That Whole Wisconsin Union Thing

It seems to me there is one interesting point in this whole government-employee union hubbub going on -- and, to give him his due, Michael Graham makes the case in his Boston Herald column today. Wade through his rhetoric about Stalin or whatever and his point is this: "Private unions don’t elect their bosses." (Of course, that won't be true once Comrade Obama fulfills his plan to seize government control of all private industry -- oops! I've said too much!)

That's a fair point. Public-employee unions do have an additional point of leverage over management -- and they have very wisely learned to maximize that leverage. The result, arguably, is that the balance is tilted far too strongly toward labor.

Indeed, even certain alternative weekly newspapers in Boston have been seen in recent years editorializing harshly against some of the local public-employee unions.

But that doesn't have to mean that the answer is to strip away the collective bargaining power of those unions, as the Wisconsin GOP is trying to do.

In fact, it certainly appears to be the case that Wisconsin demonstrates that the system works better than we might think. The unions clearly didn't get their way in the most recent elections, so the government was perfectly willing to put the screws to them, and they conceded and agreed to give up benefits that -- really through no specific fault of either management or labor -- were no longer affordable.

So, I ask Graham and others: doesn't that example -- and the example of the Reagan era, among others -- demonstrate that the political system does work?

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