Tag Archives: Michigan

Detroit – How Did We Get Here


De’troilet is and has been a mess for decades now.  A prime example of what happens when a democrat party controlled by unions (sorry to repeat myself ) has control of a city.

An insightful story in what residents of De’troilet have to look forward to:

In a small mill town in New England, dozens of retired policemen and firefighters are feeling the pain of what they see as a broken promise, offering a glimpse into what could happen to thousands of public workers in Detroit facing massive reductions in pension payouts after the city’s declaration of bankruptcy.

Donald Cardin became a firefighter at age 20 in Central Falls, R.I., a town just north of Providence that filed for bankruptcy in 2011. He was making $60,000 a year as a fire chief before retiring at age 42 in 2007 to take care of his wife Lana, diagnosed with thymic carcinoma, a rare cancer with extremely low survival rates.

The couple relied on Cardin’s health insurance, which required no copay, to cover Lana’s $8,000-a-month treatment. Cardin worked a part-time contracting job to make up the difference between his $34,000-a-year pension and his former salary.

But that all changed in 2011 when Cardin, and his fellow firefighters and policemen, were called to a meeting at the local high school, where state-appointed receiver Robert Flanders warned them that the city would not have enough money to survive if pensions were not cut. Weeks later the city would file for bankruptcy.

Bruce Ogni, 53, president of the Central Falls Police Retirees Association, won’t forget that day, either.

“All of a sudden they dropped this on us. There was no real negotiation. Flanders came in and said the city is in big trouble, we need half your pension and your medical,” he said.

With a wife and twin boys to care for, Ogni lost $1,200 a month and had to pay additional fees incurred by his wife’s health insurance. Eight months ago, Ogni’s wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, adding more medical bills to the family’s worries.

Ex-fireman Laurie and his wife, Kathleen, live off disability from social security (which he receives from previously working part-time jobs in addition to his service as a fireman) and a $19,000-a-year pension — down from $39,000 before the cuts.

The Lauries makes just enough money not to qualify for public assistance, but the $2,700 the family brings in each month barely covers their $2,300 in monthly bills.

Each of these individual stories is heartbreaking, to be sure.  Life threatening cancer to disability to expecting twins.  All of which is enough to occupy a man, but then the additional pressures of having your world turned upside down.

But there are some striking observations:

  1. What reasonable world do we live in that allows a man to retire at 42 with $34,000 in pension AND full health benefits?
  2. Every single one of the subjects is a tragedy.  Cancer, disability and expecting wife with twins.
  3. A 53 year old President of the Retired Police Association?

Personally, I think that contracts between companies and their pensioners should be upheld – the folks no longer have a position from which to bargain.  If my company changes my compensation, I can leave or stay.  However, with that said, these unions have absolutely been acting in bad faith and without moral concern for the parties involved.

They elect their cronies to office in order to negotiate with themselves.  The deals they strike are so ridiculous as to fail to pass a red face test.  And then, when the parasite finally kills the host leaving nothing but a dead husk – they act so SO surprised and innocent.

As if.

The State of States

If only federal republicans could govern in the way and manner of state republicans:

Thanks to a Republican governor committed to developing its natural resources, not punishing entrepreneurs who do, Texas legislators are facing an $8.8 billion surplus over the next two years. To the east, Republican governors Bill Haslam of Tennessee and Rick Scott of Florida have also turned recession deficits into budget surpluses. Moving north, Michigan’s Gov. Rick Snyder, Iowa’s Gov. Terry Brandstad, and Indiana’s out-going-Gov. Mitch Daniels, also can now all boast surpluses in the hundreds of millions of dollars. All of these governors managed to turn their state’s fiscal situation around through spending cuts, not tax hikes. Now their budgets are in the black and their economies are growing.

I think it’s important to focus on the second to last sentence in that quote:

All of these governors managed to turn their state’s fiscal situation around through spending cuts, not tax hikes.

And lest we think that this is just a series of circumstances related to an overall nation economic rebound:

Things do not look as good in Democrat-controlled states. Illinois, who massively raised taxes on the rich, still has a $5.9 billion stack of unpaid bills. California, who also raised taxes on the rich, was supposed to post a small surplus this year. But tax collections are coming in at 10.8 percent below budget projections. As a result, the state is now projected to be $1.9 billion in the red by the end of this fiscal year.

Now, if that same fiscal responsibility could translate to the national level.

A Characteristic of Unions

I think that it’s important to begin any conversation regarding unions, uniting, negotiating and representing one another with some acknowledgments.

  1. I absolutely support the effort of an individual to negotiate a higher wage, better working conditions more vacation or increased training.
  2. Further, I acknowledge and support that several employees working together to negotiate these benefits are a stronger negotiating team than an individual.
  3. Employers typically look to hire labor at its cheapest price point but they absolutely look at value, not bottom line dollar cost.

So it is that I have no issue with an employee, alone or with fellow like minded employees, walking into the bosses office and negotiating higher benefits or compensation.  What I do NOT support is the legal protections that change that negotiation from one where two people each seeking their own self-interests are negotiating to one where one of the groups is given such legal protection that the negotiation turns into a racket or where extortion is taking place.

And this is where my problem with organized labor falls.  They have legal protections that allow them to negotiate in bad faith and extort the employer.

Wanna use the tactic that if you are not compensated in the way and manner you want that you’ll walk out?  Fine, but then the boss may fire you in response.

With all of that said, I’m sure there is room for debate and disagreement on the issue of union and organized labor.  However, on one point I am continually astounded that the gentle left won’t critique unions.  And that’s on their tactics.

Discussions surrounding unions always brings to mind union thugs.  The guys that go to the homes of employees who might be on the fence during strikes or organization votes.  Threats against homes and families of those members who might not be towing the line.  And even physical violence to the employers themselves whether it be harm to the individual or vandalism to the property.

This surprise of mine extends to voting methods favored by unions.  An important tactic to form a union is to utilize  public vote, one where the vote of each employee is made in public for all to see.  The idea is that if the vote is private then the employee is able to make a “No” vote without fear of retribution.  Consistently unions and labor supporters work to take away the privacy of the vote not through open and fair compelling arguments but by legislation.  When their ideas lose in the court of public opinion labor uses the law to pass their agenda.

And this feeling that unions must be supported but not the individuals that make them up is shown in the fight against “Right to Work” legislation.  Laws that don’t ban unions but simply take away their power to coerce an employee to belong or not.  No one is saying that a union, in all of its ugliness can’t exist, the law is simply saying that it has to be voluntary.

I simply don’t understand the support of union violence against people and property that is routinely ignored by the left.

And in case the threat is only veiled and simply easy to miss, labor supporters are outright calling for violence:

“We’re going to pass something that will undo 100 years of labor relations and there will be blood, there will be repercussions,  we will re-live the battle of the overpass,” said state Rep. Doug Geiss (D-Taylor).

Blood – Repercussions – Battle

So, what is “The Battle of the Overpass”?

The battle of the overpass was a bloody fracas in 1937 between union organizers and Ford Motor Co. security guards. Walter Reuther was famously thrown down a flight of stairs and another union organizer was left with a broken back.

A literal battle involving organized labor.

This movement is literally violent.  Explicitly violent.  The push to improve the rights of individuals is being conducted by those who are looking to extend and protect rights to the employee who simply doesn’t want to organize, to vote in private and negotiate on his own behalf.


Michigan Tax Policy: Reducing Rates Expanding The Base

It doesn’t matter who’s doin’ the takin’.  If your property is being confiscated even as you grow it, you are going to either quit working so hard to make more property, hide that property better or move to a place where that property won’t be confiscated.

The fact that the government is taking that property doesn’t matter; at some point people just reach a limit and slow down.

So what happens when the confiscation stops?  Growth occurs.  Witness Michigan.

Continue reading

I Expect Employment Numbers To Improve

I stumbled upon a recent report, Hat Tip Calculated Risk, that is saying a number of states are changing their unemployment eligibility standards.  Apparently the number of weeks that a person is eligible for unemployment has been a standard 26 weeks:

…the maximum number of weeks that jobless workers can receive unemployment insurance to less than 26 weeks—a threshold that had served as a standard for all 50 states for more than half a century…

So, for 50 years we have been following a standard without question.  It turns out that at least 6 states in the good ol’ US of A actually DO read TarHeel Red.

Continue reading

Devastating Pictures of a Once Great City

Herein lie the results of Liberal governance.  THIS is –or should be–the epitaph of destructive policies from the minds of Leftists.

A once proud and great city demolished.

All here for you to see.

Continue to elect Obama, Pelosi and Reid at your peril.  Support and allow Unions to dominate a city and State at your own risk.  Ignore Liberty and instead plunder and employ force to separate the man from his production and behold; BEHOLD your world Leftist.


Best Headline of the Month

Ex-Detroit Mayor Stays Plugged In From Prison

Found in the Wall Street Journal


Why Government Spending Your Money is Bad

The main objection by folks who want the government to remain small is that money in the hands of individual people gets spent faster and better than money taken from those people to be spent at government discretion.   Every single dollar the government spends is a dollar that has been taken from someone and handed to some government agency.  For every $20 an hour job created by government there is one less $20 job in the private sector.  It can’t be any other way.  The government produces nothing.

But the argument is that when folks get scared and hoard their money, the government has to intervene, take their money and forcefully interject that money into the economy.

And fast.

But does it work that way?

Continue reading

Republicans Can Be Leftists Too: Part I

I am going to have to start a new category:  Republicans Can Be Leftists Too!

See, it’s not so much the fact that I mind that the “other” team wins, it’s that they win using techniques I object too.  And when the Republicans do it, well, I can’t just let’em off the hook.

So, we have this new forum where I wanna point out Republicans restricting Liberty.  Where we show people in politics will do whatever it takes to remain in power; not govern.  And that the fight we are fighting is not just the Right vs.s the Left, but rather us vs. tactics employed by the Leftists.

Continue reading

The Best Way to Get Rid of Junk

Auction it.

EGELSTON TOWNSHIP, Mich.  —  An anonymous buyer has purchased a western Michigan pedestrian bridge for $1.

But why would the government sell a perfectly good bridge for a buck?

Egelston Township used the bridge to give students safe passage to an elementary school. The school no longer is used for elementary students.

Egelston Township Supervisor Mike Thompson … was worried about the safety of the seldom-used, 39-year-old structure.

Can you imagine how much it would cost the township to think about, debate, vote, put to bid and then PAY union workers to tear down that bridge?  Hell, itta be 10 years before that sucker finally came down; due to torrential rain or some other such nonsense.

Government should guide, market should do!