[FoRK] Fwd: Hey, big spender...

geege schuman geege4 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 28 11:44:36 PDT 2008

(Remembering an incident in recent (2003) California history where a Texas
oil cartel jacked up the price of fuel.  Was that a union problem?)

"Surely I've noticed ...?"  Not really. I know what the conventional (read:
republican male coffee klatch) wisdom is re unions, but you can't completely
discount that work gets done and the workers spend what they earn.  I'd
rather approach change from a place that doesn't eliminate unions but makes
them less toxic.

Like lawyers, unions are easy scapegoats for high prices and inefficiency of
you-name-it. Preceding any "progress" toward tort reform, stories of
frivolous claims circulate the Internet - most of them untrue - to stir up
some good old-fashioned citizen outrage.  Same/same re unions prior to an

* Exception: Haliburton

On Thu, Aug 28, 2008 at 12:13 PM, J. Andrew Rogers <
andrew at ceruleansystems.com> wrote:

> On Aug 28, 2008, at 6:52 AM, geege schuman wrote:
>> I'd like to hear some thoughts on how we pay for way overdue
>> infrastructure
>> improvements  Keep in mind that improvements mean jobs.
> Improvements do not mean jobs, *spending* means jobs.  A distinction with a
> difference.
> Infrastructure is almost entirely paid for by the States, not the Federal
> government. As I am sure you've probably noticed, the organizations that do
> this work in many state governments are incredibly corrupt and inefficient,
> often due to the stranglehold public employee unions have on these
> operations.  The problem is that you are correct: the primary function of
> many of these organizations *is* jobs, not building or maintaining
> infrastructure.  We do not need more money for infrastructure, we just need
> to stop wasting so much of the money already allocated; paying blue collar
> guys $60/hr to be on a perpetual smoke break produces surprisingly few
> results for the money spent.
> The differences in cost between public and private sector implementation of
> this infrastructure can often vary by more than an order of magnitude.  In
> California this is the case, and in some areas people have successfully sued
> to force the state to pay private contractors to do quickly and
> inexpensively what was taking boatloads of money and years with few results
> when the state government infrastructure departments were responsible for
> it.
> Infrastructure budgets have been reliable, bottomless troughs for unions to
> feed at, and I would suggest imposing some accountability there first before
> even considering throwing more money at it.  The majority of infrastructure
> budgets in many (most?) states is spent on overhead and activities with no
> discernible productive output.  Unfortunately, the unions have made it
> impossible to eliminate all this dead weight and so we keep throwing good
> money after bad.  The funding has always been there, it is just getting
> wasted by the government agencies responsible.
> Cheers,
> J. Andrew Rogers
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