For the first-time ever, in 2009, public-sector workers belonging to unions surpassed private-sector workers who belong to unions. This trend is likely to continue, irrespective of the fact that the SEIU is now running the National Labor Relations Board. Moreover, as public-sector union membership swells under President Obama, the consequences to the economy will continue.
Reason’s Nick Gillespie offers three reasons why public-sector unions are helping to kill the economy [edited for brevity]:
1. They cost too much. As USA Today recently noted, federal employees make on average almost $8,000 more than their private-sector counterparts. When you add in benefits, the gap spreads to about $30,000.
2. We can’t fire them. The private sector has shed positions in response to slackening demand and the economic downturn.
3. They create a permanent lobby for expanded government and higher taxes. Look at California, where teacher unions have spent over $211 million dollars on elections in the past decade. One result is that 40 percent of California’s budget must be spent on education, regardless of the number and needs of students. Over the last 10 years, taxpayer contributions to public-sector pension funds has increased by 2000 percent!
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