Posts Tagged ‘Josh Barro’
March 10th, 2011 at 8:11 pm
Wisconsin Dems Likely to Keep CBA Ban Once in Power

Their howls of protest notwithstanding, Wisconsin Democrats – whenever they gain control of state government again – are likely to retain Republican Governor Scott Walker’s ban on collective bargaining by public employees.

The Manhattan Institute’s Josh Barro explains that Democrats in Wisconsin are about to learn the joys of writing their own budgets; just like their peers in other states and the federal government.

For this reason, I am skeptical of Democrats’ vigorous hopes to retake Wisconsin’s government and repeal this new law. There is no clamor among Democrats in Virginia to give collective-bargaining privileges to public workers, nor have Democrats in Washington, D.C., shown much interest in empowering federal workers’ unions. This is because Democratic officeholders, quite rationally, prefer to write their budgets themselves, rather than hand over control of employee-compensation costs to unions. Once Wisconsin lawmakers get used to the new status quo, I think this is likely to be true there, too — why would mayors, school-board members, and state legislators want to give up a powerful new budgeting tool they’ve been given?

Eventually, Democrats will take power in Wisconsin again, and when they do I think they are likely to restore the “dues checkoff” — automatic deductions from public payrolls to pay union dues, eliminated in the just-passed bill. But I think they are likely to find the federal model of limited collective bargaining pretty useful, just as Barack Obama has. Under pressure from municipal officials, Wisconsin Democrats will be more likely to “reform” this law while retaining significant constraints on bargaining than to repeal it entirely.

March 31st, 2010 at 1:21 pm
Governor Chris Christie Nudging New Jersey in the Right Direction

In their widely read book Nudge, authors Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler discuss the benefits of setting up policies in order to prod people towards making a certain decision.  For example, instead of installing an employee retirement program that requires workers to opt-in for contributions, make it so that they must opt-out.  Most people won’t know the difference until they get ready to retire and see each paycheck’s contribution matured into a nice nest egg thanks to the rule of 72.

Perhaps the lesson is emanating from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s new budget proposal.  The Manhattan Institute’s Josh Barro describes one of its pillars as capping local property taxes, but allowing local citizens to override the cap through targeted referendums.  Basically, if local officials can make a case for why they need more money, the people can give it to them.  The default option, though, is a hard cap.  Measures like Christie’s get the flow of political power right because it ensures We the People get the first and final say on tax rates.   If this is nudging, let’s push for more of it!