Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wolf and Wilkinson On Wisconsin

In the 2/24/2011 Washington Times, Dr. Milton Wolf discusses the recent Wisconsin protests. Here's the opening of his piece, "Wisconsin Strikes Set An Example":
Welcome to President Obama's bizarro-world America, where public servants are quickly becoming our public masters. Wisconsin public school teachers have effectively declared a strike against the taxpayers and their own students, demanding benefits that most of the public they profess to serve are not afforded.

These teachers, many of whom fraudulently claimed a sick day on the taxpayers' dime to protest Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to balance the state budget, effectively declared a strike that forced the closure of several schools. Not only did they abandon their students - except those poor kids they rounded up as pawns in their protest -- they also abandoned any claims that their motivation is "for the children"...
(Read the full text of "Wisconsin Strikes Set An Example".)

In the Economist post "Government workers don't need unions", Will Wilkinson makes a very similar point:
The thing is, public-sector unions don't work like this. They aren't bargaining against capitalists for a fair cut of the cooperative surplus. They're bargaining against everybody who pays taxes and/or benefits from government spending. The question of distribution in democratic politics isn't about splitting up jointly-produced profits. It's about interest groups fighting to grab a bigger share of government revenue while sticking competing groups with the tax bill.

Because of the sheer size and relatively uniform interests of the group, public employees constitute a politically powerful bloc with or without unions. As the percentage of the labour force employed by the government rises, the heft of this group only increases. Public-employee unions simply consolidate an already impressive concentration of political bargaining power...
(Read the full text of "Government workers don't need unions".)

When government employees are able to "bargain" with the power of the government behind them, the rest of Americans end up on the short end. Americans should think long and hard before we turn over any more of our economy (let alone our health care!) to these people.