Jonah Goldberg hits it right on the head once again. The deeper problem with the situation in Wisconsin (and now Indiana, Ohio, et. al) is not just the amount that it costs for pay and benefits for public employees. It is the corrupt structure where public employee unions give bazillions of dollars to the campaigns of friendly politicians, to then sit across from the table with those same politicians to “bargain” over increased pay/benefits for the politicians’ benefactors in the union at the public’s expense.
Nice corrupt little circle, don’t ya think?
Private-sector unions fight with management over an equitable distribution of profits. Government unions negotiate with friendly politicians over taxpayer money, putting the public interest at odds with union interests, and, as we’ve seen in states such as California and Wisconsin, exploding the cost of government. California’s pension costs soared 2,000 percent in a decade thanks to the unions.
The labor-politician negotiations can’t be fair when the unions can put so much money into campaign spending. Victor Gotbaum, a leader in the New York City chapter of AFSCME, summed up the problem in 1975 when he boasted, “We have the ability, in a sense, to elect our own boss.”
This is why FDR believed that “the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service,” and why even George Meany, the first head of the AFL-CIO, held that it was “impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”
As it turns out, it’s not impossible; it’s just terribly unwise. It creates a dysfunctional system where for some, growing government becomes its own reward. You can find evidence of this dysfunction everywhere. The Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner notes that federal education spending has risen by 188 percent in real terms since 1970, but we’ve seen no significant improvement in test scores. Public Unions Must Go
Ironically, during all this hubbub in the streets of Madison, the summary to test results for Wisconsin students came out showing that only 1/3 of the state’s 8th graders are able to read at a proficient level. Maybe those teachers in the streets ought to go back and actually teach their students some basics!
Now, not only have Wisconsin teachers been corrupted, they, in turn, are corrupting a number of doctors, who have been videotaped giving out medical excuses to anyone who comes up to them on the street during the demonstrations and asks for one.
The teachers who were “sick” and closed their schools should be docked for those days. The doctors who participated in medical fraud should have their licenses suspended.