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Renegade

Chicago Teachers on Strike

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Unions exist to promote the interests of the union members.  That is as it should be.   A union shouldn't be expected to care about budgets, taxes, or other city/state priorities.  So, when Democrats are are responsible for governing a city or state, they can find themselves in the unwelcome position of opposing union demands. 

 

That Democrats and liberals tend to be pro-union is a good thing...up to a point.  The CTU strike highlights a potential pitfall for Democrats in city and state government.  They can't say 'yes' to everything a union asks for.  No matter what you give a union today, they'll want more tomorrow.  That's not a fault of unions, it's a feature.  By design, they must always try to improve the well-being of their members...more safety, better working conditions, improved benefits, higher pay, etc.   No union representative ever went into a contract negotiation and said "We're OK here.  We don't need anything."   If they did, they'd be voted out in a heartbeat.

 

So, in areas like Chicago where Democrats have unchallenged power for a long period of time, they can get stuck in a dilemma.  If they try too hard year after year to satisfy the various public-sector unions, they'll end up with ever-increasing taxes, capital flight, onerous pension liabilities, and unhappy voters.  On the other hand, if they don't support the unions, they lose critical support in Democratic primaries.  It's a tough tightrope to walk. 

 

It didn't impress me when Elizabeth Warren (I think Bernie did this too) went to Chicago to stand with the union for a photo-op without even making an effort to consider the challenges local Democratic elected officials were facing.  Pro-union sentiment needs to be tempered by an appreciation for real-world finances.  Do we have the money?  Is this the best use for that money?  Don't expect the union to tell you when they have enough.  That's not their purpose.

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Other union news I just became aware of apparently the oil refining industry here in Ca is now mandated to use union contractors only for their temporary maintenance positions and scheduled shutdowns. Big win for organized labor.

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Education is the cornerstone of American Democracy.  It's the first line of defense for liberty.  So yeah, I'd say it's worth it.  I don't really see people ever asking "Can we really afford to spend money on roads?"  But they always seem to be willing to ask if it's worth spending money on our futures by investing in children and reducing classroom sizes.   Today's children are tomorrow's voters.  And tomorrows voters are the next days leaders.

Also I think the whole "You can't give them everything they ask for!" line is ridiculous.  If you refuse to give them everything they ask for, they learn to ask for more than they need.  Because that's the only way they'll get what they need.  If you ask for 10 new teachers, and get 5, you ask for 20 teachers and hope to get 10.  That's what that kind of thinking leads to.  I'm not saying there's not a time to say 'no'.  But 'no's' should be carefully considered.

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On 11/4/2019 at 6:50 AM, Renegade said:

Unions exist to promote the interests of the union members.  That is as it should be.   A union shouldn't be expected to care about budgets, taxes, or other city/state priorities.  So, when Democrats are are responsible for governing a city or state, they can find themselves in the unwelcome position of opposing union demands. 

 

That Democrats and liberals tend to be pro-union is a good thing...up to a point.  The CTU strike highlights a potential pitfall for Democrats in city and state government.  They can't say 'yes' to everything a union asks for.  No matter what you give a union today, they'll want more tomorrow.  That's not a fault of unions, it's a feature.  By design, they must always try to improve the well-being of their members...more safety, better working conditions, improved benefits, higher pay, etc.   No union representative ever went into a contract negotiation and said "We're OK here.  We don't need anything."   If they did, they'd be voted out in a heartbeat.

 

So, in areas like Chicago where Democrats have unchallenged power for a long period of time, they can get stuck in a dilemma.  If they try too hard year after year to satisfy the various public-sector unions, they'll end up with ever-increasing taxes, capital flight, onerous pension liabilities, and unhappy voters.  On the other hand, if they don't support the unions, they lose critical support in Democratic primaries.  It's a tough tightrope to walk. 

 

It didn't impress me when Elizabeth Warren (I think Bernie did this too) went to Chicago to stand with the union for a photo-op without even making an effort to consider the challenges local Democratic elected officials were facing.  Pro-union sentiment needs to be tempered by an appreciation for real-world finances.  Do we have the money?  Is this the best use for that money?  Don't expect the union to tell you when they have enough.  That's not their purpose.

that did not impress you? 

what were those teachers striking for, only more pay? 

they were fighting for a lot more than that, I thought.

you show up hungry in class, your young and nobody is taking

care of you at home, there is violence in the street,

you have to stay home after school, to try and stay safe.

I want my teachers to strike, and to stand up 

for me.

Are you kidding me? 

In Chicago, kids are getting killed

for being kids. 

Don't throw the baby out with the bath water

Don't reject the essential with the unessential

Is that what you are saying?

 

It wasn't a photo-op. And what do you know about

money, how it's made, how people are exploited,

each and everyday?

 

I stayed at a Best Western, that's how I know.

The lady cleaned the room each day, and 

I left a few bucks behind because she did a good

job.

This kind of crap isn't new. It's been going on for decades!!!

 

Peace!

 

 

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On 11/8/2019 at 1:25 AM, TheOldBarn said:

that did not impress you? 

what were those teachers striking for, only more pay? 

they were fighting for a lot more than that, I thought.

 

As near as I can tell, all the disagreements were about cost.   No one objected to more staff and smaller class sizes...only the cost of paying for it and the lack of funds.  If I've got it wrong, let me know.  There were also demands for "affordable housing", but doesn't that also boil down to money?   

 

Why is CTU casting the Chicago city government as bad guys?   Don't the sanitation workers deserve fair pay too?   What about the fire department?   If education takes all the money, what's left for other city services?  Anyway, I wasn't saying they shouldn't get what they're asking for.  The citizens of Chicago must decide that through their elected officials. 

 

My point was that the people who are telling the union there's no more money are progressive Democrats.  These are people who value children and education.  These are the good guys!  But, being in power, they actually have to balance a budget with limited spending and/or tax increases.  A teacher's union (or a presidential candidate) doesn't have to worry about any of that.  They can strike and picket and yell slogans because they don't actually have to make a city work.

 

"In standing up for CTU, none of the presidential contenders have criticized Lightfoot by name. Still, the public demands that teachers be treated fairly puts the new mayor in an awkward political posture, since she ran on a progressive agenda of strengthening neighborhood schools and building more opportunity in the city’s most poverty-stricken neighborhoods.Chicago Tribune

 

By all means, the union should advocate for what they believe.  The union is not in the wrong here.  I'm not talking to them.  I'm talking to other progressives.  I'm saying that support for union positions needs to be considered case by case...not given automatically on blind faith.  When progressives are in power (as in Chicago), they need to balance budgets, pursue multiple goals, balance priorities, and make tough decisions.  They need our support as much as the union does.

 

On 11/8/2019 at 1:25 AM, TheOldBarn said:

It wasn't a photo-op.

 

I used the term "photo-op" because Warren shows up, gets her picture taken, says some fiery words, and then she's gone, leaving the locals to actually solve real-world problems.  My impression is that for her it was just a campaign stop and a chance to say "I support unions".  For the people living through it, it's much more than that.  Warren offered campaign slogans but no help to solve the issues.  That's typical for a presidential candidate, but it also doesn't impress me. 

 

For someone who wants to be chief executive for the United States, she could have impressed me by showing some appreciation for the challenges Chicago's mayor is facing.

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Major of Chicago is tough job.

 

Quote

Chicago Faces Looming Deadline to Secure State Help for Budget

 

(Bloomberg) -- With less than two days to go in Illinois’s legislative veto session, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is running out of time to secure state help this year in closing the city’s biggest budget deficit in recent history.

 

Lightfoot is working to fill an $838 million budget shortfall as the city’s payments to its four massively underfunded pension plans ramp up in the coming year. Chicago is struggling with a $30-billion shortfall across its retirement system after years of not paying enough to the funds. The city’s mandated contributions to the funds climb to $1.68 billion in 2020, budget documents show.  

 

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On 11/13/2019 at 8:22 PM, Renegade said:

Major of Chicago is tough job.

 

 

It has to be a very tough job, I don't question that at all. The problem is the budget shortfall. I'm talking about the bigger picture. It's a leverage issue where pensions were promoted, and I do think you are talking about some of the high cost for paying out pensions. But this is not just a big city issue, this is also a national issue. When the big banks failed and the bottom dropped out in 2008, who do you think suffered the most? 

 

Peace!

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Hey Renegade, 

You make straight forward points, which make a lot of sense. I think you are on the right track. Please don't think I disagree with the points you make. I'd love to talk

to you about this more. My main point is that yes, Chicago's budget is what it is. But there are reasons behind it. Chicago by the way is one of the biggest cities in the US.

It was a major point between agriculture and trade for the entire nation once - that's what made it what it is today.

Chicago was once a big part of the engine of America, actually still is - even with all the horrible atrocities that

crippled so many hardworking people just trying their best to achieve the American dream there in the past, and even now, today.

So much revenue came out of that city. It is a major metropolis, 

and still living there, is wretched, for far too many. 

 

No I don't blame the current mayor for this. It's in the bigger scheme of things. We do need to think big about how we allow banks to invest, and about how the country as a whole raises revenues. I don't think it's a good idea to make promises that you cannot back up. That's a big issue with how many politicians operate these days. 

 

You are like me Renegade, in that you want to get to the bottom of this mess so that we can start operating with the facts at hand, and find the best way to invest taxpayers money.

First, we need more money. Yes, more revenue. We need to reduce waste at the same time. And we need to face the fact that we are sending too many young men to prison instead 

of providing a solid education for them, along with a good job and some hope. 

 

Most of these kids are just like you or me. I know how easy it would be to become corrupted if I had no direction at all, most especially in my early formative years.

 

Chicago has to deal with this today, the people there have to deal with many moving parts. I am talking about a couple of trillion dollars of spending, and I know that sounds like a lot, because it is. It's a lot of big time investment. But the fact is, economically, now is the time. WE have to push forward now, when payment on the debt is low. 

The goal we should be trying to reach is economic sustainability, which must be strategic, and the only way forward is real time investment, right now, towards that goal.

 

Call it an experiment if you want. But since you like economics, here is a great website which will help you in your search.

 

https://www.ineteconomics.org/

At hand is a whole lot of wealth,

but only if you learn how to utilize

it well.

 

Peace!

 

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On 11/16/2019 at 9:33 PM, TheOldBarn said:

Chicago has to deal with this today, the people there have to deal with many moving parts. I am talking about a couple of trillion dollars of spending, and I know that sounds like a lot, because it is. It's a lot of big time investment. But the fact is, economically, now is the time. WE have to push forward now, when payment on the debt is low. 

 

I agree with you on just about everything you said.  In this part, I assume you're talking about a "couple of trillion dollars" of federal (not city or state) money that would be spent nation wide and not just on Chicago?    If so, then, yes, I'm agreeing with that too.  My only hesitation is that we need to spend wisely.  As the saying goes, we need to 'teach people to fish' so they can have a brighter future and not just provide for their daily needs today (even though that's also important).

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