The Right Coast

November 14, 2005
Gerrymandering Forever
By Maimon Schwarzschild

Perhaps it's all my fault. When the Governator was elected in 2003, I urged him to do something, if need be by initiative, to reform political gerrymandering in California. (Here is my lengthy post, dated December 10, 2003, on the theory and practice of gerrymandering, and why it is important for American public life to reform it.) The Governator tried. The public employee unions defeated him. It's very sad.

As John Fund points out, in this characteristically shrewd political assessment, the unions' triumph is not only bad for the Governator, it is liable to be very bad for California as well:
Steve Malanga of the Manhattan Insitute says that public-sector unions are now at the center of a new left-wing coalition of "tax eaters," which consist of everyone whose livelihood depends in large part upon government regulation, employment or entitlements. AFSCME, one of the more powerful public-sector unions, has grown from only 100,000 members in 1955 to over 1.4 million today.

For now, the unions are flush with victory and their success in humbling Mr. Schwarzenegger. But their victory may be a Pyrrhic one if it accelerates the flight of California private-sector jobs and capital to other states, taking the source of much-needed government revenue at the same time. Even the most powerful economic engines can rust. Take New York City, which today has the same population it did two generations ago but a total of 30% more government workers. During the same period, the number of Fortune 500 headquarters in New York City has dwindled to 30 from 140. When the unions win too much political clout, the overall economy inevitably suffers.
Read the whole thing.