Monday, September 7, 2015

Pension Reform: Welcome To Illinois, If You Don't Like It, Leave

Mike Patrick Dahlke

Pension Reform is Not Structural Renewal,
Nor Is It The Path To Infrastructure Revitalization.

Regardless of how one wishes to imagine it being true, Pension Reform will never work in any manner if the Path To Infrastructure Revitalization is not first addressed.

As it is fairly obvious that new energetic money cannot possibly go into fixing the problems that old lethargic money created, until the blueprint for actually making that new money has been put into practice, the notion of pension reform is at best, nothing more than an excuse to keep those who are in control of not only those pensions but the regulatory entities holding on to old infrastructure blueprints in charge of virtually useless municipal endeavors.

In other words, as long as people like Michael Madigan of Illinois continue to belligerently man handle both his allies and his opponents by insisting that his entrenched and useless power will somehow overlook the fact that the State of Illinois has become virtually powerless both regionally and nationally (not to mention globally), everyone of his beloved public employee unions along with every road and bridge in the State of Illinois will do nothing but continue to fall apart, and, in the process, continue to fuel the overwhelming level of social anger that cripples the state on virtually every economic level. With the State of Illinois known nationally as the place to avoid by friendly business, friendly government and friendly people, those that live in the state are at best an angry mob of old union stalwarts who if I am certain had Mr. Madigan removed from what ever thrown he has adorned himself with, would, in the same breath, have to come to realize that the state would benefit substantially if in fact, they themselves stopped living in the mythological world of ancient 1950s industrial Chicago supremacy.

With virtually every economic problem that is facing the State of Illinois being of a socioeconomic nature, addressing the fundamental need to bring a fresh breed of anger management professionals into the State of Illinois would, in all likelihood serve the state better at first than bringing a team of positive and forward thinking green urban planners into the state, which given the overall poor mental attitude of the people of Illinois, would undoubtedly have to come later. But, for the sake of having a real discussion on pension reform in general, let me focus on that for awhile.

As pensions were paid into by people who worked their entire life doing what essentially was very hard work maintaining the whole of the State's infrastructure, obviously the pensions and the infrastructure are collapsed. But, as they are, there is virtually no need for them to be so, and that can of course change, and do so rapidly if infrastructure as a whole was looked upon as something that takes place every day on every block in every neighborhood in the State of Illinois just as it does in every state in the United States of America.

Having written some ninety or so essays on this subject, infrastructure, just like good manners, essentially begins at home. As it does, looking upon infrastructure in a very much nontraditional order of assention, is today in 2015, much more logical than looking upon infrastructure as it was addressed in the 1950s. Whereas back in the 1950s we as a nation were literally building entire towns and cities anew, today we are rebuilding entire towns and cities “renew”. This simple fact then, clearly benchmarks the justification for starting our national infrastructure renewal initiative at Bob and Ann's back door rather than starting at the gateway to Bob and Ann's town or city. With the justification for this decidedly reverse infrastructure logic being that the roof over hanging Bob and Ann's back door is ideally suited for the placement of both a solar array and a rain water management system, installing these technologies first (and prior to building larger municipal systems first), has the clearly stated economic management impact of long term municipal infrastructure development as a baseline from which, of all things, new definitions of municipal employee unions can and would emerge, and again quite rapidly and fluidly, and, from a platform of logical, neighborhood based, whole and comprehensive infrastructure blueprint.

As such a blueprint does indeed start at Bob and Ann's back door, the moment these two 21st century green based energy technologies are installed on their roof, the cost of doing the same on Ralph and Harriet's next door is already more or less known as is the framework for the municipal micro public utility models that emerge from both installations. Given the fact the both Bob and Ralph are retired pensioners and their daughters are now working for the village as either employees or subcontractors, the magic of continuously funding the pension of two old retired guys goes directly into their hearts as they know that their money is safe as is the money their children are earning is equally safe by installing solar arrays and rain water management systems into every home in the village – even if the village happens to be located in the State of Illinois.

Whereas you might be thinking that solar and rainwater technologies might not fit onto every home in the village, and, of course, you would be right, there are literally dozens of other technologies ready to be plugged into communities nationwide, if in fact mean spirited jerks like Michael Madigan would finally get the message and leave town to become slave drivers in Iraq.

But, again, this essay is on happy pension reform and happy urban infrastructure development both of which are the key to happy American 21st century green industrial urban economic development.

Let's for a moment consider natural gas. In particular how that gas gets to and leaves Bob and Ann's and Ralph and Harriet's house in the village. And, again, let's look at that natural gas installation beginning at these two homes as opposed to ending at these two homes. With the first thing considered being that of heating these two homes, prior to the installation of the pipeline is the need to conduct a whole house energy audit for these folks.

Whereas these two homes are in fact model home redevelopment projects from which all other homes within the village are patterned from, they are as well, training ground for the small army of residential architects, engineers and tradespeople that will ultimately descend upon the entire village to in fact, “rebuild the village renew”. Thus, once the energy audit has been completed, building retrofitting begins and residential heating and cooking gas line installation begins as well. But, as the whole house energy audit was in fact a whole house energy audit, it was as well, a whole house transportation energy audit. Given the fact that Bob and Ann and Ralph and Harriet own vehicles, and those vehicles are somehow oddly called Hybrids, yet another natural gas line, perhaps additional electrical wiring are now being integrated into their garage and as they are, they are as well laying the economic foundation for new municipal transportation based public utilities which again have the tendency to require a municipal work force to manage and upkeep. Fortunately both Ann and Harriet are pensioners who have two sons who work for the village installing and maintaining these new technologies as either employees of or subcontractors for the new village municipal hybrid transportation agency. Both Ann and Harriet are happy that their pensions endure while the future economic goals of their two sons is guaranteed as well.

As you can probably tell by now, this story has been written with the twofold and deliberate intention of making angry nitwits like Michael Madigan begin to think of something other than angry nitwits like Michael Madigan while in the same breath, hopefully enabling more than just a few people in Illinois to do something about developing organic and sustainable 21st century, green industrial smiles as well as sustainable, green industrial investment portfolios in the process, which of course leads to the development of sustainable green pension funding initiatives.

But, let's go a bit deeper here and talk about labor, and, in particular, the actual purpose of labor, and, even more so, the cumulative dynamics of a 21st century green industrial, mixed energy development labor force. In doing so, let's talk as well about the potential size of this labor force, the need for collective bargaining such labor forces may encounter, and, the long term employment trends related to a host of industries that absolutely require a labor force, while in turn requiring significant regulatory oversight to assure not strict and cumbersome militaristic personnel management but a broader and significantly more cognizant appreciation for the knowledge this labor force will be responsible for both executing and proactively managing for every bit of the next seventy or so years. As it is this discussion that ultimately enables a broad host of industries to flourish from within the true context of a whole national infrastructure blueprint, this discussion is of course quite timely now in 2015.

Looking back again to the home of Bob and Ann, and, specifically to the incorporation of both solar array and rainwater management technologies, the given fact is that the vast majority of preexisting homes in America will benefit substantially from the installation of both of these technologies. Whereas the scope of the benefit does in part become a dictate of the specific architectural needs and nuances of Bob and Ann's particular home, essentially, every home located in a vast array of regional sectors will most certainly, upon the installation of said technologies, will become a decidedly integral part of the municipal utility infrastructure of which that home is functionless without. Bob and Ann need these technologies to be installed on their home to both reap the benefits of these technologies from a purely environmentally based personal comfort level as well as from an economically based basic standard of living benchmark. Thus as keeping up with the Jones was indeed a socioeconomic mantra that was on one hand a measure of status back in the day, it was and remains an overall statement of mutual community based economic participation on the other. Quite simply, in our 21st century municipal blueprint, what they indeed want for their home, is without saying what the community as a whole needs to assure again, long term infrastructure continuity.

Having said all of the above then, the cumulative dynamics of a 21st century green industrial, mixed energy development labor force is quite monumental in scope. As it is, collective bargaining then becomes not the notion of protecting workers rights as much as it becomes a prerequisite for maintaining overall economic livelihood for the whole community, which essentially means that the ancient notion of collective bargaining more or less becomes a vast waste of a city's overall infrastructure budget. If I can take the risk of becoming socially philosophical here, collective bargaining that is based on highly task specific 21st century industrial functions, becomes not only the guarantor of a long term sustainable wage, but as well, the guarantor of continuously improving personal real estate property valuation. In other words, the collective bargaining taking place is much more the function of a communities overall green industrial educational based as well as economically based long term 21st century industrial growth plan and overall dialog about the execution of the plan as opposed to what is now waiting for some distant entity that is more or less handed down to communities by narrow minded political brats like Michael Madigan who have never, even for a moment, stepped foot in their community to begin with.

As the day of top down governing has essentially come to an end in virtually every industrial nation in the world, regional governing from within the framework of both managing existing and emerging regional mixed energy based power utility grids, regional agricultural marketplaces, regional transportation modeling, regional building code modeling and zoning retrofitting, regional banking and investment modeling, and, so forth and so on, simply all hinge on the ability of an individual community or an individual neighborhood within a much larger urban area to focus collectively on the bargains of localized, micro infrastructure modeling as opposed to nationalized macro infrastructure modeling within that overall and much more progressive collective bargaining model.

But, again, as all of us, in spite of ourselves, are world class Americans who truly believe in our country, regulatory onus remains a national imperative which of course means that franchising out regulatory authority that essentially remains federal in stature, must remain at the federal level for no other reason than to assure a continued sense of dynamic national industrial unity. As the big issue coming now from such agencies as the US Department of Labor is to attempt to redefine American labor from within what today can only be considered as a Hodge-podge of more or less industrially disconnected private sector entrepreneurs, the substantially more valid emphasis on total national infrastructure retrofitting that must indeed start at Bob and Ann's back door, has to be anchored from within the umbrella of a broad host of federal regulatory entities.

As those entities, based upon what I have described above, must have a fully engaged outward bound neighborhood based focus, the liaison team must be such that they all simply know Bob and Ann, Ralph and Harriet, the father's daughters, the mother's sons and all who while living in a community far from Washington, trust the dialog that comes from Washington is indeed community based. Thus as Michael Madigan seems hell bent on perpetuating the government pensions of those who long ago retired, his one singularly valid point would be that government workers indeed do have a point for their existence if in fact what I described above were to come to a whole, green energy based fruition.

Whereas I doubt seriously that our nation will ever again require the level of union intervention based representation that was utilized in our earlier industrial history, the fact remains representation in the terms of our greater national organizational imperative is quite ripe for change.

Within the discussion of industrial competitiveness, within the realization that one company manufacturing a solar array may have a better product than another, traditional market forces apply here in every bit the same way as such market forces have been applied within the framework of our historic, free market system of American enterprise and innovation always. If say, one company can produce a better solar array system than another, the regulatory constraints of the federal government can and must be what in fact they have always been. In the case of a whole house energy audit then, if the government mandates the necessity of the audit, and, in turn, establishes basic performance standards for Bob and Ann's house, and, those same standards are applied as well to Ralph and Harriet's house, and acknowledging the performances standards as being decidedly different, the companies who manufacture the technologies that meet those decidedly different set of energy based needs remain entirely free to compete with one another from within a given community or region for the sale and installation of such technologies. But, again, in staunch and severe opposition to Michael Madigan's belligerent attempt to keep control of public employee unions without ever for a moment demanding of those unions that substantial reeducation of the workforce represented by those unions, essentially keeps Michael Madigan and his team of unscrupulous and undeserving team of highly under educated and highly pompous union public employees in constant violation of the terms of binding arbitration established by the NRLA in 1935.

As those terms clearly state the cause and rules of collective bargaining as being bench marked from within one specific, collective bargaining based legislated NRLA mandate of “Good Faith”, Michael Madigan and his team of unionized, under educated political bullies is and remains demonstrably at odds with the original premise of that collective bargaining good faith clause. Being obsessed again with his own power, without even for a moment having an inkling of knowledge pertaining to the growth of a remarkably diverse collection of 21st century American industries, his abject failure to acknowledge his overall lack of knowledge is in fact what is causing happy industries, happy government regulators and happy people in general to run like hell from his mean spirited State of Illinois.

Thanks for stopping by.

Mike Patrick Dahlke

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