Union protests in Wisconsin have intensified pressure on Governor Scott Walker's bold plan to curtail public-sector union power. For the sake of fiscal health, Wisconsin should go even further by prohibiting all collective bargaining in the public sector.
Chaos in government. Tens of thousands of angry protesters in the streets. Schools closed. Yes, Wisconsin looks a lot like Egypt this week. But while Arabs are fighting to end extraordinary overreach by government, Wisconsin union protesters are fighting to preserve it.
At the heart of the dispute is a bold plan by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) to curtail collective bargaining by most but not all of his state’s public-sector workers, including teachers. That is a long overdue reform – but the governor’s plan doesn’t go far enough! A dozen or so states, including Virginia, where I live, do not allow collective bargaining in the public sector at all, and these states are doing just fine without it.
The government union issue is coming to the forefront because states, facing huge deficits, are desperate to reform their budgets and cut pensions. Wisconsin is just one of several states where legislatures, empowered by Republican victories last fall, are finally tackling one of the root causes: the ability of public-sector unions to squeeze taxpayers for exorbitant benefits. In states that have unionized workforces, needed reforms are facing huge and aggressive anti-reform lobbying campaigns by the unions.
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