Dependence on Corruption

Not to belabor the conversation about high-priced union executives, but certain aspects highlighted in our comment section point directly toward one of Rhode Island’s major problems.
As Marc mentioned, yesterday, the head of Local 1033 of the Laborers’ International Union, representing 900 municipal workers, Donald Iannazzi, makes $265,870. It’s worth pointing out that the city’s charter caps the salary of the mayor of Providence at $125,000. That is, the system by which Providence operates allocates more than twice as much money for the salary of an employee representative than for the person who has the responsibility of running the organization for which those employees work.
Moreover, the current mayor, Angel Tavares, gave himself a 10% pay cut. That’s certainly relevant to attempts by commenter Russ to distract with comparisons of high-priced CEOs in private industry. Most private companies make their money by developing, manufacturing, or processing something. As obscene as some executives’ compensation packages may be (and as representative of the need to increase other organizations’ ability to compete as it is), the comparative pay of the CEO and the general workforce has to be considered relative to the value and profitability of the product.
In a labor union’s case, the “product” is, in large part, the pay of the general workforce. So, it’s a bit more egregious for the union leaders to coast along with their fortunes as workers give concessions. And to the extent that labor leaders are responsible for the broader well-being of their employees, they should have been the ones demanding full accounting of the pension system and, in Providence specifically, evidence that the city was in good health.
Now throw in Iannazzi’s job swapping with fellow Laborers’ International administrator and RI Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio. Ruggerio’s son works for Iannazzi, and now Iannazzi’s son pulls in $88,112 at the age of 25 as a “special assistant” to Ruggerio. For all of the talk about classes that union members foment, that’s precisely what Iannazzi and Ruggerio represent: An insider class to whom economic reality does not apply.
They get away with it, though, because as Michael exemplifies with his tangential comment to Marc’s post, too many people are reliant on the corrupt system. If they aren’t enraptured with talk of unique rights and battle with corporate big-wigs, caught up in sweeping rhetoric that they must take an ever greater portion of taxpayer dollars in order to stand as the last bulwark of the middle class, they are dependent on union vein-tapping and persuaded that, but for the union, they’d be working for free.

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michael
michael
10 years ago

Tangential? I was simply following Marc’s vibe by being cleverly disingenuous.

Russ
Russ
10 years ago

*Yawn* You guys gonna make this a daily feature? It’s clearly one of the most important issues ever to face the state.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

“You guys gonna make this a daily feature?”
If it drives you crazy, I’m all for it.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Russ – The corrupt insider political culture in Rhode Island thrives precisely because these types of characters aren’t publicly exposed and shamed on a regular basis. The state requires a complete disinfection and you have so far only a) defended the lowlives involved and b) complained that the coverage is excessive. Do you consider yourself part of the systemic problem in Rhode Island? Because that’s exactly what you are. People like you are what has allowed Rhode Island to degenerate to the bottom of the rankings while simultaneously bankrupting itself.

Monique
Editor
10 years ago

“The corrupt insider political culture in Rhode Island thrives precisely because these types of characters aren’t publicly exposed and shamed on a regular basis.”
Indeed, a “corrupt insider political culture” comprises a large part of the rotted core of government’s problems in Rhode Island – the other part of the rotted core being politicians who use their official power to put special interests ahead of the state as a whole for their own selfish political reasons.
In fact, what is needed is far more, not less, airing of both of these conditions.

OldTimeLefty
10 years ago

Justin asserts, “Most private companies make their money by developing, manufacturing, or processing something. As obscene as some executives’ compensation packages may be (and as representative of the need to increase other organizations’ ability to compete as it is), the comparative pay of the CEO and the general workforce has to be considered relative to the value and profitability of the product.”
But the product would not exist without labor for neither property nor capital produces anything without labor. Capitalists live by exploiting the work of someone else, those who possess neither property nor capital and who thus are forced to sell their productive power to the lucky owners of both.
This brings us to Lefty’s Law of Capitalist Remuneration which states that “The closer one is to the actual production of a good or service, the less one is paid” Such a system demands an inequitable society and leads inevitably to rule by aristocracy.
OldTimeLefty

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

4/12/11 – OTL finally comes out as a Marxist.

OldTimeLefty
10 years ago

Dan,
I am a Marxist and you are stupid not to have picked it up previously. I actually prefer Bakunin whom you would support if you looked beyond the Simple-Simon reasoning that drives what passes as your thoughts.
OldTimeLefty

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Perhaps Lefty would give a list of the economic and social successes of his Marxist role models.
Let’s see, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hugo Chavez…not finding any successes there.
Perhaps Marxism is merely a cynical, nihilistic fraud and Lefty is merely a dupe?

OldTimeLefty
10 years ago

BobN, Stalin was a brutal bastard who replaced brutal bastards and who has been succeeded by brutal bastards. The current brutal bastards are devoted to capitalism. “Anything is possible in Russia, except change”, Oscar Wilde. Mao pushed China into the 20th and 21st centuries. In case you haven’t looked China is the fastest growing economy in the world Before you tell me how bad Mao was – think how many black people spent lives living and dying as slaves while they were building the United States. my own father told me about help wanted signs in Philadelphia that warned, “No Italians need apply”. Read about Sacco and Vanzetti. Read about the Molly Maguires in Pennsylvania and the repressive steps taken to crush union organizing there. Wake up and look around. I don’t like repressive tactics, in China or here or anywhere. We are not blameless. How about stealing land from the Indians under rubricks like “Manifest Destiny”. Get your head out of the sand – all empires start with a decent idea, grow powerful, then become corrupt. We are in the middle of the cycle. Another quote from Wilde; “The United States went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.” Hugo Chavez is popular with a great majority of the Venezuelan people whether you like the fact or not. Likewise with Evo Morales of Bolivia who has been introducing land reforms, nationalising various key industries and opposing United States and corporate involvement in the country’s politics. He is quite popular, and by god, of Indian rather than European blood, a brown man leading a country in the Americas, wow! Considering your frightened attitude toward the very centrist Barack Obama, I think you fear a brown epidemic. The Scandinavian countries run very well and their people and economies prosper. Their… Read more »

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

I think that the above demonstrates how completely Lefty has severed his remaining connections to reality. Trying to portray monstrous, barbarian dictators as some sort of social heroes is Bizarroworld.

OldTimeLefty
10 years ago

BobN
Stalin was a brutal bastard. Russia was and is ruled by brutal bastards. The Czars were brutal bastards. Agree or disagree?
China is the fastest growing economy in the world. Agree or disagree?
Black Africans were brought to the United States as slaves and they helped build this country while feeling the lash. Agree or disagree?
Sacco and Vanzetti were subjected to gross prejudices, tried, convicted and executed and were posthumously declared innocent right here in New England. Agree or disagree?
Indian land was taken away by force of arms. The Cherokees were force marched from North Carolina to Oklahoma and their land confiscated. U.S. government gave small pox blankets to Indians. Agree or disagree?
Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales are leading their countries away from imperialist exploitation by outsiders. Agree or disagree?
Sweden, Norway and Denmark are Socialist countries with better economies than the United States. They receive better vacation, health and social benefits than the average U.S. citizen. Agree or disagree?

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