Why the Attacks on Public Sector Workers and Their Unions

If one were to compute this for Kentucky, it would be reasonable to believe the results would be the same.

A second approach, is to utilize the huge bonanza millionaires will now enjoy as a result of the Bush tax cut extension for the next two years. The prolongation of the Bush tax cuts means that millionaires will receive a huge windfall of additional income. Thus, if states choose to revise their income tax rates commensurate with this huge windfall income, a new revenue stream would be available. The renewal of the Bush tax cuts effect only 5% of taxpayers in 2011. Thus, this would help mitigate state finances.

As the table below (figure 2) shows for Kentucky, additional revenues would be forthcoming for the state:

It is apparent from the table that in 2010, the top 1% of the taxpayers in Kentucky who have incomes of $818,173 receives total tax cuts amounting to $613,817. If you include the next 4% of top income earners, these folks are getting $1,056,445. Here is a pool of taxpayers, who in the name of fairness should be paying more state taxes.

Politicians and legislators, who are attacking unionized public sector workers, are anxious to dismantle civil service protections. They want to do this, so they can return to the old corrupt days when political machine bosses e.g. (Tammany Hall, Boss Tweed and other machine politicians) filled public sector employment with their cronies. If they could accomplish this, not only would they bust unions and abolish collective bargaining, but professionalism and competence would be absent from the workplace. Collective bargaining by unions reinforces high public service performance standards. What we are witnessing in Wisconsin currently, is a Republican governor trying to abolish collective bargaining, as a precursor to public sector union busting and thereby, destroy engage in the most blatant attempt all trade unions.

Thus, if state legislators were to reform current tax policies, a more fair and equitable budgetary process could take place. Ultimately, the way to overcome the fog of misstatements is to bring the truth to the American people. Thus, the attack against public sector unions can be viewed in its true light—protect the super rich and disarm the voice of the people—the trade union movement.

Seymour Slavin, Ph.D.

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Comments

  1. Ross S. Heckmann says

    Thanks for this thoughtful piece by Dr. Slavin. It contains a lot of useful information and facts and makes some important points. I agree that we need to focus on tax justice issues. I have no doubts that there are some big business and Republican groups & individuals that are focusing on public employee unions with bad motives and for the wrong reasons. I am totally opposed to the public-employee-union busting going on in Wisconsin right now. But at the end of the day, this article has not answered all legitimate questions. (1) It fails to squarely address the issues of pensions and benefits (in particular, medical benefits) given to public employee retirees, and who’s paying for them. It is my understanding that it is not uncommon for public safety employees to have a retirement age of 50 (presumably even if they live in the equivalent of Mayberry), for other public employees to have a retirement age of 55, for public employees to qualify for “retirement” after 20 or so years on the job, after which they can go get yet another job, for public employees to have defined benefit plans and medical care for retirees, while the rest of us have either no retirement benefits or medical care, or 401(k)s, and good luck to the rest of us as to how much that ends up being worth when we retire. Meanwhile, until there is more tax justice, who is paying for all this? Workers who would be tempted to die or kill for what the public employees are getting. (2) Even if public employees are getting paid somewhat less than is comparable in the private sector, it doesn’t follow that this is fair. The people at or near the top of the private sectore are being paid absurd, extreme, even obscene amounts; it doesn’t say much for you if the best you can say is that you are getting paid slightly less. (3) What exactly and specifically are public employee unions doing for employees in the private sector? Is it really solidarity forever, or solidarity never, and every person or group is in it simply for themselves?

  2. Nate says

    _FINALLY_ , the truth is spoken .

    Good luck getting this message across to the Blue Collar Workers who most need it , they mostly think that if they just go along with the lying , cheating republicans, they’ll be allowed to play in their rich sand box too….

    Guess again you fools .

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