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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

Public Unions vs the United States

In response to a March 1st New York Times front page article : “Majority in Poll Back Employees in Public Unions,” my good friend, Dr. Sol Shalit, former University of Wisconsin economics professor wrote:

“There is misconception in the debate on collective bargaining for public employees. The problem is not fiscal, financial or budgetary, but economic. There is a fundamental difference between private sector and public sector collective bargaining. Industry collective bargaining is symmetric and has an economic equilibrium attained by market forces; both labor and business can move out of state, or out of the country. This explains union’s steep decline in industry. In contrast, there is no such symmetry in public collective bargaining: labor can move out of state, but government services are local by their very nature and cannot relocate. Consequently, there is no economic equilibrium; the political process alone determines pay and benefits, independent of market forces. Since the number of alternatives available to each side ultimately determines salary and benefit levels, public sector collective bargaining gives unions an unparalleled advantage and explains their tremendous growth. Wisconsin public employees are now willing to make fiscal, budgetary and financial concessions, but governor Walker wants to go to the root cause, the economics, so that our children won’t have to face what we now confront.”

To me, this short paragraph explains the present standoff in Madison, and the whole battle coming forward across the States, much more clearly and succinctly than any of the “talking heads,”  politicians, and so-called “experts”  blathering on TV, talk radio, and in the print media. Too bad Dr. Shalit isn’t in a position to educate the dunderheads fouling up our economy.

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