Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Why Gov't. Unions Thrive: Taxpayers Provide Lunch


"There are limits to how long unions can siphon off money from businesses, without facing serious economic repercussions.The most famous labor union leader, the legendary John L. Lewis, head of the United Mine Workers from 1920 to 1960, secured rising wages and job benefits for the coal miners, far beyond what they could have gotten out of a free market based on supply and demand.

His strikes that interrupted the supply of coal, as well as the resulting wage increases that raised its price, caused many individuals and businesses to switch from using coal to using oil, leading to reduced employment of coal miners. The higher wage rates also led coal companies to replace many miners with machines. The net result was a huge decline in employment in the coal mining industry, leaving many mining towns virtually ghost towns by the 1960s. 

Similar things happened in the unionized steel industry and in the unionized automobile industry. At one time, U.S. Steel was the largest steel producer in the world and General Motors the largest automobile manufacturer. No more. Their unions were riding high in their heyday, but they too discovered that there is no free lunch, as their members lost jobs by the hundreds of thousands.

One set of workers, however, remained largely immune to such repercussions. These are government workers represented by public sector unions. While oil could replace coal, while U.S. Steel dropped from number one in the world to number ten, and Toyota could replace General Motors as the world's leading producer of cars, government is a monopoly. Nobody is likely to replace the federal or state bureaucracies, no matter how much money the unions drain from the taxpayers. 

That is why government unions continue to thrive while private sector unions decline. Taxpayers provide their free lunch."

8 Comments:

At 3/09/2011 2:43 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

A national "right to work" act:

Republicans introduce bill to give workers a choice on joining unions, The Hill

 
At 3/09/2011 4:56 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Taxpayers provide the free lunch after being shook down by Democrat school yard bullies.

 
At 3/10/2011 8:33 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Che, we can only dream. This would be a monumental price of legislation and a piece of a real American employment recovery.

 
At 3/10/2011 1:07 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Hmmm, I can't see the need for a national right to work act (though I'm liking the reasoning behind the idea) being introduced by Congress and imposed on every state...

That's not the job of the federal government...

Can anyone find it in the Constitution?

 
At 3/10/2011 3:34 PM, Blogger r.delaney4 said...

The day is coming when most of the services provided by the government will be outsourced to private firms. This trend is already underway.

 
At 3/11/2011 1:13 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

r.delaney, do you view this as a positive or a negative? I'll go farther than you and say that these govt functions won't be outsourced, they'll be shut down. Just as email and Fedex and the post office are putting the post office out of business, that will happen for a whole host of govt functions and I can't wait. :)

 
At 3/11/2011 1:14 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Whoops, should have proofread, you can cut out that first "and the post office" and understand what I meant.

 
At 3/15/2011 1:33 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Unions are doing to K-12 (government) schools and government itself what they did for steel, autos, airlines, railroads, tire companies, and shipping. They are pricing it out of business.

 

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