Friday, March 4, 2011


This commentary addresses one of the most emotionally charged issues to confront the American conversation for some time. The representatives serving in the State Houses of Wisconsin and Indiana who fled to Illinois rather than face the discussion of state union contracts have clearly abrogated their sworn oath and responsibilities, but that is a subject for debate at another time.

Scanning the internet I ran across a recent composition by Professor Emeritus Walter E. Williams of George Mason University that directly addresses the debate of Public Employee Unions. Below is an excerpt:

“According to the Department of Labor, most union members today work for state, local and federal government. Close to 40 percent of public employees are unionized. As such, they represent a powerful political force in elections. If you're a candidate for governor, mayor or city councilman, you surely want the votes and campaign contributions from public employee unions. …The problem arises after you win office and sit down to bargain over the pay and working conditions with unions who voted for you.

Given the relationship between politicians and public employee unions, we should not be surprised that public employee wages and benefits often average 45 percent higher than their counterparts in the private sector. Often they receive pension and health care benefits making little or no contribution.

How is it that public employee unions have such a leg up on their private-sector brethren? …Employers in the private sector have a bottom line. If they overcompensate their employees, company profits will sink. The company might even face bankruptcy.

Of course, if private companies can count on federal government bailouts, as did General Motors and Chrysler, they can maintain a comfy relationship with their unions. No such bottom line exists in the government sector. Politicians have every reason to grant benefits to their political allies, in this case public employee unions. They don't pick up the tab; it's unorganized taxpayers who face higher taxes."

If you want to read the entire essay, click this link:

What ever the ultimate resolution to the current political mischief, it will directly impact the American economy for decades to come. Ultimately we must take the emotion and political influence out of this conversation before we are all bankrupt.


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