At long last, Public employee unions on the defensive....
Despite record high membership and dues, and years of unparalleled clout in state capitols, public-sector unions find themselves on the defensive, desperately trying to hold onto past gains in the face of a skeptical press and angry voters. So far has the zeitgeist shifted against them that on one recent weekend, government employees were the butt of a "Saturday Night Live" skit, and the next day, a New York Times Magazine cover article proclaimed "The Teachers' Unions' Last Stand."
Public unions' traditional strength - the ability to finance their members' rising pay and benefits through tax increases - has become a liability. Although private-sector unions always have had to worry that consumers will resist rising prices for their goods, public sector unions have benefited from the fact that taxpayers can't choose - they are, in effect, "captive consumers."
At some point, however, voters turn resentful as they sense that:
-- They are underwriting, through their taxes, a level of salary and benefits for government employment that is better than what they and their families have.
-- Government services, from schools to the Department of Motor Vehicles, are not good enough - not for the citizen individually nor the public generally - to justify the high and escalating cost.
We are at that point.
New Jersey's Freight TrainMish also highlights some recent union advertising. The message seems to be "hand over your money or the kids get it." Can you say epic backfire?
Fortunately, one governor and one governor along has the courage to confront the unions head on, and in a big way. Please consider Democrats will yield to Christie's freight train
Democrats ruling the Legislature don't want any budget fight with Governor Christie that shuts down state government. The reason is very simple – they'll lose.
There is no way they can beat Republican Governor Christie in a prime-time siege. They know it.
Christie will be center stage on the dais of the Assembly, presiding over a "special" session of the Legislature demanding an end to the crisis.
He would be a star of the cable news cycle, ranting against Democrats as the enemies of reform and deriding them as over-greased cogs of political machines. Democrats lucky enough to be caught on camera will sit defiant and purse-lipped like those aging generals of the 1970s-era Politburo, anemic and indifferent to the empire crumbling around them.
And in the end, they will have to swallow most of his demands, sweetened a little with a few fig-leaf concessions heralded as a "compromise." Christie will win.
Christie news conferences also have brought a new level of suspense to the State House.
No one, including his staff, is really sure what he's going to say, or whom he is going to back-hand in public. The New Jersey Education Association is drubbed as "thugs" one day, and accused of turning students into "drug mules" the next. It also creates the impression that he is at war with the special interests, when in reality, he has simply taken aim at an unsuspected legislator or a patronage hack or union leader.
Nobody wants to be the next Christie piñata. And a government shutdown could turn the whole Democratic Legislature into a herd of piñatas. It's not beyond the Christie pale to call each one of them out by name and Legislative District if a shutdown dragged for a few days. He might even make the case at the entrance of Island Beach State Park, handing out leaflets blaming Democrats for the closed beaches.
Vox Day has also noted, in his inimical way, the same poster.