The Sad Logic of Attacking Public Employee Unions

Bob Herbert today in the New York Times quotes economist Richard Freeman about the resentment he’s hearing in the attacks on public employees – school teachers, firefighters, EMT’s – who have jobs with decent benefits.

One of the saddest things I’ve read in The New York Times recently was a comment by Richard Freeman, a Harvard economist, who said that he views the current hostility toward unions by members of the general public as a sign of the erosion of the aspirational nature that has for so long characterized Americans. “It shows a hopelessness,” he said. “It used to be, ‘You have something I don’t have; I’ll go to my employer to get it, too. Now I don’t see any chance of getting it. I don’t want to be the lowest one on the totem pole, so I don’t want you to have it either.’ ”

Sad indeed. The corporate class in America is laughing all the way to the bank. Fortunately, there are new polls showing strong support for public employees having the right to negotiate over wages and benefits.