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Ed Driscoll

Why “Unions and Government Should Not Mix: A California Case Study,” as presented by James Sherk of the Heritage Foundation at the Corner:

If you had a bad rush hour this week, it could be worse: You could be commuting in San Francisco, where the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) strike has shut down public transit.

Epic gridlock has ensued as 400,000 mass transit commuters moved to the highways. The Bay Bridge has been gridlocked by 6:30 a.m. The work time lost in these traffic jams will cost San Francisco’s economy $73 million a day. California appears determined to demonstrate how not to run a state.

BART employees already get paid very well. On average, their total compensation tops $130,000 a year — $80,000 in cash wages and another $50,000 in benefits. BART offered its employees 8 percent raises over the next four years. That wasn’t good enough for the unions. They want a 21 percent pay hike over three years. The transit system said it couldn’t afford that, so the unions shut everything down.

In some ways, it’s hard to fault them. Almost everybody wants a raise, no matter how much they currently make. And unions exist to get those raises. As Samuel Gompers, the first president of the American Federation of Labor, famously explained, unions want “More! More today, and more tomorrow; and then we shall want more and more.”

When does More! More! More! hit the brick wall of reality, particularly in a state with some of the highest taxes, and (not coincidentally) nearly nine percent unemployment?

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