Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Breaking the Power of "Public" Unions

I keep trying to convince Jack Niewold, author of Frail Web of Intention, to start a blog so that the wise and relevant essays he writes would be 1) available to more readers, 2) easier to find, 3) easier to link to, and 4) better stored for future reference. This excellent commentary is just one example of why I'll keep hounding him to start that blog. Read it and you'll agree.

What about public employee unions? When my kids were in public schools in Oakland, CA, I would occasionally ask a teacher: Why are you unionized? I would get an uncomprehending look similar to the one I once got when I asked a CPA why she agreed with a progressive income tax. It was like: Huh? Don't you know that's the way it's supposed to be? They'd mutter something about bad administrators, but I never got real answers from either the teachers or the CPA, and to this day I believe most public employees simply assume that the world at its creation mandated that they belong to unions. 

We will ignore for the moment the nasty reality that in public employee unions, the unions sit on both sides of the bargaining table. Because of the amount of money they spend to elect union-friendly politicians, they end up in a symbiotic relationship with the very officials they once considered adversaries. They assure the election of those who in turn assure their benefits, and so the world turns.

A closed system of this kind can only be broken into from the outside. There is neither the desire nor the ability to change it from within. It has lost any reference to overarching social realities. It is a self-perpetuating cycle that is oblivious to any argument or evidence. This helps to explain the bitter polarization in the Wisconsin fight.

And, unfortunately, it will be this kind of house-to-house, hand-to-hand fight to change the direction of the country. But it has to happen, because the people of America simply will not go on paying their public servants more than they themselves ever hope to make.