|Source: Riverside Transit Agency|
Through the Labor Day festivities, the U.S. Department of Labor continues to hold federal transit funds which are supposed to be regularly designated to our local transit agencies like LA Metro, OCTA, RTA, and Omnitrans. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez continues to use trivial means to force California into a fiscal corner: Repeal the Public Employees' Pension Reform Act right now or else, no federal money returned for your transit riders. The Labor Department falls under the executive branch of the federal system, but it appears President Obama is not doing anything about this political madness, at least in the public arena.
The situation in Washington is completely unacceptable and certainly questionable under the U.S. Constitution. It's clear that the state's pension reform law does not prevent union workers from bargaining collectively. According to numerous sources, the law simply requires future public employees to pay more into their benefits package and raises the retirement age. Where does killing collective bargaining rights come in? Our 50 states, California being one of them, are sovereign areas. Sovereignty is having independent authority over a geographic area. California is not a federal agency. The executive branch executes federal law. Governor Jerry Brown executes state law. However, the behavior occurring in the Labor Department suggests otherwise. Why should the Obama Administration have the right to veto California state law by withholding funds that California taxpayers are expecting? If the federal executive branch and the labor unions think the state law violates federal law, they need to respect the U.S. Constitution and take the matter to court, not place our transit systems and numerous working Californians in grave financial limbo.
As we've mentioned before, the long term solution to the labor madness is allowing the private sector to pump more capital into the market economy by streamlining trivial government regulations that obstruct expansion while keeping vital rules in place to prevent corporate greed, corruption, pollution, and urban sprawl. With a robust job marketplace comes higher wages and benefits. Such policies will fill our trains, buses, and HOV lanes with a productive labor workforce. We've already pointed out that the value of the federal minimum wage dollar soared above the $9 mark in today's currency during the 1960's during the longest economic boom in U.S. history even though the amount was only $2.00 per hour back then. Have the transit unions and President Obama proposed fair legislation like that? Will they?