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Posted at 9:45 AM ET, 02/23/2011

Public employee unions: Entitled to their own views, but not their own facts

By Jennifer Rubin

The Center for Union Facts is out with a new, compelling study that makes clear how shoddy is the analysis of the most widely cited pro-union study arguing that public-sector employees are actually underpaid.

The study isn't long and should be read in full. But its findings boil down to this:

A series of studies released by the union-funded Economic Policy Institute (EcPI) seeks to extend the myth of the undercompensated public employee. Authored by Dr. Jeffery H. Keefe, an associate professor at Rutgers University, the studies examine public employee compensation on a national level, as well as in Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, and Wisconsin. ...

This conclusion does not withstand close scrutiny. In seeking the appropriate comparison point, the EcPI study inappropriately assumes that any state government employee would be just as likely employed in the largest-size private sector firm if they weren't working in the public sector. The study also excludes part-year full-time workers from the analysis, removing a significant portion of the public sector workforce (including one-quarter of all teachers) from consideration. It could be a coincidence that the EcPI study makes two substantial errors, both of which bias the results in its preferred direction. Regardless, what's clear is that when correcting for these omissions and inappropriate assumptions in EcPI's regression, you find that public employees are not underpaid relative to their private sector counterparts. In fact, according to their own analysis, public employees at both the state and local levels enjoy a compensation premium of close to five percent compared to an employee of similar education and experience in the private sector.

That five percent pay premium should be considered a floor, not a ceiling. Public sector workers enjoy substantially greater job security than their private sector counterparts; their layoff and discharge rate as a percent of total employment is over three times lower than the private sector as a whole.

This is not the first bogus pro-union study that's been demolished. Last March another study skewered the claims that unfunded union pension liabilities amounted to "only" $500B:

State pension plans are underfunded by $3.2 trillion when misguided accounting practices are corrected according to research by Joshua D. Rauh, an associate professor of finance at the Kellogg School of Management, and Robert Novy-Marx at the University of Chicago, published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives. Furthermore, because pension funds are highly exposed to market risks, there is only a 5 percent chance that they will perform well enough to meet the needs of retirees in fifteen years.

State governments in the United States had approximately $2 trillion set aside in pension funds and $3 trillion of "stated" pension liabilities in December 2008. By this measure, the funds seemed to be short nearly $1 trillion. But according to Rauh and Novy-Marx, the shortfall is more than three times larger, at $3.2 trillion. The lower estimate, they say, is the result of government accounting standards that require states to apply accounting procedures that severely understate their defined-benefit pension plan liabilities.

In sum, intentionally or not, some very questionable analysis has consistently understated the privileged position of public employee unions and the extent to which taxpayers are on the hook. The actual figures are stunning: "Rauh and Novy-Marx estimate that each household already owes an average of $14,165 to current and former municipal public employees in the 50 cities and counties they studied, only including the unfunded portion of benefits that have already been promised based on work performed. In New York City, San Francisco, and Boston, the total is more than $30,000 per household. In Chicago, the total is more than $40,000 per household."

At a time when states are struggling under the weight of union obligations we should at least not fool ourselves that the problem is less than it is.

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 23, 2011; 9:45 AM ET
Categories:  economy  
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Comments

What Ms. Rubin conveniently neglects to mention is that the Center for Union Facts is an anti-labor group founded by Rick Berman (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Rick_Berman).

Mr. Berman's other efforts include fronting for Philip Morris and the restaurant industry. He also led an effort opposing the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In other words, Berman is a stooge for his corporate paymasters, and this study she cites is worthless.

Posted by: tracymohr | February 23, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

No one will be surprised to learn that today, February 23, Fox News broadcast a backward graphic falsely reporting that "61 Percent" of Americans are "in favor of taking bargaining rights away." Fox aired the results of the poll completely backward: the Gallup poll found that 61 percent of Americans are opposed to taking away collective bargaining rights. See documented details on Media Matters website.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 23, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Recent events have inspired me to go join a union. The Koch-funded machine of governors, legislators, journalists and the rest of them are coming after all of us who are forced by necessity to work for a living. They're not going to succeed in turning me against other working people.

They frequently accuse progressives of 'the politics of envy', assuming that we envy the hereditary rich. But now they're trying to convince us that union workers are somehow much better off than we, to try to create envy and resentment which we're supposed to want satisfied by busting unions and stripping them of their rights and health care. I won't fall for this.

So as of this week, this private-sector nonunion guy is going to join my local SEIU chapter, wear their T-shirt, march with the teachers union Saturday March 5 at the Tennessee capitol.

Congrats, Charles and David. You've handed us our very own tea party. Don't get comfortable. We have not yet begun to fight.

Posted by: member8 | February 23, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

From TPM the real story on the made up budget crises created by Gov. Walker:

"In Wisconsin, budget season is two years long. The current budget window was opened on July 1, 2009, and will close on June 30 of this year. If for unexpected reason, the state finds itself faced with a severe deficit within a biennial window, the legislature must pass what's known a "budget repair bill" -- to close the gap with spending cuts or other emergency measures.

The state has not crossed that threshold.

The previous governor, Democrat Jim Doyle, passed a budget that left the state poised for a surplus this year. When Walker took office in January he chipped away at that surplus with three conservative tax expenditure bills, but not severely enough to trigger a budget repair bill. The current, small shortfall was "manufactured by Governor Walker's own insistence on making the deficit worse with the bills he passed in January," Kreitlow said. But Walker cited that shortfall to introduce a "budget repair bill" anyhow -- a fully elective move that includes his plan to end collective bargaining rights for state employees.

"The trigger had not been reached prior to Governor Walker adding to the previous year's deficit by passing bills that didn't create a single job," Kreitlow said.

Walker will soon have to introduce an actual budget, which will outline spending and revenue policy for the two years between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2013. And the state's Legislative Fiscal Bureau -- the official scorekeeper -- does project that he'll face a $3 billion shortfall. But Democrats faced a shortfall twice as large ahead of the previous budget cycle and managed to close the gap.

"The $3 billion is a projection based on requests and forecasts, but it's the governor who has to do the hard work of putting together a plan," Kreitow explained. "it is just practically half of the projected deficit that we closed in the last budget bill, which we did by making serious cuts and some very deliberate choices. That's what we expect leaders to do." In 2009, Wisconsin Dems did get just over a billion in help from the stimulus bill, but they made up the rest by giving state agencies less money than they asked for, and through furloughs and other real austerity measures.

"We know it could be closed again by making tough choices," Kreitow said. "But not included in those tough choices would be stripping away labor rights that have allowed there to be labor peace in Wisconsin for over 50 years."

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/02/dems-closed-much-larger-budget-shortfall-in-wisconsin-without-destroying-worker-rights.php

Posted by: FoundingMother | February 23, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans say that public-sector employees have become a privileged class that overburdened taxpayers," write Karen Tumulty and Brady Dennis. The question, of course, is whether it's true. Consider this analysis the Economic Policy Institute conducted comparing total compensation -- that is to say, wages and health-care benefits and pensions -- among public and private workers in Wisconsin. To get an apples-to-apples comparison, the study's author controlled for experience, organizational size, gender, race, ethnicity, citizenship and disability, and then sorted the results by education. Here's what he got:

wisconsinpay.jpg

If you prefer it in non-graph form: "Wisconsin public-sector workers face an annual compensation penalty of 11%. Adjusting for the slightly fewer hours worked per week on average, these public workers still face a compensation penalty of 5% for choosing to work in the public sector."

The deal that unions, state government and -- by extension -- state residents have made to defer the compensation of public employees was a bad deal -- but it was a bad deal for the public employees, not for the state government. State and local governments were able to hire better workers now by promising higher pay later. They essentially hired on an installment plan. And now they might not follow through on it. The ones who got played here are the public employees, not the residents of the various states. The residents of the various states, when all is said and done, will probably have gotten the work at a steep discount. They'll force a renegotiation of the contracts and blame overprivileged public employees for resisting shared sacrifice.

Which gets to the heart of what this is: A form of default. There's been a lot of concern lately that states or municipalities will default on their debt. This is considered the height of fiscal irresponsibility -- an outcome so dire that some are considering various forms of federal support. But the talk that states or cities will default on their obligations to teachers or DMV employees? That's considered evidence of fiscal responsibility. And perhaps it's a better outcome, as defaulting to the banks makes future borrowing costs higher, and can hurt the state economy in the long-run. But it's not a more just outcome.

That, however, is how it's been presented. State and local budgets are in bad shape. They'll need deep reforms across a variety of categories, from tax increases to service cuts to changes to employee compensation. But the focus on public employees -- and the accompanying narrative that they're greedy and overcompensated -- obscures a lot of that: It makes it seem as if the decisions that have to be made are easy and costless and can be shunted onto an interest group that some of us, at least, don't like. It's the Republican version of when liberals suggest we can balance the budget simply by increasing taxes on the rich. But it's not true.
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klei

Posted by: FoundingMother | February 23, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"Center for Union Facts" is a little too "in your face." They should have named it "Center for Labor Studies" or something innocent like that. Over eager right wingers.

Posted by: danw1 | February 23, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

More right-wing talking points sponsored and financed by Koch Industries, brought to you by the "Liberal" Washington Post.

To the editor, at least put a conservative that is able to think on this blog, Rubin is quite the light-weight intellectually speaking.

Posted by: r_edison69 | February 23, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

The worst thing this blog has going for it is the tediousness of its leftist commenters. Blah, blah, blah, Koch, blah, blah, blah, Koch. The most important thing to remember is that there is nothing wrong with public sector unions taking money from their members and donating to political candidates who will then "negotiate" fat contracts with said unions which will in turn provide them with more money to donate to those candidates; and, that the size and scope of government be determined, not by the taxpayers and voters, but by those supposedly working for us, who naturally gain more members, power and money by expandign government. The public sector unions are essentially a money laundering operation for the Democratic Party.

Thank God these new Republican executives and lawmakers, at least on the state level, seem to have their measure (too bad about Daniels, though). Go for it Governor Walker--the unions and Democrats have painted themselves into a corner. Don't let them out.

Posted by: adam62 | February 23, 2011 7:05 PM | Report abuse

As usual, adam62 got it exactly wrong. The best thing about this blog its leftist commentators -- or, to be more precise, the high percentage of commentators who, day after day, document in detail the misinformation spewed by Jennifer Rubin, and reveal her to be the garden variety corporate shill that she is.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 23, 2011 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Take a look at Economic Policy Institute's Board of Directors http://www.epi.org/pages/board/ and see if you can guess the outcome their research on issues of concern to unions.

The studies cited by public employee unions and their supporters say they control for "education" when comparing to private sector employees. A degree in Education or sociology is comparable to a degree in engineering or accounting in their methodology.

Private sector firms that fail to make a profit go out of business. Public sector agencies that fail continue to receive taxpayer funding and their employees get pay raises.

Posted by: Stu707 | February 23, 2011 7:41 PM | Report abuse

That's the problem--you think you've done something when you have shown that someone has received corporate funding (or, at least the wrong kind of corporate funding), or relies upon someone else who receives it, or relies on yet someone else who has. You think once you have found the "taint" then you have discredited your enemy, and then... well, it's anyone's guess.

This approach of seeking out the "taint" is connected with another problem, that of dividing the world into discrete facts and, conveniently those very discrete facts gathered and prepared by your own think tanks (whose donors need not be mentioned) which, for reasons not given, are the fact which settle the case (I leave aside the question of why one should believe that other set of facts). On this post, there are a couple of comments which purport to do something more than identify JRubin's "taint." They claim to answer questions: is there a real budget crisis in WI; are public sector employees really better paid (and unfairly so) than private sector employees? But the questions are rigged--according to "Founding Mother's" first post,

"The deal that unions, state government and -- by extension -- state residents have made to defer the compensation of public employees was a bad deal -- but it was a bad deal for the public employees, not for the state government. State and local governments were able to hire better workers now by promising higher pay later. They essentially hired on an installment plan. And now they might not follow through on it. The ones who got played here are the public employees, not the residents of the various states. The residents of the various states, when all is said and done, will probably have gotten the work at a steep discount. They'll force a renegotiation of the contracts and blame overprivileged public employees for resisting shared sacrifice."

It's a bad deal for the employees if they don't get paid; but it's obviously a bad deal for the taxpayers of WI if they do get paid (I don't question the entire questionable "deferred payment" for higher skilled workers for the sake of this argument, however dubious it seems to me). But a deal that can't be good for both sides is obviously bad. Founding Mother doesn't even deny the need to cut back on employment compensation--she just doesn't like the "narrative." It's all completely incoherent.

But there's a way of cutting through it all--the questions are not even real questions. As I pointed out in my previous comment, public sector unions are nonsensical and unworkable--there's no justification for state employees to organize AGAINST THE TAXPAYERS. That one simple fact cuts through all the "corporate shill" and evil "narrative" talk.

Posted by: adam62 | February 23, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

The best thing about this blog its leftist commentators -- or, to be more precise, the high percentage of commentators who, day after day, document in detail the misinformation spewed by Jennifer Rubin, and reveal her to be the garden variety corporate shill that she is.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 23, 2011 7:24 PM |
------------------

Actually, the most entertaining thing about this blog is reading what passes for "documentation" by Ms.Rubin's leftist critics. I see ad hominem attacks on Ms. Rubin and conservative commentators, the offering of myths and fictions with no basis in objective fact, and the use of left-wing news sources to provide allegedly authoritative fact. I have yet to see you J_B_A provide documentation of anything you say. But why should you be expected to offer more and better information than the leaders of the Democratic party?

Posted by: paco33 | February 23, 2011 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: paco33: I have yet to see you J_B_A provide documentation of anything you say. But why should you be expected to offer more and better information than the leaders of the Democratic party?
_______________

Let me oblige you. Here is what I posted this am, and here is the documentation -- in full -- in living color:

"No one will be surprised to learn that today, February 23, Fox News broadcast a backward graphic falsely reporting that '61 Percent' of Americans are 'in favor of taking bargaining rights away.' Fox aired the results of the poll completely backward: the Gallup poll found that 61 percent of Americans are opposed to taking away collective bargaining rights. See documented details on Media Matters website."

http://mediamatters.org/research/201102230006

Posted by: J_B_A | February 23, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Amen paco33. Day after day I read the lefty comments and think, if this is the best they've got, it must be terrible to be a liberal.

Posted by: TYoke | February 23, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse

"Let me oblige you. Here is what I posted this am, and here is the documentation -- in full -- in living color:

"No one will be surprised to learn that today, February 23, Fox News broadcast a backward graphic falsely reporting that '61 Percent' of Americans are 'in favor of taking bargaining rights away.' Fox aired the results of the poll completely backward: the Gallup poll found that 61 percent of Americans are opposed to taking away collective bargaining rights. See documented details on Media Matters website."

http://mediamatters.org/research/201102230006"

So, FOX made a mistake or LIED! And this is a meaningful fact why? The interesting question, which you seem strangely uninterested in, is, if the poll says what it seems to say (and is correct), why shouldn't this be a great political victory for the Democrats? Shouldn't this battle turn things around for them, as they defend a view shared by such a solid majority of Americans? And yet nobody--not Democrats, not Republicans, not the unionists themselves--seem to be behaving this way. Odd! The Democrats should be enthusiastically casting their votes, knowing the great bounty it will bring them in the next election; similarly, the unions should be rejoicing in their show of solidarity which is sure to bring ever widening echoes of support across the country. Meanwhile, the Republicans' behavior would be unintelligible--are they this idealistic, or suicidal? But inexplicably, the Democrats and unions come across as desperate, even panicky, while the Republicans proceed calmly and seemingly perfectly assured of the rightness and ultimate victory of their cause. How could that be?

Posted by: adam62 | February 23, 2011 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Fox made another mistake. Darn. Hate when that happens.

Presumably you haven't noticed that, during the past decade or so, the corporate media has not been remotely worried about concealing misinformation. There was a time when factual truth mattered. That time is long past. Fox News, right wing radio shows, and other right wing dominated media long ago figured out that it is quite possible, and effective, to pump out nonstop lies without any adverse consequences whatsoever. When Media Matters documents the lies, the corporate media either attacks the messenger, or, more often, simple spews out more misinformation. It isn't just lies. It's in-your-face, I-dare-you-to-do-anything-about-it lies.

And you suggest that Fox News "made a mistake."

Posted by: J_B_A | February 23, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm also enjoying the comments from the leftists here - mostly personal attacks on JR and not much in the way of reasoned debate points.

I expected better from WP readers, but if that's the best they've got..the future looks good for progressives advocating from the conservative side.

Posted by: Otiose1 | February 23, 2011 10:04 PM | Report abuse

"Oh, Fox made another mistake. Darn. Hate when that happens.

Presumably you haven't noticed that, during the past decade or so, the corporate media has not been remotely worried about concealing misinformation. There was a time when factual truth mattered. That time is long past. Fox News, right wing radio shows, and other right wing dominated media long ago figured out that it is quite possible, and effective, to pump out nonstop lies without any adverse consequences whatsoever. When Media Matters documents the lies, the corporate media either attacks the messenger, or, more often, simple spews out more misinformation. It isn't just lies. It's in-your-face, I-dare-you-to-do-anything-about-it lies.

And you suggest that Fox News "made a mistake.""


The horror! Our great media, once pure as the driven snow, has been polluted. Cry the beloved country! That damn FOX--it's just like Hitler. And the Koch brothers are involved somehow as well, I just know it!

I guess all of this moaning gets in the way of explaining why, exactly, there should be public sector unions in the first place. I'm sure once you, along with the formidable folks at Media Matters, have cleaned the Aegean stables of the enormous pile of lies, you'll get around to actually thinking about some of these questions. Or, you'll just remain really, really angry at anyone who doesn't rush to turn off FOX News as soon as they sense its malign presence (if it's on while you're waiting for your car at the mechanic, I encourage you to take a stand and change the channel).

Posted by: adam62 | February 23, 2011 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Presumably you are capable of comprehending that, in a poll conducted on February 21, USA Today and Gallup found that 61 percent of those polled would oppose a law similar to the one Gov. Walker is proposing in Wisconsin, and that today, February 23, 2011, Fox News reported that 61 percent of Americans are in favor of taking away collective bargaining rights from public unions. Presumably you know, or suspect, that, as of this moment, Fox News has not retracted -- or even acknowledged -- this falsehood.

Your flippant post suggest that you regard this as trivial. I am not surprised. At the moment, the left and the right in political USA have different moral standards.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 23, 2011 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it's utterly trivial. It doesn't speak well for FOX, but no one is forced to watch FOX, and certainly not only FOX, while FOX reports plenty of things and gives voice to perspectives that the liberal media excludes--anyway, none of this has any effect on any of the events underway in WI. And you apparently don't know what a laughingstock Media Matters is on the right, especially to readers of Mark Steyn and James Taranto. They're trolls, pretty transparently looking for falsehoods, and things they can spin as falsehoods to help their side--not exactly disinterested inquirers into the truth. I personally love their self-important tone mixed with their pathetic ginning up of the most marginal issues. For me, that's also part of democracy, and I'd rather laugh at them than stew.

But back to the real question--the country is all in, supporting the unions, certainly ready to punish all those politicians who seek to encroach upon their "rights." It's a great time to be leftist, no? Why all the anger over silly FOX, which surely only speaks to a small, irrelevant minority of Americans?

Posted by: adam62 | February 23, 2011 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I will pretend that you asked a serious question (which of course you did not) and attempt a serious answer:

The Constitution of the United States of American reflects the founders' belief that people cannot be trusted with power. In every case, the power granted to one of the three branches of government is subject to review, or veto, or oversight, or participation, by at least one other branch. Thus, the Executive branch must seek approval of the Judicial branch in order to conduct a lawful search of private property. The Legislative branch cannot pass legislation over Executive veto except by vote of a super majority. Only Congress can declare war; but only the President commands the military in time of war, etc., etc.

The founders were manifestly correct in their view of human nature. And human nature does not change. And precisely because human nature does not change, the propaganda arm of political ideologues -- I speak of Fox News -- combined with the increasing power of the uber-weathy -- I speak of the Koch brothers and other hard core right wing ideologues with vast resources and few, if any scruples -- poses a clear and present danger to USA.

But, as I say, you did not actually intend to ask a serious question. I'm just pretending that you did.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 23, 2011 11:37 PM | Report abuse

J_B_A: LOL!! That's it!! That's the best you have!? I don't think you have any idea how well you illustrated my point. As I said, "the most entertaining thing about this blog is reading what passes for 'documentation' by Ms.Rubin's leftist critics."

Posted by: paco33 | February 24, 2011 12:17 AM | Report abuse

As I said . . .

Posted by: J_B_A | February 24, 2011 12:41 AM | Report abuse

"...that of dividing the world into discrete facts and, conveniently those very discrete facts..."

Thank you very much adam62 for your great posts, but discreet factoids are more my style. Got any good dirt to dish? :)

Posted by: aardunza | February 24, 2011 4:54 AM | Report abuse

Ohhhh fooey on the 'facts.' Nuance is key. "On TV, George Will, e.g., is (take your pick, rude, nice, funny, tedious, witty, harsh, boring, interesting, hilarious, sober, etc.)" Is this a 'fact'?? Depends on the guest and your point of view, doesn't it? I do notice he likes to put his finger on his brow for some reason, is that significant?

Great discussion, J_B_A and adam62, and others, and that's a fact, or is it? :)

Posted by: aardunza | February 24, 2011 5:13 AM | Report abuse

What the hell is Quality, anyhow? ;-)

Posted by: aardunza | February 24, 2011 5:22 AM | Report abuse

"Thank you very much adam62 for your great posts, but discreet factoids are more my style. Got any good dirt to dish? :)"

Well, you surely heard about that silly hoax phone call from that reporter in Buffalo trying to expose the evil network between the Koch brothers and Scott Walker... check out the Power Line blog for more.

"The founders were manifestly correct in their view of human nature. And human nature does not change. And precisely because human nature does not change, the propaganda arm of political ideologues -- I speak of Fox News -- combined with the increasing power of the uber-weathy -- I speak of the Koch brothers and other hard core right wing ideologues with vast resources and few, if any scruples -- poses a clear and present danger to USA. "

It's true that I've been getting less and serious in tone as your comments have been getting (unintentionally, I assume) funnier and funnier, but if you feel up to it I am curious: do FOX and uber-wealthy friends threaten to overthrough the government in the name of the people, the executive in the name of the legislative and the judicial, the legislative and judicial in the name of the executive, etc.? What, exactly, is the threat to the Founder's design here?


Posted by: adam62 | February 24, 2011 7:07 AM | Report abuse

The trouble Ms Rubin is that there are other studies which also reach the same conclusion. Are there any reasonable studies that reach the opposite conclusion, i.e. that the total compensation of public employees is more than that of comparable private ones?

"The nonpartisan National Institute on Retirement Security found that, on average, total compensation is 6.8 percent less for state employees and 7.4 percent less for local employees than for comparable non-government workers."

Syl Schieber, a private expert on pensions says that many of the other studies value the pensions of public employees too low, but even after making his correction he comes up with the conclusion that the total compensation of comparable public employees is less. ("Political Economy of Public Sector Retirement Plans")

Then there is the study of Bender and Heywood who I believe are at the U of Wisc.

Finally the is the result of the Federal Compensation Board which was that on average, public employees are paid 24% less than comparable private ones. This does not include benefits, but if you take the largest difference in benefits from the other studies (Scheiber's) which is 10.8% and subtract it, you would get a difference of 13.2% less total compensation for public employees.

And so on.

Posted by: lensch | February 24, 2011 7:41 AM | Report abuse

lensch: the National Institute on Retirement Security is hardly non-partisan. Here's their Board of Directors: http://www.nirsonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13&Itemid=42

Posted by: paco33 | February 24, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Looks like you understood my post re the separation of powers as some kind of bizarre theory that Fox News poses a threat to the founders' design. I am sorry for you.

Re the hoax phone call, I'm sure Fox spun it exactly as you describe -- a silly hoax phone call . . . trying to expose the evil network between the Koch brothers and Scott Walker. It was, of course, a dramatic demonstration of exactly who calls the shot in the Governor's office in Madison, and it is not Scott Walker. If that "silly hoax phone call" does not bring Walker down within the next 12 months, it will be a major surprise.

Posted by: J_B_A | February 24, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

"Looks like you understood my post re the separation of powers as some kind of bizarre theory that Fox News poses a threat to the founders' design. I am sorry for you."

No, your claim that FOX News "poses a clear an present danger to the USA" along with your brief summary of the Federalist Papers led me to believe that FOX poses such a threat. What else could it lead anyone to believe?

Posted by: adam62 | February 24, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Your Center for Union Facts study does exactly what they claim The EcPI study does. Make up their own convenient facts. The main point of the EcPI study was not comparing unionized state employees with large company employees. It was rather comparing government vs private by educational requirements and experience.

That is where the difference is. The average private sector employee has a high school diploma and the average public employee has a college degree. When compared to degreed and especially liscensed employees in the private sector, public employees are paid far less.

At the M.A. and above level which is a huge fraction in the public sector, the disparity is on the order of 30%.

This BS "study" does a lovely job comparing apples to raisins. I am stunned to discover that university professors earn slightly more than workers in the fast food industry. Unlike you the stunning for me is because of the word slightly.

Posted by: nevinspa | February 24, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Rick Berman ?

Are they kidding?
The very same Richard Berman who said “Cripples” threaten the nation’s economy?

The Worshipfull Master who believed anyone with a disability, or a child in a wheelchair, or a loved one who is blind should all sit in their houses and rot?

“The ridiculous Americans With Disabilities Act will CRIPPLE the hospitality industry”

Yup, Berman said that.

Protections for the disabled, according to Chairman Berman, will take down the nation’s economy.

Chairman Rick ‘advised’ the clueless 1989 American Congress that ” a vote against the Americans with Disabilities Act was " like kicking a cripple”

He should know.

According to Chairman Rick, the spineless President Bush and his pantywaist legislature supported the ADA ONLY because they were "afraid of appearing insensitive”.

Mr. Berman is certainly not threatened with sensitivity.

Rick Berman’s bottom line?


If you...
are a member of a union
lost a child to a drunk driver
want a better life for livestock
have a parent in a wheelchair
want to feed the hungry
are bothered by smokers while you eat in a restaurant
support higher salaries for teachers & firefighters?

Chairman Rick believes you have no reason for living.

Posted by: TerryWard | February 26, 2011 3:23 PM | Report abuse

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