Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 3 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/16/14

WSJ blames Ferguson unrest on generous police contracts. Does it also think unions were responsible for holocaust?

By       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     (# of views)   No comments
Author 93753
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Marc Jampole
Become a Fan
- Advertisement -

In a lead editorial, the Wall Street Journal proposes the truly bizarre theory that overly generous police contracts helped cause the civil unrest in the wake of the shooting of an unarmed African-American man by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri.

To come to this outrageous conclusion, the Journal must combine truly twisted reasoning with an imperfect history of public sector employment. What the editorial says is that because police officers receive lifetime job protection and generous retirement benefits, turnover among police occurs more slowly than the demographic changes in the communities they serve. That mismatch in turnover explains why 94% of all police officers in Ferguson are white even though Ferguson shifted to a majority-African-American population over the past decade--or so says the Journal. The Journal concludes this nice bit of dishonest analysis by saying that the complete dearth of minority officers "may have contributed to municipal mistrust." The Journal also blames union-negotiated contracts that build in bureaucratic privileges that would never be extended to other suspects."

Let's begin our analysis of the Journal's deception with the history that the editorial does not provide: Historically public sector employees made less than what workers earned in the private sector, a deal that public employees--and their unions--were willing to make for better benefits and more job protection. Private sector workers have only fallen behind police, teachers and other government workers during the last 30 years of stagnant and falling wages for all employees. As the newspaper of record for corporate America, the Wall Street Journal has long supported anything that drives down the wages and benefits of employees, be it implementing anti-union regulations, keeping a tight lid on the minimum wage or weaseling out of pension deals with public employees.

Unions and union contracts have nothing to do with what happened in Ferguson, which resulted because of a "bad shoot" by one officer and the overreaction of the police department to the exercise of the legal right of residents to gather in protest. As the New York Times and others (including the Economist weeks before the Ferguson incident) have noted, the militarization of police departments following 9/11 has gone too far, with the overuse of SWAT team and other military tactics becoming all too frequent across the country. That this militarization of local police has led to many more tragic incidents in minority communities than in upper- and middle-class white neighborhoods merely continues the long and sad history of institutional racism in the United States.

- Advertisement -

Making union contracts less generous to create greater turnover will not help to prevent future Fergusons. Distrust of police comes from practices such as racial profiling, overly harsh treatment of suspects, trigger-happy officers and racism.

 

- Advertisement -

Rate It | View Ratings

Marc Jampole Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Marc Jampole is a well-known poet and public relations executive and a former television news reporter. He writes the OpEdge blog, which covers politics and social trends from a progressive perspective.

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

NRC storage decision may lead to building of more dangerous nuclear power plants

WSJ blames Ferguson unrest on generous police contracts. Does it also think unions were responsible for holocaust?

Obama administration trade for Bergdahl shows they've learned the meaning of due process

American political situation begins to resemble Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

S&P identifies problem--income inequality--but gives same absurd solution that most economists do

Racism reborn as theories on Western superiority