Fixing public sectors unions

I’ve been surprised to read so many conservative and libertarian writers condemning public unions while supporting private unions. The former raise costs for taxpayers while the latter raise costs for consumers. I don’t see why the former is significantly worse.

The real problem with public sector unions is their interaction with the democratic process. Democratic politicians defend and enrich public sector unions, while the unions in turn vote for and fund the Democratic Party.

The Constitution has an oft-overlooked mechanism for preventing something like this: it bars residents of the District of Columbia from voting. In the old days, this prohibition meant that people employed by the Federal government couldn’t vote in Federal elections and we still can’t.

Unfortunately, modern forms of transportation now allow Federal employees to live in Virginia or Maryland and therefore to vote for (or buy) representatives. However, the solution is simple: prevent employees of the Federal government from voting. Similar solutions could apply at the state and local level.

Any takers?

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18 Responses to Fixing public sectors unions

  1. cata says:

    __________ politicians defend and enrich ______, while the __________ in turn vote for and fund the ___________ Party.

    Isn’t that potential equally threatening no matter how you fill in the blanks? What is it about public sector unions that makes them a more dangerous voting and funding bloc than, say, the elderly, big corporations, college students, veterans, immigrants, etc. etc.?

  2. I think Democrats would take you up on it. Sure, they like the union votes, but it’s union money that they really want.

  3. dearieme says:

    I’ve been arguing the equivalent in Britain for years. Everyone gives me funny looks, which encourages me to think that I’m on the right track. “Humankind cannot stand very much reality.”

  4. Handle says:

    When you say, “Any Takers” do you mean, “Anybody agree with me about banning public servants from voting?” (answer: yes) or do you mean “Anybody out there willing to offer the private-vs-public unions distinction argument?”

  5. I’ll go one further, beneficiaries of government welfare programs should cede their voting rights as well. By the same argument.

  6. Red says:

    It’s not their voting as much as their political add power.

    Early in the first term of the Governator he tried to fix the California’s long term problems by bypassing the legislature and going directly to the people. The add campaign from the unions was so strong and so un-countered that many of my conservative friends voted against the very propositions designed to fix things. Schwarzenegger gave up after the very people who elected him to fix things where so easily swayed by union radio and TV adds.

    The power is in the money pouch where it’s always been in a democracy.

  7. aretae says:

    I was gonna say that I have proposed in person to friends that net tax-consumers lose the vote. But Sonic Charmer got there first.

  8. aretae says:

    But back to your question…

    Private sector unions add costs to all consumers who choose to do business with the company using the union. And when the union’s terms push prices too high, the customers bail/exit.

    Public sector unions have no way for the taxpayer to choose to exit. HUGE difference…and a moral distinction.

  9. dearieme says:

    And while your at it, raise the voting age to somewhere around 35. Before then, almost everyone has been drawing from the pot; after then they start paying in.

  10. Genius says:

    Wow, a few people beat me to it. I was going to add that depriving federal employees of the right to vote would be a great first step toward depriving everyone whose livelihood is derived from public funds.

  11. JManon says:

    A “libertarian” who is in favor of private sector unions is not a libertarian. Private sector unions don’t exist in the absence of governmental regulations that enforce a labor monopsony. What is libertarianism if not opposed to anti-competitive governmental interventions aimed at wealth redistribution?

  12. Victor says:

    Denying the franchise to those on welfare is somewhat muddy. Should those who hold deposits at Citibank have their voting rights revoked because that bank recieved a bailout from the government? Aren’t they welfare recipients?

  13. […] people suggested that net welfare recipients not be allowed to vote. I really like the follow-up comment from Victor: Denying the franchise to those on welfare is somewhat muddy. Should those who hold deposits at […]

  14. Amnon says:

    Wouldn´t you have to bar spouses of federal employees from voting too?

  15. Anonymous says:

    The real answer is to only let registered voters contribute to campaigns, and only let people running for the office to campaign for it. I realize that this goes against our constitution as it now stands. It ought to be fixed. One amendment would do it. All it needs is enough popular support to force ratification. Realistically, that ain’t likely, unless and until people wake up and see the crooks for what they are, and decide to do something about it.

  16. Ibn Niebla says:

    One amendment would do it. All it needs is enough popular support to force ratification.

    Actually, an amendment to the Constitution requires a lot more than popular support to be ratified.

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