The Corner

‘The New Wisconsin Idea’

I wrote today about how extraordinary it is to have a reformist Republican governor taking on public-sector unions in Wisconsin, the intellectual breadbasket of American progressivism. A couple of points made by friends via e-mail:

1)“What Walker is doing isn’t unprecedented—18 states deny collective bargaining rights to some classes of public workers, or allow municipalities to do so. Virginia and North Carolina have outright bans on public sector collective bargaining. And nearly every state has some sort of restrictions on the scope of collective bargaining– for example, in New York, pension benefits are an excluded subject from collective bargaining.”

2) “Boosting pensions is an especially attractive way for unions to increase members’ overall compensation because pensions are commitments that come home to roost far in the future, when the politicians negotiating them will no longer be in office.  Getting wage raises is harder because the must be factored into budgets immediately.  So, reducing collective bargaining to wages only is a big deal.”

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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