The Instigator
JrRepublican
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
tribefan011
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

Resolved: That Scott Walker's recent budget bill is a wonderful, much needed idea

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
tribefan011
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/5/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,246 times Debate No: 15730
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (2)

 

JrRepublican

Pro

My opponent will argue that Scott Walker's budget bill forcing public worker unions to contribute to their pensions and health care and removing some collective bargaining right is a bad idea. Good luck! My argument is that the unions have attained too much power and they need to accept concessions, not carp about them in the state capital. And yes, the unions have ruined our industries with their unreasonable demands and their closed-shop mentality that hurts workers. The unions are the four-handed monster: One hand around the worker, one hand waving to the public, one hand stabbing the middle class in the back, and one hand grasping in their pockets for the wallets. Unions need to accept cuts along with the rest of us.
tribefan011

Con

I'll just clarify a few terms before I begin my argument.

"Scott Walker's recent budget bill" refers to the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill. The bill requires state employees to contribute about 5.8% of their salaries toward their pensions. State employees are also required to pay at least 12.6% of annual health insurance premiums. In addition to the monetary requirements, the legislation includes key changes to collective bargaining. Many public sector workers can only negotiate wages now. [1]

Definitions:
Wonderful – excellent, extremely good
Much needed – necessary

I stand in opposition to this proposal on the grounds that this bill is neither wonderful nor is it needed. My opponent's first argument is a false one. It relies on the premise that these unions did not accept concessions. Much of the outrage over this bill was not over the financial demands. Rather, it's about the bargaining power that's taken away from workers. In fact, two top union leaders accepted all financial demands. [2]

My opponent makes another assertion that unions have ruined "our industries." This is rather ambiguous, but the conclusion is so simple and so baseless that I'll wait for him to back it up. Even using what seems to be the favorite example of anti-union people, GM, it's ridiculous to pin all or even most of the blame on the unions. Toyota, Honda, and other foreign companies have been making cars of higher quality for years. In addition, GM relied on short-run, rather than long-run, profits. SUV's and trucks made up 50 percent of the U.S. automobile market in the late nineties, and the demand for those vehicles has since subsided. [3]

Somehow, in recent years, it has become logical to scapegoat others when the real fault lies within the shortsightedness and terrible management of corporations.

Moving forward, I have one argument to begin this debate (4,000 character limit):
I. The Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill will hurt the education system in Wisconsin's schools and colleges.

The first point in this argument is that the bill will decrease incentive to work in the Wisconsin school system. Requiring teachers to contribute more toward their pensions and health care premiums and the threat of even higher contributions in the future does not encourage many new workers. In addition, there is little stability, as their contracts will be renewed and changed each year. Some teachers have already threatened to leave. [4]

Another point is the bill will hurt a very important resource to college students, graduate assistants. The Teaching Assistants' Association, the oldest graduate employee union in the world, will have many of its bargaining rights taken away. Graduate employees receive a meager stipend, tuition remission, and health insurance. They have only gotten this much, thanks to the contributions of groups like the TAA. While this bill leaves stipends unaffected for the most part, it puts benefits like tuition remission and health insurance at risk. This is an already poor group, and it would be an awful idea to discourage new graduate students from working for the university. It would give fewer resources to students, and hurt academia as a whole in Wisconsin.

[1] http://host.madison.com...
[2] http://host.madison.com...
[3] http://www.popularmechanics.com...
[4] http://chippewa.com...
Debate Round No. 1
JrRepublican

Pro

Unions have ruined industry,. especially the auto industry, since unions contribute almost all of their money to the Democratic Party, who always oppose any capitalistic, pro-economy, pro-business measures. Mark J. Perry, professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan, found that the average compensation for employees of the Big Three (unionized) car makers, including benefits, came to $73 an hour!! That is an unreasonable wage.In 2007, the legacy costs (pensions, health care, etc) for union-made vehicles was $1800 per car, which is now much higher due to inflation. Think about what that does to American companies completing with non-unionized (but still fairly paid) workers at foreign car companies (workers, by the way, who still have jobs). When the American cars (same cars) would cost around 2,000 dollars more per vehicle, something has to go. m This something, far too often, is quality. When quality goes, so does consumer confidence, which drives even more buyers to foreign companies. So the demise of our auto industry is the fault of the unions.

This bill did not require teachers to contribute MORE...It required them to CONTRIBUTE. Why should state employees get free pensions and health care when the state is in a Democrat-caused budget crisis? Everyone has to take cuts, including the responsibility to lose the dubious right to bargain for more outlandish wages. Why should unions walk about untouched? Furthermore, unions need to be forced to have an open-shop mentality, not force workers to unionize and contribute to radical socialist ideologies of the union leaders
tribefan011

Con

My opponent makes it abundantly clear that he is not a fan of the Democratic Party. Saying Democrats oppose any "capitalistic" or "pro-business measures is one of the most asinine, baseless assertions I've read.

The auto industry is not very relevant to the resolution. However, my opponent completely misrepresented the situation. It's pretty difficult to address all the mistruths within the constraints of this debate, but there are several things that need to be clarified. The total compensation and benefits, calculated by GM, was indeed $73.26. My opponent incorrectly labels this as a wage, when it is much more appropriately described as the cost of labor and pensions for retirees. In reality, the average unionized GM worker for is compensated about $55 per hour. [5] The average wage earned by those workers is around $29 per hour. [6]

Legacy costs will only go down in future years, as UAW and the Big Three reached an agreement in 2007 to cover retirees' health care expenses. Additionally, blaming legacy costs when they only represent about 10 percent [5] of the cost of making a vehicle is not a valid reason for why the quality of American vehicles is worse, considering American car companies sell their cars for about $2,500 less than their Japanese counterparts. Again, these car companies have been poorly managed for the past 30 years. The United Auto Workers are not to blame for that.

One of the primary incentives for teachers to enter their profession is the benefits. Taxpayers pay for these. In return, teachers provide a valuable service to society. Expecting the teachers to contribute toward their health care and pension plans is reasonable to an extent. Not many people are debating this point, and the unions accepted those concessions. However, taking away teachers' rights to negotiate benefits is yet another encroachment on workers' rights, and it will only reduce incentive.

My opponent completely failed to address the majority of my argument, and I extend that argument.

I. The Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill reflects a disturbing trend in the private and public sector over the past 30 years, which is not wonderful or needed for America's middle class.

Union membership has dropped from 24.1 percent in 1979 to 11.9 percent in 2010. [7] This is clearly not due to one reason. Automation has played a significant role in the decline of unions. This has happened in my home state of West Virginia, where machines now perform many of the tasks coal miners used to perform. Some unions have been poorly managed, and membership has declined as a result. But this is a symptom of the decreasing bargaining power of the middle class and the increasing influence of the rich. It reflects the increasing economic inequality in America.

The result has not been good news for the American worker. While the amount of wealthy per worker grew by 63.7% from 1980 to 2009, there was only an 11.2% growth in median wages. [8] Since 1976, the top 1 percent of income earners' share of total income has grown from 8.9% to 23.5% in 2007. [9]

Last year, we saw a Supreme Court ruling protect large contributions to special interest groups. In addition, we saw an extension of tax cuts to the rich when the government desperately needs that added revenue. We have seen bailouts to big banks and large corporations. We have seen millionaires continue to sit on their cash reserves, even when there are millions of Americans who have fine productive capability.

Our economy is not built on the contributions of the top one percent. The livelihood of the other 99 percent is incredibly important, and that's evident in our slow recovery. The middle class hasn't had enough economic power to get the economy moving once again on its own. Continuing to strip away rights and power from them is not going to benefit this country.

[5] http://www.nytimes.com...
Remaining sources in comments.
Debate Round No. 2
JrRepublican

Pro

JrRepublican forfeited this round.
tribefan011

Con

Unfortunately, my opponent forfeited the last round. I extend my arguments from the previous round. As a matter of intellectual debate, a third argument needs to be stated.

III. The budget debacle could have been resolved without cutting teachers' benefits.

Several local professors and economists came to the conclusion that the situation in Wisconsin is not as bad as politicians like Walker make it out to be. Wisconsin has a strong pension system and the deficit it faces is only average among other states. [10]

Governor Walker actually had several other options to address the deficit. Oregon, for example, raised taxes on the wealthy and corporations to cover part of the budget deficit. [11] He could attempt to reform the judicial system to reduce the amount of non-violent prisoners. Additionally, they could borrow from segregated funds or funds to use until the budget is balanced. [10] Each of these options would take a significant chunk out of the budget deficit.

Walker actually worsened the budget situation by passing business tax cuts that will cost the state $117 million in the next two years. [12] Details like this, and Walker's refusal to accept unions' financial concessions, indicate that this is not a move motivated simply by a desire to fix the budgetary problems of the state. This move is heavily motivated politically, and Walker's general rhetoric toward the protesters and the teachers during the budget fight reflects that.

The negative has sufficiently shown many reasons for why this bill is neither needed nor wonderful. The resolution is negated.

[10] http://host.madison.com...
[11] http://www.csmonitor.com...
[12] http://factcheck.org...
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by LeafRod 5 years ago
LeafRod
It definitely takes an old man to be insulted by "you've clearly never studied." And RoyLatham is a good poster, but it also definitely takes a fool to judge so based on his debate record.
Posted by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
Tell food lion to pay their damn bills!!
Posted by Extremely-Far-Right 5 years ago
Extremely-Far-Right
Pervrat:
Actually the truth is RoyLatham is without doubt much more intelligent than you are. (Look at his debating style and voting record)

Unions are extremely bad for this country, at a local Food Lion that I work at, I get paid approx. $8.50 an hour. My friends at Safeway and Giant get paid $7.25 an hour for doing the same job I am. Those grocery stores have unions, and Food Lion doesn't. Hmm....which would you choose to work at?

Another problem about unions is that if someone starts slacking off and isn't really doing as great of a job as you have hoped, shouldn't you fire him? But no, the unions interfere with that as well. The one final significant problem that I personally notice is that my friend works really hard and doesn't slack off on the job, there is then this other boy who does a bad job and calls out a lot. Don't you think the harder working boy should get paid more? With a union all the workers get paid the same which is stupid, because it doesn't give any incentive for the harder working people to work their way up.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Pervrat, Do you have anything in your bag of tricks other than unsubstantiated personal insults? You should withdraw from the site if you cannot stay within the rules.

What unions did in the past is irrelevant to how they function today, and you did not deny a single fact that I gave about how they function. Is it true that government workers must join a union? Do the unions donate to Democrats? (It is over 90%) Do they get paid 50% to 100% more than the private sector? Go down the list.

Tell us exactly what "successful union busting" legislation was passed under the Contract with America, and what the legislation did that was undeserved. Unions in the private sector were never more than about 30%, so it is ridiculous to claim they were responsible for prosperity, and unions have been in decline since the 50s. Explain how the Contract with American accomplished a decline beginning in the 50s. Unions, of course, could care less about toxic materials in children's toys. They only want the privileges of an elite that serves the regime.
Posted by PervRat 5 years ago
PervRat
RoyLatham:

LOL. ROFLMAO in fact. You are hilarious!

Unions are what gave the U.S. quality and workers safety. They are what brought industry out of 3rd-world conditions. You clearly don't have the faintest grasp on what unions have done for the industries they served, nor the severe harm that has resulted from successful unionbusting. When unions were strong, the economy soared ... under the 'Contract With America' Republicans, unions have been busted, jobs overseased, and decades of progressive laws protecting consumers from abusive banks and utility companies, toxic material in childrens' toys.

You've clearly never studied.
Posted by PervRat 5 years ago
PervRat
XFR:

Can I? Yes.

Will I? Doubtful.

I binge now and again on the forums and whatnot, but I don't feel guilty about taking a break from them for a few days. If I return and find several pages of comments have been lopped on -- and especially tens of pages -- onto a thread I had participated on, I'm not gonna waste time trying to catch up on everything. My apologies and my regrets on that, but I've learned I need to take breaks from here for awhile else I get overwhelmed and over-obsessed with conversations that have no real chance of changing anyone's mind on stuff.
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
hauki20, In the US, unions destroyed the steel, auto, and airline industries, so ordinary workers ar enot keen on joining them. The main unions now are government employees. The government unions force people to join and pay dues, then give the dues to Democrat politicians. The Democrats then payoff by giving benefits to unions paid by taxpayers. Government workers are an elite, paid 50% to 100% more than their counterparts in the free markets. Is that how it works in Finland?

Famed GE executive and ultra-capitalist Jack Welsh said that unions were just punishment for bad management. Unions can do good; it's just they operate in the U.S. that's the problem.
Posted by Extremely-Far-Right 5 years ago
Extremely-Far-Right
PervRat, can you at least challenge me to a debate about illegal immigration, or accept incoming messages, or post again to my last message on the society forum, under illegal immigration.
Posted by hauki20 5 years ago
hauki20
I don't know how you americans tolerate busting unions and middle class working people (and especially how the propaganda outlets in your country are able to rally middle class people against their own interests), but let me tell you, in Finland this would not fly for a minute. Just saying. Kthnxbye <3
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by boredinclass 5 years ago
boredinclass
JrRepublicantribefan011Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeit and sources
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 5 years ago
Ore_Ele
JrRepublicantribefan011Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: The Debate really didn't stay too much with the actual Budget, and Pro seemed to try to drive the debate off topic by focusing on the unions. I'd recommend to Pro to try to stay on topic and if he wants to debate a different topic (like the auto unions) to create a seperate debate for that.