Friday, March 4, 2011
Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon....
The drama between public sector unions and government leaders that want to downsize them is playing out all across the country in dramatic and often angry fashion. Wisconsin presently serves as a flash point in this process, and it remains to be seen if Governor Scott Walker and the Republicans in the state legislature there have the fortitude to push through the reform of public sector unions. I hope they do. Public sector unions have been a disaster for our nation. Now before you accuse me of union bashing, I want to say that my Dad was a union man for over 40 years, and he benefited from being in the union. Here is the distinction that should be brought out in this debate: private sector unions were created out of necessity, often times to rectify horrid and unfair working conditions. Work rules to make the job safer and create a system of fair compensation within an industry benefited many workers in the private sector. Public sector unions, by contrast, have not faced horrid and dangerous work conditions (police and fire service employees excepted) and have negotiated salaries and civil service protection. In fact, there were no public sector unions in this nation until President Kennedy, by executive order, lifted the ban on such unions. The reason? Pure politics. This was a move designed to benefit the Democratic Party. And it has worked, magnificently for them. Public sector union membership skyrocketed and in turn, so have their contributions to the Democrats. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, from 1989 to 2004, members of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) gave $40 million to candidates in federal elections, 98.5% of which went to Democrats. Think about this: private sector unions fight with management over workplace safety and working conditions and for an equitable share of the company profits: public sector unions fight with government leaders over over taxpayer money, which always puts a public sector union at odds with you and me. These fights are not about collective bargaining privileges; instead they are about pushing government workers away from the unfettered access to your wallet. Remember: it's ALWAYS about the money.
There is always going to be death and taxes, however, death doesn't get worse every year.
Lest you think I am bashing unions and government workers, consider this: in the 2010 mid-term elections, three public worker unions- the aforementioned AFSCME, the Service Employees International Union, and the American Federation of Teachers- gave $198 million dollars to to the Democratic Party and its candidates. This is money that has been transferred through the tax system and in payment for negotiated contracts to the employees of these unions. When a municipality or a state negotiates a contract with a public sector union, that contract is paid through our tax dollars. And in turn, our tax dollars are flowing back to the Democratic Party and their candidates. Frankly, this smacks of money laundering or at the very least unjust confiscation of our funds. How so? Elected officials negotiate sweet contracts with public sector unions, who in turn with a wink and a nod funnel money back to the elected officials- almost exclusively Democrats. And folks, this is why Democrats in Wisconsin have abdicated their sworn duty as elected officials. This is why this fight is so vicious across the country. This is an attempt to stop the gravy train, the racket that liberal politicians and their sycophants in public sector unions have enjoyed. It is about the money.
People in life are always trying to get even. Not me. I just get odder.
Currently there are 28 states that are suing the federal government to stop Obamacare. The administration has dug in and is doing everything it can to force this monstrosity on the American people. Well, not ALL the American people. There have been a few entities that have received waivers that allow them to operate and exempt their members from participation in Washington's socialized medicine scam. Who are they? I'm very glad you asked. Some are: the United Federation of Teachers; Service Employees International Union local 25; the Carpenters Health and Welfare Fund, just to name a few. Notice anything here? Ah, you are very observant. Public sector unions. In fact, 44% of all current waivers are going to public sector unions (many waivers are going to large employers that self insure), who will avoid altogether the devastating effects of Obamacare. Some of the very entities that were vocally in favor of Obamacare- the public sector unions- are some of the first to ask of the program. Why? They know what shoddy coverage and care will be available under Obamacare and they don't want it. They do want a greater transfer of power to the federal government, which in turn translates to more power and money for these unions. I cannot say this enough: if you want to know what is really happening in Washington or at any level of government, ALWAYS follow the money.
As someone who is married, I have learned to forget my mistakes. There is no sense in two people remembering.
And that, my friends, is my view.