28 employees and half of those are part time. With that said, I believe that some workers need to be unionized and some don't. Jobs that can be affected by our ever changing political whims need to be protected. The fact that a new mayor, county executive or governor is elected, should not mean that the career professionals in our government should be at risk. That would cause instability and foment incompetence.
I have become increasingly perplexed by the rhetoric in the current news cycle. I have been hearing snippets of quotations from politicians and talking heads posing the problem as an issue between the union employees and the taxpayers. They are the one in the same! It is a false analogy. The teachers, firemen, law enforcement, public works and nursing employees are the back bones of our communities. To portray them as slugs, slackers, or those seeking a free ride is simply WRONG! They are the middle class. They are hard working. They are the taxpayers!
There are some problems with union contracts, and I believe many are willing to work on those points. However, the blame for many of these pension and benefit problems should be placed squarely on the shoulders of politicians and wall street. Had politicians not removed the protective regulations in the banking industry, the pension funds wouldn't have been at risk and collapsed with the rest of the economy. Rookie government leaders wouldn't be scrambling around looking for simple solutions to complex problems.
We need media to shine some light on the real cause of this mess. We need to see a few perp walks of banking executives. We need to see some funds clawed back from executives that managed to escape with their portfolios intact. This is where our anger should be focused, not on teachers, nurses and emergency services. The real taxpayers are the union employees that spend every paycheck.
The people not paying taxes? The freeloaders? Oh yeah, they would be the wealthy banking executives with overseas accounts. Yeah, the ones that received amnesty for tax evasion.