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  • Morning Bell: No Bailouts for Government Unions

    New York City’s Department of Investigation (DOI) announced Friday that it is looking into reports that some Sanitation Department supervisors told workers to slow their snow removal efforts as a protest against budget cuts. DOI spokeswoman Diane Struzzi told Businessweek: “What we are looking at is whether there was intentional misconduct relating to the snow removal, whether or not there was a slowdown.”

    The investigation was prompted by statements from City Councilman Dan Halloran (R–Queens) who told The New York Post Thursday that three plow workers from the Sanitation Department and two Department of Transportation supervisors alerted him to the plot: “They were told [by supervisors] to take off routes [and] not do the plowing of some of the major arteries in a timely manner. They were told to make the mayor pay for the layoffs, the reductions in rank for the supervisors, shrinking the rolls of the rank-and-file.” Between 660 and 720 sanitation workers called in sick for the cleanup of the blizzard—more than double the usual rate. But Halloran admits he has no proof of an organized slowdown, and Sanitation Officers Association President Joe Mannion adamantly denies any plot: “Absolutely not, there was no slowdown.”

    Any deliberate slowdown by the Sanitation Officers Association would be not only morally reprehensible but also illegal under New York state law. The Public Employees Fair Employment Act (aka the Taylor Law) specifically forbids New York government unions from striking. But since its inception the Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association has challenged the law, and Transit Workers President Roger Toussaint was even jailed for violating the law after a 2005 strike.

    The sanitation union is currently upset with the mayor’s office over the demotion of 100 Sanitation Department supervisors, about 10 percent of the supervisory force. As cities and states across the country continue to face mounting budget gaps, disputes between government unions and the populations they serve are only going to grow. No less a Progressive icon than President Franklin Delano Roosevelt foresaw the inherent problem with letting government employees unionize, writing in 1937: “All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. … The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress.”

    The problem with government unions is that, unlike the private sector, governments have no competitors. If a union ends up extracting a contract from a private firm that eats up too much profits, that firm will lose out to the competition. But when a union extracts a generous contract from government, there is no check on that spending. Instead of being disciplined by more efficient competitors, the government just pays for higher spending with higher taxes or borrowing.

    But now that states have been taken over by government unions, thanks to generous donations to the controlling state political parties, states might be reaching the end of their credit limit. States and municipalities currently have around $2.8 trillion worth of outstanding bonds and even more hidden liabilities in the form of pensions estimated to be as much as $3.5 trillion.

    Despite these liabilities, Moody’s recently improved the credit ratings of a number of local governments. Why? For the same reason that Moody’s gave their highest ratings to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: anticipated federal government bailouts. Explaining their higher ratings for state and local government debt this October, Moody’s wrote: “The federal government has broadly channeled cash to all state governments during recent recessions and provided support to individual states following natural disasters.”

    The American people cannot afford to bailout Wall Street, let alone Wall Street and government unions. Congress should act to make sure creditors know that states will not be bailed out by the federal government.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    52 Responses to Morning Bell: No Bailouts for Government Unions

    1. Brian says:

      We have seen in the past two years the intentions of unions in general and government unions specifically. Coupled with the activists who came to power in 2009, the republic seems to be under assault from within. This assault is centered ostensibly on the confiscation of "wealth". Of course wealth has been assigned the negative connotation such that the definition of wealth or wealthy takes on a subjective assessment varying with the demands of government as dictated behinds the scenes by these unions. This circuitous path to the redistribution of wealth has given unions the idea they can continue to raid the municipal, state and federal treasuries.

      We must respond with an emphatic NO to these demands for excessive compensation in its varied manifestations from escalating salaries, full health care benefits and generous retirement benefit packages. Benefits too many taxpayers will never see.

    2. RogerC says:

      Over the next couple of years, the bail-outs will occur. They will be in the form of grants for high speed railways, infrastructure improvements or bond purchases from the states (loans?). All we can realistically expect is that there will be a minimum of these bail-outs and the recovery is real. Certainly, the Unions will not go back on anything or spending will decrease.

    3. Idarae Stockton, CA says:

      As a ex-gov worker, I have seen the greed of the Unions and how they run the states, like in California, I think they should all be abolished, time to stop paying high wages to people who don't work any harder then the other people. Well it is coming to and end anyway the Unions are what has helped destroy America, If half of Union employees worked in the public sector they would not make it (they would have to work)

    4. Charles LABounty Mer says:

      We will never have a major manufacturing in this country until the unions are crushed and welfare programs are cut by 90%.

      (That would solve the illega Immigrant problem as well, because american would demand the lower paying jobs.)

      Sounds harsh but it is true. I've been in manufacturing for over 30 years.

    5. Mary Gregory, Ohio says:

      Privatize! I'm sure there are plenty of people who would love to have those jobs, and would do them well. Time to disband government unions- it's a conflict of interest anyway.

      I imagine a bunch of people who have not been held accountable during their governmental careers will struggle in a new job where 8 hours of work is required for 8 hours of pay, but all of us will be rewarded with lesser taxes, more efficiency.

    6. Bill Lee, ArkLaTex a says:

      We must stop high spending and slow down the growth of our expenses. Our Congress and President should step up and take the lead with and take a pay cut and benefit cut.

      They are our leaders are they not? So I am waiting for our Leaders to show the way and take a pay cut and benefit cut! Then when we have to do the Hard Part which is cut Social Security and medicare it will be seen as more fair. And being more Fair is what President Obama said when he ran for President.

      I am waiting!!!

    7. Tachiana Metzner says:

      Just still in search of all that change ($) the president promised…and some transparency…still looking!

      Impeach !!!

      (root of problem….ha! please…this time we must look at the top of the moneychain)

      God Bless America~


      I truly hope there is no truth to those statements, BUT if they did do it, who could blame them? In SC. the cost of living is a lot less than NY. and to cut pay amounts would be a slap in the face to the people who keep the city moving. Sometimes you just wonder about the mentality of the government. Oh I forgot the government is the reason we are in this mess in the first place. Classic case of what goes round etc. Silly me!

    9. Tachiana Metzner says:

      I pray for the President to get impeached!

      Out with him~enough is enough

    10. Carol in Georgia says:

      If the sanitation workers in New York were truly told to slow down their efforts in the recent storm, I wonder how the supervisors giving those orders and the workers who willingly obeyed them feel about a baby and a mother dieing because the emergency help could not get to them. I wonder if they realize they are responsible for two deaths and countless dangers. I pray they will do the right thing and never let this happen again! God forgive them!

    11. Tom K Houston,Tx. says:


    12. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      1- 3-11 FROM – Ken Jarvis – LVKen7@Gmail.com

      Happy NYear.


      john arizona on December 31st, 2010 at 1:56pm said:

      Great article, HF! Perhaps the likes of Ken Jarvis, Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann could sit up and take notice, instead of claiming Obama has been a superstar because of programs like Cash for Clunkers and the TARP.


      John – Yes, it was a Great Article,

      I will use it as EXAMPLE OF HOW TO SPIN

      GOOD NEW to make it look bad.


      Wednesday the 5th, is the day the new congress takes office.

      What will the WSJ say?

      What will the HF say?


      I just watched the Rose Parade.

      ALL of those Bands has to say something about Learning.

      Those students WANT to LEARN.

    13. Steve, Texas says:

      As much as I dislike Pres. Roosevelt and his policies, I must agree with him on his accurate and concise estimation of goverment(any level) unions. I have worked in union jobs and non union jobs. I did not see a great increase in protection, or pay in the union shop, but I did see an increase in the advisarial and outright hostile relation between workers and management.

    14. TDG, Palatine, IL says:

      "Sanitation Officers Association President Joe Mannion adamantly denies any plot: “Absolutely not, there was no slowdown.”

      Well hey, if the SOA President says it isn't happening, then let's move on. It isn't happening.

    15. Thomas Dittmer, Norm says:

      Just one more reason to turn off the campaign contribution flow. Make it impossible to any individual, corporation, or other entity to donate cash to a political candidate. Allow them to donate to a national campaign fund, but not the individual candidates. Make the candidates apply for funding from a national campaign fund. Eliminate personal campaign "war chests".

    16. Gerri Randall Hudson says:

      It appears they don't value their jobs, so hire someone who wants to

      work for a days wage. Many people are out of work and needs jobs.

      Let them work for 10.50 an hour. Alot of people work for less than

      $10.50 like $7.50 an hour which is below poverty level.

    17. Earl, QUEENS, NY says:

      I like your title. But why just say ‘Government Unions’?? IMO, no unions deserve bailouts!! I realize unions are okay for some. E.g., as long as they don’t strike, police should have unions to protect themselves from the attacks of people like Al Sharpton. But overall, what we really need is reform of labor laws – more in favor of workers and their companies. I’m all for workers’ rights!! That is – the right to work without a union just as much as the right to have a union!! Workers who’ve never had unions should also be aware of what they’re getting into if they organize. It’s no guarantee you’ll get a good contract, especially if you union colludes with your company, as I’ve seen more than once!! I’ve had 4 union jobs in my life – all were the short end of the stick, and raw deals!! In all 4 cases, I’m certain we would’ve been better off with no union. The only thing that’s certain with unions – if you join, you’ll have to pay dues, a good portion of which will go to the Democraps’ campaigns. So you’re willingly or unwillingly giving money to the political party that’s destroying jobs!! You think the union will protect your job?? LOL!! In 2 of my past jobs, we lost our jobs thanks to the union!! Passing right-to-work laws on a federal level is only the first of many labor law reforms we really need!!

    18. Mary............WI says:

      Everyone has to dig in their heels and do their part to bring this country back to prosperity and sanity. Union members are no better non-union members. If it means taking a cut in pay, as most Americans are experiencing, to prevent a co-worker from losing his/her job, so be it. If it means businesses make a little less profit by keeping prices as low as possible, so be it. Come on America, we can do this. And come 2012 let's make sure Obama and his merry followers do NOT retain leadership of this country. America deserves to be restored to all her great qualities for all the world to see.

    19. Frank Graney Ma. says:

      Like i say and have always said UNION THUGS WILL DESTROY AMERICA!


    20. laurie, Hawaii says:

      Unfortunately, I was required to join a union for over 30 years as a flight attendant. It was a disaster. Union leaders, caring only about their personal golden parachutes, were corrupt and deceived the members when negotiating with management. They told us, "Just vote for support of a strike in case necessary….we are not going to really strike….it's just to get leverage against the management when negotiating." Once they had the "remote control" in their greedly union leader hands. They forced a strike on everyone (and no one knew what "secret issue" we were striking over. Then, the members who were sick with cancer lost all their medical benefits during the strike and God Forbid if any member crossed the picket line. They were beat-up and threatened by the union thugs. Also, our dues were very high. It was a prison…..no liberty, no choice. To say the least, as an experienced union member for 30 years, I hate them, they caused more trouble than good and ruined our lives. In addition, the airline that I gave 22 years of my life, went bankrupt because of one stubborn union leader and 30,000 families lost their income, homes. There were suicides. (Eastern Airlines, 1991). A disgusting destructive scenario.. WAKE UP AMERICA. DO NOT BE FOOLED AGAIN BY THE POISON LOLLIPOP PROMISERS. LEARN THE TRUTH, BE WISE. PROTECT YOUR FAMILIES.

    21. Harry, Westerly, RI says:

      I hope that those who were injured by this action (assuming it can be proved), will consider suing the union. Particularly those who lost a baby because of the inability to get to a hospital. The union should be held liable for the results of its reprehansible action against the very public that pays it salarfies.

    22. Clearhead -- U.S.S.O says:

      What did FDR know? This is 2011!! Let's just organize and unionize EVERYONE. We can start with the Army. Later on we can unionize

      all the prisoners……..then the illegals…….and the terrorists………..ad

      infinitum. When we "spread" the unions around, the wealth will just

      automatically "spread" itself around. Problem solved. Case closed.

    23. toledofan says:

      Both parties have contributed to the runaway entitlement spending but it is the Democrats who have forced hikes in the minimum wage, the extension of the unemployment benefits, healthcare, and the growth of the government agencies like the IRS, EPA, Land Management, and the TSA. What is becoming more apparent is that the Democrats have given away the store to buy votes and their re-elections and now when the time has come to pay off the bet the bank is empty and now it'll be somebody elses problem. It's been the same old song and dance, more government, more spending, more give aways and no new ideas. What is especially troubling is that the 111th Congress spent the most and it looks like they have the least to show for it. It looks like it's time for Wyatt Earp to ride into Dodge and clean house.

    24. Lou, Illinois says:

      While no fan of unions, I do not believe this allegation is true. No, normal blue Collar working man, union member or not, would ever endanger the lives of his customers and neighbors. If I am wrong, then the individuals involved should be punished for man slaughter, not the union membership as a whole. If it were indeed widespread, then the membership would certainly quit the union in protest.

    25. Judy S, NYC says:

      RE: OBAMACARE & other legislation passed by this Administration

      Q. May we the people please see a list of offensive provisions of ObamaCare first in order to consider repealing it – with actual quotes, provision numbers and page numbers readily identified?

      Q. Should the new Congress generate a new committee to give all of O's 329 legislative texts a constitutional test, length for consideration test, list of all controversial provisions including text, provision and page numbers – before considering repeal or replacement?

    26. Gerald Comeaux, New says:

      why can't we just Stop any way, shape, form, etc. of Foreign Assistance and use that savings to pay off the United States debt. I know: 1) this will Never Happen; and, 2) if it ever did, the congress would just spend it in some other way and not use it to pay off our debt. over the years foreign countries have come to believe, and Demanded and Threatened in one way or another, they are Entitled to "assistance" from the United States. it's long past time that we cut this off. let all the countries of the world scream and shout till their lungs burst. if they resort to physical retaliation, we have more weapons of mass destruction in just one of our nuclear submarine than most of the rest of the world. like korea, it's time we sent up a dozen missles to let the world know that, "they can look, but Do Not Touch us." God Bless Our Beloved Country.

    27. Ace Sez Bishop, Cali says:

      Budget reduction could sure begin with a 40/60 way of paying for Medicare–instead of 20/80

      I'm 87 y.o. and recieve medicare help and appreciate it most sincerely–but I also see too many ppl with little sense of justice towards this so called entitlement–they truly abuse it and if the co-pay was increased as suggested here–less ppl will show up just to enjoy the company of someone that'll listen to them whine about imaginary medical problems–the fraud in Medicare is a tremendous waste and needs stronger enforcement–maybe the newbies in the Senate and Congress will look into Medicare cost reduction with some sensible changes?

    28. Bruce J. Kolinski says:

      U.S. economic survival requires a reduction in overall government scope and spending of at least 50%. Economic health requires a reduction of at least 75%.

      The fools we just elected to replace the fools they beat out are talking about a percentage here; a percentage there; and shifting funds as though denial has ever helped anybody.

      "Stupid is as stupid does" and not one suit of courage in sight. Our economic ship is sunk and World War III is rearing its ugly head as we desperately gasp for air. I detest negativity, but being prepared isn't negative. I suggest putting away food because the ship is going down and there are no lifeboats. The U.S. is the lifeboat and Cloward and Pivens have sunk it.

    29. Bobbie says:

      its down right dangerous and this is a perfect example as to why "government" shouldn't need or have "unions." If union can direct it's members to deny the public the service it pays for and expects and in times of dangerous inclement weather, or other catastrophes, unions are putting our lives on the unnecessary line! Adds to further distrust of government. "government" Unions are nothing more than a needless cost entity.

      What does that say about government when they need union backing for their government employees? NO TRUST!

    30. Joe Tomei says:


      We just never learn,

      The Fed should fire the management of these "Union Road Crews", lay off the truck drivers temporarily and call in the Army Corps of Engineers and or the Amry Reserves to clear rhe roads. Ssimple Solution! Then they could use the billions of dollars of road equipment being parked in huge military equipment depots across the country and really send these union guys a message! This is basically blackmaailing us taxopayers, holding the government hostage and keeping the Capitol from operating correctly. You could say another threat to national security! they should be arrested for sadition!

    31. Nancy, California says:

      Some people died because of ambulances and other rescue vehicles not being able to get to the ones who needed them. I hope they can live with themselves. Their temper tantrum just goes to show…they need to be treated like the brats they are.

    32. Denise, Utah says:

      "Between 660 and 720 sanitation workers called in sick for the clean-up of the blizzard, more than double the usual rate". WOW!! That sounds like a lot of people calling in sick that it sounds suspicious!

    33. J.NormanSayles, PO B says:

      When Lenin ordered commuinsts to infiltrate labor unions and gain the control that would allow them to destroy Capitalism from within, he would never thought it possible for unionism to spread to government employees. As that transpired, he must have been in Seventh Hell.

    34. Yellowbird says:

      For 45 years, in manufacturing managment, I watched the unions destroy many American manufacturing companies. They either went bankrupt or moved off shore. Now, with governments being consumed my unions, how could one expect anything but total destruction of our economy and a clear path to socialism.

    35. Pingback: Tweets that mention Morning Bell: No Bailouts for Government Unions | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    36. geomil reno nv says:

      million guys across the country working for 30, 40 thousand a year working as hard as always removing snow , doing their job and you find one place where there is coruption and blame the entire gov. workforce in america , your authors are probably just out of college and are learning every trick that the liberals do so guess what? you are sounding and being just the same as the liberals, no depth of thought , no comprehensive view, just the same ,generalizations , tooo bad

    37. Pingback: Morning Bell: No Bailouts for Government Unions

    38. S Rubicon, Southcent says:

      Eventually, many cities, townships, counties, and yes, even states, will have to declare bankruptcy, or those same entities will be calling on politicians in Washington to provide them with no repayment handouts, called bailouts.

      The people, simply cannot afford to pay for union pension agreements that should never have been agreed to by those in political offices at the time the contracts were signed. Too many politicians did not want to face their neighbors when unions threatened to strike or 'slow down' services. Garbage was a good one as the stink rose & made life miserable for all. Or no police protection, that gets the public every time. How about snow? Well no snow removal aggravates everyone.

      W/o competition, w/o facing possible private contractors doing some of the work, public sector unions have taxpayers over the barrel. The unfair part is taxpayers cannot possibly obtain those kinds of benefits from private employers. So, why should public sector employees get to negotiate lucrative contracts w/ no concern for possible economic downturns or other problems? Private employees would lose out. And why are those benefits so generous? I mean, generous.

      Why can some public sector employees retire young & get 'another' public sector job & double dip collect on those benefits? Now that is obscene.

      The unions are balking at possible re-negotiations. If they refuse &/or decide to get rough, riot, demonstrate & make everyday life a misery for all, then the only possible solution will be intervention by a national leader" who calls their bluff. And it is a bluff. The unions know they can be forced to return to work or be replaced. We currently do not have a national leader capable or even willing to stand up 'for the people.' Our current national leader would stand up for the unions demanding the public pay for the obscene pensions through higher taxes. He likes unions & in fact wants all public employees & perhaps even all private employees to be unionized. An insane thought.

      These unreasonable financial demand & idiotic work rules imposed on government, mean unions will destroy America, just as they destroyed the garment industry, the steel industry & so many others. Miners are still here only because, the mines are here.

      Like I said, unless the unions realize their demands will crush America, we are in for some really bad times.

    39. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Thirty years ago this August, PATCO, the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Association, went out on strike. A day before the strike began, Ronald Reagan, then

      POTUS, (President of the United States), in Secret Service parlance, said that if they

      "go out on strike, then they have forfeited their jobs and broken the law." He also threatened to fire them, which he ultimately did. He was called a "union buster" by

      Big Labor. Now the unions want a bailout? Yeah, right! That'll happen.

    40. S Rubicon, Southcent says:

      BTW… isn't it just a bit curious that union pension plans can be so incredibly underfunded, yet those same union leaders can spend literally hundreds of millions of dollars on hyper partisan political campaign contributions & other partisan political activities? Especially if those donations or expenditures are virtually all spent on….. Democrats???

      Seems to me union members got the shaft & in forced union states, they were required by law to allow themselves to be cheated. Democrats like laws that make fellow liberals money where the laws Democrats pass, force people to make those liberals wealthy.

      Cap & Trade will make Al Gore & other liberal supporters of it, exceptionally wealthy… BY LAW!! Interesting, huh?????

    41. Mike, Chicago says:

      If true, the government should prosecute to the full extent of the law.

    42. Gary C, Waxhaw, NC. says:


      It kills me to say it but gripe all you want; ya ain't gonna change it. The Repubs will posture and play to the cameras; this mindset of unions and entitlements is ingrained and hear to stay. Lest you think I'm a lib hack, ask yourself this: If we're such a center-right country, how'd we get into this mess? When has federal spending shrunk tear over year? It hasn't and it ain't going to.

      Do you really believe the 112th Congress has the guts to repeal O care and other laws and face the scrutiny of the MSM?

      I challenge you: tell me just how and exactly you're going to "take back the country"?

      We're slouching towards Gomorrah and it can't be stopped. Once the people have had bread and circuses, you don't stop it.

    43. Paul Revere II - Bro says:

      Further good idea – bring back the Lyons (?) Law, which required NYC employees to LIVE in NYC. Fewer workers unable to report for work promptly in an emergency. (Harder to get into town from East Moriches, Rockland County, or even New Jersey!)

    44. Lynn Bryant DeSpain says:

      When it came to the safety of the citizens over the contract with the Union, Reagan choose to replace the Union, in the case of the "Flight Controllers", while in office, and it worked.

      The same should hold true whenever the safety of the citizens outweighs the contract of any Union, whether they be Federal, State, County or City.

      Public Safety, is Public Safety, and it is those elected to office to place the safety of the Public above all else.

    45. Gary C, Waxhaw, NC. says:

      Thanks Lynn, but….who's going to assume that role now? The One? Hardly.

      On a side note, doesn't it seem odd that we here as conservatives are calling for gov't intervention?

    46. Van Peski, Deming, N says:

      Unions in America, another government bureaucracy perhaps? Let's see they donate a tremendous portion of their members dues to the DNC, and none to the RNC." Wow", does this mean that there are no American Republican members in the union? I don't know, I just know my loyalty goes to the employer that signs my pay checks, not to some union.

    47. Jackson - Denton, Te says:

      Worked for a unionized company (utility) for several years. It began as a union shop which by contract mandated membership in the union to be employed. "evolved" into an agency shop which did not require membership in the "brotherhood" but you did have to pay a fee equivalent to the union dues. The union did everything for its members including telling you how to vote. The company was not competing and sold out to a right to work non-union outfit. Most all the same employees stayed on with the new company and are treated well by the company without paying off the union bosses. Compare economies of unionized states like CA and to right to work states like TX, see which ones are in the toilet.

      It is high time to pull the plug on unions, especially govt as this IS a clear conflict of interest.

    48. gorio says:

      The unionizing of government workers is no more than extortion of taxpayer money by groups of government workers. At present there is NO mechanism for private enterprise to compete for government jobs, there should be, but there isn't so there are no "market" forces to control spending on union demands. There should be a law against any form of extortion by public employees, government "unions" should be illegal. Our elected leaders only serve for a limited time and are very adverse to "bad publicity" so the public union has an easy task to get what they want. Why not make the pay scales of all government workers subject to a direct vote of the voters, after all they are OUR employees not some union bosses!!!

    49. Bobbie says:

      Gary, who's calling for government intervention? Perhaps you're confused between reacting to union government intervention and government's desire to overreach beyond their constitutional duties. Don't worry, honesty will build your strength if you allow it to…

    50. Len, Alexandria,KY says:

      Based on the facts that the whole country is facing bankrupcy like NYS, Nj, Cal etc etc.and that unions have strangled many of theese States and Country , and that we have High Unemployment, why not just declare bankrupcy for all , fire all Municipal, Teachers, and Governmant Union members and Hire people who can do the job without unions? Take a hint from Car manufacturers like BMW, Honda, Toyota, Huindai, Mercedes, Kia , VW who are making good car , are profitable without UNIONS who have forced GM, Ford, and Chrysler into Bankrupcy and making cars in Canada and Mexico….

    51. Francis H Seibert En says:

      Under no circumstance should any bailout money be given to any government union ever.The very idea of such a happening is total insanity.We cannot allow any federal state or local government union hold government hostage by demanding a bailout.It is the union members fault for allowing their union leaders to use union pension funds for political purposes.

    52. william phillips,atw says:

      one of the biggest problems,is the press would not say anything about obama

      he can do no wrong.so the pen is mighter than the soward.

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