John Ransom
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Shubi wrote:  Can the left explain why Obama gets so much funding from Wall Street? Is this an intimidation tactic to get more?

Dear Shubi-

Can the left explain anything? Really?

Here’s a group of people who spent their formative years demonstrating on campuses in the 1960s against corporate greed and war- and hitting the bong pretty hard.

And what have they done now that they are in power? They have masterminded incredible transfers of taxpayer dollars to their rich corporate friends. And with the wars in Libya and now Uganda, can it be too long before we expand our military presence to all of Africa, picking winners and losers there too?

Don’t get me wrong. If it serves some strategic purpose for America to send fighting troops any where in the world, I’m all for it. But this is hardly different than sending troops to Vietnam or Cambodia.

The scary thing about the OWS folks is that, just like our current generation of bong smokers who get misty-eyed about the 1960s, our next generation of political leaders will get misty-eyed about OWS- while they give out trillions in tax dollars to their friends and expand America’s war footprint to include troops in outer space to defend us from space aliens mad at us about climate change that we still are waiting for fifty years later. .

OWL wrote: Here is classic Republicanism: rather then say to yourself, "Hey, I also deserve that sort of salary," instead, you act jealous, demand that workers salaries be LOWERED TO YOURS, and like in a hundred other cases, you'd rather make everyone suffer since you DON'T BELIEVE YOU WILL EVER MAKE THAT KIND OF MONEY.

Dear Owl,

I thought Republicans hung around in country clubs with all the money. I know all my friends do.

No one is demanding that auto workers salaries be lowered.

We’re just making fun of them because of all the things that have helped conservatives win elections over the last three years union unreality in the face of high unemployment and lowered wages has been one of the most helpful.

Remember the big protests in Madison? The ones where unions were demanding that they make no sacrifices in benefits? Guess who was right?

According to the MacIver Institute cost savings generated by Scott Walker’s legislation cutting the power of the union to be the insurance provider for health and other benefits to Wisconsin teachers has saved $162,000,000 to the state without seriously changing the benefits teachers enjoy.

That savings is enough to create a surplus for this year’s budget in Wisconsin, which was facing a deficit of $130 million.

Look, if boneheads from the UAW go on strike because they don’t want to accept Ford’s offer of more money than either Chrysler or GM gave workers at the bargaining table, they should go ahead and strike. Don’t be surprised if Ford digs in and hires replacements.

The losers in all this will be: 1) Workers 2) Unions 3) Liberals 4) Obama.

Go ahead. Make my day.                       

Para Dimz wrote: Top rate is a bit over $30 per hour. Most make something less. New hires make half and no benefits. Benes are an additional one-third of the base wage, about. And not $58 presented as though it's is the pay stub wage like John Ransom wrote it.

Dear Para,

No one presented it like a pay stub wage.

Anyway you calculate it, the combined wage is pretty high for work that isn’t professional.

Good for them. No one is claming they shouldn’t get it.

Again, we’re just making fun of them for being the tools of the Obama administration and the UAW. The workers here are the quintessential definition of pawns caught up in politics at the highest level.

The UAW has targeted Ford because Ford isn’t under the thumb of the Obama administration.

Neither Obama nor the brass at the UAW gives a hoot about the workers in this.

They’ll use them until they are done with them. Then they’ll throw the workers to the wolves.

Obama will arrive in Chicago, convene a meeting of union workers and tell they to stop “whinin’ and stop complainin’” and put on their work boots and get back to work when it suits him.

You guys have elected someone who uses you, who makes fun of you and who never, ever would really sympathize with you.            

South Side of Chicago wrote:  Instead of demonizing the workers who earn these desirable wages, why don't you all unionize your workplaces and increase your own standard of living? I can’t believe people are unhappy with their own low salaries and instead of going after the people who pay them, they attack other Americans who did something about unfair labor practices. It's like you have Stockholm Syndrome, identifying more with the ones who exploit your labor than with your fellow working Americans. Why is complaining about a union worker's wages acceptable, but criticizing the tax policy towards the ultra-rich class warfare?

Dear South Side,

You really don’t understand how wages work.

You don’t just unionize and create higher wages.

Wages add to the cost of things, so if we were to just lift everyone’s wages, we’d also lift everyone’s grocery bill, energy bill, transportation costs, costs of everything imaginable. Then the wages that were just raised would be, in purchasing power, roughly the same as they were before.

In our society, generally speaking, we let the free markets take care of wages and prices. And generally speaking people get paid what they deserve.   

Illinois Roy wrote:  Hey guys. You do realize of course that the Teamsters don't run their own pension fund anymore right? Since 1982 it's been run by- you got it- Wall Street. With the federal government acting as the overseers. Uhhh it hasn't worked out too well obviously.

Actually, it’s worked out really well. The union no longer loans money to organized crimes figures. And the pension fund has generally beat the market.

Oh, do you mean that the pension funds haven’t done that well since 2002? No one has done well. But still you guys call Wall Street profiteers, greedy, etc. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t cry about lack of return in the market and exult that Wall Street had it coming.

We are all Wall Street.

Pensions have done about what the stock market has since 2002. Previous to Wall Street managing the pension funds, Hoffa and company had about 80 percent invested in real estate such as Las Vegas casinos.

The federal government forced those assets to be liquidated right before the real estate market crashed as a result of the savings and loan crisis.

Jump to the future: The problem is that the Teamsters have promised more in benefits than can be paid out at the prevailing contributions rate just like Social Security has.

Here’s a look at 108 under funded union pension plans as of 2009, courtesy Moody’s.

It ain’t Wall Street that has the problem, it’s unions.

Jonathan wrote: The Unions are doomed. They have outlived what they were supposed to have accomplished that is decent pay and safe working conditions. They and their friend however are not ready to go. Many Unions were born in violence and I believe they will go out the same way.

 

Dear Jonathan,

Let’s not hope with the bang you predict, but the whimper they deserve.

Don’t Tread on Me wrote:  All thru the post-Reagan yrs, far too many GOP'rs bought into the new phoney 'moderatism' doctrine of the establishment pop media & GOP insider pundits. This doctrine posited that Reagan policies neither worked nor were popular, & small-gov conservatism is to be considered fringe & "extreme." The magic solution was to find some "compromise" between the bat-guano insanity the Dems were pushing & the reasonable mini-gov conservative position. "Compromise" always turned out in practice to mean accept the Demmies' basic premises & dogmas, & then just give them half a loaf, for now. Dems of course invariably come back for the other half almost immediately.

Dear Don’t,

Well that’s how the people at the top stay in power. They don’t want the game to change too much, they just want to stay in charge so they can tip the board just enough to favor one side or another. Those days are concluding.

Steve wrote: "What Would Our Founding Radicals Have Thought About Occupy Wall Street?" I laughed out loud when I saw that one. Didn't even have to click the link. Our "founding radicals" would certainly have had most of the OWS demonstrators arrested on any of a number of legitimate charges. Those that managed to avoid prosecution would have certainly been presented with a bill for any costs incurred during their "occupations." Mostly, the OWS demonstrators would have been held in universal contempt for their general uselessness. Radical or not, our Founders were a thrifty, hardworking lot with no patience for whiny layabouts.

Dear Steve,

Unfortunately I clicked on the links. I think my feelings after reading the blog post can best be expressed by the debate scene from Billy Madison when the principal rebukes Billy for an incoherent answer:

“Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.” 
Patrick  wrote: It is instructive to note that Herman Cain is the only GOP presidential candidate who wants the blow up the current tax code and that all of his critics think it is better to keep the current tax code rather than implement a plan that will add millions of jobs.

Dear Patrick,

That’s it entirely.

Where’s the real leadership? Everyone admits that the tax code is broken. It doesn’t need a tiny fix, it needs to be comprehensively rebuilt. The tax code isn’t the Constitution. Let’s suspend the tax code and keep the Constitution.   

I don’t know if 999 is perfect or even good, but it’s headed in the right direction.

Because here’s the problem: The tax code, as it’s written today, is a land rush for lobbyists. Most of the lobbying has to do with keeping or getting some kind of tax consideration. Cut that off and much of the corruption in government goes with it.    

And here’s the most ominous part: The IRS itself admits that 1 in 4 people at any given time are not in compliance with the tax code. If that’s not a threat to out liberty, I don’t know what is.

Are we going to continue to have a government that writes laws so complicated that citizens can’t follow them?  

Robert G Munck wrote: Mr. Ransom, You are the Townhall Finance Editor. Please give us your analysis of Cain's 9-9-9 plan. In particular, I'd like to see your computation of the changes in taxes that it causes for families with incomes of $50K, $100K, $250K, and $1M. Say a family of four in each case.

Dear Robert,

I’m not an economist and I don’t pretend to be one. But I’ll put something together for you this week based on what others have figured out.

GTANV wrote:  I don't buy the Ransom thesis. New media hasn't changed people's inherent carefulness. That carefulness leads them to people like McCain, and this season Romney. Maybe my circle of friends is different, but most of my Facebook traffic has nothing to do with politics...it's wow, I had a rough day at work, dig this cute video of a dog, I love that quote about inspiration from Ben Franklin.

Dear GTANV,

Your friends are different.

My friends are people who go out and work elections. Come join us.

It’s free and it does make a difference. If you’re interested send me an email or a friend request on Facebook by clicking the link, and I will introduce you to people who can put you to work.

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John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.