from The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class by Fred Siegel

During the run-up to the 2008 election, the rising public-sector unions eclipsed their private-sector brethren, with considerable consequences for the Democratic Party and the country. Private-sector unions had an interest in increasing their share of a growing economy. But public-sector unions, which became the mainstays of the Democratic Party’s electoral machinery locally and nationally, are, like their environmentalist allies, extractive. They’re interested in the “socialization of private-sector income” regardless of the overall condition of the economy. The gentry liberals and the public-sector unions have become close allies bound by a shared interest in expanding government.

Public-sector unions have become what Andy Stern, president of SEIU until 2010, has described as “the most powerful political force in the country.” Their rising influence was virtually undiscussed by the media in 2008. Yet it was the public-sector unions allied with wealthy liberals that funded and ran the effective political campaigns that took control of all the elected branches of government. A Democratic Party dominated by the public-sector unions of the deep-blue states increasingly came to believe that what is good for government is good for society.

In 2008, the alliance of the resentful, extractive, and identity-driven interests resolved the crisis that had dogged liberalism since 1972. The public-sector unions have become the liberals’ version of the working and middle classes. Government workers are ideal for liberals. They constitute a group whose wealth depends on increasing the size and cost of government in a sector where considerations of profit and performance are sidelined. They offer an alternative to Main Street shop owners and the private-sector middle class. In the alliance of gentry liberals and public-sector unions, the traditional ideal of self-government has been replaced by a corporatism in which powerful blocs negotiate among themselves to control the real business of government.

Siegel, Fred. The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class (Kindle Locations 3494-3509). Encounter Books. Kindle Edition


Private sector unions seek a greater share of a growing economy. Public sector unions seek a greater share of an expanding government.

FDR opposed public sector unions.  The recent Janus v. AFSCME SCOTUS decision which banned closed shop rules in the public sector is so significant in the political balance because of power the public unions have held.