Michael Barone nails it — it’s a kickback scheme:
Public unions force taxpayers to fund Democrats
Everyone has priorities. During the past week Barack Obama has found no time to condemn the attacks that Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi has launched on the Libyan people.
But he did find time to be interviewed by a Wisconsin television station and weigh in on the dispute between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the state’s public employee unions. Walker was staging “an assault on unions,” he said, and added that “public employee unions make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens.”
Enormous contributions, yes — to the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign. Unions, most of whose members are public employees, gave Democrats some $400 million in the 2008 election cycle. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest public employee union, gave Democrats $90 million in the 2010 cycle.
Follow the money, Washington reporters like to say. The money in this case comes from taxpayers, present and future, who are the source of every penny of dues paid to public employee unions, who in turn spend much of that money on politics, almost all of it for Democrats. In effect, public employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party.
So, just as the president complained in his 2010 State of the Union address about a Supreme Court decision that he feared would increase the flow of money to Republicans, he also found time to complain about a proposed state law that could reduce the flow of money to Democrats.
Emphases added. How is this any different in any real sense from a supplier winning an order from a business and then kicking back a portion to the manager who awarded the contract? In the real world, this kind of garbage would land both parties in court.
Barone makes a couple of other points worth noting: the first is that Wisconsin (and now Ohio and Indiana) is not the opening battlefield of this fight. In 2005, with California already facing serious budget problems, the Governator had four propositions placed on the ballot for a special election. Three of them, as I recall, dealt with some aspect of union/pension reform. The unions, particularly the teachers union (sound familiar?) and the leftist nurses union, spent $100 million dollars in a successful effort to defeat all four measures. Oh, and that money was all supplied by taxpayers in the form of dues, regardless of their own preference.
(For the record, it was the 2005 special election that, in my opinion, broke Schwarzenegger’s governorship. He never recovered the influence and initiative he had at that point, and increasingly “went along to get along” with our progressive legislature. It wasn’t until 2009-2010 that he recovered enough political strength to take on pensions again, scoring a significant victory that went largely unnoticed. See Tim Cavamaugh’s “Farewell, My Lovely.”)
Barone also takes on the argument Obama made that unions have made “enormous contributions” to our economy and society by asking pointedly, “what contributions?” What studies show the benefits of strong public unions compared to states without them? Indeed, as he points out:
Their incentives are to increase the cost of government and reduce down toward zero the accountability of public employees — both contrary to the interests of taxpaying citizens.
Which is why the corrupt mutual-patronage scheme the Democrats and the public employee unions have going has to end. For the good of all taxpayers and the fiscal health of our municipalities, states, and nation, let’s hope Governor Walker is more successful than Governor Schwarzenegger.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)