Free Markets, Free People

AFL-CIO

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

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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

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White House and unions clash over Lincoln

So what lesson should we take from the Blanche Lincoln primary victory last night against Democratic Lt. Governor Bill Halter?

Well a lot of people are divining a lot of things from her win, but the one I’m seeing the most is her victory spelled a defeat for Big Labor. The last count I saw said BL had pumped 10 million buckaroos into the primary fight – and not on Lincoln’s side.

Here’s how it breaks down. Lincoln was President Obama’s candidate. He’s made that clear, he has campaigned for her, he wanted her to win.

Bill Halter was labor’s chosen candidate and had the backing of the AFL-CIO, SEIU, AFSCME and other major unions. Ginormous amounts of union funds were used in an effort to defeat Obama’s candidate — by the left. That’s the point to be made here – this wasn’t opposition by the Tea Party, this was opposition funded by the natural allies of the Democratic party and, supposedly, the White House.

According to Ben Smith at Politico, once it was clear that Lincoln had prevailed, the White House couldn’t wait to make it clear that the unions were on the wrong sheet of political music. Smith said a WH official contacted him, saying:

“Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members’ money down the toilet on a pointless exercise,” the official said. “If even half that total had been well-targeted and applied in key House races across this country, that could have made a real difference in November.”

In other words, “get with the program boys, and do it how we tell you to do it”.

Message sent, and received:

AFL-CIO spokesman Eddie Vale responds that “labor isn’t an arm of the Democratic Party.”

Yeah, right – at least not for today.

Way to firm up your support with your base Mr. President – apparently they’re good to go as long as they spend their members money the way he wants them too.

~McQ

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THIS Is What “Astroturf” Looks Like

We now have real paid organizers promising to produce bodies to confront the citizenry showing up at townhall meetings to loudly voice their disapproval.

The nation’s largest federation of labor organizations has promised to directly engage with boisterous conservative protesters at Democratic town halls during the August recess.

In a memo sent out on Thursday, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney outlined the blueprint for how the union conglomerate would step up recess activities on health care reform and other topics pertinent to the labor community. The document makes clear that Obama allies view the town hall forums as ground zero of the health care debate. It also uses the specter of the infamous 2000 recount “Brooks Brothers” protest to rally its members to the administration’s side.

What could go wrong with this scenario? First, who says they’re all “boisterous conservative protesters?” This is about union members going to an event expressly to confront those who are voicing a dissenting opinion and quelling that. Talk about setting themselves up for a huge “fail”. Talk about setting themselves up for a huge backlash.

AFL_CIO

AFL_CIO

“The principal battleground in the campaign will be town hall meetings and other gatherings with members of Congress in their home districts,” reads the memo. “We want your help to organize major union participation to counter the right-wing “Tea-Party Patriots” who will try to disrupt those meetings, as they’ve been trying to do to meetings for the last month. …

Yeah, nothing could go wrong here.

But, of course, since this is true astroturfing, there’s a political payback being demanded:

But while the union conglomerate seems poised to flex its political muscle on Obama’s behalf, it may find some friction on the policy front. Detailed in Sweeney’s memo are certain legislative priorities that are clearly at odds with what seems likely to be produced in the Senate Finance Committee’s compromise bill.

Sweeney describes it as a “requirement that ALL employers ‘pay or play,’” that the final bill have “a robust public health insurance plan to compete with private insurers and drive down health costs,” and that the legislation contain “relief for company/union funds providing pre-Medicare retiree coverage, and no taxation of health benefits!”

Yes friends, these protesters will truly be paid protesters. If they help intimidate the citizenry at the townhall meetings, then they expect to see their legislative desires fulfilled.

As the AFL-CIO spools itself up to confront the “mobs”, its secretary issues the battle cry of the astroturfer:

Every American has the inalienable right to participate in our democratic process. Our politics is passionate, heartfelt and often loud — as was the founding of our nation. But that is not what the corporate-funded mobs are engaging in when they show up to disrupt town halls held by members of Congress.

Major health care reform is closer than ever to passage and it is no secret that special interests want to weaken or block it. These mobs are not there to participate. As their own strategy memo states, they have been sent by their corporate and lobbyist bankrollers to disrupt, heckle and block meaningful debate. This is a desperation move, meant to slow the momentum for change.

Mob rule is not democracy. People have a democratic right to express themselves and our elected leaders have a right to hear from their constituents — not organized thugs whose sole purpose is to shut down the conversation and attempt to scare our leaders into inaction

We call on the insurance companies, the lobbyists and the Republican leaders who are cheering them on to halt these ‘Brooks Brothers Riot’ tactics. Health care is a crucial issue and everyone – on all sides of the issue – deserves to be heard.

Does anyone out there have to wonder what tactics they’ll use to ensure others are “heard”? Republican can only pray they do.

~McQ

The Growing Opacity Of The Obama Administration

As you’re seeing demonstrated in the machinations concerning GM and Chrysler, not to mention the attempt to pass the card check legislation, unions are a favored constituency within the Obama administration. And it gets even better:

The Obama administration, which has boasted about its efforts to make government more transparent, is rolling back rules requiring labor unions and their leaders to report information about their finances and compensation.

The Labor Department noted in a recent disclosure that “it would not be a good use of resources” to bring enforcement actions against union officials who do not comply with conflict of interest reporting rules passed in 2007. Instead, union officials will now be allowed to file older, less detailed conflict reports.

The regulation, known as the LM-30 rule, was at the heart of a lawsuit that the AFL-CIO filed against the department last year. One of the union attorneys in the case, Deborah Greenfield, is now a high-ranking deputy at Labor, who also worked on the Obama transition team on labor issues.

Apparently, however, it is a good use of resources to spend money on just about everything else under the sun. But of course, if they used resources to bring enforcement actions against union officials who don’t comply with conflict of interest reporting rules, they’d have to start with Deborah Greenfield, wouldn’t they?

Funny how “resource use” suddenly becomes a problem when a probable rule violation becomes fairly evident.

Critics worry that the rollback of union reporting requirements will keep hidden potentially corrupt financial arrangements aimed at rooting out corruption, but unions say the Bush administration reporting rules were unfair and burdensome.

Darn right they were because, you know, they were catching corrupt union officials. Can’t have that. So “unfair and burdensome” – something that tax payers are never able to plead about the gigantic and undecipherable tax code – now takes priority over transparent and accountable.

Hope and change.

~McQ