The Democrats Economic Agenda: Hire More Public Employees

Just once, I wish the Democrats’ rhetoric would match with their actions.

For most of the summer and on into the fall, Oregonians have had to listen to Gov. Ted Kulongoski wax ignorant about a new paradigm for governance. Kulongoski drones on and on about state government not being able to continue spending at current levels and that politicians and citizens alike are going to have to lower their expectations about what government can provide and raise their expectations about how government delivers the critical few services that it can afford.

To this day, I don’t think Ted Kulongoski understands a single thing about economics, about budgeting and about administration. He is the most economically illiterate governor Oregon has had in modern times. He is pressing for the title of the most intellectually dishonest politician in the last fifty years.

All the while that Kulongoski is preening about his “new” economic realities, he continues his reckless spending on behalf of the public employee unions and his “green energy” initiative. During the month of October – when the big checks were being written to fellow Democrat politicians by the public employee unions, Kulongoski increased the number of public employees by 1,400 according to his own Department of (Public) Employment. That brings to 2,100 additional public employees that Kulongoski has added to the state payroll just since the first of the year.

The average cost of a state worker is about $80,000 per year – that’s $50,000 in salary and another $30,000 in benefits (PERS and healthcare) and payroll taxes. Kulongoski’s October gift to the public employees unions adds another $112 Million annually to the cost of government – $224 Million for the biennium.

And here’s the kicker. At the same time that the new employment figures are published showing the additional 1,400 public employees and adding the $224 Million in recurring biennial costs, the latest tax revenue projections for state government for the next biennium fell by another $272 Million according to State Senator Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day).

When the state economist projected a $2 Billion budget deficit for the 2011-13 biennium over a year ago, I guesstimated that the figure would be closer to $4 Billion by the time the 2011 legislature actually sets the new budget. The current estimate is now for a $3.5 Billion shortfall and Kulongoski’s October “surprise” just added another quarter of a billion to the price tag.

Kulongoski lying about the new “economic reality” and continuing to pour on the number of public employees shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s sort of like the story of the scorpion and the frog. – it’s what Democrats do. The failure of Oregon’s mainstream media to ask a single hard question about the difference between Kulongoski’s rhetoric and his actual delivery also shouldn’t be a surprise given how heavily invested The Oregonian is in programs of the succession of Democrat governors.

What is surprising is that Oregon voters opted to continue these practices by electing John Kitzhaber who is equally guilty of reckless spending and enhancing the public employee unions at the taxpayers’ expense.

But then again, perhaps Oregon has crossed the tipping point where there are more Oregonians dependant on government largesse than there are Oregonians paying the bills.

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  • Wayne Brady

    Your view of Kulongoski and Kitzhaber are very charitable. I find it impossible to believe this is the result of ignorance. I think there has to be some benefit to them personally or to the Democratic Party. Maybe they want to push more people into government dependence so the Democrats will never lose an election again.

    • Sol688

      I’ve got to laugh at this…sorry

      You could cut the number of government employees to zero, zip nada

      and you’d never get over 35% of the vote in multnomah county

      I don’t work for the state, I don’t know anyone who works for the state or city…

      and not surprisingly as I live in portland I also don’t know anyone who voted for dudely

      We just fundamentaly have different views of Oregon….its history, its culture, and our relatoinship to one another as citizens

  • Steve Plunk

    Larry calls it a tipping point and I call it critical mass. Enough voters who either work for the government, are related to someone who works for the government, relies on government contracts, relies on government programs, or is basically socialist in nature. They now outnumber the people paying the bills and providing the jobs. This will change when the PERS collapses and the myth explodes. Those public sector workers who could lose their retirement will call for smaller government and layoffs of those still working in order to keep their own checks coming.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    >But then again, perhaps Oregon has crossed the tipping point where there are more Oregonians dependent on government largess than there are Oregonians paying the bills.


    This is what I have been calling the “point of no return” myself. At some point, you simply have enough of a constituency of dependents, that those paying for them simply cannot defeat them.

    It is a fascinating effect of politics and an interesting, if ugly, phenomenon. The greed of public employee unions is utterly boundless as they are clearly willing to sacrifice others to enrich themselves.

    What one wonders is do we all have this within ourselves? Would all of us do what public employee unions have done were we in their position?

    For example – Would some of us have threatened the school system the way teachers in Eugenes 4J did? Would any of us have even considered suing for back pay on furlough days, after taking them, when the accounting practices that necessitated them were known well in advance of them? Would we have gone ahead and taken the day off, then sued after the fact, thus turning the furlough days into vacation days? If our cause was just, would we not have sued before the furlough days were taken since the circumstances leading to those furlough days was so well known in advance? What kind of person waits until after the fact, then even considers suing, simply to get vacation time which would have forced massive lay offs to pay for it? Who would that even occur to to do?

    Personally I would like to think most are not capable of the sort of behavior we have seen from public employee unions. However I would not be so sure that is not the case.

    Public employee unions are doing what we all fear and dread may be within us all. The upside is most will never live to see a situation where this sort of thing can come out if it is in fact within them.

    • Sol668

      no you wouldn’t as you don’t believe in labor, you think labor should cower to the interests of their “betters” the holders of capital

      You’d never stand up for higher wages, or better benefits, as fundamentally you don’t believe workers particularly state workers deserve them

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >no you wouldn’t as you don’t believe in labor, you think labor should cower to the interests of their “betters” the holders of capital

        Nope – I just believe in paying someone what they are worth as I have never been paid any differently myself.

        If you can point the where you have hired the less competent and paid them more than the more competent, I’m all ears.

        I doubt very much you ever have.

        You probably put a buck in the Starbucks tip jar a few times a week and call it good.

        I doubt very much you are meeting your garbage man with a ten spot every week. At the grocery store where you shop, have you tipped the cashier every time? I doubt it.

        >You’d never stand up for higher wages, or better benefits,

        And of course neither neither would you.

        Do you overpay your property tax bill to stand up for higher wages?

        I doubt it. Almost all that money goes to schools, so why wouldn’t you take a stand for higher wages for teachers?

        How about your state income tax bill? Do you overpay that to stand up for higher wages for state workers?

        Probably not, as both you and I know that your “taking a stand” is just words, not really anything substantive.

        Hey! How about when you have bought something at the store, gone to the DMV, or maybe the post office?

        Have you ever handed the guy ten bucks just so he could have higher wages? Nope I doubt it.

        Ill bet you are one of those who complains about Wal Mart – How about going in there and buying a pack of gum and telling the cashier you believe they are underpaid that they can keep the change from a ten?

        Nope – you never do that I imagine, but you probably sure take advantage of a low price when you can. Gee….wonder where that low price comes from? And please, dont tell me you never shop at Wal Mart, we all know yu probably have, or if not there, some other discount store.

        So illuminate us all and tell us how you regularly overpay at the stores you go to.

        Fact is you dont take a stand for high wages, and as a matter of fact I think it highly unlikely you have ever employed anyone in your life.

        If you have, great!

        Can you tell us all about how you hired the less competent and paid them that which you would pay a fully competent person to take a stand and support higher wages?

        No, you probably cant do that either can you?

        Look, we all know you probably take ever tax deduction you can, You probably dont overpay your property tax bill even though almost all of it goes to schools. The best you probably do is tip. Big woop.

        You give yourself the excuse that everyone else takes the deductions, so what good is you overpaying your tax bill? Well my friend, thats what taking a stand means – it means doing it without regard to the cost to you and regardless of what others are doing because you believe in it.

        And I have yet to ever, and I mean ever, meet a liberal who could ever pass the test.

        Not once have a seen one of you “taking a stand” types ever produce a property tax bill where they overpaid it on a regular basis. Not once have I ever seen one who could show me how they went down and contested an undervaluation.

        The bottom line is – taking a stand for higher wages, when those wages are to be paid from someone else pocket is not making a statement about anything other than your own vapidity and cowardice.

        • Sol668

          Yup decent wages are overpayment in your mind, as your “betters” in the investment class deserve profits, and the lower the wages the greater the profits, which is why we have the greatest wealth inequity in this nation, 30 years of your policies which favor one group (holders of capital) over another labor

          the rest of your post is naturally a personal attack on myself, as fundamentally your ideas mean a worse life for average people, as such your arguments focus on the personal “superiority” of those that adhere to your ideas

          Cowing and bullying working people into abandoning their own interests, Go on with your insults and put downs, as someday they won’t be able to cover the worse life you’ll foist on average americans out of your sneering sense of entitlement and superiority

          but the funny thing is, you’re not a billionaire, you’re a average guy like me who will have to accept the lower wages you think are “fair” for the benefit of the wealth

  • John in Oregon

    An interesting new poll from Rasmussen Reports. That survey fond sixty-six percent of American voters favor a proposal to cut federal payrolls by 10 percent. Two of every three want to cut government payroll while only 22% oppose and 12% were unsure.

    Ultimately that will happen. The only question is if it happens BSB or ASB. Before State Bankruptcy or After State Bankruptcy.

    • eagle eye

      Interestingly, total federal civilian employment is at just about the level it was 30 years ago. I wonder how many people in the survey were aware of that?

      People may favor cutting federal employment, just as they favor cutting federal spending. But of course, they always want to cut the spending they don’t like, not the spending they like.

      Ask people if they would like to have social security or medicare benefits reduced. Or ask them if they’d like the agencies that provide those benefits have their work forces cut, even if it means the payments don’t get made on time. You might get a different answer.

      Or ask them if they’d like to cut federal employment, even if the programs they like get the ax — whether it’s social security, or rocket science, or medicare, or the military, or education, etc. etc.

  • Bob Clark

    Really it’s mostly Multnomah county which is punch drunk blue, and barely swings the state towards big government operation. I hope Washington county’s private sector economic machine can pull more population growth than languishing Multnomah county, and begin moving Oregon politics more toward center. Washington county barely voted in favor of governor retread over novice Dudley. A more experienced and well spoken Republican candidate, a commodity in high demand, would’ve swung Oregon back towards center, despite Multnomah county. Shoot. A scheme, favored by many Democrats, namely eliminating all but the two top primary candidates may have given Dudley the win, as it would have eliminated the 1 to 2 % probably taken from Dudley by the libertarian and Constitutional party candidates.

    One thing which could help tremendously is if Representative Walden and his GOP brethren were to cut the big subsidies keeping Portland’s government class afloate, such as the Portland (milwaukee) light rail project. This subsidization is what makes Multnomah county so punch drunk blue, as in Greece and California like. It would be far better governance is if these federal subsidies were eliminated, federal taxes lowered, and state and local taxes raised correspondingly so as to keep such monies under state & local control.

    Hughes’ win over Stacey for Metro President might put a dent in the other scheme helping keep Portland’s government class afloat. This would be steering population growth towards Portland and Multnomah’s high density central planning. Unfortunately, Hughes is talking of enlisting Stacey’s help. Hopefully, this doesn’t actually happen much in practice, and Washington county actually gains power at Metro.

    • Sol668

      I just have got to ask you conservatives

      why do you want to see portland turn into LA?

      endless urban sprawl, miles of strip malls and gas stations

      I grew up here, and our high density planning is one of the things that makes oregon oregon

      • Ryan

        This question would more appropriately be asked to Metro, who admitted that they desired to replicate the development patterns of Los Angelos when they finished drafting the 2040 plan in 1994. Metro specifically desires to replicate the density and limited highway expansion policies of LA that have made it the densest, most congested, most polluted urban area in the country. They also desire to replicate LA’s uber-expensive rail transit network that may well lead our regional transit agency into similar dire financial straights as MTA experienced in the mid-90s. Though traffic congestion in Portland is starting to rival Los Angelos and Tri-Met is looking pretty strapped for cash, the population density of Portland proper still hovers around 3,300 people/sq. mile, well off of the stated goal of 5,000+.

        • SOL668

          You do realize our high density planning and light rail systems pre date los angeles by nearly a decade dating back to the early 1980’s

          The free market means SPRAWL as farm owners subdivide their land for quick profits

          spin it however you wish

  • valley p

    On the national level, Clinton cut the federal payroll while Bush expanded it, so I don’t see how this is a Democrat or Republican issue. In fact, a lot of Republicans in Oregon just voted to expand our prison populations, meaning there is a new need to hire more guards and administrators.

    On the state level, Kulongowski signed into law a balanced budget all through his 2 terms. The number of employees reflects the amount of money available, the amount of compensation, and the work that needs to be done. I’d like Larry or any of you to tell us which categories of state employees should be laid off:

    Teachers & school administration (the bulk of state general fund spending)
    University professors and support staff (funded mostly by tuition, not taxes)
    Judicial and legal
    Law enforcement
    Corrections (driven by ballot measures passed by the people)
    State parks (funded by the lottery, which voters just locked into the constitution)
    Health services (funded largely by the federal government)
    Child welfare
    State forests and fire fighting (funded mostly by timber sales and forest landowner fees)
    Agriculture inspection and technical
    Highways and transportation (funded by the gas tax mostly)

    Which areas can and should we get by with fewer bodies?

    If you can’t answer then you should stop whining.

  • Bill Sizemore

    Valley p, do you have any idea how many faceless bureaucrats and paper shufflers fill government payrolls? You must not. Few would dispute that we need public employees to do certain things relating to essential services, but thousands of state employee jobs are 100 percent unnecessary and exist because of bureaucratic inefficiencies and paybacks to public employee unions who fund the political campaigns of Democrat governors.

    • valley p

      I worked for the Feds for 11 years. It was a good stint with what was considered at the time the best run agency they had, and I would say the staff breakdown was as follows:

      1/3 very professional, very hard working, very dedicated to the point of going above and beyond the expected duty.
      1/3 average workers/producers, neither barn burners nor do-nothings. Put in the 9-5, did what needed to be done, and went home to spouse and kids.
      1/3 reeks and wrecks, cynical, bitter, incompetent, burned out, some stealing their pay.

      So what is the problem? Why can’t we get rid of the 1/3 or so who don’t accomplish much, or maybe even make it harder for others to accomplish much, and keep the rest?

      Because of civil service rules. Public jobs come with tenure and it is very hard to identify and surgically remove the lower performers. In the private sector, at least the non union part, this is not the case, but in government it is.

      So the challenge to you and Larry and any “conservative” who thinks they can improve efficiency in government by lopping off staff is to tell us how you plan to do that while keeping the good and average and only removing the bad. I’m a liberal bordering on socialist, and I would support any reasonable approach that accomplishes this. But what I see are across the board cuts in staff or pay or benefits with not a single idea for how this affects output. But you will drive out the best talent and you will be left with the dregs for the simple reason that the talent is mobile. It has options. The dregs are like barnacles on the hull of a boat too long in port. Barnacles know they can’t swim and will likely die if they leave the ship.

      Reduce staff arbitrarily and you will lose the best first. Is that what you want?

      • Steve Plunk

        Why can’t these ‘public servants’ clean house internally? If they know who should go then why haven’t they seen it as their duty to give the taxpayers the best for their money? How about give that list of reeks and wrecks Larry and let him fire ’em?

        • eagle eye

          What do you expect them to do — hire hit men to bump off the employees they don’t like?

          By the way, I like the sneer quotes you put around ‘public servant’ — very like you — quite in character.

          • Steve Plunk

            The quotes around ‘public servant’ are there for a good reason. For years government employees have tried to advance the notion they are somehow better than the rest of of us since they supposedly serve the public. It’s just a job really, no better or worse than the guy driving truck or a plumber. Everyone in society has a job to do and no one is better than the next.

            My question stands. If public employees recognize the unproductive workers why haven’t they gotten rid of them? They hurt not only the taxpayer but also their fellow employees.

          • eagle eye

            OK — my question — to the ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘hard-working private sector workers’ out there — talk about a guy who thinks he is better than others! — stands. What do you expect them to do? Bump off the co-workers they don’t like?

          • Steve Plunk

            So you consider asking if coworkers would kill others serious? How about performance reviews and letting the bad ones go? That’s a serious question.

            As for thinking the private sector better than the public sector please keep in mind who is bankrupting the government. It’s the coming public pension collapse that the public sector is entirely responsible for that makes the difference.

          • eagle eye

            You think coworkers can do performance reviews on each other and get each other fired? You are the one who is not serious.

            The government is responsible for the coming pension collapse? In the first place, the pension system e.g. PERS is not going to collapse.

            Second, much of the troubles of PERS are due to the near-catastrophic financial meltdown in this country and the world. Which was mostly brought on by private greed, lack of proper government regulation, and the failure of the market to self-regulate. It was government action that saved the national and world economy — TARP bailout and all that.

            In Oregon, we also have the failure of our mediocre private business sector. In Douglas County, unemployment stuck at over 15%!

          • valley p

            “How about performance reviews and letting the bad ones go? That’s a serious question.”

            Right. That is already done. Every public employee at every level gets performance reviews. A few are even let go due to poor performance. The problem is that the process for doing and acting on these reviews is heavily bogged down by civil service rules, so managers find that it is not worth the effort to take things to the mat. It is far easier and preserves sanity by shuffelng the poor performers off to a corner, given them not much to do, and let them live out their days in peace, or worse, to help that person into a job in another department where they can be someone elses problem.

            If you want the government to be able to be more nimble, more productive, attract and hold the best talent while weeding out the worst, then you have to support civil service reforms. You have to stop bashing all public employees for the sins of some, and have to stop trying to lower compensation, which only drives the best out. Reward the best, weed out the worst, and understand that most will be somewhere in between.

            The private sector is flawed in ways the public sector is not. The public sector did not create the Beanie Baby craze, did not invest in Bernie Madoff, and did not package up bad mortgages and sell than as good investments.

          • eagle eye

            Quite right — the constant bashing of public employees, the obsessive hatred on constant display, is not the way to win them over to civil service reform.

            That is why, if reform ever comes in Oregon, it will probably be due to the Democrats — there is just too much distrust of the Republicans, plus they have a way of constantly reinforcing this when it comes time for elections.

            Dudley came pretty close to doing it right, but I will always believe that what did him in was his gaffe about the waitresses. There went probably thousands of working-class votes. Enough thousands to give Kitzhaber the victory.

          • valley p

            A lot of things did Dudley in. Any issue that lost him a few thousand votes can be pointed to. My choice is his lack of any experience in government or business. He is a nice guy, probably bright and well meaning, but beyond that has no experience that suggests he could or should be a governor, especially in times like these.

            I don’t hold my breath on my Democrats reforming Civil Service. Its just not a winning issue for them. Its a lot of short term pain with a long term payoff, and no politician likes that sort of thing.

            What I’d like to see is some sort of bipartisan group take this up as a cause, as has been done with deficit reduction. A blue ribbon panel. With a divided legislature, a serious proposal could pass. But someone has to get down in the weeds on this. Its not like waving a wand.

            A few local agencies, like Clean Water Services in Washington County, have successfully done serous reform and created a more business-like approach to staffing. They work in teams, have financial rewards for productivity increases, and team members put pressure on the lower performers. It seems to be working from what I hear.

          • eagle eye

            Of course the lack of experience hurt Dudley, but there was nothing he could about that (short of not running for Governor this time, getting elected to something to get some relevant experience, and running for Governor at a later time). I certainly hesitated to vote for him because of the lack of experience (but in the end, gave him my vote, just barely).

            But of things that he actually DID or SAID in the campaign, over which he had control, to me it seemed the waitress remark that did him in. I know it got a lot of attention in Eugene — in the local press, on bulletin boards, in conversations.

          • valley p

            I see your point now. I heard from a waitress in Portland remarking on the same statement. It was dumb to blurt it out, but on the other hand it accurately reflected the attitude Republicans have towards the minimum wage. He could have also blurted out that unemployment is equal to welfare.

          • eagle eye

            Yes. Of course the Rupert types say that it was taken out of context, blah blah blah, and there is some truth to that.

            But he didn’t then come out with a ringing endorsement of the Oregon minimum wage laws, or a defense of waitresses, something that might have defused the comment (and even picked up some working class votes).

            Of course, a great deal of his Republican base doesn’t like the Oregon minimum wage laws — I’m not especially keen on them myself, but not because I begrudge waitresses their meager lot — and so there was probably not much he could do, after the blunder was made.

        • valley p

          Because of civil service rules, put in place a long time ago to weed out corruption. Back in the day, a political party would come into office, fire everyone and re-hire their friends, relatives and supporters. That led to a whole lot of “Heckuva job Brownie” types running things they had no business running. So back in the progressive era, the civil service system, which professionalized the public work force AND made it harder to clean house due to political whims, was put in place. At the time it was a major step forward.

          So “internally” is hampered by past legislation. It will take an act of legislators to reform the system to make hiring and firing easier and to allow the sort of incentives, like bonuses, common in the private sector. Someone like Larry or yourself, with your vast private sector experience, should take an interest in this. Instead of always whining, you could offer a positive solution.

          You conservatives often focus on unions as the problem, but really its the civil service rules that are the root cause. Reform those in the right way and you could create a more productive, leaner, better public work force.

      • Ron Marquez

        …..”Reduce staff arbitrarily and you will lose the best first. Is that what you want?”…..

        There is an assumption here that the best and brightest are the employees at the bottom of the seniority ladder. Don’t think anybody can state that with certainty.

        Arbitrary staff reductions are not what I want but if, it doesn’t happen internally as Steve suggested, it will happen with certainty as part of the budget balancing process. Nobody wants to lose your best people, public sector or private. However, over at least the next four years, the public sector has a friend in the governor’s chair and contract changes valuing employee worth over seniority are probably not in the cards.

        Hoping I’m wrong………

        • valley p

          “There is an assumption here that the best and brightest are the employees at the bottom of the seniority ladder. Don’t think anybody can state that with certainty.”

          No, that is not my assumption at all. My assumption is that if you cut arbitrarily, or cut wages or benefits, then those who are the best and brightest are also the most mobile. When incentives are offered to leave, they take them and move on.

          “Hoping I’m wrong……… ”

          No, unfortunately you are not wrong. Democrats are unlikely to be the ones to initiate reform of the civil service and will try to maintain spending as their solution. And republicans are happy to cut anything since they think its all useless. So round and round we go. No one bothers to think of government as a service provider that can and should be run on an incentive basis. Its frustrating.

  • “”

    Teats and jackass, schlep all Dem wits including Berkley Merkley ashore to succor on SEIU Island having no private sector resources to provide for them.

  • Sol668

    Rural and Conservative Oregonians PLEASE Look at the real numbers….
    Who exactly are the government dependents?

    Rural conservatives are the disproportionate beneficiaries of both state and federal dollars….particularly thanks to farm subsidies

    You have lower incomes…more welfare
    you’re base is more elderly…more SS payments
    You have higher poverty ..more medicaid
    You have greater unemployment ….I’m sure letting unemployment benefits expire will help all those lazy rural oregonians struggling with 20% unemployment get off their butts and get a job
    you have lower graduation rates

    Here’s the most telling statistic

    Federal Funds, FY 2008
    Rural * Urban * Total

    Federal funding, dollars per person
    All Federal funds 8,807 7,093 7,471

    Stop blaming urbanites for your problems and take some “personal responsiblity”, in a down economy, where per capita rural counties have MORE public employees (including the feds) cuts can only hurt your communities more then mine in Portland…with our higher incomes GREATER EDUCATION and HIGHER PROPERTY VALUES are paying for those new employees, we pay the bills in this state

    which is why….

    Those who actually pay the bills, even in lake oswego one of the most affluent communities in oregon prefered kitzhaber

    You stay poor and you wonder why????

    If it means your dedication to “free markets” and “small government” means you lose your job, because its cheaper to cut wood in SE asia, cheaper to ranch and farm on reclaimed rain forest…because the farm subsidies dried up, and NO ONE can afford to shop at the local walmart where you work because they’re not getting unemployment benefitsa anymore..well thats just the “free market” and you should take some “personal responsiblity” and learn to beg

    Sorry for the help! You didn’t really want it anyway

    • Rupert in Springfield

      >with our higher incomes GREATER EDUCATION and HIGHER PROPERTY VALUES are paying for those new employees, we pay the bills in this state

      And you pretty much cause most of the bills in the state as well, so thats probably fair. You think rural Oregon has been responsible for the expansion of government? Hardly. When it comes time to start up a new government program, pass a tax increase or expand the powers of government I generally dont see rural areas as the places of support for those kinds of things.

      Just a hint – the mid sentence use of all caps in a blog post is’nt exactly a sign of great education and a whole lotta bill payin’ going on.

      In the blogosphere the caps thing is generally taken as the international sign of the loon.

      >Sorry for the help! You didn’t really want it anyway

      Well come on, you really didn’t expect anyone to listen to you with your attitude did you?

      Lets just take one example – you say no one can afford to shop at Wal Mart because unemployment dried up.

      So where are you?

      Why arent you “taking a stand” for higher wages as you demand of others?

      Where are you outside the Wal Mart paying the cashier more? Where are you buying other peoples groceries?

      • valley p

        “When it comes time to start up a new government program, pass a tax increase or expand the powers of government I generally dont see rural areas as the places of support for those kinds of things.”

        Well then you aren’t looking very hard. Who the hell gets farm subsidies? Who benefits the most from military base locations? Where do a lot of over 65 folks live? Who did rural electrification serve? Who benefited from the gazillions of dollars in reclamation projects that irrigate arid lands? Who got subsidized timber harvest for decades? Who still gets payments in lieu of subsidized timber harvest? Who gains from leasing their land to wind energy developers?

        If you answered rural areas to all of the above, you win.

        • eagle eye

          Most of these are old programs and many put in place by Democrats when the rural population was largely Democratic. Ancient history.

          Don’t forget either that while the rural populations may not favor these programs at first, they get used to having them. And then they become some of the fiercest defenders of them.

      • Sol668

        I don’t expect you conservatives to listen to me at all…

        I expect a long series of personal attacks and insults, and declarations of your personal superiority
        , as this seems to be the only argument you have for your illusions about where spending goes and who benefits from it

        I trust that its going to take going back to the problems we had before the progressive reforms of the 20th century including SS medicare FDA before people realize the necessity of a government thats not toothless in the face of private self interested individuals.

        I don’t shop at walmart, I don’t work at walmart and I’d encourage walmart employees to unionize, but my specific point, was in regards to the very high unemployment rural oregon is suffering….and the relative importance of walmart as an employeer in rural communities, DO you think when walden lets unemployment expire that demand is going to go up or down at the local walmart in rural oregon counties with unemployment pushing 20%

        Lets be clear, the “free market” might NOT mean a better life for you

  • eagle eye

    Really impossible to know what to make of this. What jobs were the state employees hired for? What is the size of the state labor force increase in comparison to the starting labor force? Does this increase include state higher education employment? (Enrollment at the public colleges is up sharply for the third year in a row. Nobody should be surprised if employment is up — that’s usually what happens when business is booming.) Without more detail, impossible to know what to make of it. Instead of a real analysis, just the usual cracks about the Governor’s motives, plus a dig at the electorate for electing Kitzhaber. The usual loser sour grapes.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      >The usual loser sour grapes.

      Considering your whining over the election three weeks ago this is particularly ironic.

      Get over it, you guys won the governorship – if your guys can only spend and cant lead, then expect some criticism.

      • eagle eye

        As you know very well, I wasn’t “whining” about the election, even though — as you also know — I voted for Dudley and Huffman (though not for Art Robinson).

        The whining in Oregon seems to be coming most from Republicans who are disappointed that Dudley came so close, but lost.

        What I did do is point out that Dudley arguably lost because of his faux pas about the waitresses — one more example in a continuing series of how it’s not too smart to diss the working class or government employees when you need some of them to vote for you if you want to win statewide in Oregon.

        The OC types are especially good at being completely clueless on this. And you, Rupert, are Exhibit A.

  • Anonymous

    Kitzhaber has nothing to offer Oregon but a D next to his name.

    Even liberals knew that and know that but they do not care how much Oregon suffers from the inaction and incompetence of another 4 years of Kulongoski/Kitzhaber follies.

    They are juveniles giddy over having their guy the club president.

    • eagle eye

      Now be careful — somebody might get the idea you’re a “whiner”!

  • Mel

    I need these workers because they take care of me. I have food stamps, housing subsidies, free health care, free transportation, free gambling couseling, free everything! I pay zero taxes. I don’t even work. Why should I??
    I am happiest when I know more and more of the state’s workers are working for me!
    Soon I will get free tuition when my unemployment runs out and I can spend the book money on booze and stuff – I never even go to class – but at least I have something to do if I get bored at the video poker machine.
    I use my welfare money mostly for drugs.
    I am off to the store now to use my state debit card (free money) for some malt liquor and some chips and salsa.

    • Anonymous

      Jerry, is it getting boring in Arkansas, Jerry? Are the chigger bites getting to you? Does your PERS pension go too far there?

      • Mel

        I don’t know who this Jerry fool is, but I am for real.
        Who can you be if you are anonymous?
        I am going to get some more malt liquor now.

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