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March 1, 2010
Public Sector Unions and their Political Donations
Governments across the nation, including the one headquartered in Washington, D.C., are approaching their fiscal death throes. Most of the states that are on life-support got transfusions from the stimulus bill that showered money on areas painted blue on the political map. Liberal, Democrat-voting states are the ones spilling the most red ink because they follow policies that are inimical to their fiscal health dictated by special interest groups.
Each budget should come stamped with a warning "passing of this budget will harm the pocketbooks and future of our state's citizens." The result? Taxes soar; credit ratings plummet (causing states to have to pay higher interest rates on the debt they float) and the death spiral begins, as businesses and productive workers vote with their feet and move to more congenial climates.
Why do politicians kill states? Perhaps because they cater to and are in hock to the public sector unions who line their pockets with campaign funds and provide the cheap (to politicians anyway -- because "we the people" ending up paying their salaries and benefits) labor needed to operate the phone banks and canvass the neighborhoods.
How do politicians pay them off? By showering public sector unions and their members with high salaries, gold-plated retirement and health benefits (that government workers all too often do not even have to contribute toward), by allowing retirements to start early (in some cases at 50), and by abuse of overtime pay ( a bus driver in Madison Wisconsin earns $160,000 a year, much of it due to overtime. He earns more than the mayor and he has plenty of fellow bus drivers there who qualify for the country club set.) I have written about this damaging dynamic here http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/09/public_servants_no_we_are_the.html http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/10/the_coming_public_pension_nigh.html http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2009/02/post_159.html http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/obama_and_the_government_emplo.html http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/07/public_workers_versus_the_publ.html .
Since John F. Kennedy signed an executive order allowing federal workers to unionize, there has been an explosion of government workers who become members of unions such as the ever-powerful American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. But this union is not alone. Teachers are government workers and their union is prettified by using euphemisms (they are teachers after all -- and know how to use a thesaurus): the two major teacher unions are called the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.
I was curious and decided to discover how much these public sector unions (and other unions) gave to political candidates through their political action committees
Here is a table of the top twenty PACs, provided by OpenSecrets.Org:
The D and R at the top of the table refer to percentages of the funds that flowed to Democrats and Republicans. The herd of blue donkeys reveals -- surprise! -- that the vast amount of money is focused on Democrats. Even Goldman Sachs, reviled as a company filled with fat cat bankers and plutocrats, gives to Democrats (hence Obama's recent papal dispensation regarding their bonuses -- he regally decides who is a "fat cat" worthy of scorn ).
Consider the American Association of Justice (euphemism alert!) This is the group that was formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. The plaintiff bar is a key source of support for Democrats.
Barack Obama routinely railed against special interest groups during the campaign. Obama was to bring reform to government; change was in the air-over and over. Lobbyists were to become endangered species (meanwhile they are one of the few groups who enjoyed a banner year in 2009. K Street (where many lobbyists work) is a street paved with gold.
These unions are a special interest. Many of them are beneficiaries of taxpayer funds -- especially government workers. They are a major cause of the red ink that is swamping us (Obama pledged to stop the rise of oceans, not the rise of red ink-though he did pledge to exercise fiscal restraint-but that was so 2008).
They buy politicians-and, they favor Democrats.
Please keep that in mind when our politicians call for us to support bond issues and increased taxes. We should follow the money trail -- because it is our money and the next generation's future.