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SPENDING: Don’t blame public employee unions

Letter by Linda L. Higgins, Tacoma on Feb. 21, 2012 at 1:04 pm with 11 Comments »
February 21, 2012 2:47 pm

Re: “Easier to give away that to take back” (letter, 2-20).

I take issue with the claim that public employee unions and politicians who support them are a main contributor toward bankruptcy at all levels of government. This is another version of placing blame on public employees for government budget woes.

I am a member of a public employee union (Washington Education Association), and I make no apology for my pay or benefits. Public employee unions have supported living wages and benefits for all public workers – teachers, police, firefighters, nurses, social workers and others. I don’t understand why some people think public workers are less deserving of these than private sector workers.

Blaming public employees and unions reflects hostility toward the public sector that can be heard regularly on right-wing talk radio and other conservative media outlets. Unfortunately, this diverts attention away from the real causes of government shortfalls, which are reprehensible behavior of some people in the corporate world and financial services and an unfair tax code.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. aislander says:

    It isn’t a matter of how “deserving” public employees may be (is “deserving” the same as “earning,” anyway?), but of how much money in taxes may be extracted from the private economy that makes the public sector possible.

    There is a point at which government at all levels becomes a parasite that kills its host, and we all know that if the host dies, so does the parasite…

  2. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Unions hire their boss in a perverted relationship (‘vote for me and I will give you benefits the private sector can only dream about’). Unions are against pay based on merit.

    Unfair tax code? Property and sales taxes. So unfair, to property owners who pay thousands for education and have to deal with a failed education system asking for more and more money.

    Corporate and financial employees and taxes? I am guessing you are just mixing OWS talking points and your own union bias, but local education is funded locally.

  3. writnstuff says:

    aislander “There is a point at which government at all levels becomes a parasite that kills its host, and we all know that if the host dies, so does the parasite‚Ķ”

    Hey, would you share that sentiment with Santorum? Maybe he’ll rethink his concerns about putting the needs of the earth over man.

  4. aislander says:

    I think we should be partners with our environment. I don’t see us as parasites, so I have nothing to tell Santorum.

    Government can be the partner of the private sector by creating an environment (in several senses of the word) in which wealth can be created, but it has far overstepped its bounds and has become…a parasite.

  5. Good letter Linda. It’s funny how public employees are now the enemy. I don’t recall school teachers, firefighters, or nurses were the ones who tanked the economy. But in some circles they are the ones who have to pay for it with a lower standard of living. Wonder who they are going to go after next, minimum wage workers? Oh wait didn’t they….sorry.

    Bottom line I guess it’s easier to pit on group against another so the real problems are ignored.

  6. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Look at the long term obligations. Look at California. This is about economics, not politics.

  7. Take issue with it; but you are WRONG! Just look at Wisconsin and Indiana(over the past 5 years). Limiting collective bargaining privileges(they are not rights) for public employees unions is a necessary part of getting our fiscal house in order. It is not a lack of revenue; it is spending out of control. Your wage, benefits and pension are far out of the marketplace.

  8. olympicmtn says:

    Another “owe me” person sucking down public dollars.

  9. “Your wage, benefits and pension are far out of the marketplace.”

    Citation needed.

  10. Pacman33 says:

    “I am a member of a public employee union (Washington Education Association), and I make no apology for ……… ”
    ……. anything, anything at all. Never. Not The U.S. students international testing results, down in the ranking’s cellar with the likes of Mexico and Turkey. Certainly not the infinite depths of the rabbit-hole that is our pitiful Public Education System.

  11. Linda, you exemplify ‘out of touch’ and ‘clueless’. Yes the tax code is unfair when about 47% do not pay any income taxes. Yes, it is unfair when the upper 20% of earners pay upwards of 60% of the income taxes.

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