December 30, 2014

FIRST YOU HAVE TO BREAK THE UNIONS:

How Public Sector Unions Divide the Democrats : Paying for all those pensions inevitably means less money for parks and schools. It's a conundrum Democrats can no longer ignore. (Daniel DiSalvo, 12/29/14, Daily Beast)

In the wake of the midterm elections, the Democratic Party's centrist and populist factions have been locked in a bitter family feud. Public employee unions are a little-acknowledged driver of this conflict. The reason: activist government and unionized government often work at cross purposes. It's not easy to be both the "party of government" that Chuck Schumer praises and a "party of interest groups," including unions representing the government's employees, that Jim Webb disparages.

Public sector unions create a genuine political conundrum for Democrats. On the one hand, they are genuinely powerful, and Democrats rely on their money and manpower during elections. Teachers unions, AFSCME, and SEIU are among the biggest donors to Democratic candidates and are organizationally braided into the party apparatus. However, public employee unions drive up government costs and depress productivity, weakening the state's capacity to assist the poor and middle class.

There's the rub. Insofar as public unions secure for their members better pay, more generous benefits, and work rules shielding them from management discretion government doesn't perform as well--and, consequently, neither do Democrats. Therefore, some Democrats are under pressure to take policy actions their union allies oppose. But taking such action puts them at odds with the most powerful and best-organized segment of their coalition.

Posted by at December 30, 2014 8:31 PM
  

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