Free Markets, Free People


Dems have become the government union choice

Charles Lane hits at least part of the Democrats problem with voters right on the head. 

Public sector unions are not just the base of the party — they’re the base of the base.

[…]

But in an era of increasing discontent over taxes, government spending and the perks of government employees, these are not necessarily the allies you want to have. A party that depends on the public employees to get elected will have trouble reaching out to the wider electorate — i.e., the people who pay the taxes that support public employee salaries and pensions.

Bingo. The supposed strength of the Democratic party was its support of the common man – the blue collar worker. The middle class family. I’ve always thought such a characterization was nonsense, however, that was the narrative they successfully embedded for years.

That is now visibly changing. And I think it is apparent that the new narrative isn’t a particularly good one politically speaking.  They’re now the party of big government and government unions.  In an era of financial difficulty that’s not exactly the constituency you want to be identified with – especially when it is becoming common knowledge that government workers now earn more than private sector employees doing comparable jobs.

And that’s especially true now that the woefully underfunded public pension plans are coming to light and Democrats are casting around for a solution to include considering ideas such as using 401(k) funds to rescue them.

This new constituency is not a particularly popular one and even more damaging is they’re a very visible one.  Think of all the incidents that reflect badly on government unions which have involved the SEIU lately.

When the majority of the country is oriented toward smaller government, less spending and less intrusion, working to satisfy a constituency whose entire existence demands precisely the opposite approach is not the best place to be at election time.

~McQ

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13 Responses to Dems have become the government union choice

  • I must admit that moving from private sector focus to public sector focus was a brilliant move for the unions.

    Management of private companies are unfortunately sometimes easier to push around than they should be – see the car companies for good examples. But there’s a limit to how far that can go, because eventually the unions become almost purely parasitic and kill the host. (Good examples includes several of the old-line airlines and The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, once the biggest grocer in the nation.)

    Public entities have a lot more slack before they collapse, and so can carry more parasites. Plus, bureaucrats and politicians are extraordinarily sensitive to image, because in a metric-free environment, image is much more important. So there are plenty of ways unions can intimidate them by threatening their image.

    Unfortunately, the end result of an out-of-control, parasitic union is much, much worse in the public sector. When A&P or Eastern Airlines collapses, only the employees and stockholders silly enough to hold onto the stock too long really suffer. The rest of us can read about the collapse in the newspapers, shrug our shoulders, or even cheer the way I did when I heard about Eastern (because they deserved to collapse more than any company whose services I’ve ever used, with the possible exception of today’s AT&T).

    When  a public entity collapses, the public becomes unwilling participants in the collapse. I suppose you could argue that the public, in their role as voters, should have prevented the collapse. However, given the connivance of politicians, bureaucrats, union leaders, and the media in covering up the problem until it’s too late to fix it, and then standing firmly in the way of any attempted solution that might actually work, I don’t blame the voters too much.

    • Unfortunately, the end result of an out-of-control, parasitic union is much, much worse in the public sector.

      Yes. And it is the same with socialism in general. For example, things like social security reduce individual risk, but in fact it doesn’t reduce risk, it simply transfers it to the collective, while hiding that risk . . .

      I think part of the problem with leftist is they think risk can be eliminated. My mother-in-law, for example, considrs 401ks to be too risky. SS isn’t risky, becuase she can’t comprehend the government failing. It is as if they are children, putting full faith in their big mommie government.

      And of course, the same thing happened with Fannie, Freddie, the CRA et al, and the resulting financial crisis.

  • Add the Democratic party’s support of the common man to the list for the MythBusters

  • McQThe supposed strength of the Democratic party was its support of the common man – the blue collar worker. The middle class family. I’ve always thought such a characterization was nonsense, however, that was the narrative they successfully embedded for years.

    I suggest that this narrative is still the gut response of a lot of Americans, especially older ones who can remember the struggles of workers to unionize over safety and fair wage concerns (at least, they can remember movies about them like Norma Rae!).  With MiniTru running cover for the unions, the narrative is going to take a long time to change.  That it IS changing is, I think, part of the reason that the unions are so keen on card check: get as many workers into unions by hook or crook to get them and their families to be union-friendly voters before the clock runs out and unions become about as useful and popular as draft boards.

    McQThis new constituency is not a particularly popular one and even more damaging is they’re a very visible one.  Think of all the incidents that reflect badly on government unions which have involved the SEIU lately.

    Well, they are “very visible” to people who don’t rely on MiniTru solely for their news.  I’d wager that the vast majority of voters have never heard of the SEIU, and certainly don’t know anything about their (ahem) alleged rough ‘n’ tumble tactics.

  • California cut food stamps in order to not cut salaries and pensions…this should eventually bother a few honest liberals.

    • Honest WHAT?

      Boy, that’s an adjective / noun combo I never expected to see!

      • Honest liberals exist. There are just no honest liberals that are also informed and/or intelligent.

  • Check out DrudgeReport.com this morning …
    BROKE UK SLASHES 500,000 GOV’T JOBS
    Adjusting for population size, that would be 2,500,000 in the US.

  • I keep saying ir, but we need to ban campaign and political donations from public employee unions.  By definition, those campaign contributions are an attempt to hire a “boss” who is sympathetic to the employees desires.

    • People are starting to wake up. Salaries above a certain amount need to be searchable for public employees. I just shocked a lib today with the CHP officer (a sergeant!) who made $304k in 2009.

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