Partisanship’s folly, and how Massachusetts became a union buster
I have previously noted my thoughts on both the Wisconsin public union situation and my thoughts on the union legal structure as a whole. Not only are the restrictions in Wisconsin absolutely unremarkable, given that some 40% of states similarly limit public union bargaining, but Scott Walker was being unfairly pilloried for his stance.
Now comes news that in Massachusetts – yes, that Massachusetts – the Democratically controlled House – yes, that Democratic party – has passed a bill 111-42 to restrict public union bargaining. Lolwut?
At first glance, this is certainly surprising. Taxachusetts, led by its representatives in Moscow-on-the-Charles, is actually making a move against public unions? Even after the left-liberal establishment that makes up almost the entirety of the state’s political class roundly criticized Wisconsin for attempting – ahem – the same thing?
Well yes. And more than any other news story in recent memory, this drives home the utter insanity of partisanship. As it turns out, the best way to get your agenda turned into a law is to convince the other side it’s a good idea.
Consider a historical example. Ronald Reagan got a lot of credit (much of it undeserved in the long run) for cutting back the size of government. The Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, gets deservedly more credit for her privatization efforts in Britain in the time period shortly before Reagan. But who was the most successful privatizer of the era? I would argue for Lionel Jospin of France. Aside from lowering the VAT, the income tax, and the corporate tax, France Telecom, Aerospatiale (EADS), Air France, GAN, Eramet, and many others were all privatized under Jospin’s prime ministership.
And get this – he was a Socialist. Seriously.
Some domestic examples include Jimmy Carter deregulating air travel, and Bill Clinton signing NAFTA. Of course, the opposite is also true. While Lyndon Johnson was the driving force behind its introduction, George W. Bush expanded Medicare more than any other president since. The fact is that when it comes to getting things done, the “other side” is the most potent weapon.
Remember that the next time someone makes a blanket statement about the “other” party.