Detroit is a shiny example of  one of the many cities, and even a few states, which are sinking under the burden of debt brought about by public service union contracts.

How did it get this way and what can be done about it?

In this week’s video, Philip Howard, attorney and founder of Common Good (a nonpartisan, nonprofit legal reform coalition which is proposing a broad overhaul of American law and government), gives powerful examples of rampant fraud, abuse, and waste in public unions from New York to California. But rather than just citing the problem (which would leave all of us fuming), Mr. Howard offers a very simple solution that would go a long way towards fixing the problem.

The Solution: Stop the automatic deduction requirements for union membership when the monies go to political purposes.

“The government is suppose to serve the public, not public employees” says Howard.  “In America, that is not what is happening”.

Philip K. Howard is a noted commentator on the effects of modern law and bureaucracy on human behavior and the workings of society. In addition to being the Founder and Chair of Common Good, Howard is the author of The Death of Common Sense, a bestseller which chronicles how overly detailed law has similar effects as central planning; The Collapse of the Common Good (2002), which describes how fear of litigation corrodes daily interaction; and Life Without Lawyers, which proposes rebuilding reliable legal boundaries to define an open field of freedom where people are free to focus on accomplishing their goals, not protecting themselves from legal interference.