Free Markets, Free People

Richard Trumka


Union discontent? Could it be a big factor in 2012?

Interesting story from Fox News about labor unions and their approach to 2012.  Fox describes their relationship to Obama as “wedded but wary”. One of the most interesting points is found in this paragraph:

Federal records show labor unions spent close to $100 million in the 2010 midterm cycle – over $20 million more than what they spent in 2008 – but nonetheless saw their share of the electorate drop from one cycle to the next, from 21 percent to 17 percent.

That’s a significant drop in 4 years.  Also worth noting is more money was spent than previously (and spent in an off-year election to boot) and the results were less than stellar.  In fact, they were disastrous.

As the article describes, there also seems to be some fracturing within the union ranks.  You recall that yesterday it was announced that the NEA (teacher’s union) had again endorsed Barack Obama for president.  For most that was “yeah, so what’s new” news.  The news was contained in the vote:

…[T]he National Education Association (NEA), which represents teachers and school administrators and is one of the largest unions in the country, voted at its annual convention in Chicago on Monday to endorse President Obama for re-election. Still, analysts took note of the margin of victory for Obama in the NEA’s rank-and-file vote – 72 percent in favor, 28 percent opposed.

That’s a significant change from the near unanimous endorsement Obama received the last time around. 

When challenged, union leaders usually revert to form.  Remember, the key principle of unionism is “solidarity” and it is expected of the rank and file.  It’s pretty bad, though, when the “thug” making the threats to those who don’t abide by that is the Vice President of the United States.

“Let me put it this way,” Vice President Biden told a Teamsters audience in Las Vegas last Friday, after raising the prospect that some rank-and-file members might vote Republican. “Don’t come to me if you do! You’re on your own, jack!”

Because we’re an administration of the unions, not the people.

But the White House’s problem is rekindling the union enthusiasm it captured when Obama was essentially an unknown quantity – before they found out he was mostly hot air.  And that’s reflected by frequent White House guest and president of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka’s words:

“You can be a friend and make a mistake once in a while. And we forgive you for that mistake. The difference is this: that we’re not going to spend precious resources helping candidates that don’t stand up and help us.”

"I have a message for some of our ‘friends,’" Trumka reportedly told another Beltway audience last month, sharpening his tone. “For too long, we have been left after Election Day holding a canceled check, waving it about [and saying] ‘Remember us? Remember us? Remember us?’ – asking someone to pay a little attention to us. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a snootful of that s—."

That grumbling and the possible lack of enthusiasm could be a very important factor in the upcoming election.  Unions provide much if not most of the “Get Out The Vote” (GOTV) troops that helped Obama to his victory.  Dissatisfaction presents Obama with a problem.  He is, at the moment, desperately casting around for a way to appear moderate and to being to run to the middle.  He has a big job ahead to try and win back independents who poll after poll tell us have essentially deserted him.  But on the other hand, he has to be concerned with the dissatisfaction being voiced by one of his largest and most powerful constituencies, one that has previously spent enormously in his (and his party’s) behalf and been instrumental in his victory.  What’s a politician to do?

Now I’m not suggesting that unions will abandon Obama by any stretch.  However, while union leaders may remain supporters of the administration and be enthusiastic about their support, it would appear they may have a very difficult time transmitting their level of support and enthusiasm to the rank-and-file.  

Finally, unions continue to face this real world problem:

That the unions may be spending more money to achieve diminished results would reflect their shrinking percentage of the population as a whole. In 1950, an estimated 38 percent of the American labor force belonged to a union; today, that figure stands at around 12 percent, and even lower – 7 percent – for the private sector. This diminution in labor’s ranks is all the more significant when juxtaposed with the tripling of the American labor force over the same time period.

I’m always amused to read stories where Democrats whine about the outsized influence corporations have in politics.  Union support somehow is never mentioned as being “outsized” for some odd reason. Go figure.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Union boss–“more challenging this time” to motivate union support for Obama

You have to love the implicit threat included with the quote.   Here’s the full quote from Obama “friend”, Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO:

“It will be more challenging this time than it was last time to motivate our members,” Trumka, 61, said in an interview today at Bloomberg’s offices in Washington.

Why will it be more “challenging”?  Well, because Mr. Obama hasn’t come through on all the pro-union, anti-free trade stuff he promised.

Obama’s support for free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama has disappointed his union supporters, Trumka said.

“During the campaign, he made significant promises to do an inventory of the trade agreements” to be certain they protected worker rights, Trumka said. “He’s obviously forgotten that promise.”

The results announced last week from Obama’s review of regulations throughout the government that burden business produced little of substance, Trumka said.

So … Trumka is implying that unless he sees some improvement on the “pro-union” side of the ledger, the unions just may not be quite as enthusiastic as they were in 2008 when it comes to Mr. Obama’s re-election.  They might no be able to put as much money into the campaign, participate as heavily in GOTV or provide rent-a-mobs, er, crowds for campaign events.

In fact, the unions plan on really tightening the screws on the politicians they put in office, er, helped elect during the last presidential campaign:

Trumka said the AFL-CIO will spend this summer “holding candidates on both sides accountable.” Candidates who have wavered — those he called “acquaintances” — won’t receive support, he said, declining to name such politicians.

“Those Democrats that are friends are going to get more” aid than in the past, he said.

Of course at the moment, Obama is still considered a “friend”.  The treat is just being put out there for their “friend” to consider I suppose.

Trumka also had some other policy ideas like, “more government spending to create jobs would revive the economy and lead to a reduction in the deficit.”

Ye gods.  You have to wonder how someone with that much influence in the White House could be so apparently blind to history, economics and current conditions.  Oh, wait:

Trumka said he’d like to see the U.S. become more like a European nation that provides pensions and health care for all its citizens. He said he is accustomed to criticism and doesn’t mind if conservatives call that socialism.

“Being called a socialist is a step up for me,” he said.

Agreed.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Trumka: Raise gas taxes to create jobs

If ever there was an example of the complete cluelessness much of the left commonly displays when it comes to economic matters, the AFL-CIO’s (and Obama advisor) Richard Trumka provides it:

What’s the best way to get Americans back to work?

Raise taxes, according to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Specifically, he wants to raise the federal gas tax as a means to fund infrastructure spending. "We need a dedicated source of revenue to create infrastructure in this country," he tells Aaron Task in the accompanying clip.

"We need to create jobs. The best way to do that is through infrastructure development." Simply maintaining the existing infrastructure in this country will cost $2.2 trillion over five years, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. That doesn’t include Obama’s objective of high-speed rails and green energy projects.

So, to sum up, raise one of the most regressive taxes there is (it hits the poor the hardest at the gas pump because they end up having to pay a larger portion of their disposable income for gasoline) and declare this will help "create jobs".

What it will actually do, if that were to occur, is create more union jobs. And if the poor have to cut back on food or shelter, well, you know, a few eggs have to be cracked to make an omelet.   The key to economic recovery, per Trumka, is government created jobs with money taken from taxpayers who just might have a much different priority for it.  It calls for another “new revenue stream”.  And he has no qualms at all laying claim to your dollars to fund his nonsense.

Trumka didn’t say specifically how much he would raise the gas tax, but mentioned he’s shown the President a $256 billion plan to improve infrastructure.  If every billion spent on infrastructure creates 35,000 jobs, as he claims, this package would create close to 9 million jobs over the next five years. 

The idea would also improve America’s fiscal and competitive future, says Trumka. "There’s also a downstream effect, you put people back to work, they pay taxes, they don’t use services, they’re contributing, other jobs are created along the way as well," he explains.

Fantasy.  A) it is, as usual, the left’s answer to everything – tax and spend.  Someone tell Mr. Trumka that it is precisely that mindset that the majority of Americans have rejected.   B) it assumes something not in evidence.  We just spent over $800 billion on “infrastructure” – look around you, did you see the unemployment rate dip significantly or go up?  C) after the stimulus was spent there has apparently been no down-stream effect for jobs, service use is up and tax revenue is down.

If Trumka’s solution had any credibility, unemployment would be down below 8% (that was the promise, remember – spend the money on infrastructure and see jobs created) and we’d be riding the recovery train.  We have a million little signs up everywhere in America right now touting infrastructure projects – and the unemployment rate?

In fact, what Trumka is doing is asking for more to be spent on a plan that has already failed miserably and expecting different results.  Isn’t that the definition of “insanity”?

That’s precisely what this plan is – insane.  Government has wasted trillions on nonsense like this.  The solution to this isn’t government creating jobs.  It is private industry doing so.  That requires low taxes and a stable business atmosphere where government hasn’t declared war on business and corporations.  That requires less government, not more – something the Richard Trumkas and Barack Obamas of the world can’t quite seem to get through their heads.  In their world, government is always the answer.   Unfortunately, we’re living in their world right now.

Happy with it?

Are you better off now than you were 4 years ago?

~McQ


Left wing fights back – with false accusations and groundless rumors of impending right-wing violence

Example one: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka at a lefty panel discussion in NYC:

Trumka said it is vital to channel working-class anger away from Fox News and Tea Party extremists who are delivering "…a cynical, deeply dishonest and incoherent message—that big government is somehow to blame for the current crisis that the budget deficit will eat our children, and that illegal immigrants took all the good jobs."

However, he added, “The good news is they haven’t bought into right-wing ideology. They are just confused about who to blame.”

But: "We have to offer working people something other than the dead-end choice between the failed agenda of greed and the voices of hate and division and violence."

Speaking of incoherent messages, Trumka is obviously laboring under the delusion that the generational theft now under way – powered mostly by the left and executed by the government that represents them – isn’t doing any harm?

How does one look at the facts and honestly conclude otherwise?  Key word: “honestly”. 

Speaking of “hate and division and violence”, as I recall, just about all of that has been consistently demonstrated at various town halls by SEIU thugs – leftists.

And then there’s our old friend Kos, who has to make those sorts of accusations in order to pimp his new book, “The American Taliban”:

MARKOS MOULITSAS (32:48): Right now there is a six month backlog on ammunition in this country. People trying to buy bullets cannot buy bullets because they’ve been hoarding these guns. These aren’t people who aren’t people who are hoarding guns and ammo because they way to participate in a peaceful Democratic process.

STEPHANIE MILLER: Well you’ve got candidates like Sharron Angles saying second amendment remedies.

MOULITSAS: Right, when you have key top level Republicans saying that sort of thing, you have a movement that really rejects democracy as a tool and are willing to resort to violence and they haven’t yet. They started to resorting to violence after Obama was elected, cause having an African American with the middle name Hussein sort of blew their minds. But, the Tea Party movement sort of allowed them to channel their energies into something a little more healthy than shooting people.

MILLER: Well right, but Marcos there have been exactly what the Homeland Security Department report talked about. There have been a huge increase in right-wing violence.

Really? Where? Markos, surely you’re going to challenge that statement, right? Uh, no:

MOULITSAS: I know and there have been. MILLER: They all screamed about it and it’s true. It’s quantitatively provably true that there have been a lot of violence that have been, I think has been fomented by a lot of these right-wing characters.

Again, examples would be wonderful, but alas, none are forthcoming. And as Radio Equalizer points out:

But the ammo shortage is already over and was caused by a number of factors, including fears Second Amendment rights would be rescinded and old-fashioned production issues. In addition, the "right-wing violence" allegations made here weren’t backed up with actual incidents.

Beyond his extreme rhetoric, Moulitsas’ delivery is tough to take. Clearly the product of parochial, inward-looking East Bay "progressive" politics, he seems willing to accept at face value almost any conspiracy theory thrown his way.

Indeed. But when you’re trying to justify the lunacy you’ve contrived in your book, you have to buy into such conspiracy theories to justify your take on the issue. Facts need not apply. And of course, neither do actual examples of the claims.

Typical left-wing fear mongering.  And the irony?  It’s mostly projection.  As I’ve said, the only examples of recent violence related to politics belongs to the unions and the left.

~McQ