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Snark of the day - Input Junkie
June 22nd, 2012
01:42 pm

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Snark of the day
From Yglesias:
What you do with the contracting is that instead of handing money over to unionized public sector workers who hand some of the money back to Democratic Party politicians, you hand the money over to a contracting firm that hands some of the money back to Republican Party politicians.


Link thanks to The Agitator.

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From:whswhs
Date:June 22nd, 2012 05:54 pm (UTC)
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Well, that's not entirely accurate about the unionized public sector workers. They don't hand the money back themselves; rather, they have it taken from them by union officials who hand it back, with or without their consent. One of the big developments in Wisconsin was that when the state stopped withholding union dues from state employees' paychecks, a large fraction of the state employees—over half the ones represented by AFSCME, I believe—stopped paying dues. Which doesn't exactly strike me as evidence that the unions were serving their members.
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From:agrumer
Date:June 23rd, 2012 12:29 am (UTC)
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Or possibly that the workers just didn't realize how much the union was doing for them.

If tomorrow the government suddenly became unable to compel people to pay taxes, I expect a lot of people would immediately stop paying them. And most of those people would probably come to regret that decision pretty soon.
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From:whswhs
Date:June 23rd, 2012 03:30 am (UTC)
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Well, what's your methodology for distinguishing those two cases?

I mean, for comparison, back before the Civil War, there were a lot of people working on southern plantations, where the owners and managers of the plantations would assure you that their workers were getting a good deal, being well taken care of, and wouldn't be able to provide for themselves nearly as well—and so if they foolishly attempted to stop doing the work that was asked of them in return for that care, by running away, they needed to be brought back for their own good. Few of us now would buy that as a convincing argument. If the plantation owner said, "They just don't appreciate what their masters do for them," we would have no trouble in dismissing it as cynically self-serving, or in concluding that the very fact that it was necessary to keep the plantation workers there with brands and chains and bloodhounds, instead of leaving them free to go, is solid evidence that the deal can't have been all that good.

Where do you draw the line? And in particular, where do you draw it with a private organization, payments to which cannot be counted as taxes? Which private organizations are to share the state's privilege of declaring that its services are valuable, and compelling payment from them at whatever rate it chooses to set?
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From:agrumer
Date:June 23rd, 2012 05:08 am (UTC)
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Well, what's your methodology for distinguishing those two cases?

Which two cases?

If you're talking about union dues and taxes, I was drawing a similarity or parallel, not a distinction.
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From:whswhs
Date:June 24th, 2012 06:57 am (UTC)
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The two cases I had in mind were the workers don't realize how much the union is doing for them and the unions were not really serving their members all that well.
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From:agrumer
Date:June 26th, 2012 04:55 pm (UTC)
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In the 19th century, before the labor union movement really took off, how well did typical workers live?

In the mid-20th century, when unions were strong, how well did typical workers live?

In the late 20th century, and early 21st, when unions are weak (especially in the private sector), how well do typical workers live?
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From:subnumine
Date:July 7th, 2012 12:46 am (UTC)
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An elementary instance of the tragedy of the commons. If people can get away with not paying for something, many of them will; my local classical station gets support from 10% of its listeners. Yet the 90% like it enough to tune in.

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From:starmalachite
Date:June 23rd, 2012 01:35 am (UTC)
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when the state stopped withholding union dues from state employees' paychecks, a large fraction of the state employees—over half the ones represented by AFSCME, I believe—stopped paying dues.

Given how the state crippled unions' ability to negotiate terms & conditions for their members, union membership may no longer have looked like a good deal. Which, of course, was precisely the point of the exercise.
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From:agrumer
Date:June 23rd, 2012 04:52 pm (UTC)
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Nancy, you misspelled Yglesias. (Is Yngle a louse?)
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From:nancylebov
Date:June 23rd, 2012 08:50 pm (UTC)
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Corrected. I suppose it was a case of better world spelling.
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