Sunday, November 01, 2009

What does it mean for a candidate to be endorsed by a union of government workers?

In pretty much all cases, it means that the candidate is the candidate who is most in favor of raising taxes, expanding the size of the government work force and diminishing any effective public control over the activities of the particular union.

In other words, a union endorsement ought to serve as a call for conservative and moderate voters to vote for the other candidate.

Government workers can be divided into four groups: police, fire, teachers and everybody else. Each group is primarily concerned with whether a candidate is going to support increasing the size of their workforce and giving raises to their members. If the candidate is, they get the endorsement.

There are some side issues. The police endorsement may hinge in part on whether a particular candidate has a history of demonizing the police. The teachers dislike candidates who dare to interfere in the curriculum.

But it almost always comes down to which candidate is more willing to throw money at the public workers.

Of course, the union never describes it as such. They always claim the candidate they endorse is, for example, 'the best for the kids'.

But anyone who believes that teachers are more interested in the kids they teach than in their own wallets is also apt to buy beachfront property in Arizona and bridges in Brooklyn. The same for anyone who thinks government clerks and bureaucrats are really interested in providing as much public service as can for as little money as possible.

Doubt it? Imagine there was a pill that would immediately bestow someone with all the knowledge they would gain from 12 years of public school. Do you think the teachers would be in favor? Or a pill that eliminated all crime and, with it, the need for a police department? How many police officers, for all of their talk about wanting to 'protect and serve' the public, would be supportive.. compared to the number who would do away with the pill in order to keep their jobs? Or if there existed a pocket sized fire extinguisher that could put out a ten-alarm fire? I imagine there would be a few firemen willing to break a few laws in order to make sure that device never made it to market.

For all their talk, the public is way down on their list of concerns. Not surprisingly, they care less about us than they care about their own paychecks, their own pensions and their ability to go about their day with as little interference from outsiders as possible.

So when I hear a candidate brag about their having been endorsed by a public workers union, I hear a candidate telling me they are putting the interests of public workers ahead of my interests. In other words, I hear them telling me to vote for the other candidate.