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Legislatures across the country have also gone out of their way to exempt labor unions from antitrust laws, which is one of the reasons they run wild today. It was a mistake, and it was compounded exponentially when policymakers decided to let government employees form unions, since public employee unions can never serve the public interest. As James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation notes:
The founders of the labor movement viewed unions as a vehicle to get workers more of the profits they help create. Government workers, however, don’t generate profits. They merely negotiate for more tax money. When government unions strike, they strike against taxpayers.
Public employee unions, which are always willing to collude with politicians against the common good, inexorably lead the jurisdictions they infest to fiscal ruin and discontent. Look across America. Look at strike-crazed Europe where socialism has never secured labor peace.
People on the left once understood the elegantly simple proposition that government unions are anti-democratic, tax-devouring scams. Even the labor-loving father of the New Deal, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, thought it “unthinkable and intolerable” for government employees to be able to go on strike against the citizenry. The legendary labor leader George Meany, who was president of the AFL-CIO concurred, saying, “it is impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”
In 1959, the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO explained the troubling constitutional ramifications of public sector unions in terms that would make current AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka’s heart sink. That body counseled that, “In terms of accepted collective bargaining procedures, government workers have no right beyond the authority to petition Congress — a right available to every citizen.”
Yet here we are. A community organizer and labor agitator is in the White House sending DNC-approved goon squads to Wisconsin to reinforce the dirty hippies and labor activists threatening Republican lawmakers with violence.
Leftists are so intent on defending what has become their beachhead in Madison that they have resorted to desperately contorted, absurd arguments. For example, millionaire leftist Michael Moore flew to the Wisconsin capital and made the nonsensical argument that the showdown with Republicans had something to do with wealthy people.
“The smug rich have overplayed their hand,” he said. “They had to strip us of our dignity. They had to shut us up and shut us down so that we could not even sit at a table with them and bargain about simple things like classroom size or bulletproof vests for everyone on the police force or letting a pilot just get a few extra hours sleep so he or she can do their job.”
Think what you will about Moore’s rant against “the rich” and corporate America but they are not parties to the dispute in Wisconsin. The argument is between tax-eating government employee unions and the taxpayers who are supposed to be their masters. No amount of grandstanding by a radical anti-American propagandist can change that fact.
In a sense the left’s break with reality is a good thing. As leftist hero Saul Alinsky taught, you can’t get anything done if you refuse to first accept the way things are right now. The labor movement is in complete and utter denial, unable to see the freight train of fiscal reality barreling down the tracks toward it, and there’s something really beautiful about that.
It’s going to be more difficult in the future for public sector unions to blackmail the people’s elected representatives and enrich themselves at taxpayer expense.
It may even help to save America.
Matthew Vadum is a journalist in Washington, D.C. His book on ACORN and its infiltration of the Obama administration will be published in mid-2011.
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