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In her September 4th article in the Wall Street Journal, “How Government Unions Became so Powerful,” Amity Shlaes traces how federal protectionism, collective bargaining, and striking powers for public-sector unions have created government labor monopolies for which private workers are forced to pay ever higher taxes for generous pensions and other benefits:
“This weekend we celebrate Labor Day in a country divided between two kinds of workers. The first is the private-sector worker, the vulnerable one who rides the business cycle without shock absorbers. The second worker, who works for the government, lives a cushioned existence in which terminations take years, pension amounts are often guaranteed, and recessions are only thunder in the distance. Yet worse than this division is the knowledge that the private-sector worker will pay for public-sector comfort with ever higher taxes.
. . . .
“Fifty years ago in Wisconsin, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees charged a critic of collective bargaining with wanting to make the public worker ‘a second-class citizen.’ Tolerance for such arguments has permitted construction of a new system in which it is the private-sector employee who finds himself second class.”