EDITOR:This is in response to a letter from July 25 titled "Public and private unions." I'd like to start with a little about myself. I am pro-life, pro-gun, pro-traditional marriage, and a Christian.
I believe our federal government hurts private business by extreme over-regulation.
That the Supreme Court decision on the health care act is the worst decision since Dred Scott, when the Supremes ruled that slavery was legal, even in non-slave states, completely ignoring the basic precept of our government that all men are created equal.
That our government is jeopardizing our very existence as a country by spending trillions more than they take in.
That we have lost more of our rights as Americans in the last three years than in the last 30 years combined.
That illegal immigration is just that - illegal.
That, as Presidents Jackson and Kennedy did, the Federal Reserve system should be abolished.
That we need to bring back gold-backed currency. That our federal government has far more power than was intended by the Constitution.
That we are severely over-taxed.
That our welfare system traps people in perpetual poverty rather than helping them take a step up.
That affirmative action is government backed racism.
That socialism and communism are as deep a threat to the well-being of our country as they ever were during the cold war.
That modern Democrats would do well to revisit Kennedy's comments about asking not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.
That people did build that small business for themselves. One more thing. I have been a labor union member, both private and public sector, for 28 out of the last 30 years.
You stated private sector union membership has fallen to less than 7 percent. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that Chinese prison camp workers are not unionized, and can be forced to work at slave wages, and that we cannot compete with that whether we have unions or not.
Private sector jobs in this country are being shipped overseas at an alarming rate. Why? To break private sector unions. There is no doubt in my mind that some greedy corporate executive (picture Montgomery Burns thrumming his fingers) dreamed this up with malicious glee and with the full intent of breaking private sector unions. Hasn't that worked just great for our economy?
Unions gave you a 40-hour work week, health insurance, paid sick and vacation days, pensions, and the like whether you were ever in a union or not. Now our economy is crashing because the wages employers want to pay in this country cannot support a family without government help.
Is a living wage really too much to ask for?
I'd rather support my family by my own efforts, pay less taxes, and not have to rely on a government handout because my employer can't pay me enough to survive without it. Do you see a little mix of both Democrats and Republicans compounding the problems there?
One side does not want your employer to have to pay you enough to survive, but still wants to limit your taxes and the government aid you need because of the low wages, and the other side wants to tax the bejesus out of the people creating jobs so they have unlimited amounts of someone else's hard-earned money to give away to people who can't find a job because the business owners taxes are too high.
Good God. Both of you. Wake up. Incidentally, pensions and benefits did not cause the financial crisis.
It was unscrupulous bankers playing fast and loose with our hard-earned money. That's what caused the pension funds to look unsustainable. American jobs going to China caused people to default on their mortgages, not unions.
It was the management that shipped those jobs overseas, not unions. (Again, picture Montgomery Burns thrumming his fingers)
You are incorrect in stating that public sector unions have special leverage. If service is lousy, public sector employees can and will be fired.
It's a flat out lie to say otherwise. Is there corruption in some unions? Sure, but does that make all unions and members bad? Well, is there corruption in management of big corporations? You bet, but does that make all execs and corporations bad?
Give it a rest, these blanket statements that label all because of the few. You say public unions invest in getting people elected. Last time I checked, big corporations did, too.
Doesn't our Constitution guarantee freedom of speech and expression and assembly, or is that just for the people you agree with? Benefit packages are not excessive in the public sector, and how dare you right-wing talking heads continue to say so.
Twenty years ago, private sector benefits were much better than public. I know that because I actually took a cut in pay and health care benefits 23 years ago to move from the private sector to the public.
However, public sector bennies did not get better; private sector benefits were lost to Chinese slave labor. That is what you are now comparing it too, and that is a grossly unfair comparison, the height of hypocrisy.
The taxpayer is always represented at the negotiating table, by the way. Personally, I've always found it just a little disingenuous that my tax dollars are used to get my personal benefits and pay lowered, while right-wing talking heads spout off about how lowering taxes makes wages and benefits better for everyone.
And, yes, my benefits have deteriorated seriously and steadily since the day I first took a public sector job, but you don't ever hear that when you listen only to one side of the argument. I listen to both.
On FDR, he was a raging, liberal, power-centralizing socialist, the likes of which we haven't seen until the last presidential election.
Yet, you choose a quote by him to make your point. Curious. Union members are people.
They are individuals, not mindless parrots as some would have you believe. Myself, I've always considered myself to be a conservative, leaning towards libertarian, since I was old enough to vote.
Imagine that, a union guy who regularly votes for people who actually hurt my personal financial situation. I must be a first-class idiot - or something.
Would you, sir, vote for someone who will look you right in the eye and say that if elected he will cut your personal wages, benefits, retirement, and health insurance, just because you agreed with his moral values more than his opponents'?
If you did, like I have done on several occasions, I'd have to tip my hat to you and call you either a great patriot for putting state and country ahead of personal gain - or a first-class idiot.