The business community and a growing portion of the public now understand the dynamics that discriminate against the private sector. The public sector unions organize voting campaigns for politicians who, on election, repay their benefactors by approving salaries and benefits for the public sector, irrespective of whether they are sustainable. And what is happening with California is happening in slower motion in the rest of the country. It must be one of the reasons the Pew Research Center this year reported that support for labor unions generally has plummeted "amid growing public skepticism about unions' power and purpose."Now we all know this stuff already 'round here; I've been writing about the problem of public employee unions, and the inherent conflicts that are involved in their very existence, for some time now. It's not a message that has much penetrated the MSM, though, and as a result those who don't pay attention to such matters aren't necessarily aware of the dangerous point we've reached. Greece seems distant in more than geography to most people. It's not, though. Kudos to Zuckerman for addressing something that needs addressing.
There has been a transformation in the nature of our employment. Labor is no longer dominated by private sector industrial workers who were in large part culturally conservative and economically pro-growth. Over recent decades public sector employment has exploded and public workers have come to dominate the labor movement. These public sector employees have a unique and powerful advantage in contract negotiations. Quite simply it is their capacity to deliver political endorsements and votes for the very people who are theoretically on the other side of the negotiating table. Candidates who want to appear tough on crime will look to cops, sheriffs' deputies, prison guards, and highway patrol officers for their endorsement.
These unions will naturally back a candidate willing to support better pay and benefits for their members, and this means as much as, or more than, the candidate's views on law enforcement. The result has been soaring pay and the ability of state police and other safety officers to retire with pensions that place an increasingly unbearable financial burden on the states. In California, such retirees at age 50 often receive pensions at 90 percent of their pay; comparable retirees in most other states get about half their final working salary.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Mort Zuckerman locks in
Mort Zuckerman, the mainman at U.S. News and World Report, fits well within the spectrum of the acceptable Left, so this statement strikes me as a bit of a breakthrough: