Mitch Daniels: Public-Sector Unions Shouldn't Exist

WASHINGTON -- Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) criticized public-sector unions on Sunday, saying they should be eliminated entirely.

"There's, I think, a fundamental problem with government becoming its own special interest group," he told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday." "Ultimately, there is not really bargaining in those situations because government sits on both sides of the table."

Wallace then asked whether Daniels would like to see public-sector unions disappear entirely.

"I think government works better without them, I really do," Daniels replied.

"There's a reason that defenders of labor ... always said that unionism had no place in the public sector, that it was necessary freedom, and it is, in the private sector. But that it was a bad idea in government," he added.

Daniels' appearance -- less than a week after fellow Republican Gov. Scott Walker survived a recall election in Wisconsin -- focused on unions and government spending. Daniels supported Walker's move to end collective bargaining rights for most public-sector employees, which led to outrage in the Badger State.

Indiana already has similar policies in place, such as a 2005 executive order, signed by Daniels immediately upon taking office, that eliminated collective bargaining rights for government workers.

When Wallace cited figures that showed public-sector workers in the state now receive lower salaries and must pay higher health care costs, Daniels said he had seen no such numbers.

"We're not really believing that we've done anything but improve the lot of Indiana public employees," he said.

Looking ahead, Daniels said Republicans would be wrong to see the Wisconsin recall results as a "great harbinger" of things to come in November, but added that he hopes Walker's victory will encourage Romney to run as a strong conservative.

"The American people will rightly, I think, demand to know something more than that he's not President Obama," Daniels said. "But secondly, he's got to use this fall as an opportunity to build a consensus across, I hope, a big spectrum of Americans, to make the changes we need for a vibrant private sector and all of the good things that go with it."

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