Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Feel the Love

Yesterday TAG sent out a wide-cast e-mail to members, urging them to vote "No on Proposition 32," and get involved with the campaign to defeat it.

(In case you live out of state ... or in some deep basement in Tujunga ... private and public labor unions in California are fighting Proposition 32, as it strangles their ability to participate in elections and issues and will end their ability to defend themselves against future anti-union legislation and initiatives.)

We got back this tart reply:

Take your advice and shove it up your ass! The last thing anyone needs is a stupid shit bolshevik, telling the members to support government public employees unions! Go f ... yourself with a corkscrew and when your done, do it again! The only thing you and these worthless peons can do is pick each others noses!

With no regard for lazy turds like you! ...

And so on. ...

Everyone, of course, is entitled to their opinion. But we believe in debate and discourse, and responded thusly:

Hi [name deleted].

The reason private unions are supporting NO on 32 is, they get screwed along with the public ones. This baby called Prop 32 passes, IA and Animation Guild members can probably (long term) kiss their health and pension benefits goodbye. Along with higher wages.

Just to let you know.

We hope you’re doing well. Janette sends her good wishes to you, [the Mrs.] and the boys.

All the best from us lazy turds.

Steve Hulett

See, there's a lot of hate out there for "greedy, bloated" public unions The wages they've negotated are too damn high (the argument goes). And the pensions they get are too generous. So we gotta muzzle them.

There are voices in the comment section who think the Animation Guild has its head up its large intestine supporting public unions (being they're so evil and all), but here's the way we look at it. Private unions get their throats cut along with the public ones. If all unions suddenly have no ability to argue against "right to work" legislation or initiatives or other laws that cripple them.

So all the private unions? Entertainment unions? We're kind of like ... collateral damage.

But Paul Ryan and his associates* are completely right. The country is just too damn far to the left, and the lower orders are running amuck. Here's a handy chart to show just how grotesque all the horrid redistribution of moolah has gotten in this Socialist paradise (led, of course, by greedy public and private sector unions which represent ... wait for it ... a whopping 11% of the working population):

So. Count us as co-mingling with the "stupid shit bolsheviks" who think organized labor should have a voice. And that maybe the upper tax brackets should be raised by 4.5% (the Clinton tax rates) rather than cut by 20% (the Ryan-Romney rates.)

We're funny that way.

* We shrink from naming Willard M. Romney because his positions shift and twitch like pussy willows in a strong September wind. So who knows what he believes? (Probably whatever it takes to get him elected.)


Celshader said...

If this artist hates unions so much, he's welcome to pass up 839 work for the non-unionized VFX industry. No pensions, few 401(k) plans and fewer options for health care coverage.

We're living his non-union dream.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

That's telling 'em Steve!

"If this artist hates unions so much, he's welcome to pass up 839 work for the non-unionized VFX industry. No pensions, few 401(k) plans and fewer options for health care coverage.

We're living his non-union dream."

Funny really (most people see none of it at all if they're quite aware of their eventual demise at the hands of society).

Oswald Cox said...

The stupidity of Steve's pos is staggering. There is a $500 BILLION LIABILITY because of the public unions pensions.

To put quotes around the issue and frame it as hysteria is to argue against basic math. The corporations did not give us this debt. One entity did:
Public sector unions.

And you, as a resident of California are going to feel the pinch and get ripped off because of the corruption of the public sector unions and the stranglehold they have on the polititcians in Sacramento. Last California election politicking by the teacher's union alone outspent the pharmaceutical industry, the oil industry, and the tobacco industry combined.

But don't take my word on any of this. Here is that bastion of right wing tenets, Vanity Fair Magazine laying it out for you:

Also, that cheerleader for republican causes, The Los Angeles Times explains the problem that Steve is pretending doesn't exist:

Back to basic arithmetic: Steve, why don't you ask people to vote yes on Prop 30 as well? All of our taxes are going to have to go up even more if public unions keep bullying lawmakers in this state.

Steven Kaplan said...

Again, "Oswald", your tirade against the public sector unions is reaching over your understanding of the point. Prop 32 isn't about the public sector labor organizations, its about ALL labor organizations.

Vote No on 32!

Steve Hulett said...

Oswald, you feel my pos is stupid, you don't have to follow my advice.

Were you against the trillion dollar wars that were fought off the books. Were you against the bank bailout ($700 billion?) Probably not. Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor were for all of those. You know, back before they began bullshitting about what "deficit hawks" they were.

Oswald Cox said...

If the public service unions--and particularly the prison guards--are not brought under control, the deficit cited above will look like the good ol' days.
The status quo in Sacramento is not only indefensible Steve, its unsustainable.

You are rallying in defense of proven corruption that we are all paying a price for because you are afraid of corruption that you imagine this bill will create. Thats not a good enough argument.

As residents of California, our problems are with the public sector unions. Blame them. They created this mess. And please stop making it about me. I provided links to sources that have never towed this line before - but they have to because record is clear. And so are the numbers.

A vote to continue the public sector unions influence in Sacramento is a vote for:
-taking funding away from schools
-taking away funding from state parks
-taking away funding from infrastructure
-taking away job creation
-and an inevitable tax increase for everyone in the state.

^ Because funding of those services are not guaranteed by the state constitution. But the sweetheart deals that the public sector unions have forced Sacramento to give them are.

I love this union, but I'm not voting to cut the legs out from under everyone in the state with more debt, less services, and higher taxes because IATSE are following rhetoric that we should defend the crooks that created our debt.

When you have city employees salaries in Orange County averaging $150,000 ... WTF do you think is gonna happen man? It could not be MORE unsustainable. Wake up!
A vote for them to keep the control that they have is a vote for cities to go without fire departments.

More than that, voting YES on Prop 32 means state employees get to keep more of their paycheck without their disconnected reps in sacramento skimming money off the top for political campaigns. No part of this proposition prevents union members from contributing to union causes. It just stops the taxes we pay for teachers salaries from being used for political campaigns we may not support.


Oswald Cox said...


Steve, the public unions in this state did EXACTLY what the big banks did. They misrepresented the future earnings for their investments and told the legislature to sign off on pensions that they KNEW were unsustainable.
CalPERS lied just as bad as any Wall Street bank did and if they were a private company their executives would be in jail right now.

But worse they did it with money that you paid in taxes. And the system continues to create an exponential amont of debt compared to the money they take in. The public employee workers continue to "spike" their pensions in the last year that they work.

You and me and every California resident gets hosed. You have no argument. Its a matter of public record.

An animator and his view said...

I thought unions couldnt tell members how to I wrong on that. If this was a church and the leader of that church told the congregation how to vote he would be breaking the law how is this any different.

Oswald Cox said...

Our union isn't telling its members how to vote. In that, we won't face consequences from them if we don't vote the way they reccomend us to.
But Steve and Steve are sticking to the line of thinking that has done them right throughout the decades. I do not begrudge them for that (invective aside, I truly don't) , but this is a unique scenario. California is a unique situation.
The consequences of this election are dire and we are simply rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic if things continue the way that they are in this state.

Much more harm will be done to unions than this bill supposedly presents if we let the public unions bankrupt the government. The federal government isn't going to bail this state out.

The most likely scenario is that the state will have to sell some of the 300 miles of state park coastline land to generate the money to make up for these pensions if we don't curtail this nonsense now.
Sounds crazy right? Watch it happen.

Celshader said...

Much more harm will be done to unions than this bill supposedly presents if we let the public unions bankrupt the government.

I still don't see public unions as a problem.

I see the corporate tax loophole in Prop 13 as the problem. The loophole is starving our state of revenue and encouraging corporate fraud.

Alice Marie said...

What city employees really make (the average in orange county is not 100,000k annually):

On public employee pay vs. private:

I encourage everyone to read the text of the propositions; the ads provided for and against are overly simplified views of the situation.

Oswald Cox said...

Celshader, Prop13 had a single purpose in this state(Steve can probably elaborate more than I), and that was to protect the elderly from losing their homes.
And the last time I checked, California is one of the least friendly states for corporations in the country - but you want to increase taxes on them?!?
You know Pepperdine University did a study of letting Prop 13 expire and their calculations stated that it would cost 400,000 jobs in the first four years.
Look, this states economy is MASSIVE and the taxes Sacramento brings in are more than enough to pay for our services. They are not more than enough to cover the swindling that public unions pulled on this state. Read the links I posted. CalPERS didn't even listen to their own economist on their projections. They fleeced the taxpayers.
Vote YES on 32.

Alice, none of those links dipute the problem with public employees, they actually elaborate on them.(with the NYTimes trying to sugar coat it or make excuses for it).
This is what the public employee unions complete control over the legislature hath wrought on our economy(from your source):

And yes, city employees in Orange County average $100,000 for their annual salary. Here is John Moorlach, the chair of the OC Board of Supervisors presenting the figures:

Average pay for county workers rose 17.2 percent, Moorlach says

Alice Marie said...


I know - I did read them. Except for the 100k a year average I wasn't trying to show any particular links that disputed your facts. But having actual sources is always something I appreciate, so I'd thought I would share. Although you're wording might be confusing. The annual wages are still not over 100k a year, but rather 67k. What number your referencing is total compensation. Thanks for the link though, I hadn't seen that report!

I actually don't think the state should be handling any pension funds, but rather it should be handled by the union - but I don't think it's solely due to swindling. The psychology involved can be incredibly complex; from the idea that a person is "owed" that money, to being blinded to potential negative or mediocre outcomes because of optimism. In my personal experience I found it very common for individuals to assume they could afford something when the math frankly said they couldn't.

My contention with 32 is that it seems to only limit one type of funding from corporations and unions - one which is the primary way unions get their campaign funding money. So the balance tips towards corporations. (I am not saying unions are blameless in this situation - as with any system that involves people, there is always the potential for greed, corruption, and stunning lack of foresight.)

Out of curiosity, if 32 did pass, how would it effect the pension shortfall? My understand of the situation is that those obligations are already owed and cannot be shifted.

Oswald Cox said...

If 32 passes, then the public unions will not have ten times the money to spend on political campaigns that corporations do. When it comes to influencing the politicians in Sacramento, there is only one entity: public employee unions. Prop 32 would restore balance.
Corporations have close to zero influence.

In fact, I'd defy Steve or anyone to cite an instance where a corporation outspent public unions on an issue in this state.

The public union reps in Sacramento let the elected officials know one thing: "you do what we say - or we will use the hundreds of millions of dollars we have at our disposal to bounce you out of office."

And that is the very definition of corruption. Elected officials are there to serve the residents of this state, not just the public employee unions.

Proposition 32 would do nothing to stop unions from fundraising, from asking members to write a check to support a cause or candidate — from raising money just like any other political advocate.

Here is the OC Register linking your initial source on the explosion of cost that has come hand in hand with public unions' complete control of Sacramento.

Right now, $500 billion dollars has to be spent on pensions alone before a nickel can be spent on public services for the future. Its no joke. Those public employee unions have had legislation written for the last 10 to 20 years that kicks the can down the road...
and we have to stop it. Vote YES because if this doesn't pass ALL unions look bad.

Celshader said...

Celshader, Prop13 had a single purpose in this state(Steve can probably elaborate more than I), and that was to protect the elderly from losing their homes.

Right. And since then the corporations have helped themselves to the public trough by exploiting the loopholes in Prop 13 and committing tax fraud.

Let the elderly keep their homes. Disney, Google and Apple don't need any such public assistance. As you keep pointing out, we desperately need that revenue to meet our public obligations.

Steve Hulett said...

Oswald, I have no idea who you are, but here's the difficulty.

If Prop 32 prevails, and SCOTUS doesn't reverse it, then ALL unions go down. Not tomorrow, but within a few years.

That means that pensions and health care (the MPIPHP) will be gutted, and wage hikes (if any) will be diminished. You want to vote for 32, it's a free country. But just understand what the future will hold for THIS union and other entertainment unions.

(Obviously, if you're somebody who has no stake in what I'm talking about, then I'm sure you could care.)

Steve Hulett said...

One last thought: Whether you like the idea or not, the public and private unions are lashed together. You drop a bomb and the publics, the privates get slammed too.

Oswald Cox said...

Well wait a minute. Lets take your premise and reverse it.

How would you like it if a corporation that we have a contract with - like Disney say - withheld money from employees paychecks to put towards a political initiative that opposed tax increases on corporations?
You'd like that none too much I assume.

Why? Because individuals should not be compelled to subsidize private groups or private speech - and thats what Prop 32 is about. Its about money being taken out of our teachers paychecks to fill a slush fund for operatives in Sacramento to extort the politicians there.

You think if Prop 32 passes its going to ruin all unions? Thats hysteria.

Its also myopic in its scope because the consequences are much more dire. The state cannot afford to pay for everything the public sector unions are making them pay for.

So the question is this Steve: What is this union going to do for me when a fire burns my house to the ground because the liability of thousands of six figure pensions forced my local fire department to have less firefighters staffed?
Are you going to put together an auction for every member hurt by the drought of public services?

The numbers don't lie. The fix has been in and its time to stop it. These public unions have taken money from schools and roads and aid more than any corporation has. I'm a tax payer first and a union member second. I'd imagine most members in TAG feel the same way, because lets be honest: how many of them are ever going to get a six figure salary and a six figure pension and a 17% pay raise over five years time like the public sector unions have?
And we're not only footing the bill for that... we're supposed to rally around them robbing us!

Vote YES on 32.

Alice Marie said...


Yes, 500 billion in pension liabilities; but according to the PEW research, 80% of that is actually funded. There's a shortfall of about 93 billion. Still not good, but not quite as bad as the full amount. It's also doubtful that the 93 billion would become due all at once.

We don't actually know the full scope of corporate spending on political campaigns.

from "Comparisons with corporate political spending aren't easy to make. Some corporate political spending, such as donations to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's political wing, doesn't need to be disclosed. What does have to be disclosed can't be found in a single database or two, as is the case with unions."

I won't dispute that Unions do spend quite a bit of money, though.

As for pay - do you expect people who work for the government to take a vow of poverty? How much should they be compensated to make you happy? Because you seem angry that anyone working for the government could be making 100k+ a year. Not to mention some of the individuals who had a high compensation in a particular year may have been due to accrued leave time being cashed out all at once.

see here:

That being said, of course the pensions (as well as other programs) need to be examined for efficiency, and any outrageous compensation amount should certainly be looked at with concern. (i.e., the corruption in the city of Bell.)

Steve Hulett said...

How would you like it if a corporation that we have a contract with - like Disney say - withheld money from employees paychecks to put towards a political initiative that opposed tax increases on corporations?

False analogy. Corporations take contributions from corporate cash flow, not employees' paychecks.

Further, if you the union member (and for this discussion will assume you are one) can vote for executive board members and officers, can throw members out of office, can run for office yourself.

You can come to union meetings and grill officers and make motions. But if you're a corporate employee? No voting rights, no input. You gotta be a stockholder (and it's useful to be a MAJOR one) for input. And in the real world, it's difficult for anybody but a BIG stockholder to have influence.

Last point: Walt Disney once tried to strong-arm his animators to give money to Richard Nixon in 1960. (Source: Ward Kimball). So your hypothetical above has a real-life historical counterpart.

Alice Marie said...

I'd imagine most members in TAG feel the same way...

Please don't assume how other TAG members may feel.

Oswald Cox said...


"Yes, 500 billion in pension liabilities; but according to the PEW research, 80% of that is actually funded."

It's not.

Those figures are based on the 7.5% growth that CalPERS said it would reap on its investments. They aren't getting anything near that. The economy hasn't had that growth in a loooong time. The numbers that came in for them most recently was that their return was somehwere near 1%. Stanford University Professor and Democratic Assemblyman Joe Nation did a study of CalPERS accounting and it relates that the 3 largest pension systems have promised $500 billion beyond their current ability to make those payments to retirees.
Stanford Pension Report

"I won't dispute that Unions do spend quite a bit of money, though."

In the past three years, the teachers union alone took $1 billion in union dues from teachers and used a third of that on special interest political campaigns. Thats tax dollars CA residents want to go to teacher salaries.

"As for pay - do you expect people who work for the government to take a vow of poverty? "

I have a problem with the disparity of residents getting the lowest return in the nation for the highest cost of public employees.

I have a problem with a wonderful tactic that everyone should know about. Its called "pension spiking " and it only happens here in CA.
And its rampant.
You see, public unions passed initiatives so that a retiring employee's pension is based on ONLY the gross of their last year of work (other states stipulate that it be the average of their last 3 to 5 years, and only salary)...
But here in California the widespread corruption sees retiring public employees work as much overtime as they possibly can in their final year and cash in all of the sick days that they have saved up. Boosting their last year's gross to 20% or 40% or even 60% more than it would regularly be. And then... They have that - tax free - for life. But more than that!... Lets say they were to marry a wife or husband after they retire. If the pensioned public union member were to die, their spouse keeps that pension and the full healthcare for the rest of their life!

Also in the fold, a practice called "double dipping" whereby a state employee will retire (and they can retire as early as 50) with a fat, spiked pension, and then go right to the front of the line in being hired as a non-union employee doing the same job for the same department and getting the same salary they had before ON TOP of the pension.

It makes the $500 billion unfunded liability figure much more understandable doesn't it?

And everyone in Sacramento knows that this is going on. But if anyone were to even suggest legislation to fix this corruption they would face a multi million dollar campaign to bounce them out of office.

What the real crime is, is that there are great engineers and civil servants who built this state and deserve a good deal for their hard work and they are getting lumped in with the current culture of entitlement.

" (i.e., the corruption in the city of Bell.)

There is no better case to look at than Bell! The latest news there is that the police chief at the center of the corruption, wants his years as chief factored into his pension while he invoked the 5th amendment 20 times when he was on the stand. If he wins his claim, his pension will be half a million dollars - AND HE'S GONNA GET IT.
Make no mistake about that. He'll probably get a small reduction, but you are talking about a public sector union member. He'll get everything he wants.

Steve Hulett said...

Oswald. I'm not going to claim public sector unions have no issues. It'd be stupid.

But I repeat: PRIVATE unions go down in the shot-gun blast of Prop. 32, just like PUBLICS.

You keep maintaining that no, couldn't possibly happen, and you're wrong. You've got plenty of stats about public unions but none about my issue.

You've got your head up your large intestine if you actually believe that the entertainment unions won't go down. Initiatives will be funded and passed, and SAG, the WGAw, AFTRA, the IATSE and TAG will be pretty much empty shells, and the pension plans will be toast.

I know what I'm talking about. I worked closely with a sister union in Florida, a right to work state, and it was weak. No pension. A skim milk health plan.

That's the future, Oswald, after Prop 32 passes. We'll have a corporatist state on steroids. The pension plans will wither away. Those things directly affect the members of TAG. If you want to deny, deny, deny, that's you're right, but on this issue I know what I'm talking about. And you don't.

F. Kousac said...

republikan teabaggers want to shed personal responsibility. They always want something for nothing. They spent 8 years growing the government larger than it's ever been, lying to get us into war, shredding the Constitution, giving tax breaks to billionaires and corporations to ship jobs overseas and then not paying for it. All the while dragging the economy into the shitter. Not to mention falling asleep at the wheel and letting terrorists attack America on 9/11.

The economy is 100% better than it was when shrub and dick left office. It's not good enough yet, but it's nice to know REAL Americans care enough to hold those responsible for this mess accountable.

Celshader said...

For those interested, the deadline for registering to vote in California is October 22 this year.

I received my Vote-By-Mail ballot yesterday, so I'll probably be mailing in my vote this weekend.

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