Friday, March 4, 2011

Two great editorials today

Both from the Wall Street Journal...

The first is from Peggy Noonan and she has a great editorial on the public union issue and makes the very important point that this is about the unions and their power, not about individual union members: Public Unions Get Too 'Friendly'

Unions have been respected in America forever, and public employee unions have reaped that respect. There are two great reasons for this. One is that unions always stood for the little guy. The other is that Americans like balance. We have management over here and the union over here, they'll talk and find balance, it'll turn out fine.

But with the public employee unions, the balance has been off for decades. And when they lost their balance they fell off their pedestal.

When union leaders negotiate with a politician, they're negotiating with someone they can hire and fire. Public unions have numbers and money, and politicians need both. And politicians fear strikes because the public hates them. When governors negotiate with unions, it's not collective bargaining, it's more like collusion. Someone said last week the taxpayers aren't at the table. The taxpayers aren't even in the room.

This is not Republicans versus workers or the rich versus the middle class. In spite of the Left’s best efforts, aided as always by the willing accomplices and mouthpieces in the mainstream media, this is really a struggle within the middle-class.

I am not interested or attempting to bash union members. I have a sister who is a union public school teacher. My wife has a bunch of family members who are either active union members (electricians, operating engineers, etc.) or retired (carpenters, police officers). Union members are by and large just like non-union workers. There are hard workers and lazy workers in both camps. The issue is whether or not states can afford to continue offering the current salaries and benefits to state workers. The ability to pay them is not based on profits but on tax revenues and the sobering reality is that there is simply not enough revenue at the state level or handouts from Uncle Sam at the federal level to support the current levels of spending. Either the public unions need to go or people are going to lose their jobs.

The other editorial comes from Senator Jim DeMint making the case for eliminating the Federal subsidies for NPR and PBS: Public Broadcasting Should Go Private . As he points out, the executives at both organizations make a ton of money...

The executives at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which distributes the taxpayer money allocated for public broadcasting to other stations, are also generously compensated. According to CPB's 2009 tax forms, President and CEO Patricia de Stacy Harrison received $298,884 in reportable compensation and another $70,630 in other compensation from the organization and related organizations that year. That's practically a pittance compared to Kevin Klose, president emeritus of NPR, who received more than $1.2 million in compensation, according to the tax forms the nonprofit filed in 2009.

If you think that is a lot, check out what the head of Sesame Workshop (i.e. Sesame Street) makes:

Meanwhile, highly successful, brand-name public programs like Sesame Street make millions on their own. "Sesame Street," for example, made more than $211 million from toy and consumer product sales from 2003-2006. Sesame Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell received $956,513 in compensation in 2008. With earnings like that, Big Bird doesn't need the taxpayers to help him compete against the Nickleodeon cable channel's Dora the Explorer.

Gee Bert, why are we giving them Federal funds again?
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