Political Class “In the Tank” for Public Employees, Not Taxpayers


On the Mackinac Center website right now is an article I wrote about the self-serving proposal from the Michigan Education Association union for a 33 percent pension boost for school employees who retire before June 30, 2010.  I lay out how the proposal serves no legitimate public or education policy purpose, and the fact that it’s being treated seriously and respectfully by the political class speaks volumes about the extent to which they put the interests of public employees ahead of taxpayers.


Well, the MEA is not alone. The March 12 MIRS Capitol Capsule (subscription required) reported that the prison guard union also wants a pension boost, and for an equally illegitimate reason.


You see, with all this talk of letting more convicts out early and shutting down some prisons as a cost-saving measure, the union foresees the likelihood that the Department of Corrections will have to lay off 1,000 guards next year. Well, we can’t subject members of the privileged class of government workers to the same kinds of stresses that private sector workers have to face – oh no!


Instead, the boss of the prison guard union says it would be “only fair” to offer a 16 percent pension boost to union members who retire before any layoffs are required, so that no one has to lose their job.


“Only fair?” Fair to who? Certainly not to taxpayers, who are already expected to dig deeper in future years to pay generous post-retirement pension and health bennies promised to age 50-something government retirees for the rest of their lives. Is anyone in the private sector getting those kinds of deals these days?


I have no bone to pick with prison employees. It would give me no pleasure to see 1,000 of them on the unemployment rolls, any more than it does to see tens-of-thousands of auto industry workers and others among the jobless ranks.


My point is that, once again, the people who citizens elect to represent their interests in the management of state government are running the thing for the benefit of its employees, not the taxpayers who elected them. As with the MEA proposal, the political class is in the tank for the government class, with the interest of taxpayers a distant also-ran.


The next time you hear some government manager or politician saying things like “government should be run like a business” remember these un-businesslike examples and “call BS” on them.



2 Responses to “Political Class “In the Tank” for Public Employees, Not Taxpayers”

  1. Heartburn Home Remedy Says:

    My fellow on Orkut shared this link with me and I’m not dissapointed that I came to your blog.

  2. Political Class “In the Tank” for Public Employees, Part Deux. « Jack McHugh’s Blog Says:

    […]  is recurring theme. I wrote in March about a scheme to give a similar pension bennie to prison guards who get laid if several prisons […]

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