August 13, 2015

REALITY ASSERTS ITSELF: UK FOLLOWING SCOTT WALKER’S EXAMPLE.

The UK is not exactly a bastion of right-wingery. As a hoary political joke has it: In the UK, they have two parties—the Labour Party, which we in the U.S. would call the Socialist Party, and the Conservative Party, which we in the U.S. would also call the Socialist Party. And in the American context, Wisconsin is not a particularly right-wing state. Why are unions not getting their way in these places?

The answer is not, pace the wailings of Richard Trumka, a labor leader and Scott Walker critic, that Gov. Walker is some unique right-wing monster—and the same holds true for British PM David Cameron. As Richard Aldous pointed out in a must-read essay yesterday, the British voters reelected Cameron because of, not despite, his austerity and reform agenda; likewise, Wisconsin voters chose three times to keep Scott Walker in office.

To the moderate voter, it seems faintly ludicrous that public sector unions, alone of all political advocacy groups, are entitled to government-enforced dues collection. And then, that voter opens the London papers and sees that unionized public sector workers such as London’s tube drivers, who make far more than that same average voter, are going to strike for the second and third time this month over issues that have nothing to do with safety, job security, or any of the supposed traditional arguments for unionization. (The rural-American equivalent would be a school strike in a Wisconsin town over pension and health contribution levels that the average voter can only dream of.)

The waning of the blue model isn’t just an American phenomenon. The inability of Western countries to support and pay for lavish public sector pensions and benefits is becoming more apparent. Voters are giving politicians on both sides of the pond a mandate to do some remodeling.

Something that can’t go on forever, won’t.

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