Thursday, February 24, 2011

Forced tax-payer funding of the Democratic Party

Michael Barone put out a great essay, Public unions force taxpayers to fund Democrats. What is at stake here goes way beyond the issues in management-labor strife in private sector organizations. This fight is one that will determine whether states can get their financial houses in order or if we are inevitably going to see states resort to massive tax hikes, mass layoffs or defaulting on financial obligations. Barone writes:

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.

That is a great way of putting it. I love that he points out that the money in question is not coming from some magic pot of money. It isn't like Governor Walker and Governor Kasich are just meanies who have plenty of money to burn and are just out to hurt "working families" (as if non-union families are not "working families"). There simply is no money left and every nickle that goes to a public sector employee comes out of the pocket of taxpayers and their children who will inherit the debt. We need to get smart about how we spend and tighten our collective belts.

The public sector union-Democratic party link gives Democrats a means to pick the pocket of every tax payer in a given state to fund their campaigns. If I don't like GM, I don't have to buy a car from them. If I live in Indiana, I have to pay Indiana taxes. I don't have a choice other than leaving the state. We don't get to shop for cops, teachers, bureaucrats, prison guards, etc. to see who has the best product at the best price. We get what we get. and what we get are highly compensated public union workers that provide steady stream of campaign funds almost exclusively to Democrats.

In the private sector, while I believe unions usefulness is long gone and they largely are the reason so much manufacturing has left the country, at least I can see the reasoning. A corporation makes a profit and the different parties seek to divide that up. On one hand is management, representing the owners/shareholders and on the other is labor representing the workers. Not a perfect system but it makes some sense. In the public sector there are no profits, only expenses. It is high time we cut back on the size and scope of the public sector, at the Federal, state and local level. We simply can't afford to spend and borrow to feed the bloated public sector.

Our government is supposed to serve the taxpayers but today the taxpayers are the ones who are serving.
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