It is extremely rare that I agree with any politician’s budget plans. However, Schwarzenegger’s latest proposals make me want to stand up and salute.

Please consider Schwarzenegger’s budget plan puts unions in the cross-hairs.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has put organized labor squarely in his cross-hairs in 2010, opening a fight that will largely determine the shape of his final year in office.

Schwarzenegger’s proposals would cut the size of the union workforce, reduce pay, shrink future pensions and roll back job protections won through collective bargaining.

Labor and the unions’ Democratic allies are already girding for battle.

“It’s a continuing jihad against organized labor,” said Steve Maviglio, a Sacramento-based Democratic strategist. “The governor thinks public employee unions are Enemy No. 1.”

“The public sector also has to take a haircut,” Schwarzenegger said, arguing his policies would save California billions of dollars, now and in the future.

Matt David, Schwarzenegger’s communications director, says the governor’s proposed budget makes hard but necessary choices, given a $20-billion deficit.

Some might consider the Fed is public enemy #1 and public unions #2. Arguably, unions try harder.

Schwarzenegger’s Plans

  • Privatize prisons, which would strip members from the influential guards union;
  • Curtail seniority protections for teachers, a key union-won protection;
  • Reduce the number of sick, disabled and elderly Californians cared for through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services program — almost all union jobs — while cutting what their caregivers are paid.
  • Permanently lower state workforce salaries by 5% without returning to the bargaining table with public-sector unions.
  • Require state workers to chip 5% more into their retirement plans.

Those are all admirable goals except the last point does not go far enough. Defined benefit plans need to end. Period.

Otherwise, Hallelujah!

It’s high time we have a reasonable discussion as to what needs to happen.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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