Skip to comments.Obama's Cloward-Piven Policies Causing Ominous Rumblings in Philly
Posted on 08/17/2010 9:43:26 AM PDT by unspun
Reported in the Examiner, Philadelphia:
Firefighter Union to City: Liar, liar, pants on... you get it already.
Exactly a week ago, it was written here how a fire in West Philadelphia killed a 12 year old boy. Much blame was put on the fact that Philly's Democrat Mayor Michael Nutter recently made Fire Department cutbacks, or "brownouts" to punish us all for not going along with this stupid soda tax idea.Please bear with me, before I begin this story a little back story is necessary. Apparently Philadelphia is our future and we need to see where the present proposed Marxist policies will lead us, if we allow them to be adopted.
First you need to know what the DROP program is as it seems to be the root cause of the problem.
The Committee of Seventy continues to do our job for us with a succinct explanation of the citys embattled Deferred Retirement Option Plan (DROP). Simply put, DROP is a way for city workers to both collect salary and accumulate pension money over the last four years of their employment. DROP was originally introduced as a revenue neutral management tool, and largely flew under the radar until last week when Mayor Nutter announced that revenue neutral really means it costs $22 million a year.This charming, innocent program which (a few examples) is playing out like this:
What is DROP anyway?
Its a program that was designed to keep experienced employees on the job a few extra years to train their replacements. City Council created it in 1999, worried that police and firefighters from the Baby Boom generation would retire all of a sudden with nobody to take their places.
How does it work?
An employee promises to retire but stays on the job for as long as four years. The employee keeps getting a regular salary, but gets a pension payment too. The city puts the pension payment in an account that earns 4.5 percent interest. When the employee finally retires for real, he or she gets that pension money in one big lump. Most of that is money the employee would have gotten from a normal retirement anyway, but there is that extra from the interest as well. And remember that the employee has been getting a regular salary all that time too.
Several dozen senior government workers, including the Council President who will get $584,777 from DROP at the end of 2012 whether she retires for real or runs for a new term. Besides the Council leadership, several other council members are in DROP. The Register of Wills is enrolled in DROP, as is the Sheriff, who says he will retire soon and collect his $331,744 DROP payment. The Former Mayor enrolled in the program before he left office too. (his payout was $400,000)All of these payouts have left a $258 Million deficit since 1999. So, whats a mayor to do? Why first, propose a tax. Mayor Nutter dutifully did this with his plan to add a tax on all sweetened beverages including soda, energy drinks, ice tea, even chocolate milk. The tax rate would be 2 cents per ounce, 40 cents on a 20-ounce bottle of soda. The levy would cover fountain-drink syrups and powders (they want to tax Kool-aid by the ounce?) based on the number of liquid ounces they produce. Diet drinks without added sugar and baby formula would be excluded. Of course the proposal was crouched in the Healthy Philadelphia Initiative costume to make it more palatable. Its for the chilrun you see.
The really obscene part about it comes from two elected officials who already collected big DROP payouts: the Councilwoman who took home $288,136, and the City Commissioner who reeled in $308,625 on retirement. Wait, arent they still working? Right, they retired for a day, took the cash, and returned to office. A handful of other high-value non-elected employees were allowed to do the same thing. It got so bad that the state of Pennsylvania, which is about the opposite of a paragon for good government, had to step in and tell the city to quit allowing politicians to sign up but not before six additional Council members got their names in the hat.
Well the ungrateful citizens of Philadelphia balked and then the fun began.
A drink tax was briefly considered by the House Ways and Means Committee as a way to pay for a health-care overhaul last year. The mammoth soft-drink lobby, led by the American Beverage Association, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo, helped quash the idea, boosting their spending on lobbying from $4.7 million in 2008 to $40.4 million in 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.The Unions and the Lobbyists teamed up and started playing dirty (yes, I said money, honey).
The local campaign against the Philadelphia proposal surfaced yesterday with an alliance between the Pennsylvania Beverage Association and the Teamsters.
Mayor Nutter, unsuccessfully, proposed the soda tax again this year. When this effort failed. Mayor Nutter had to try Plan-B, which as we all know by now is to lay off Firefighters since they are the ones who really cause all the deficits. Right?
Here we rejoin our story:
Firefighter Union to City: Liar, liar, pants on... you get it already.But the Firefighters union isnt willing to roll over and take the blame for a child dying when they are risking their lives on a daily basis and doing their job despite all the obstacles placed in their path and the overtime sacrifices that the Mayors plan B causes them. They claim they responded to the fire and arrived within three minutes of the alarm.
Exactly a week ago, it was written here how a fire in West Philadelphia killed a 12 year old boy. Much blame was put on the fact that Philly's Democrat Mayor Michael Nutter recently made Fire Department cutbacks, or "brownouts" to punish us all for not going along with this stupid soda tax idea.
The firefighters were laid off and a fire broke out and a 12 year old autistic boy died and the Mayor blamed the soda tax!
The point is that Mayor Nutter has this City wrapped around his finger, ready to do his bidding when he brings back the soda tax idea in a few weeks. If a 12 year old Autistic kid's life means nothing in his Socialist game: what will he do when he doesn't get his way, next time?
Firefighters are heroes, honorable men.
Ergo: "At any rate, the Fire Department's union came out over the weekend and stated that the report that the Nutter Administration fed to the hungry and sycophantic media here in Philadelphia was a lie. Surprise, surprise. Nutter's "ingenious" plan to save a few bucks and get everyone to feel bad about thinking taxing soda was a bad idea is coming back to bite him in the rear end and is now pitting him versus Unions.So, Philadelphias government operations become a parallel to a WWF smackdown match and the city plunges into debt without a solution in sight. The union firefighters are heroes, but their union bosses and especially, the indoctrinated and instructed bosses' bosses know just what destruction they are causing -- and why.
Never mind the fact that Unions support this City's idiotic DROP program or that Unions are generally violent people who would rather bleed the City's funding dry than let the City flourish by not spending any more money - but here's the rub: The Union is telling the truth, sorta, in this instance.
This kind of reminds me of WWF Summerslam 1992. One of the opening matches from the mid-summer wrestling classic, that year live via satellite from Wembley Stadium in London, pitted two heels (wrestling jargon for "bad guys") against one another: Shawn Michaels and Rick Martel. Basically, the great thing about the match was that nobody cared who won and everyone just wanted to see the two beat the hell out of each other. Oh, and they were fighting over the "managerial services" of Sensational Sherri.
Well, Nutter is Michaels, The Union is Rick Martel and public opinion is Sensational Sherri, supposedly.
The schemes of Alinsky and Cloward-Piven: the destruction of free America, by a delayed and welled-up to overwhelming cataclysm of the expenses of government programs, in any and all phases possible, by any means feasible, all to feed pervasive unrest, hopelessness, and dependency -- The Marxist Revolt -- coming soon, to a city near you!
And as for the rumblings -- we ain't seen nothin', yet.
Janet Smiles, a contributor to Gulag Bound, is an advocate of Internet and person-to-person activism, to overcome the false taboos of avoiding faith and politics with well-behaved and vital communication, for the sake of love for our neighbors. She welcomes comments directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please reply or FReepmail, if you want on or off this list.
“worried that police and firefighters from the Baby Boom generation would retire all of a sudden with nobody to take their places.”
Couldn’t the city council just ask them to stay on for a couple years, for the good of the community, maybe give them a small incentive package. But $22 million?
Local governments always make budgetary cuts where they’ll be painfully noticed by taxpayers-that’s how the bureaucrats sell new or higher taxes. If they cut away deadwood, the taxpayers will feel nothing and 1) wonder why their taxes were being wasted in the first place, and 2) see no need for increased tax revenue for the taxing authority. This motivation singles out the most essential and productive agencies for cutbacks, and almost always results in the impairment of public safety. It also protects pet public works projects and government contracts that enrich private contractors, which provide the bulk of financial support to local elected officials. The taxpayers get pinched to pay more while the special interests continue to make money and the elected officials maintain political/financial support. As usual, it’s a win/win for everybody but the middle class working stiff.
It sounds like a really badly implemented phased-retirement program. When done right phased-retirement programs should be financially advantageous to both the soon-to-retire employee and the employer.
Philadelphia is a dead carcass on the side of the road...all that remains to be seen is which scavenger will get the biggest hunk of the decayed remains.
Good story: horrible, painful, true. Do the folks in Philly know this? I mean to say: is there any way to lay this out step by step, as the execrable thing was laid out here?
A big BINGO! for the statement that Philadelphia is our future.
Have said a million times Obama will do to all of America what the dems have done to the cities.
Why not? The people are in poverty, but they solidly elect democrats every time. The dems need poverty, unions, high taxes, weakened business, and a host of left wing money wasting programs. That is their prescription for power.
Whenever I hear firemen, policemen, or garbagemen are getting cut I know it’s political crap. There are hundreds, thousands, of government workers that could be laid off without any degradation in any service anywhere.
Those people are never the targets because the line “If you don’t approve my tax, I’ll need to lay off 100 people from the City Budget Planning Committee” does not have the same ring as “I’ll need to lay off 100 firemen”.
The only way to achieve a well functioning government is by cutting the size of government. The problem is, the people who make the rules are the ones doing the cutting and cutting the size of government is asking them to intentionally reduce their own personal power. It takes a special person to do what’s right in spite of that. We have very few - far too few - of them around.
What must state and local government do?
Back to Basics
State and local government must strip away federal social engineering mandates on state government and state mandates on local government; get state and local government back to LIMITED GOVERNMENT focused on the basics they need to do well - public safety, security and administration of justice.
While doing that, we need state by state constitutional limits that establish that:
(1) public employee compensation is set by law, not collective bargaining and
(2) the laws that establish and maintain public sector compensation standards must limit that compensation, independently in three separate areas - wages, insurance and retirement, to mandatory limits that restrict any public sector compensation to a level that is not greater than the median (mid point) for the same job category in the private sector, and those medians, should be the state median where the employee works, in the case of local and state employees and national medians for federal employees.
Yes, I know, it will mean some federal workers, working in low cost states, will be compensated based on limits set by median compensation stats that might be higher than where they work, but it also means federal workers in places like New York City will be compensated based on median limits that will be lower than where they work. Because that may affect who is willing to apply for a federal job, and how federal agencies can staff for what they need, federal agencies would be encouraged over time to reduce the size of their offices and staffs in the highest cost locales (the Liberal enclaves).
Actually, local government budgets are comprised of a series of earmarked pots of money that can be used only for a declared purpose: public works; mental health; public health; welfare to work; etc. These are ususally federal programs that require a state and local percentage contribution. Then there are the individual services - planning, building, environmental health, the costs of which are partially recovered through fees.
The remaining pot of money over which there is some discretion is the General Fund. This is gradually being eaten up by more federal/state programs such as In Home Support Services for seniors, foster care, medical care for disabled children and increasingly higher local government contributions demanded for entitlements. It is the pot of money from which police, firefighting (sometimes), the DA, the public defender, libraries and general government (Assessor, Treasurer, Auditor, Administration,) are all funded.
The public often complains about the expenditure on entitlement programs, when the sheriff, firefighters and libraries are being cut - as if one could fund the other. Some perspective on the funding limitations can help explain why certain services are likely to be cut. It is not to force taxing authority, it is because of the strings on spending that comes with the funding.