Human Events Blog

Public Employees and Vilification

President Obama knows the nation’s governors are an increasingly unhappy bunch, so he gave them a little pep talk today.  Fox News summarizes the president’s remarks about the growing struggle with public unions as follows:

Obama said he understands the fiscal challenges facing cash-strapped states and that everyone should be prepared “to give something up.” But he said that shouldn’t mean public employees are “vilified” during budget debates. 

 So, public employee unions get to assault people, characterize governors they dislike as Hitler, trash state capitols, and command their representatives to flee state legislatures without a word of criticism from Obama, but we’ve got to be careful not to “vilify” them?

When does criticism cross the line into unfair demonization?  Plenty of citizens are exercising their free-speech rights to express their displeasure with the conduct of public unions, but which elected representatives are “vilifying” them?  Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin certainly has not been doing so.  The only way to interpret Obama’s remarks with a shred of logic is to interpret any opposition to the union agenda as “vilification.” 

One of the chess pieces Democrats are shoving around in this little game is the concept of collective bargaining as a “right” of public employees, making any attempt to restrict collective bargaining tantamount to oppression.  There is no such “right,” and there never has been.  The people of the several states expect their tax dollars to be spent as efficiently as possible, especially since the work product of government is not sold for a profit on the open market, but rather financed through the compulsory extraction of funds from the private sector. 

If union labor prices itself out of the market, then the lot of them must be dismissed and replaced.  Nobody wants it to come to that – no city envies Providence, Rhode Island and its mass layoff of teachers – but taking such measures does not violate some sacred entitlement to a state paycheck and plump pension fund.

A big part of the financial burden crushing the states comes from those union pension plans, which, by definition, pay people who are no longer generating any value to the government, because they have retired.  Increasing those pensions is a common tactic for politicians who want to curry favor with highly organized unions, since the invoice for expanded pension benefits doesn’t come due until the future.  Is it “vilification” to point all of that out, and expect people the taxpayers are compelled to fund to make due with pensions comparable to those in the private sector they voluntarily patronize?

We private-sector folks have put up with a lot of “vilification” from Obama and his Democrat Party.  We’ve been called greedy for wanting to keep our own money.  We’ve been told we are incompetent to manager our own health care.  In the weeks leading up to the 2010 midterm elections, Obama and his people prepared the ground for their devastating loss by explaining that voters are too stupid to appreciate their magnificent leadership.  We are told that the very act of living our lives is ravaging the planet.  The opponents of this Administration were classified as dangerous potential terrorists by the Secretary of Homeland Security, and accessories to murder by the entire Democrat Party and its media auxiliaries after the Tucson shootings. 

The President’s own budget proposals are based on the assumption that federal spending is not a problem, and indeed must be increased.  The cause of the deficit is the unwillingness of private citizens to pony up more taxes.  How is that not a more grievous insult than anything Scott Walker ever said about the people who now call him “Governor Mubarak?”

A just and limited government does not have “feelings” which can be hurt.  No proposal to restrain the actions of the State by its free citizens can be interpreted as an insult, because the government exists with their consent.  The withdrawal of that consent cannot be deemed “unreasonable” by any agent of the State… or those people are not as “free” as they have been led to believe.

At this point, the only way to avoid “vilifying” public unions is to close your eyes and ignore the nauseating display they’re putting on in Madison, Wisconsin, and other state capitals.  They have made it impossible to discuss them without saying some profoundly uncivil things, simply by reading the signs they are carrying.   


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