Perpectives on Wisconsin (I): David Brooks—Make Everybody Hurt

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...let’s try to put aside the hyperventilation. Everybody now seems to agree that Governor Walker was right to ask state workers to pay more for their benefits. Even if he gets everything he asks for, Wisconsin state workers would still be contributing less to their benefits than the average state worker nationwide and would be contributing far, far less than private sector workers.

The more difficult question is whether Walker was right to try to water down Wisconsin’s collective bargaining agreements. Even if you acknowledge the importance of unions in representing middle-class interests, there are strong arguments on Walker’s side. In Wisconsin and elsewhere, state-union relations are structurally out of whack.

That’s because public sector unions and private sector unions are very different creatures. Private sector unions push against the interests of shareholders and management; public sector unions push against the interests of taxpayers. Private sector union members know that their employers could go out of business, so they have an incentive to mitigate their demands; public sector union members work for state monopolies and have no such interest.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCredit MarketsLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketTaxesThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--Politics in GeneralState Government

Posted February 27, 2011 at 1:42 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Septuagenarian wrote:

Make everybody hurt except the Koch brothers and their ilk.

February 28, 8:13 pm | [comment link]
2. DonGander wrote:

I was in Madison on Feb 19th. I went hoping to support a balanced budget but when I was there I was exposed to the vulgarity and nonsense of the marchers who support the public sector unions.

I now see that we elect our representatives to be the arbiters of state fund expenditures. Unions have no place at that table. Neither unions nor business should go to bed with elected representatives of our governments; that is managerial incest.


March 6, 10:40 am | [comment link]
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