Do state-regulated monopolies need more power over regulators?

Despite a state law that bars them from making direct campaign contributions, public utilities in Georgia are not exactly voiceless. At the Public Service Commission, at the General Assembly and in the governor’s office, they wield enormous influence and pretty much get whatever they want.

In 2009, for example, when Georgia Power demanded the right to start charging ratepayers for nuclear power plants years before those plants start producing electricity, the company put more than 70 registered lobbyists on its payroll to plead its cause at the General Assembly. Sure enough, despite protests from experts at the PSC and elsewhere who warned it was a bad deal, the company got what it wanted.

As a result, you’re now paying higher electricity rates today for plants that won’t provide you with a kilowatt of electricity until 2017, and if that investment goes sour, you — not the company — will be on the hook to repay it.

The man who sponsored that bill, state Sen. Don Balfour of Gwinnett County, is now back with another bill. If enacted into law, Senate Bill 160 would for the first time in decades allow regulated utilities to make direct political contributions in all state races except for the PSC. (Employees and contractors of regulated utilities already have that right.)

As AJC reporter Margaret Newkirk noted last week:

“In 2010, Georgia Power employees gave $29,315 to state campaigns, records show. The Troutman Sanders law firm, which represents Georgia Power and many other companies, gave $98,500.

In neighboring Alabama, where state law allows utility-led PACs to donate, Alabama Power, Georgia Power’s sister company, gave $877,119 to state campaigns in 2010.”

(For the record, Georgia Power says it is neutral on Balfour’s legislation.)

According to Balfour, current Georgia law barring such donations by regulated utilities is “blatantly unconstitutional” in light of a recent Supreme Court decision that gave corporations more freedom to influence campaigns.

However, Balfour’s claim is itself blatantly incorrect. If our state law were so clearly unconstitutional, it would have been challenged by now and thrown out. Instead, a coalition calling itself “Georgia Fair Speech Coalition” is trying to enact the change legislatively.

There’s a good reason for that. In its controversial Citizens United decision, the U.S. Supreme Court did rule that corporations could not be barred from spending their own money to express their own political opinions through so-called “independent expenditures”. However, the ruling said nothing about campaign finance laws that limit or forbid corporate contributions to political candidates.

More directly, Citizens United did not address the issue of campaign donations by state-regulated monopolies. After all, these are not private corporations subject to the discipline of the marketplace. Their only discipline comes from state officials.

State officials determine how much profit those companies can make; they dictate what those companies can charge their customers. Their customers, in turn, have no legal choice but to pay the rate they are charged. In Georgia Power’s case, for example, its customers are being forced to finance nuclear plants they may never use through a law that was passed by legislators and signed by the governor.

Changing the law to give regulated utilities even more influence over those same elected officials is a terrible idea.

– Jay Bookman

112 comments Add your comment

Hillbilly Deluxe

February 28th, 2011
12:59 pm

Do state-regulated monopolies need more power over regulators?

It’s hard to imagine Georgia Power, aka the Southern Company, having anymore power over the PSC than they already have but I suppose anything is possible. Georgia Power has gotten anything they wanted, as far back as I can remember.

SpaceyG

February 28th, 2011
1:02 pm

Look-up *Balfour* in the dictionary and you’ll find *Georgia Power Boy*.

Fred

February 28th, 2011
1:03 pm

Gotta love our republican dominated state Gov’t……….

Richard

February 28th, 2011
1:04 pm

“As a result, you’re now paying higher electricity rates today for plants that won’t provide you with a kilowatt of electricity until 2017, and if that investment goes sour, you — not the company — will be on the hook to repay it.”

That’s one way to look at it. The other is that Georgia Power could borrow the money needed from a bank and put the consumers on the hook for both the cost of capital and the interest.

Doggone/GA

February 28th, 2011
1:04 pm

“It’s hard to imagine Georgia Power, aka the Southern Company, having anymore power over the PSC than they already”

If you go back and read Jay’s piece again, you’ll see that it’s not REALLY about them having more power…it’s about getting more campaign contributions from them.

Doggone/GA

February 28th, 2011
1:07 pm

“The other is that Georgia Power could borrow the money needed from a bank and put the consumers on the hook for both the cost of capital and the interest

Sure, but if you look at it ANOTHER way…if they borrowed the money, then defaulted WE would have the power plants to create the energy. Some other electricity company would jump at the change to take them over. Under THIS proposal…we’re out the money with no guarantee there will EVER be a power plant.

Fred

February 28th, 2011
1:07 pm

Doggone/GA

February 28th, 2011
1:04 pm

If you go back and read Jay’s piece again, you’ll see that it’s not REALLY about them having more power…it’s about getting more campaign contributions from them.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Republican shake down. It’s getting harder to disguise the bribes……….

Doggone/GA

February 28th, 2011
1:09 pm

“Republican shake down. It’s getting harder to disguise the bribes”

Exactly

@@

February 28th, 2011
1:10 pm

Government’s a monopoly.

Despite a state law that bars them from making direct campaign contributions, public utilities in Georgia are not exactly voiceless. At the Public Service Commission, at the General Assembly and in the governor’s office, they wield enormous influence and pretty much get whatever they want.

Public unions???

As a result, you’re now paying higher electricity rates today for plants that won’t provide you with a kilowatt of electricity until 2017, and if that investment goes sour, you — not the company — will be on the hook to repay it.

Obamacare???

Jay

February 28th, 2011
1:12 pm

Richard and doggone, banks and private investors wouldn’t help pay for it because they recognize it as too risky.

That’s the real reason Ga Power needed that provision: They needed to put US on the hook for financing it, because sophisticated investors knew better than to put billions into that project.

Normal

February 28th, 2011
1:13 pm

Welcome to Georgia, a red white and no blue please state, a wholly owned Subsidiary and Puppet State of Georgia Power…

Doggone/GA

February 28th, 2011
1:16 pm

“Obamacare???”

Nope. The healthcare reform bill does not require you to buy your insurance from just ONE company.

Doggone/GA

February 28th, 2011
1:16 pm

“banks and private investors wouldn’t help pay for it because they recognize it as too risky”

Oh yeah, I know that… I was just responding to the premise.

jm

February 28th, 2011
1:19 pm

“Do state-regulated monopolies need more power over regulators?”

In a word, no.

But our state energy needs reforming, though it will never happen I suppose. Transmission and Distribution should remain highly regulated. Generation should be completely de-regulated and GA Power should have to sell off their plants….

Ie, no more monopoly by Southern Co.

Fred

February 28th, 2011
1:19 pm

While i understand why the politicians want the bribes, I mean contributions and Ga Power wants to fleece us out of more of our money, what I don’t understand is real folks trying to justify either one.

jm

February 28th, 2011
1:20 pm

While we’re contemplating the idea of ending energy monopolies, who’s for ending the labor monopolies (unions)?

memememmemememe

Fred

February 28th, 2011
1:23 pm

Geeze, jm. I live in Georgia. We are a right to work state.

godless heathen

February 28th, 2011
1:24 pm

Enough of this trivial nonsense! I want to know about elephant riding County Commissioners up in Clayton County. The DNR has launched an investigation. Is this a wide spread problem? Thank goodness we have the DNR to protect us from this growing menace.

http://www.ajc.com/news/clayton/dnr-investigating-eldrin-bells-854994.html

Doggone/GA

February 28th, 2011
1:25 pm

“who’s for ending the labor monopolies (unions)?”

Behold the law of unintended consequences:
http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/state-and-regional/article_456cd18c-40a0-11e0-89f3-001cc4c03286.html

TaxPayer

February 28th, 2011
1:27 pm

Don’t fight it, Jay. Give in. SO shares are going for about $38 and they pay a 4.8% dividend. Go with the floe. Ride that gravy train and get a return on your power bill. It’s the globally warming thing to do.

Normal

February 28th, 2011
1:30 pm

@@

February 28th, 2011
1:10 pm

@@,
Ha, ha…only you

Jay

February 28th, 2011
1:31 pm

Yeah, if unions were as terrible and as powerful as jm pretends, union-free Georgia would have a booming economy, instead of an economy trailing the rest of the country pretty badly.

We’d also have a better education system, instead of one that ranks near the bottom of national rankings. But we don’t.

Normal

February 28th, 2011
1:34 pm

Jay

February 28th, 2011
1:31 pm

Well, that’s the Union’s fault too! :)

Mick

February 28th, 2011
1:41 pm

Jay, you were the first I can recall alluding to it but jm seems to have the anti-union gene. By the way, texas also is in the dumper without unions to blame. Another great column by krugman-
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/28/opinion/28krugman.html?hp

godless heathen

February 28th, 2011
1:41 pm

“Yeah, if unions were as terrible and as powerful as jm pretends, union-free Georgia would have a booming economy”

Like Detroit.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

February 28th, 2011
1:42 pm

Good afternoon all. Because there is so much power concentrated in the hands of a few politicians, the corporations perceive a need – for the sake of self-preservation – to attempt to influence the politicians. The best way to eliminate corporate control over elections is to minimize the effect legislators can have over the economy.

Freedom requires only (a) laws to punish (but not “prevent”) co-ordination among nominally-competitive companies, and (b) laws to punish (but not “prevent”) deception in the sale of a product.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

February 28th, 2011
1:44 pm

Dear Jay @ 1:31, do you pretend to tell us that the strongest teacher unions in the country – Chicago, DC, Philadelphia – produce the best students?

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

February 28th, 2011
1:44 pm

Do state-regulated monopolies need more power over regulators?

Any more power, and the monopolies would simply just shove their hands up the rear of our dear legislators and treat them like the hand puppets they already are.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

February 28th, 2011
1:46 pm

Dear jm @ 1:19, good afternoon, did you see the article in the WSJ today on “TerraPower” (Bill Gates’s new company?) May render GA Power irrelevant.

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

February 28th, 2011
1:47 pm

who’s for ending the labor monopolies (unions)?

You’ll find that monopoly grazing in lilly-covered fields right next to wooly mammoths and unicorns.

stands for decibels

February 28th, 2011
1:48 pm

What’s this, Jay? You’re saying corporate money, particularly in the power-gen related industries, has undue influence on the legislative process? Why that’s crazy talk.

TnGelding

February 28th, 2011
1:48 pm

Surely you aren’t suggesting they could be bribed. Hired 70 lobbyists? How many poor people’s bills would that pay for a year? And it came out of our higher rates.

I’m no expert, but even I knew we got a bad deal. If they want us to pay in advance for power we use from our graves they should issue stock or credits to apply to future bills.

Capitol Avenue Cal

February 28th, 2011
1:48 pm

If GA Power wants it, its a done deal. That’s Ga politics.

Common Sense isn't very Common

February 28th, 2011
1:49 pm

Ga. has regulators? who wudda thunk it.

:-)

TnGelding

February 28th, 2011
1:50 pm

I had an idea this morning while watching C-SPAN. Why not send Congress and their elite staffs home instead of shutting down the government?

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

February 28th, 2011
1:51 pm

The best way to eliminate corporate control over elections is to minimize the effect legislators can have over the economy.

Nope, the best way to eliminate corporate control over elections is to minimize the amount of influence ($$$) they contribute to politicians. Complete public financing of elections with NO outside money allowed period!!

StJ

February 28th, 2011
1:52 pm

“The healthcare reform bill does not require you to buy your insurance from just ONE company.”

…yet.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

February 28th, 2011
1:54 pm

Dear Southern @ 1:51, and the corollary to my first maxim is “The best way to stimulate the economy is to minimize the effect legislators can have over the economy.”

Doggone/GA

February 28th, 2011
1:54 pm

“…yet”

Yes. Single-payer would have been better all around, but we don’t have it.

Yet.

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

February 28th, 2011
1:58 pm

Dear Southern @ 1:51, and the corollary to my first maxim is “The best way to stimulate the economy is to minimize the effect legislators can have over the economy.”

I also disagree with that corollary. The best way to stimulate the economy is for businesses to quit acting like f’n pansies and put money into the economy. Our economy relies on the circulation of money. When one group hoards it instead of circulating it, the entire system gets jammed up. That’s exactly what’s going on now.

@@

February 28th, 2011
1:58 pm

Doggone:

The healthcare reform bill does not require you to buy your insurance from just ONE company.

We’re paying for it in advance, and the middle man (government) IS a monopoly. They have the final say regardless of what you WANT to believe.

PPACA appropriates $250 million for grants between 2010 and 2014 to support state review of premium increases. A state that receives a grant is required to make recommendations to the state’s exchange on whether it should exclude a plan that has “a pattern or practice of excessive or unjustified premium increases.”

The exchanges must require plans to provide a justification for “any” premium increase before it is implemented. The exchange must take this into “consideration,” as well as any recommendation from the state concerning patterns of excessive or unjustified increases, in deciding whether the plan can be sold.

Bosch

February 28th, 2011
1:59 pm

Unions as labor monopolies? The world of unicorns and pixie dust that some chose to live in.

And as a proud new owner of a healthy share of Southern Company stock, all I can say is suck it losers. I’m gonna be rich!

Doggone/GA

February 28th, 2011
2:01 pm

“When one group hoards it instead of circulating it, the entire system gets jammed up. That’s exactly what’s going on now.”

Yeah, they got the tax cuts they so “deperately” needed be continued…so where’s that stimulating effect on jobs it was supposed to trigger?

booger

February 28th, 2011
2:01 pm

Some really hard hitting stuff Jay. The Middle East is spinning out of control, the country is broke, and still spending like a drunken sailor, gas prices threaten to stimy a fragile economic recovery, and our topics for today are: Who is going to win the presidency in 2012, and utilities regulation.

Hard hitting stuff!

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

February 28th, 2011
2:02 pm

Well, me and the missus was talking just yesterday about maybe riding down and seeing that nucluler power plant we’re paying for and own. I figure in another 4 or 5 years we’ll own a knob or a switch or maybe just a chunk of concrete, what with the extra we’re paying in the power bill. And that plant will go up fast because it’s being paid for by Private Innerprize—you and me. It won’t be no guvmint boondoggle.

But if it’s all the same to you I’ll keep my hand out of the rear end of any of these legislaters. It’s hard to tell what they’ve eat and digested. Just tell them to make sure GA Power keeps sending the bills on time and we’ll keep building up our investment.

Oh, and where’s my stocks? When do they start sending them to us?

Doggone/GA

February 28th, 2011
2:02 pm

“We’re paying for it in advance, and the middle man (government) IS a monopoly”

The government is NOT the “middleman” – the money you will pay (if you have to pay) does NOT go to the government first, it’s goes directly to the insurance company.

Try again, but use a better premise the next time.

Citizen of the World

February 28th, 2011
2:11 pm

On his website, Balfour touts himself as a champion of ethics in government, yet he has introduced a bill to give Georgia Power even more sway over the legislative decision-making process? Seems hypocritical to me. If anything, he should be introducing legislation to lesson the impact of monied interests.

Bosch

February 28th, 2011
2:11 pm

Jay,

Oh, and to answer your headline question: Yes, I have champagne tastes, you know. :-)

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

February 28th, 2011
2:12 pm

Yeah, they got the tax cuts they so “deperately” needed be continued…so where’s that stimulating effect on jobs it was supposed to trigger?

The stimulating has been going on already. The Enquirer was talking about Boehner’s stimulation last week.

AmVet

February 28th, 2011
2:14 pm

When did the Republican Party become the Corporate Wh*re Party?

GAPower = GOPower.

They sell off the people’s sovereignty for a few pieces of dirty silver.

And not only are they not ashamed of their cowardice, they are perversely proud of implementing a corporatocracy…

Doggone/GA

February 28th, 2011
2:14 pm

“The Enquirer was talking about Boehner’s stimulation last week.”

You’re so bad!

Bosch

February 28th, 2011
2:16 pm

“The Enquirer was talking about Boehner’s stimulation last week.”

Sigh.

[flips phone open....dialing.....]

Hello, Mr. Therapist? Yeah, it’s me, Bosch. Yeah, I need to come right over. Thanks.

Fred

February 28th, 2011
2:27 pm

Just damn Southern man, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry……….

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

February 28th, 2011
2:27 pm

LOL!!!! I think it’s some story that the NYTimes is working on… Guess I could have phrased that somewhat better.

@@

February 28th, 2011
2:31 pm

Doggone:

The government is NOT the “middleman”

Where did the grant money come from? Who passed it on and to what end?

buck@gon

February 28th, 2011
2:31 pm

Do state-regulated monopolies need more power over regulators?

Good question. One can only suppose that in the case of public sector employee unions and government unions that, in many cases, have singular authority to be THE source for state employment and to mandate that working members join, pay dues and watch those dues go to Democrat office holders (primarily), the answer to the Washington-Man-Jay-and-Civil-Cynthia crowd must surely be “there’s nothing to see here,” or who cares? The answer for the rest of us has been obvious over the past few weeks: they have too much power already.

Doggone/GA

February 28th, 2011
2:34 pm

“Where did the grant money come from? Who passed it on and to what end?”

The grant money does not make the government the middleman for ALL of the healthcare reform.

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

February 28th, 2011
2:36 pm

One can only suppose that in the case of public sector employee unions and government unions that, in many cases, have singular authority to be THE source for state employment and to mandate that working members join, pay dues and watch those dues go to Democrat office holders

Oh Geezzzzzzzz!!!!!!!!

If you want to work for the state, the unions have no say so in who gets hired. You can’t join a public sector union until after you get hired. Some states do their own hiring, and some may contract that out to private contractors. Damn, some of y’all make unions seem like they could part the Red Sea or something.

A union is no different than the Chamber of Commerce. I have yet to see a conservative get their panties in a bunch over the influence that the Chamber has over elected officials.

AmVet

February 28th, 2011
2:37 pm

I maybe mistaken, but I don’t think you’ll find one con who has denounced this move by the Gwinnetian sycophant.

They don’t mind getting screwed over. They don’t even mind when their kids and grnadkids get screwed over.

Just as long as it is a corporation, they are fine with it…

@@

February 28th, 2011
2:39 pm

Doggone:

Answer tthree questions.

Did our money pass thru the federal government’s hands?

Was it passed on to the states?

Do they, feds & state, hold the key that will lock or unlock the door to carriers?

Hillbilly Deluxe

February 28th, 2011
2:39 pm

A union is no different than the Chamber of Commerce. I have yet to see a conservative get their panties in a bunch over the influence that the Chamber has over elected officials.

There is a slight difference. In my county, the Chamber of Commerce gets funding from the local hotel/motel tax. I haven’t heard them complaining about that government intrusion, though.

Doggone/GA

February 28th, 2011
2:40 pm

“A union is no different than the Chamber of Commerce”

and, actually, even the government is something like a union. We could, I suppose, bargain for ourselves for things like road construction, fire services, courts, police services, etc. – but, instead, we pay our taxes to the government to do that bargaining for us.

LeeH1

February 28th, 2011
2:42 pm

Dammit, who’s side are you on? Are you for the average citizen, or for the rich elites who have come into power and want to wage war on the little guy.

Talk about stacking the deck against the citizens! Geez, if this was anymore blatent you could sell tickets for public hangings of the average joes while the Republican elites and their paymasters charge high ticket prices for you to see the other citizens hanged in public! What we need to do is bring out a guillotine and start chopping at some rich folks!

AmVet

February 28th, 2011
2:42 pm

On this date in 1854, the Republican Party was organized, in Ripon, Wisconsin.

It should have been Ripoff, Wisconsin. (grin)

Doggone/GA

February 28th, 2011
2:46 pm

“It should have been Ripoff”

Why am I suddently reminded of Bernie Madoff? ;-)

George W

February 28th, 2011
2:46 pm

AmVet……dude your comments are so comical…Keep up the good work. haha

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

February 28th, 2011
2:46 pm

HD

And they still wield the same influence over GOP legislators as unions have over Dems. There’s no difference in the money influence game.

Hillbilly Deluxe

February 28th, 2011
2:51 pm

SoCo

My view of the Chamber of Commerce is that they are a publicly funded private club.

@@

February 28th, 2011
2:51 pm

JAY!!!!

LeeH1 is promoting violence!!!!! Where’s the civility your team was hoping for????

What we need to do is bring out a guillotine and start chopping at some rich folks!

AmVet

February 28th, 2011
2:52 pm

Clap off, clap on, Ripoff, Ripon…

Notwithstanding their beneficent beginnings, the once Grand Old Party sure has imploded over the past three decades, hasn’t it?

What a tragedy for this nation…

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

February 28th, 2011
2:53 pm

LOL @ HD!!!!!!

TaxPayer

February 28th, 2011
2:54 pm

Darned unions. If it were not for them, we would not have de-regulated peanut butter killing folks or sugar refineries burning up employees or doctors getting sued for malpractice over a little ole miscarriage or PCBs getting dumped in Huntsville, Alabama or toxic coal ash getting spilled in Tennessee or mercury in our fish or, aww, frack it, so what if your water burns.

@@

February 28th, 2011
3:03 pm

Well, liberal blogger, Ezra Klein has abandoned health care in favor of early childhood education.

Health care doesn’t keep people healthy — even in Canada

Sorta…

Jack

February 28th, 2011
3:09 pm

I’ll take this country with all its faults over any other country with problems like Libya. Or Iran. Or….

Dot

February 28th, 2011
3:11 pm

Georgia Power, with the emphasis on POWER, rather than Georgia, definitely needs regulating. Or better stated, the taxpayers/consumers need a stronger advocate than the Public Service Commission.
We have layer after layer of beauracracy and still no one represents the consumer. We need a facsimilie of an Elizabeth Warren for Georgia.
Don Balfour is another subject. He has ethical problems of his own. In the 2010 primary, he had opponents; I believe he won without a runoff, then soundly defeated his Democratic opponent. It must have been “about the tainted money”.

buck@gon

February 28th, 2011
3:12 pm

“In its controversial Citizens United decision, the U.S. Supreme Court did rule that corporations could not be barred from spending their own money to express their own political opinions through so-called “independent expenditures”. However, the ruling said nothing about campaign finance laws that limit or forbid corporate contributions to political candidates.”

From NY Times Jan 21, 2010

“Overruling two important precedents about the First Amendment rights of corporations, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

The 5-to-4 decision was a vindication, the majority said, of the First Amendment’s most basic free speech principle — that the government has no business regulating political speech. The dissenters said that allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace would corrupt democracy. ”

Jay,

Seems like you’re wrong again, and it’s your journalistic/editorialist masters that are calling you out–not me. You need to base your columns and blogs on a solid foundation; then you will see more success in your arguments.

Again, you struggle: “State officials determine how much profit those companies can make; they dictate what those companies can charge their customers. Their customers, in turn, have no legal choice but to pay the rate they are charged. In Georgia Power’s case, for example, its customers are being forced to finance nuclear plants they may never use through a law that was passed by legislators and signed by the governor.”

Good, we are in itinerant agreement then. Let’s take that last sentence and doctor it up a bit: In Congress’ case, for example, its electorate are being forced to finance mandatory retirement, prescription drugs, healthcare for others with the promise of future benefits they may never use through laws that werepassed by Congress and signed by the President.”

The difference between our points of view then is this. In the case of Georgia Power, there exists a public service comission. There is no such restriction on Congress nor the Legislature. As we can see from recent events, there really seems to be no restriction on how lawful legislation can be blocked by those with radical views based on “lunatic” fringe views (to borrow a phrase from your Civil Boss). Witness AmVet:
“When did the Republican Party become the Corporate Wh*re Party?

GAPower = GOPower.

They sell off the people’s sovereignty for a few pieces of dirty silver.

And not only are they not ashamed of their cowardice, they are perversely proud of implementing a corporatocracy…”

Good heavens! Whom do the unions employ? Whose publilc interest do they serve? Do we all benefit because they sell us power at a reasonable cost? Do they keep the lights on?

It is unthinkable that Congress could say, prostitute itself to anyone because why? Because of AmVet’s vanity and delusion that he has a say in the matter greater than how he designs his life and decides where and how to buy his energy. Indeed, the record clearly shows that loss of “sovereignty” and “lunacy” to be well connected–on the LEFT. What indeed, would it take for the highly paid monopolistic union goons in Wisconsin to take for their own to “allow” their Democrat slaves in the legislature to drop their Illinois TV remotes and go back to the people’s business? –a few pieces of silver? No, it would be unending free benefits and nascent political power at the cost of all the people “negotiated” in bad faith AFTER the supposedly “democratic” action of an election, from which all spending decisions are supposed to take their origin.

The difference is that in the democracy in which unions like to live and move, they always have the option to coerce THEIR legislatures with threats, bribes and payoffs.

While I don’t see this happening to the extent that it obviously does with unions–especially monopolistic ones, like they have in Wisconsin, I’m marginally against this legislation.

Dusty

February 28th, 2011
3:13 pm

Taxpayer is on a rant… Unions saved us from killer frosts, locust attacks and murderous fire ants. In fact, We couldn’t LIVE without unions. Right Taxpayer? We get the message. Jimmy Hoffa gets the message. Give me unions AND give me ….protests, disappearances, your money and more power than a governor. .That’s what they mean by “state of the union”. Unions plan to run the state. Ask Wisconsin.

George W

February 28th, 2011
3:17 pm

Dusty….I ask anyone who favors unions. If you started your own business would you want your employees to form a union?

Dusty

February 28th, 2011
3:18 pm

Jack @ 3:09

Thanks for remembering. You are right. We should be celebrating our privilege to be an American.

jm

February 28th, 2011
3:19 pm

Jay 1:31 – maybe we rank near the bottom for some other reasons, other than just having a non-union state. I didn’t say ending unions was a panacea. Just a partial solution.

As for Georgia (not WI, OH, etc.), we need a variety of other solutions (obviously). Like better pay for performance, a mix of more charters and (restricted) vouchers, along with recruiting top notch teachers and not compensating just based on seniority, providing financial incentives to make sure their kids perform well in school (see article below – which I don’t 100% agree with but I think its interesting)….. blah blah blah…. all been said before

http://noir.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aUhhK7P71tok

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

February 28th, 2011
3:21 pm

Whom do the unions employ?

Unions don’t employ anyone. People employed in specific trades or industries can petition to join a union, but only if they meet the qualifications. Maybe if unions did employ people, we wouldn’t have 10% unemployment as we speak.

Dusty

February 28th, 2011
3:21 pm

George W,

If I had a business. my employees would not want a union. They would be happy being treated fairly. I believe the day for needing unions is long gone.

jm

February 28th, 2011
3:22 pm

Republicans say Democratic efforts to preserve spending and resist cuts play into their hands on policy and politics.

“Central to our strategy has been the recognition that the fall elections were tied to jobs and the Democrats’ over-reach on spending,” said a senior aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). “People outside the Beltway want two things: to see the economy grow again and [for] Washington [to] start living within its means like they do — making tough choices and sacrifices like they are. Democrats are still out of touch with that notion.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0211/50297.html#ixzz1FHrNPnam

AmVet

February 28th, 2011
3:23 pm

“Indeed, the record clearly shows…”

Good, then cough up the facts buck.

And to help you get started:

fact –noun
1. something that actually exists; reality; truth: Your fears have no basis in fact.

Vince Neil

February 28th, 2011
3:23 pm

I can”t believe that I agree with some leftist goons in that GA Power should finance their own infrastructure out of existing revenues…(like government should) but to say that this is somehow a new..ergo Republican phenom is disingenuous…

George W

February 28th, 2011
3:25 pm

Dusty….I agree with you 100%

jm

February 28th, 2011
3:26 pm

Re – anti monopolies (of EVERY kind). Where’s Teddy Trustbuster when you need him? Of course, we also need Adam Austerity…. or else our country is literally going to go down the toilet.

Dusty

February 28th, 2011
3:26 pm

SoCo, If unions did hire people, for whom would they work and who would pay them?

@@

February 28th, 2011
3:29 pm

SoCo:

Unions employ their leaders. At a very hefty price, I might add.

jm

February 28th, 2011
3:30 pm

Monopolies, of every sort, are a bad idea….. because of the undue amount of influence they eventually wield.

The more competitive our industrial and worker base, the more efficient our economy, and the less waste in government occurs.

BTW, Jay, side note, if you’re against the increase in CO2, nuclear plants are the most affordable current option…. (for GA anyways)

TaxPayer

February 28th, 2011
3:42 pm

Dusty,

Your hyperbole is showing.

@@

February 28th, 2011
3:46 pm

SoCo:

He earned more than $500,000 in 2003.

He has two pilots on staff to chauffeur him in a private jet.

He drives a luxury car and enjoys a $28,000-a-year country club membership.

He has received annual raises of $100,000.00.

He and six family members made a collective $1.1 million in 2003.

Who is he? What does he do for a living?

@@

February 28th, 2011
3:47 pm

Oh, and that doesn’t even include all the perks, SoCo.

Dusty

February 28th, 2011
3:50 pm

We have laws laid down for the pursuit of happiness and well being of workers. Just about everything is covered by law. These laws were often made in response to union & nonunion protests and pressure. That was when unions were needed.

But what the unions covered is now already covered by law. That need is long gone. Freedom of speech lets anyone protest. It does not have to be led by a union. So why do we need unions? I don’t think we do.

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

February 28th, 2011
3:50 pm

SoCo, If unions did hire people, for whom would they work and who would pay them?

I guess they’d do whatever the union contracted to do. Hell, I don’t know. I do know that unions don’t employ people.

Unions employ their leaders. At a very hefty price, I might add.

You’re talking maybe 10 people out of millions of members. Geez, that ought to break the bank. I’m almost certain that no union president is making CEO-type pay.

I ask anyone who favors unions. If you started your own business would you want your employees to form a union?

If I had my own business, and my employees thought they needed to form/join a union, then I would need to review whether or not I’m taking care of them as much as they take care of me. If I’m treating them well and compensating them for their work, they should not have a desire to unionize.

It’s the same for any business. Free market principles dictate whether or not people want to unionize. Treat them well and fairly compensate them, and there’s no desire or compulsion to form/join a union.

Southern Comfort (aka The Man)

February 28th, 2011
3:52 pm

He and six family members made a collective $1.1 million in 2003.

If he made $500k, that leaves $600k to divide among six others. If unions are willing to pay him that with those perks, oh well. I’d demand a hell of a lot of action for that kind of pay, and he’d better deliver.

George W

February 28th, 2011
3:59 pm

Southern….I agree.

Dusty

February 28th, 2011
4:02 pm

Taxpayer,

My slip may be showing but not my hyperbole. That’s because there is no hyperbole.

.

Hillbilly Deluxe

February 28th, 2011
4:03 pm

to say that this is somehow a new..ergo Republican phenom is disingenuous…

That is true. The relationship between Georgia Power and the PSC is the same as it’s always been. It was that way when the Democrats were dominant and it’s that way now that the Republicans are dominant. It’s non-partisan.

Freedom of speech lets anyone protest. It does not have to be led by a union. So why do we need unions? I don’t think we do.

I would disagree. If you work where there are 10-20 employees, it’s a realistic argument that you can go in and talk to the boss/owner if you have a complaint or grievance. If you work for a company that has thousands of voices, that’s unrealistic. You probably wouldn’t be able to even get to talk to him and if you were, how much weight would you have? Unions may not be as necessary as they once were but if you do away with them, things would regress right back to where they were. History does repeat itself and it works like a penulum. It would swing back to the other extreme.

Dusty

February 28th, 2011
4:11 pm

soco,

What can unions deliver? Protests? But anyone can protest without unions.

In these days, it only sounds like a money collection agency with the only payback may be something to stop work. As @@ noted, big money goes to the few running the collection system. That used to be called extortion. Now it is called dues.