This settles it, unions are great for the economy according to Reuters: “Union membership in the United States rose in 2008 for the second straight year, accelerating a turnaround begun in 2007 that followed decades of decline, the government reported on Wednesday.” Unions go up and the economy goes down.
These numbers should not come as any major surprise because government workers are five times more likely to be union members and the only sector of job growth has been among, government workers. While these numbers may not surprise us they should at the very least concern us not merely as one more reminder of the ever increasing size of government but because to an increasing extent each new government worker is another dues paying member to a union.
Why should these government employee unions concern us? They are inherently anti-democratic in that they are largely political advocacy organizations. Last year the National Education Association spent twenty-five million dollars on “political activities.” When you think about it, they really spent twenty-five million dollars of our money on political advocacy and we the taxpayers had no say in the matter. We don’t get to choose those that run the NEA but we get to pay for their decisions. Our concern is only amplified when we consider that the National Education Association is one of the most vociferous opponents of virtually all efforts to reform public education.
Consider one other example of government employee union political activities; in 2002 when President Bush proposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, Democrats opposed the legislation because it contained language, which the American Federation of Government Employees opposed. Federal employee unions spent in excess of sixteen million dollars on political activities in 2002. In short an organization that is funded by the taxpayers sought to thwart policies to protect taxpayers from terrorists.
The bottom line is that increased union membership under these circumstances does not merely threaten our economic health but it threatens our political system as well.