The collective bargaining debate in Wisconsin has elucidated one critical point: The federal, state, and local government should not be involved in industries that can be privatized. The elimination of government in these realms, like education, would ease the expense of the taxpayer and federal, state, and local government. Privatizing education and other industries currently burdened by unnecessary government involvement creates competition in markets that government has a monopoly or near-monopoly. Another considerable benefit would be the purging of political rhetoric of both Republicans and Democrats.
Privatizing public schools has many advantages, especially in these times of financial crisis. State and local governments would not be responsible for the wages or benefits awarded to teachers. This would relieve immense pressure of unfunded liabilities from state budgets. More importantly, taking the education system out of the hands of government would allow for more competition in the education market. This would lead to improved schools and more choice for students and parents. Finally, employees of private companies cannot have their right to collectively bargain taken away, meaning the collective bargaining debate never happens.
Unnecessary government involvement in education, construction, and similar industries allows for excessive government spending because of a lack of competition. Government departments and public employees do not receive the pressure from the market to become more efficient or to increase productivity. An example of the benefits of limiting government involvement in employment recently occurred in Ohio. Ohio prohibited the use of project labor agreements for school construction. No longer are the local governments in Ohio mandated to hire union workers for the construction of federally funded schools. This increases competition by allowing open bidding. Without open bidding, the wages and the workers for the construction project are determined prior to winning the bid for the construction contract. This saves taxpayers money.
Limiting government involvement in employment and industry would result in far less political grandstanding and vitriolic rhetoric. No longer would Republicans have a reasonable need to attack labor unions. Privatizing industries would end conservatives’ claim of a cycle of corruption between labor unions and government. Labor unions spend their members’ dues to elect officials. These officials who were supported by labor unions are the ones who negotiate favorably public employees’ salaries and benefits. Then the elected officials expand government to employ additional union members to receive more campaign contributions in the future. On the other hand, Democrats would no longer have to defend the erroneous claim of protecting “civil rights” of union workers with regard to collective bargaining or flee their state to avoid a legislative vote.