In his Forbes.com column, University of Chicago law professor Richard Epstein offers a simple proposal for reviving the economy: “Deregulation Now.” His proposals are all sound. I found especially welcome his focus on labor law reform, especially on collective bargaining by government employees — a problem which, as I noted here yesterday, is getting some overdue and needed attention.
On labor, state and local governments have to junk the progressive mindset in both the public and the private sector. State and local governments should never, repeat never, be forced to negotiate with local unions. The huge pensions garnered by prison guards in California or transportation workers in New York present the intolerable spectacle of requiring ordinary citizens to pay huge subsidies to union workers far richer than themselves. On the private side, don’t force developers to hire union workers on construction sites or to block the construction of new facilities that hire nonunion labor. If unions are really efficient–and they aren’t–let them compete like everyone else.