If the unions have lost Detroit, they've lost. Period.
Today's issue of the Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on the City of Detroit. In it, Matthew Dolan reports that Robert Bobb, the head of the city's school district, authorized "layoff notices to the district's 5,466 salaried employees, including all of its teachers, a preliminary step in seeking broad work-force cuts to deal with lower enrollment."
Bobb also may be allowed to do, unilaterally, most of everything else the unions despise: "...void union contracts, sideline elected school-board members, close schools and authorize charter schools."
And last week Democratic Mayor Dave Bing "presented a $3.1 billion annual budget to City Council in which he proposed...substantial cuts in city workers' health care and pensions to close an estimated $200 million budget gap."
Who could have seen that coming? Democratic politicians are marching in lock step with their union paymasters in Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey and other jurisdictions where new Republican governors and public officials are attempting to reverse the prospects of financial ruin brought by unsustainable salaries and benefits for public service union employees.
If the financial problems weren't so compelling and time weren't so short, Republican officials could sit back and allow liberal administrations in places like Detroit to do the dirty work of reforming union contracts -- and why not? Progressive governance is primarily responsible for creating the problems. If liberal administrations acknowledge the crisis and take on the unions, who can dispute the correctness of doing so when conservatives take them on elsewhere?
The Detroit episode begs at least two questions:
- Since Detroit's population has shrunk to a 100 year low, is anyone left to protest the mayor and school chief?
- Will Detroit's mayor get the same negative media abuse as do Governors Walker, Christie and Kasich?