Friday, May 17, 2013

The American Apartheid Machine

This article is primarily about government workers and their unions. It argues that just like with corporations at the federal level, unions also hijack our representation at all levels of government resulting in building a special privileged and protected class of workers which I call the apartheid class. They are so well rewarded that they become fiercely loyal to the government regardless of all the abuses imposed onto the public or the overall harm to society and our country. The damage this practice brings is staggering to our liberties and our economic well being.

Taxation without Representation

When any level of government becomes more concerned with protecting government employees and other special interests over taxpayer’s needs, it has lost focus and this misguided set of concerns is essentially what defines taxation without representation. Hence, such a state can be be said to have become a government by the people for the government. This is especially true when austerity (cuts to services and entitlements to the public) becomes policy to save public employee pensions and other niceties of this privileged and protected class.

Private unions such as Teamsters, electricians, and pipefitters, for example, work on free-market principles because competition exists in the market for their services and we have the option not to employ them. They do not generally impose their services and coerce costs onto the general public. Such unions are also needed in acquiring quality, hard working, skilled laborers and technicians at a fair wage for their vital expertise and labor. Without unions there would be far less protections for labor against predatory corporatism which guides self-serving business policies into regulation.

However public-sector labor unions (government workers) hijack our representation at all levels of government by financing the campaigns of candidates. Hence, elected candidates will lean legislation in the favor of their financiers. It is even now common practice for lobbyists to author many bills. This coup over government results in the piracy of our wealth through taxation and slanted business regulations. This is not the free market at work because the general public cannot opt out of the imposed costs. A government that represents the public would make certain that it dispensed the highest possible quality services at the lowest yet fair cost.

Noble Public Servants?

It is now well known that government workers can retire and receive a pension so early in their careers that they often take up second jobs with another government post and eventually end up double-dipping into public pension funds. They can actually work for one government office while collecting a pension from a previous post. Some even return to the same job as a consultant while collecting a pension from the very same job they retired from. Did you know that public pensions are guaranteed by law regardless of how much risk pension fund managers take while investing these funds? This means taxpayers must cover any losses by such investments.

Providing the public workforce with an almost impenetrable job security, a ridiculous number of redeemable vacation, holiday, and sick days, and essentially no accountability for poor work performance creates a new social class of very privileged and self-entitled laborers. They also receive a wage for most positions that private industry cannot compete with. Furthermore, it is in the interest of unions to grow government because this raises their revenues through member dues. This spawns an over-bloated and over-staffed bureaucracy that just keeps on growing until it runs deficits. Such deficits often results in higher taxes and reduced services to cover them.

Despite all this let us not overlook two facts. Government workers who retire early and take up a second job cheat someone else out of a job opportunity. They are also eligible to receive social security payments like the rest of us; all at the cost of you the taxpayer who often has to work past the age of 65 to support these public servants for their remaining natural lives. This is not unlike welfare recipients, only these recipients can wring us for many times the value of a single downtrodden person who may actually need economic assistance. This is just part of their unsustainable compensation packages guaranteed to them for life for performing their most noble duties for an overstaffed dishonorable broker of the community known as any level of government.

California has a state income tax of about 10% and another near 10% sales tax which was raised recently while in the middle of a deep recession. Unemployment rates are reported to be at 12% in California however the true number is always twice that. This is because part-time employees, those who exhausted their unemployment benefits, and those who have given up searching for work are not counted. This is likely a deliberate deception to mask the true extent of the state of the economy.

Federal. state, county, and city (e.g. Measures C and H in Carson, CA) governments will attempt, and do succeed (e.g. Measure C), to pile on more taxes and fees to pay for the growing debt and deficit spending which is most often attributed to unsustainable pensions and other niceties.

But What is Apartheid?

a·part·heid [uh-pahrt-heyt, -hahyt]
  1. (in the Republic of South Africa) a rigid policy of segregation of the nonwhite population.'
  2. any system or practice that separates people according to race, caste, etc.

Although entry 1 may not exactly fit, if the word racism is replaced with collectivism we still have something that much resembles apartheid that is practiced today by the United States and many other countries at all levels of government. However entry 2 does fit without any modifications. Therefore apartheid is basically government enforced segregation with respect to rights and privileges.

The following were lifted from Wikipedia with almost no edits applied. The entry for Apartheid in South Africa is given for historical reference. The entry for Apartheid (second item) gives us a more credible definition of this South African term:

Apartheid in South Africa was a system of racial segregation enforced by the National Party governments of South Africa between 1948 and 1994, under which the rights of the majority non-white inhabitants were curtailed and white supremacy and Afrikaner minority rule was maintained. Racial segregation in South Africa began in colonial times. However, apartheid as an official policy was introduced following the general election of 1948 which by coincidence is also the year that Israel was established.

New legislation classified inhabitants into four racial groups (native, white, coloured, and Asian), and residential areas were segregated, sometimes by means of forced removals. Non-white political representation was completely abolished in 1970, and starting in that year black people were deprived of their citizenship, legally becoming citizens of one of ten tribally based self-governing homelands called Bantustans — four of which became nominally independent states.

The government segregated education, medical care, beaches, and other public services, and provided black people with services inferior to those of white people.

Apartheid is an Afrikaans word meaning “separateness.”

Practicing segregation with respect to ethnicity or social structure was not limited to South Africa. The United States including Israel and almost every country throughout much of history have practiced this upon the lucky native people who were not murdered by their aggressive colonialist occupiers. However, apartheid existing throughout current and world history is no justification for perpetuating it. Therefore it is critical to demand that equal individual human rights are honored else governments always drift away from moderate forms of collectivism which suspend civil rights toward outright fascism that eliminates them.

The Apartheid Government

The three social-classes (or economic) model is either a myth or it is obsolete. There are two more levels of unearned affluence that the press and the state deliberately ignore.

Collectivism builds two economic apartheid classes of privileged citizens that are endowed with rights, earnings, opportunities, and protections that are not offered to the general public. Even their expected future returns on their vested pensions are secured by law with public funds while almost everyone else in private industry is accountable for their own risk that comes with a 401K or other retirement programs. Very early retirement to take a second job at some other department of the government while collecting on a pension is not unheard of. And then there is the excessive number of holidays, sick time, vacation days, and unbelievable job security which makes it almost impossible to terminate their employment should it be necessary.

Many departments at all levels of government are also grossly overstaffed including the ranks of the managers. What do they all do? Of course this describes the syndicate known as government workers (lower apartheid). All are represented at all levels by a very powerful category of lobbies known as public-sector labor unions.

Those who guide public policy are the upper apartheid. These are the top brass of plutocratic elites. They should not be confused with vanilla flavored upper-class wealthy people who play no role in directing public policy other than voting or contributing small amounts to campaigns. The real despots are those who usually control large shares of major corporations or sit on their boards and use this power to hijack representation by financing all viable moderates within the same election race through campaign financing. In other words, they finance everyone because they do not care who wins as long as they can buy the government. This also includes public-sector labor unions and Washington lobbies especially the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC or Israel lobby).

These are the people who hide behind a curtain of secrecy while driving public policy at the federal and sometimes local level. In doing so, it is in their interest (economic and self-preservation) to make certain that no disruption in government occurs.

Elected public servants endow government workers with this much affluence and privilege to manufacture a machine that is fiercely loyal and entitled. Thus their concerns for helping the needy by employing collectivist public policies is disingenuous or misguided because such socialism is exactly what breeds unemployment, homelessness, poverty, crime, substance abuse, mass crises, public unrest and anxiety, extremism, and many other social maladies that the government is depended on to shelter us from. The state will then extend authoritarian control by expanding the police state and growing social programs to relieve us of this while ignoring the root cause. That is how the state grows and protects itself.

The following are just a few perks (there are many many more) that some government workers are endowed with beyond their compensation packages:

  • One Bill of Rights for You, Two Bills of Rights for Them: In California peace officers are granted extra protections that would shelter them from charges of assault or abuse onto the public. This is very typical of an apartheid state.
  • California: Government Plates Immune from Tolls, Photo Tickets: In California many government workers are granted exemptions from certain traffic and parking citations. This is very typical of an apartheid state.
  • Public workers’ perks hit taxpayers: Government workers in many states are gaming the system to not only retire early but to also boost their pensions which are guaranteed regardless of the risk that pension managers take; while the rest of us in the private sector must often work past the age of 65. This is very typical of an apartheid state.
  • Government Employee Benefits: This is an article of various other perks that government workers are entitled to for their very noble service to the public.
  • California Labor Law: When a Union Dictates the Right to Work: California is not a right to work state. This means that if your employer has a collective bargaining agreement with a labor union for your particular type of work, you cannot opt out. This is actually a perk for those workers who wish to be a part of a union because it strengthens their bargaining positions.

Unmasking the True Face of Society

This is the mask of illusion that they want us to see:

  • Upperequal rights for everyone from a hardworking millionaire to the Rockefellers. Almost no dependence on the state.
  • Middleall hardworking government workers and those from private sector have equal rights. Almost no dependence on the state.
  • Lowerthe downtrodden all have equal rights. But they are highly dependent on the state therefore social programs and unearned entitlements are instituted to sustain them.

This is the unmasked reality that they do not want us to become aware of:

  • Upper Apartheidplutocrat elites who control the economy, public policy, and money supply through a central bank. But acquiring their wealth is highly dependent on their privilege to control the state. Hence, they are more dependent on it than any other class.
  • Uppertypical wealthy people from private sector. They have almost no dependence on the state.
  • Lower Apartheidvery privileged government workers who are more dependent on the state than all classes combined except for the upper apartheid.
  • Middletypical private sector workers with fewer rights but with almost no dependence on the state.
  • Lowerthe downtrodden with fewer rights. Ironically, although they are highly dependent on the state they are not the most dependent class.

The System Is not Broken

Whenever any public employees fail or are found to be in dereliction of duty, the top brass within their department or bureaucracy will procure a spokesperson to apologize or justify their conduct to the public. Propaganda is spewed as they expertly employ their finely crafted skills at media spin in an attempt to moderate or prevent a crisis of public opinion. Voluntarily releasing the names of those responsible almost never occurs. They are almost always protected and rarely terminated for their illicit or negligent behavior. A paid leave or suspension is the most common consequence for their culpability. Ironically, it sounds a lot like a reward.

However, there is always a sure fire scapegoat that can almost always carry the fault while protecting those responsible. It is often blamed on a: the system is broken. How convenient! To prevent falling in disfavor (access would be denied) with some politicians and/or some public offices, reporters will often not pressure them for more details or for the names of those responsible for their failure.

Making those accountable for perverting justice, corrupting government, or simple negligence is really the only way to end abuse and their unwavering loyalty to the state. We need to name names because behind every broken system (church, the state, etc.) are individuals hiding behind it who caused it to become that way. There is no such thing as a broken system; only broken individuals — criminals.

The Solution

It begins by removing conflicts of interest. Our primary goal should be to get all levels of government back on focus of a government by the people for the people. One solution to union and corporate lobbying is campaign finance reform. Contributions must be limited to individuals only. In other words, reforms are needed to prevent public unions and corporations from directly buying our government. Secondly, once politicians leave office they should be excluded from employment as lobbyists or employed by any business they received campaign financing from when it was permitted, for the remainder of their natural lives. That might help eliminate some loopholes whereby politicians are promised very lucrative job offers once they leave office if they introduce or support bills that these special interests may be in favor of.

But none of these reforms can happen if we continue to support moderates from the two parties. Democrats primarily represent collective labor (unions). They also tend to rely on buying votes from the lower class by promising them entitlements instead of focusing on the root cause of poverty and unemployment. Republicans tend to represent big business however some, such as in California, are known to bargain with unions and democrats in a process called reaching across the aisles. This is a nice phrase for cheating the taxpayers out of their representation.

But while voting is not a fast solution here is one that is within the power of legislators to do on next contract negotiations: Cut Wages and Benefits for Public Employees and close some departments while merging others especially the redundant ones. Government workers must be forced to actually earn their pay and pensions. If they strike it is their right to do this — indefinitely. While government workers are on strike there is no good reason for not hiring a temporary workforce — also indefinitely. Perhaps it will be found that their positions can be fulfilled with only a fraction of the original workforce.

Further Reading and Viewing

To learn more about how public unions harm us all, please view the following short films and articles:

© 2013 Jules Manson — All Rights Reserved

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