2009-08-07 / Columnists

The Progressive

Blaming The Victim

On July 23, 2009 E.J. McMahon of the Manhattan Institute's Empire Center criticized public employee unions for considering not endorsing the governor.

McMahon feels the unions are biting the hand that fattens them, as the byline stated.

It is the sacred responsibility of union leaders to get their members the best working conditions possible.

Most voters, both conservative and progressive, feel Governor Paterson is not up to the task.

It would be foolhardy not to seek to endorse another candidate.

It is also evident that across the nation public employees face wage cuts, furloughs and layoffs.

Why are conservatives now saying, as Mr. McMahon has, that public employee unions are "the single greatest obstacle to the Empire State's economic and fiscal recovery"?

It was corruption and fraud by our political and corporate elite that speculated in the basic needs of the public such as health care, housing, and energy.

Lack of regulation by government officials and the dismantling and disregard of rules made during the age of FDR allowed the crisis - not public employees' wages and pensions.

McMahon wants to cap school property taxes. All Americans, both conservative and progressive, feel our educational standards need bolstering.

If a source of revenue is capped and the schools do not have adequate revenue, the gains we achieved may be lost.

Conservatives do not propose other sources of revenue.

McMahon does not want union wages paid or union work rules at state subsidized economic development projects.

We all recall what the lack of enforcement of safety rules in recent years did for the families of dead or injured workers.

Union wages give workers an opportunity to invest and consume and that will have a positive effect on the economy.

Decent wages and benefits help many and not just the few.

Workers should share the profits of recovery and not just the pains of Wall Street.

Public employees have defined benefit pensions. Many previously in private industry also had this benefit. When the stock market crashed, many retirement accounts were now inadequate - the wisdom of defined pensions is evident.

The assault on American workers and public employees during this crisis is a sign that Wall Street greed and corruption is still powerful. Blaming victims is an old political trick.

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