LP Chair:”The problem in Wisconsin is not unions but government”

WASHINGTON – While Republicans and Democrats battle in Wisconsin over a bill to reduce the collective bargaining power of state employee unions as a means of balancing their budget, Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle points out that the problem lies with government control of activities it has no business running.

Hinkle comments, “Libertarians are neither pro-union nor anti-union. We believe that the right of association and freedom of contract allows any group of people to choose to bargain collectively rather than individually. Naturally, we oppose violence and threats of such, but unions per se can play a major role in a free society. The problem is that the battle between the Wisconsin state government and state employees isn’t even remotely a free market.

Government monopolizes many services that could and should be provided in the voluntary sector by profit-making and/or non-profit organizations. This also gives them a ‘monopsony’ as virtually the only potential employer for workers in these fields. Once someone has trained to be a teacher or prison guard, they are essentially at the mercy of government for their employment in that field. Blaming them for wanting collective bargaining representation would be comparable to siding with the Polish government against the union Solidarity headed by Lech Walesa that freed Poland in 1989 from Soviet rule. The problem is with the employer: the government.”

Hinkle considers the education budget to be the best example of a solution only Libertarians have offered:

“Far and away the largest part of the budget of the State of Wisconsin, once aid to local governments is allocated to underlying expenditures, is in the category of education. This is true of virtually all state and local governments, so it is the best example of how freedom can provide a solution.”

Full Statement by Mark Hinkle @ http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/lp-chair-the-problem-in-wisconsin-is-not-unions-but-government

27 thoughts on “LP Chair:”The problem in Wisconsin is not unions but government”

  1. Matt Cholko

    In this release Hinkle states that literacy rates were higher in 1850 than they are today. That is contrary to what I have always assummed. I’m not an expert on this matter though, so I’d like to know if anyone else has any insight on this.

    According to the possibly incorrect government stats at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_literacy_rate the literacy rate in the US now is 99%. How could it have been higher than that in 1850?

  2. paulie

    Functional illiteracy is much higher today, from what I have read. I’d have to dig up sources again if I were to try to prove that.

  3. Bill Wood

    Matt, I remember reading about the literacy rates in CATO’s Handbook for Policy. it might be online at the CATO site.

  4. Porn Again Christian

    Why does the headline of the press release include “LP chair:”?

    Don’t most press releases quote the LP chair?

  5. Matt Cholko

    PAC – It certainly should say Libertarian Party Chair if it’s going to refer to him, as nobody outside of our party knows what LP means.

  6. paulie

    Most LP news releases quote the LP chair, but most of them don’t put that in the headline.

    In other words, why is the headline of the press release LP Chair:”The problem in Wisconsin is not unions but government” rather than simply The problem in Wisconsin is not unions but government (?)

    See http://www.lp.org/news

    Couldn’t all or almost all of those releases had LP Chair…. in the headline? What’s different this time?

  7. Andy

    “Hinkle comments, ‘Libertarians are neither pro-union nor anti-union. We believe that the right of association and freedom of contract allows any group of people to choose to bargain collectively rather than individually. Naturally, we oppose violence and threats of such, but unions per se can play a major role in a free society. The problem is that the battle between the Wisconsin state government and state employees isn’t even remotely a free market.'”

    The problem is that these are GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE UNIONS. People should be free to unionize in the private sector (except if they are government contractors), but government employee unions should not exsist. Government employees should be prohibited from forming unions. They create a conflict of interests where the government employee unions use funds which were extorted from the public to lobby for more government.

  8. Andy

    If I could go back in a time machine to when the US Constitution and/or any state constitution was written, and I could join the conventions where these documents were written, one of the things that I’d try to get added to them would be a clause that prohibits government employees from forming unions.

  9. Thomas L. Knapp

    Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    The libertarian answer is getting government out of the business of controlling education.

    The anti-libertarian answer is suppressing freedom of association among those who work in education.

  10. Andy

    “The anti-libertarian answer is suppressing freedom of association among those who work in education.”

    I would only say this if they teach at a non-government school.

    Government employees should be prohibited from forming unions. If they don’t like that then they should quit their government jobs and work in the private sector.

  11. Less Antman

    @Matt #1

    As paulie noted, the figure is for functional illiteracy. Currently, that figure is 14%. (http://nces.ed.gov/naal/kf_demographics.asp)

    The number in 1840 was 8% (3% in the North, and 19% in the South, where it was effectively illegal to teach a black to read and write on penalty of law or vigilantes).
    (http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/the-spread-of-education-before-compulsion-britain-and-america-in-the-nineteenth-century/

    IMHO, the best source for comparisons and for libertarian arguments on education in general is Sheldon Richman’s brilliant book, SEPARATING SCHOOL AND STATE.

  12. Here is a radical idea

    If we still have public-sector unions, at very least the elected officials should NOT be setting at table in collective barganing and making salary and pension agreements. Afterall, these elected officials may have indeed received campaign contributions from the unions. So which side is the elected official sitting upon at that point? Let collective bargaining, if it continues for the public sector, be managed by a neutral third party or a sittin judge.

  13. Robert Capozzi

    Here13, yes, can Ls enter the fray of the situation in WI with a view that freedom to associate is a right to be defended while acknowledging that the institution as currently structured is sub-optimal and highly imbalanced? I’d say yes.

    I’d say this is a great time to reiterate a view that separation of school and State is desirable, yet not put all our eggs in this basket. Tweaking adjustments that protect taxpayers more should be on the table, too.

  14. Thomas L. Knapp

    “Government employees should be prohibited from forming unions.”

    They are — in North Korea and other such places.

    In America, it’s still none of your fucking business what organizations people choose to belong to.

  15. Steven Wilson

    Unions are the proof that the need for government is ___________.

    Whether or not the union is public or private, each union in America has a work waiver or a social contract indicating terms of employment and criteria for work done.

    The state of Wisconsin is declaring the new kind of bankruptcy called debt restructuring. And it is doing so in naked sight of the whole state.

    Wisconsin is breaking the social contract for stated reasons, but that state is the one breaking the contract.

    Hinkle should be in Madison with that wall of shame propaganda list. Who cares about the working man?

    Workers Unite!!

  16. paulie

    Less!

    Great to see you comment here again. Would you mind if I put this up for discussion at IPR as an article? http://anarchywithoutbombs.com/2010/06/19/there-is-no-libertarian-case-for-restricted-immigration/

    Also, I’d be interested in your thoughts on the budget question raised in the comments here

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2011/03/lnc-receives-proposed-budget/

    here

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2011/03/republican-wall-of-shame-ad-updates/

    and here

    https://independentpoliticalreport.com/2011/03/libertarian-party-shall-we-spend-30k-for-republican-wall-of-shame-ad/

  17. paulie

    If we still have public-sector unions, at very least the elected officials should NOT be setting at table in collective barganing and making salary and pension agreements. Afterall, these elected officials may have indeed received campaign contributions from the unions. So which side is the elected official sitting upon at that point? Let collective bargaining, if it continues for the public sector, be managed by a neutral third party or a sittin judge.

    That makes sense. Yes.

    Also, government union membership should be opt-in rather than opt-out, and should not be administered as part of the government run payroll system.

  18. paulie

    They are — in North Korea and other such places.

    I don’t know about North Korea specifically, but under “communist” regimes unions do exist, although they are not in any way independent entities. That is, they are controlled by the state/party apparatus, just as management is.

    A similar situation, just to a lesser degree, exists with monopoly sector (“public sector”) unions, with government employees on both sides of the negotiating table in the US.

    In America, it’s still none of your fucking business what organizations people choose to belong to.

    To some extent this is true, although if we look at monopoly government as one massive racketeering/corrupt organization, does that analysis still apply?

    That is, members of organizations such as the Crips, MS-13, Gambino Family, etc., may have their organizational membership rights somewhat curtailed if the very purpose of the organization is to violate other people’s rights.

    A workers union of members of such an organization could conceivably exist, its function being to advocate for a larger amount of loot for its members. The upper echelons of the gang would then naturally respond by expanding the pie, since they certainly don’t want less for themselves. The only problem with that is that the entire pie is stolen, and can only be expanded through additional stealing.

    Likewise, we see government unions today constantly lobbying to expand government, and using hardcore, borderline illegal, and sometimes entirely illegal means to stop any attempt to shrink monopoly government (or even advocate for it) or create functioning alternatives (home schooling, etc).

    Obviously, the correct answer is that the solution is not merely to have, say, the Dons break the Mafia Soldiers Union, but to break the mob as a whole.

    However, getting back to the real world, the government employees unions flex real political muscle to elect politicians that support expanding government and to oppose any politicians or initiatives to make government smaller.

    Additionally, the system is unlikely to collapse anytime soon because government has grown too big. We’re a long, long way from North Korea, and it doesn’t normally happen that way anyway. The Russian Empire did not fall when it was at its most oppressive, but when it had already liberalized somewhat. The Soviet System did not collapse at its Stalinist worst, but only after a long process of liberalization. So, as I’ve said previously on threads linked above, I see a “crack in the wall” approach to be more likely to succeed than a “pop the balloon” approach.

  19. Mashed Potato with a Twist

    The problem in Wisconsin is not unions, but government unions.

  20. Gene Berkman

    Paulie @ 20 is right – the the Communist regimes had government controlled unions.

    When Solidarity organized in Poland, it organized government workers at a government owned shipyard. But those workers already had a union, but one under total government control.

    Ironically, Poland is the only East European country where the CP aligned union – affiliated with the World Federation of Trade Unions – still exists, in competition with other unions.

  21. Less Antman

    @paulie #17

    I never have an objection to anyone reposting my blog material, even if it is just to make fun of it. 😉 But that is a VERY old blog post.

    My time to post or comment is severely limited, and I don’t really have an interest in the finances of the NatCom, even though my wife and I are both Torch Club contributors. I have enormous confidence in both Hinkle and Benedict, and whether I agree or disagree with any particular project of theirs is of little matter, and may only reflect my ignorance of the details more than anything.

    Besides, if I start commenting on the budget, people will notice I’m a CPA, and I will become the next victim of the Moose Turd Pie principle. 😉

  22. paulie

    Actually, I wasn’t asking you to comment on the specific project, but there’s a controversy with some people saying that we can’t do any advertising because there is no advertising in the budget, even though donors stepped forward – including one large donor that the LP probably would not have gotten at all otherwise. I was interested in your thoughts on that aspect of the discussion, but if not, thank you anyway.

    Well, this big guy come into the mess car, I mean, he’s about 5 foot forty, and he sets himself down like a fool on a stool, picked up a fork and took a big bite of that moose turd pie. Well he threw down his fork and he let out a bellow, “My God, that’s moose turd pie!”

    “It’s good though.”

    😛

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