Dial O for Socialism – every day 205

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).