Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Here It Comes

All Republican-voting controllers, please pay attention. (PLEASE -- feel free to mail this to them.) You are the next target. You had to see this coming, right? Somebody has to be the bad guy and now it’s your turn. Again.

Schoolteachers Driving Cadillacs

”Jonathan Chait Cohn tells us that public-sector employees are the new welfare queens. Quite: any time you try to talk about the fiscal plight of state and local government, you get spittle-flecked denunciations of unions and their crazy pay packages.”

For the young ones among you that don’t recognize the cultural reference -- “welfare queens” were the 1980s version of the boogeyman created by none other than the guy that busted PATCO. Yep. Ronald Reagan.

Krugman includes a link to The New Republic in his post and I want to make sure you visit it.

Why Public Employees Are the New Welfare Queens

”Conservatives say that excessive public employee pensions exemplify the greed of unions (which sought these generous benefits for public employees) and inefficiency of government (which agreed to pay them). If local and state governments are struggling financially, these conservatives say, they should figure out some way to reduce or revoke those promised benefits, rather than come to Washington and beg for help from the taxpayers.”

I’ve been hearing these noises from some of my conservative pilot friends for months so I knew the right-wing think tank echo machine was ginning up the issue. When I pointed out that I was one of those lazy, no count, union-member-public-employees I was assured they weren’t talking about me. They were talking about those lousy local and State government employees. Yeah. Right. Sure they are.

Don’t kid yourself kids. If they will lay off a school teacher...If they’ll cut the pension of a police officer...If they’ll cut the health benefits of a fireman...They won’t blink an eye about sticking it to a guy that works inside some dark building that most of the public doesn’t even know about.

So, you Republican-voting controllers, you can vote yourself out of a job, a pension and some benefits or you can wake up and smell the coffee. It really is up to you. I know who you are. You know I didn’t change your mind when I worked next to you every day and I probably won’t change your mind here. It’s up to you. But do me a favor, try to base your vote on some facts.

”And to the extent this gap exists, conservatives are surely right when they say that unions and government accommodation of them are the main reason. Unions represent around 37 percent of public sector workers, compared to 7 percent of private sector workers. Note that one of the few exceptions to the public-private compensation differential seems to be unionized industrial laborers, like the auto workers--and that, during last year’s debate over what to do with the auto industry, we were having a very similar conversation about the relatively rich benefits that members of the United Auto Workers were getting.

But ask yourself the same question you should have been asking then: To what extent is the problem that the retirement benefits for unionized public sector workers have become too generous? And to what extent is the problem that retirement benefits for everybody else have become too stingy?”

Think on it. You know the facts. You don’t have to look them up or have anybody interpret them for you.

I know what controllers made when I started working. I know what pilots made. Controllers aren’t making that much more. Pilots are making a whole lot less. Mechanics? What mechanics? We’ve outsourced them.

How about CEOs? How have they done? How many of them have been outsourced?

Farmers? Auto workers ? Butchers? Bakers? Candlestick makers? The Republican-voting controllers used to tell me that they would vote against their own interest for the good of the country. What good? If all the working people in the country are slowly-but-surely sliding downhill, tell me where the “good” is. These people are the country. Teachers, policemen, firemen, school children and their parents.

You tell me. Where is the good in harming these people?

Don Brown
August 11, 2010



teresa said...

Hi Don, this is Teresa Spanish ATCO. We are suffering a union burst, we think that prepared in Mckinsey's kitchen. Did you know?
I also wonder if you know something about these agreements FAA- EUROCONTROL. have you heard any thing?

Don Brown said...

Hi Teresa. I don't know of McKinsey, nor any agreements between FAA and Eurocontrol. Sorry. I do see the similarities between what the FAA controllers just went through and what is currently happening to the Spanish controllers.