This week’s Bloggers Briefing, usually a conservative affair, addressed the interests of two typically liberal groups: college students and union workers.
Campusreform.org is an up-and-coming website that combines the social networking of Facebook with the informative powers of Ratemyprofessors. In the midst of overwhelmingly liberal college campuses, this site is a haven for conservative students. It gives them the opportunity to meet ideologically like-minded students, plan conservative events, and even blow the whistle on overly liberal college professors.
Students, alumni, friends, and community members are welcome to join their campus’ unique subsite. There they are able to “report a leftist abuse,” perhaps from a faculty member intolerant of the conservative views expressed by a student in their classroom.
A few attendees of this blogger’s briefing expressed concern over potential leftist infiltration. The Leadership Institute, creators of the website, anticipated such a possibility. Much like Amazon.com, people reading the posts can respond with a ‘like’ or ‘don’t like’ which will boost good reviews to the top and knock those liberal rabble-rousers to the bottom of the list.
Some liberal college students have expressed annoyance that conservatives are now given a resource to collaborate over their idealogy but that liberals have no similar such resource. Adrienne Royer, Media Director for Campusreform.org, was happy to hear it. Finally conservative college students, an ideological minority at most colleges, have a resource to make themselves heard.
The next speakers were Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Andrew Brown with the Hudson Institute. They showed that union workers have reason to fear for the financial security of their future. Their study, Comparing Union-Sponsored and Private Pension Plans: How Safe Are Workers’ Retirements?, reveals that despite unions boasting healthy benefits for their own, union-negotiated pension plans are more often under-funded than a non-union plan. This dispels the notion that unions are the best way to a secure retirement.
Unions are seeking fresh meat. Membership is diminishing and their existing members are growing older. The most logical way to entice new recruits is to dangle the offer of better wages and benefits, such as a higher pension plan. Unfortunately for these workers, many unions will not be capable of paying back the full extent of that promised pension. In addition to increasing pension benefits beyond what the employer will be able to afford to pay back, some unions have been corrupt in their handling of the existing funds. Unions’ dues that, according to Ms. Furchtgott-Roth, must by law go straight into paying for those pension plans is instead going to political contributions. On top of that, union officers often end up receiving a higher percentage back on their pension funds than do the rank-and-file members.
We look forward to hearing more of these diverse topics like conservative college students making a stand, and exposed falsities of union rhetoric.