One of the consistently remarkable traits of public-sector obstructionism is how often it's penny wise and pound foolish for the very unions that are pushing it.
Exhibit A: The San Diego Unified School District, where the local teachers unions quietly killed a plan to rein in health care costs -- only to see a spiraling budget deficit result in over 1,600 teaching jobs being placed on the chopping block.
The San Diego Union-Tribune has the story
Late in the summer of 2010, as the San Diego Unified School District waded through yet another patch of budgetary quicksand, trustees gathered behind closed doors to talk about spiraling health care costs.
Annual expenses had spiked to $167 million, by far the biggest cost short of payroll. A Los Angeles County firm was telling the board it could save the district almost $10 million a year by taking over the system.
The district's two biggest unions opposed the proposal by Keenan & Associates, and it was scrapped without so much as a public hearing.
Now some of the same elected officials are considering eliminating 1,639 teaching jobs -- plus more than 300 non-teaching positions -- to balance next year's $1.1 billion budget. Class sizes in middle school would rise as high as 40.
Someday, perhaps, the unions will learn that money is fungible and that feathering their nests in one area only hastens the day when they'll have to pay the bill elsewhere. Their foolhardiness does, however, come with a silver lining. Without it, the crisis that just might force reform to Public Sector Inc. might never have happened.