This is the second in a series on unions in America.
Public Servant is defined in Webster’s dictionary as a government official or employee. When I was growing up that perception was accepted on a near-universal basis. Christopher Stevens, our deceased Libyan Ambassador, would fulfill that role in most people’s eyes. Certainly members of the military are truly public servants. But because of public employee unions, our former public servants are really at odds with the public.
We have felt that our public employees were against us for a long time as they have used their unionized power to collect massive dues -- through automatic payroll deductions -- to elect pro-union candidates that turn around and give them outsized compensation packages. This has been well-documented in this column and through others in the media, including think tanks like CATO and the Heritage Foundation. Though your state may not allow public employees to unionize, 75% of the states do allow it. Additionally, as of 2009, there are more members of unions amongst our public employees than there are in the private sector. The fact that our public employees are at cross interests to the public is regularly displayed.
This was acutely brought to my attention when I recently went to dinner at a local restaurant. The meters which used to run until 6 P.M. now clock out at 8 P.M. solely to derive more revenue to feed the monster. I arrived at 6:49 P.M. and fed the meter for an hour despite the fact that my wife and I rarely take more than 45 minutes at this dinner spot. As we were wrapping up our dinner some friends walked in and I decided to be cordial and chat with them for a few minutes knowing I was risking a parking ticket in the waning minutes before free parking. Sure enough 4 minutes after my meter expired a parking ticket was delivered. Ok, but it was for $64. $64? All I could think of was that our public employees were doing everything to gin up revenue (and at ridiculous amounts) to cover their own excessive salaries.
Authors have documented the dangers of having laws that allow public employees to confiscate private property during drug investigations or other matters and utilize the proceeds from sale of that property for their own budget. This column has documented how states have moved to take for the public coffers the proceeds of unused gift cards sold by private companies. We have also documented how states have taken private property for their own from unclaimed bank accounts or safe deposit boxes often without properly contacting the true owners.