President Obama calls Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to curtail the collective-bargaining rights of state employees an “assault.” But the real assault is the conspiracy that has existed for decades between elected officials and public-employee unions — and taxpayers are the ones who wind up battered.

The unions get salaries, health benefits, and pensions far in excess of what the average taxpayer in the private sector earns. In exchange, the unions contribute huge amounts of money to the elected officials who agreed to these outrageous and fiscally bankrupting perks.

This history shows the unresolvable conflict of interest that exists between being a government employee and the member of a union. In fact, as Heritage analyst James Sherk explains, the only way for Wisconsin and other states to have responsible, fiscally sound government is to restore voters’ control over their government and to depoliticize the civil service.

Unions have no “right” to bargain with the taxpayers over tax and spending decisions. There are no profits in government for unions to negotiate over.

In fact, unions are unneeded in the public sector. Government workers in Wisconsin are covered by some of the strictest civil service rules in the country. These rules, similar to those that protect federal workers, make it almost impossible to fire even incompetent employees. They enjoy far greater protections and job security than anyone in private employment.

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