The servants become the served.

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Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM & FM, Friday, Feb. 18, 2011.

I was never a great math student but yet I always appreciated the fact that math is not subjective. I had several arguments with English teachers along the way on matters of punctuation and usage and sentence construction. Those arguments were never clear-cut and I won some and I lost some.

Not so with math. It was either right or wrong. Six times eight equals 48 for white people, black people, Republicans, Democrats, Poles, Swedes, Russians, Catholics and Jews. No matter how fervently one might believe that six times eight ought to equal 50, it never will. Math is not subjective.

Neither is an income statement. Expenses that exceed revenues by $3.6 billion will result in a negative bottom line number every time, no matter who voted for you.

Such is what newly elected Wisconsin governor Scott Walker faces. He took office just last month and is faced with a $3.6 billion deficit that must be addressed by one means or another.

In government just as in business, it is employees that consume the vast majority of the money. Payroll and payroll overhead always account for the majority of expenses.

Thus Governor Walker, like any other executive who must bring expenses in line with revenues in order to survive, is looking to payroll costs as the most likely area in which to effect needed savings.

Wisconsin public employees, including school teachers, have a benefits package that only a government would have ever created in the first place. For decades, politicians have been buying public employee union campaign money and union votes by making lavishly rich deals for government employees. Public employees in Wisconsin don’t have a Cadillac health plan. They have a Rolls Royce health plan that costs the taxpayers of Wisconsin $22,000 per state employee. State employees in Wisconsin contribute not a single dime to the cost of their health coverage and not a single dime to the cost of their retirement plans.

Post 2008 housing and financial sector meltdown, those plans are no longer sustainable. And the governor is asking state employees and teachers to contribute the equivalent of seven percent of their gross pay toward funding their own benefits packages.

The result: Wisconsin of 2011 has become Greece of 2010. Employees have taken to the streets in protest. Thousands of teachers have called in sick, resulting in the closing of schools. The Democrats in the Wisconsin state legislature have fled to Illinois in order to prevent a quorum for the purpose of voting on the governor’s proposals.

All because state employees are being asked to do what you and I do as a matter of course – pay for our own retirement and contribute to our own health care.

While we were living large on inflated home prices and easy money on our MasterCards, public employees were busy turning the tables on us. They are now the masters and we are now the servants. We in the private sector now must work in order to serve them.

So they believe so strongly that they have taken to the streets.

We can only hope that Governor Walker of Wisconsin holds his ground. Because this is just the first battle in what is likely to be a long war.

We hope that however painful the process is, that fiscal sanity is restored in Wisconsin so that other state governors will have an example to follow.

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of Gleiser Communications, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The Team FM & KYZS in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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8 Responses

  1. Rick Armstrong says:

    I have but one question…that question is…Why would a Government employee even need a union? While Unions may have had their place in the working world in the 19th Century, the movement was hijacked by the Socialists early on. Don’t start yelling at me…I grew up in a Union household. My Father bore the scars of beatings and stikes to form the NMU and MEBA…so I know unions.

    But, a Government has no need…there is no massive profit made by evil capitalists…there is no dirty factories, underaged employees, yada, yada, yada. There is only one of two reasons…corruption or socialism.

    I welcome the actions in Wisconsin and New Jersey…tell them all to take a hike…for it has come full circle. Sweetheart deals and stupid contracts are bankrupting the States and Federal Government. But, this is pursuant Cloward and Piven and right from the Socialist playbook.

    Rick Tyler Texas

  2. Linda E. Montrose says:

    Unions have outlived their purpose in todays world. Mr. Armstrong is right in his comment that unions, today, are there because one of two reasons…corruption or socialism. I would say that one feeds the other.

    The problem is not just in New Jersey or Wisconsin, so we are just hearing the start of something that is going to affect every state. This is a wound that has been sealed over but has been festering for quite sometime. An eruption has started. Now is the time to clean out the old wound so it will heal properly. The clean up is nasty but vital. It is going to take someone with a strong stomach to tackle this problem and start the healing process. This is no time for wimps or the faint of heart.

  3. Jerry Smith says:

    You miss the point Mr. Gleiser. The point of the demonstrations are not the request to cut their salary. Everyone must help out in times of crisis. The point is the Governor of Wisconsin is trying to take away the right of the people to collective bargaining. In other words ‘Union busting’. This has been a Republician goal for many years and now they feel they have a chance. Also, talk about the money public employees make, you should look at the amount of money business folks such as yourself take from the trough of public money. Each year you claim thousands of dollars in business deductions that no one else can ever deduct. Your deductions like travel, country club dues, advertising, car expenses,etc far exceed anything any working class person could ever get in health insurance benefit.

  4. DB says:

    Governor Walker has my vote. He must be listening to Dave Ramsey. 6X4 = 24 every time. I do not care how much money you make. If you make $1000 a month but spend $1200 per month, you are going broke. If you make $10,000,000 per month and spend $12,000,000 per month, you are going broke. You both are in the red. The only way out is: $1000 income . . . spend $950 or $10,000,000 income . . . spend $9,500,000. Governor Walker is trying to make his state budget run in the black. Thank you Mr Patriot. Wisconsin has too many ENTITLED people on the government dole (payroll). They need to get a real job in the private sector.

  5. C M Solomon says:

    The JIG is up.

    You are caught, you are discovered, the deception is uncovered and the trick is over. At long last the left wing cabal of the Socialists, Marxists, Public Union bosses, Democrat Party, O’Baba (man-child), hypocrites all, is on full display as they throw their current temper tantrum.

    The fiscally responsible Conservatives in the States and Congress are starting to try to stamp out the astronomical costs of public employees (salaries, pensions and health coverage) that have benefits TWICE as generous as compared to us in the private sector that are forced to pay for it. These parasites are guilty of various forms of corruption that include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement. The graft is circular as it passes from unions to the Democrats and back to unions and favored Left-wing organizations. How many untraceable trillions have passed from the treasury (and the printing presses) for so-called stimulus with no measurable benefit the last two years? The real unemployment is near 20% and families are losing their homes and savings. Would it be too harsh to call this economic terrorism?

    Anyone with a conscience or an ounce of intelligence knows that our nation is facing bankruptcy, hyperinflation, and destruction of wealth if these greedy pigs are allowed to continue to rape the taxpayers, destroy the currency, and turn us and future generations into 50%-75% slaves of the government. We are out of money and can’t afford your union protected lifestyle anymore.

    I’m glad the Bamster is accusing Gov. Scott Walker of “assault” on unions. (I thought this kind of inflammatory speech had been outlawed by the Left after the Arizona massacre.) Frankly, I hope the Left keep up their temper tantrums by using the thugocracy sponsored rent-a-mobs as cheered on by the Commander in Chief of Community Organizers. Most Americans are getting a real-time education of the hidden, true unfairness of the Political Class that have been using our hard work to feather their own beds at our expense. What really galls me is that they think their deception is still intact because they think we are so stupid as to believe in their media propaganda machine that continues to lie.

    Paul, you said it all. The servants have indeed become the served.

  6. c j richter says:

    i would love to be in this governors shoes. he has the perfect chance to stomp the union in wisconsin out of existence. educate the people on the cost versus the benefit of the unions. when he starts,dont stop and stomp hard until there gone. the union needs the state but the state cant afford the union. just like the healthcare lawsuits the fearless states filed, somebody has to go first. then the truth will follow.

  7. L Miles says:

    The unionization of “public servants” is an immoral, unfair, non-democratic arrangement where the operations of government entities are involved. Let me explain.

    Governments at the national, state, and local levels are monopolies that have no competition for the services that they provide for the public at large (unless you move to another City, County, State, or Country.) You can’t shop the Target Government, Wal-Mart Government, or the Sears Government for the same services that the “government” provides. Furthermore, the “government” has taxing authority and you are forced to pay those taxes or you may lose your home, other assets, or go to jail, no matter what. No private corporation has this degree of control over your life.

    Corporations come and go out of business given their ability to be competitive, profitable, and control their cost of staying in business (including payroll, supplies, advertising, taxes, etc.) This is NOT true with government institutions including all agencies such as the public educational establishment.

    Therefore, it is blatantly unfair for government institutions that WE are forced to support with our taxes and fees, to further burden us with a population of government employees that are unionized which can directly affect the cost of operating government independent of the voting taxpayer that has no alternative for monopolized services. We are the SOLE funding source for the government and MUST have ultimate control over the cost of that government. That is why we call government employees “public servants”.

    The Administrators of the government employees are OUR employees and must not tolerate any favoritism towards their own employees for which there are no competitive forces to limit costs. Public servants knowingly take those jobs “in service to their country” or to benefit the society at large and should recognize their overriding obligation to the public they serve. Of course, salaries and wages (including pensions and health care) that are offered to “public servants” must be comparable to employees in the private sector or those jobs will not be filled. That is not the case, today, because the public sector employee has 2X the average income of the private sector employee, including pensions and health care, and does not track recession and layoff cycles.

    How do you provide government services at the lowest possible cost? Your surely don’t allow politics to infest the government work force at any level, or consequently, cronyism and bloat (unnecessary employee growth) will surely abound. It is well known that public employee unions are inextricably linked to the Democrat party both for funding and favorable union legislation. This breaks the “good faith” arrangement between the tax payer and the government employee. The government employee should have no more control over his income than any other voter (tax payer) has control over his income by using government favoritism. The voting booth should be the ONLY mechanism for a government employee to directly seek government action on his behalf just like any other private sector employee.

    The protected monopolistic status of the government can’t allow the services it provides to the public be affected by union rules, strikes, or other coercive actions of the union culture that is sometimes tolerated in the competitive private sector. A government monopoly by nature MUST operate with far greater control over employee costs than any other private sector business that must please its customers in every way or ultimately go out of business. Let’s face it; a lot of government employees (outside of emergency and law enforcement personnel) are usually not too terribly concerned with customer satisfaction.

    Public employees should not be unionized. This is the only acceptable moral policy since no job can be above the ability of customer to ultimately pay for it. Otherwise, we should all belong to a union that is part of a political party that can ensure our desired standard of living as guaranteed by the government. Hello Marxism! Welcome to the end of America as a civil, meritorious society, and to the death of unalienable rights!

  8. C M Solomon says:

    I have a question. Should any level of government (or any employee thereof) have the right (by ultimate threat of a work slowdown, walkout, or strike) by their Union membership, force the public taxpayer to grant them any special concessions (rights) that are outside the laws that are applied equally to everyone else? In other words can the government refuse to serve the public for which it was created and by which it is funded? If the answer is YES, we are accepting the (dictatorial) supremacy of government control over the citizenry.

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