Yes, You Bear Some Responsibility

In the obviously titled “State workers protest any pension cuts,” one protester said the following:

Others, including social worker Michael Fallon, said they felt state workers had been unfairly made the “scapegoats” for both the ballooning unfunded liability in the state pension fund and the “poor management” that landed Rhode Island in its current fiscal mess.

Being the member of a union does not mean one’s hands are clean of the stains that the union’s behavior leaves — quite the opposite — and union behavior has been a key component in our state’s management. If members have voted for specific candidates under union advisement, if they have stood by while their lobbyists worked back-room deals, if they have said nothing as their dues bought ads on progressive Web sites and financed the campaigns of the legislators who have done such grave harm to our state, then they are not mere “scapegoats,” but active parts of the problem.
The first step to fixing that problem will be for them to realize that one-issue voting (the issue being “my employment deal”) is self-defeating because so calamitous in its result.

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George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Justin,
You are 100% correct.
The Unions love to blame “management”. But their silence was deafening when the Pension system was being raped and pillaged by people retiring in their 40s & 50s; by people retiring after 10 or less years of meager contributions; by people “buying Pension Credits” for part-time volunteer (i.e. elected) positions, etc.
Their silence, indeed their support of the rape & pillaging, was and is due to the fact that they have ZERO Risk and all Reward.
They still get their GUARANTEED benefit, regardless of the financial condition of the Pension System. They simply send the bill to the already overtaxed taxpayers.
This is why the Bob Walsh’s of the world need to be dragged kicking and screaming from their bunkers of Defined Benefit plans into the real world of Defined Contribution plans where the employee appropriately takes some Risk & Responsibility for their futures. Then, they will be incented to speak up when the raping and pillaging occurs.
We can no longer stand by while the Unions try their best to do to RI what the Unions did to the American Automotive industry, Big Steel, etc.

Mike
Mike
12 years ago

Defined contribution is the issue of the decade. State AND municipal. No way can firemen and cops retire at 41 with lifetime COLA’s and free healtcare in a fiscally solvent system.

Greg
Greg
12 years ago

Step 1. Everybody not within five years of retirement can’t start collecting their retirement checks until age 65.
Step 2. Everybody not within ten years of retirement is transfered into a defined contribution system.
Problem
Solved

George
George
12 years ago

Adam Smith reminds us that self-interest is the foundation of economics. Our Nation’s founders knew collectivists’ efforts would work against the grain of individual liberty. Even FDR stood against public sector unions because of the absence of a market to equalize excesses.
Thus, I don’t think you can blame the “individuals” for acting in their own self interest.
It is rather the elected officials who are charged with protecting liberty for all, who are fundamentally at fault for not only favoring, but coddling the few over the interest of the many.
Watch for the candidates who the unions most despise, and vote for them

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

Blaming the elected officials for the state’s budget mess and creating a situation in which, realistically, jobs have to be cut is one thing.
Blaming working people…it’s just wrong. It is, to use a word conservatives love, elitist.

Pat Crowley
Pat Crowley
12 years ago

Another easy way out post. Why don’t you just write “if you were as smart as me you would know the truth.”
Thing is, you just make things up as you go along and outside of the gang here it is widely known now.

Red
Red
12 years ago

Pat calling Justin a liar! Wow, thats the pot calling the kettle quack!

Greg
Greg
12 years ago

As far as Ducky is concerned everything is the state is just fine the way it is. We just need to raise taxes. That’s all. What’s the big deal?
Of course he’s a teamster thug who’s idea of a cogent argument is to give you the finger and threaten your kids.

Monique
12 years ago

“Thing is, you just make things up as you go along and outside of the gang here it is widely known now.”
Make things up. Uh huh. Would that be things like, we’re the fourth highest taxed state yet we racked up a $500m annual deficit? Like we have an abysmal business climate which has given us a recession? Like your pals in the legislature spent funds desperately needed to secure public pension on short-sighted, selfish, destructive budget items?
Like public schools which are extremely well funded yet provide a poor education for the children?
Things like that? Yeah, whew! Pure fiction …

Jim
Jim
12 years ago

I think that George is on to something here. To keep things simple, come election time, we need only look at who the public employee unions endorse and then:
If the NEA likes him – YOU DON’T!
or,
IF HE’S GOOD FOR THE NEA – HE’S BAD FOR YOU!
That’s it. A simple message for those running against the union puppets.
Now, we just wait for those coveted endorsements. Haha!

John
John
12 years ago

Fellow Public Sector Pension Geeks:
Lot’s of interesting papers to download from a recent conference can be found here: http://www.pensionresearchcouncil.org/conferences/conf-2008.php

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Gee, is the circus in town? It must be, as there has been a Pat Crowley sighting.
The same Pat Crowley, who, like a childish clown, wore a George Bush mask to Lincoln Chaffee’s US Senate campaign appearences.
The same Pat Crowley who, despite Lincoln RI’s clear desire not to expand Twin River Gambling in their town, conspired to push it through in the hopes of raising more tax receipts to put into his Union teachers’ pockets.
Please Pat, do tell us exactly what things are made up? Be specific.
Are you referring to your made up tax burden numbers that Justin very clearly debunked in an earlier post?
Or are you talking about your made up numbers with respect to you telling the world that teaching expenditures over the past several years have escalated at a rate less than inflation, when in fact, using your own data, teaching expenditures exceeded the rate of inflation by 42%.
Pat Crowley’s proven inablity to analyze even the most basic of financial equations is legendary.
Unfortunately, he hangs with fools that accept his jibberish, along with Bob Walsh’s, as gosphel. They are not bright enough to challenge and ask questions. Unfortunately, they are also teaching our children, hence the mere 22% proficiency in math for our Public School students.

Jake4RI
Jake4RI
12 years ago

“Of course he’s a teamster thug who’s idea of a cogent argument is to give you the finger and threaten your kids.”
… and …
“The same Pat Crowley, who, like a childish clown, wore a George Bush mask to Lincoln Chaffee’s US Senate campaign appearences.”
First off, it’s the NEA. NEARI to be exact.
And let’s not forget, it was the elderly he was trying to intimidate with the Bush mask. Did a pretty good job of scaring the heck out of one elderly lady at a debate. Way to go Fingers! To top it off, he seemed to be offended when I called him on it (on his blog) during the gubinatorial debates. Even kicked me off his blog! LOL!
And just for the record … There are a number of NEARI members that do not like Pat Crowley AND what he stands for. (not counting the ones that have no idea who he is) I’m married to one and I know many others and all disagree with him on MANY issues. Their feelings are not far off from the letter from Governor Carcieri to Bob Walsh asking if the NEARI felt the same as Finger Crowley feels about illegal immigrants. That same letter that got Crowley’s panties in a bunch and made him whine and whine and whine.

Citizen Critic
Citizen Critic
12 years ago

It would be a fascinating study in nepotism and cronyism to map the relationships. It might show the true depth of the disease.
How many legislators are union officials? How many family members of union officials work in state government? How many family members of legislators have state jobs? Same for the judiciary.
That would be very illustrative.
RI has way too many state employees. I am guessing it has 30-40% more than it needs. If you could cut state employees and cut welfare fraud you could balance the budget.

Frank
Frank
12 years ago

This is another classic. Justin produces a reasoned position based on, what else, facts. And brain dead, union hack crowley accuses him of being an elitist and who just makes things up. Of course crowley offers no argument of his own.
I look forward to the day when the Justins of the world sit across the bargining table from the crowleys of the world with “the people” as arbiter. It wouldn’t be fair, the crowleys being nothing but union stooges, but it sure would be fun to watch.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Citizen Critic,
You are soooooo right.
RI just reported that the economy lost another 600 jobs.
Do you think a single one was a Public sector job? Not a chance.
They grieve, bump, demand arbitration …you know, all those whiny Union things.
Meanwhile, there are 600 fewer employed people in the state to pay taxes and help support state government. The natural thing to do would to be reduce the number of state employees to offset this loss in tax receipts.
But with the Unions, it is impossible, as they fear the Free Market like a mouse fears a cat.
There are two simple answers to the State’s issues:
1) Legislation that immediately implements Pension reform (no one collects a Pension benefit until at least age 65, 20 year vesting period, etc.) See Greg’s post above.
2) Legislation to reform Collective Bargaining and to allow RI to be a “Right to Work” State. Give the Free Market as much a chance as the Socialist system that has been created by the Unions.
The above two items will happen when people follow George’s advice noted above, which is to find out which candidate the NEA and other Unions support and then vote for that candidate’s opponent.
Hopefully, Pat Crowley will stay active with the NEA, as this clown is the best thing we’ve got going. He is the ultimate poster child for an Entitlement Minded Union Ignoramous Punk (I can use the word “punk” because even Mr. Crowley described himself as a “punk”.)

Greg
Greg
12 years ago

Jake4RI,
Does your spouse do anything more than complain to you about Duck-Boy? Bitching about him in private is cathartic, I’m sure. But it ain’t moving the ball forward. As much as I like having him as a straw man to easily blow over day after day if the teachers grew some balls and pushed Bobby to get rid of the thug they might actually see some positive movement in defense of their cause. But as long as the finger-waving teamster is on the Sunday pundit shows threatening children the non-union taxpayers are going to continue to proclaim a clear ‘screw you’.
I guess what I’m saying is, if your spouse wants their profession to be respected in this state, why aren’t they fighting to get some ADULT representation?

Tom W
Tom W
12 years ago

>>RI has way too many state employees. I am guessing it has 30-40% more than it needs. If you could cut state employees and cut welfare fraud you could balance the budget.
Bring them all up to a standard 40 hour workweek instead of 35 and we could reduce the payroll by 14-15% without any reduction in man hours of labor available to the public (note that the current shorter workweek also has a corresponding relative increase in their compensation relative to their 40 hour private sector counterparts).
Now we can start examining eliminating redundancies; efficiencies to be gained through automation; competitive bidding / outsourcing for services … oh, and let’s not forget eliminating unnecessary (even no-show) patronage jobs (memo to Senator Montalbano re: the General Assembly staff).

Jake4RI
Jake4RI
12 years ago

Greg, I feel for the most part, my wife and others just go along to get along. Their bitch is more with the governor cutting their benefits. They never question the GA and because of people like Walsh and The Finger, it’s the governor and ONLY the governor. They dare not critisize because it’s people like Walsh and Crowley out front protecting their interest.
Let me also say that I am grateful for the benefits she has and in the not to distant future we’ll be able to enjoy, but I still do not agree with them. I see it from both sides, more or less, and it is not the real world these union (teachers, state and municiple) people live in and what they expect, make that demand!

David
David
12 years ago

‘The first step to fixing that problem will be for them to realize that one-issue voting (the issue being “my employment deal”) is self-defeating because so calamitous in its result.’
Tax issue voting is that one one- issue voting that for me , has nothing to do with how I relate to this state. I have heard from the people who have lived here before you and me –and they would tell you of hard times that we cannot comprehend. I believe them. You don’t. This state in the 70’s and even the 80’s was still a beautiful place – a rural south and a vibrant cityscape. Now it is an any where- malls fastfood circuitcity walmart bullshit. My disillusionment is not based on taxes and unions but on the unrestrained marketing of any thing that moves mentality that has poisoned our lives and this state. Come up with some solutions, or at the very least an acknowledgement, for the much more significant deterioration of this state at the hands of corporate deviltry and maybe I will listen to your issues about taxes.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

David,
Don’t be so naive.
The reason we have the endless chase for the next strip mall is because our elected fools are blindly trying to generate tax revenues to pay for all these Union benefits.
That is precisely why Patrick Crowley, Assistant Exec. Director of NEA-RI, conspired to get the 24-hour gambling through in Lincoln RI.
Pat the Clown is also the head of the Lincoln Democratic Town Committee and despite that town’s clear vote against the 24/3 gambling at Twin Rivers in Lincoln, Crowley worked to get it passed in the General Assembly. He wants the revenues to pay is pathetic flock of Union-hack teachers.
Face it, until we have a “Right to Work” state in which workers have “Choice” and we allow the Free Market to operate, the Unions will continue on their path to destroying this State, much like they helped destroy the Automotive industry, the Steel industry and every other manufacturing industry in the US.
Jake4RI, thanks for your honesty. Unfortunately, you haven’t told us anything we don’t know. Rather, you just confirm the obvious.

John
John
12 years ago

David,
Please elaborate on the meaning of “corporate deviltry” and how it has brought RI to the sad state it is in today. I’m sure many readers of this blog would be interested in what you have to say on that subject.

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

Never ceases to amaze how the mere thought of Crowley (even when he doesn’t post himself) ends up threadjacking virtually any discussion here.
I think Crowley often goes too far myself But really, does the obsession with him get anything positive accomplished?

Monique
12 years ago

[Rhody, sixth comment from the top. Right after your previous.
I know that the little green men who occasionally beam into my living room probably aren’t real. But the reasoning of the above comment is a consistent hallmark of a Crowley comment so it’s probably a safe assumption that it’s really him.]

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Hey Rhody,
You wrote “Blaming working people…it’s just wrong. It is, to use a word conservatives love, elitist.”
Talk about elitist. What the hell do you mean by “working people”?
In simple terms, there at two types of people living in RI: “working people” and “non-working people”. The “non-working people” live off the tit of the taxpayer.
There are “non-working people” that legitamately don’t work due to real physical or mental infirmities. There are others (i.e. most) that don’t work due to laziness and a general sense of entitlement.
Of course, there are some unique individuals who do both.
For example, Providence Firefighters’ Union Pwesident Paul Doughty. For 3+ years he sat home on his lazy ass not working and living off the tit of the taxpayer. He’d be classified as a lazy entitlement minded “non-working people”.
But once in a while, he’d muster enough energy to show up to work to collect some overtime. In those rare instances, he’d be classified as “working people”.
In this example, the question is where was Michael Fallon’s voice (along with the rest of the voices of the “working people” at the Providence FD) when Paul “Mostly Non-Working People” Doughty was sitting home on his lazy ass living off the tit of the taxpayer?
The answer is that Mr. Fallon and his ilk happily sat silent, as one of their own was living the dream riding the gravy train, while real “working people” were working hard to pay for Pauly “No Show” Doughty’s entitlement.
It is only when we say the “party is over” that we hear the voices (i.e. whining) of Mr. Fallon and his pals.
So because of that, Rhody, Mr. Fallon and his cronies absolutely share in the blame. Indeed, they should sholder the majority of the blame.

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

People’s Elbow, I’m not even talking about union officials. I’m talking about people who are being villified just because they happen to belong to a union. Those attitudes are just a tad elitist, mmmkay?

Citizen Critic
Citizen Critic
12 years ago

“Elitists..”
An interesting concept. Perhaps they are the one party elitists who dominate the state? Or, literally, the two guys in the back room who make all the financial decisions for the whole state? Or, maybe they are the elitists who killed the voter initiative amendment and tossed 20,000 citizen signatures in the trash? Maybe the elitists are the guys who get all the no-show jobs, or the cushy pensions, or the no co-pay health plans? Maybe the elitists are the guys who sell their votes in the state house for big bucks..
All you elitists, stand up!

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Rhody,
I guess you could say “you are judged by the company you keep”.
Are we to have sympathy for those “innocent” souls that belong to the Unions that support the Pauly “No-Show” Doughtys and Pat “The Finger” Crowleys?

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

Ah, the Elbow’s broad brush strikes again.
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need unions. But as long as people like you are calling the shots…

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Rhody,
Who is “painting with a broad brush”?
I believe it is YOU who paints with a Broad Brush.
Recall, it was YOU who, with a Broad Brush, wrote: “Blaming working people…it’s just wrong. It is, to use a word conservatives love, elitist” in response to Justin’s initial post.
Justin used a very specific and tangible example (i.e. Mr. Michael Fallon) of someone complaining now that the wheels are coming off the wagon, but heretofore remained complicitly silent while the Pension system (and the Taxpayers) were being fleeced by the likes of Pauly “No Show” Doughty.
Yes, you are the only one painting with a Broad Brush. I, and others, have give you tangible examples supporting our positions, all of which you refuse to acknowledge and respond to.
Face it Rhody, you have no credible defense for what the Public Sector Unions have done (and continue to do) to the good & welfare of the State. Hence, your “broad brush”, but shallow and non-substantive responses.

Monique
12 years ago

“”Elitists..”
An interesting concept. Perhaps they are the one party elitists who dominate the state? Or, literally, the two guys in the back room who make all the financial decisions for the whole state? Or, maybe they are the elitists who killed the voter initiative amendment and tossed 20,000 citizen signatures in the trash? Maybe the elitists are the guys who get all the no-show jobs, or the cushy pensions, or the no co-pay health plans? Maybe the elitists are the guys who sell their votes in the state house for big bucks..”
Exactly.

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

Monique, maybe you can talk some sense into our friend Elbow here. He believes the ordinary working man who, in reality, is far away from the big-money decisions made at the Statehouse is the elitist, not the Murphys, Montalbanos, and their goodtime buddies who we appear to agree are the problem.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Rhody,
Do your elitist self a favor and go out and review the following document:
http://www.rifthp.org/SmithHillReport/2008/SHR_080509.pdf
It is a newsletter from the RI Federation of Teachers in which they notify their members (i.e. the “ordinary working man”) on how the big bad politicians are voting on Pension and Healthcare issues.
They actually provide their “ordinary working man”, dues-paying Union members, a complete list of every Senator’s vote with respect to Pensions & Retiree Health benefits, categorizing their votes as “Right” or “Wrong”!
So dig your head out of your ass. The “ordinary working man” is NOT “far away from the big-money decions made at the State house”.
In fact, they are well aware and are an integral piece of the apparatus that keeps the bad decisions (i.e. bad for the taxpayers, good for the Unions) flowing.
So, Justin’s original assertion holds. The “ordinary working man” Michael Fallon ABSOLUTELY bears responsibility.
And by the way, is there a more elitist remark than referring to people as “ordinary working people”? What an arrogant, elitist, paternalistic reference that is.

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

George, thank you for displaying your own arrogance and elitism for the rest of the class. Now go to recess.

George Elbow
George Elbow
12 years ago

Rhody,
Thankyou for giving us another of your mindless, non-substantive posts.
Perhaps you could respond to the link I provided to you in which the “ordinary working man” is absolutely kept abreast, connected and is participating in the big bad decisions made by politicians?
What’s the matter, the facts don’t fit your elitist, paternalistic agenda?

rhody
rhody
12 years ago

George, cool your obsession. I’m not Crowley posting under a different name.

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