In an effort to get Wisconsin’s errant state Senators…

March 2nd, 2011

…to come back to work, cialis generic stuff Wisconsin Senate Republicans have voted on a resolution that would fine missing Democrats $100 every day they remain away from the state capital.

My question is, healing why not $1,000 a day?

Not trying to be an ass, but if you’re going to do it anyway shouldn’t the fine have some teeth to it?

Entry Filed under: Observations

17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tracy Coyle  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 12:02 am

    let’s see, their absence caused a $165m hit….divided by 12(?), per day equals….

    What? that is more than they can pay? And like I can pay my share of the Fed debt or even WI shortfall?

    I agree with you, hit them hard…

  • 2. Debunked  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Between their pay being withheld and the $100 a day fine, it sounds to me like the Democrats are doing more to reduce the state budget deficit than the Republicans ever could.

  • 3. John Foust  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 12:42 am

    “Not trying to be an ass”? No, the WisGOP is trying very hard to be that way. It’s a colossal temper tantrum.

    It’s a good thing they got control of the copiers, right? Keeping the doors closed does what?

  • 4. Dan  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 2:24 am

    Umm, Debunked, their pay is not being withheld. Their paychecks can be picked any time the Senate is in session.
    Temper tantrum, John? Please. A temper tantrum is leaving the state crying and in need of a diaper change.
    No access to a copier is a pain, but not much of a pain. It’s not like they don’t copy places, like Kinkos or whatever they are called now, in Madison. Or they can always make extra copies on their computer printer. Geez, what a bunch of wimps.

  • 5. John Foust  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Dan, can you explain the pressing need for these changes? It’s 100% pure WisGOP temper tantrum.

  • 6. Fred  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Why not $1,000 a day? Because that’s a bit much for Jon Erpenbach’s parents to afford.

  • 7. Tracy Coyle  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Mr. Foust:
    1) Union control of the process costs local school districts an estimated 60m more a year due to the ‘bargained for’ requirement that school districts buy the health insurance for teachers from the union run health care program – rather than putting out the programs for bid.
    2) Public union employees pay little or nothing for their pensions or health care
    3) Public union employees work an average 3 days a month less than similar private sector employees yet make marginally more.
    4) Because the democrats lost after years of spending faster than revenue growth – despite one of the highest personal and highest property tax rates in the country – and inflation
    5) Because billions in cuts necessary were being prevented because the Dems controlled the governors mansion and the legislature and public union employees were ‘untouchable’
    6) Because the democrats lost and the unions were their largest campaign contributors – paid largely from required dues collected by the state paid from everyone else’s tax dollars
    7) Because your premise ‘the pressing need’ would never happen as long as dems control one part of the legislative process and therefore the need would grow until the next time the profligate politicians pissed off the electorate enough to toss them out, again – so if not now, when; if not Walker, who? Certainly not a ‘born again’ democrat promising hope, change and an empty suit.
    8) So far, the only ones stomping their feet and collectively holding their breath are the Dems – after all, increasing pay 4% instead of 5% is NOT A 20% PAY CUT.

    Oh, and because your insinuation would ignore everything else and focus on just one part, let me highlight it:

    BECAUSE THE DEMS LOST

    and

    Walker is keeping his campaign promises.

  • 8. Debunked  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Tracy sure does like spewing out a lot of information without any real supporting evidence whatsoever, doesn’t he/she/it?

    1) $60 million, spread out over the state, amounts to less than $10 per person for a good health care system for teachers who have to deal with dozens of children at a time in an enclosed room where diseases tend to spread quickly. Wow. So horrible.

    2) Public employees pensions are negotiated as a part of their compensation package and paid for in lieu of salary. Thus, public sector employees pay 100% of their pensions. No different than a private company offering you $60k a year or $55k a year and offering to put $5k into a 401k for you instead. Public employees do pay some of their health benefits and have offered repeatedly to pay more.

    3) Source for this? Note it must actually be comparing comparable public vs private jobs. Also, hours versus days? 4/10 versus 8/5? Along with salary information?

    4/5) Except Wisconsin has had a relatively balanced budget up until the 2008 recession, last I checked. But you know, things like the big banks screwing up the economy had nothing to do with the recent fiscal problems. It must be those public sector employees and their $50k a year salaries.

    6) So, it’s purely political revenge you’re saying? Thus being a GOP temper tantrum? Okay then. Oh, and they’re paid from state taxes via everybody. Not you. I pay taxes just as much as the next guy and, quite frankly, more than most. Taxes aren’t your money. It is the government’s money. You get your cut after paying your share to live in a civilized society. You aren’t paying the public employees. Their employer is. Frankly, I would rather pay far more in taxes if all of it went to middle class workers and public employees rather than see my taxes go to funding wars across the globe and subsidies to oil companies.

    7/8) Last I checked, the public employees are willing to give up everything to Walker except collective bargaining rights. Public sector employees are nothing more scapegoats used by corrupt and puppet politicians to divert attention from the real issues. And the brainwashed public is eating it up like lapdogs. Without collective bargaining, public employees will end up in a race to the bottom with private sector employees converting Wisconsin labor back into the factory slaves of the late 1800s.

    Further, I suppose you are perfectly fine with the health care reform act since “THE REPUBLICANS LOST” right?

    Or, are you just a colossal hypocrite on top of everything else?

  • 9. Elliot  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Hi all.

    I’m not really interested in joining the 1-7 point game, but I can’t resist adding a few comments:

    1.) The teacher’s health insurance is not “good” it’s phenomenal. I personally paid almost $4,000 in deductibles last year and my monthly premium is in the neighborhood of $1,200 a month. Even after the proposed changes, I doubt many teachers would be willing to switch with me.

    2.) Under that reasoning we ALL pay 100% of our benefits. It’s time for the public workers to do what all the rest of us have had to do, shift more of their take home pay to help pay for the ever rising costs of their benefits.

    The total compensation argument always strikes me as spurious because it isn’t like anyone believes if the Unions hadn’t negotiated such rich pensions and benefits the rest of us would have just let them have an equivalent amount of money as straight salary.

    The unions negotiated the highest possible salaries they could and when they realized they couldn’t get anymore, they negotiated ever higher compensation in the form of benefits and pensions which are much less transparent to the public.

    6.) I just have to take exemption to “You aren’t paying the public employees. Their employer is. ” The government is still “of, by and for the people,” right? There is no “government” separate from the citizenry. The government may be the public SERVANTs’ employer, but the tax payer is the government’s employer. That’s what America was founded on. The idea that there isn’t a divine right of Kings. That the government’s only right to exist comes from the consent of the governed, not the other way around.

  • 10. Debunked  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    1) Sounds to me like your company is overcharging you for health care, then. For full family coverage, and under $240 pre-tax contribution per month, my private company offers an in-network $1500 deductible and out-of-network $3000 deductible with a maximum out of pocket coverage of $5000. I don’t exactly know many people that could afford to pay over $14k per year for health insurance in the first place.

    2) Or, you know, people could instead try and get their benefits packages reduced in price as well. Especially since health insurance companies are posting hundreds of billions of dollars in profits each year. Or, better yet, we could actually institute a true single payer system. And then companies and small businesses alike wouldn’t have to worry about providing health benefits at all.

    6) Here we go. Cyclic argument is cyclic.

    I’ll just, instead, point out that by your argument everybody could be said to pay everybody else’s salary.

    My clients at work pay my company to do a job. My company pays me. I go out and then buy products that my clients produce. Thus.. who works for who, here?

    Oh, right. Everybody works for everybody. Because that is how a capitalist society functions. Money moves around.

    As soon as my clients pay my company, that is no longer my client’s money. That is my companies money. As soon as my company pays me, it is my money. And as soon as I pay a distributor for a product, that is the distributor’s money.

    It’s no different with government. When you pay your taxes, that becomes the government’s money. Not yours. The only difference is you get to have a voice in where they spend that money. But you are not paying the public sector employees. Their employer is.

    Now, if public sector employees are actually being unjustly compensated, then maybe there would be the need to adjust their salaries or benefits. But multiple studies I linked in other posts here have shown that overall, when you factor in education and experience, jobs in the private sector and public sector get paid relatively comparable amounts.

    Yet, what Walker wants to do is drive public sector salaries and benefits down to the level of impoverished citizens. What do you think that is going to do to the quality of service coming from the public sector discounting any consequences that might result in the private sector from such a bill?

  • 11. Elliot  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    I certainly feel overcharged, but since I own the thing it’s hard to complain. And the $1,200 is the total premium. The share taken from my salary is around $600. But since it’s my business, the businesses’ half still comes out of my pocket.

    I’m actually on the record as being interested in a single payer system. I think it would help businesses overall. I’m just not sure I trust the government to run it well.

    I think you’re last bit is pure speculation. Apparently, the difference in average worker compensation between states with bargaining and those without is something like 5% (that’s my recollection anyway). Certainly not impoverishing.

  • 12. Tracy Coyle  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    We often hear about gov giving no bid contracts out and that it is a bad thing – but it is ok for a union to start a business, then make using that business part of the contract negotiations?

    Next, the concessions to Walker on health care and pensions are irrelevant, as each district has to negotiate separately and there is no reason to believe the unions won’t go to the table to get those ‘offered concessions’ right back.

    Average work year for a teacher is 195 days. Most everyone else has to work 260. Teachers get paid to attend their annual union conference and students sit at home. They also have additional paid holidays – I am not sure how all the Christmas and spring break days are paid, but I don’t recall seeing smaller paychecks over those times (my business deals with individual bankruptcy and I’ve seen teacher paystubs as part of that).

    As for WI balanced budget, in 04 or 05, the state sold it’s annuity settlement in the tobacco litigation and used it to balance that budget year – when you sell an ‘asset’ to pay continuing bills, that is not balancing a budget.
    Not a year (I lived there from 99 to last summer) went by when there wasn’t some budget shortfall being addressed by accounting, stealing from other funds, pushing needed work off or raising taxes. Madison’s unemployment rate is 1/2 the states (or used to be regularly) because the University and state government had significant employee bases.

    I have read the EPI report on public/private pay comparisons – all nicely adjusted for the variables. There is a joke in Madison – we have the most educated cab drivers in the nation. When I first lived in Madison, I couldn’t get a job above janitor because I didn’t have a degree – virtually all non-minimum wage jobs required one. I did eventually have my degree but by that time I had started my business and I don’t require me to have one and neither do my clients. When I lived in Chicago, experience mattered much more than education but you got better pay in some jobs for having job related education.

    I am picking on teachers because our daughter spent 8 years in Madison schools and we had our share of good and bad – the bad were as protected as the good and paid just as well.
    I volunteered in her classroom from Kindergarten until 3rd grade and saw up close the workings of the classes.

    I had friends there that worked for the school district – we fought about issues all the time. But there are other departments that get paid well too:

    Arts Board
    Forward Wisconsin
    Dept of Military Affairs
    Environmental Education Board
    to name a few.

    But all of that is less than relevant because your position in one area negates everything else:

    “Taxes aren’t your money. It is the government’s money.”

    That is just plain wrong.

  • 13. Debunked  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Average work year for a teacher is 195 days. Most everyone else has to work 260.

    No wonder you hate teachers. Apparently they failed you at math.

    Now, since you’re apparently just looking at teachers in the public sector right now, how many people in the private sector with a four year degree work 52 weeks a year, without any standard corporate holidays? Further, how many of those people get no vacation time and no personal days?

    I’ll use myself as an example. Three weeks vacation and ten corporate holidays actually leaves me with 235 days worked, not 260.

    Further, private sector employees get more and more vacation as they stay with their company. For example, in my case, after many years I will eventually have seven or eight weeks of vacation plus our standard ten holidays, putting me at 215 days. Teachers never gain any vacation time, and their vacation time is set in stone. It tends to be more difficult for them to just take off for vacation whenever they want, like those of us in the private sector can. I don’t know about you, but I would gladly sacrifice working a few extra weeks a year to be able to take off whenever I want rather than being pigeonholed into school schedules only.

    Madison’s unemployment rate is 1/2 the states (or used to be regularly) because the University and state government had significant employee bases.

    Okay, so a relatively small city with a large portion of its population as college students or faculty of an extremely large and nationally very well regarded public university along with being the capitol of the state has an above average government employee ratio. Imagine that.

    As for WI balanced budget, in 04 or 05, the state sold it’s annuity settlement in the tobacco litigation and used it to balance that budget year – when you sell an ‘asset’ to pay continuing bills, that is not balancing a budget.

    Were those assets costing the state money? If so, then selling them off would actually be a move toward balancing the budget. If they were making money or were a negligible cost to the state, then I’ll agree with you. Now let’s talk about Walker and the budget repair bill giving him the ability to sell off Wisconsin power plants to anybody he damn well pleases for any price he damn well pleases.

    But all of that is less than relevant because your position in one area negates everything else:
    “Taxes aren’t your money. It is the government’s money.”
    That is just plain wrong.

    So you read just those two sentences and ignored everything else I said explaining that statement? Maybe I spoke too soon; Wisconsin schools really are failing students at reading comprehension.

  • 14. John Foust  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    The copier restriction, the pick-up-your-check-on-bended-knee trick, the closing of the doors of the Capitol, the parking restrictions, the $100 fine, then Walker’s “We will not negotiate”… Tell me the pressing need for this.

  • 15. Tracy Coyle  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Even by your calculation with 10 weeks of vacation and holidays, you’d still work 20 days more than the maximum a teacher does with considerably less ‘experience or time in the job’.

    10 weeks of vacation PLUS holidays…nice if you can get it….most people can’t.

    Yea, I ignored everything else because taxes are not governments money – it is our money, and it is not voluntarily surrendered. Your POV colors your perception (as mine does).

    As for the ‘tell me the pressing need for this’ – the democrats ran away from their job – in any business, they’d be fired…but public sector employees – like those teachers that ‘called in sick to protest’ – are safe from the consequences of their acts.

    Oh, by the way, parking restrictions? the lawmakers in WI restricted parking around the Capitol for their benefit. The funny thing about principles is they are not subject to negotiation.

    If not now, when….the dems answer is never.

  • 16. Debunked  |  March 4th, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Even by your calculation with 10 weeks of vacation and holidays, you’d still work 20 days more than the maximum a teacher does with considerably less ‘experience or time in the job’.
    10 weeks of vacation PLUS holidays…nice if you can get it….most people can’t.

    Actually with 10 weeks total time off, including holidays, you’re talking about 210 days. That’s 15, not 20, more days than teachers by your given figures.

    Further, you glossed over the point that I can use my time off whenever I want rather than being locked into a set schedule.

    Even further, you’re still not looking at how many hours teachers put in during those 195 days. Typically, I put in my 40-45 hours a week, go home, and I’m done. They’re working at home developing lesson plans and curriculum, grading papers, and responding to parents’ questions.

    And even further, that teacher who gets all that vacation time with “considerably less ‘experience or time in the job’” probably has a $30-$35k starting salary. That teacher has as much (or in some cases more) education than I have and, without going into detail, I’ll just say that if I took that pay cut, I’d go bankrupt.

    the democrats ran away from their job – in any business, they’d be fired…but public sector employees – like those teachers that ‘called in sick to protest’

    Yawn. Ridiculous argument is ridiculous. In any business, people could take vacation, personal days, or sick days. Just like the teachers took sick days, of which, like people in the private sector, they have a few allotted per year. So no, private sector employees could do the exact same thing and they wouldn’t be fired.

  • 17. Tracy Coyle  |  March 4th, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I stand rightly accused of being mathematically challenged – that econ degree is a monumental waste….

    As for WHEN…we have a school age daughter, we take vacations when she is not in school – like most families.

    If you or the teachers want to play hooky, accept the consequences – there is a reason, I guess, why schools require a ‘doctors note’ for more than one day missed.

    In Wisconsin, 7-12 grade students are required to get 1137 hours of instruction and 180 days are to be scheduled – 5 of which can be set aside for parent/teacher conferences or bad weather. 1137 / 180 (175) = 6.3 (6.5) hours of instruction per day. (lower grades have lower requirements (from the WI Department of Public Instruction : http://dpi.state.wi.us/cal/daysq&a.html)

    I will say this – most of the teachers I know personally (vs some of the teachers that have taught my daughter) were committed to a quality education for their students and railed at the union and school boards for making it harder than it needed to be. From work at home and bringing their own supplies, I’d pay a GOOD teacher a kings ransom – too bad we have to pay the shitty teachers the same

    My problem with public employees has much less to do with their pay than the fact we have too many of them. We’d have more money for teachers if we got rid of the gov jobs that are not required. I don’t care if they make $20k less than the private sector, we don’t need 40 people whose only job is to promote Wisconsin or 10 people to evaluate historical sites or 5 people check on the 5 people that check on the 20 people that inspect the 40 people that monitor the 60 people that double check the 10 people that supervise the 2 people that man the clerks window at the courthouse (yes, it is an over-exaggeration ….I’ve never seen 2 people at the window at once….)

    And it is not a left/right problem for me: firefighter was handing out anti-abortion leaflet/pamphlets in front of his firehouse – he was told to stop, he sued them for infringing on his religious freedom – he lost but continued to do so, he was told to stop; he sued for racism – he was black, he lost. He continued to do so, they fired him, he sued for wrongful termination, he lost. So the Republicans ran him against the first openly lesbian candidate for Congress in a town with 35,000 liberal students and a progressive bent so far over it is called the San Francisco of the Midwest, Moscow on Mendota and he barely got 15% – he was defended by his union the entire time (except at the polls).

    If Walker and others can break the unions protection of bad employees, then I am all for breaking the unions….and pay is just a distraction. I’ll gladly pay for good teachers, just let us fire the bad ones….

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Being in a wheelchair gives you a unique perspective on the world. This blog features many of my views on politics, art, science, and entertainment. My name is Elliot Stearns. More...

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