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THURSDAY HOT READ: WHO'S IN CHARGE?

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 Patrick McIlheran on the paradox behind the union protests.

How did it unfold that private-sector workers, saving for their own retirements via 401(k)s, absolved the public sector of any such burden? It is because unions won that spiff in contract talks, even as 76% of Wisconsinites told pollsters last summer that such a deal is unacceptable.

It's not just pensions. It's that the financially failing Milwaukee Public Schools were sued by a teachers union demanding that benefits cover Viagra. It's that the educationally failing MPS for years has found reforms blocked by union intransigence. It's that union work rules allowed one Madison bus driver to pull in $159,000 a year and that the majority of Wisconsin school districts find themselves stuck with overpriced health insurance from an affiliate of the teachers union.

These things didn't happen because public servants are greedy or lazy. Most are honest and diligent. It happened because, to a surprising degree, councils and boards and the voters who elect them are not in charge. Unions are.

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