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The GOP's First Target Should Be Government Worker Salary and Benefits
The American Thinker ^ | November 11, 2010 | Ed Lasky

Posted on 11/11/2010 3:42:33 AM PST by Scanian

America has woken up to the fact that much of our fiscal crisis at the state and federal levels has been caused by the rich salary, benefit, and pension packages of government workers. Chris Christie, Republican Governor of New Jersey, has become a YouTube sensation by clearly articulating the problem. So does this USA Today article:

"The number of federal workers earning $150,000 or more a year has soared tenfold in the past five years and doubled since President Obama took office, a USA TODAY analysis finds.

The fast-growing pay of federal employees has captured the attention of fiscally conservative Republicans who won control of the U.S. House of Representatives in last week's elections. Already, some lawmakers are planning to use the lame-duck session that starts Monday to challenge the president's plan to give a 1.4% across-the-board pay raise to 2.1 million federal workers.

Federal workers earning $150,000 or more make up 3.9% of the workforce, up from 0.4% in 2005. Since 2000, federal pay and benefits have increased 3% annually above inflation compared with 0.8% for private workers"

Compounding the fiscal time bomb (a nuclear one at that) is the fact that the government work force has also grown tremendously over the years.

There has been a long-running vicious cycle playing out over the years. Politicians (mostly, but not exclusively, Democrats) have been signing generous agreements with government workers and their unions. In return, the government workers provide a solid voting block, and the public employee unions can use their enlarged dues to funnel money to Democratic campaigns. There was a reason -- beyond their leftist ideological beliefs and animus towards businesses -- that both Barack and Michelle Obama counseled people to go to work for the government. Those government workers become a special interest group

(Excerpt) Read more at americanthinker.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: deficits; democrats; fiscalcrisis; unions

1 posted on 11/11/2010 3:42:39 AM PST by Scanian
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To: Scanian

Just saw on Drudge how the state dept / white house is sending more $$ to Palestine to the tune of 150 MILLION.

That’s not even low hanging fruit, that’s on the GROUND fruit.

STOP GIVING MY MONEY AWAY.


2 posted on 11/11/2010 3:46:36 AM PST by onona (dbada)
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To: Scanian

Here in NJ our governor uses real examples to demonstrate how much is thrown at pubic school teachers and other state and municipal employees; it has become so out of control in NJ that many Americans are fleeing along with the corporations that employ them. Under our previous governor, NJ lost population in terms of Americans, but stayed “in the black” due to illegal aliens.


3 posted on 11/11/2010 3:49:42 AM PST by kearnyirish2
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To: kearnyirish2

The Voters are outraged with these Unions and the pay and benefits they get.


4 posted on 11/11/2010 3:51:17 AM PST by scooby321
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To: scooby321

If they weren’t so invested in the schemes themselves, the Republicans could have made this the # 1 issue of the election. If anybody developed a coherent message around it, I didn’t hear it.


5 posted on 11/11/2010 3:55:06 AM PST by gusopol3
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To: scooby321

“The Voters are outraged with these Unions and the pay and benefits they get.”

They should be; their pay is stagnant (for those that work) and those benefits disappeared from the private sector over a decade ago, yet they’re expected to provide them to people who theoretically work for them. In fact, losing your job doesn’t exempt you from property taxes, so we have unemployed people paying elementary school teachers $100K+ for their six hours of service 180 days a year...


6 posted on 11/11/2010 3:59:00 AM PST by kearnyirish2
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To: Scanian

And the unions want us to bailout their under funded pension plans.


7 posted on 11/11/2010 4:04:45 AM PST by steveab (When was the last time someone tried to sell you a CO2 induced climate control system for your home?)
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To: Scanian

When I started in the Air Force (early 80s), it was an accepted fact that Government employees made a pittance while Contractors made “big bucks”. As a 2LT, I got expressions of sympathy from my fellow engineering grads at my low starting salary (about $23K to their $30K). Sometime in the 90s that changed. Now, in many cases, Government employees make more than the Contractors who actually keep things humming. And their benefits are better to boot. In some cases its justified—in most, its not.

It was also a case of you get what you pay for. Again, in the 80s, some on the Governemnt side were there because they couldn’t get a higher paying job elsewhere—they traded pay for security. No one wants dolts on the Government side, so the pay has to be somewhat competitive. But it shouldn’t be more.


8 posted on 11/11/2010 4:18:11 AM PST by rbg81 (When you see Obama, shout: "DO YOUR JOB!!")
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To: kearnyirish2

NJ lost population in terms of Americans, but stayed “in the black” due to illegal aliens.


Not sure what you mean by stayed “in the black”. When you’ve got illegals, it means you’ve just got more clients. Despite the claims of some politicians, they are a net drain on the system both fiscally and culturally.


9 posted on 11/11/2010 4:21:59 AM PST by rbg81 (When you see Obama, shout: "DO YOUR JOB!!")
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To: Scanian
It should be investigating where the TARP Money went and start putting people in prison.
10 posted on 11/11/2010 4:30:00 AM PST by Falcon4.0
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To: Scanian

$150K is a lot of money in Des Moines or Topeka.

If you move the bureaucracies to those low cost of living areas you could cut federal wages in half with no pain to anyone.

Metro DC has become very expensive because of the incredible growth of the federal government (and associated contractors, lobbyists, etc.). There would be many benefits to moving large chunks of the bureaucracy out to the heartland.


11 posted on 11/11/2010 4:37:14 AM PST by cgbg (No bailouts for New York and California. Let them eat debt.)
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To: scooby321

Yes, and the “cost of living” increases have to stop. It was an insane idea to put into effect a law which would untimately enable government retirees to draw more than they earned while working. THAT MUST BE CHANGED!


12 posted on 11/11/2010 4:38:00 AM PST by jazzlite (esat)
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To: Scanian
Let me be the first to say that government should be streamlined. But this is a bogus analysis. The article states:

In the last five years senior managers rose by 0.4% (one half of one percent)!!! This is big news???? And I'd be willing to bet most of those increases are in the Pentagon for the war effort.

I hope this isn't going to be the sole plan of the Republicans for reducing the deficit. If the Republicans go in and do a across-the-board, everybody-feel-the-pain, types of cuts, I think the American people will grumble but will accept it. Entitlements, farm subsidies, military, and, yes, government. If we start having class warfare (cut this but DON'T cut that), then nothing will get cut. Cutting federal workers salaries is just a very small drop in the vast deficit ocean.

13 posted on 11/11/2010 4:47:41 AM PST by HarleyD
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To: Scanian

Time to cut the tail off the dog.

Pray for America


14 posted on 11/11/2010 4:48:09 AM PST by bray (A November to Remember)
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To: HarleyD

Poster: “In the last five years senior managers rose by 0.4% (one half of one percent)!!!”

Article: “...Federal workers earning $150,000 or more make up 3.9% of the workforce, up from 0.4% in 2005.”

I’m coming up with an increase of 3.5% of the workforce, or a nearly ninefold increase in five years.


15 posted on 11/11/2010 4:59:20 AM PST by Scanian
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To: gusopol3

They should start with the elected representatives. These people ran for office to serve the country. Service requires some degree of sacrifice. Non of them should make any more than the lowest military officer’s paygrade. Each of them should also have their operating budget tight and closely monitored.


16 posted on 11/11/2010 5:02:00 AM PST by SirFishalot
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To: jazzlite
Yes, and the “cost of living” increases have to stop. It was an insane idea to put into effect a law which would untimately enable government retirees to draw more than they earned while working. THAT MUST BE CHANGED!

I agree 100%. Also they need to raise the retirement age to these gov't employees to at least 62 if not 65.

Gov't employees if they have their time in retire at age 53-54-55 with 85-90% of their pay that's insane. Within a few years time Cola's get them over their working pay

But yet the gov't now is telling me I cannot get my SS until age 68 or 69.

A fire chief in my town retired at age 54, get's his full gov't pension and then got another job as a state fire marshall. I about had a cow over that one.

I don't begrudge anyone a decent salary but these conditions are crazy.

17 posted on 11/11/2010 5:02:42 AM PST by hoyt-clagwell
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To: HarleyD

Cutting government salaries and benefits is a major part of the deficit ocean. Pay and benefit levels need to be cut big time. Headcounts need to be reduced also. Move from here to elimination of govt programs. There is no time to waste.


18 posted on 11/11/2010 5:07:11 AM PST by Sam Clements
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To: rbg81
Not sure what you mean by stayed “in the black”.

"X" number of taxpayers left the State. "X+Y" number of illegals moved there or were born there, to replace them, for a net gain in population.

Just like in finance, red=gain, black=deficit.

19 posted on 11/11/2010 5:21:25 AM PST by tommyboy (We'll do it live)
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To: tommyboy

Oops sorry, Red=Deficit, Black=Gain.


20 posted on 11/11/2010 5:23:02 AM PST by tommyboy (We'll do it live)
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To: Scanian
Anecdotal I can tell you that I don't know of any federal office that has seen a nine fold increase in five years. Our staff was exactly where it was five years ago while we have been asked to do more and more. We are so stretched to the bone that if anyone gets sick there is no one to replace them. One guy just had his appendics removed and had to come back after a few days of rest. I told them they better hope that I don't get hit by a bus because I do finances. :O)

Mine you, I'm not complaining. After all, we are working. And I'm not saying that I'd disagree with the concept of furlows or reduce pay to help the deficit-as long as 1) there are REAL spending cuts, 2) controls are put into place to make sure no more deficit spending and 3) cuts are across the board. If you want to cut feds you got to cut military (funding and salaries), and farmers, and entitlements, and .....

The grass is always greener on the other side.

21 posted on 11/11/2010 5:23:33 AM PST by HarleyD
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To: Scanian

First thing I do when I buy a new car—or new house is set
down and prioritize what I want done to make it reflect me.
I do what is most needed to make the car perform better—or the House more livable. In short it’s cleaning House-hauling out the junk First to see better what needs doing. Translated to Congressional politics-that would include cleaning out -or setting aside those who helped allow the communist dialectic
of “change” When the House is cleaned out— then it can be set in order.And the peoples agenda begun.


22 posted on 11/11/2010 5:23:40 AM PST by StonyBurk (ring)
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To: cgbg
Metro DC has become very expensive because of the incredible growth of the federal government (and associated contractors, lobbyists, etc.). There would be many benefits to moving large chunks of the bureaucracy out to the heartland.

Actually, the growth in the CoL in the DC area has also been driven by the growth in the IT and telecomm industries in NoVA (once nicknamed the "Silicon Valley of the East Coast) and Biotech in Suburban MD.
23 posted on 11/11/2010 5:29:06 AM PST by tanknetter
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To: Sam Clements
I don't disagree, but when you talk about reducing federal headcount you are also talking about reducing contracting support that work below those feds and reducing regulatory oversight (which may not be a bad thing). So you will essentially be moving those people from employment to the unemployment rolls. And due to the seniority system, it normally affects the youngest workers who can ill afford to be laid off. The savings, at least in the short run, may not be as great as we think.

A better approach would be to furlough workers with a time phase draw down in some areas.

24 posted on 11/11/2010 5:33:13 AM PST by HarleyD
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To: Sam Clements
Cutting government salaries and benefits is a major part of the deficit ocean.

Per information in another thread this morning "Federal workers would face a freeze on "federal salaries, bonuses, and other compensation at non-Defense agencies for three years," saving $15.1 billion. Pentagon civilians would take the same hit, for a $5.3 billion savings." and "The federal workforce would be cut by 10 percent, about 200,000 people, by hiring only two workers for every three who leave federal service. That would save $13.2 billion."

So, all told, those measures would save about $35 Billion (a year, I assume). Yes, a good chunk of money, but given that our annual deficit has been around $1.8 Trillion it's a drop in the ocean rather than a major one ... only about 2%.

Even Defense spending is a small piece of the pie. The only real way to cut the deficit and debt, given where we're going in the next several decades, is going to be to raise taxes in a major way, or take a scythe to the big entitlement programs (major reductions and means testing for Social Security, cuts and stepped up counter-fraud enforcement for Medicare and Medicaid).
25 posted on 11/11/2010 5:39:02 AM PST by tanknetter
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To: Scanian

I can think of 535 government workers who should be first on the chopping block when it comes to salary reductions.


26 posted on 11/11/2010 5:40:52 AM PST by Non-Sequitur
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To: Scanian
The GOP's First Target Should Be Government Worker Salary and Benefits

Correction:

The GOP's First Target Should Be Government UNIONS

There isn't one legit reason on God's Green Earth why ANY gubmint (cough) *worker* needs a union to (gag) 'represent them'.

I was 'on site' in a large gubmint building for over 18 months back during the Clinton years, 1994-1995, for a 'Remodeling/Retrofit Project'. So I have personally seen the results of what gubmint worker's unions lead to. And it ain't pretty. If I told HALF of what I saw you'd say I was congenital liar.

So I'll just say this and let your imaginations run wild:

At the first 'Pre-Construction, Construction Meeting' (i.e.: before one screw was driven) every Subcontractor Project Manager was forewarned that there were approx 2,500 people in the building and they were represented by Eleven Unions, so NOBODY talk to NOBODY, and DON'T TOUCH anything!

We actually had a person (female) whose sole job was to 'talk to the government's rep', and coordinate exactly 'where' and 'when' the men could work. And if we went One Foot out of that boundary all Hell broke loose. Then our woman talked to their woman, who would then talk to the union rep, who would ...etc, etc, etc.

This nonsense is why the G pays $500 for a Hammer.

27 posted on 11/11/2010 5:42:00 AM PST by Condor51 (SAT CONG!)
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To: Scanian
Article: “...Federal workers earning $150,000 or more make up 3.9% of the workforce, up from 0.4% in 2005.”

I’m coming up with an increase of 3.5% of the workforce, or a nearly ninefold increase in five years.


There's a reason for that apparent (but nonexistant) contradiction, which was spelled out in an article I read about 6-8 months ago.

The salaries of career civil servants and political appointees is capped - indexed to how much the head of a department or agency makes. So the most senior SESers at an agency can't make more than the head of the agency.

What happened was that Congress raised the salaries for the heads of the agencies (which are usually indexed/capped to how much Members of Congress/Senators make), without "fixing" the indexing cap for the down-organization staffers. So when the heads of agencies got their pay increases, all the senior staffers who had maxed out because of the index/cap automatically got big pay increases as well.
28 posted on 11/11/2010 5:46:04 AM PST by tanknetter
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To: Scanian

nope: the first target should be the nonproductive welfare class.


29 posted on 11/11/2010 5:48:05 AM PST by camle (keep an open mind and someone will fill it full of something for you)
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To: HarleyD
I don't disagree, but when you talk about reducing federal headcount you are also talking about reducing contracting support that work below those feds and reducing regulatory oversight (which may not be a bad thing). So you will essentially be moving those people from employment to the unemployment rolls. And due to the seniority system, it normally affects the youngest workers who can ill afford to be laid off. The savings, at least in the short run, may not be as great as we think.

That raises another spectre as well: one of the reasons why the Federal Government is so dependent upon contractors is that they provide much more flexibility than civil servants do. You can throw a poorly-performing contractor out on their a** in a matter of minutes, trying to do the same for a career civil servant is pretty much impossible - and in cases where it IS possible it takes YEARS.

Cutting/freezing salaries and positions is pretty insignificant (relatively speaking). However, changing the civil service rules to permit the dead weight to be cut and thrown out the door would make a HUGE difference.
30 posted on 11/11/2010 5:51:10 AM PST by tanknetter
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To: Scanian

“The GOP’s First Target Should Be Government Worker Salary and Benefits “

The GOP’s First Target Should Be relieving America of its burdensome taxes and burning the Obamacare bill.


31 posted on 11/11/2010 5:51:10 AM PST by RoadTest (Religion is a substitute for the relationship God wants with you.)
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To: Scanian

The new middle class - government bureaucrats.


32 posted on 11/11/2010 5:54:01 AM PST by CharacterCounts (November 4, 2008 - the day America drank the Kool-Aid)
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To: Scanian

I believe a plan to reduce government employee salary and benefits would be a winning strategy with the voters.

There are some other winning strategies for the Republicans to advance.

Let’s get going on those strategies and force Obama and the Democrats to defend government employee salary and benefits and other wasteful spending.


33 posted on 11/11/2010 6:39:27 AM PST by Presbyterian Reporter
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To: hoyt-clagwell
Gov't employees if they have their time in retire at age 53-54-55 with 85-90% of their pay that's insane.

Not So

Employees hired before a certain date in the 80s stayed in the old system
Yes they could retire at 55 but at about 50-60% depending on how many years in service

New hires after that date came under Social Security and were allowed to invest a certain portion of their salary in several different investment plans such as Government Securities--stocks etc __The government matched their savings I think up to 5% so they are not retiring and getting Social Security at 55
34 posted on 11/11/2010 6:52:32 AM PST by uncbob
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To: Scanian

There has been a long-running vicious cycle playing out over the years. Politicians (mostly, but not exclusively, Democrats) have been signing generous agreements with government workers and their unions. In return, the government workers provide a solid voting block, and the public employee unions can use their enlarged dues to funnel money to Democratic campaigns.

Isn’t this the same problem what caused General Motors to fail and then the taxpayers were asked to bail them out in order to keep the union employees living in the style they have become accustomed to? Government is no different when it is run by piss poor management, usually liberals who think there is a limitless supply of money and tax payers end up paying for their social engineering. Luckily and invariable liberalism-socialism can only last until it runs out of other peoples money (Margaret Thatcher I guess) The realization is just starting to set in great Britain…..


35 posted on 11/11/2010 7:04:50 AM PST by saintgermaine
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To: tanknetter

There are getting to be comments suggesting that govt pay cuts would be too insignificant to deal with the govt spending problem. There is also a chorus that what is really needed are big tax increases and gutting of social secutity. BS on all of this. Payroll costs including wages and benefits MUST be attacked and headcount MUST come down. The $1.8 trillion deficit includes wasteful stimulus spending and effects of tax receipt shortfall during the recession. Republicans will make sure stimulus as practiced by Zero don’t happen again. Tax cuts, not tax increases, will help right the economy and then receipts will increase and some govt expenditures to subsidize unemployeed people and underwater govt entities will actually go down. The idea that social security will be drastically reduced is bogus. Retirement ages will be tweaked as will future benefit increases. Everyone knows that drastic reductions in social security is a non starter and is only used to scare voters like the democRATS did during the Bush administration.

Cutting govt salaries, benefits, and headcount is so important out of a basic sense of fairness to private business and private employees, who afterall pay 100% of taxes. Our country needs to finish the debate between big govt and small govt and small has to win if we are to have a future as the greatest country on the face of the earth.

I see the term govt contractors discussed. If we are talking about outsourcing some functions which were previously handled by overpaid and inefficient govt employees, I’m in total favor of this. If we are talking about hiding govt workers by calling them contract employees and using this to manipulate budget line items, then this is not acceptable. Hopefully in the not too distant future there will be an inversion and more govt functions will be handled by private industry and govt bureaucrats will be drastically reduced and compensated at lower levels. Any suggestion that reductions in govt outlays for salaries and benefits will be too small to do any good is simply ridiculous. Look at the results of last week’s election. Why do we suppose that democRATS were handed their heads?


36 posted on 11/11/2010 10:43:51 AM PST by Sam Clements
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To: tanknetter
You can throw a poorly-performing contractor out on their a** in a matter of minutes, trying to do the same for a career civil servant is pretty much impossible ...

In theory I don't disagree. In practice getting rid of a contractor is much more difficult then you would think depending on the contract. Sometimes, because of procurement rules and regulations it can take years to get rid of poorly performing contractor-especially if you're locked into a contract. Think of it like having an HMO that you have to go to a primary care physician that they designate. If you get a poor one (and I have) you're stuck until you're allowed to change insurance.

But you're right about the federal worker. It is for all intent and purposes impossible to get rid of a poorly performing individual. Normally you try to promote them to another organization. ;O) (Just kidding)

37 posted on 11/11/2010 1:49:44 PM PST by HarleyD
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To: Scanian

I’d tend to couple federal employees compensation/benefits with entitlements. Both are out of control and strangling the economy.


38 posted on 11/11/2010 1:54:36 PM PST by EDINVA
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To: rbg81

Not sure what you mean by stayed “in the black”.

Increase in population; certainly not an improvement for the financial state of NJ...


39 posted on 11/11/2010 2:57:46 PM PST by kearnyirish2
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To: Scanian
"The first priority should be government workers and salaries....."

NO, NO, NO!!!!!

The first priority has got to be total repeal of ObamaCare. It's got to be done with surgical skill and speed.

Too many aspects and some implied "benefits" of ObamaCare will be kicking in soon. If they are taken away after they're already in the hands and heads of the uneducated morons in the "entitlement, gimme, victim" classes, the GOP will get the blame for Heavy, Heavy Stuff.

The bill for repeal should be on the House floor the morning after swearing-in-day. This is critical.

Leni

40 posted on 11/11/2010 3:07:30 PM PST by MinuteGal (Bill O'Reilly Opines That Obama's Luxurious Indian Trip is Curry-Peachy!)
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To: kearnyirish2; tommyboy

Ok. “In the Black” usually refers to finances. When it comes ot illegals, being “in the black” population wise means “in the red” financially.


41 posted on 11/11/2010 3:50:42 PM PST by rbg81 (When you see Obama, shout: "DO YOUR JOB!!")
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To: SirFishalot

And no relatives on the payroll


42 posted on 11/11/2010 4:33:45 PM PST by gusopol3
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To: MinuteGal

Hey, now....JJ told Ed Schultz that repeal constitutes genocide and he won’t stand for it! His mobs will hit the streets! /s


43 posted on 11/11/2010 4:43:46 PM PST by Scanian
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To: rbg81

No doubt; it wasn’t positive news, unless you were a landlord with vacant apartments...


44 posted on 11/12/2010 1:33:05 AM PST by kearnyirish2
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To: kearnyirish2

When I lived in Northern VA, more than one house in our neighorhood was rented to illegals. The landlords probably got their rent, but with 3X the number of typical inhabitants, any profit made probably went to fixing the extra wear and tear.


45 posted on 11/12/2010 4:42:51 AM PST by rbg81 (When you see Obama, shout: "DO YOUR JOB!!")
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To: rbg81

There is no “fixing” when your tenants are illegals; they have no recourse. Here in northern NJ a few years ago, they had a basement fire in a normal house in a wealthy area that killed illegals from a few different countries because it had been made into “rooms for rent” (not even apartments); the fire was by the one entrance (completely violating fire code) so nobody could get out.

When I was discussing this with an unemployed friend of mine, he said (without batting an eyelid), “that’s more American jobs saved”. As much as that horrified me, he was absolutely right; these people paid no income tax, no property tax, no social security tax...but they were still people. That is why people rise up and execute their (fill in the name: King, Tsar, whatever)...


46 posted on 11/12/2010 11:06:51 PM PST by kearnyirish2
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To: kearnyirish2

That is why people rise up and execute their (fill in the name: King, Tsar, whatever)...


Not sure what your saying here. Are the illegals going to rise up or the unemployed citizens? If the former, its really their own fault. If you’re here illegally, pay smugglers to get you in, take day jobs, and all you can afford is an overcrowded sh!thole, then you’re taking your chances from the gitgo. But, in the end, its their decision to take the risk. Many of our ancestors did the same thing—coming to America was always a big role of the dice.


47 posted on 11/13/2010 5:28:01 AM PST by rbg81 (When you see Obama, shout: "DO YOUR JOB!!")
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To: rbg81

The illegals won’t do anything (why would they? our poor people live better than the middle classes where they come from); the American people have been screwed by their “leaders” (in both parties), and are watching their standard of living disappear before their very eyes. America has lost its exceptionalism because leaders who loved money over country traded it (and many Americans’ futures) away.

Citizens don’t have to be unemployed to be outraged; many are working jobs that won’t provide the standard of living they had even five years ago. What should an eighteen year old approaching high school graduation consider as a career nowadays?


48 posted on 11/13/2010 8:24:09 AM PST by kearnyirish2
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