Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Monday, February 06, 2006

Clinton's Dirty Little Secret

The Clinton administration gets credit for balancing the budget, welfare reform and the 1990's economic boom. They don't take credit for the recession they handed off to the new Bush administration. Nor do the Clintonian's give credit to the Newt Gingrich house for developing and shoving much needed welfare reform down Mr. Clinton's throat.
In addition, no one wishes to discuss the 300,000 lost government jobs, which claimed 280,000 from the military. Or the military cost reductions, which placed many military families on food stamps. The technology boom had nothing to do with Clinton economic policy and everything to do with formidable entrepreneurs.
Ronald Reagan took care of Patco, the air traffic controllers union who refused to monitor air traffic by Presidential order. Mr. Reagan fired them. Not to worry, along came the free spending Democrats and Bill Clinton, the folks who were going to "reinvent" government.
What the Clinton administration did was reinvent the air traffic controllers union in the name of Natca. They also reinvented the union in 1996 choosing to reward labor for its election support with legislation that gave Natca the right to bargain over its wages and benefits. This was a remarkable grant of power; most federal unions have their pay set by the government. Natca quickly used its new power to take the Clinton FAA to the cleaners with a 1998 contract that broke new records for taxpayer-funded largesse according to reports in The Wall Street Journal.
The report states controller compensation through 2005 increased by 75%, and today averages $166,000. The top 100 FAA controllers earn $197,000 a year, making them better paid than cabinet secretaries (and $35,000 a year richer than FAA Administrator Marion Blakey). These wage increases are double the rate of private industry, airline pilots and other FAA employees. They have also cost taxpayers an additional $1.86 billion since 1998.
The union is demanding an even larger contract that would result in a further $2.6 billion payout, not to mention a shorter work day. The FAA budget is supported directly from the airlines who are filing for bankruptcy protection or closing their doors altogether. Natca's taxpayer-financed member dues are going toward lobbying Congress to produce a new contract, which further milks taxpayers.
To be fair it's not just the Democrat's who support Natca. The firm of former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie was hired to "work" GOP Members to the union's side. Twenty-five House Transportation Committee Republicans have received campaign donations from Natca in recent election cycles. Senate Democrats led by Barack Obama of Illinois last week introduced legislation that would not only require the FAA to jump through all sorts of new mediation hoops with the union, it would eliminate the FAA's right to impose a contract after 60 days of Congressional inaction.
This is an immediate opportunity for new House leader Republican Representative John Boehmer to get his feet wet and stop the bleeding in the name of congressional spending reform.

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