Matt Yglesias has solved the riddle of why so many purportedly liberal wonks hate teachers unions, even while they claim to support unions generally.
The most salient difference, completely absent from his armchair psychologizing, is surely thatpublic school teachers work for the government. If AT&T workers get a better deal for themselves, that may well mean a worse deal for people who bought AT&T stock in past years but I’m not going to cry on their behalf. By contrast, if Chicago public school teachers get a better deal for themselves that may well mean a worse deal for Chicago taxpayers.
Indeed, what baffles me about these discussions is the tendency of labor’s alleged friends to simply refuse to look this reality in the face and instead insist that any hostility to specific union asks must secretly reflect the skeptic’s hostility to the existence of the union or its members. [my emphasis]
Look what Yglesias has done here. He has defended purportedly liberal pundits who are opposed to teachers unions based on a concern for taxpayers.
This is funny for several reasons. First, because a plurality of actual Chicago taxpayers–47%–support the strike, with 39% opposed. So Yglesias is arguing that his pundit friends don’t like this strike because they’re concerned for taxpayers who actually do like the strike.
That’s so … paternalistic.
But also look at how Yglesias has constructed this: if teachers get what they want, it may be a bad deal for the taxpayers.
Somehow, in a post about schools, Yglesias thinks this is about citizens as taxpayers and not citizens as parents or even just community members.
He doesn’t consider the possibility that if teachers get what they want, it may be a great deal for taxpayer-parents. Read more