Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Here's the problem with public employee unions: There is no right to collectively bargain to steal more money from my paycheck! This doesn't mean that I'm on the side of the Republicans in Wisconsin, either. The union movement, after decades of state-capitalist assault, is virtually dead in the private sector, with only 6.9% of private sector workers belonging to a union (you'll ofter here a larger number, around 12%, but that figure combines public and private sector employees). Over half of all union members are public employees, with 36.2% of government workers belonging to unions. This is where all the growth in unions has taken place. While in the private sector wages are stagnant even though productivity is up, in the public sector productivity is not an issue. What are most government workers producing, except more bureaucracy? Teachers unions obviously don't want the productive even among their own class to earn more based on productivity, as witness their opposition to things like merit pay. Further, as a whole, they are a terribly unproductive lot:

Two-thirds of the eighth graders in Wisconsin public schools cannot read proficiently according to the U.S. Department of Education, despite the fact that Wisconsin spends more per pupil in its public schools than any other state in the Midwest.


...the reading abilities of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders had not improved at all between 1998 and 2009 despite a significant inflation-adjusted increase in the amount of money Wisconsin public schools spent per pupil each year.-Two-Thirds of Wisconsin Public-School 8th Graders Can’t Read Proficiently—Despite Highest Per Pupil Spending in Midwest

But we're supposed to sympathize with the parasites in the streets of Madison, as if they were just another group of workers demanding their rights be protected, and just compensation be awarded. But, even on an objective measurement in their field, these teachers (one of the major groups of unionized government tax eaters) fail. How long would a private business survive if it was getting that level of performance from its employees?

Do a simple thought experiment to see that by the very nature of our current economic system, no government employee can ever be "productive". A private business has to generate income and then make a profit in order to pay its workers. How does government pay its "workers"? By siphoning off some of that productivity from the private sector through taxation. Imagine all government employees suddenly joining the private workforce, and assume they can find employment (hard to imagine, I know). It's easy to see where the money comes from in that case; the private business has to provide a product or service to the market place that people are willing to pay for. But imagine for a moment that a larger and larger percentage of the population is drawing a government paycheck, and more and more people work for government (actually happening, with job growth occurring for Federal workers - over 100,000 new permanent Federal Government employees added in the last two years). Then imagine that we all suddenly work for government at one level or another. You can't do it, because, who would pay us? Without a private sector to tax, there is no way for the government to sustain itself or pay its employees, except by printing money, which leads to Zimbabwe inflation.

Of course, it's even worse for the states (like Wisconsin) because they can't print money, and borrowing to fund deficits is often no longer an option. The only way you can continue to pay higher and higher wages and benefits to public employees is to raise taxes on the private sector, reducing the very productivity that government draws from to fund its parasite class. If the public employee unions win, (supported by the likes of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, because private sector unions are dead, and the only way to grow is with public employees) it won't mean a renewed union movement across the board, only the confirmation that we have a new privileged class that will continue to suck private employees dry through taxation, and earn far more than most private sector workers ever will, with better benefits and more job security.

Now, if we go deeper into the issues brought into light by what's happening in the state of Wisconsin, there are other things that aren't so cut and dried. The Republicans are no angels in this:

“We are going to bring fiscal sanity back to this great nation,”-Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity.

What Mr. Phillips did not mention was that his Virginia-based nonprofit group, whose budget surged to $40 million in 2010 from $7 million three years ago, was created and financed in part by the secretive billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch.

State records also show that Koch Industries, their energy and consumer products conglomerate based in Wichita, Kan., was one of the biggest contributors to the election campaign of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, a Republican who has championed the proposed cuts.

Even before the new governor was sworn in last month, executives from the Koch-backed group had worked behind the scenes to try to encourage a union showdown, Mr. Phillips said in an interview on Monday.-Billionaire Brothers’ Money Plays Role in Wisconsin Dispute

It's clear the Koch-effort is to completely break the back of government unions. One has to ask, "Why?"

For most libertarians the evil is the government employing these people for these government jobs in the first place, not that they are union members once they become government employees. To be sure, no good is coming out of these people operating as part of a union, but the real problem is that these people should be in the private sector in the first place. Where's the Koch call for real libertarian solutions such as ending government involvement in education, healthcare and charity. Where's the Koch call to End the Fed?

The Koch effort simply appears to be an attempt to support establishment Republicans. Breaking government unions helps crack a Democrat power base. But who are these Republicans that would fill the power void? On FOX news, this past Sunday, Wisconsin Governor Walker said he does not want to fire any government employees. The sponsor of an anti-union bill in Florida, Senator Thrasher, was hailed for being responsible for directing taxpayer money for expansion of a government university.


How can any of these Republicans can be considered anything close to anti-big government? Why would the supposed libertarian Koch brothers be supporting actions that would do nothing but create further strength for this Republican establishment? Why?

Hmm, could it be that more crony (and phony) capitalism is the goal?

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to probably shock the world here, but I'll say it: I oppose the very idea of unions.

    But here's the thing... unions exist because government has failed in its job to maintain the rights of workers. There wouldn't even need to be public unions for government jobs if Republicans wouldn't snatch their healthcare away from them so they die in the streets for curable pneumonia while the money got funneled into whichever industry the Republican looter was planning to become a part of after his stint in office.

    I haven't heard of Democrats abusing the rights of government workers... Maybe Bill Clinton over-stepped the line with Lewinsky... but if they're doing it, they'd be part of the problem to (and maybe they are, maybe someone will provide an example, though it is unnecessary because I have no allegiance to Democrats and it wouldn't change my view that it's wrong to abuse your power as an employers).

    I think problems always arise when power is concentrated. The government may be too powerful, but the rich are clearly tyrannical. The Koch brothers have a more effective strategy than you realize, Nikk. If you pay teachers nothing, let schools deteriorate, cut public funding for the sick, young, and poor, and just overall cause the quality of government services to drop... it seems like government is, in fact, good for nothing. It's a brilliant approach, similar to the federal Republican strategy of running up a debt soo high that the government must (by necessity) shrink.

    You're living in the libertarian dream, my friend... and the average person is being fucked over big time.


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