In my column in the September 5th Baltimore Sun, “The Public Pension Curse,” I analyze the dangers of public-sector unions and the lavish salaries and benefits they extract from governments world wide:
Around the world, public-sector unions are holding entire countries hostage. In the last weeks of August, large numbers of South Africa’s 1.3 million-strong civil service sector went on strike, demanding higher wages and housing allowances — and plunging the nation’s hospitals and school system into chaos. According to the Financial Times, “Volunteers and army medics struggled to keep hospitals operating, while school pupils resorted to teaching each other in preparation for exams at the end of the year.”
Then there is Europe, where lavish public pensions and benefits have contributed to economy-crippling levels of debt. Greece, deep into a destabilizing fiscal crisis, saw its public-sector unions demonstrating (including deadly riots) throughout the spring in opposition to proposed pension rollbacks, part of the “austerity” package of spending cuts Athens was forced to consider to save the nation from bankruptcy.
Two thousand five hundred years, ago, Greece gave birth to democracy. Is it now foretelling how it may end?
Read the whole thing here.