Richard Forbes, of Warwick, offers an argument we’ve heard before:
I continually see negative commentaries about unions. Many people express resentment that union members (especially state worker and teacher unions) have excessive perks that the general population cannot obtain.
Their anger is directed toward the wrong place. In the past, unionization raised the bar for all of us. It was union organization that set the standard of an expectation of health insurance, paid time off, sick days, vacation days, limited work hours, etc. Unions created a standard of living that didn’t exist before Franklin D. Roosevelt. …
We should all be demanding that our standards be maintained, as the unions are trying to do, rather than blaming the last bastion of the American Dream.
What we never seem to hear is an admission from such idealists is that there are economic forces, rooted in human nature, for which we must account. Blinders on, they insist that market realities are arbitrary and ultimately manipulable.
Mr. Forbes should stop to consider that private-sector unions are fading because the bar has been raised beyond companies’ ability to clear it and remain in business. He should also question whether the economic policies that he prefers are partly responsible for the government debt that he laments.
When one denies reality, the results are often the opposite of those intended — except, in the short term, when it comes to a limited group that is bolstered to keep the dream alive despite all wisdom.