Want to see where education in America is headed if we continue to allow public employee unions to trample taxpayers? Have a look at Illinois. This week brought a firestorm over news that the head of the Illinois Teachers’ Retirement System had broached the idea of reducing pension benefits for retired teachers.
A massive deficit is looming in the president’s former home state. Illinois’ debt crisis should send a shame-inducing message to the White House about the hypocrisy of demanding that colleges hold down tuition costs while Democratic special interest favorites contribute to state debt and weigh down the public school system.
Too bad Americans in the military do not have a union behind them. If they did, they could join public sector workers like teachers, police, and firefighters whose unions bully taxpayers into funding their overgenerous pension and health benefits. Those considering a career in the armed forces now have to consider whether $500 billion in budget cuts will make military service an unwise choice.
It starts on page eight of the American Jobs Act. Before any mention of provisions to help businesses get back on track and hiring, Democrats made sure that unions got their cut of the public’s money. Section 5, Wage Rate and Employment Protection Requirements, applies Davis-Bacon provisions to the bill’s infrastructure projects.
The American Jobs Act is what happens when a president bereft of ideas finally gives up, throws caution to the wind, and decides to amuse himself. The joke is outrageous and expensive, but make no mistake. Joke or not, Barack Obama knows that this bill may be his last stand, just as we fear his presidency is ours.
Being offered more money in exchange for working harder is a novel concept these days. Turning down a raise in exchange for a longer work day would be unthinkable to private sector employees who kept their jobs for less money during the downturn, while doing the extra work of laid-off coworkers.
Unions comfortable with their hold over the government workforce, and optimistic about the president’s planned “Winning the Future” spending package, should be very nervous about what the debt ceiling conflict means for their future. Organized labor has powerful friends in Washington helping to spread the mantra of worker exploitation, but this may not be enough to stop the fallout from the debt crisis.