State of Disunion
February 24, 2011 by Ben Crystal
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the 32nd President of the United States. During the depths of the Great Depression, Roosevelt’s New Deal, inaccurately credited with rescuing the nation’s economy, threw open the United States Treasury in an outpouring of feel-good, make-work programs which would have put even John Maynard Keynes (not to mention FDR’s pal Papa Joe Stalin) to shame.
Of course, students of mid-20th Century history are well aware that Roosevelt’s efforts to restore economic sanity to a nation reeling from the twin calamities of disasters man-made (the stock market crash and attendant economic fallout) and natural (the dust bowl) failed. The re-recession of 1937 proved that conclusively. FDR managed to hang on in office until World War II came along and a wartime economy ramped into full swing.
However, despite his socialistic — although not when it came to his own financial circumstances — attitudes, FDR did have a basic grasp of one theory: Government jobs. He certainly should have, since the New Deal put more than 15 million people on the government payroll. In a letter to Luther C. Steward, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees in 1937, FDR wrote:
"… the process of collective bargaining… cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people…”
Translated from the “excessively verbose politico-babble”:
“People whose salaries are paid by the taxpayers should treat their employers with a little respect.”
I suspect a casual poll of the union thugs, Democrat Party operatives and “teachers” currently engaged in the President Barack Obama-approved Operation Sour Milk in Madison, Wis., would reveal an almost unanimously positive opinion of the Hero of Hyde Park. Given that most of them likely don’t know more about economics than whatever’s printed on the cocktail napkins at AFL-CIO conventions, I further suspect that none have ever heard FDR’s prescient condemnation of their current actions.
Whether it’s Madison Teachers, Inc., the National Education Association or the International Brotherhood of First Ladies’ Food Tasters, a government-employee union demanding collective bargaining rights is essentially asking for the right to demand perks without input from their employers.
Hence, FDR’s warning: Unlike companies in the private sector, a government-employee union collectively bargaining with our elected representatives leads to — at best, a standoff in which both sides are employed by the taxpayers; at worst, collusion between two of the three interested parties. The Democrat/Union attacks on the taxpayer (and schoolchildren of Madison) manage to be both.
In essence, we’re paying our employees to rail against us. We’re also paying the freight to bus in their communist compadres, the Democrats who decided they would bounce to Illinois, the prosecutions of the doctors who committed fraud by issuing fake sick-out notes, any substitutes who have to be called in so the kids don’t forget where Wisconsin is on a map of… Wisconsin, and — and this is my favorite part — the people who will have to clean up the mess from Operation Sour Milk.
Before some of our port-side participants begin panting about the union employees’ fair claim to representation, allow me to point out that union labor represents less than 12 percent of the workforce, with fewer than half of those unionized members of a government employee union. Nevertheless, Obama and the Democrats have sided with this admittedly noisy minority out of deference to their own political passions (not to mention their job security). They’ve taken an active physical, financial and rhetorical role in the Madison melee — an admission of their complicity. Our (the taxpayers’) interests have taken a backseat to those of the unions.
A look at the Democrats’ donnybrook in Madison tells the story: Democrat legislators are skipping the State and union thugs are skipping work (just imagine how many naps, snack breaks and beatings of senior citizens are being missed while the Democrat Party’s Service Employees International Union stormtroopers are kicking the tar out of the taxpayers in the Cheesehead State). And the whole thing has the Obama seal of approval.
In 1981, President Ronald Reagan warned the members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers union not to strike. They did, and he fired them. Despite their mass termination, the airlines continued losing passenger baggage without interruption.
It’s time for Governor Scott Walker to take the handoff from the Gipper and spike the ball in the Democrats’ end zone. Come on, Governor Walker, win one for the Taxpayer!