The Decline of Self-Rule
The signs are all around us that the government envisioned by the Framers—self-rule by the people—is on the decline. At the federal level, life-tenured judges often decide matters that are, or should be, the province of the legislative branch (or the states). In the modern administrative state, unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in executive branch agencies frequently make decisions that the Constitution assigns to either the judicial branch or to Congress, often exceeding the enumerated powers granted to the federal government in any event.
Things are not much better at the state and local levels, where powerful factions (special interests, or “rent-seekers,” in modern parlance) often wrest control of elections (and the budget) to enrich their members at the expense of the voters and taxpayers. I refer, of course, to public employee unions, which represent 7.2 million government workers, accounting for nearly half of all union membership in America. As organized labor has declined in the private sector, public employee unionization has built up an astonishing rate of membership: 35.2 percent of all government workers join unions, versus 6.7 percent of all private sector workers. When employees who are not union members but who are in a “bargaining unit” represented by a union (so-called “agency fee payers”) are included, the public sector share increases to 39 percent, which is to say that unions represent four government employees out of every 10.
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