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Conservatives happy lib cartoonist sides with them

I’m finding it interesting that conservatives in Wisconsin are happy that Wisconsin State Journal editorial cartoonist Phil Hands (a self described progressive) has taken their side on state budget issues.

I can only assume that Phil is being honest about what he feels is best for the state regardless of the party in power.

The caricatures of those on the left are too funny.

Community Comments

#1 Paul Fell
February/21/2011
@ 12:40 pm

So what does this cartoon have to do with the main issue behind the demonstrations in Madison… namely the Governor’s desire to eliminate state employees’ right to engage in meaningful collective bargaining?

#2 Tom Pappalardo
February/21/2011
@ 1:12 pm

I’m more offended by the implication that electric motors can’t match the rpm or torque of an internal combustion engine.

#3 Rob Cottingham
February/21/2011
@ 1:13 pm

I don’t take this as siding with the Republicans – I take it as finding humor in the whole situation.

You can poke friendly fun at allies, no?

#4 Rob Cottingham
February/21/2011
@ 2:09 pm

…Annnnnd having seen the rest of the cartoons on his site, I’ll take that all back. Wow.

#5 John Cole
February/21/2011
@ 2:57 pm

Sometimes honesty and principle trump ideology.Good for Phil.

#6 Mike Lester
February/21/2011
@ 3:23 pm

They’re trying to pay Wisconsin teachers avg. salary incl. benefits, $89K from Wisconsin taxpayers whose avg. salary is $55K. I applaud Phil but it’s hard to see what other conclusion he could draw?

#7 Mike Peterson
February/21/2011
@ 4:38 pm

Mike — The “average salary” is also figured with benefits included? No, I didn’t think so … cost of employment is not the same as salary paid. My father was a labor negotiator for a major school board and had to explain this time and time again. Adding X to salary adds X+Y to cost of employing that person.

I’m not suggesting that you are being dishonest. Not only am I the son of a labor negotiator, but I covered the business beat as a reporter for several years. However, whoever is feeding you this information probably knows that and is simply spinning the truth. You should assume that they are lying to you about other things as well.

#8 Clay Jones
February/21/2011
@ 7:21 pm

Mike makes it sound like they’re trying to give the teachers a raise. No, Mike…and you already know this but you’re partisan…in regards to salary, they’re trying to make them pay more into benefits and the unions and teachers aren’t fighting that. They’re trying to take away their collective bargaining rights. The GOP won’t negotiate at all and if this was about the budget, they’d negotiate.
The GOP just gave a huge tax break to businesses that pretty much equals what they want teachers to pay into their benefits. So if it’s a budget shortfall then the GOP created that.

Do you want to compare the average salary of teachers vs. the average worker? Do you want to compare level of education for those jobs?

Phil, good cartoon. The other conclusion would have been the right conclusion.

#9 Phil Hands
February/21/2011
@ 11:27 pm

To respond the conservatives who seem to think that I have been converted, I’ve never considered myself a liberal cartoonist.
Like I said in my blog post I have some progressive values, most them on social issues. But as readers in Madison know, I’m often pretty conservative on matters of the pocketbook, and I have no love of unions.
I guess that would make me a moderate, but in Madison that makes me a conservative, and since I’m from Madison, the rest of the world assumes I’m a liberal.

#10 Dave Stephens
February/21/2011
@ 11:45 pm

When I was south of there at Beloit College, we called it, “Mad City, Wisconsin.” Nice to see the madness is as potent as it ever was, and those rampaging liberals really should understand that elections have consequences…

#11 John Auchter
February/22/2011
@ 6:19 am

Re: #9
Phil, that was way too thoughtful and nuanced. Please just pick a side — you’re confusing everybody.

#12 Edward Trunks
February/22/2011
@ 8:23 am

Re #9

I appreciate the idea that people can be a little bit of everything instead of being “blanket black or white”. But I really don’t see how the punchline of driving a hybrid car has anything to do with busting unions. Would the joke be as funny (or as topical) if we saw the “conservatives” chasing them in smoke belching monster trucks or Hummers, since that is what is kind of being implied here.

#13 Paul Fell
February/22/2011
@ 9:02 am

Folks who badmouth those awful unions lose sight of the fact that little things like the 40-hour work week, retirement and health benefits, safer working conditions, and child labor laws, were all the result of collective bargaining, not the kindness and generosity of CEOs.

These days, though, a lot of workers who do not have any kind of representation are seeing those kind of worker-friendly things, go by the wayside.

Instead of griping about how the public employees might have a better pay and benefits package than you do, you should be questioning why you are getting screwed.

#14 Jeff Pert
February/22/2011
@ 9:23 am

Paul @ #13: Well said!

#15 P. Henry Saddleburr
February/22/2011
@ 10:48 am

I don’t disagree that unions served a purpose at one time, but they have outlived their usefulness and are now little more than a fund raising apparatus for a single party.

Union membership is mandatory.

The Governor is offering to give the teachers $1000 to help pay for their increased expenses for retirement and health care, BUT, he is also trying to make union membership and consequently union dues, OPTIONAL.

That’s why Big Labor is terrified, as many who are forced to pay but disagree with how their money is being used will defund their political operations.

That’s what this whole battle is about.

And Mr. Fell, the benefits you describe were part of the Wisconsin Civil Service code long before Government Employee Unions were created, and will still be in place after collective bargaining is abolished.

#16 P. Henry Saddleburr
February/22/2011
@ 10:52 am

Oh and Phil,

I never thought you converted. I just wanted to point out that not all moderate to left leaning people are on board with the Unions.

You’re thought provoking cartoonage, along with your editorials have been very clear about that.

#17 Mike Lester
February/22/2011
@ 10:57 am

“I will worry about the children when they can vote in union elections.” Albert Shanker president of the American Federation of Teachers from 1964 to 1984. Nothings changed except there’s more Hitler signs.

#18 Paul Fell
February/22/2011
@ 11:07 am

As the influence of the unions has declined over the generations, we’ve all become better off, haven’t we?

Jobs outsourced overseas.
No due process.
Forced overtime.
Arbitrary work schedules.
Worker pay cuts to go with obscene mgmt. salaries.
Record unemployment.

Ah, yes… it’s a veritable worker’s paradise.

Please Sir, may I have another…?

#19 P. Henry Saddleburr
February/22/2011
@ 11:18 am

Did you ever stop to think that outsourcing might be done to get away from confiscatory taxation, burdensome regulation and unionization? Nothing forces an employer to hire in this country, but if a company’s cost of production makes it uncompetitive with others businesses in the same sector either that company goes out of business or adopts another strategy.

Jobs are not social programs, meaning employers don’t hire because a person needs a job. They hire because they need someone to perform a service that the company needs.

As for management salaries, many of us have taken pay cuts, had our 401k’s dropped, health insurance costs rise, AND have provided increases for non-management at the same time.

It’s called survival.

If I am unhappy with my work conditions then I am free to look for a better job.

#20 Clay Jones
February/22/2011
@ 12:36 pm

“The Governor is offering to give the teachers $1000 to help pay for their increased expenses for retirement and health care”

Really?

#21 John Cole
February/22/2011
@ 12:43 pm

@Mike: This is why the union representing a local school district is threatening to strike a month from now, in the middle of of the statewide scholastic assessment tests.

Because, y’know, it’s all about the kids.

#22 Paul Fell
February/22/2011
@ 1:12 pm

Speaking as a former high school art teacher I can tell you that you can only dump on the educators for so long while bleating that “it’s about the kids” crap.

It’s just like the schoolyard bully who is so shocked and surprised when the skinny little kid he picked on for so long suddenly jumps up, grabs a stick an beats the hell out him.

The public expects teachers to be altruistic and professional at all times and then treats them like they’re migrant laborers.

#23 Steve Skelton
February/22/2011
@ 1:14 pm

Corporations have every right to export jobs for cheaper labor overseas. The irony, of course, is that with less jobs you have less tax revenue and less people in a position to purchase your goods or services as they have no job. Painfully, we are learning that the trickle down theory of economics is actually trickle up.

I think the revenue from taxes was down 18% last year at the federal level. Less taxes means more of this.

#24 John Cole
February/22/2011
@ 1:28 pm

Paul: Many of these unions Do. Not. Give. A. D@mn. about students when contract time comes. The kids simply become pawns in the negotiating process. That is a fact.

After years of giveaways by a cowed and greedy legislature, being a pub. school teacher in PA is one sweet gig. Good pay scale and the kind of retirement guarantees of which we private-sector grunts can only dream. Plus you can retire in your early 50s! All for working 9.5 months a year.

TDC isn’t really the forum for a debate like this, but I just want to say that the choice here isn’t about starving teachers. It’s about bringing public compensation and (especially) pensions in line with the private sector (i.e. the taxpayers).

Right now, PA is looking at a huge pension crunch. The new GOP guv is a level-headed guy (at least more so that his WI peer) and likely won’t resort to union-busting. But there’ll probably be a rumble.

#25 Paul Fell
February/22/2011
@ 2:43 pm

John, old friend… hopefully you haven’t forgotten that all of the benefits that teachers and other public employees have received over the years have been the result of negotiations with school boards. A lot of people make it sound like these guys STOLE what they have.

Go talk to some teachers. Sure, they want the most they can get… just like every other worker with a family to feed. Why should they be held to a different standard? When I got my teaching certificate (license) it didn’t say that I was non-profit.

I don’t know about PA educators, but Nebraska teachers can also retire when they’re in their 50’s. They contribute quite a bit to their pensions and after you have put up with the crap that today’s teachers endure, I figure you’re entitled to retire when you’re in your 50’s.

Finally, as to the age-old gripe about teachers only working 9.5 months of the year and getting paid for 12 months… that is patent hogwash. Schools are closed over the summer. Teachers are, in effect, laid off over the summer. Most of them, though, are smart enough to get their pay set up over a 12-month period.

Finally, what other professional with that kind of education and responsibilities are paid at that level and expected to catch so much crap from the general public. And we wonder why fewer and fewer of our college students consider a career in education… If everyone thinks teaching is such a sweet gig, then they should go apply for one of those plum positions.

#26 Mike Lester
February/22/2011
@ 2:54 pm

Paul, w/all due respect, what’s a “pension”?

JC’s right, we’re not talking cartooning anymore. Mr. Hands is a liberal cartoonist and simply left the reservation when it comes to this issue. So what? Phil, if it makes you feel any better, I think we need to get out of Afghanistan. And btw I thought the Prius line was a nice rimshot.

#27 Scott Metzger
February/22/2011
@ 3:12 pm

Paul Fell: My wife is a 5th grade teacher. Your comments in this thread (especially #25) are right on the money. Thank you.

#28 Dave Stephens
February/22/2011
@ 4:40 pm

Teachers are cool. Hurray for teachers! However, I notice no one is cheering for their administrators…

Don’t those stalwart administrators, also, keep the schools running and don’t they, also, deserve their salaries that are, what, double, triple, quadruple, octuple the salaries of the teachers they manage? Can I get a HUZZAH! for management? Anyone?

(crickets)

#29 Paul Fell
February/22/2011
@ 8:12 pm

In the little-bitty K-12 school district in Nebraska that my wife attended, and which graduates about 20-24 kids a year, the superintendent makes right at $150K.

And the school board agonizes every year over whether to raise the teacher beginning pay another $100. Go figure.

#30 Paul Fell
February/22/2011
@ 8:13 pm

I think we’ve probably whipped this old horse enough for one day.

#31 Dave Stephens
February/22/2011
@ 8:38 pm

See – the superintendent helps graduate 240 kids into productive adults every 10 years – and it only costs 1.5 million dollars! What a bargain! Huzzah!

#32 Mike Peterson
February/23/2011
@ 4:46 am

#6 — Found some reliable figures for comparison. The average teacher in Wisconsin makes $52,000, slightly less than the average salary you cite for Wisconsonites overall.

Using federal averages, your $55,000 private sector employee would have a benefits package that costs $16,170, bringing the total cost of employment to $71,170.

I’ve seen two or three estimates for the salary + benefits cost of a teacher — they are apparently coming from individual districts where salaries vary widely. However, it’s clear that their packages cost more than 29.4% of salary. But at least let’s start with an honest comparison, even if it’s not a completely accurate one.

#33 Pete Murphey
February/23/2011
@ 7:49 am

What I want to know is who represents the tax payer in the collective bargaining process?

#34 Mike Lester
February/23/2011
@ 9:12 am

#32: $71,170.00. There are 33 posts on this (admittedly off cartoon topic) so far. While their taxes pay teachers that salary, how many make it themselves? And why does Tom Cruise make $20million / movie, Ben Rothlisrapist make $8million / season and Charles Rangel isn’t in jail?

I’m a cartoonist -not an economist and stipulate Mr. Peterson’s figures. But what’s lost here (in the “civil” rhetoric of the hitler poster crowd that wants to shoot a sitting governor) is that there’s a difference between public/government unions vs. private sector unions. fyi:

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/260359/public-unions-must-go-jonah-goldberg

#35 Jason Dodge
February/23/2011
@ 9:33 am

Good comparison Mike, though you should probably not take the average salary of most Wisconsinites, but the average salary of Wisconsinites with a similar education background.
My fiance is a teacher with a Masters in education, she makes less than the average salary you quoted. However if I was to compare her salary to a factory worker with a H.S. education I would hope her average earnings would be a little higher. But for the sake of argument lets say she makes exactly that salary.

In an “honest” comparison you would be comparing the average salary of similarly educated people. 10 years ago the US average salary (not salary and benefits) for some with a BA was $52,000, and for someone with an Masters it was $62,000. This is according to the US Census bureau. 5 years ago it was $60,910.00, and $75,430.00 respectively. Again Salary alone without benefits. I wasn’t able to find 2010/2011 data, but we can assume that it’s a bit higher.

So I guess if we’re talking about bringing teacher salaries in line with the private sector we should be thinking about raises, not cuts.

#36 Jason Dodge
February/23/2011
@ 9:36 am

Oh, and I think the cartoon is pretty good. I don’t think it’s as partisan as others seem to think.

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