At the risk of sounding alarmist, I must say this: I cannot think of much that is a larger threat to our country's stability, solvency, and standing than the influence and policies of government worker unions. Here is why I see them in such an intensely negative light: 1. It is morally wrong for taxpayers to be forced to support unions. Think about it: If I worked for Yellow Freight Systems (heavily unionized), it's ultimately my money that we're talking about that will go to dues. However...should I join a government worker's union...how am I paid? With tax dollars. So, ultimately...it's taxpayers that help foot the bill. And make no mistake: When unionized government workers start whining for more money...dues are at the top of the list. And taxpayers have no say in this matter. When government union goons fight the reining in of their money, perks, and power...it's YOUR MONEY they're doing it with. 2. Ultimately, government unions are simply a policy/power wing of the Democratic party. There's no other way to put it. Virtually all of the $$ given by government worker unions goes to Democrats. The affair between the two is illicit, long-lasting, and pathologically co-dependent. Democratic lawmakers essentially never go against the unions, their bosses, or their rank and file. (Nor do the Republicans who are owned by the unions...but those numbers are dramatically smaller). There is no balance here. No "cancelling out." No opposing views. It's one-sided, folks...and the one side is ALWAYS about more government, more taxes, and less for the citizenry. 3. Government worker unions' demands are ALWAYS costly, and usually damaging, to the taxpayers and the states. When the AEA (Alabama Education Association (the Alabama Teacher's Union--whose boss has run our state (or tried to) for decades) lobbied/pouted/whind for a ridiculously large 7% raise years ago, they got it. Never mind that the ever-increasing problem of insurance/retirement was simply never addressed, and the unsustainable unfunded mandate grew explosively. Never mind that this raise (election year, of course) came on the heels of another raise that was just given. Of course, our stupid lawmakers assumed that the economic growth of the mid-2000's would continue at its exorbitant rate, and there would never be an economic slowdown. It didn't, there was, and within 2 years, we couldn't pay what we promised. And Alabama's economy is better than most. Had there been a reasonable cost of living adjustment, we would have the healthiest economy in the nation. But...no dice. Let's put it another way: Look at the states that are in the worst shape financially. Then, look at the power of government unions in those states. If you can't see the correlation, you're either a union apologist, or you're a prime candidate for remedial reading comprehension courses. 4. Consequences for government union extortions are MUCH more dangerous for our communities, states, and country. When union demands ruin a company (Eastern Airlines, anyone?), the company may go bankrupt. When union demands ruin a state...the consequences are more dire. Police are less available. Firefighters may not respond. Schools decline. Prisons aren't built--or prisoners get released. The societal costs of unions' greed (and weak, unprincipled lawmakers who lack the spine to withstand their demands) ultimately wreck the very society that they supposedly are there to serve. 5. At their core, government unions capitalize on the mob mentality. Want proof? Want to see what a large group of people acting stupidly can do? Go to Wisconsin. 'Nuff said. At these rallies...do you tend to hear substantive debate or conversation? Of course not. Oh, and while we're at it: All this talk about "a new era of civility in public discourse?" Um....that doesn't apply to these folks. Say anything you want. Hitler-ian comparisons are welcomed and encouraged. Play every victim card you have in the deck. 6. There is a tremendous historical precedent, from both sides of the aisle, that recognize the inherent dangers of government employee unions. FDR--yes, mister "New Deal" himself--was vehemently against government unions. Here's a gem for you...listen to what one of the top dogs for the National Education Association said recently: "Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power." (NEA's retiring top lawyer, Bob Chanin, speaking at the NEA’s annual meeting in July, 2009) 7. With government unions, there is no "hey, maybe we should stop biting the hand that feeds us" moment. Yes...of course individually, there can be the possibility of discourse. But remember--we're dealing with a mob here. And the natural conclusion of this mob mentality: By and large, government unions and their workers will willingly destroy this very country in order to hold on to their negotiated benefits. It doesn't matter if they are unsustainable. It doesn't matter if they're unreasonable. It doesn't matter if the very people the workers are "serving" actually suffer because of it. * * * * Let's face facts: There are two very dangerous and toxic mentalities that come together--the "entitlement mentality" and the "mob mentality." The convergence of these creates the perfect storm of dissatisfaction, anger, and rebellion--and the ultimate victims are the taxpayers in general, and the intended "customers" in specific. If a teacher's union shows their collective backsides (and you thought it was only the bargaining that was collective)...who gets hosed when it comes down to it? The kids. But that's OK, because maybe--just maybe--one of those "Hallmark moments" will take place. Maybe one of those Wisconsin teachers (you know...the ones that make $100K+ per year, but can't saee any way to pay any portion of their own insurance and retirement, lest they be condemned to the cursed land of "real people") will in a moment of spontaneous goodwill, sit down with the very kids they cheated out of an education--and read the diplomas they hand out to them.