Labor unions' political influence hurting them
Tom Eblen's recent column on labor unions was seriously flawed.
Labor unions in their infancy were very influential in the American workplace, achieving better pay, safer working conditions, increased benefits, etc.
However, after the 1970s, the period of time Eblen refers to, labor laws had been enacted whereby workers who were willing to give a fair day's work for a fair day's pay were protected by the rule of law and needed no representation from a union.
Unions, realizing they had outlived their usefulness, shifted their focus to the political arena, which would ultimately become their Achilles' heel.
Average workers, now much better educated, soon realized their monthly dues, which in some cases exceeded $50, could be and probably were supporting political candidates.
Having retired from Lockheed Martin in 2002, my wife and I decided to move from Texas, a right-to-work state, to a cooler climate. I was surprised that Kentucky was still in the dark ages and was not a right-to-work state. However, given the state of the economy, I was not really amazed.
Elected officials in Frankfort apparently are still bowing to union pressure and lobbying.
Phillip M. Ellis
Provoking class war
Richard Trumka and Bill Londrigan of the AFL-CIO recently wrote a column stating that the American dream is stifled because we coddle the rich.
They state that "the wealthy and corporations must begin to pay their fair share." Also, "the bulk of our federal deficit is a result of the tax cuts that disproportionately benefited the wealthy."
Both statements are blatant falsehoods designed to create class warfare and enmity for the real creators of jobs and wealth in America.
In reality, the IRS confirms that the top one percent of taxpayers pay 40.4 percent of all taxes collected by the federal government.
Remarkably, the share of the tax burden borne by the top one percent (1.4 million taxpayers) now exceeds the share paid by the bottom 95 percent (134 million), according to The Tax Foundation.
Trumka also advises the government to spend $4.2 trillion on losing gambits like high-speed rail and green energy technologies. This type of government largesse should remind us that the government cannot give to anyone anything that the government does not first take from someone else.
And if you don't understand why paying someone to dig a hole and paying someone else to fill it up does not create two productive jobs, please educate yourself.
History displays myriad examples of lies displayed as truth, of evil trumpeting itself as good, of the powerful persuading useful idiots to keep eating from the government's slop bucket.
Trumka and Londrigan and their union minions are striving to do the same.
Attacks against the Tea Party came to mind as I heard about the International Longshore and Warehouse Union's activities recently.
All the words used to describe the Tea Party — racist, violent, homophobic and Nazi — made me wonder why real thugs go without notice.
I have read nothing in the mainstream media about the ILWU attacks on the Port of Longview in the state of Washington. Union members damaged railcars, dumped cargo into the harbor, overtook the guard station and held six of those guards hostage while they went on a rampage.
The reason for this violence? The company whose cargo was destroyed employed a different union than the ILWU.
Amazing how all of this seems to be OK, but the Tea Party movement, which has never used violence as far as I know, is pilloried daily in the media. Seems our priorities might be a bit skewed.
Taxes keep rising
This is a response to the "Enough, already" letter to the editor of Sept. 8.
You can't argue with the school board about a tax increase. The board's mentality is that Fayette County residents have bottomless pockets and the letter writer is correct in that we are taxed to death.
I wonder what would happen if the residents of this country went to their supervisors and asked for the same raises that utility companies, etc., asked for? Of course, we know the answers
Employees could pull the stunt utility companies do and ask for a 25 percent raise, hoping that they would get at least half of that.
The school board is limited to 4 percent without going to the polls, and it knows that asking for more would be laughed at by voters.
The letter claims that people need budgeting and bookkeeping experience; I claim that's useless because the school board must adhere to the "Law of Constant Stupidity," and that law has yet to be disproved.
I don't believe business experience or education make one iota of difference to the school board, and it will continue with the 4 percent increases.
Keep taxing and one day the issue will be why industry is leaving Fayette County, as industries have done in other states when things get expensive. In other words, what goes around comes around.
Ira S. Fink
Time for New Deal
As a retired historian who specialized in the Great Depression and New Deal, I am appalled at politicians who claim we can cut our way out of this economic crisis by keeping the Bush-era tax cuts and reducing governmental spending. If we ignore history we are doomed to repeat it.
Most economists agree the New Deal did not end the Great Depression but overwhelmingly conclude that budget cuts of 1937-38 resulted in a new recession.
Elsewhere, Italy and Germany suffered more than any other European countries from the Depression. In the United States, Louisiana experienced special devastation.
While we rightly disparage Mussolini, Hitler and Huey Long, we can understand their popularity since they solved their respective economic catastrophes via increased government spending. They created jobs by building more schools, hospitals, dams, bridges and highways than all their predecessors combined.
Living in Louisiana 30 years after the Kingfish's assassination, I never visited a major town that lacked a Huey Long Memorial hospital, highway or high school. Ridiculously, today's leaders are even proposing a constitutional amendment to permanently hamstring future governments from spending money during a national crisis.
Contrary to the "Great Lie" being told by today's politicos, the No. 1 problem is anything but a balanced budget. People without jobs cannot be consumers, taxpayers or contributors to economic recovery.
It is long past time to initiate another New Deal and sustain it by government spending and the termination of the Bush-era tax cuts. Only then is economic recovery possible.