Big Government’s Government Union Firewall

Are you on the fence – deciding whether the limited-government supporting candidates need your help during these last three weeks of the campaign? Let me assure you, they do. Those who support big-government high tax policies are out campaigning in large numbers.

The above title is taken from today’s Morning Bell from the Heritage Foundation (which you can read in full here). It’s not just man-hours that are being put in by the supporters of big-government, but campaign contributions as well. From the Heritage post:

“Big Labor is pouring millions of dollars into this fall’s elections. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has spent $1.3 million on ads since September alone, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has spent another $5.2 million.”

One union leader is quoted saying, “The AFL-CIO’s grassroots political program has an incredible reach…we have the largest political mobilization operation in the country.”

There’s a philosophic debate about the appropriateness of government unionism. Morning Bell quotes Franklin Delano Roosevelt from 1937 on the topic; FDR was pro-private sector union but anti-public sector union:

“All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. … The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress.”

Fortunately, as Heritage reports, “The American people are beginning to catch on to the government union game.” A lot of the focus has been on the teacher unions, but the problem extends beyond them.

The Public Service Research Foundation (PSRF) has done yeoman’s work on the topic of public sector unionism. The big question for PSRF is “are public sector unionism and collective bargaining in the public interest?”

“One of the most fundamental questions about public sector employer-employee relations in America today is whether unionism and collective bargaining in the public sector are good public policy.

When the first law mandating public sector collective bargaining was enacted in Wisconsin in 1959, policy makers had no empirical evidence on which to base their hopes that it would lead to more harmonious and equitable employee relations. They ignored the warnings of many that unionism and collective bargaining, by their very nature, would give public sector unions disproportionate power. Collective bargaining has somewhat of a ‘motherhood and apple pie’ aspect about it. Without a thorough understanding of all the issues involved, the average person is likely to believe there is nothing wrong with it.”

Public sector unionism leads to the accelerated growth of government, especially when over-burdened taxpayers sit out the political process. You can bet your last dollar that those who earn their living from tax dollars aren’t spending the next couple of weekends watching football games. They’re out campaigning in order to “win” more of your money on November 2nd.

©2010 John Francis Biver