Chicago, and Why Public School Unions Strike
Posted by Andrew J. Coulson
Source: Chicago Tribune
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Chicago’s teachers have just walked off the job, and most of the media coverage is quick to point out that this is the city’s first strike in a generation. But is anyone really that surprised by a public school union striking just as kids are supposed to be heading back to class in September? Wouldn’t you be a lot more shocked if you logged on to Amazon.com and were greeted by the message that its site was down due to an employee walkout? Or if you took the kids to the movies to see the latest cartoon extravaganza and found picketing ticket-takers? What is it about public schools—and other government enterprises, for that matter—that have made their unions so much more dominant than those in the private sector? [Two thirds of the public school workforce is unionized compared to about 7 percent in the private sector].
Competitors. Or, rather, the lack of them. Private sector workers can only demand so much from their companies before the demands become self-defeating. Get a pension package that’s too cushy, a salary that’s too far above the market rate, and the employer will have to pass those costs on to customers. And if those higher prices aren’t accompanied by correspondingly better quality, customers will simply go elsewhere—hurting the employees who asked for more than the market would bear.
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In the absence of real private sector competition and parental choice, public school unions have been able to drive up the system’s costs without needing to show improvement in performance. Sooner or later, Illinois will adopt a system, like education tax credits, that provides real choice and competition, because the current system will ultimately bankrupt the state.
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I don’t understand why schools are ANY different than fast food.
I spend no resources about planning for my “burger needs” and the invisible hand of the (relatively) free market provisions three choices within a mile or two of my house. And, they battle ferociously for my business.
Why are “public goods” any different?
Because we’ve let the ruling class convince us that we can’t live without their benign beneficial leadership for which they extract a life of leisure.
Sam Walmart revolutionized retailing for which he was well rewarded. Pick out ANY one of the myriad of politicians and bureaucrats, what have they accomplished for you?
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