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Monday, June 22, 2015 02:23 pm

Stealing from the rich

In "The razor blade in the apple," I examined Mr. Rauner's proposal to freeze property taxes, exempt local governments from the Prevailing Wage Act and allow those governments to limit what is on the table when they sit down to bargain with public employee unions. 

The only interesting thing that got said during the “debate” was Bruce Rauner’s remark that “The governments belong to the local voters and the taxpayers,” not to the labor unions whose members make those governments work. Ordinarily I wouldn’t think it necessary to point out that public employees are voters and taxpayers too, but presumably the governor believes that their holding public jobs is a conflict of interest that disqualifies them from citizenship status. 

His real beef? Bargained wages divert income from the propertied to the rest, allowing the rest to become modestly propertied themselves. Bargained wages invigorate the local economy, in the same way that higher minimum wages marginally reduce profits of a very few but boost local spending by everyone else. The positive effects of such policies don’t matter, however, if you believe – and brother, do they believe – that such transfers of wealth are immoral, being tantamount to theft. 

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