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

geege schuman geege4 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 28 12:10:50 PDT 2008


Oops - I had a whole paragraph on the bid process that I deleted.  Thus the
asterisk.

On Thu, Aug 28, 2008 at 2:44 PM, geege schuman <geege4 at gmail.com> wrote:

> (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
> election.
>
> * 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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>
>


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