Public-Employee Benefits and Republican Politics

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Between the amount states have promised their workers -- and the money they have to pay -- the gap totals no less than a trillion dollars. Both Democratic and Republican governors want to cut the pay or benefits of public employees to help reduce massive state deficits, but some Republicans are challenging public-sector unions and their right to bargain. While this is music to GOP strategists who've prepared for years to exploit the issue, a poll released today by the New York Times and CBS News says Americans oppose that idea by a margin of 56 to 37 percent. Republican efforts to reduce bargaining rights are opposed by 60 to 33, with only a slim majority of GOP voters in favor. Will there be a political backlash if private-sector voters identify police officers, firefighters and teachers as partners in the besieged middle-class?




Warren Olney