Saturday, January 21, 2012

Joining Los Angeles Times Debate on Public Sector Unions: Part 2

In 1919, Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge -- a mentor of sorts for the 40th President, rebuked AFL-CIO leader Samuel Gompers during the Boston policeman's strike:

"There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time."

In 1981, the federal air traffic control workers went on strike, even though all of them had taken a pledged not to engaged in collective action. Calling the employees' bluff, Reagan pointed out that the assembly line of government cannot stop. The state must go on. 48 hours later, he before terminated all employees who went on strike. In his diary, Reagan later wrote: "I supported unions and the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively, but no president could tolerate an illegal strike by Federal employees."

Today, public sector unions endanger the public in two dramatic ways. First, the high cost of pensions and health care benefits for public workers, who are rapidly retiring, is bankrupting municipalities throughout the country. . And therein lies the second danger to the public, for these cities then have to cut back on basic services. Fewer services are now available to the citizens who deserve to get their money's worth in terms of public protection from private loss or harm.

One can add a third danger which is dramatically affecting our communities. Teachers' unions, another pernicious breed of public sector collectivisation, do not represent the needs of our youth or consider the needs of our children's future. Many school districts are stuck with incompetent or uncaring teachers who show up to work just to invest in a pension and a health care package that will carry them through for the rest of their lives. The teacher's unions abandon the best of the teachers and support the worst, which endangers both the life and the well-being of our youth and their potential success. How can the United States pride itself on its civic education, for example, when more students know the names of the Three Stooges but cannot name the three branches of the federal government?

Because of stalwart teacher's unions that support the statist status quo, local communities are forced to tolerate corrupt and incompetent education riddled with cronyism and corruption, all of which harm the unrepresented consumer: the student.

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