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User Forum Topic
Submitted by flu on July 18, 2013 - 6:54pm

Submitted by CA renter on July 29, 2013 - 9:14pm.

birmingplumb wrote:
Henry Ford pulled the farmers sons off the family farm leaving ma and pa holding the bag. Then the Cass Corridor was built to house the several hundred thousand transient southern worker. We had 100,000 at Ford Rouge, 60k at dodge main. Conner Avenue had 100 bars from Jefferson to 6 mile ( 6 miles) and at quiting time just after the War, there were 100'000 people on Conner. That was our heyday. One by one, plants closed helped by the Japan invasion in the 70's. People bought Toyota's vw's and Datsuns. Once secretive auto companys were forced to sub contract components to compete with the jap government subsidized foreign cars. ( prob ours too) Once the sub contractors had control and we sold our equipment, they sold all our technology to Kia and others who sprang to the front with bought technology from suppliers with no loyalty. So thats where we went wrong folks. Suppliers broke the monopoly. It was good while it lasted. Detroit is a shell of it's former self. When the plants pulled out, they left a waste land of welfare and liquor stores for the children to study. 4 th generation of welfare is here in Detroit. Add corrupt slick ass college boys politicians and u have the fox guarding the hen house. I moved my children to San Diego 3 years ago from Detroit. God bless San Diego and the forum and especially Bearish Gurl. Motown

Thanks for sharing that perspective, BP. Very interesting.

Submitted by paramount on July 29, 2013 - 10:26pm.

birmingplumb wrote:
Detroit is a shell of it's former self. Motown

From Motown to Notown (GC).

Submitted by no_such_reality on July 30, 2013 - 9:16am.

CDMA ENG wrote:

Man... As much as I like to bash unions... Hobie is completely correct. Unions were just the "knob turners" that put the product together.

Not correct CDMA. I used to work in the auto industry. Those management choices you complain about were in a large part driven by the unions. Not actively, but passively through reticence and inflexibility.

By the 80s, the UAW benefit package cost to the companies exceeded both the competition's cost and profit margin together, particularly on the low cost point vehicle.

By the 80s, the UAW had job bank and literally, had entire assembly lines of people sitting playing cards at picnic tables watching the automated stamping machines punch out doors. Instead of 40+ people working the line, there were two, one running the crane loading the steel roll in, one running another picking the carts of loaded doors out. And 40 people sitting playing cards, all getting paid.

Sorry, no product choice is going to succeed over that. Management failed, but the failure management had was not forcing the union back to reality before it was too late, they may have failed. I'm not sure how long the union could have held out.

Either way, the companies literally couldn't build the vehicles you think they should have, their cost structure prevented it and the union pay and benefit package was a big part of that. Stupid design like having 20 fasteners for a bumper versus the competitions 5 just enhanced the problem.

Everybody wants to whine about the big three just building big trucks and SUVs before their demise (Ford excepted), but they did that for a reason, they are the only vehicle they make money on.

You haven't seen despair until you seen a town whose one main plant has been downsizing for a decade.

Submitted by SD Realtor on August 2, 2013 - 12:48pm.

nsr my wifes uncle worked for GM around the same time you mention. I saw him a few months ago at a reunion and he told us about the card games. He said they did it for about 2 years straight. They did it because they had to show up at work according to him, otherwise they would not have showed up at all. This was at GM in Oklahoma.

Submitted by SD Realtor on August 2, 2013 - 12:49pm.

Also still taking bets on a federal bailout. I believe the dems are gonna push for it.

Submitted by The-Shoveler on August 2, 2013 - 1:15pm.

SD Realtor wrote:
Also still taking bets on a federal bailout. I believe the dems are gonna push for it.

Let the Moral hazard begin !!!
What could go wrong!

Yea this is what I fully expect will happen,

My bet is there will be limits on benefits paid, (almost to the point where they could have done it themselves but it will take the fed gov to push it through).

Submitted by FlyerInHi on August 2, 2013 - 1:53pm.

The dems in DC would be stupid to touch this one.

Rick Snyder has been all over the TV selling the bankruptcy. Remmber that the michigan constitution protects public pension so Michigan taxpayers could be on the hook

Snyder is the one who appointed Kevyn Orr.

If Snyder wants a federal bailout for his state, he will have to ask for it. There goes a potential nominee for 2016.

Submitted by The-Shoveler on August 2, 2013 - 1:59pm.

In the end I guess that’s what it’s all about (the big one)

Does Federal BK law trump State law.

We will see I guess, there will be a lot of eyes on this one.

Submitted by SK in CV on August 2, 2013 - 3:45pm.

The-Shoveler wrote:
In the end I guess that’s what it’s all about (the big one)

Does Federal BK law trump State law.

We will see I guess, there will be a lot of eyes on this one.

Where do you see the conflict between MI law and bankruptcy law?

Submitted by The-Shoveler on August 2, 2013 - 3:58pm.

It's very simple really,

When the City files BK, it does so in Federal court.

If the Federal court over rules the State Law saying that “public employee pensions cannot be diminished or impaired"

Well I guess that's where the real battle begins.

Interesting times.

Submitted by CA renter on August 2, 2013 - 11:56pm.

SD Realtor wrote:
Also still taking bets on a federal bailout. I believe the dems are gonna push for it.

Why not? The precedent was set when the govt/Fed bailed out all of the financial institutions and the capitalists (and loser borrowers/gamblers who were clearly every bit as responsible for the debacle as the lenders and other speculators) who drove our economy into the ground. We're still paying for it dearly, in the form of 0-1% savings rates on savings. Personally, this "tax" is much, much greater than any tax that would be required to bail out Detroit.

Let the games begin...

Submitted by CA renter on August 2, 2013 - 11:59pm.

The-Shoveler wrote:
It's very simple really,

When the City files BK, it does so in Federal court.

If the Federal court over rules the State Law saying that “public employee pensions cannot be diminished or impaired"

Well I guess that's where the real battle begins.

Interesting times.

Employee compensation (including pensions), are priority claims. The only question is how they will determine the limits of the priority claims for a municipal BK, as opposed to limits for a business BK. Bondholders do not have priority claims.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on August 3, 2013 - 1:07am.

It's a little different CAr. Wall Street paid back the bailouts. As I believe NYC paid back the loan it got back in the 1970s. Detroit is losing residents and can't possibly pay back.

They are in a catch 22. If they don't improve services, the city's tax base will continue to shrink. But if they pay pensions and bondholders, they don't have enough money to improve services to attract residents and businesses.

Maybe the Michigan Supreme Court will rule on this eventually. Will it go to the US Supreme Court? I doubt it.

As to low interet rates, why do you expect to make money just holding money? You get paid for your productivity... There is no inherent right to earning interest on cash.

Submitted by spdrun on August 3, 2013 - 7:39pm.

If cash keeps its value, than that's fine. Why should people who were productive in the past not be able to enjoy the fruits of that productivity WITHOUT working like fucking dogs till they die?

Interest rate should be very close to real inflation rate. Despite what Ben flaps his yap about, real inflation isn't even close to 2% right now; things like housing, food, and energy are just excluded. If real inflation were running at 2%, a 1% rate would be about fair.

Why should people stay on the treadmill until they die?

Submitted by CDMA ENG on August 4, 2013 - 8:00am.

CA renter wrote:
The-Shoveler wrote:
It's very simple really,

When the City files BK, it does so in Federal court.

If the Federal court over rules the State Law saying that “public employee pensions cannot be diminished or impaired"

Well I guess that's where the real battle begins.

Interesting times.

Employee compensation (including pensions), are priority claims. The only question is how they will determine the limits of the priority claims for a municipal BK, as opposed to limits for a business BK. Bondholders do not have priority claims.

Priority claim is what is at stake in Detroit. I know in CA that Pensioner are a priority claim. That being said I hope your right.

Why?

Simply because when you stiff your bondholders no one will lend you money. When no one will lend you money... You have to learn to live within your means. That means work will be outsourced to companies that are far more effiencent in getting the task complete then a goverment backed union employee.

And... No more can kicking local goverments that are beholden to the political will of union backed voters.

So I look at this as an upside.

As the Human Torch would say "Flame On!"

CE

Submitted by SK in CV on August 4, 2013 - 8:22am.

CDMA ENG wrote:
CA renter wrote:
The-Shoveler wrote:
It's very simple really,

When the City files BK, it does so in Federal court.

If the Federal court over rules the State Law saying that “public employee pensions cannot be diminished or impaired"

Well I guess that's where the real battle begins.

Interesting times.

Employee compensation (including pensions), are priority claims. The only question is how they will determine the limits of the priority claims for a municipal BK, as opposed to limits for a business BK. Bondholders do not have priority claims.

Priority claim is what is at stake in Detroit. I know in CA that Pensioner are a priority claim. That being said I hope your right.

It's much more complicated than just a matter of priority claims. Debts to employees may not even be priority claims in municipal bankruptcies, as they are, with limits, in business bankruptcies. (The language in the law is not the same, and there just isn't that much precedence.)

TS quoted a piece of the Michigan constitution, but I think he skipped the more important part. What the law says is:

The accrued financial benefits of each pension plan and retirement system of the state and its political subdivisions shall be a contractual obligation thereof which shall not be diminished or impaired thereby.

If the pension plan benefits "of the subdivisions" are a contractual obligation of the state, then even if Detroit succeeds in wiping out those obligations, they remain obligations of the state. (The state is not a party to the bankruptcy.) So the question that the bankruptcy court has to answer is whether state law makes the state a co-obligor on those debts, and if they pass on answering that question, whether the wording of the state law (both the quoted part, and subsequent sections) creates a security interest in municipal funds.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on August 4, 2013 - 11:24am.

Spd, why should money itself be an investment medium?

It seems to me that interest rates are high when there is not enough money to support all the productive activities people want to undertake (higher demand for money and not enough of it).

Low rates are better because they encourage people to consume what they produce and they have to keep on producing in order to consume.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on August 4, 2013 - 11:33am.

Interesting take in the pension obligations of Detroit, SK. That's why I think the Michigan Supreme Court will eventually rule.

Can the pensions be contractual obligations of the state even though the state was not a party?

Is the state's role in appointing an emergency manager for Detroit, and the governor's role in approving the bankruptcy obligate the state to pay the pensions?

I think, in the end, this is a state matter that doesn't need federal involvement. $18 billion? The state can afford it on its own if that's what the court decides.

Submitted by spdrun on August 4, 2013 - 3:19pm.

FlyerInHI -- why the blue fuck is productivity a virtue in itself? What's wrong with a society of contented lotus-eaters, or at least people who have enough in the bank to work say 3/4 of the time, leaving 25% for enjoyment of family, travel, hobbies, or whatever floats their boats?

And why discourage saving, especially since this country has cunt-all for a social safety net? All inflation does under that circumstance is create a society of hand-to-mouth wage slaves. Is this what we really want for this country?

Submitted by njtosd on August 4, 2013 - 5:03pm.

spdrun wrote:
especially since this country has cunt-all for a social safety net?

I assume this was a typo (?)

Submitted by spdrun on August 4, 2013 - 5:18pm.

No typo -- vulgarity (the way the US treats its own citizens) begets vulgarity.

Submitted by CA renter on August 4, 2013 - 10:31pm.

FlyerInHi wrote:
It's a little different CAr. Wall Street paid back the bailouts. As I believe NYC paid back the loan it got back in the 1970s. Detroit is losing residents and can't possibly pay back.

They are in a catch 22. If they don't improve services, the city's tax base will continue to shrink. But if they pay pensions and bondholders, they don't have enough money to improve services to attract residents and businesses.

Maybe the Michigan Supreme Court will rule on this eventually. Will it go to the US Supreme Court? I doubt it.

As to low interet rates, why do you expect to make money just holding money? You get paid for your productivity... There is no inherent right to earning interest on cash.

Wall Street did NOT pay us back for the bailouts. Don't be fooled by the "TARP" nonsense. That was just a small part of the tip of the iceberg where the bailouts are concerned.

There are the "cash for trash" programs where the private sector got to off-load their bad investments onto the Fed and government (including the refinance wave with the low rates over the past few years, which enabled the private mortgage lenders to recoup their money as borrowers refinanced into govt-backed mortgages), the homebuyers' tax credit (state and federal) which pushed up the value of assets, the loss-sharing agreements with investors (many of whom are the very same people who drove the bubble in the first place!), the Fed's buying of mortgages and Treasuries which keep rates for these products below market levels (harming investors who are not paid for the risks they are taking), the inflated prices/diminished purchasing power of everyone on fixed incomes because of all the "stimulus" (which includes everyone who works for a paycheck), lost interest/investment income for savers, etc.

We're talking about trillions of dollars that have been taken from Joe Sixpack and given to speculative investors, asset holders and others who should have lost their shirts because of these foolish investments.

I find it funny that when the bailouts for bankers were passed, we were told that we couldn't claw back money from these thieves (the executives of the large financial firms that caused the bubble and subsequent crash), or punish them financially in any way, because they had "contracts" that had to be honored from these financial institutions. But when the subject of clawing back pay from teachers, cops, firefighters, etc. comes up, everyone is buying the propaganda that they somehow caused the financial crisis. They didn't; they had NOTHING at all to do with the financial crisis, they haven't been the beneficiaries of the increased costs of their compensation. Wall Street caused the pension crisis as the pension funds moved from in-house fund management & mostly bonds to outside management and riskier investments (thanks to heavy lobbying by Wall Street over the decades), and the healthcare/pharmaceutical industries have benefited from the increased healthcare/drug costs. Public employees have not been the beneficiaries of these increased costs for the most part (and what few increases, especially the pension enhancements, have been passed, I oppose).

Submitted by njtosd on August 4, 2013 - 11:14pm.

spdrun wrote:
No typo -- vulgarity (the way the US treats its own citizens) begets vulgarity.

If the US is so vulgar, why are you here? I guess you must enjoy it.

Submitted by CA renter on August 5, 2013 - 12:59am.

CDMA ENG wrote:
CA renter wrote:
The-Shoveler wrote:
It's very simple really,

When the City files BK, it does so in Federal court.

If the Federal court over rules the State Law saying that “public employee pensions cannot be diminished or impaired"

Well I guess that's where the real battle begins.

Interesting times.

Employee compensation (including pensions), are priority claims. The only question is how they will determine the limits of the priority claims for a municipal BK, as opposed to limits for a business BK. Bondholders do not have priority claims.

Priority claim is what is at stake in Detroit. I know in CA that Pensioner are a priority claim. That being said I hope your right.

Why?

Simply because when you stiff your bondholders no one will lend you money. When no one will lend you money... You have to learn to live within your means. That means work will be outsourced to companies that are far more effiencent in getting the task complete then a goverment backed union employee.

And... No more can kicking local goverments that are beholden to the political will of union backed voters.

So I look at this as an upside.

As the Human Torch would say "Flame On!"

CE

Please show us evidence to prove your assertion that privatization saves money. That's more of the same old propaganda from the privatization movement, yet there is no evidence to show that it's true. As a matter of fact, the opposite seems to be true.

Employees might be paid less, but corporate profits, corruption, and executive compensation tend to offset any savings. This should set off alarm bells for anyone who actually has to work for a living. Understand who is fighting for or against you...you might be surprised if you take the time to investigate for yourself.

......

"The theory that the federal government should outsource its operations to private firms usually rests on a simple premise: It saves money. But why should we believe it saves money? Often the argument is made by pointing to salaries for public- and private-sector employees in comparable jobs and noting that the private-sector employees make less. So outsourcing the task to the private worker should be cheaper, right? That’s the theory, at least. But a new study from the Project on Government Oversight suggests that this theory is quite wrong. In many cases, privatizing government turns out to be far more costly."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonk...

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http://www.governing.com/topics/mgmt/pro...

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Re-posting what has already been said:

WHO is behind the anti-union
Submitted by CA renter on October 28, 2011 - 12:40am.

WHO is behind the anti-union message, and WHY?

It is NOT so that *you* can pay lower taxes. It's more likely that you will end up paying MORE for services (that have been privatized, and that you will have absolutely no control over) and/or see lower wages for American workers.

........

Privatization plan

Buried in Walker’s bill is a provision that says, “Department may sell any state owned heating, cooling, and power plant or may contract with a private entity for the operation of any such plant, with or without solicitation of bids, for any amount.” This is a push to sell off state assets, to give them to for-profit companies who can then charge the highest price while paying their workers the least. It is a part of the Koch and Bradley plan. Coincidently Koch is in the energy business.

Politics at the national level

On Jan. 5, 2011, new Republican legislators walked into the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and met with key people. David Koch was one of them. The Koch brothers are a political force on the national scene. They were the biggest contributors to the campaigns of members of that House Energy and Commerce Committee that regulates some of the main industries in which they are involved. Nine of the 12 new Republicans on that House Committee signed an Americans for Prosperity pledge to oppose regulation of greenhouse gases. The fact that the Koch Industries has been charged with many violations of environmental laws did not bother them at all.

But it is not only the Republicans who follow the Koch directions. The Clinton administration dropped all 97 counts of covering up evidence of a 91-metric-ton benzene spill in Texas. Prior to that, the Justice Department had pursued fines of $350 million for endangering the public and violating the law.

Making a killing off of misery

Koch Industries has a significant financial stake in derivatives as do other wealthy people. The top 10 hedge fund managers in the United States collectively made $18.7 billion in 2009. That is an average of over $1.8 billion for each of them for only one year’s “work.” The highest-paid person was David Tepper of Appalossa Management. He brought home $4 billion in 2009. How did he do it? When people were losing their homes and banks were going under, he bought bank stock on the cheap, and then later cashed in after taxpayers bailed out the banks. His company made $7 billion that year and he made $4 billion.

The Koch brothers and others are blaming the financial crisis on public employees—their wages, benefits and collective-bargaining rights. In fact, the crisis faced by the states and local governments is rooted in a system that puts bond ratings by banks and paying interest on loans above the needs of the community. It is a system that puts profits before people.

http://pslweb.org/liberationnews/news/wh...

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THIS is WHY you are being fed
Submitted by CA renter on October 28, 2011 - 2:09am.

THIS is WHY you are being fed the anti-union message. The public unions are their only formidable opponents, so they are trying to destroy them by preying upon Joe Sixpack's ingnorance and envy of those who haven't yet lost what he's already lost via ignorance and apathy.
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......

"Risks of Privatization
Privatization and contracting out involve giving up control of public structures we all rely on to private companies. Once a public service or asset is privatized, we, the public, lose the ability to have a voice in decisions affecting that service or asset. We also lose the ability to request and view important information related to the privatized function. Without proper information and a forum in which to voice opinions, the public is effectively shut out of the decision-making process. These services and structures are no longer controlled by a government accountable to the public, but instead beholden to companies who may have entirely different goals and priorities.

ITPI has documented numerous examples that demonstrate that the supposed benefits of privatization are merely myths. Privatization has often moved forward without adequate public deliberation or oversight. Poorly conceived and constructed contracts have resulted in cost increases, as well as diminished service quality, reduced access to vital services, and have failed to protect against corruption. More information on the risks of privatization can be found here."

http://www.inthepublicinterest.org/priva...

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Privatization of libraries:

http://sierravoices.com/2011/03/lssi-is-...

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Privatization of prisons:

"Introduction to Prison Privatization
The movement towards the privatization of corrections in the United States is a result of the convergence of two factors: the unprecedented growth of the US prison population since 1970 and the emergence out of the Reagan era of a political environment favorable to free-market solutions. Since the first private prison facility was opened in 1984, the industry has grown rapidly; gross revenues exceeded $1 billion in 1997. This paper will examine the industry's growth in the US in recent decades, and its current scope. The evidence for and against claims that private prisons can realize gains in efficiency will be weighed, and implications of privatization for other public values including safety, justice, and legitimacy will be examined.

The birth of the contemporary American private prison industry may be traced to 1984, when the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service became the first federal agency to contract for private correctional services, with the Corrections Corporation of America. This initial movement toward the federal privatization of corrections was quickly followed by contracts for outsourcing developed by the US Marshals Service and the US Bureau of Prisons in 1986. The first county-level private prison contact was signed in 1984, between Hamilton County, Tennessee and the Corrections Corporation of America. Shortly thereafter, in 1985, the first state-level contract was signed, between the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the United States Corrections Corporation (NCPA 1995).

In 1987, approximately 3,122 inmates out of 3.5 million inmates were confined in private corrections facilities in the United States. By 2001, the total United States inmate population had swelled to a staggering 6.5 million inmates—123,000 of whom were confined in private facilities. This 4,000% increase in the number of prison beds in private hands was fed by the concomitant 90% growth in total inmate populations in the United States as a whole. (BOJS, 2001). Currently, over 32 states and Puerto Rico have formed contacts with corrections corporations. Figure 1, below, illustrates the inmate capacity of private prisons by state as of 1999 (Thomas, 2002).

Critics of privatization claim that there are no true efficiency gains from privatization, arguing that comparative studies of efficiency often ignore a number of key factors, by looking only at the operational costs (per diem rates). In 1996 the US General Accounting Office brought into question a number of the key assumptions that the proponents of privatization claim. Ultimately, the GAO found that there was no evidence conclusively demonstrating efficiency gains from privatization (GAO Reports, GAO/GGD-96-158). The GAO pointed out flaws in many of the studies touting efficiency gains from prison privatization. They found virtually no reliable multi-year studies. Those that they did find suffered from flaws including: failinure to compare similar institutions, failure to account for both cost and quality, or lack of a nuanced account of hidden costs."

http://government.cce.cornell.edu/doc/ht...
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Privatizing parking meters:

"People in other cities may want to take note of the recent news about parking around here because the architects of Chicago’s parking meter privatization are taking their show on the road.

A few days ago Channel Two's Pam Zekman confirmed that it’s costing the city—i.e., the taxpayers—lots of money to make even temporary changes in parking policy.

The funny thing is that critics of the parking meter privatization agreement—people who’ve actually read it—have been saying this for the better part of the year.The Daley administration has brushed aside their criticism, insisting that the city retains full control of the meter system. Which is true—except that with every change it makes in meter placement, hours, or rates, it has to return some of the cash it initially received from the consortium that now operates the system. Zekman acquired records to show it."

http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/arc...
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Privatization of (access to and control of) water:

Much of the world lives without access to clean water. Privatization of water resources, promoted as a means to bring business efficiency into water service management, has instead led to reduced access for the poor around the world as prices for these essential services have risen. This article looks into this issue in further detail below.

http://www.globalissues.org/article/601/...
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"The impacts of World Bank and IMF structural adjustment programs on countries in the Global South have been well-documented in the areas of health and education, food security and jobs. However, less is known about the impacts of the World Bank's latest obsession -- the privatization of water services. In country after country in recent years, the World Bank has been quietly imposing a for-profit system of water delivery, leaving millions of people without access to water.

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The Bank is taking advantage of the "Washington Consensus" model of development now adopted by its donor countries and promoting the interests of a handful of transnational water corporations. Instead of using its massive funds to promote expertise in the public sector, thereby acknowledging that water is a human right and an essential public service, the Bank is forcing many countries to commodify their water resources and put them on sale to the highest bidder."

http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/co...
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Privatization as a growing threat to Constitutional Rights...

http://www.jstor.org/pss/975887
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Read this book to gain a better understanding of the issues.

Outsourcing Sovereignty: Why Privatization of Government Functions Threatens Democracy and What We Can Do about It [Paperback]

Reliance on the private military industry and the privatization of public functions has left our government less able to govern effectively. When decisions that should have been taken by government officials are delegated (wholly or in part) to private contractors without appropriate oversight, the public interest is jeopardized. Books on private military have described the problem well, but they have not offered prescriptions or solutions this book does.

http://www.amazon.com/Outsourcing-Sovere...

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More... Privatizing military
Submitted by CA renter on October 28, 2011 - 2:26am.

More...

Privatizing military functions:

"Many worry that the lack of control due to outsourcing could weigh even heavier and even put an entire military operation at risk. Consider what happened during the 2004 Sadr uprising, where a spike in attacks on convoys caused many companies to either withdraw or suspend operations, causing fuel and ammunition stocks to dwindle.

It is important to remember that private contractors are not bound by the same codes, structures and obligations as those in public service. As Tom Crum, then the chief operating officer for KBR's logistics operations, wrote in an internal memo, "We cannot allow the Army to push us to put our people in harm's way. ... If we in management believe the Army is asking us to put our KBR employees in danger that we are not willing to accept, then we will refuse to go."

The Pentagon also has to do a much better job of being a smart client. Far too few contracts get any true competition to drive down prices. Instead, they tend to be bundled together into massive structures, where a few prime contractors (just three in the new version of LOGCAP) are the ones that dole out sub-contracts. Add in the largely cost-plus contract structure, and savings tend not to accrue."

http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2008/0...

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"During the past five years, the Working Group has been studying emerging issues, manifestations and trends regarding private military and security companies. In our reports we have informed the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly about these issues. Of particular importance are the reports of the Working Group to the last session of the Human Rights Council, held in September 2010, on the Mission to the United States of America (20 July to 3 August 2009), Document A/HRC/15/25/Add.3; on the Mission to Afghanistan (4-9 April 2009), Document A/HRC/15/25/Add.2, and the general report of the Working Group containing the Draft of a possible Convention on Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCs) for consideration and action by the Human Rights Council, Document A/HRC/15/25.

In the course of our research, since 2006, we have collected ample information which indicate the negative impact of the activities of “private contractors”, “private soldiers” or “guns for hire”, whatever denomination we may choose to name the individuals employed by private military and security companies as civilians but in general heavily armed. In the cluster of human rights violations allegedly perpetrated by employees of these companies, which the Working Group has examined one can find: summary executions, acts of torture, cases of arbitrary detention; of trafficking of persons; serious health damages caused by their activities; as well as attempts against the right of self-determination. It also appears that PMSCs, in their search for profit, neglect security and do not provide their employees with their basic rights, and often put their staff in situations of danger and vulnerability.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?c...

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The single largest issue introduced by the evolution of military services by the private sector is the degree to which corporations are now transcending the power of governments, rising as an influential variable within international and regional diplomacy, and redefining sovereignty in the 21st century. Advocates of the industry claim they are economically efficient and point towards the failure of the UN and the system of world governments to cease violence, genocide and civil war around the world. Those who are cautious of the emerging industry see this market as an encroachment into inherent government functions and question the real economic efficiency heralded as a true result of privatization. And there are, of course, many in between, who see benefits and drawbacks to the variety of services out there now on the world market.

http://sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=P...

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Privatization of Social
Submitted by CA renter on October 28, 2011 - 2:40am.

Privatization of Social Security:

I thought this quote was particularly hillarious:

"Although opponents to privatization conjure up the spectacle of private accounts being subject to the vagaries of the stock market, this is surely a red herring thrown into the debate since any privatization reform could require that all funds placed into private accounts be invested in U.S. securities backed by the good faith and credit of the U.S. government. The only difference between privatization and what we have now is that under privatization retiree benefits would be guaranteed and not subject to the ravages of confiscation or reduction by a future Congress, whereas under the present system, government is free to revoke or reduce benefits at its whim."

[Apparently, they want all the risk to remain on the taxpayers' balance sheet. They just want the fees, thank you very much!]

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2010/08/3...
---------------

"Privatization of Social Security, a longtime GOP priority, was the first focus of former President Bush and the Republican cogressional majorities the last time they won an election cycle—in 2004. And, with they scheme to lock in Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy, the only way Republicans will avoid creating the largest deficits in American history is by ending the nation's commitment to its seniors and to its most vulnerable citizens—by gutting Social Security and functional Medicare and Medicaid programs.

"They clearly support privatizing Social Security. They clearly support turning Medicare into a voucher program," says Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz. noting that two key players in the House Republican Caucus—Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor—have are busy championing such proposals. "Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor wrote a book about it and are in the middle of a book tour promoting that."

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/09...

-------------------

Funny factoid about Paul Ryan:

"Ryan attended Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville and was sixteen years old when he found his father in bed, dead of a heart attack at age 55. Ryan's grandfather had also died of a heart attack at age 57, as had his great-grandfather also similarly died of a heart attack at age 59.[10] Ryan began collecting his Social Security survivor's benefits until age eighteen, which he saved for college tuition and expenses.[11]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Ryan

Another example of, "I got mine, F' you!" by one of our "honorable" corporatist puppets.

http://piggington.com/end_collective_bar...

Submitted by CA renter on August 5, 2013 - 1:16am.

More on privatization from another thread:

From the article:

"In this case, outsourcing parking-enforcement duties would benefit the taxpayers among Hermosa Beach’s population of slightly less than 20,000. For an example of how such a switch might work, Hermosa officials could travel about 45 miles south along the coast to Newport Beach, where the city successfully moved to outsource parking enforcement last year.

We have seen increased revenues with the private company operating the meter program,” Newport Councilwoman Leslie Daigle said.

Since Newport made the move, the city “has seen a 24.4 percent increase in parking-meter revenues over last year and salary savings of approximately $500,000 from outsourcing parking meter operations,” according to Tara Finnigan, a spokeswoman for the city.

Privatizing parking meter duties also is a national trend, as detailed in a recent study by the libertarian Reason Foundation. Chicago and Indianapolis have had success with outsourcing parking enforcement, and other cities including New York, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Memphis, Tenn., and Harrisburg, Pa., are considering privatization proposals."

...

This means that the cost for parking in the city has gone UP, and that they are vigorously enforcing the parking laws, some of which are probably new in order to drive up revenue.

It looks like their revenue from parking fines and PD administration fines are about ~$2.6 million per year over the past ~5 years. If their revenue goes up about 24.4% with this privatization, that means they are taking in an additional $634,400.

So, it looks like the citizens are paying an additional ~$134,000/year to privatize the system. (This does assume that most of the revenues are coming from local citizens, and not tourists, but if you live in an area where most of the meters are used by local citizens, they are STILL paying for it.) Whether they are paying "taxes" or "fines" doesn't really matter, the point is they are still paying for it.

What Newport Beach DID lose were some of the few decent-paying jobs with benefits for local citizens. Tell me...how did the citizens of Newport Beach fare in this deal?

Revenue numbers are line item# 5212 from here:

http://www.newportbeachca.gov/Modules/Sh...

..........

As far as the other cities being "successful" in their attempts to privatize, not sure about the other cities (not enough time to research right now), but this was a HUGE deal in Chicago, fraught with all sorts of fraud and abuse. Needless to say, the citizens of Chicago absolutely did NOT benefit from the privatization. Based on the fact that they are calling Chicago's privatization debacle a "success" makes the rest of their claims dubious, IMHO.

"For $1.15 billion, paid upfront, the City Council approved a plan championed by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2008 that privatized Chicago’s 36,000 meters for 75 years. In a deal that was widely criticized for selling taxpayers short, Chicago Parking Meters was given the right to keep all meter revenues until 2084. Drivers have since seen sharp increases in parking rates under the deal.

After leaving office a year ago, Daley, along with his former corporation counsel and two top press aides, went to work for Katten Muchin Rosenmann LLP, the law firm that handled the parking meter deal for the city.

Since the meter deal took effect, city officials have paid the parking meter company more than $2 million in what they call “true-up adjustments” to make up for parking spaces taken out of service.

The amount billed for those adjustments skyrocketed in the first nine months of the 2011 budget year, to $14 million — a sum Emanuel is refusing to pay. The company hasn’t submitted its claim for the last three months of the year yet."

http://www.suntimes.com/news/watchdogs/1...

More:

"Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Chicago drivers will pay a Morgan Stanley-led partnership at least $11.6 billion to park at city meters over the next 75 years, 10 times what Mayor Richard Daley got when he leased the system to investors in 2008.

Morgan Stanley, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Allianz Capital Partners may earn a profit of $9.58 billion before interest, taxes and depreciation, according to documents for a $500 million private note sale by their Chicago Parking Meters LLC venture. That is equivalent to 80 cents per dollar of projected revenue. Standard Parking Corp., which runs 30,000 spaces at the city’s O’Hare and Midway airports, earned 4.84 cents on that basis last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The deal illustrates how Wall Street banks, recipients of more than $300 billion in taxpayer bailouts in the worst credit collapse since the Great Depression, are profiting from helping states and cities close record recession-induced deficits by selling bonds and leasing public properties. Chicago gave up billions of dollars in revenue when it announced in 2008 that it leased Morgan Stanley its 36,000 parking meters, the third- largest U.S. system, for $1.15 billion to balance its budget, said Alderman Scott Waguespack."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-09/morgan-stanley-group-s-11-billion-from-chicago-meters-makes-taxpayers-cry.html[/quote]

http://piggington.com/dang_those_overpai...

Submitted by CA renter on August 5, 2013 - 1:43am.

Here's a write-up that spells out why privatization isn't the panacea many think it is.

Again, the information is out there, but you have to be willing to do your own research and study the facts in order to truly inform yourself. Repeating the propaganda fed to you by the privatization movement (or, God forbid, the fiction from Ayn Rand) does not count.

http://www.corporations.org/privatizatio...

Submitted by CA renter on August 5, 2013 - 3:26am.

And let's see what's been happening in the pit of the "pension crisis," shall we?

...

"Three years ago CalPERS also was hit by a pay-to-play investment scandal. A CalPERS probe found that a former board member, Al Villalobos, received $50 million in “placement fees” from private equity firms for helping them get CalPERS investments."

"...A board report last week showed that CalPERS is paying $1.2 billion a year in fees to outside money managers, $19.2 million for consultants and $29.5 million for CalPERS investment staff."

[Mind you, the bulk of CalPERS investments are managed in-house, by boring, salaried govt workers...for a MUCH, MUCH lower cost. -CAR]

"...Board member Richard Costigan, who also serves on the State Personnel Board, said the personnel board hears cases about “contracting out” state work to the private sector, but not on the scale of the $1.2 billion CalPERS fees to outside manager."

http://calpensions.com/2012/03/19/calper...
---------------

"CalPERS already manages more than 93% of its $110.1 billion in fixed income and 83% of its $114.5 billion in public equities in-house. With internal passive management generally outperforming external active management over the past five years, said board member J.J. Jelincic, “it doesn't make any sense to continue paying fees for underperformance.”

CalPERS data back up Mr. Jelincic's point. CalPERS' nine internally managed domestic equity strategies, seven passive and two active, with a total of $43.7 billion in assets, outperformed the five external domestic traditional equity managers — Boston Co. Asset Management LLC, First Quadrant LP, J.P. Morgan Asset Management (JPM), Pzena Investment Management and T. Rowe Price Group Inc., managing an aggregate $3 billion in assets — for the one, three and five years ended Dec. 31.

For the year, the combined CalPERS portfolios returned 0.66% vs. -1.18% for the five managers. For the three years, the CalPERS portfolio showed a gain of 15.17%, while the managers returned 13.32%. For the five years, CalPERS had 0.34% compared with -1.71% for the managers. Multiyear returns are compound annualized."

http://www.pionline.com/article/20120430...

------------------------

Mind you, CalPERS used to manage almost everything in-house and had tight restrictions WRT what they could invest in -- almost exclusively Treasuries with some smaller allocations to very highly-rated municipal and corporate debt. Wall Street lobbied hard both to change their allocations to riskier investments (those lovely "innovations" created by Wall Street, included), and then lobbied to have outside managers and consultants at the public pension funds. If not for those changes -- the PRIVATIZATION movement at work -- the "pension crisis" would be much less significant than it is today, if it were to exist at all.

So...how's that "privatization" thing working for you?

Submitted by spdrun on August 5, 2013 - 7:47am.

If the US is so vulgar, why are you here? I guess you must enjoy it.

Because I have family and some friends here, also live in NY City which has little in common with the rest of the US. Given another few years, unlikely that I'll be spending more than 50% of my time here.

Also, I'm not in the economic position of the average American, but at the same time I have empathy. If I were in the position that the average American is in, I'd likely be in jail a long time ago for popping my boss in the nose.

And yes, I'm pretty content in working 25-30 hours per week avg, sometimes taking a month off, as a well-paid freelancer, sitting on some profitable rental property and not being as productive as I could be nor working to my potential. I wasn't born smart to spend the rest of my life working like a dog, but rather follow the adage "work smarter, not harder."

Submitted by livinincali on August 5, 2013 - 8:25am.

CA renter wrote:

Mind you, CalPERS used to manage almost everything in-house and had tight restrictions WRT what they could invest in -- almost exclusively Treasuries with some smaller allocations to very highly-rated municipal and corporate debt. Wall Street lobbied hard both to change their allocations to riskier investments (those lovely "innovations" created by Wall Street, included), and then lobbied to have outside managers and consultants at the public pension funds. If not for those changes -- the PRIVATIZATION movement at work -- the "pension crisis" would be much less significant than it is today, if it were to exist at all.

So...how's that "privatization" thing working for you?

Well it would be really tough to assume a 7.5% rate of return if you had to put most of you assets into treasuries and highly rated debt. Most of that is paying somewhere between 2 and 4% now and has been for awhile. If you have to assume 3-5% rates of return you're screwed anyways.

Submitted by The-Shoveler on August 5, 2013 - 10:56am.

CA renter wrote:
The-Shoveler wrote:
It's very simple really,

When the City files BK, it does so in Federal court.

If the Federal court over rules the State Law saying that “public employee pensions cannot be diminished or impaired"

Well I guess that's where the real battle begins.

Interesting times.

Employee compensation (including pensions), are priority claims. The only question is how they will determine the limits of the priority claims for a municipal BK, as opposed to limits for a business BK. Bondholders do not have priority claims.

Thing is who will want to buy Muni-bonds in the future ?

There is going to have to be much high interest to get people to buy Muni's in the future especially if they take the whole hit me thinks.

I think this is where Stockton's case is still interesting.

Buffett recently got out of the Muni-bond insurance biz by the way.

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