Angry mobs protesting in Madison, Wisconsin showed what happens when government cedes its responsibility to manage public employees. There are consequences for forgetting that governments must retain control of the resources needed to carry out public services paid for by taxpayers, whether those functions are fighting fires, arresting lawbreakers, or making sure that teachers are standing in front of our classrooms.
It was evident how badly government failed Wisconsin taxpayers when teachers calling in sick to protest state budget measures forced schools across the state to close. Education is compulsory in America, but the same system that oversees mandatory education has permitted its mission to be compromised by labor unions. The Obama administration, in concert with the Department of Education, is making an all-out effort to ensure union domination continues.
Last month, the Department of Education sponsored a conference on “Labor-Management Collaboration.” Collaboration with unions has characterized this administration’s policies in areas as disparate as the GM bankruptcy and the TSA’s decision to allow a vote on collective bargaining (see: Unions Plant One Foot in TSA’s Door, the Other in Nation’s Backside). Education spending is vital to the president’s “Winning the Future” agenda, and the message is being sent loud and clear that the administration considers unions an essential part of our education system.
Taking a swipe at the Wisconsin GOP, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney suggested that in the absence of collaboration with unions, the actions taken by Governor Walker were motivated by partisanship:
And he [Obama] believes that the actions last night taken in Wisconsin violate the principles that he laid out about coming together and addressing these issues together, rather than pursuing partisan goals. And that’s his view on that.¹
Carney’s statement does not make the president’s endorsement of labor unions any less partisan, or any less damaging for the country. Framing a budget issue in partisan terms distracts from the fact that unions wield a tremendous stick over taxpayers and government, and that eliminating that stick gives states the flexibility to deal with their budget crises.
The goals of organized labor are wholly inconsistent with government’s responsibility to provide a workforce that reliably serves taxpayers. Wisconsin showed us what happens when a state runs afoul of a collaborator that has conflicting interests. Government is an instrument of the public that exists to serve the people. It must regain control of the services it administers, and that we support with our tax dollars.