It may have started with the teachers

It may be that teacher’s unions were among the first to gain significant clout. They have also been among the first under the gun with such events as the firing that hit the news in Rhode Island lately. They have also been under the gun in regards to charter schools, ‘No child left behind’ accountability measures and the growth of home schooling.

But now, other public sector unions are coming under scrutiny because they have made their members Civil Servants no more. The Washington Times book review by Jeremy Lott takes note of one example.

Mr. Greenhut does a good job of showing how California’s public employee unions have done so much to cause the state’s budget troubles by negotiating large salaries, benefits and retirement packages far out of line with state revenues. He does an even better job of showing how the unions respond when their privilege is threatened.

For instance, they managed to shoot down all of the referendums Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger put on the state ballot in 2005 to get a grip on state spending.

This, in essence, is the expression of a warning that goes back to the founding fathers. The public sector has surpassed the private in terms of salaries and the benefits have never been comparable. Public sector employees have had better job security than private in recent times. A result has been that many communities are facing financial pressures. Trying to find revenue sources to pay for their employees is a big problem but even that problem looks small in comparison to the bill that is coming due in regards to pensions and retirement benefits.

Restoring the balance is likely to be a rough process.

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