Monday, September 10, 2012

Public Sector Unions ... The Whole Idea Is Nuts

Some people may wonder why I say the fundamental idea behind public sector unions is nuts.

Let me explain.

We'll theorize that Chicago's taxpayers are ready, willing and able to spend $100 on their local government's operations this year.

Let's further say that their "public servants," aka elected local government officials, on behalf of all the Chicago taxpayers, have decided to spend $33.33 of that $100 on public education.

Now let's say that the union representing those teachers and related employees demands 20% more than the taxpayer funded and government designated $33.33, for a demanded total of $40, thus raising the estimated proposed expenditure for Chicago's public education this year to $40 of the total $100.

Here's the new question: Do the taxpayers come up with another $6.67, making the total $106.67, do other government workers WILLINGLY accept $6.67 less than what was budgeted, or do the teachers back off and agree to take the budgeted $33.33? 

These are the only choices, except for borrowing the $6.67, of course, and going deeper in debt.

In other words, that's the way the math works, pure and simple.

Now we come to why public sector unions make no sense. Why the concept is nuts, in other words.

Using the above example, the reason public sector unions make no sense is we have the teachers union, as an example, trying either (1) to dictate the amount of taxes to be paid, or (2) to dictate how and to what extent other government workers and services will be funded, or (3) to dictate that government needs to borrow the additional money.

Now all the union needs is leverage or added bargaining power to accomplish its goals. So the union threatens to, and does in fact, strike.

Of course, the government has laws or at least customs and practices which prevent the hiring of new teachers or replacement teachers, so it has no realistic solution other than to bargain with the union.

It can't even give vouchers to the parents and children, so they can send the kids to another school whose teachers aren't represented by the teachers union.

How nuts is that?

Thanks. Bob.

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