City Journal Spring 2014

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Spring 2014
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Daniel DiSalvo
Cuomo Fights the Unions—Gently « Back to Story

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Robert Pagen, I assume you live in the city, because your tax dollars wouldn't go to the FD otherwise. NYFD are the only ones being paid for the job. If you don't live in the city, then you have volunteer firefighters in your town, village, fire or water district. The NYC firefighters are some of the best trained in the world...(I'm not one of them, but i know their training now consists of 26 weeks of what we would consider hardcore training). And they need it, because they see fires literally every day. I can't speak to their faked injuries, and you likely cannot either. But they do a man's job and certainly go where few men have the balls to go. Whatever small percentage of tax dollars go to them, you got your money's worth.
Pension spiking is extremely prevalent in the Nassau/Suffolk County Police where their pension pay is base on that last year's earnings. Officers collude to give any retiring police officer all the available overtime hours they can take, knowing that they will have the same treatment when they retire. There needs to be a law passed because this seems to be a RICO issue... which the cops know well... What is more corrupt than organized crime? Organized labor.
Cuomo is such a fraud--just like his father.
The most important pension reform Gov. Cuomo could make is to make contract negotiations between municipalities, school districts, counties and the unions open to the public. It is a "rigged" process. There is no one at the bargaining table who actually represents the "tax payer". All of the negotiating (or more likely non-negotiating) is done in private. The deal is reached and then a vote is taken.
The specifics aren't found out until the deal is sealed. You'll just have to wait till the bill is passed to find out all the wonderful things that are in it... just as the Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress without much discussion or debate so is the process of Union Negotiations.
Governor Cuomo's Tax Cap legislation is a sham as well. With a supermajority vote of the municipal legislatures, the 2% can be ignored.
The devil is in the details. Unfortunately, the details are never discussed until the ink on the document is already dry.
What do the public unions in New York and elsewhere do? Since the unions are allowed to make political donations - all of the money ultimately from taxpayers, they give it all to one party - the Democrats. The Democrats, in turn, give the unions all or most of what they want. And round and round it goes - more donations, more wages and benefits, then again until the situation hits crisis stage, at which point you get band aid solutions like what Cuomo is doing. But the long term solution is bleak - sooner or later New York is going to look like one great big Detroit, which is a perfect example of the end result of Democrat party rule.

It is a system that is corrupt to the core - and it corrupts both the workers and the party that benefits from the system. In the meantime, since the money collected in taxes goes almost entirely to government workers the state can barely do what it is supposed to do, build and maintain highways, police and protect the public from fires etc. Forget about doing great things - the people are already squeezed to death, and with the unions clamoring for more there is barely enough money to get by.

And what does New York get for all of this money? Does it have the best schools, the best highways etc.? No, what it and states like it have is a poorly run school system, bad roads, and overtaxed and overburdened private sector that can't wait to leave.

The only thing that prevents the state from losing population is a steady stream of immigrants, mostly from the third world, who are a net drain. But the people that leave mostly vote other than Democrat, and the immigrants that come in mostly vote Democrat, so the Democrats could care less if people and businesses leave, even as the schools fail, and government services get more and more expensive.

The media of course, couldn't care less either since it is unable to critique anything the Democrat Party does - this despite decades of Democrat failure in, among other places, the inner cities.

In short, the manner in which the public unions operate - using taxpayer subsidized political donations to garner wages and benefits, is the very definition of corruption. It is a hopeless situation - hopeless, and nothing about it is going to change. Better to leave, since there are places where public unions do not rule - yet.
Raising the retirement age will not address the most egregious problem in the New York Retirement system, which is the systemic widespread abuse of the disability system, particularly by police and firefighters. Everywhere you find publicly subsidized workers who took early retirement on dubious disabilities.