Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Wisconsin Win

Wisconsin Democrats' refusal to return from their sojourn in Illinois has proven to be a failed strategy against Republican attempts to put severe limits on the practice of collective bargaining for public sector unions.  Earlier this evening, Republicans removed the provision from the budget bill, which required the presence of at least some Democrats to be voted on, and passed it in a separate piece of legislation.  While not yet signed into law, this dealt a severe blow to union monopoly and the state Democrats' stalling tactic.  Wisconsin Democrat's seem to have little remaining reason to remain "abroad" and now hopefully can get back to their work running the state of Wisconsin.

As argued last month, the power of unions needs to be curbed on both fiscal and moral reasons.  While Democratic strategies seemed to willingly ignore both of these concerns and their responsibility to do their job (there is a certain irony in Democrats going on strike to protect union interests), it is laudable that Republicans had the courage to terminate the standoff and begin moving the state forward.  Hopefully, some of the rancor will die down as the naive protestors return home and realize that most will end up better off without grotesque union interference. 

[As a somewhat interesting aside, if one explores who benefits from unions, the numbers are unsurprisngly (or surprisngly if one tilts to the left) small.  With just a rough analysis, it is clear that everyone outside the union is either unaffected or hurt (eg. higher prices for goods, increased taxes (public sector unions), or lower profits (business)).  Within the union, it is arguable that the top 50% of workers (measured in merit or skill) are hurt by the fact that without the union (eg. by their superior skill in a competitive market) they would earn higher wages. (Of course, if you do not believe a comeptitive market exists this is not as convincing.  But then again, there are better ways to get the competitve market than through an anti-competitive union.)  This leaves the bottom 50% who's wages are artifically raised and thus potentially benefit from a union.  If you count union dues and other costs, the average worker who is only marginally helped by unions drops right out of the "benefit-from-unions" category.  While this analysis is obviously rough, it just points to the amazing fact that so many support unions while so few benefit - or are even outright harmed.  None of this is a battle over worker rights, but over the power of a special interest.  Its about time the Left realizes this.]

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