The campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump has honed in on the pernicious effects of big corporations through their donations and lobbying efforts. What is completely and strangely absent in this conversation about outside institutions influencing government, is the idea that government is very much a part of this scheme. Bernie Sanders and many pro-government expansion folks seem completely oblivious to the idea that government and government entities also lobby the government and make donations to benefit themselves at the expense of everyone else. Public unions are heavy donors and make all sorts of contributions to ensure that they are given privileges at the expense of greater society. This no different than what big corporations do but no one seems to be talking about it.
The idea that government employees can unionize and create an integrated institution against the government or taxpayer should raise eyebrows. This is a visible form of collusion. After all, one must ask, “who exactly are government employees unionizing against?” The old and tired mantra that the government’s employed are working class persons who are taking a pay cut to serve their nation, is dubious at best. These same individuals were content to give themselves lifetime pensions at the expense of the fiscal security of the nation. When brought to their attention, the argument is given that rich people aren’t paying enough – a red herring at its finest! But these public unions are just as guilty as rich tax dodgers. In fact, they are apt to do things like only vote for those politicians that will give them the most generous compensation packages under the guise of employee “protections”. This is nothing more than euphemism for lifetime employment despite the cost to society. That cost is a 4.5 trillion dollar pension crisis that imperils our entire financial system. Of course, these collusive groups expect the taxpayer to pay for this. No doubt they will claim that they were promised these retirement benefits that were far too outrageous to be offered in the first place. The question is, who made these agreements? Who represents the taxpayer at the bargaining table when public unions make a decision about their compensation? Furthermore, why should the taxpayer be obligated to pay for retirement plans they had no hands in offering or providing?
Big Government vs. Competition
Now it is clear that public sector unions only care about their union members. This tendency actually has a way of manifesting itself in really destructive ways. For instance, police unions are quick to absolve crooked cops when they are caught doing all sorts of heinous acts. It doesn’t stop there. Our entire country is often held back because public sector unions despise innovation. What do you think makes a public union angrier than the idea of a technology or breakthrough that would make things efficient? Efficiency necessitates the lowering of cost which would also mean that jobs would be lost. While any economist would say that creative destruction is a great thing and how we progress, public sector unions are completely against any innovation that will threaten their jobs even if it meant a greater gain to society at large. That means that all the technology that we have at our disposal that could lower the cost of electricity, heating, transportation, policing, etc. are purposely not invested in or made illegal by public sector unions lobbying efforts.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
We have to be honest with ourselves and recognize that big corporations are not any different the public sector unions. All institutions who become big enough and entrench have the tendency to begin using their influence to obtain concession at the expense of society. Thus, it appears odd that the actions of public sector unions are rarely discussed when accusations are made about interlopers in government policy. I agree that big corporations have a tendency to attempt to influence government for their benefit. Can we honestly say that public sector unions do not do the same thing? For instance, the Teachers Unions has been one of the biggest proponents of keeping antiquated practices in place in order to ensure the job security of their members. For these people, the destruction of an entire generation of children is not as important as their job security. Yikes! I am glad that we are now discussing the outside influencers of government, but to complete the conversation we need to talk about all the participants. This means we need to shine a light on both big corporations and public sector unions. Of course, if we had a smaller government that had little influence on society, there wouldn’t be these institutions fighting to have undo influence on the lives and monies of others in the first place.
* Gary St. Fleur is the founder of Save Scranton, an organization that campaigns against the corruption and malfeasance in the North Eastern Pennsylvania area, by utilizing grassroots efforts to enact reform.
Gary St. Fleur
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