Public Unions a '50-Year Mistake'

Jonah Goldberg: They've been a bad idea from the start
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2011 1:47 PM CST
Protesters to the governor's bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers demonstrate outside of the governor's office at the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Feb. 21.   (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

(Newser) – Protesters in Wisconsin complain the governor is out to kill unions made up of government workers, to which Jonah Goldberg responds: Hallelujah. Remember, he writes, we're not talking about private sector unions here—those played a needed role in protecting imperiled workers, like coal miners. By contrast, "do you recall the Great DMV cave-in of 1959?," Goldberg asks in the LA Times. "How about the travails of second-grade teachers recounted in Upton Sinclair's famous schoolhouse sequel to The Jungle? No? Don't feel bad, because no such horror stories exist."

Unlike their private-sector counterparts, government unions came to be in the 1960s for "rankly political" reasons. Membership soared, along with political contributions—to Democrats. "Put simply, people in the government business support the party of government," writes Goldberg. The set-up makes no sense: While private sector unions "fight with management over an equitable distribution of profits," public unions "negotiate with politicians over taxpayer money, putting the public interest at odds with union interests." It's time to end this failed experiment, he writes.

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |