June 13, 2010

"WE ARE AT THAT POINT":

Public employee unions on the defensive (Peter Scheer, June 13, 2010, SF Chronicle)

So far has the zeitgeist shifted against them that on one recent weekend, government employees were the butt of a "Saturday Night Live" skit, and the next day, a New York Times Magazine cover article proclaimed "The Teachers' Unions' Last Stand."

Public unions' traditional strength - the ability to finance their members' rising pay and benefits through tax increases - has become a liability. Although private-sector unions always have had to worry that consumers will resist rising prices for their goods, public sector unions have benefited from the fact that taxpayers can't choose - they are, in effect, "captive consumers."

At some point, however, voters turn resentful as they sense that:

-- They are underwriting, through their taxes, a level of salary and benefits for government employment that is better than what they and their families have.

-- Government services, from schools to the Department of Motor Vehicles, are not good enough - not for the citizen individually nor the public generally - to justify the high and escalating cost.

We are at that point.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 13, 2010 8:51 AM
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