Goaded by gentle readers, we at last opine on the epic confrontation between sense and nonsense in Madison and other Midwestern state capitals where governors and legislatures dare to threaten the client-patron relationship between labor unions and the party of LBJ.
We have little need to offer anything of substance, as the issues are so clear and have been so widely discussed by conservative media pundits. But offer we will, at least in telegraphic style.
Item: the class-conflict model of economics has been so widely and deeply refuted that it is comical to see it used by so-called serious-minded people. Unions are needed to offset corporate influence on economics and politics? Really! We thought that the 1980s were enough to show that businesses and their employees share common interests.
Item: The notion of collective bargaining for government employees has always been ludicrous. Employees are also voters, and elected officials want their votes. So they give them what they want. The unions effectively sit on both sides of the table. The rest of the voters are the ones not represented in the negotiations. This not only further undermines the class-conflict model noted above, it evacuates the notion of conflict in the entire relationship.
Item: Wisconsin and other states are merely moving to a situation that is still rather less stringent against government-employee unions than what is presently the case for federal workers, who can bargain collectively neither for wages nor for benefits but only for work rules. How oppressive! Wisconsin state employees will have more collective bargaining rights than federal workers! Awful!
Item: Son of SWNID happens to be an employee of the Great State of Wisconsin. Possessing a BA with nearly a math major, he is able to calculate what other organized state employees seem to ignore: increased heath insurance costs minus union dues equals approximately zero. Which illustrates what this is all about: state employee unions keeping their hands on the payments made to them directly as dues and indirectly as health insurance providers.
Conclusion: the doomsday rhetoric of pro-union forces is laughable. The fact that some seem to listen is pathetic.
Exhortation: Workers of the world, throw off the chains of patronage! Your skills, not your collective voices, are your best and only assurance of economic prosperity and job security.