Guest Saturday with The Free Market Project

This article was first published by Pat Slattery of The Free Market Project on December 14, 2010.

Small Steps Toward Taking Down Pulic Employee Unions


I’ve been saying since the beginning of this blog that public employees unions should be outlawed.  The bizarre scenario of our tax dollars going to pay unionized public employees, who then give a portion of our tax dollars to their unions, which then utilize those tax dollars to fund candidates and campaigns that elect the people who can set the salaries and benefits of the public employees, working to the tax payer’s detriment, is obscene.  One would be hard pressed to figure out a more insidious method for driving a population into collective bankruptcy.

I don’t know that my outraged cries to make this an issue have been heard, but we’re now seeing other outraged people taking up the banner.  John at Powerline posted his thoughts and the thoughts of Gov. Tim Pawlenty on this subject, “Class Conflict in the 21st Century“:

Karl Marx classified people according to their relationship to the means of production. That was, perhaps, a plausible approach in the 19th century. Nowadays, however, it makes more sense to classify people according to their relationship to the trillions of dollars that flow from the productive private sector to the parasitic public sector. One could argue, with a great deal more force than Marx was able to muster, that 21st century America has a ruling class. It consists of those who direct and profit from the trillions of dollars that our government, at its various levels, extracts from working Americans. The footsoldiers of today’s ruling class are the public employees who command ever-increasing salaries and benefits and who, through their unions, provide much of the money and many of the votes that keep our ruling class in power.

Why, exactly, do we have public employee unions? In most states, I believe they have only been legal since the 1960s or 1970s. One can argue that legalization of public sector unions has done more to deform our domestic politics than anything else that has happened during the past 50 years. I, for one, favor legislation returning public employee unions to the illegal status they have enjoyed through most of our history.

In the Wall Street Journal, Governor Tim Pawlenty argues that the moral case for unions does not apply to public employment…

Please check out Gov. Pawlenty’s argument.

A few of my posts on this subject are:

Look at the Incentives

George Will Says Gov’t Employee Unions are “Looting” Us

My Tax Dollars Support Someone I’d Never Support

Oh, To Be a Public Employee…

Categories: Uncategorized

6 thoughts on “Guest Saturday with The Free Market Project

  1. I have to tell you Jim, I’m personally believe it’s time for all unions to go. The destructive job killing nature of their charter is destroying the labor force in this country. Their demands are actually counter productive in terms of job growth. Public sector unions should never had been allowed to form. Not when my tax dollars are paying for them. We need to take a fresh look at this topic. Good on you for bring it up.

  2. I hope people read some of my other posts on this issue. It will take incredible courage for politicians to do something about this mess, and I don’t think the current occupant of the White House, who uses his power to benefit his union cronies at every turn, will be the guy to address the issue. He’s a progressive and loves giving more power to government employees, and increasing the number of them. (His pay freeze is a joke… I’d love to have my pay frozen at a multiple of what I’m actually worth, particularly when the real alternative is to fire my worthless butt into the street to save the taxpayer money.)

    I wanted to do a new post for Conservatives on Fire, but I was away for the holidays and delayed in getting home to write it. I’m just now catching up on all that I missed and I saw a post on Power Line that synchs up with the post Jim selected from me. It’s called “Time to Rethink Public Employee Unions”:

    Happy New Year, Conservatives On Fire readers! Remember, our job is just beginning… We need to capture the hearts and minds of the people of this great country and remind them of the Free Market, Small Government principles that made it great (and of how Progressive, Socialist principles take down great countries… every time they’re tried!)

  3. Public unions were prohibited once. That was as it should have been.

    Having said that, without unions in the private sector, we would all be living in shacks and sharecropper shanties. I believe that. The class struggle that took place at the turn of the 20th century in Chicago stock yards, and mines in W. Va. and Montana, took place as greedy men exploited and killed working stiffs. Perhaps some think those days can never return. I don’t number among you. I have watched as the greedy elite and their politicians have simply exploited us in other ways.

    I am on board philosophically with this piece. I agree that GM’s union should be busted. But I would never be against the ability of any oppressed class of workers to collectively bargain if working conditions deteriorated to such an extent that they were clearly being exploited or endangered. And I’m not sure what that middle ground is. Thanks for the great blog!

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