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Throughout American history — and as recently as the 1950s — there were no unions for government workers. Public-sector employees were expected to earn a bit less than their private-sector equivalents. The reasons they did so included an interest in public service, job security and reasonable benefits.
But that changed in the late fifties with New York City Mayor Robert Wagner’s cynical appeal to the votes of city workers. He signed an executive order authorizing them to unionize, and soon other local and state Democrat legislators around the country followed his lead.
These efforts culminated in 1962, when President John F. Kennedy granted federal employees the right to collectively bargain. Since then, public sector union membership has skyrocketed while, in the private sector, unions have fallen out of favor.
The historical basis of unions revolved around workers receiving a reasonable share of a company’s profits. But that tenet is nonsensical when applied to public service. Governments don’t make profits; they simply assess taxes.
And because it has been exceedingly hard to fight public sector unions, the salaries and benefits of public employees have skyrocketed in recent years. Since the election of Barack Obama, the number of federal employees making over $ 150,000 a year has more than doubled to over 10,000.
In 2009 government salaries jumped 2.4%, approximately twice the increase earned by private sector employees. In fact, the average salary of a federal worker is now $ 71,000, about $ 22,000 more than the average private sector employee.
Worst of all, public sector unions have negotiated pension plans that are proving financially untenable. Many allow workers to retire at age 55 at around their full salary in their final years of employment. These pensions often include inflation adjustments as well as lifetime free health care.
These plans are so outrageous that state retirement systems, for example, are currently underfunded by about a trillion dollars.
So how have public sector unions achieved these amazing results? The answer is the hundreds of millions of dollars that unions have donated to federal campaigns since 1990. Almost every single dollar went to Democrats or Democrat causes. In the 2008 election alone, some estimates put public sector union contributions to Democrats at $ 60 million.
The Democrats’ health care bill, the ‘Employee Free Choice Act’ and the $ 800+ billion stimulus bill all contained payoffs to public sector unions. In fact, while the private sector has shed 8,000,000 jobs since the recession began, the number of public sector jobs has risen nearly every month — led by President Obama’s various spending programs at the federal level.
Public sector unions are killing our economic system and the American taxpayer. The debt unleashed by their outrageous benefits plans simply cannot be paid. The union bosses have lied to their members about lifetime benefits and they have betrayed the American people. Public sector unions must be disbanded and outlawed before more of our country begins to resemble Greece, Spain and other European countries.
Those countries are teetering on the brink of economic calamity, thanks to unions just like ours. And please observe that the union bosses and the Democrat Party could give a rat’s behind about American taxpayers — 20 percent of whom are currently unemployed or underemployed. They still want theirs.