Governor Chris Christie’s hunt, confront, and blunt approach to solving New Jersey’s deficit problems is thrilling. I like what he has to say about public employee/union entitlement demands. Take a look at a Townhall meeting he held on September 14, 2010, in Gloucester Township, NJ:
Governor Mitt Romney addresses this issue in No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. Here’s a brief excerpt (P. 217, 218):
Accountability is one of those things we expect from others but would prefer not to submit to ourselves. Most of us would rather be rewarded regardless of whether we excel, yet we know that if that were the case for everyone, our society would falter. Teachers’ unions do their very best to secure these insulations from performance for their members, and the results are lack of accountability, rising pay as a simple function of years on the job, and near-absolute job security. These have a deadening impact on student achievement. [...]
[...] Our elected representatives’ role is to sit across the table from the unions and bargain in good faith in the interest of children and parents. But the teachers’ unions long ago discovered that they could wield influence – and, in some cases overwhelmingly influence – over the selection of our representatives on school boards and in state legislatures. In states like Massachusetts and in many others, it’s almost impossible to be elected a city mayor if you are opposed by the local teachers’ union, and the same is true for candidates for state representative in many legislative districts. As a result, candidates for office woo the teachers’ unions. If they secure their endorsement and are elected, the official sitting across the table from the union at bargaining time is the very person the union campaigned for and helped get into office. All too often, no one at that bargaining table is there solely to represent the interests of the children and parents. Of course, there are always the requisite public nods to education reform, accountability, performance pay, and all the potential education reforms that are currently in vogue. But meaningful change is seldom accomplished. Instead, the priority almost always remains more education funding and creating smaller classes – the two measure with the least positive impact on the quality of education, but the most impact on teacher pay and union dues. When citizens vote to reduce education revenues or the state cuts back on funds, the education officials typically make the cuts where the voters will feel them most – in sports, music, arts, libraries, and computers. You simply don’t see administrators being fired or salaries being cut across the board.
[…]The unions’ influence directly affects policies that lie at the foundation of our nation’s economy, the core of our ability to preserve freedom, and the heart of our children’s future prosperity. The reform and improvement of our failing schools is a priority that is simply too important to be shaped by such a powerful and self-interested special interest.
|Governor Christie proposes pension and health benefit reform|
No Apology – Mitt Romney P. 113
Unfortunately, some union CEOs are less concerned about an industry’s competitiveness than they are with how many of their union’s jobs they can protect, how much they can increase wages, and how they can impose even more favorable work rules. In some cases, this mind-set has contributed to companies or to entire industries failing so badly behind their competition that they lose market share or fail altogether, resulting in even greater job losses. Airlines, textiles, tires, steel aluminum consumer electronics, and autos include cases in point. The declines in unionized workplaces in the private sector reflects a recognition by working people across America that continual improvement and innovation are required in order for an employer to survive in the global marketplace. Unionization continues to grow in the public sector, however, because there is no competition to drive out a government entity that is inefficient, unproductive, or high cost – government is a protected monopoly.
For further details on Romney’s stance on unsustainable entitlements, refer to No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.
► Jayde Wyatt