Measures 66 and 67: We can’t spend our way to prosperity

The Oregonian had a great opinion piece on Measure 66-Measure 67 by columnist Dave Lister that bears spreading the word on. We have listed it below

Dave Lister, The Oregonian
12,25,2009

As the debate continues over the upcoming ballot measures on personal and corporate tax increases, you’ve probably heard enough about gross receipts versus net profit and corporate structures to make your eyes roll back in your head. Those opposed to the tax increases insist that a business losing money on millions in sales will pay tens of thousands in new taxes. Those in favor insist that business will simply pay $150 rather than $10. The pro side insists that the ultra rich, sipping champagne and playing billiards in their parlors, will pay a little more and not miss it. The con side says those rich people are simply small-business people who can’t afford to pay more without laying off workers.

But let me ask you a simple question. Did you get a raise this year? Did you get one last year? I know I sure didn’t. And if you’re lucky enough to still have a job, I’m willing to bet you didn’t either. More likely you took a cut. Or had your hours reduced. Or were required to pay a larger share of your health insurance coverage.

Let me offer you a little fact: At the same time the Legislature voted to increase the tax burden on higher incomes and businesses by three-quarters of a billion dollars, it also authorized a quarter-billion in pay raises for state employees. That’s right. State workers got raises during the worst economy we’ve seen since the Great Depression. To be precise, $248 million in pay increases.

Here’s another fact: The Legislature approved a budget that increased state spending by 9 percent. That’s about $4.7 billion more than the previous two years.

Let me ask you another question. Do you think state services have improved as spending has increased? Are the schools better? Are there more troopers on the roads? Is our infrastructure better? It doesn’t seem like it to me. And while Oregon has lost about 120,00 private-sector jobs in the last 18 months the state has added nearly 10,000. Government has become our only growth industry.

Here’s the stark reality. Every budget cycle, we’re told that the state is making budget cuts when in fact it simply can’t have as much of an increase as legislators would like. As a business person I can assure you that a 9 percent increase is not a cut. If my business had increased 9 percent over the last two years, I’d be ecstatic. So how does an increase become a decrease? It’s simple. The unsustainable pension and benefit programs for public employees is sucking up every extra dollar.

Here’s just one example: State legislators approved an increase in the amount of payroll tax that businesses provide for TriMet. On the front page of The Sunday Oregonian this week, we learned that, among other things, that increase is funding TriMet’s Cadillac, no, make that Rolls-Royce health plan for its employees — a $1,900-per-month premium per family with no deductible, a $5 co-pay and no employee contribution. Is your health plan anything like that? Mine sure isn’t.

Only the private sector creates wealth. Government doesn’t. The amount we spend on government workers, even if their wages go back into the local economy, is a diminishing return. Increasing government spending to attain prosperity is as ludicrous as attempting to build a perpetual motion machine.

I’m not sure if Measures 66 and 67 will kill as many jobs as its opponents say. But in this economy, I’m not willing to find out.

Join me in voting no on Measures 66 and 67.

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  • state employee

    Dave Lister asked:

    “But let me ask you a simple question. Did you get a raise this year? Did you get one last year? I know I sure didn’t.”

    But people with jobs ARE getting salary increases. One source among many below.

    And businesses seem to be raising prices. The workout club I belong to is raising monthly fees about 6% in January. I haven’t noticed many prices going down.

    See:

    https://www.hewittassociates.com/intl/na/en-us/AboutHewitt/Newsroom/PressReleaseDetail.aspx?cid=7126

    Hewitt’s survey of 1,156 large organizations reveals that base salary increases dropped below 3 percent for the first time since Hewitt started tracking the data in 1976. Base salary increases for salaried exempt employees1 in 2009 were just 1.8 percent and are expected to inch up to 2.7 percent in 2010.

    • capor

      I am sure you can make an argument for some private sector jobs getting an increase. There is nothing in Mr. Lister’s statement that is absolute except that the state is not cutting its’ spending behavior. Try as you might to make an argument that state workers are entitled to or deserving of increases, the simple fact remains that given a recessionary economy, increases in tax spending are clearly inappropriate. I would be the last to say we need to take your income from you, especially if you are a quality employee that is contributing a vital service. But lets’ be real about measuring the amount of vital service that our tax dollars are spent on and when it is appropriate to reward those services with raises. It is clear that citizens are commonly irritated with the notion that they must pay more when they are hurting so that you may have more. Especially when what you are getting a raise for is already beyond what most private sector folks will ever appreciate.

      This argument is NOT about raising the taxes as much as it is about leaderships failure to take all measures of budgetary responsibility while they were in committee. As a business owner I have said many times that if this subject were simply about just paying $150 instead of $10 I would not expel this much energy. This about changing the behavior and culture of state management and spending. I still believe that when the taxes are repealed that the Legislative body will go back and do what they should have done in the first place.

    • v person

      “Only the private sector creates wealth. Government doesn’t.”

      That’s a mythology of the right. Government creates a lot of wealth. Start with public education from K-University. Odds are the engineer that invented or improved the hardware and software used by the right (and left) was educated in public schools.

      The public transportation infrastructure allows workers to get to work and business owners to move their products around. That enhances commerce which creates wealth.

      Laws protecting copyright and patents allow people to benefit from their innovations.

      Government also provides services (wealth) not provided (or not very well) by the private sector. Sewage treatment, clean water, fire fighting, police, and parks are among these.

      Safeguarding sea lanes allows for private commerce which would otherwise be pirated.

      Hopefully you get the picture. Government and business both create wealth. Both are essential to a modern society.

      • Steve Plunk

        All of those government services are paid for with taxes from the private sector. The wealth to pay for public education, public infrastructure, and a regulatory system all originates outside of government itself.

        • v person

          What came first Steve, the chicken or the egg? In order for a private sector to create and retain wealth, you need a public sector to provide law and order at minimum. Historically, wealth was not created so much by individuals as it was by a society working together. And in order for a society to become truly wealthy today, you need top quality education spread far and wide. A few smart folks won’t cut it. And government services themselves are a form of”wealth” unless you think clean water is delivered to your home or business by magic, or unless you place no value on clean water.

          Yes, government services are paid for mostly by taxes, but also largely by fees and to an increasing extent by the government’s ability to borrow or even create money out of thin air (see Federal Reserve). Talk about creating wealth!

          Many conservatives have simply become blind to the fact that private wealth, and the very existence of a middle class, is hugely dependent on government. Its a mutual dependency.

          And in the same way that government sometimes squanders wealth away, so does the private sector. If you don’t believe that then look up Enron or Bernie Madoff, to name just 2.

        • Anonymous

          As painful as it may be, Steve, and if for no other reason than to understand where individuals like v person are coming from, you should read “The Affluent Society” by John Galbraith.

        • state worker

          Who was there to conquer the land from the Indians? Who saved the country in the Civial War and the world wars? Who built the interstate highway system?

          • Steve Plunk

            All of you pro government people are misunderstanding what is being said. We are not advocating the dissolution of our state government but we are advocating a reduction in state spending during a recession.

            v person asks ‘what came first Steve, the chicken or the egg?’. The answer is the private sector came first. Historically government has taken a much smaller percentage of the private sectors reward for production. In many cases today the things being touted as government provided are not. The road in front of my house was built privately and financed by the homeowners when they purchased the land. The water pipe that serves my business was built by property owners and then we were forced to give it to the water commission. Electricity and natural gas infrastructure is provided by the private sector. Our return on investment in the government is increasingly becoming less while we increasingly do government’s job.

            That mutual dependency v person speaks of is more of a dependency on the private sector by the government. Notice it is force of law that creates this “dependency”. Bernie Madoff may have squandered money but it was all given to him freely. Government squanders money and doesn’t pay a price or show any shame for such behavior. Madoff is in jail, how many congressmen or legislators are doing time for wasting money?

            Our government has become similar to a pit bull. It serves a purpose but it is dangerous and must be watched at all times. Raising taxes during recession is akin to that dog biting it’s master.

          • state employee

            Somebody voted for the government to do all those things, right?

            Pit bull? Dog biting master?

            To hear you, sounds like you live in Communist Russia, not some little place outside of Medford. Maybe you should move yourself someplace else more to your liking instead of complaining all the time. If southern Oregon is too liberal, try rural Nevada or Utah? Or maybe there’s a libertarian paradise waiting for you somewhere?

            You might have less trouble with the government, too.

          • Steve Plunk

            State employee,

            True citizens work to change things, they don’t run away or get run off. While my pit bull analogy is vivid it is appropriate. I find it typical that a government employee would be contemptuous of such feelings, that’s why there is a growing disconnect between them and the citizens they supposedly serve.

            I was born in Oregon and will stay politically involved as long as I live here. Pointing out what is wrong is my duty, it’s not complaining. Listening to my complaints is your duty or have you forgotten that?

            I have witnessed your attempts (like our friend v person) to misdirect the conversation away from facts. The basic fact remains that the state should not have raised taxes during a recession and is a bloated bureaucracy worthy the Communist Russia you spoke of. Employees routinely waste money with no consequences, they underestimate costs on purpose with no consequences, they are corrupted by power and prestige with no consequences, and every day they become more adapted to do those things with no shame or remorse. The system has taken good people and made them do bad things.

            I will never support another tax increase to further this soft corruption we see today.

          • state employee

            “Pointing out what is wrong is my duty, it’s not complaining. Listening to my complaints is your duty”

            So you’re not complaining — just doing your duty, just being an Eagle Scout, I guess — but listening to your complaints is my duty. HUH???

            Oh — just in case you happen to go off duty? — I get it!

            Maybe you should apply for the Paul Revere award.

            Or maybe go anonymous.

            As for being a “public servant” — I’ve never called myself one, neither do my coworkers. I’m not in any union. I’m a state employee. I’m not anyone’s servant. Certainly not yours.

    • Sybella

      Let me ask you a simple question. If you take home $50,000 a year and are able to pay your expenses and even have say an extra $100 for an occasional treat, then you water bill goes up by $20 and your electricity goes up by $20 and your groceries goe up by say 10% due to additional requirements by the government of the businesses and utilities, such as increased benefits for others. What are you going to do? Do you want to forego your treat? Ok for a while that’s ok and just as you think you can start getting your treat again, you get a small raise, and the government requires all businesses, large and small to very small pay more money to their employees. The business has no choice but to raise it’s prices because not only did the employees get a small raise, which isn’t a big problem, but because of that raise, payroll taxes go up and you insurance which is based on payrolol amounts go up. You aren’t going to win, neither is the business, neither are the employees.

      My employees wish the minimum wage would stop going up so their cost of living could stop going up.

      Everything my friend is a chain reaction. For every action their is a reaction.

      • state employee

        You might look at my response to Dave Lister below.

        Since you seem to be asking me, here’s what I’d tell you. Some businesses are doing very well, very well indeed in Oregon, others aren’t. Try to be one of the more successful ones. If you can’t, either because of your own limitations or the conditions in the state, you can always look for someplace better. I’ve done that in the past.

        I’ve lived in plenty of places, Oregon is not the worst state government, by far. But I’ve never heard so much whining about the government from small business types as I do here. Even people who are doing well. It may not be a bed of roses, but it’s not hell either. And if it really is, again, get out. But most of them are quite happy to hang around and complain.

        It might pay to think about why business-oriented and Republican types do so poorly in Oregon elections. It’s convenient to blame it all on the government or the public employee unions, but there’s more to it than that.

        Your employees are complaining about the rising minimum wage? OK: if they are making minimum (or near-minimum) wage from you, I’d advise them to look for something better. Yeah, I’ve advised young people in exactly that situation — “you owe it to yourself to look for something better”.

        If they’re making decent money, I think I’d tell them to be grateful they’re not on the bottom of the pile, whether the Oregon minimum wage laws are a good policy or not. That the cost of living has not been not rising extraordinarily fast in Oregon; and even if it has, it doesn’t have that much to do with the minimum wage laws. (Tip: it has more to do with housing prices.)

  • state employee

    Dave Lister is the one who suggests — in essence — that nobody is getting raises except public employees. I simply pointed out evidence that this is not nearly true. People with good jobs who are in demand are getting modest raises. Yeah, I got one in Fall 2008, about 2%, after a mutliyear review. The “contract” calls for the raise after an EXCELLENT performance on the review. (It’s not automatic, plenty of people got half that, or zero.) If they had asked to delay the review and the raise, I would have understood. But since I was forced to go through the review, I sure as hell expected the modest raise that was the quid pro quo. I don’t expect another raise for the foreseeable future. I don’t feel guilty about the raise that I got.

    As I pointed out, businesses ARE raising prices when they can get away with it, and a lot of them can.

    I wonder where Dave Lister was on the kicker. It seems to me that if Oregon is so irresponsible that it can’t maintain an adequate reserve fund, I shouldn’t feel too sorry for taxpayers when there is a budget shortfall in times like these.

    I didn’t even say I favor the tax increases. If the tax increase is too much, just vote it down, then take the service cuts. Tighten your belts!

    Next time there’s a negotiation with the public unions, stare them down, take a strike if you think it’s so important. But don’t wuss around with them and then whine about how uncooperative they are. (I’m not a union member myself.)

    Now when you say

    “Especially when what you are getting a raise for is already beyond what most private sector folks will ever appreciate.”

    I literally don’t know what you are getting at. I can’t make sense of it.

    • Bright Side

      You got 2 raises 2 years ago trough feeder!

      • state employee

        Not so Bright — I got two raises? I must have missed something. You know my terms of employment?

        You can call me a “trough feeder” all you want. The fact is my services are in high demand.

        If you’re going to throw crap around — like an ape? — at least get your facts straight. Learn what facts are.

        • Anonymous

          I am curious. What services do you provide?

    • My Oh My!

      State Employee: You “claim” you provide services that are in high demand. Name them or STFU you windbag!

    • state employee

      It probably doesn’t matter because you won’t believe it or you’ll scoff, but I work in services in Oregon public higher education. I know my services are in demand because they are avidly sought after. The state actually provides a pathetically low portion of my salary/benefits, anyway, most of it is paid for by students and their benefactors.

  • Vernon

    I am not quite sure state services have improved under any budget. That is a sad statement for our times, but I feel most people whould subscribe to that. How state services would be if they did not get all they wanted is a different story.

  • Raj

    Don’t let these tax hikes succeed. These unions will suck up the funds and there will be another tax hike soon. Look what these unions have done to california. Cut the budget.

  • Diamond Jim

    Watch the language fellas. Can’t we all just get along?????

  • Vernon

    California is still standing despite the budget hype.

  • Dave Lister

    No question government services are vital to the private sector. Infrastructure, education, public safety and reasonable regulation. My point is simply this: All of the money to fund the public sector is created by the private sector. We simply cannot afford to continue to expand government while the private sector shrinks. At some point you run out of money.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      > We simply cannot afford to continue to expand government while the private sector shrinks. At some point you run out of money.

      I think the right operates under the idea that the left does not know this or that this is a difficult concept for them to grasp. What is crucial to understand is the left grasps this concept totally and wishes precisely for its ultimate outcome, the stage of running out of other peoples money. At that point they feel the worthlessness of the individual is proven as services can no longer be provided and thus people will accept the subsuming of the individual to the collectivism of the state.

      As an example. this is why the left loves loading up private insurance with mandates and restrictions and then points to how its so expensive. The formula is simple, create a mess and then stage government intervention as the only solution.

      There is no mystery here, left wing politics generally have as their hallmark and ultimate goal some form of totalitarianism. The sooner private enterprise and individualism can be wiped out the sooner such a goal can be achieved. Their phrase “We’re all in this together” should probably be your first clue.

      • v person

        “What is crucial to understand is the left grasps this concept totally and wishes precisely for its ultimate outcome..”

        Really? As a card carrying member of the left and a small business person, I must have missed the memo.

        “As an example. this is why the left loves loading up private insurance with mandates and restrictions and then points to how its so expensive.”

        Uh…no. The reason state governments mandate certain levels of coverage is to establish a floor that actually provides health care instead of just ripping off monthly payments and then not delivering. The “mess” is the private insurance mishmash we have chosen to live with. The actual social insurance systems in other nations work far better than ours. If this were not the case, people in those nations would be advocating scrapping their system for ours instead of the other way around.

        “left wing politics generally have as their hallmark and ultimate goal some form of totalitarianism.”

        Glenn Beck would be proud of his student, but your statement is total crap. Extreme left wing politics, i.e. communism, is totalitarian. Everything from slightly left of center through European social democracy is anything but totalitarian.

        Arguing that any government managed good or service amounts to or leads to totalitarianism is a way of shutting your brain off so you don’t have to consider the pros or cons of a specific program.

      • Anonymous

        Wow. That is way out there. Even for you, Rupert.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          Actually it is not at all a divergence from things I have always maintained. Thus to say it is “out there” for me is somewhat erroneous. I have always maintained that the left generally has a love of totalitarianism.

          This can be in varying degrees of course. But look at how Dean categorizes insurance mandates as government instituting a “floor”. He is comfortable with government telling him what to do. One rarely hears of a mandate for anything other than oil change matters, yet Dean feels without them an insurance plan would amount to nothing. He needs and is comfortable with government telling him what to do in every matter.

          In fact my statements regarding the left and totalitarianism don’t extend much beyond a truism so they are hardly “out there”

          Left wing politics by necessity have a strong centralized government as their core. To say that to be comfortable with such things obviously means one is comfortable more towards the totalitarian view is hardly much of a reach.

          History also tends to bear this out. For the past hundred years the vast majority of totalitarian regimes have been of the left wing variety.

          • v person

            Your conclusions about my views continue to amuse me when they don’t baffle me. Government sets standards for all sorts of things, from product safety to food safety to speed limits on highways. Regulating insurance is only one of many things. I’m for reasonable regulations and no more. But since you are against insurance regulations, should I conclude you are also against every other government regulation and standard? Building codes? Electrical codes? Limits on air and water pollution? Noise limits? Not allowing someone to plant a radioactive dump next to your home? Hunting tags? Limits on how many fish one can catch? Requiring clean up of slash after logging to prevent fires? Requiring replanting of trees after logging? What a nanny state! How can we ever stand for it?

            “Left wing politics by necessity have a strong centralized government as their core. ”

            Really? Then you have never heard of left-wing anarchists? And you live near Eugene? You should go visit the Whitaker neighborhood. I could introduce you to some leftists who hate centralized government much more than you do.

            “For the past hundred years the vast majority of totalitarian regimes have been of the left wing variety. ”

            I suppose you are excluding Singapore, South Korea (before it was democratic,) Franco’s Spain, Portugal, Indonesia, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and for that matter most of Latin America for most of the 20th century.

            Was Saddam Hussein a “leftist”? Was King Fahd one? Mubarak? I’d like to see your scorecard. Oh that’s right. You already identified Hitler and Mussolini as “leftists,” so I guess anything goes.

    • v person

      “My point is simply this: All of the money to fund the public sector is created by the private sector. We simply cannot afford to continue to expand government while the private sector shrinks. At some point you run out of money.”

      An alternative view:
      All or much of the wealth the private sector creates is enabled by the public sector. We simply cannot afford to continue to cut government funding or services and expect the private sector to remain productive. At some point you run out of educated people and/or the physical infrastructure.

    • state employee

      I agree with what you say about running out of money.

      My objection (to your piece and others) is to contending (falsely) that raises in the private world are uncommon during the recession; the constant bashing of public employees; and even things like this:

      “Do you think state services have improved as spending has increased? Are the schools better? Are there more troopers on the roads? Is our infrastructure better? It doesn’t seem like it to me.”

      I do think infrastructure is better — compare the school physical plants we built a few years ago in my district to the ones they replaced. A growing population is being served. Are the schools better? Depends on what you are looking at. I’d say the K-12 schools are operating in a much harder environment than 50 years ago. (That’s one reason the teachers are so gung-ho about the union.)

      In any case, what I really object to is the notion that the public can maintain the level of services it has while the budgets are being cut. That services will not be cut if the tax increases don’t pass.

      Can’t afford the tax increases? OK, but be prepared to tighten your belts when it comes to public services.

      Don’t expect me to take a pay cut just because Oregon is too undisciplined to prepare for a recession.

      • Steve Plunk

        You should correct that last statement, Oregon’s government is too undisciplined to prepare for a recession. Once again we are back to the root of the problem, an undisciplined state government and public employee unions who bargain across the table from their associates instead of a taxpayer advocate.

        • state employee

          You’re right, Oregon is too undisciplined. Tough, you have to live with it. A lot of in the indiscipline is your stupid kicker.

        • state employee

          I see, you (by inference) call me a “pit bull”, call yourself my “master”, and I’m supposed to respect that, eh? And my “duty” is to listen to your whining? And I misdirect from your knowledge of “facts” such as Oregon is comparable to Communist Russia? I happen to know a fair number of real people from Communist Russia. They could set you straight, You should be ashamed of yourself. You’re no better than the people on the left who compare America to Nazi Germany. “Amerika” and all that. You are pathetic.

          • Steve Plunk

            State employee,

            My reference to a pit bull is about the government itself, not the individuals. Master refers to the citizens. I mention duty since it’s a favorite of government workers to call themselves public servants. I clearly stated the bureaucracy is worthy of comparison to Russia, the bureaucracy. Not the political system, not the secret police, not the blatant corruption. Either you are misreading what I write or you are misdirecting again.

            I write here using my own name and standing behind my words and you decide to call me pathetic? I see how anonymity has instilled enough courage to name call on your part. I am seeing more and more why the citizens are losing respect for our public employees. They show no respect for us.

          • state employee

            Now you are going into your smarmy mode. But of course you finish with more of your seething contempt for public employees. Like the cowardly pit bull, I guess.

      • v person

        At the risk of giving some readers a heart attack, I’m going to argue the other side here for a moment. A budget cut to a government agency does not necessarily result in a service cut IF productivity increases. In the private sector a service based business in competition with others has to either have a market niche that can’t easily be penetrated, or it has to continuously improve its productivity in order to remain competitive. What frustrates those on the right (and some on the left, including myself) is that government services don’t seem to follow that part of the logic of the marketplace, that is that continuous productivity improvement is necessary and a reasonable expectation on the part of consumers (the public at large).

        Why aren’t most government services provided at increasing levels of efficiency due to higher productivity? Conservatives argue that it is due to a monopoly on service provision, or unions, or corruption, or some other inherent flaw in government. Having worked in and out of government, I think there is some truth in all of these complaints.

        if we could only get conservatives to make realistic and constructive proposals for improving public service productivity, instead of always arguing that public services don’t matter, or that budgets can be cut with no consequences, or to hell with the poor and disabled (bah humbug,) or that there is no such thing as global warming, then we might get somewhere. We might get better public services for less money. And wouldn’t that be something?

        • state employee

          There was a time when conservatives actually were constructive, when they made government work better. Eisenhower and Reagan come to mind. Somebody pointed out to me recently — here?? — that confidence in government peaked under Reagan, after a long bad time, and has steadily declined since then. It seems that a lot of conservatives now think that by proving themselves incompetent, they can discredit government and get more public support. HuH???

          I get the feeling that a lot of Oregon so-called conservatives enjoy feeling persecuted too much to actually try to do something constructive. Which if they did, they might get elected to something. Plus they come across as very unpleasant people. When you have Sizemore/Saxton doing the good cop/bad cop (with Mannix as the referee), you should know you’re in trouble.

          • Steve Plunk

            Perhaps the loss of confidence in state government is for good reason. We are inundated with stories about fraud, waste, and abuse of power. $1900/month health insurance premiums for TriMet employees. Official in the department of correction taking bribes and then fleeing the country. The old DMV computer failure that cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Public works projects that double or triple the original estimates sold to voters (the OHSU tram, the South Medford interchange). Public employees retiring and double dipping. Public employees retiring and making nearly as much money as when they worked. From the scowl at the DMV counter to the ODOT worker leaning on a shovel we are being shown nothing worthy of confidence.

          • v person

            “Official in the department of correction taking bribes and then fleeing the country.”

            Yes, he was busted for stealing and is now serving time in a state run prison. But there is no pattern of stealing or fraud in Oregon government. None. One example does not point to a systemic problem. People in the private sector also steal or commit fraud, and I don’t see you concluding the private sector therefore has too much money sloshing around.

            “The old DMV computer failure that cost hundreds of millions of dollars.”

            How many times should that dead horse be beaten? Let’s also remember it was a private contractor who failed to deliver on the badly managed contract.

            “Public works projects that double or triple the original estimates sold to voters ”

            Sure, but the ones that come in one time and under budget do not make the headlines. Show me the data that says Oregon has a clear pattern of cost overruns on projects.

            “Public employees retiring and making nearly as much money as when they worked.”

            Yes, but those were negotiated pensions. Workers accepted less money at that time for a contractural promise of more later on. It was dumb long term economics on the part of government managers who negotiated those contracts, no question, but GM and Chrysler did exactly the same thing in the private sector. Maybe worse.

            “From the scowl at the DMV counter to the ODOT worker leaning on a shovel …”

            My own experience at DMV has never included a scowl. Maybe if you tried smiling at them when you get to the counter you might get a smile back. As for the worker on the shovel, I’d bet that 90% of road repair work is done by private contractors, so that is probably not an ODOT worker leaning on that shovel. But whoever it is, shoveling asphalt is darn hard work, and an occasional rest break is not necessarily a sign of inefficiency.

            In short Steve, anecdotes like the ones you cite are not justification for concluding that government is full of waste or does unnecessary things. And kevetching about them does nothing to offer any solution. A robot shovel that never needs to rest? Now that might improve productivity. A teaching method that gets good results with 50 students instead of 25? Let’s hear about it.

          • Steve Plunk

            v person,

            A pattern exists with respect to each of the anecdotes mentioned. That pattern is what is driving the loss of confidence in government. It’s what driving the belief that government workers are becoming a class of citizen different than the rest of us. In each of those cases mentioned there were little if any consequences for the government employees responsible.

            I try to be friendly at the DMV and I know the difference between an ODOT employee and a contract employee. No matter how you try to excuse it the reason the public has a stereotype for these people is because it’s so pervasive it’s true. The system corrupts them. I’ve heard it from those employees themselves. The cure is to choke the beast from it’s food until it reforms and that food is our money.

            In the mean time they treat us with contempt just as our visitor state employee has done. Making enemies rather than friends.

          • v person

            I don’t see the situation as dire as you do, though I see a lot of room for improvement. My experience when I was a public employee was that budget reductions often had the perverse effect of driving out the younger and more talented employees, leaving what I called the barnacles behind. You increase performance by hiring and retaining the best, not by pulling the rug out.

        • cc

          “if we could only get conservatives to make realistic and constructive proposals for improving public service productivity, instead of always arguing that public services don’t matter, or that budgets can be cut with no consequences, or to hell with the poor and disabled (bah humbug,) or that there is no such thing as global warming, then we might get somewhere. We might get better public services for less money. And wouldn’t that be something”

          If only your silly little self could refrain from saying such silly little things…

          Let’s see…

          If only conservatives would (insert 4 straw men here) then, maybe, we’d all just “get along”.

          You mean constructive criticism like that, deaner?

          No heart attack here – just boredom with the usual whiny pap you spit up so regularly and interminably. (https://www.ratemyprofessors.com/ShowRatings.jsp?tid=1253163)

          Small businessman, huh?

          Another lie.

          Paying more taxes next year because of 66 & 67, sweetheart?

          I didn’t think so.

          • v person

            cc…you came out from behind your bush? We missed you.

            You write: “Small businessman, huh?

            Another lie.”

            Another lie? Really? I’ve spent 17 out of the past 31 years operating a consulting business. What have you been doing? Torturing small furry animals?

            Will I pay more taxes next year if 66 & 67 hold up? No. Howz about you shmendrik? I didn’t think so.

  • Reper

    Maybe we just need to start printing our own money like the Feds?

    • Anonymous

      Your grasp of monetary policy is inspiring. Thank you for your comment.

  • matthew vantress

    how are the schools operating differently now?they have been getting 10,000 bucks a kid since measure 5 and thats very stable and generous funding and more than adequate money to give kids a quality education.what [public services will suffer?sorry i dont see any suffering because i get no services at all from thet state as dont most private sector citizens.sorry the kicker money is taxpayers and belongs to us not the arrogant whiny,greedy selfish state govt and schools.tighten our belts when it comes to public services?how about the state cut all illegal aliens and their kids off all state services including food stamps,subsidized housing and etc and see how much money that actually saves the state?what public services is there such a high demand for now beacuse i dont see it?why should we subsidize illegals and their kids?mexico dont subsidize illegal americans and our families in mexico and we dont get food stamps,subsidized housing and etc down there so why should they get anything from the state here?

    • state employee

      You may be responding to me when I said “the K-12 schools are operating in a much harder environment than 50 years ago. (That’s one reason the teachers are so gung-ho about the union.)”

      I had in mind the explosion in family breakdown, illegitimacy, vastly increased numbers of underperforming minority students, the breakdown of discipline among students and their families, rampant drugs, the sexual revolution, the explosion in distracting electronic media … it’s a completely different environment.

      As for illegal immigrants — fine, get the state government to cut them off. The conservatives might even have a popular cause, for once. But as far as I can tell, the Republicans, including the supposed conservatives, are complete cowards on this. They don’t have the slightest idea how to deal with multicultural issues, even if they had the guts.

  • Diamond Jim

    Everyone knows teachers are working beyond their limits. All 172 days of the year, too, for about 5 hours every single day.
    This can not continue.
    Something has to break.
    I propose shorter school days and a shorter school year to give these tireless workers some well-deserved time off. We can discuss it when they get back from their 2 1/2 week vacation.

    • eagle eye

      Jerry, take it up with your local school board.

      Maybe you can get your old supposed school principal job back and show how it should be done.

      You sure don’t have much future as a satirist.

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