The election of 2012 is shaping up to be a battle between the public sector and the private sector. Big government versus small business. The support of blue-collar union labor could decide the outcome of the election. Will union employees support their public sector comrades or the businesses that keep them employed?
In 2011, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie came together with New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney to reform that state’s pension and healthcare laws. Sweeney shunned public sector union pleas for him to maintain the status quo. But Sweeney isn’t a union buster; he’s an agent for the Ironworkers union. Sweeney and other local private sector union members around the country are rightly asking themselves why they should pay more in taxes each year to support their public-sector comrades and coming away with the answer that they should not.
Private sector union membership has been falling for decades. One contributor to that decline has been the rise of public sector unions, which in turn have supported larger government. Bigger governments require higher taxation and borrowing, thereby robbing the private sector of capital and driving manufacturing and other traditionally union dominated labor out of the country to less expensive locales. After this inevitable chain of events, is it any wonder many private sector union members supported Governor Scott Walker’s reform of public sector union contract law in Wisconsin?
In 2012, private sector union workers will need to decide whether or not they are going to support ever-larger government budgets that demand higher taxation from them or support an end to the Obama administration’s reign of fiscal terror. Perhaps Mitt Romney chose Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate to appeal to the blue-collar union members he will need to win the presidency. Ryan, who has won elections in a district where the UAW is a major force, seems to appeal to independent voters.
America’s taxpayers are on the hook for what public-sector unions are paid. Voters need to elect public advocates who will fight for the smallest, most efficient government possible.