A word of advice to the public-sector unions in Wisconsin: when the Washington Post comes across as centrist and reasonable in opposition to your leftist howling, you know you’ve lost more than middle America.
As Americans for Tax Reform has reported for several days, the fight over revoking Wisconsin public-sector unions of the right to collectively bargain is in full swing. In order to force the absence of a “quorum,” and thus delay an inevitable Republican victory, senate Democrats have fled Wisconsin, holding their votes hostage “Dog Day Afternoon” style in motels across Illinois. In the mean-time union members, government employees, and teachers—some with students in tow—have been playing hooky to mau-mau the remaining members of the state senate.
Enter Monday's lead editorial in the Washington Post. Choosing the side of moderate reform rather than rabid collectivism, the Post cautioned that “abolishing contract negotiations between unions and management is not necessarily a panacea for state and local governments – or a nightmare for their workers.” We agree. In fact, the Alliance for Worker Freedom is so honored to share this position with the esteemed newspaper that we couldn’t help but notice all of our other ideological overlaps; AWF hopes that, when the next divisive political issue rolls along, the Washington Post will be a bit faster in jumping on the wagon.
“The point is that, whatever happens in Wisconsin, states and local governments across the country are faced with chronic fiscal problems rooted partly in unsustainable employee compensation systems.” ~ Washington Post, 2/22/11
“The rise of public sector unions—SEIU, AFSCME, and NEA are all big players—is partly responsible for the fiscal crises confronting many states today. While job security, gold-plated retirement packages, and good benefits attract employees, they’ve been bankrupting state and local treasuries across the nation.” ~ AWF, 1/20/11
“One way or another, they will have to be addressed, and there is only so much that can be achieved through raising revenue, since many of the most troubled states – California, New York and New Jersey – are already high-tax jurisdictions. Much of the issue is rooted in health-care costs, especially benefits for public-sector retirees. States face a combined $555 billion in unfunded retiree health coverage liabilities.” ~ Washington Post, 2/22/11
"The studies, the statistics, and the specialists agree: cut the costs, cut the rot, cut the pensions. That is to say, teachers must start contributing toward their own retirement funds. If the pension plans are kept unchanged, the financial burden on taxpayers will only grow worse. And it’s pretty bad as it is. According to Andrew G. Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, public-employee pension plans are underfunded by over $3 trillion nationwide."
~ AWF, 9/8/10
"Yet in 14 states, taxpayers pick up 100 percent of the premium tab for retirees, who often collect benefits for a decade or more before going on Medicare. This is not only unfair to taxpayers, for whom free health care is usually a remote dream. It also encourages overconsumption of medical goods and services, thus raising the cost for everyone." ~ Washington Post, 2/22/11
“Pension plans for public employees, particularly teachers, are growing liabilities nationwide. In an economy where many families are being forced to tighten their belts, states are bleeding money due these ill-funded defined benefit plans.” ~AWF 9/27/10
…And so on. Better late than never. Keep up the good work, Governor Walker!