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Friday, March 22 , 2019, 10:53 pm | Fair 56º


David Harsanyi: Paul Krugman’s Third World Fantasy

In reality, public employee unions aren't revolting against corporations or other villains

According to Nobel laureate and raconteur Paul Krugman, Gov. Scott Walker and “his backers” are attempting to “make Wisconsin — and, eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a Third World-style oligarchy.”

Now, it’s common knowledge that throwing around loaded words such as “socialism” is both uncivil and obtuse, so it’s comforting to know we can still refer to people as “Third World-style oligarchs.” And boy, that kind of banana republic doesn’t seem very appealing.

Democracy, naturally, can only be saved by public-sector unions, which attain their political power and taxpayer-funded benefits by “negotiating” with politicians elected with the help of unions who use, well, taxpayer dollars. And you know, that doesn’t sound like an oligarchy at all.

Though Walker — who won office using obnoxious Third World oligarchic tactics, e.g., getting more votes than the other candidate — is a cancer in the heart of democracy, union-funded Democrats evading their constitutional obligation to cast votes are only protecting the integrity of representative government by completely avoiding democracy.

You’re getting it now, right?

In this world, when you tax a citizen a bit less to try to generate economic growth, you are not taking less from the taxpayer, but “stealing” from a third party who, at some point in his life, was told he had an indelible right to your wallet, no matter the cost. And if you don’t hand it over? Well, even though Wisconsin is home to some of the nation’s highest taxes and even though the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that tax cuts are “not even in effect yet, so they cannot be part of the current problem,” you can’t stop unionists from blaming “giveaways” to the rich.

And isn’t it always the rich?

Surely by now you’ve heard of the Koch brothers (pronounced “Eichmanns”), billionaire businessmen who spend their own money championing free market ideals and capitalism. Plutocrats!

The libertarian Kochs are super-rich and gave less than $2 million to Republicans in the most recent election cycle, which mathematically speaking amounts to nothing. In fact, Timothy Carney of The Washington Examiner dispatched Krugman’s claim that unions are a “counterweight to the political power of big money” by pointing out that every one of the top 10 “industries contributing to the 2010 elections gave more money to Democrats.”

If some public union rollbacks are a harbinger of the rebirth of the robber barons, why is it that the Service Employees International Union’s boss — who represents a sliver of the American work force — has been the most frequent guest at the White House after he handed President Barack Obama $28 million and used tens of millions more to campaign for him and his policies?

Is it a sign of pending Third World oligarchy that the president, in turn, uses that money to fund Organizing for America and deploys its activists to agitate for unions in Wisconsin?

Is it impending oligarchy when the president employs the coercive power of government to stick taxpayers (and GM stakeholders) with the bill for a Detroit union bailout or appoints a rigid union booster to the National Labor Relations Board without so much as a U.S. Senate hearing to allow “democracy” to have its say in the matter?

It should not surprise you that in Wisconsin, as is the case elsewhere, it is the oligarchs who support policies that offer parents and children more educational choices, while democracy lovers call in sick and shut down the entire government-run monopoly that offers them none.

Because, despite the chilling fairy tales of Krugman and others, public employee unions aren’t revolting against corporations, power brokers, Kochs or any other villains. Right or wrong, public employee unions can only revolt against the public.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post. Click here for more information, or click here to contact him. Follow him on Twitter: @davidharsanyi.

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