James Taranto provides the much needed clarity on the difference between the public and private unions and why the protesting public employees in Wisconsin are neither fighting for the rights of the workers nor for the taxpayers.
There is a fundamental difference between private- and public-sector workers. A private-sector labor dispute is a clear clash of competing interests, with management representing shareholders and unions representing workers. In the public sector, as George Will notes, taxpayers--whose position is analogous to that of shareholders--are usually denied a seat at the table:
Such unions are government organized as an interest group to lobby itself to do what it always wants to do anyway - grow. These unions use dues extracted from members to elect their members' employers. And governments, not disciplined by the need to make a profit, extract government employees' salaries from taxpayers. Government sits on both sides of the table in cozy "negotiations" with unions.Collective bargaining in the public sector thus is less a negotiation than a conspiracy to steal money from taxpayers. The notion that this is "in the economic interests of the middle class" for government employees in Wisconsin and elsewhere to get above-market wages and extremely lavish benefits is just laughable. Sure, government employees are "middle class," but so are the vast majority of taxpayers who don't enjoy the special privileges that come from owning the means of coercion.
And neither is Governor Walker Hosni Mubarak or Hitler.
Nor is Bush still the president.
But, hey, these are government teachers.