The white man's burden sure got easier once we figured out all we had to do was exist as an example. Foreign lands in poverty? Well shucks, they aren't paying attention. Foreigners rising up and casting off the shackles of despotism? Finally they paid attention to what we've been saying! (Oh, and never you mind the large cash transfers to your former oppressor; I'm sure you all understand the political realities, right? Right?)
From everything I've heard, the WI unions don't think that contributing more to their pensions and health care is unreasonable, either. In fact they've agreed to it, yet are still being attacked.
I started out on the side of the governor; the unions are an unproductive drain on government coffers. But really, as HFG alluded to, we're fighting over scraps while the overlords continue to hoard the real wealth in this country.
To further WW's point; if the teachers go on strike, I as a voter cannot vote said teachers out. I will probably vote out any politician who oversaw said work stoppage. The politicians know this and thus give in to the demands of the unions because it is their jobs on the line.
One needs to look at timeframes as well. The reduced employment may be "temporary" in the sense that it isn't permanent, but if lasts for the majority or remainder of a significant portion of the displaced workforce's working years, it is permanent for them.
"Also clearly in the realm of cosseted liberal fantasy, and mostly unrelated to the lives of the people who really need unions to defend their wages and benefits: meat-packing plant workers, hospital and hotel employees, and so on. (Apart from the health insurance and child care. Everybody needs health insurance and child care.)"
Hmm, sounds like a business opportunity, albeit with low margins. I wonder how one could make this work.
More short-term thinking. Let's suck up all the oil in the rest of the world first and save our own reserves to either sell at exorbitant prices or keep for our own use in the myriad other ways it is needed beyond as fuel - lubricants, synthetics, etc.
And really, at a time when the top 20% of Americans hold 84% of the wealth of the richest country on Earth, the issue doesn't seem to be that the unwashed masses are holding disproportinate sway over the dispursement of profits. Empirical data would seem to emphatically point towards the need for better representation of the majority.
WW you've put together some very good posts on public unions, but this one falls far short of your standards. Putting up a blatantly obvious straw man and setting it ablaze impresses no one.
As for your question, I think SirWellington said it best. Better enforcement of existing labor laws and easier access to the courts for individuals. In my brief life in the full time labor market, 10 years, I can easily say that many of my employers made large profits by paying lip service to the letter of the law, all the while giving management (me) goals and dictats that could only be met by circumventing overtime and myriad other laws.
Of course, I could go to the courts. But I would likely lose to high powered corporate lawyer (this employer is one of the "Big 6" banks) and lose years worth of contacts, recommendations and pay potential. Unions do help to mitigate this, although they have gone way too far and their negatives outweight their positives in their current implementation.
Yeah, I'm not sure at what point the "angst" button got switched on but apparently it's been on for a while, looking back over my posts.
I just see the amazing juxtaposition of cutting money provide milk to babies while simultaneously trying to allocate $3 billion to design jet engines to sit on warehouse floors and get a bit worked up.
It is a farce of cosmic scale, only no one seems to be laughing.