How Powerful are the Wisconsin Public Unions?
By Megan McArdle, the nicest, smartest, most popular girl on the entire West Side, no matter what Courtney and Paige said in gym
I've seen some version of this argument on half the liberal blogs I read:Why bust the unions? As I said, it has nothing to do with helping Wisconsin deal with its current fiscal crisis. Nor is it likely to help the state's budget prospects even in the long run: contrary to what you may have heard, public-sector workers in Wisconsin and elsewhere are paid somewhat less than private-sector workers with comparable qualifications, so there's not much room for further pay squeezes. So it's not about the budget; it's about the power
There's just one problem with this: if the union hasn't managed to secure anything in the way of extra wages, benefits, or other concessions for the workers--if it is really true that all these things are close to the minimum required simply to attract workers--then who cares whether the union survives or not? What "power" is being taken away?
That might just be the most dishonest argument I have ever seen in my life. After writing a long, long post about how unions have bled the taxpayer dry, after complaining about raises and teachers' pensions and health benefits and days off thanks to those evil unions, McArdle's is now going to pretend that none of those benefits exist?
This argument is supposed to work? This playground taunt, this "Oh, yeah? If you're so smart why aren't you president?" retort, is supposed to be an intellectual argument?
Wait--maybe I should give McArdle the benefit of the doubt. She did, after all, go to the right schools and grow up in the right neighborhood. Maybe she's learned and grown, having admitted to past mistakes such as supporting war and economic ruin.
Trust your elite, my friends! They only have your best interests at heart and they're really smart!
saminbrooklyn 1 hour ago
Umm, perhaps the union exists to prevent the gap with the private sector from being even larger.
McMegan 1 hour ago in reply to saminbrooklyn
But if it could get larger, then it isn't true that it won't save any money to weaken the union.
Weakening the union being the goal here. We must save money in these difficult times, so it's best to keep taxes low for the very wealthiest and corporations, while forcing the middle class to take pay cuts. And to be sure that they take those pay cuts, let's get rid of their union.