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Placing the Blame Where it Belongs
By Gary S. Howell
May 18, 2003, 22:29
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Let's all be honest for a moment. If you were offered an above average pay raise, would you take it? I would. If you could get a job where your health benefits were the best available, your retirement benefits exempt from state tax, and your annual raises outpaced inflation, would you take it? I would. If in return for that job you are told to vote a certain way, would you? I wouldn't, I'd vote my conscious. But then again, I don't believe what they tell people in Depew, that those in power can find out how an individual votes.

But I digress.

My point is this: Government employees are only taking what they are given. If the truth be told, most of us would take these perquisites if they were offered to us.


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If you know a Union employee, ask them if their negotiation unit goes into contract talks asking for a bit more than they know they will get. It's the same with government unions. The difference between private sector business and the government is that the private sector knows how to say "NO".

If for some reason, the private sector business does say yes to everything, the Union will accept the extras. They'd be fools not to. The fact that government unions accept what they are given does not make them any different from private sector unions.


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So who is to blame for the above average salaries and benefits that government employees are paid? Elected officials are to blame. They are the ones who make the decisions. They could exercise the same discretion that private sector employers do. But they won't.

They won't because they don't have to make a profit to earn their money. If they run short, they raise taxes. It's as simple as that. If a government union goes to the negotiating table and asks for the world, our elected officials give it to them. To pay for their lack of financial responsibility to the taxpayers, they raise your taxes.


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There is another reason why our elected officials grant government employees exorbitant benefits. They grant them in the hope of buying the government employee's votes.

And, it works. Ask anyone who has ever been involved in the management of an election campaign what chance they have if the municipal employee's don't support them. If you don't have the support of the firemen, policemen, highway department workers, etc, you don't have much of a chance.

Why?

Because they vote.

Imagine that. The elected official removes the money from your wallet, gives it to their municipal employees and these workers vote for them.


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Blaming government employees is a waste of time. While they may be the recipients of this largess, they are not to blame for it's practice.

Somewhere along the line a calculating politician realized he could use the taxpayer's money to buy the fealty of government employees. This practice caught on and now it's totally out of control.


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There is only one solution. Taxpayers need to shed their apathy, and convince office seekers to stand up for them. Even though the government is the largest employer in Western New York, there are more taxpayers then government employees.

The best way to support a candidate who will work for the taxpayer is to vote for them. The best way to show politicians that taxpayers are serious about looking out for their best interest is to vote against any politician who uses taxpayer money to buy votes. It may take a while, and taxpayers may have to run through a few candidates until they find one who will really look out for their best interest. Eventually politicians will get the message.

But, remember, the only way to convince politicians to clean up their act is to:

VOTE.

If taxpayers don't start standing up for their best interest, they have no one to blame but themselves.


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