Peter Ferrara
Recommend this article

Our Founding Fathers carefully eliminated in American law every special legal privilege of the old aristocracies of Europe. They strongly favored instead equality under the law, later enshrined in the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause, which means not equality of result, but that everyone plays by the same rules.

A recall election for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is scheduled for June 5. But on the ballot that day will effectively be whether we should establish in law after all these years a new aristocracy in America, not subject to the democratic will of the people like everyone else, with special legal privileges, including the right to plunder the taxpayers with virtual impunity. That new aristocracy is state and local government public employee unions.

Nationwide, these public employee unions plunder taxpayers for pay for state and local government workers that is on average 45% more than the taxpayers paying those salaries make in the private sector. The bill to taxpayers for each of these workers includes an average hourly wage of $26.25, plus another $13.56 in hourly costs for benefits, for total hourly costs of $39.81, or $80,000 per year on average. This is true in Wisconsin as well. Indeed, the Manhattan Institute's E.J. McMahon reports that for public school teachers in Milwaukee, the annual cost of family health coverage is $26,844, for which the teachers were paying nothing.

State and local government workers today are not exploited in sweat shop conditions for poverty wages as the workers in union lore of old. Today it is taxpayers who are the ones being exploited.

Governor Walker offended the public employee union gods now seeking his recall with his state budget reforms enacted early last year. Walker came into office facing another state budget deficit of $3.6 billion. Historically, Wisconsin like many other states would raise state taxes to counter these recurring deficits, on top of annual stiff property tax increases to fund skyrocketing school and other local government costs. But those continual tax increases were imposing greater and greater costs on state economies in terms of lost economic growth, jobs and wages.

Recommend this article

Peter Ferrara

Peter Ferrara is General Counsel for the American Civil Rights Union, a Senior Fellow at the Carleson Center for Public Policy and a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.