Thursday, December 2, 2010

Maybe it's just me but the placement of two letters to the editor in the Thursday Dec. 2, 2010, Providence Journal caught my eye for two reasons; first, the 'right' position was on the left side and the 'left' position was on the right side. Just a coincidence?

But the second, more important reason was, that here, in two letters, side by side, we see a larger national problem.

One author paints the unions as the victims of greedy corporations, doing the same as they do.
The other author paints the unions as villains out to destroy private enterprise and the public.

The facts suggest that there is truth and blame on both sides.

Public sector unions have made it difficult for municipalities to deliver services that people can afford.  Compared to the private sector, their retirement benefits are most enviable and in some cases rather outrageous.

Their interest ultimately is not for the welfare of the people but themselves.

The corporate world complains that unions make it impossible for them to compete and that the unions are responsible for outsourcing jobs. Still, their profits are the highest in history.

Their interest ultimately is not for the welfare of the people but themselves.

One of the pillars of America is our court system.  It is an adversarial system where justice requires the presence of a judge whose job it is to be sure the rules are followed and fairness prevails, and an impartial jury whose job it is to render a verdict after hearing both sides.

It isn't working well in the public arena. We are the 'jury' but we clearly don't listen openly to both sides of an issue; and the laws, which, like judges, try to assure the rules are followed, have failed miserably, replaced by lobbyists and donations from both sides.

Let us hope that both sides soon wake up and take a hard look in the mirror.


R. Brouillet said...

Hi Harvey,
If we understand a corporation’s fiduciary responsibility it to its shareholders, not to “ the people” we can better understand the difference between private and public sector unions. Corporations must please “the people” with products or services if they want to thus earn profits to pay employees. In a free market, competition will destroy unproductive companies and be replaced by those who produce superior products at better prices. Employees can choose weather or not to belong to a union and if that arrangement is unsatisfactory the employer can close shop, go out of business (or petition the govt. for some of the peoples money to prop up their failure) and the employee is free to seek a different job at any time. These market forces don’t apply to the public sector so we must apply different standards for each sector. (If my fire dept. is inefficient I can’t buy those services from another.)

About 7% private sector wage earners belong to unions vs. 35% in public sector

Harvey said...

Ah, the ideal world we all would want. Were it only so. As far as public v private unions they indeed are different animals and public unions in my opinion have lost much of their credibility and integrity. As have many corporations who, acting together, couldn't care less about the people they supposedly serve. I envy you your faith in capitalism. I believe it too has succumbed to the same temptations - greed.

Rich said...

The alternative to free market capitalism under rule of law is the fascist model where people like this ( make rules for trade. I’ll take millions of people making individual decisions to make up the marketplace. This is often messy and many bad decisions are made but the net result is always, in the long run, good.

Harvey said...

I remember that incident and found it embarrassing to put it mildly. HIs explanation was plausible though his choice of metaphor could be improved.

I could also find examples on the 'other' side suggesting that the best interests of the people would not be served if left to individual decisions.

Even democratic rule can become tyrannical. My only point is that we need to have a healthy respect for both sides of this issue and that neither one has the exclusive right to what's best for a people.

You present Hank Johnson. I present Sarah Palin. She can see Russia from her house.

Rich said...

I used Rep. Johnson as an example because the video was easy to find, not because I think The GOP is any better than the Dems. I think most of our senators and representatives too stupid to vote on two thousand page laws that micromanage our lives at the same time they can’t be bothered to read the bill. The bill that created the massive interstate highway system was twelve pages.