Thursday, March 29, 2012
Twin Political Dupery: When the Both Sides of the Table Phenomena Dupe the Taxpayer AND the Union Member
What is the "both sides of the table" phenomena regarding collective bargaining in conjunction with a government monopoly? The public choice theory proposition of the both sides of the table phenomena is basically:
(1) if bureaucrat X is negotiating with collective bargaining public sector union Y, exactly what motivation does bureaucrat X have regarding negotiations? The problem goes back to Milton Friedman's fourth category of spending: other people (bureaucrat X), spending other people's money (taxpayer money), on other people (recipient class which in this case is a public sector union). Therefore the bureaucrat has little motivation because he/she is spending other people's money not his/her own money,
(2) public sector unions have found that they can collect dues through members and funnel dues into political action funds. They then fund the campaigns of politicos that promise them [public sector unions] more compensation/benefits. They not only fund certain politicos but actively encourage their union members to campaign for the politico. Once they get their particular candidate elected they have now secured a politico who over sees bureaucrat X.
Political dupery in action
The public choice theory proposition of both sides of the table phenomena many times is discussed in terms of collective bargaining by unions and resulting rich benefits bestowed upon the union and its members. However, rather than pointing to the richness of the benefits and the inability of the taxpayer to pay such benefits, what if one focuses on the political dupery of the benefits.
The both sides of the table phenomena, long the norm for public sector unions, is no longer in play in many locals as tax revenue streams have been reduced, the taxpayer can‘t afford more taxes to pay the benefits, and taxpayers have elected politicos that have changed those sitting on one side of the table. Hence the politicos bestowing benefits via taxpayer dollars and/or deficit spending to build dependent political constituency has, for the time being, ended. The accumulation of benefits via the both-sides-of-the-table phenomena is then defended by the now unrepresented yet purposely built dependent political constituency. Hence they can’t rely on the other side of the table and begin a second line of political maneuver which is strike, slow down, picket, etc.
A much overlooked item is the accumulation of benefits bestowed were in fact bestowed based on the short term political time horizons (next election) by a series of politicos (many of which are now long gone). The actual ability to pay the basket of benefits/wages, unfortunately, was never the aim of the politico. That is, its not the accumulation of “unrealistic promises” its really the purposeful accumulation of unrealistic promises [its not an error or oversight, its purposeful].
The result is the union and/or union employee think/perceive they “negotiated” items, when in fact, there never was any true arms-length negotiation. There was never any intent to negotiate long term funded realistic benefits and wages. Rather, the union or union representative, the supposed accumulated “negotiated” benefits/wages thereof, are in reality an accumulation of purposeful politico promises matching politicos short term political time horizon devoid of long term funded realistic benefits and wages.
One might consider this proposition: the both sides of the table phenomena, where the union or union member thought they where negotiating benefits, was a benefit mirage. Stated alternatively, the purposeful political dupery of the politico toward the taxpayer in the both sides of the table phenomena was simultaneously the purposeful political dupery of the union side of the table as the politico actually, in the long run, duped both the taxpayer and the union.
To make this concept even clearer, the both sides of the table phenomena is portrayed as duping the taxpayer. True. But the both sides of the table phenomena is duping the union and union worker as well. The politico is duping everyone in the room as well as outside the room.
The end result is a union that thinks they have played a role along with politicos to dupe the highly defused taxpayer when in fact they themselves were duped. The basket of benefits is a basket of promises not a basket of negotiated benefits that are funded and realistic. Therefore, the union strikes, performs walkouts, performs work slow downs and pickets based on dupery. That is, they have yet to figure out that benefits promised are much different than benefits negotiated and funded under a limited tax revenue stream. Stated alternatively, their very strike is occurring as they have yet to figure out they have indeed been duped too.