14 March 2011

Public Unions Should Not Be Allowed

Recently I was having a discussion with a friend who supports public unions and I was trying to get my ideas across about public unions.

I think that private individuals should have the ability to form unions. Personally, I don't think that unions are needed anymore as they currently exist. People have always had the freedom to associate and unions are just another form of association. Its perfectly acceptable that when one works for a private sector employer they can come together with their fellow employees and collectively enter into contract with their employer. Of course the employer always has the option to find new employees, should the costs of labor exceed what the business can get on the free and open market, providing he hasn't engaged in a contract that doesn't allow him to do so. While I believe any contract that doesn't allow an employer to 'start over' if contract negotiations break down is a foolish employer, but I support their ability to enter into any contract that voluntarily agree to.

Of course, public unions are a different animal then private unions. In the private sector a customer is free to buy or not to buy a service or product should that product or service not meet their needs or is priced more then they are willing to pay or whatever it may be. In a public union the employer is the public. Anyone who works for the public does so with the understanding that they are serving the public and the idea of 'making a profit' goes out the window, because they choose to work for the public and not a private individual. Working for the public means that you should expect your pay and benefits will be lower then the private sector not more than them, regardless of how 'important' the job may be.

I normally wouldn't be caught dead taking a cue from the likes of Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is my opinion that F.D.R. dealt the world a mighty blow with the policies during his term of office, the likes of which may be only equaled to those actions taken by Mr. Abraham Lincoln during his term. However, all men, regardless of their over all value have good points to be made. I take to heart those words by F.D.R. in his "Letter on the Resolution of Federation of Federal Employees Against Strikes in Federal Service" dated August 16, 1937.
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.
A member of the public workforce can not make demands upon his employer because  his employer is all of the people. His employment is by its very nature based on what the people need or want. If the pay or benefits are not to his liking, he may always leave and join the private sector. To demand his employer, the public, pay him more then his job in the private sector is to say to the people whom he works for, 'I have a right to your money'. He is no longer the people's employee but now he attempts to act as it is he whom the people work for him.

Public workers are paid for by the people. It is said that the people incur taxes by their representatives, it is actually that those in power demand you give them what they ask or you can sit in a cage, but I digress from my point. If we were to equate the quality of the service given to us by comparison, we are paying for a luxury   car and getting a Volkswagon.

Statistics are compiled every year, showing us how public educated children are in the lower middle of educated children in the entire world. Our own state by state statistics show that it isn't the amount of money spent on education that isn't the problem. Some of the best schools in the US have the lowest per child per capita rate.

Teachers aren't the entire problem, the public unions are the problem. If a member of the people doesn't like the quality of Wal-Mart products, they can goto Target, or to Costco. The people however are stuck with public worker's since their jobs aren't 'readily transferable' to the private sector. It is in fact that they are, it is however the public unions that block all attempts to privatize those industries. All public workers would be far better off working in the private sector then in the public sector.

Another problem with public unions is that they and their members expect things that not even the private sector has. Pensions are no longer available in most, if not all, private sector jobs. If they aren't available in the private sector, then they ought not to be available in the public sector. The idea that you can get a portion of your income for the rest of your life isn't realistic as it once was. Many companies have choked to death on their pension plans, that is why they aren't available anymore. Today it is public sector pension plans that choke the budgets of every state, leading the people of those states to ruin.

Based on my own experience with health coverage, I've often lived without coverage because it was too expensive for me. At one dealer I worked at, the monthly rate to cover my healthcare was $571 a month, considering I made only $2200 a month, that was a large part of my income, had I taken it. The average cost of health insurance today for a family is $1176, so I would have been paying half of the total cost of my healthcare every month. If it is true in the private sector that employees pay half of the cost of their healthcare, then it ought to be that public employee's pay for half of their healthcare. Regardless of the actual percentages, it should be that public workers pay as much as private sector workers for the same thing.

In the private sector retirement plans employee contributions are the bulk of the money that gets put into the plan. Public workers aren't putting their fair share up for their retirement.

In the end, the private sector does things, produces things, provides services that people actually want because they voluntarily pay for them. Some people desire the things that public workers provide, if everyone wanted what they provide, they wouldn't work so hard to decrease their tax burden. If you are going to point a gun at my head and tell me to pay for a teacher, police, or other public worker, they better not be making more in total compensation then a private employee makes for the same job, or you might as well pull the trigger because its not worth it.

15 January 2011

Violence Against Government Agents

Violence against government has been used in the past. Such use of violence however has been far less effective for change then the use of non-violence. While I believe it to be ethical to use violence in defense of self or others, I also believe that it isn't as effective as the use of non-violence. I do not encourage anyone to use violence against government agents because it isn't effective and will eventually lead to your own death. During this article I am only conducting a mental exercise.

I hold the non-aggression principle as a tenet of my belief system. For those who may not know what the non-aggression principle(NAP) is, I'll give it to you in a nut shell. The NAP simply states that any use of aggression is illegitimate. By aggression it is meant the initiation of physical force against persons and property, the threat of such, or fraud upon persons or property. The NAP does not preclude the use of violence in self-defense, in this way it is not pacifism. 

While I believe it to be ethical to use violence against government agents, I don't encourage anyone to do so. The simple reason is that it isn't effective. When you attack a government agent, other government agents will perceive you as initiating violence against them and will retaliate. Further you will not receive support from the general public because the public at large believes government agents to be legitimate. Harming a single agent, or a group of them, will not change anything other then making other government agents gear up for future attacks.

Government agents in general are sociopaths. Let me explain what I mean by this. 'Mental Health Professionals' state that some signs and symptoms of sociopathy/psychopathy are apparent lack of remorse or empathy for others; poor behavioral controls — expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; tendency to violate the boundaries and rights of others; and disregard for safety. There are others, however the 'science' of 'mental health' isn't such a science and so there is room for disagreement even between 'mental health professionals'.

I'd like to take a real world example and examine it closely. Recently a government agent had violence brought against them. I speak of 'Congresswoman' Gabriella Giffords of Arizona. Like I said, I don't believe this violence to be effective however I wish to discuss the issue as a mental exercise. 

This government agent took an oath: 'I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.'

There exists rules with regards to violations of oath, including definitions and penalties of such. However there is no recourse to seek charges be brought against anyone who violates their oath due the power being delegated to other government agents who refuse to take action because they could lose their job. When all recourse fails there is only one final recourse. Pursuant to the Declaration of Independence, 'that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...'. What does this mean? Government gains its authority by the individuals that comprise it, whenever one of these individuals feels that government has become destructive of its purpose that they can use whatever means needed to alter or abolish it. The use of aggression in this regard will not be effective because government is an expert at the use of aggression.

Back to self-defense theory. Mrs. Giffords violated her oath by supporting further violations of the Constitution that she agreed to. Effectively by doing so she initiated violence against those very persons who elected her to her position. Perhaps there exists some disagreement with this statement, so let me elaborate this concept.

Man A decides for whatever reason, execpt not as an act of defense against the initiation of aggression, hires Man B to kill Man C. Man B kills Man C. Man A is still responsible for Man C's death even if he didn't plan, provide, or execute the death himself. This has been held long within natural law as an initiation of aggression. Let us say that instead of Man C being killed by Man B, Man C instead kills Man B. Man B may have initiated aggression against Man C, but he isn't alone in this initiation of aggression. It should be left to Man C to seek restitution against Man A, should he find out it was Man A as the initiator of aggression. If Man C believes his life is in danger from further attacks by Man A, then it is Man C alone that should be able to determine how this initiation of aggression should be handled, up to and including the use of lethal aggression against him. Personally, I do not handle my business this way, because I do not want others to seek retribution against me for what they may has perceived as an initiation of aggression on my part.

In the case of Mrs. Giffords, she is Man A. In any rule supported by Mrs. Giffords, she is acting as an initiator of aggression. She may not command the rule enforcement officers(Man B) directly that actually cause harm to people(Man C), but without her support the rule enforcement officer would not succeed to cause harm to people(Man C).

I do not condone using aggression against Mrs. Giffords, or her agents, for several reasons, even though I believe it may be an ethical response to their initiation of aggression. The greatest reason of all is that the death of a single agent, or even all the government agents, will resort in continuation of their policies by others who will step up behind him and take the reins, for as long as a majority of people support the system of government as it currently exists. It won't lead to more freedom, and in fact as history has shown leads to more tyranny as we have seen government agents already discussing how they will limit the freedoms of everyone so this is less likely to happen. These actions will not stop it from happening as we have seen if someone is willing to do something, they will generally find a way to do it.

So how should we handle these government agents? There is no easy answer to this problem. Any answer can not use aggression because it isn't effective and will result in the death of those using aggression. Informing people is the first step. If people don't see or understand the problem, then they will never see a problem. It is a small number of folks who are trying to do this. Another way to attempt to solve the problem is to direct the information at the enforcers themselves. However, this won't be as effective due in part to the fact the enforcers are selected based on their ability to be sociopathic to be molded into what government agents want them to do. Even when it was 'legal' to shoot run away slaves, most enforcers gladly killed these people. The Nazi troopers had no qualms in killing Jews.

After the large and difficult problem of informing people of the NAP, the concepts of freedom and liberty, it would be possible to reform the system. Personally I'd only like to see the system reformed only so much as it would allow for the greatest freedom possible. To that end, I'd like to see the success of developing Panarchy so that everyone can have the type of government that they want to have.