Conservatives are making a huge push to force states into bankruptcy, presumably in order to fuck unions. Here’s Grover Norquist (in Politico), here’s a guy named David Skeel (in Weekly Standard), here’s Jimmy P.
Next stop: Bobo, George Will, and Charles Lane.
This is potentially a big issue, definitely something to keep your eye on.
Gin and Tacos has a two parter on this.
Happy Christmas, anyway!
They have already dropped the term “labor” from the House labor and education committee. People are worried about the filibuster, when nihilistic maniacs will be in control of the House of Reps. Welcome to the bonfire of insanity.
So in other words, Conservatives raped the country to kill unions? And if Grover Norquist is in favor of Bankruptcy does that mean his fuckbuddy Jane Hamsher is too?
Large states with Republican governors (New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, Texas) will be the ones pushing for this the hardest. It’s amazing what conservatives will go through in order to fuck over unions, if only because unions never give money to Republicans.
“Conservatives are making a huge push to force states into bankruptcy, presumably in order to fuck unions.”
I understand that unions could/would take a hit. But aren’t they at best/worst about 1/2 way down the list of the top ten?
John - A Motley Moose
I’ve never understood how someone can be for organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and yet argue against labor organizations.
I personally think they have declared war on liberalism in general, and HCR specifically. If unions get caught in the crossfire, so much the better for these loons.
Yea I’ve thought for years their tendency to create deficits was just an attempt to force government cutbacks.
@John – A Motley Moose: Well you see, the Chamber of Commerce is chock full of Galtian producers, while unions are just parasites.
@John – A Motley Moose:
What’s not to understand? When you view the world as a conflict between capital and labor, you have to pick a side. They’ve picked theirs just as surely as Lenin picked his.
Davis X. Machina
It’s not just strategy — reserve army of the unemployed, etc. — it’s tactics. In public-worker bashing GOP R&D may have finally developed the new product they needed, now that their patent on fighting swarthies in nearly unreachable places has expired, and immigrant-bashing, satisfying in the short run, becomes lethal in the long run.
Crab-bucket syndrome (If I don’t have a decent job, or any job, then you don’t get to have one either) is bi-partisan—see discussions here on public-sector pensions—ostensibly race-neutral—but you know who those employees all are, wink, wink—and not closely identified with any particular area of the country. It’s not obviously part of the religious wars, either.
Ressentisment light—all the rage you love, without all the baggage you don’t want.
I wonder how much longer before they say outright that we could raise taxes or reduce the population by 20 percent in five years. If given that choice…we still can’t raise taxes. That kind of where we are going with this great leap forward, where we are to compete with the capitalist system of China with American, with American characteristics. They aren’t just starving one beast here, but several.
The Jimmy P. link is broken.
Grover can’t conceal his glee that state pension holders would get fucked:
Well, at least they’re being transparent about it.
I’m missing something; fucking Unions is one thing, but fucking pensioners sounds problematic. I mean, pensioners are Old People and Old People fucking vote.
Not if they’re fucking starving and fucking homeless.
That. Is exactly the target.
With the private sector having already been fucked out of their pensions.
It is now time to fuck the government employees out of theirs.
Davis X. Machina
A reading from the gospel according to St. Ronald:
Everything private is better than anything public, and so long as one of us, anywhere, is covered by a collective-bargaining agreement, none of us, anywhere, is truly free.
Here endeth the lesson.
Let banks go bankrupt? No fucking way, can’t be allowed to happen!
Let states go bankrupt? Way, awesome, dude, go for it!
Let’s see. Where’s the difference?
The thing is, there is no way that Obama is going to let states go bankrupt. He’ll make sure we bail out the states, just as he made sure we bailed out the banks and auto corporations. Same reason. He’s not a nihilist, and as much as he has got to understand as well as we do what kleptocratic crooks the banks are, he realizes we need them in order to survive. I doubt he hates states, but he’ll make the same pragmatic argument that they can’t be allowed to fail, they’ll bring the whole country down with them.
The more interesting question is: what exactly is Obama going to trade away in order to keep the states solvent?
Another interesting question is: will states raise taxes on the rich, at last, in order to avoid bankruptcy? With California now needing a 50% vote to pass a budget, and with a Democratic governor, maybe we’ll finally do what we need to do. I heard NYC was considering a significant progressive income tax, to replace revenue lost in Bush/Obama tax cuts for the rich.
True, true, which is exactly what might happen in the end since Grandpa and Grandma won’t be able to get any kind of a job…
…but, before Grandpa and Grandma get to the starving and homeless stage, they will, in order:
a) Vote the bastards out
b) This step is multiple choice: Pick up a gun, load a plane with excess gasoline (see Texas IRS), etc.
Their entire mission circa health care reform was to prevent Grandpa and Grandma from facing death panels; now, Grandpa and Grandma may be going under the bus. Sounds like a problem when it’s one of their key voting blocks.
Who is holding this municipal debt? Is it these same pension plans? Wouldn’t the insurers wind up insolvent again, fudging up the financial system again? My guess is that the unions might want to make governor x blink over this.
Uncle Clarence Thomas
Fortunately, President Obama has trapped the Republicans with his Ali-esque rope-a-dope strategy. They think he will compromise on this issue because he so easily duped them by capitulating on every other Republican push.
Ha – they have no idea of the fierce whirlwind they are about to reap!
This is the whole reason why this bankruptcy issue has bubbled to the surface. States (and local municipalities, like cities and school districts) have been underpaying into the pension funds in order to keep taxes at the lowest rates they’ve been in generations.
In the boom of the 90s, no one noticed the underpayments because the pension funds did so well in the market. During the housing bubble, ditto because of ditto. Now that the housing market crashed and pension funds lost billions in the ensuing poof-erasure of devaluation, the bills are coming due. There are two choices: start taxing the wealthy at rates they used to see thirty years ago, or change the law allow bankruptcy.
So it’s easy to see which one conservatives are in favor of.
Also, public employees are just about the only ones left who do not owe their livelihood to the New Feudalism of our Galtian Overlords, and that just can’t be allowed to stand.
All these fuckers need is to be car jacked, robbed, beaten the shit out of and then have their cars set on fire, then have the cops and firefighters show up, not help for fifteen minutes while they are getting their visa payments put through for services not yet rendered, then have them transported to the local hospital and have the unlicensed hospital workers tell them to fuck off, welcome them to their libertarian paradise and demand $150,000 as a downpayment before starting services for treatment of shock and burns . You know how they say a mugging turns a liberal into a conservative, well, the above will turn even Grover into a true blue liberal.
Was looking on torrent sites for a digital copy of a technical book (which I already own, btw — just would like to read it on my kindle, and they don’t sell a digital copy), and kept seeing some Alex Jones crazyfuckin’ thing pop up — ‘the obama deception,’ or something like that. Christ. I don’t understand how that guy(Jones) functions, when he’s so obviously totally nuts.
Hmm. Listening to an NPR holiday mix, streaming-wise. (Dreidel song at the moment, but some Christmas stuff, various good and odd stuff in there.) Take a listen:
@Davis X. Machina:
And just like the Constitution and the Bible, St. Ronald always agrees with wingnuts.
And the typical rightwing valorization of authority figures. Workers are lazy! Captains of industry are captains! The Chamber of Commerce is doing God’s work! God helps those who help themselves! Unions are not in the Plan — idle hands are the devil’s trumpets. Tools, whatever.
Really, what deep pathology is at work here, that turns earnest conservatives into such dull cheerleaders for anyone with a title or uniform (except for Satan’s stand-ins, those who have positions of authority, power, or wealth but who are obviously fakes (Obama, Clinton, Soros, Gates?) ).
I think I need to re-read the Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism ….
You’ve heard of Chapter 7 and Chapter 11; say hello to Chapter 9 on municipal bankruptcies.
@goatchowder: NYC will not raise taxes on the rich while Bloomberg is mayor or has any significant say in policy. He’s already made that clear a number of times. If we raise taxes on the rich, they will leave the city and we’ll lose their money completely.
And so to the president coming to aid the states… well, there was a bond provision in the former stimulus bill that helped states be able to sell bonds. And that loan program got canceled in the tax bill. And with the House returning to Republican hands in the new Congress… I doubt the teabaggers will want to help the states out. You know, government has to exist within its means.
Mayor Bloomberg was on rightie radio yesterday. He talked about a project that wasn’t done because the jobs were low wage. Must have been a retail mall of some sort. He said that the minimum wage jobs are needed so people can work at them and work their way up.
He is a typical Gilded Ager. He is getting more preachy every month.
Grover Norquist is a terrorist.
I wonder if the Chamber will wake up to the fact that their contracts with the state turn to shit in a bankruptcy?
Speaking as a history student and a worry-wart:
When local governments grind to a halt, a failure to govern occurs. What follows is not entirely predictable. We might wish for cooperative efforts by the citizens but what we are more likely to get is a military state in reaction to or in fear of chaos.
Nonsense: the “death panels” crapola was just scare-talk for the rubes: their real “mission” is, as it has always been, to keep the present system in place, or some variant of it, so as to keep as much money flowing to the Medical-Industrial Complex* as possible. That’s IT. It’s. The. Money.
*more tons of which can, of course, be recycled back “them” in the form of campaign contributions, Wingnut Welfare for their
stoogesfriends in Congress, etc.
I think if we’re really facing a large state bankruptcy (CA, for instance), a simple solution is going to be to lean on the Fed to extend access to something like its discount window to states. Unconventional, but so is quantitative easing and the possible side effects of a state like CA going bankrupt are pretty darn dire.
There have always been management/plutocrat types who hate unions. They fought them hammer and tongs from the very start.
They are, I am sure, fully willing to destroy themselves – would make a deal with the devil himself – in order to insure that object.
Class prejudice has a lot to do with it; and, unions do tend to restrain their power over workers.
There are states with very serious budget problems. If cities, counties and states go bankrupt, there can be very serious consequences.
@Maude: The City has the radio show up at the City web site. I listened to almost the whole show. I really shouldn’t have because it made me quite mad. I’m not so much interested in what he said about the Kingsbridge Armory project but more incensed about his comments about making jobs with higher skills and training needed that would give higher salaries because, damn it, those jobs are the ones businesses are trying to lower the salaries on. Also, his comment that the minimum wage may be too high at times (?????? WTF) . He should try living on minimum wage. Working one minimum wage job for 40 hours a week gets a person $15,080 before taxes.) Argh!
@Uncle Clarence Thomas:
Let’s see, Obama’s conciliation strategy has gotten us health care reform that no other president was able to pass for a hundred years, wall street reform that the Republicans were quite willing to nuke the government to stop, and didn’t just repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but got included an extension to unemployment and a tax cut for the poorest members of society that the Republicans had previously blocked. Oh, and a bunch of other smaller laws that nobody ever heard about because the media doesn’t care. And START passed.
Yep, you’re right. Not only are the Republicans fucked, they’ll never see it coming.
Krugman’s article today is a good one regarding Republicans’ lies and Government workers:
Forbes has a list, from January, 2010, of the ten states with the worst debt problems:
2. New York
5. New Jersey
So I can see why state bankruptcy would be appealing to conservatives. But from TaxProf Blog, we have an old list (2004) of the ten states that receive the least back for amount they put into federal taxes:
1. New Jersey ($0.62)
2. Connecticut ($0.64)
3. New Hampshire ($0.68)
4. Nevada ($0.73)
5. Illinois ($0.77)
6. Minnesota ($0.77)
7. Colorado ($0.79)
8. Massachusetts ($0.79)
9. California ($0.81)
10. New York ($0.81)
There’s a lot of overlap. So it could screw us over nationally, too–which would be appealing to conservatives.
Although states can default on their obligations, they cannot file for bankruptcy. So Republicans will not be able to use the bankruptcy courts to screw public pension holders. They’ll have to find some other way.
Fuck you, Grover. These states are in most cases the ones that have carried the freeloading red states for decades. Your supposed “properly managed states” are only in the black because states like New Jersey are subsidizing them.
Angry Black Lady
@Karen: That’s what I want to know.
Right…it’s a much more radical reform than the introduction of Medicare.
The most efficient and most equitable way to raise revenues at the local level is by land taxes, and that avenue is closed off, politically, right now because property values have already been hammered.