Why the Democratic Party-Union relationship is corrupt

February 24, 2011

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)


Andrew Klavan: Leaving Al Gore

June 18, 2010

Andrew Klavan, noting that the mainstream media nobly refuses to engage in baseless and sensationalistic speculations about the breakup of Al and Tipper Gore’s marriage*, bravely steps into the breach:

*(After all, it’s not like Al is John McCain or Arnold Schwarzenegger)


The Governator meets the nightstick

December 17, 2009

As a followup to this news, the folks at Conservatives for Palin decided to have a bit of fun at Governor Schwarzenegger’s expense:

Hmmm… “Boom! Taste my nightstick!” could become the rallying cry for the whole anti-statist movement.  Heh.  Cowboy


Sarah Barracuda vs. The Governator?

December 16, 2009

Our governor is a famous tough-guy, but I don’t think even the Terminator should want to take on this battle.

It all began when former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post criticizing the rigged science apparently revealed by the Climategate files and recommending that President Obama skip the UN Conference on Climate Change at Copenhagen, at least until questions about the reliability of the basic climate data could be solved. It was a reasonable editorial that strongly recommended caution in the wake of the expanding scandal. For her troubles, she earned an attack by Al Gore himself, but she returned fire.

Now comes the turn of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who I sometimes suspect wishes he were Al Gore. In Copenhagen for the conference and asked about Governor Palin’s editorial, Arnie replied:

The California governor has become an environmental standard bearer for the Republican party, which is split on the merits of curbing emissions. Sarah Palin, John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election, has attacked cap and trade and questioned any link between man-made emissions and global warming.

“You have to ask: what was she trying to accomplish?” said Mr Schwarzenegger. “Is she really interested in this subject or is she interested in her career and in winning the [Republican] nomination [for president]? You have to take all these things with a grain of salt.”

Sigh. Governors in glass statehouses shouldn’t throw stones. Sarah Palin has a very good record of environmental stewardship, as any fair examination of her time as governor shows. But, I’ll let her speak for herself:

Why is Governor Schwarzenegger pushing for the same sorts of policies in Copenhagen that have helped drive his state into record deficits and unemployment? Perhaps he will recall that I live in our nation’s only Arctic state and that I was among the first governors to create a sub-cabinet to deal specifically with climate change. While I and all Alaskans witness the impacts of changes in weather patterns firsthand, I have repeatedly said that we can’t primarily blame man’s activities for those changes. And while I did look for practical responses to those changes, what I didn’t do was hamstring Alaska’s job creators with burdensome regulations so that I could act “greener than thou” when talking to reporters.

One shot, one RINO bagged.

She’s right to call attention to Schwarzenegger’s record, because the policies he has championed in the name of “science” have only lead to deeper debt and faster job loss in California, all to little or no real benefit. For example, he supported and signed the draconian AB 32, a statewide “greenhouse gas” bill similar to the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill proposed in Congress. It will do nothing to solve the anthropogenic global warming problem (which doesn’t exist, anyway), but its regulatory provisions are already driving jobs out of the state in the midst of a deep recession.  And Arnie’s support for Proposition 71 in 2004 indebted the state for three billion dollars to support fetal stem-cell research – yet more junk science. (Unlike fetal stem cells, adult stem cells show real promise.)

The trouble with our governor is that, to put it simply if bluntly, he falls too easily to the temptation to do what’s currently popular in order to maintain his own popularity, rather than what’s right, even if it makes a large segment of the California public angry. Hence he has done nothing substantive to reduce spending in this state even while revenues crash, he’s agreed to economy-hobbling measures because environmentalism is a “Mom and apple pie” issue in California, and he’s agreed to take on more debt even while the state already suffers under a crushing debt burden. And now he’s chasing (Green) popular appeal in Copenhagen, which includes ritual denunciation of those who dare to be skeptical, such as Sarah Palin.

Governor, you may have been the Terminator, but she is Sarah Palin Conner. Don’t even think about it.  Not talking

LINKS: Hot Air.


California con job

July 24, 2009

Earlier this week, my beloved state of Madness California reached a budget deal that ostensibly closed for this year the 26 billion dollar deficit — you know, the one that the last budget deal was supposed to close. (But I digress). Amid much wailing and gnashing of teeth about cutting programs that we were foolish to fund to such an extent in the first place, our Governor emphasized that this deal was reached without raising taxes. If there’s one thing Arnie likes, it’s being popular, and the crushing defeat of four tax-raising ballot measures in the last special election by 2-1 margins drive home to him just what the popular (and populist) position would be. So, read his flexing biceps: No. New. Taxes.

Bull. Angry

Rather than raise taxes, the state will simply take more in withholding:

The plan also raises $4 billion in part by accelerating personal and corporate income tax withholdings and increasing income tax withholding schedules by 10 percent.

Get that? Rather than raise the tax rate, they’re simply going to take your money at the current rates, only faster. No problem, right? Hypnotized

In case you’re still boggled by the “We’re going to take more of your money without raising taxes” magic trick, let me list some of the problems:

  • In the end, we’re still left with less on payday. That’s bad at any time, but to do so when so many state and local workers are facing pay cuts is adding insult to injury. It’s already tough to get by; this will make it worse for many, many people.
  • Corporations will be left with less money to pay workers and hire new employees. With a state unemployment rate hitting 11%, that’s just insanity. You can expect the exodus of businesses from California to accelerate, not slow.
  • Because the state is taking this money via accelerated withholding, they will quite likely owe more in refunds next year. This is, in the end, an interest-free loan on our part.  Trouble is, the money they’re taking now is being used now to cover shortfalls. Where will the money come from for those even-greater refunds? Anyone whose memory stretches back to just last winter will remember that the state was having trouble meeting refund requirements even then. Typical of Sacramento, the state apparently prays expects the recession to end soon, bringing with it a flood of new revenues to cover their continued profligacy.

And Minerva will descend from our state seal to do a pole-dance in the capitol rotunda, too.

Remember this next election day.