I always wondered if Walker’s fight with the public sector unions was, in a sense, accidental or part of a clearly conceived plan. Was he fighting them on principal because a public sector union is by nature a conspiracy against the common good, or was he just fighting them because he needed to reform Wisconsin’s budget? Well, now that he’s come out in favor of abolishing public sector unions at the federal level, I think I have my answer: Walker realized that public-sector unions are baleful.
If we are to restore a full republic in our nation, we simply must get rid of those elements which are twisting our institutions to serve particular interests. Among the many elements corrupting our government are public sector unions. And do keep in mind that it is public sector unions. Private sector unions are ok – in fact, private sector unions are good and beneficial for the most part (they, too, can become corrupt and corrupting – but when they do, they tend to destroy themselves by destroying the private sector companies they have unionized). I wouldn’t mind if 100% of private sector workers were unionized – though as a Distributist I’d prefer a more guild-like worker organization; but we’ll leave that aside from our discussion. The main thing: no problem with workers uniting to secure good pay and benefits in the private sector – massive problem with government employees getting together to work back-room deals with elected politicians. If you wonder why it is exceptionally difficult to fire an incompetent government employee; if you wonder why they are almost invariably placed on paid administrative leave when they mess up horribly; if you wonder why their pensions are so lavish that they are bankrupting cities and States – if you ever wonder about all that, then the answer to your wonder is public sector unions. By working corrupt deals with elected officials – primarily in terms of providing them with vast sums of financial and in-kind political donations – public sector unions have essentially insulated government employees from accountability.
But it goes even further than that. What is the interest of the public-sector unions? That there be as many government employees as possible and that they be as highly paid as possible regardless of the best interests of the people. Public-sector unions have a built-in preference for Big Government. There is no public issue which they will not insist requires an army of government employees, highly paid and almost impossible to get rid of. There can be no real reform of government unless public-sector unions are removed from the mix. They will fight tooth and nail – and buy as many politicians as necessary – in order to prevent even the most basic and common-sense reforms. They will fight to the last breath to preserve every government program, no matter how out-dated, worthless or entirely counter-productive it is. Public-sector unions don’t care if government programs work – they only care that they keep going, with increased budget, and more highly-paid, unionized government employees to staff them. They do not have the interests of the people in mind, at all. Concerning themselves with the needs and desires of the people is self-destructive for public sector unions – because if they did even for a moment pay heed to the needs and desires of the people, they’d have to work for reductions in the size of government, reductions in pay and benefits for government employees, reductions in the number of government employees. That would be suicidal for them.
In the absurdly unbalanced donations of the public sector unions we see this – far better than 90% of all public sector union donations go to Democrats: the party of Big Government. But the public sector unions are not the only group out there with a vested interest in Big Government. The other side of the coin is Big Corporation. Big Corporation likes Big Government for a variety of reasons. There are big government contracts to be had. There are tax breaks and subsidies to be obtained. And there is the fact that a massive regulatory State makes it very difficult for new entrants to the market to compete with the established Big Corporations. Big Corporation is a bit more even-handed in donations than the public sector unions, but their ultimate aim is roughly the same: ever more government (the only difference is that the public sector unions will work to elect Democrats ostensibly pledged to increasing taxes on Big Corporation – but in the reality, the Democrats in office will make sure that their own Big Corporation donors are taken care of via tax breaks). Between the two forces – public sector unions and Big Corporation – there is a massive force in the United States in favor of Big Government…and Big Government is the greatest threat to human life and liberty around. Big Government has to go – but it won’t go as long as powerful forces are around to protect it and expand it. Walker’s proposal to curb public sector unions is getting half the job done – now we need him (or other candidates) to tackle the other half: Big Corporation.
The 2016 election cycle has so far shaped up as an anti-establishment, populist election cycle. The people are angry and frustrated. Left and right, no one is pleased with the course of events. The rise of Trump and Sanders (and to a lesser extent Carson) is predicated upon these feelings. The Ruling Class in both parties simply does not see it – and doesn’t want to see it; likely because they know that they, the Ruling Class, are on the chopping block. The Ruling Class will work to get rid of Trump and Sanders. At this point, they are far less interested in whether or not a Democrat or a Republican wins the White House than whether or not the Ruling Class retains the White House. If the race is Trump vs Hillary then we’ll see a lot of GOP leaders running over to Hillary; if it is Bush vs Sanders, you’ll see a lot of Democrat leaders running over to Bush. Their place at the trough is at risk and they’ll fight to keep it.
As I’ve said before, Trump isn’t my guy. The only reason I’d vote for him is because all of the Democrats are functionally pro-Ruling Class. Sanders is campaigning as the outsider and Progressives are eating it up, but that is because they simply cannot intellectually understand that high income taxes and increased government just means more power for the people they don’t like. To a Progressive, high income taxes means high taxes on the Koch brothers…they don’t understand that it really means high taxes on their local plumbing contractor. They further don’t understand that a larger army of government bureaucrats means less actual money to help the poor (they don’t see that by hiring 100,000 more college educated bureaucrats at $80,000.00 per year there will be less money to help out that single mother with three kids). I’d much prefer if Bobby Jindal or Scott Walker were the GOP nominee – and I think that either one of them could do it, if they’ll take the next step: start attacking Big Corporation.
It would work to knock off Trump because for all of Trump’s populist, traitor-to-his-class rhetoric, he is of the Big Corporation element of our problem. Someone like Walker or Jindal could far more credibly attack both ends of the problem than Trump – and be far more credible in the general election against any Democrat. Hillary for obvious reasons, but even against Sanders it would work just as well: while Sanders would be out there slamming Big Corporation he wouldn’t have any real plan against them and, meanwhile, he’d be defending Big Government directly by defending public sector unions. Make the election of 2016 about the People vs the Powerful – that is what we really need.
Now, just how would an attack on Big Corporation look? An end to all subsidies. An end to all favorable tax treatment – no more special tax breaks. Either everyone in the market gets them, or no one does. An end to regulations which Big Corporation can handle, but small companies can’t. Rely on it, the people don’t like it when big, wealthy entities get special treatment – and they have been for ages in the United States. And by attacking these entities, the GOP can break forever the connection in the public mind between it and the super-rich.
The long term effect of such a fight is that if Big Corporation and public sector unions are removed from their ability to affect policy, then government reform can actually happen. We could finally start to dismantle Big Government. Not all of it, and not all at once, of course – and some parts of it are permanent (Social Security, in some form, will never go away). But those parts of it that harass the people and eat out their substance can be removed. And as Big Government crumbles, so does the modern, political left, which lives and dies by government. It is only because there is a Big Government dispensing vast sums of money to favored interests that there is a left, at all. All these people you see on the left filing lawsuits and pressuring the bureaucracy for the imposition of leftist ideology get their money, one way or another, because Big Government exists. It is not politically popular, for instance, when a leftist group sues a locality to have a cross removed from a hill outside of town…but that leftist group is a creature of Big Government; it is a tax-exempt organization, and it gets donations from Big Corporation which fund its activities. End the tax exempt status; end the special position of Big Corporation and their funding dries up…they simply aren’t there to force us to go along with their absurd views. And that is just one small example of 10,000 which can be given.
The future can be ours, if we are willing to fight the battle – and fight the whole battle, not just parts of it. A democratic republic is a wonderful thing and it simply cannot long endure if some of the people are getting special treatment, even if that special treatment is allegedly for a good cause (it never is, by the way – people doing genuine good never so much as ask for special treatment). It is a good day in America when a serious contender for the White House brings up the need to curb public sector unions – it will be a splended day in America when someone adds to that the need to curb Big Corporation.