The Ohio Vote
Ohio voters voted not to back the reforms Republican Governor John Kasich wanted to implement to break the power of public sector unions. Michael Barone comments:
The biggest result was Ohio Governor John Kasich’s defeat on Issue 2. Voters cast 61% of their votes (as I write) to repeal Kasich’s law, which had been backed by Republican majorities in the legislature (with some defections). Kasich’s effort is part of a struggle to rein in public employee unions, which use taxpayers’ money (in the form of union dues) to elect pliable politicians who then confer benefits on their members —especially generous health care and pensions—which then result in economy-killing tax rates. It’s a kind of economic death spiral for states and localities where public employee unions are a major political force.
He’s right. Barone lays out the basic problem with public sector unions – the fact that they have become such a force in politics that they hire their own “bosses”. And those bosses are happy to “negotiate” away tax dollars for continued political support. Thus the “economic death spiral” Barone talks about. As long as the taxpayer is paying, two sides of this triangle are quite happy to continue with business as usual.
Democrats are touting this as a huge win. And it is … for the party. It’s certainly not a win for the state which will now have to live with this continued lopsided arrangement that will continue to cost taxpayers dearly.
The irony, of course, is that on the same ballot, Ohio voters bought into the Republican idea that the state should refuse to comply with the new National Health Care law (aka ObamaCare).
There is some consolation here. The same Ohio voters—and the turnout seems to have been just about as high as in November 2010—who voted 61% against Kasich’s public employee union restrictions also voted 66% for Issue 3, which purported to shield Ohioans from any mandate to buy health insurance. This was a clear repudiation of Obamacare, and about half the folks that the unions turned out voted against Obamacare.
OK, maybe it really isn’t an irony. Remember ObamaCare doesn’t like “Cadillac” health care plans and the unions have certainly ensured they have that.
Instead, what it points to is how powerful unions are in Ohio and how well they can mobilize the vote. Unions spent big and they got results. In reality, both Issue 2 and Issue 3 represent the union vote. One went against the Republican governor. The other, however, went against the Democratic President and his party.
And which one is getting all the press?