Burnard: Issue 2 threatens unions’ ability to protect workers’ rightsWritten by Don Burnard | | email@example.com
The hottest issue in the upcoming election is without a doubt Issue 2. Gov. John Kasich and his Republican henchmen in Columbus, aided by their out-of-state, big-money backers, have pulled out all the stops in an attempt to try to sell this load of political chicanery to Ohioans as necessary policy. They have used all sorts of obfuscation, outright lies and even theft from an old woman to advance their agenda at all costs. Their arrogance and pure lack of conscience appears to know no bounds.
From the day he took office, Kasich, in his now familiar arrogance, announced that he was driving the bus and anyone who didn’t get on board would be run over. Nice way to win over the masses, eh? The man, who ran on a jobs agenda for Ohioans, quickly jettisoned that pretense. In fact, he has reigned over a net loss of jobs, while trying to put the blame for Ohio’s economic woes on its supposedly overpaid public employees.
This remarkable sleight of hand was expected to take the heat off his Wall Street cronies, the ones who really created this mess. In some part, it did. As Honest Abe pointed out, it is after all possible to fool some of the people some or all of the time. If the polls are any indication, he was also correct that you can’t fool all the people all the time. King John seems to have somewhat worn out his welcome, becoming if not the least popular governor in the country, the second least popular governor. He acts like he has a mandate to rule when he was elected with less than a majority of the popular vote. Buyer’s remorse has set in with larger and larger segments of the citizenry.
This has not stopped the GOP machine from running its scams, however. With misleading ads and the Guv himself lying outright on TV, they are going full steam ahead; damn the public wishes. Let’s take a closer look at what’s at stake with Issue 2. GOP ads would have you believe that the whole purpose of Issue 2 is to get these grossly overpaid public employees to pick up 10 or 15 percent of their pension and health care, because they pay little or nothing toward them. In actuality, 94 percent of public employees already pay that or more.
Add to that the fact that if that was all Issue 2 would do, why would it take more than 300 pages to accomplish that simple task? They would have you believe that this bill will save the state huge amounts of money, too. Do you recall hearing anywhere, in ads or pro-Issue 2 websites, just how much money this would save? That’s because there are no savings, nada.
The ads would have you believe that public employees are paid 43 percent more than their private sector counterparts.
This is based on a “study” done by two guys from The Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute, two conservative “think tanks” who can always be counted on to pull figures out of their hindquarters to justify any policy the GOP is pushing at any given moment. The study was paid for by the Ohio Business Roundtable, a group of the largest corporate players in the state. The researchers came to the conclusion that things like job security were worth about 10 percent more than the similar private sector workers made.
They did later qualify that you really couldn’t put an accurate number on something like that, but the Kasich people took it and a lot of other questionable assumptions and ran with it. Jeffrey Keefe, of the Economic Policy Institute (CPI) rebutted the findings in an Oct. 5 article titled, “Ohio public employees are not overcompensated: rebutting a diversion from Senate Bill 5.” Using actual statistics from reliable sources vs. making things up, he came to the conclusion that public employees actually make in total compensation (wages and nonwage benefits) 6 percent less than their comparable private sector counterparts, and 3.5 percent less in just wages.
Go to the EPI website and read the analysis. It also addresses the pension and health care fallacies. The reason that your communities are really going to have to run more school levies and fire and police levies is not because your teachers, firemen, police and station workers are grossly overpaid. It’s because the same corporate interests that wrecked the economy are now getting the money that used to go to your communities. The real reason for Issue 2 is to destroy the last bastion for the working people in this country: unions. Whether you belong to a union or not, they are the only entity that can even begin to stand up to corporate interests to protect your rights, or what’s left of them.
Kasich and his ilk don’t want you to pay attention to the man behind the curtain.
You’ll do you and your family a great service by paying attention.
Email columnist Don Burnard at firstname.lastname@example.org.