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"The unbridled growth of crony unionism and government corruption will destroy the United States as we know it." This statement may strike many as sheer hyperbole. But its author, Mallory Factor, a political scientist at The Citadel, knows whereof he writes. His new book, "Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind" (New York: Center Street), makes a credible case, and a well-sourced one, that our country may be in the early stages of a ruinous dystopia, courtesy of public-sector unions. In pursuing their interests, argues the author, these labor organizations hold taxpaying citizens hostage to unsustainable wage/salary, pension, health care and other contractual commitments. Municipal bankruptcy filings this year by San Bernardino and Stockton, Calif. may be a mere taste of things to come.
As for the fiscal crisis of state governments, the book likewise is unsparing in its assessment of union motives and activity - and with good reason. States, even more than localities, really are locked into union-negotiated contracts. Trillions of dollars in long-term unfunded liabilities, most of all for pensions and retiree health care, pose a potential fiscal meltdown, especially in heavily unionized states such as California, Connecticut, Illinois and New Jersey. The authors write:

(A)s states spend more money on salaries and benefits for current government workers and pension costs for retired workers, these states have less and less left in their budgets for essential services. But currently there is no way for states to get out from under crushing compensation and pension arrangements that were negotiated with the government employee unions. States are not permitted to declare bankruptcy and seek protection against their creditors, although cities are.
Good article, bad things gonna happen soon.
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