Continued from page 3

The Cato Institute’s Mr. Edwards contrasted the willingness of public employees to push for higher taxes to finance their benefits with the willingness of unions in the private sector to bow to economic realities and negotiate significantly lower wages and benefits when needed to preserve jobs.

Detroit’s autoworkers, for example, agreed to manage the financing of their pension plans in the future and accept much lower pay scales and benefits for new workers as part of the bankruptcy process in 2009.

“Private-sector unions are aware that higher costs for employers may result in lost sales and fewer union jobs,” Mr. Edwards said, while public-sector workers know they can pass the costs on to someone else.