Wisconsin gets it. Let’s hope the rest figure it out.

WisconsinAgain, this is not about opposition to organized labor. Unions have done great good for society and workers and labor conditions over the last 100 or so years.

But the goings-on in Wisconsin show us the difference between organized private sector labor and organized public sector labor.

Scott Walker and the Wisconsin took drastic steps to prevent a fiscal crisis. A significant part of that required changing the rules on what can and cannot be included in collective bargaining agreements for public sector contracts.

Remember: those are the ones where the parties bargaining with one another are divvying up tax dollars. The politician (management) is supposed to be the good steward of the public money (i.e., your and my tax dollars). The workers’ negotiators are trying to get the best deal for their workers. So far so good. The problem comes when the politicians realize that they will get more of that sweet, sweet milk of political life—campaign contributions (from Big Labor)—if they demonstrate greater willingness to give the unions more of what they want—your and my tax dollars.

And if tax dollars start running out? Well, raise ’em. The fat cats who run private sector companies are greedy, right?

Set that in contrast to the private sector contract negotiations. In those, the management has a finite pool of money to figure out how to divvy up among all business expenses—rent, utilities, salaries, benefits, capital improvements, research and development, oh, and those aforementioned taxes—and they cannot simply raise taxes to get more money. They actually have to satisfy the market and attract customers to buy what they’re selling. So the private sector negotiations are intrinsically different. Unlike the you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-fund-your-campaign relationship in the public sector negotiations, there is an adversarial relationship, no matter how congenial the relationship between management and labor at a given company.

In Wisconsin they passed laws that, among other things, greatly curtailed the ability of politicians and public sector labor to stick it to the tax payers for their own mutual benefit. This, naturally, enraged those who liked that arrangement quite a bit, thankyouverymuch.

Well, the reforms worked, the budget deficit is gone already, and yesterday the voters of Wisconsin strongly rejected the Dems’ and Big Labor’s recall of Governor Walker.

Collective bargaining in the private sector is not a bad thing, in and of itself. It can be done poorly by the management, and it can be abused by the unions, either to the detriment of the company. But public sector collective bargaining, since the money is not earned but is taken through taxation, is an entirely different animal. Thus, the laws must treat it differently to protect the tax-paying public.

Wisconsin gets it. Let’s hope the rest of the country figures it out soon.



  • James

    Please provide PROOF, not just your Republican opinion, that Roman Catholic Church teaching does not apply to government workers as well as private sector workers.

  • Randall

    LOL, look at all the libby Dem operatives here trying to astroturf their way into being “correct” on the Wisconsin issue! Guess what, it’s not going to happen. But you are providing us with free amusement. :) Actually I take that back, I’m sure half of the Dems here are unemployed and on welfare or are using the computer while at their public-sector “job,” so really my taxpayer dollars are paying for this entertainment. Oh well, c’est la vie. Knowing that Walker has a mandate to eliminate all government waste (read: public sector salaries and benefits and jobs) means this problem is slowly going away. Woohoo!

  • Matt

    Seems real business principles, as taught in our college curriculum, don’t really really match up to the current laws and methods being passed. Seems we should go out and make a bigger dent on those that seem to be our leaders government. Wisconsin rocks!

  • Antonio A. Badilla

    You stated “in seeing so many workers denied medical coverage, etc.” Of course, that would be evil, but liberals don’t just say, we see things differently from conservatives, but you go on further to imply we are evil, but you see, that’s no way to start a dialogue.

  • Colin

    To the many angry posters here. Is it really so impossible that someone well informed with good intent might come to different conclusions than you have?



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