The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

An interesting comment on organized labor

I don't always agree with Bill O'Reilly, especially when he writes on issues like separation of church and state. But he wrote a column, which I read in the Washington Examiner, which I like enough to reproduce here. (I can't find it on the Examiner's site, but only on O'Reilly's own, so I do not give a link.)

There's lots of angst in the air after Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa called Tea Party people SOB's and urged voters to "take them out." Immediately, voter registration jumped among members of the Gambino family. Apparently, Mr. Hoffa is angry that some Americans want to put a lid on public sector pensions and perks which are bankrupting municipalities all over the country. Old Jimmy believes this is "taking the bread out of the mouths" of American workers.

For decades, union power has intimidated politicians in both parties. I mean, if you were running for office, would you want big union money flowing into your opponent's campaign? Would you want organized demonstrations at your rallies? How about work slowdowns, sudden mass worker illness, or anti-you phone campaigns? Unions have power and power rules.

Thus, many American unions have secured lucrative benefits for their members—benefits that have drained treasuries. The Post Office, for example, is on the verge of bankruptcy, not able to repay $5.5 billion in loans from the Treasury Department. The huge cost of postal retirement benefits is one of the main reasons an American institution may collapse.

All of this is not the fault of the workers. They did their jobs and are entitled to what was negotiated. But public money has run out, and going forward, big changes will have to be made if the American economy is to expand. Jimmy Hoffa can huff and puff all day long, but if he succeeds in blocking economic reform, he will indeed blow the entire house down.

President Obama needs union votes to win reelection. Therefore, he did not condemn Hoffa's over-the-top rhetoric even though he campaigned for verbal restraint in his Arizona speech. Mr. Obama will also not go up against the unions and demand fiscal reform. He will position himself as the champion of the working stiff, even if it means more disasters like the Post Office.

Previously in this space, I discussed my membership in AFTRA, a union that represents TV and radio people. When some greedy suits tried to con me and my colleagues at the syndicated program "Inside Edition" out of pension money, AFTRA fought them and won. So, unions are needed, but they should be optional. No American worker should be forced to pay union dues. Employees must weigh self-reliance against union protections.

With union power in decline, Jimmy Hoffa needs an enemy to rail against, and the Tea Party provides him that. But if he were honest, Hoffa would see the Tea folks simply want financial responsibility and fairness in the public sector. Living within your means is a key to economic success. Gaming the system through intimidation and threats is not.

Hoffa's not looking out for his country on this one.

This time, O'Reilly has it exactly right. I fully agree.

No comments: