The Democratic Party is in need of an antiunion candidate like Scott Walker because unions have been the chief obstacle to nearly ever reform that both the right and the left have tried to enact, said an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal
"Unions may not matter much in American workplaces anymore but unions represent the main political obstacle to just about every kind of reform: School choice. Entitlements. Pensions. Healthcare," wrote Holman Jenkins of the Journal's editorial board in a Business World column.
He gave the example that the labor movement has been the main obstacle to overhauling California's Environmental Quality Act, which was a reform supported by Democrats and environmentalists.
Jenkins quotes Miles Kimball, a University of Michigan economist and self-described "supply-side liberal" who wrote on his blog, "Most unions are middle-class organizations that in their political activities are ready and willing to sacrifice the interests of the poor to benefit their members and their leaders."
He said that Walker's "revolution" was driven by voters who realized that government workers had become the privileged class, attracting the best pay, best benefits, longest vacations, and job security, making them unremovable.
Meanwhile, he said, their dues funded a political class that seemed indifferent to anyone else's problems.
Jenkins pointed out that Walker took on a fight with the unions, triggering the 2012 recall effort, that reversed a 1959 experiment in union representation for public employees that was ultimately an ill-advised idea for reasons that traditional liberals warned against: it caused what some call "the blue-state governance model, combining a stagnant, overtaxed private sector, a bloated public sector, and a long-term pension time bomb of the sort nowadays blowing up in cities and states (and Puerto Rico) around the country."
Walker has been criticized for a lack of breadth, Jenkins said, and an unwillingness to take advice, but those qualities have in the past marked a strength in a president, a marker that a politician can accomplish something that "needs doing now."
"[Walker's] real failing is that he belongs to the wrong party. An antiunion Republican candidate is practically a redundancy these days. Yet even a GOP president backed by a GOP Congress won't be able to carry forward meaningful reforms unless Democratic reformers are willing to step up too," he wrote.
"To change America's path will require both parties. Too bad we don't have a Democratic Scott Walker yet. We'll need one."
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