Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Analogizing Madison

I’m afraid that even those commentators who discuss the basic problem with public-sector unions are not explaining the problem clearly enough. Analogies, ideally homely analogies, are always the way to go.

Let’s say I’m not a very good employee, but that I want a 3% raise anyway. My company offers 6% raises to outstanding employees. So, I tell my manager that if he goes to bat for me to management and gets me a 6% raise, I’ll give him half my raise every payday.

Clearly, this is fraud against my employer and both my manager and I could end up in jail.

But – this is precisely the way public-service unions work. The ‘I’ of the story above represents the unions; the manager, the state legislatures; and the company, the taxpayers. And the 3% kickback of the story is the campaign contributions the unions make to pliant legislators.

Not being a lawyer, I would argue that all contracts between states and public-service unions should be invalidated because of their basically fraudulent nature – but I note that no one else is going that far. Yet.

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