My favorite quote from the article:
“The optics of this strike are gruesome for Democrats: You’ve got the best paid teachers in the country, who already take home nearly $30,000 per year more on average than the average Chicago family, walking out on kids in Obama’s own hometown even though a friendly Democratic face in Rahm Emanuel is on the other side of the table. It’s an object lesson in union ruthlessness, and Rahm’s going to have no choice but to dig in lest he illustrate just what the GOP has in mind when it talks about Democrats having been captured by Big Labor.”
For a detailed explanation of what’s wrong with teachers unions, check this video out:
The above video is absolutely excellent. I would like to expand on it a little, though. (there’s only so much you can fit into a 4 minute viral video!)
One part of the problem is the fact that government unions are not like regular unions. In a normal union, the union has to negotiate with a private company, and cannot bribe its officials directly. Or rather, if an official was bribed, he would likely be fired by the board of directors. And if the company did give too much up to the union, it would eventually fail because it wouldn’t be able to compete with leaner, more efficient companies.
In a government union, though, the politician is already in the union’s pocket. So the politician doesn’t necessarily have his city’s best interests in mind. In fact, there are laws that say that government unions must exist, and must be allowed to force all government employees to join. In a free market, those points are negotiated, instead of legislated as permanent government policy. A negotiation process in the free market guarantees that consumers get the most for their money. (unlike a government granted monopoly)
The other side of the coin is that simply eliminating public sector unions alone isn’t enough to guarantee a quality education for our children. Getting rid of the unions will mean these teachers will be paid according to how well they teach, sure. But we could still end up with a bunch of terrible teachers.
Why is that? It’s still ultimately a politician choosing the teachers. You see, as a parent or taxpayer, taxes for the school district are automatically deducted from your paycheck. You don’t get to pick where your child goes to school. And you have to send your child whether you want to or not. And in many cases, parents can’t choose where they want to live based on schools. There are private schools, but anyone with a child in a private school is paying for their child’s education twice! (once to the government via taxes for public schools, and again to the private school)
That means it is a politician who gets to pick. And, of course, politicians like to pick options that involve campaign kickbacks later on. (in this case, public sector unions)
So the solution to our education system woes can really be divided into two steps:
1. Pass ‘right to work’ laws. As I discussed in a previous post about public sector unions, right-to-work laws simply allow employees in public sector unions to choose whether or not they want to join a union and pay union dues.
2. Create ‘school voucher’ programs. Basically, the government says ‘look, we’re spending $10,000 a year per student, so instead of automatically giving it to the low performance public schools, we’ll let you choose where to spend it, whether it is a private school or a public school you choose!’. Private schools tend to have higher testing scores. This system also gives the parents a choice to pick a religious school if they want to, without being ‘billed twice’. It’s a sort of ‘partially free market’ system: on one hand, students’ educations are still subsidized by wealthier taxpayers, but on the other hand, parents get to choose how the money is spent. And consumer choice always leads to higher quality in product!
Louisiana recently enacted a school voucher program. It will be interesting to see how Louisiana students score compared to other students.
So, the next time someone shouts ‘but we need to pay teachers MOOOOAAAR MONEEEY’, I hope you have your free market based answers ready and on standby.
Update 9/12/2012: Fixed a broken web link.
It’s official: The government plays favorites based on sexual orientation. I mean, we’ve known this for some time, because of affirmative action, the government’s meddling in the definition of ‘marriage’, etc., but this law is the icing on the cake.
Check out the 111th Congress’ HR 1913, which expands on an earlier law in granting extra resources to prosecuting crimes committed against homosexuals. Wikipedia claims the law was legislated as a reaction to the murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998.
It’s ironic that these laws were passed in the name of Matthew Shepard, as both of his murderers were sentenced to life in prison without any such legislation in place. If our country keeps this up, there will be a strong incentive for individuals to write down their orientation as ‘not straight’ in order to receive additional protection.
If it’s an issue of the federal government wanting to prosecute certain local cases, they should just pass a law that provides equal protection of everyone – not only people who happen to be attracted to others of their own gender.
The tricky thing about legislation protecting some more than others is that when you speak out against them, people assume you hate the people receiving extra protection. And that’s simply not true – we’re just protesting the fact the government is playing favorites… again. Many will point to capitalism to say “corporations cause unequal rights!”, but the truth is the government has been granting monopolies, suppressing voices, oppressing people, handing out grants and subsidies, and generally playing favorites for centuries. As true conservatives, we simply want an end to the favoritism. No more subsidies, no more massively increasing tax scales, no more affirmative action, and no more favoritism. (and perhaps an approval voting system, shortened patent and copyright lengths, capping government pay at the national median, and legislative term limits, to cut down on even more favoritism!)
We had a housing collapse because of liberal housing rules and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securing bad loans? No problem! Time for more of the same, says Obama, who is acting without Congress’ aid.
You see, this is all part of the liberal mindset. When the government screws up a market, it’s never the government’s fault. No, no, no, those who don’t have a profit incentive are never wrong. It’s always those who have an incentive to make money who are wrong.
In fact, even though government officials don’t have any skin in the game, if something does go wrong, the reason it went wrong was because they didn’t meddle enough! (many legislators have been exempt from the laws they pass for some time now)
So, clearly, the solution here is to impose more things on the economy that no consumer wants to buy.
Or perhaps it is our fault as American citizens that we aren’t purchasing risky loans! I’m going to make a change for the better: while shopping this week, I’m going to buy some pizza, Oreos, and a few more subprime mortgage security shares. (from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae of course)
Come on, folks, do your part for our country and buy more shares of risky loans!
Investment disclosure: Nephew Sam does not actually own, nor plans to purchase, any subprime mortgage shares, besides the number the federal government has already bought with taxpayer money.