Thingish Things

Public, Not Private Sector, Unions are the Issue

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Feb• 24•11

I sat down tonight to write a short piece about the stark differences between public sector unions and private sector unions.  Before putting pen to paper, though — or finger to keypad — I happily stumbled across this piece by Jonah Goldberg, who makes every point I wanted to and several more ((better than I ever could).

The American Left is in full mobilization over the situation in Wisconsin, and it is employing one clear and effective tactic that has to be countered in the public debate. Rather than arguing the merits of public employee unions – a losing argument – the Left has cleverly expanded the scope of the conversation to include all unions, public and private, using rhetoric about 10,000 times a day along the lines of, “the radical right’s union-busting tactics threaten the survival of middle class working families everywhere.”

It’s a classic debating tactic.  If you are losing a particular point, generalize.  Expand the scope of the question, and of your potential audience.  Example: “You’re eating too many cookies, Billy.”  Deflection: “Does anyone have the right to tell someone else what to eat? Or are you anti-personal freedoms in general?”

It’s a neat trick that’s been used since the days of Cicero.

The question before the American voting public – the one that should be before the public – is public employee unions, not private sector unions.  Republicans and reform Democrats like Andrew Cuomo need to be mindful to correct these rhetorical obliques wherever they are made.

The issue in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, New York, California, New Jersey and Kalamazoo is not whether or not unions have the right to exist.  They do.  The issue is the systematic abuse of taxpayers by public employee unions who have a veritable monopoly over legislators.  The unions give them hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle in taxpayer-paid union dues, and the politicians give them anything they want.

It has gone on too long and it has to stop. Unions, yes.  Continued political bribery and nationwide fiscal insolvency, no.


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