WI debate, coda

My posts on the union dust-up in Wisconsin have been surprisingly popular… just goes to show you never can tell.  This will be my last one on the subject for awhile.

Here William McGurn laments the DEM’s over-reliance on public-sector union dues and election volunteers.

Here Rich Lowry makes a related point, emphasizing how corrupting it is to have the government deduct dues from paychecks, only to have those very same dues recycled back to the very same politicians responsible for negotiating with the very same dues-payers.

Here Sam Batkins describes how the NLRB is forcing private employers to advertise for Big Labor.

I’ll wrap with a nice Madisonian summary from William Voegeli in Thoughts on Wisconsin

I like that the battle over public employees’ labor unions is unfolding in the state capital named after James Madison. Madison praised America’s “extended republic,” where our experiment in self-government would be secured by a multiplicity of factions. In such a republic there would be so many interest groups, we would say today, that no one of them, or no stable coalition of several, would be able to maintain a durable majority and use the power of government against others.

As Fred Siegel has argued, what Madison could not have imagined was that government itself would become an interest group. Those who tend to its operations have ample incentive and ample capacity to bend the day-to-day workings of government in their own favor. In Charles Lane’s nice summary, “It’s not democracy when citizens lose control over the pay and benefits of the people who work for them. It’s not progressive when employee compensation takes finite resources away from Medicaid, parks, roads, and libraries. And it’s not collective bargaining when union representatives sit on both sides of the table.”

The fundamental question had to be joined somewhere: Are the people’s elected representatives in charge of the government, or are public employees and their unions a permanent government, deigning to make tactical concessions to the occasional politician who challenges its control? The fury and hysteria of the demonstrators opposed to the Wisconsin restrictions on public-employee unions inadvertently proved the point. Mere politicians elected by mere voters had no moral authority, in the demonstrators’ opinion, to challenge the permanent government’s prerogatives.

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