The difference between the private sector and government -- and between the unions that operate in each sphere -- is the permanence of government, based on taxes and compulsion. Business obeys the laws of competition: It rises; it falls; it prospers; it goes kersplat. Government has its own internal workings -- as well the government unions know. A deal involving government action -- say, a collective bargaining contract -- doesn't have to be affordable. It need not even make sense. Sometimes we find out how little sense it makes only after someone puts a stop to it.
John Fund, of National Review Online, mentions one of the numerous gains already realized from the readjustment of the relationship between Wisconsin's state government and the employee unions: "At least 52 local school districts are saving an average of $220 per student because they can now shop around for health insurance for their employees. Before the reforms, unions forced the schools to do business exclusively with WEA Trust, the group run by the state's largest teachers' union."
Sure was a good deal for WEA Trust; for the state, not so much, as the saying goes. Incest, to be sure, is never considered a logical or healthy idea: the less so, perhaps, as it feeds the private purposes of the partners (e.g., government and the unions) over the purposes, desires and well-being of others (e.g., the voters and taxpayers of Wisconsin).
Rarely since high school Saturday evenings of seven-card stud and high-low-roll-'em have I succumbed to the temptation of see-your-four-bits-and-raise you-another-four. I am betting spiritually all the same on the good sense of American voters in general -- Wisconsin can take care of itself -- to see the folly of putting up with government worker unions in times of economic privation and diminishing liberty of choice. Enough's enough -- we can hope.
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