Phineas - Forget the overheated rhetoric and signs comparing democratically elected governors and legislators to Hitler and rapists. Forget the spoiled-brat demands and Athens-style protests for the unquestioned continuation of gold-plated benefits that most private-sector workers would give their eye teeth for. You want to know just how much of a threat to democracy, representative government, and the general safety public-employee unions can be when threatened?
Try to take away their goodies, and they’ll go after your mother:
Idaho has a “superintendent of public instruction,” and his name is Tom Luna. He has proposed some measures that the teachers’ union doesn’t like, at all. And his opponents have made sure that he feels good and threatened.
Someone went to his mother’s house — his mother’s. Someone slashed his tires and spray-painted a threat onto the door. As reported in this article, Luna has said, “Family and personal property are off-limits. You don’t cross that line . . .”
Oh, yes, you do. At least some do. I will repeat what I have already said this morning: I don’t want to hear from the Left about “civility” for the rest of my life.
Neither “civility” nor “democracy.” And this is in deep-Red Idaho!
This isn’t just (or at all) a fight over benefits or economics; this is a struggle over who has power — the elected representatives of the people or union bosses and their paid-for allies in the Democratic Party. Right now it’s just Idaho, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana, but the battles here and, inevitably, in other states will determine who has that power. The Left has drawn such hard lines already against any reform that the governors can’t afford to back down, lest they let Labor know the elected representatives of the people can be intimidated through intransigence and thuggery. It’s a sad thing for decent union members who would likely have accepted reasonable compromise if the situation had been honestly explained to them, but their leaders have lead them into a battle that forces the governors to break the unions in order to keep faith with their voters — the taxpayers who are the public employees’ real bosses.
More than being about fiscal soundness, this is a battle between representative democracy and corporatism.
Regarding the President’s shameful insertion of himself into what is purely a matter for state governments, Matt Welch at Reason cuts through the bull and asks “Is this how a President should act?”
I have written in the past about how libertarians are pretty lonely in the political scheme of things in terms of constantly being challenged to defend themselves against the “logical conclusion” of their philosophy. But I think it’s time to amend that. We are witnessing the logical conclusion of the Democratic Party’s philosophy, and it is this: Your tax dollars exist to make public sector unions happy. When we run out of other people’s money to pay for those contracts and promises (most of which are negotiated outside of public view, often between union officials and the politicians that union officials helped elect), then we just need to raise taxes to cover a shortfall that is obviously Wall Street’s fault. Anyone who doesn’t agree is a bully, and might just bear an uncanny resemblance to Hitler.
The president’s heavy-handed involvement, along with House Republicans’ refusal to sign off on any new bailout of the states, means that this may very well be America’s biggest and most widespread political fight in 2011. It’s a cage match to determine first dibs on a shrinking pie. A clarifying moment.
And that clarity will not work to the unions’ benefit. The public is on to their racket.