February 26, 2011
The Union GangBy Kevin Jackson
Unions have taken a big hit as their greed has become visible to more and more Americans. The most recent punch hit the unions in Wisconsin right in the breadbasket, and it must have felt like a Chuck Norris roundhouse. The unions seem to have found their fiscal hypocrisy steeping like a tea bag in hot water.
Many unions have opted out of ObamaCare which was sold as a panacea, thanks to waivers granted by the Obama administration. Unions didn't want the Obama version of new health care, preferring instead to keep their old version.
But it's not just health care that unions want. Unions want taxpayers to fund union pensions. GM and Chrysler workers enjoy pensions and health care benefits that ruined their employers, thanks to taxpayer funds. It's only fair. No reason the union members should have to exercise fiscal responsibility like the rest of Americans. Union pensions are an entitlement at the expense of the taxpayers, a perk for taking a job as a civil servant, right?
Unions rejoiced when Obama demanded of Joe the Plumber to spread the wealth around. Obama asked Joe to save a stranger -- the unnamed waitress where Obama had just had just stopped in for a burger, who, as Obama put it, "didn't make a whole lotta money." But the unions are being asked to save themselves.
Wisconsin has a $137M deficit for this year, a 3.7 billion deficit for two years. This is after a tax and fees hike that raised $2.1B, and after receiving federal stimulus funds of $2.2B back in 2009. Wisconsin got this money during the tenure of Democrat Governor Jim Doyle, yet the state still had a shortfall. This is why, according to the Pew Center on the States report "Beyond California: States in Fiscal Peril," Wisconsin was ranked as one of the top-ten states for fiscal irresponsibility, sharing that distinction with California and eight others.
Nevertheless, the current shortfall was blamed on the loss of 140,000 jobs -- jobs Obama was unable to save. The obvious revenue decline from losing 140,000 taxpaying citizens would impact the state budget negatively, which should be obvious to anyone outside the Pelosi School of Economics, where "welfare is stimulus."
Neither the unions nor the rest of the left care about Wisconsin's budget shortfall, any other states' budget shortfalls, or even the United States' budget shortfall. The narrative by the left is that newly elected Republican Governor Walker is busting unions. The real narrative is that the left wants business as usual -- tax and spend for redistribution of wealth.
Washington Post writer Ezra Klein pulls the "Blame [Insert Republican here]" meme, with Governor Walker the object of his derision in this article. Though Walker has been in office only since January 2011, Klein would have you believe that the Wisconsin budget shortfall is essentially all Walker's fault. Forget the bailout of Wisconsin by the Fed and the massive tax and fees increase under Democrat Doyle, without which Wisconsin would have had to fire workers. Nope. According to Klein, Wisconsin was in good shape until a mean Republican realist took over for the sole purpose of union-busting.
Let's not look at the notion of government unions not paying for their own insurance and pensions like the rest of America does. The unions are right to demand this of American taxpayers. If you don't demand it, you won't get it. You'd think everybody would want to get something for nothing, ergo join the unions.
The past is prologue. America is finally beginning to catch on to the union game, and a game is what it is. Consider the idea that people in public jobs are paying lobbyists and consultants to influence politicians on their behalf. Put in more understandable terms, imagine that you and your boss are colluding to get you the top pay possible, with shareholders unaware of the scheme. That's exactly what's happening; we the taxpayers are being duped by the people we pay.
States with a balanced budget clause in their Constitutions are not safe, either. Under liberal regimes, these states have tended to solve the problem not by addressing spending per se, but by increasing taxes and fees. Why? For the kids.
Here is what Democrat Governor Jay Nixon said of Missouri says of his tax-and-spend philosophy:
In Missouri, there are contracts in place that make paying union dues a condition of employment. The union is so enticing that it must force participation. Hopefully this will end soon with the passage of right-to-work laws.
New Jersey's teachers' union has an innovative "get out of jail free" card. You can buy your way out of the racket by paying 75% of the union dues. I know what you're thinking: "Why so cheap?"
Unions argue that they provide a supply of trained workers and are the backbone of the middle class. I foolishly used to think that schools did the providing. Unions today for the most part are predators and opportunists, which is why they are a magnet for organized crime. Even Hollywood knows this. Maybe it's time that America addresses it.
But I think the time of unions is past, unless you consider the larger union involved here. There's a non-unionized union comprising the majority of Americans, who are tired of seeing unions and politicians shaking them down for all they can get.