Hi. I’d like to introduce you to reality.

Posted by on March 20, 2011 12:01 pm
Tags: , , , , ,
Categories: Patriot Dispatches

BackhoeSo, the public employee unions and their lap cats the Democratic Party have drawn a line in the sand with a back hoe. Union membership and representation is a God given right and since Thomas Jefferson was a union organizer the right to organize and hold the American taxpayer hostage is somewhere in the Constitution. And I can guarantee that there is no shortage of judges who will have no trouble finding said “right”. In the meantime, the Wisconson Democrats have discovered that if the Democrats have somehow been unable to either win or fix enough elections to hold majorities in state legislative bodies, they can leave the state and there will be no negtive consequences from the country club Republicans – including the Tea Party variety – and they can play the issue for the front pages and for time. The bottom line here is simple, the Democrats and the unions are at war. Republicans are just simple.

My bet is that Democrats and unions will “win” on the issue of contracts, wages, benefits and pensions. Please note the scare quotes. They’re gonna “win” in court and in the short term, in the court of public opinion. The reason they’ll win in court is because the judiciary is stacked, roughly right up to the SCOTUS, where eventually they’ll lose. Eventually. Public opinion will sway their way because they are a lot like Chinese water torture, constantly repeating lies until people believe them. People will believe them because for the most part, they are products of the US unionize education system and can’t do independent research or put two rational thoughts together in the same month. So, the Unions “win” and keep their money. Democrats “win” and keep their number one source of funds, taxpayer money passed through the hands of union members to their bosses to the DNC. I used scare quotes because, while they will almost certainly be able to work the courts and the voters for a while, they won’t beat the fundamental laws of mathematics and economics.

That brings us to Costa Mesa, California. Costa Mesa is a city of about 117,000 people 37 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The median family income is a little more than $55,000 and three of the top five employers are colleges. I’m guessing that in nary a single one of those schools do they teach math, economics or reality. Costa Mesa is discovering the latter of these concepts. The City of Costa Mesa employs 472 folks serving the residents including police officers, fire fighters and all those other kinds of city workers. Oh, make that “employed”.

In all, more than 210 of Costa Mesa’s 472 employees received notices that they might get pink slips.

Now let me be clear, the key word in that sentence is might. But for sure, there’s going to be a fight. But the rubber has the possibility to meet the road big time. Remember those Costa Mesa residents? The ones who pay the taxes so those 472 “hard” working city employees salaries. And pony up for their health care benefits and their pensions. Their pensions. Gee, I wonder what kind of pension plans those taxpayers have. Hmmm.

According to city figures, for every dollar the city pays a police officer or firefighter, it must also set aside more than 40 cents to fund the employee’s pension. For every dollar paid a general employee, it must set aside 27 cents.

The average Costa Mesa police officer earned $105,000 in base overtime and certification pay in 2010, according to city records. The average firefighter earned $109,000 in base, overtime and certification pay last year.

You can read the rest of the article, it contains the standard level of whining that you’d expect on this issue. Actually, I’m shocked that they are only writing about cops and firefighters, there’s not a single word about teachers in the piece.

I can’t wait to see what happens. One interesting thing is that in the last election the Mayor Pro-Tem campaigned on getting the pension issues under control and bringing both reality and the laws of economics to bear in the city’s finances. We’ll see what happens, but that happens to be a good start. And, surprise surprise, the police and firefighters unions poured tons of dough-re-me into losing the election. I’m guessing they aren’t done.

This issue is way bigger than Costa Mesa. In 2009 almost six in ten state and local pension funds were underfunded. You can bet that number isn’t lower two years later and you can count on one hand the number of states, counties and cities that are actually doing – or trying to do – something about the big freight train headed through the tunnel right at us. That light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight on the train, not the sun.


26 responses to Hi. I’d like to introduce you to reality.

  1. beaglescout March 20th, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Great piece! Math doesn’t lie. Eventually reality will catch up with all those lying politicians, and then the people need to hold those politicians responsible instead of letting them wriggle out of the problem they created.

    • pilgrim March 20th, 2011 at 1:04 pm

      I have a completely opposite opinion about “win”. For the long term there will always be a new battle that will have to fought by a new generation. In the past the unions have lost battles, like for instance, Taft-Hartley and PATCO. It becomes self-fulfilling if you believe and convince others that the unions will win. It is simply not always true. What is always true is that in the long term they will pop up after a defeat, and must be fought again.

  2. speciallist March 20th, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I live right near city hall, the ‘suicide’ was first reported as the guy falling off the building…and if you’ve ever seen our city hall, it would be quite easy to fall off the ledges that surround the building…but his motive has been decided by the media

    That’s the reason this story is national

    Then we have the kerfuffle about the Mayor…the Mayor owns an Irish pub/restaurant down the street from city hall. He was at his pub at the time of the ‘suicide’ celebrating St Patricks day.

    After the guy fell/jumped, an OC teachers union member drove over to the mayors pub and took a picture of him having fun after his ‘might be layed off’ worker jumped from city hall. Obviously he hadn’t heard the bad news yet.

    That’s what the local and national news has been focused on…another great opportunity the unions are not going to waste.

  3. Mike gamecock DeVine March 20th, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Yes, and the liberal judges in Wisconsin could well be an ongoing problem, even if they were to have a do-over as the present liberal judge demands. I suspect that no matter what they do, there is a good chance that another judge would find some other procedural problem, or, if necessary, to rule against the substance of the bill on constitutional or other grounds.

    I think the behavior of the liberal judges contributes to conservatives in WI and nationwide’s ongoing (both very longterm for decades and in the middle and short-term dating back to WI in 2010 election and the present confrontations in WI) PR win with the public as regards unions in general and government unions in particular, even while suffering temporary losses in terms of implementing preferred policies

    The strategy should, of course be, to keep fighting the battles on every level even if it means that judges have to replaced much like on the life issue nationally after Roe.

    The odds are that the WI Sup Ct wouldn’t reverse state precedent on their narrow statute and case law rule that the definition of “fiscal” is narrowly defined. But it may take some time to get there thru appeals, which is why it may turn out that its best to try a do-over. Much of the time involved depends on a thorough knowledge of state law, but one of the main problems in devising GOP strategy for many years is simply that liberal judges so often make outrageously non-legally justified decisions.

    They too often act like Oligarchs for whom the only strategy is political. Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln bemoaned the problem…

    Nice column Becker. Too bad you are so terrible with column titles. I would help you with that, if asked….smile

    • speciallist March 20th, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      lol 🙂

    • pilgrim March 20th, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      If reality is a citizen voter, then Mr. Reality in Wisconsin is a different cat than Mr. Reality in Arizona. In Wisconsin the Feingold component of the horrible McCain-Feingold law is defeated by a political novice with no name recognition and no newspaper support. In Arizona the McCain component of the McCain-Feingold law is sent back to the US Senate. The Mr. Reality in Arizona believes that McCain can not be defeated, and convinces enough Arizonans to make the defeatist projection self-fulfilling.

      • Mike gamecock DeVine March 20th, 2011 at 6:54 pm

        Excellent analogy.

  4. vassarbushmills March 20th, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    I agree with Pilgrim. In fact, the unions can’t win. Like Communism, all that remains unknown is the cost/loss in losing, and that depends on how long it takes. And that depends on how we approach it. I see no problem out there that is insurmountable. I prefer to get people excited about the fight rather than make them dread it. We live in interesting times, so why not make it a fun ride?

    • Kimberly_Schwartz March 20th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

      It seems to have been a recurring theme for this week. I had a conversation with a family member last night regarding a candidate. The FM’s comment was “He can’t win.” After that, it went like this:

      Me: “Why not?”
      FM: “Because he hasn’t got the support.”
      Me: “What if he had the support?”
      FM: “Then I think he’d be a great candidate.”
      Me: “Isn’t this kind of circular? A candidate can’t win because he doesn’t have the support because people don’t support him because he doesn’t have the support?”
      FM: “That’s just the way things are.”

      It doesn’t matter whether the issue is unions, a particular candidate, or whatever – folks have ceded their power and have come to view the problems as insurmountable. It is astonishing, really. So, VB, how do we get folks who have ceded their power “excited about the fight”?

      • haystack March 20th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

        So you’ve heard of Christine O’Donnell, too, huh?


        • Kimberly_Schwartz March 20th, 2011 at 7:35 pm

          Indeed, haystack! 🙂

          But I am not talking about just the support, or lack thereof, for particular candidates. It’s the general discouragement…actually the disengagement. It’s the defeatism. It’s the “fear itself.”

          When did “that’s the way things are” become a statement of immutable fact, rather than, as we say in the South, “fightin’ words”?

    • lineholder March 20th, 2011 at 4:23 pm

      Agree with you on this, Vassar. I just think that we have to stay in the fight. If we don’t, it becomes a lost cause.

      And we have more options than it may seem, so why not put them to good use?

      Good to “see” you again, BTW

      • haystack March 20th, 2011 at 4:30 pm

        Good to see YOU out here in the wilderness with the rest of the rubes and the riff raff Lineholder 🙂


      • vassarbushmills March 20th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

        Ditto, LIneholder. Great to see you…enjoy watching a tree as it is newly planted and fed versus…well, you know dried prunes don’t you? We look forward to your postings here, as well

      • eburke March 20th, 2011 at 5:53 pm

        Well…wandered over to take a look-see at this here dispatch only to see your familiar moniker gracing the comments section.

        Great to see ya, lineholder. Hope you find the digs comfy enuf to kick your shoes off and hang around for a while with your favorite beverage.

        And i agree whole-heartedly with you. Realism is a necessary ingredient if we’re going to take an honest assessment of what we face so that we can strategize accordingly. But we can’t step over that fine line which separates reality from believing something is a fait accompli.

        • lineholder March 20th, 2011 at 6:44 pm

          Oh, yeah, eburke, if we cross that fait accompli line of reason, we doom ourselves to fail on this, so it bothers me a bit.

          Thanks to all for the welcome. I’ll be around.

          • Lady_Penguin March 20th, 2011 at 7:00 pm

            lineholder! It is good to see you. Missed you, but so glad that you joined us. Looking forward to your putting pen to paper, or whatever they call this text on a screen. 🙂


        • SEC March 20th, 2011 at 7:01 pm

          Hey eburke, I though the adults here wrote articles or even pieces, not diaries. LOL I always hated that, and thought it sounded like a bunch of schoolgirls writing nightly about their boyfriend or parent problems.

          • nessa March 20th, 2011 at 7:24 pm

            LOL, touche SEC! The nightly parent problems would be on some other blog, somewhere. LOL

          • TNJim March 20th, 2011 at 8:21 pm

            Heh. The official word is dispatches. 🙂

      • civil truth March 21st, 2011 at 3:48 pm

        Your comment here prompted me to finally register here at Unified Patriots because I wanted to tell you that I’m glad to see your around.

        So, good to see you here…

        Still recharging during Lent.

        • vassarbushmills March 21st, 2011 at 3:57 pm

          Civil, how nice to see you. Please hang around and participate.

          • civil truth March 21st, 2011 at 6:12 pm

            As I mentioned, I’m expecting to be rather scarce until after Easter. A needed time to regroup after all the drama – and to catch up on neglected matters.

        • Lady_Penguin March 21st, 2011 at 3:58 pm

          Well Civil, I’m glad to see you. Thrilled about lineholder too.


  5. Kenny Solomon March 20th, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    The shootin’s gonna start right about the time the left realizes they’re gonna lose big.

    They’re gonna start it and they’ll do it in multiple places.

    They and the media will blame it on typical bitter clingers, Beck, Palin, the entire Bush family, The Easter Bunny, too much salt on restaurant tables and global warming.

    So of course, that will lead to Sunstein Obama issuing an exec order eliminating 2A, 4A, 5A, 6A and maybe even 1A – temporarily – for the good of the nation – had no other choice.

    “It can’t happen here.”

    Long before I joined “Ban Central”, I was saying something to the effect that we would quickly be at “the edge of a civil war” if that Marxist Jihadi and his people took charge.

    I was called all sorts of stuff.

    Yep, that I was.

    Kenny Solomon
    Israel Survival Updates
    The American Survival Guide

    • lineholder March 21st, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      FWIW, Mr. Solomon, some of us were grateful for your watchfulness in our behalf, too.

      Missed you, Kenny. Glad to find you here.

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