Public Sector Unions Re-establish Involuntary Servitude

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in the 1930s that allowing government workers to unionize would be a bad idea. That it would institutionalize their influence over elections and public policy.  That FDR was right is shown by the fact that four of the six biggest campaign contributors to national campaigns are now public sector unions.

Public sector unions have grown to the point where their power is applied in two ways. First, they tax Americans so they can redistribute tax revenue -- and borrow even more when revenue isn’t enough. And they also have a second area where they exercise this power: they force you to pay their high salaries and pensions, not just through state taxes but through state laws that protect and enforce their contracts even if these provisions violate the Thirteenth Amendment.

Some of these public servants now have retirement plans equaling those of the wealthiest corporate executives.  But unlike executives they don’t have to sell products to make money.  They just increase the taxes you pay for a gallon of gasoline or property taxes or income taxes or sales taxes, and on and on.

Democrats tell people that if they cut back on spending, the benefits to the poor are the first thing that will suffer.  And they mean it.  In Illinois, Democrats cut back programs in special education and mental health facilities.  Meanwhile, not one cent is ever cut from pensions, not even from those who collect pensions of over $500,000 a year.  Pensions are sacred, even though Democrats get elected saying only the poor and elderly are sacred.  And through campaign donations of your money they pass laws stating that their pensions can’t be diminished or impaired.

This vast conspiratorial network of public sector unions is not well known for the simple reason that it is all perpetrated by the Democratic Party, and since the news media largely endorse Democrats they refuse to expose this, the most abusive, of their practices.  Since FDR, Democrats have pursued a carefully crafted and executed plan to dominate the government of the US at all levels.  And having achieved domination over taxpayers in most big states, they are now using this power to transfer the wealth of Americans to their own wallets in amounts that are at historic levels.

It is commonly said that it is human nature for one person to want to dominate another, but in reality it is only a tiny minority of people who wish to provide for themselves by taking from others.  There are two main tactics used to do this.  One is to commit crimes by cheating and stealing from other people.  The other is to use the power of government to coerce other people into paying taxes to support you.  And at this point in American history it is government that is the largest culprit. 

Chicago, Los Angeles, Illinois and California are some of the greatest abusers of their taxpayers since they are completely controlled by the Democratic Party.  While Democrats like to say both political parties engage in this exploitation of taxpayers, the plain fact is the four biggest public sector unions, SEIU, AFSCME, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, all give 99% of their campaign donations only to Democrats.  FEC records prove there is not one public sector union that donates to Republicans.  Democrats are secretly proud of this; they’ve worked 80 years since FDR to institutionalize this setup.

That this can be considered involuntary servitude, a practice violative of the Thirteenth Amendment, is shown by two facts.  That it is involuntary is shown by the fact that public sector union contracts in Illinois and many other states are called “enforceable contracts” whose benefits cannot be diminished or impaired.   In effect taxpayers are banned from making public pension changes.  This gives taxpayers no choice but to support union members.  This makes it involuntary, and unconstitutional.  Future appropriations will not be authorized by their state representatives, a violation of the concept of the consent of the governed. 

What makes it servitude is that taxpayers are coerced to pay the excessive and unreasonable pensions.  In Illinois, a classic Democrat stronghold, the state university system is so bloated with administrators and pensioners that now 53% of the tuition bill goes exclusively to pensions.  This means that 53% of a college student’s loans, which create debt for 20 years, goes only to service the pension costs of retirees who don’t work.  And Illinois has plenty of highly paid retired educators and government workers.  The state now has 13,400 retirees who earn $100,000 or more a year from their pension, not including health care.  In 2020, that number will rise to 25,000 pensioners who collect $100,000 or more a year.  Today in Illinois, 89 cents of every dollar the state spends on education goes to pensions.

Right now the CTU -- Chicago Teachers’ Union -- is threatening to strike.  Not for smaller class size but because they are furious that they are being required to obey state law. Illinois law requires teachers to pay 9.4% of their pay toward their pension plan, but a few years ago they went on strike and forced the local property tax payers to pay 7% of that 9.4%.  But with the ongoing financial crisis in the city, the Chicago School System is asking them to go back and contribute their required 9.4% -- and they are furious. 

The average Chicago teacher will retire with a salary of $77,000 a year and collect $2 million by age 81.

In Illinois and California, the highest paid public workers get bonuses that are more than their official salary.  In Illinois the highest pensions are over $500,000 a year.  In California, $800,000.  Over 40 public servants in California earn from one to $2.4 million a year, most of it in bonuses. 

In Chicago the average household owes the city, county and state over $88,000 for their pensions.   This, in spite of the fact that all of the property taxes paid by Chicago residents go only to pay pensions and muni bond debt.  There are nine other cities in Illinois where the entire property tax bill goes only to pay pensions. 

And this is seized by extortion.  If people don’t pay their share of public pension plans their homes will be seized and sold.   And even with high property taxes there's not enough money.  Today, nationwide, there’s over $8.3 trillion of unfunded public pension and muni bond debt.  Much of the bond debt was created by pension plans since property taxes aren’t enough to pay them.  There are 19.5 million persons in public pension systems of the US; in California one of every three persons over age 50 now freeloads on a public pension.  And while Federal law limits Social Security pensions to $32,000, the highest public pension in CA is $871,000.  No laws limit public pensions.

This involuntary servitude will not stand.  The state constitutions that enable them must be struck down.