Ten years ago, while on a public service television show, I stated that public employees should not be allowed to unionize. The panel, which, as usual, was stacked with liberals, went into frenzy. You’d have thought that I suggested reinstating guillotines.
I went on to explain that I was fully in support of unions in the private sector. But my contention that civil service adequately provides for the safety and welfare of government workers fell on deaf ears; they insisted that public employees have the right to organize. My answer was simple – no, they don’t.
Now, a decade later, the issue has exploded. During these years, revenues for state and local governments have jumped significantly with double digit increases, allowing politicians to hire more employees and jack up public salaries and benefits to outrageous levels while ignoring the obvious long-term effects. As long as the economy was booming, nobody complained about the sweetheart deals negotiated behind closed doors. But once the recession came, the doors opened and what the politicians and the unions have created is now crashing down upon us all.
A year ago, shortly after I wrote a column about the fiscal calamity that is the California public-employee pension system, an associate of mine asked when Americans would wake up to this emerging disaster. Unfortunately, too many Americans don’t yet understand that their public employees are taking them to the cleaners. These people are still living in the 1960’s, when public employees earned less money in return for job security guaranteed by civil service regulations. It’s hard for many people to think that their teacher, cop, or fireman – in conjunction with their unions – are the principal cause of massive budget deficits that only huge tax increases can remedy.