Dial O for Socialism – every day 3

You’ve probably seen this video – it’s being watched all over the United States.

Here’s information about the trade union boss who is talking in it, Richard Trumka, and the relationship he has with Obama and his administration:

This video shows the shocking level to which union bosses influence the Obama administration’s policies. AFL-CIO head Richard Trumka … states he has been in touch with the White House everyday and is present at meetings inside the White House several times a week. On the other hand, at least half-a-dozen members of his own Cabinet say Obama has never spoken with them in the two years of his administration to date. … Trumka, who has worked with European socialists for a global tax, is one of a chosen few radicals pulling the strings. So much for the assurances of psuedo-conservatives, who enthused at how “conservative” Obama’s cabinet was, especially his foreign policy choices. Wiser heads knew Obama was committed to imposing socialism at all costs. This video proves the “moderate” left-wingers in his administration are window dressing for a far more sinister agenda, one about which many so-called conservatives are utterly clueless.

And here is part of the Heritage Foundation’s discussion of the current trade union protest in Wisconsin and elsewhere, which it sums up – correctly in our view – as “Government Unions vs American Taxpayers“:

Recent studies show that state and local governments are severely underestimating their pension and benefit promises, including a $574 billion shortfall for the nation’s top major cities and a possible $3.4 trillion shortfall for the states. The cause of these crippling pension and benefit obligations is no secret. The Post explains: “Public employees often enjoy more generous pension and health-care benefits, and these are at the root of the long-term budget problems confronting many states.” …

Government unions are inherently different from private-sector unions. The purpose of private-sector unions is to get workers a larger share of the profits they helped create. But government is a monopoly and earns no profits. All government unions do is redistribute more tax dollars from taxpayers to unions. The left used to understand this. Not only did President Franklin Delano Roosevelt write in 1937: “All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service,” but as recently as 1959, the AFL-CIO Executive Council stated that “government workers have no right [to collectively bargain] beyond the authority to petition Congress—a right available to every citizen.” …

By granting government workers the power to collectively bargain, government unions have completely politicized the civil service. State and local employees in 28 states are required to pay full union dues or get fired. Using this government coercion, government unions have amassed tremendous financial resources that they use to campaign for higher taxes and higher pay for government workers. The top outside spender in the last election was the American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees ($91 million).

Governor Mitch Daniels (R–IN), who signed an executive order ending state worker collective bargaining his first month in office, spoke in support of Walker yesterday:

“The people who are doing the demonstrating, and their allies … spent that state broke. … The most powerful special interests in America today are the government unions. They’re the leading financial contributors. They have muscle, a lot of times their contracts provide for time off to go politick and lobby.”

And lobby and politick government unions have. Across the country, from Arizona to California to Minnesota to Maine to New Jersey and more, government unions have pushed legislation and ballot measures that raise taxes and spending. In Trenton, New Jersey, last night, Governor Chris Christie (R) framed the debate:

“In Wisconsin and Ohio, they have decided there can no longer be two classes of citizens: one that receives the rich health and pension benefits, and the rest who are left to pay for them. These ideas are not red or blue. They are the black and white of truth.”

The case against trade unions for government employees was clear even to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

But what is the case for any trade unions to exist?  If full employment is desirable, if the consumer’s interests are paramount so that prices should be kept as low as possible, how do trade unions help? Do they make employers more or less keen to take on employees? Do they have the effect of lowering or raising the price of goods to the consumer? Every trade union member is a consumer. What good are higher wages arrived at through collective bargaining if the increase is consumed by higher prices? We are not persuaded that trade unions are good for anyone (except of course would-be Stalins like Trumka).

  • Macnvettes

    Public servants of all kinds are getting higher compensation packages than they deserve. I am a veteran, I served in the Navy from 1996-2003 as a nuclear reactor operator. When I served, there was an understanding, that the pay would be absolute crap, but the benefits would be great, and there would be job security. Now, that deal has changed significantly, and the military doesn’t even have a union. As a nuclear reactor operator at the rank of E-6 >6 yrs., my total compensation, including base pay, sea pay, housing allowance, and my yearly re-enlistment bonus, I was making $42,000 per year. Not great pay by any standard, but, the Navy trained me, I was getting 30 days vacation per year, unlimited sick days, free medical care for myself, a 20 year retirement (had I chosen to take it), and I now qualify for veterans benefits. For someone who joined fresh out of high school at the age of 17, I think that was a pretty sweet deal. Now, the compensation exceeds $60k, and the benefits are getting richer. For example, I got the MGIB, but I was under chapter 30, meaning I had to buy in to it, they took $100 out of my 1st 12 paychecks (when my net was only around $900/mo.), I had to serve at least 2 years (exceptions for medical discharges), and get an honorable discharge. And then I got a set amount of money each month depending on how many college credits I was taking. Now, with the post-9/11 MGIB, 4 years of college are paid directly to the college, and the veterans get a housing and book stipend, and there is no buy-in requirement. Wasn’t the deal I got good enough (around $44k in benefits for paying in $1200 and serving 2 years)? I appreciate every veterans’ service, but doesn’t money grubbing take away a bit of the nobility of serving? One suggestion was that we pay all service members as much as a member of congress. If that were to happen, my wager is that we would lose a more often than not because people would sign up for the money. If you are on a battlefield for a paycheck rather than a cause, you will lose, that is a concept that dates back to Sun Tsu!

  • Wisc4life

    with out trade unions teachers would be teaching classes of 60, they would have no collective bargaining rights to negotiate on working conditions. I’m sorry but if you go out to serve in one of these often critical but thankless jobs (teaching, police, even steel working) you deserve to have a little sway and not be subject to poor conditions.

    • Jed

      Do you have any evidence to back up your claim that teachers would be teaching classes of 60 without unions? I do agree that teachers should be able to request good working conditions, but there is a limit to how much power they should have. I believe that unions, especially public sector unions, have outlasted their usefulness. And I have the utmost respect for the police, as they risk their lives to protect people. I agree that they are not rewarded enough for their services. However, it seems as though these government workers (in general) are oblivious to the massive debt that their respective governments possess. As public employees, they have a responsibility to taxpayers to relinquish their exuberant benefits.