Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Dominici has long been able to count on the votes of Los Alamos citizens

From Anonymous:

While I agree with the poster who says that LANL is not a democracy, it does belong to a democracy. I believe we can draw hope from the kind of actions performed by the citizens of the Ukraine lately ( who would ever have expected to hear that 50 years ago?) They successfully changed a government that they disagreed with.

It is possible to say no to corruption within a democracy but it is scary and it has to be done by many people simultaneously. If only 20 come out against the status quo those people may very well face serious trouble. But if 20,000 come out against it, they have a chance and if 200,000 come out for change, the government gets the message. The problem is the citizens must send a clear message, not a fuzzy one. Politicians have to understand what they actually want.

Dominici has long been able to count on the votes of Los Alamos citizens, yet he seems to take their support completely for granted with insulting statements like, "For god's sake we aren't trying to hurt you."
And my guess is that Dominici believes what he says. LANL employees agree with him when they vote, but not when the principles Dominici openly stands for are applied to them.

The last draft RFP gave with one hand and took away with the other. Supposedly benefits of current employees are now guaranteed, but now the new company won't have to hire all of those who currently work at LANL. And there are other outrages in it as well. LANL employees cry out against this new plan, but this is what they voted for the last time Dominici ran and during the last Presidential election.

The biggest problem I see is that Dominici and his supporters generally believe they are really doing the whole country a favor by privatizing public institutions and bringing benefits and salaries lower, to enable the private industry to compete with government institutions such as LANL. They think private ownership and competition will create more efficiency in everything. Unfortunately, this approach has been tried before and it did not work. ( Look up laissez faire capitalism in history). It certainly isn't the kind of atmosphere that made LANL great. It certainly didn't make the LANL cafeteria great!

The bottom line is that most of the people in Los Alamos agree with the idea that it is competetion and private ownership that make for a strong economy except when the competition principle is applied to their own work place. It is time for LANL employees to think these issues through. If one believes that the best way to make the US great is to put our support into large corporations in "open" markets then one ought to pleased to see that principal applied in one's own workplace. It appears however that that is not the case at LANL. No wonder Dominici is confused.

If it feels like a bad idea in one's own workplace then how can it be a good idea for all workplaces in the US and even in the world? Yet free, open markets based on competition are what the US and Los Alamos voters are pushing these days , for all people throughout the world.
Why don't Los Alamos employees want privatization and competition in their own work place? Until they think this confusion through LANL employees will continue to appear to outsiders to be spoiled children and Dominici will continue to stand for the principles he has believed in all along.
If LANL employees and other citizens change their minds, Dominici and other politicians will be more amenable to the kind of workplace LANL employees have enjoyed for so long, which is government owned, government managed with a substantial defined benefit pension instead of a 403b or 401k with some matching funds from the employer.

What keeps most employees at LANL is the retirement fund, yet our current government is seeking to make defined benefit retirement programs a thing of the past. And most LANL employees are very upset about the loss of their defined benefit pension fund.

The voters of Los Alamos haven't thought through the economics of their politics. Until they quit voting for privatization of everything, they will have to have to continue to worry about their own workplace.

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