Sunday, February 20, 2011
Public Sector Unions, Liberals, and Shared Sacrifice
Every time governments run into budget crises and cuts have to be made, liberals start talking about the need for shared sacrifice. The idea is instead of cutting every government worker necessary to balance the budget, you cut some people to make up some of the shortfall, asking the remaining workers to take a cut to make up some of the shortfall, and raising taxes to make up the remainder. The theory is that everyone shares in the pain. This is all well and good, but when public sector unions get involved, one of those options is taken off the table. The current situation in Wisconsin is emblematic of this. Governor Scott Walker has a plan where no public sector workers would have to be laid off, and no taxes would have to be raised, if state and local workers just agree to contribute a reasonable amount to their generous pensions and healthcare. If these reasonable cuts are not made, 6000 state and local workers will have to be laid off. The unions have said that they would prefer the layoffs to having to take any cuts. In states like California, where Governor Gray Davis was strongly supported by public sector unions, the budget gaps are almost all going to be made up layoffs. Shared sacrifice be damned.