Free Markets, Free People

AFSCME

Campaign finance reform: be careful what you wish for Democrats

You’ve heard all the whining by Democrats about “outside spending” on election campaigns and the lecture of the members of the Supreme Court by President Obama during the last State of the Union address because they overturned the unconstitutional campaign finance law?  Their concerns, as they stated them, were about “outside spending” on campaigns.  That’s a Dem code phrase for “corporate spending”.  But as this election cycle is demonstrating, most of the “outside spending” for the mid-terms isn’t coming from corporations per se – it’s coming from public employee unions.

Of the top five “outside sources” of spending, three are pubic employee unions.  The top spender is The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees at 87.5 million dollars.  The next two are the Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads (Karl Rove).  Numbers four and five are the SEIU and NEA.  Of those five the two supporting Republicans has spent 140 million.  The public sector unions, committed to Democrats, have spent 171.5 million.

Asked about this here’s the White House response:

When asked about AFSCME’s ramped up campaign efforts following the court’s decision, the White House focused on largely anonymous campaign spending by what it termed "special interests."

"The president has been crystal clear that third-party groups which spend tens of millions of dollars from anonymous sources are a threat to our democracy—regardless of which candidates they support," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. He said these groups are disproportionately backing Republican candidates.

Yeah, not so much Josh.  And you have to wonder why “anonymous” sources are somehow more of a “threat to our democracy” than known sources like the AFSCME, SEIU and NEA?  And since when haven’t they been as much “special interests” for Democrats as they claim Big Business is for the GOP?

By the way, you’ll love this:

Previously, most labor-sponsored campaign ads had to be funded by volunteer donations. Now, however, AFSCME can pay for ads using annual dues from members, which amount to about $390 per person. AFSCME said it will tap membership dues to pay for $17 million of ads backing Democrats this election.

Nice.  Any guess as to whether union dues will rise next year since much of them are now being spent on political lobbying/campaigning/advertising?  And how does it feel to have your tax dollars indirectly supporting political advertising with which you don’t agree (and for those in the unions who don’t agree, their dues are directly supporting such efforts).

Back to the point of the title though – given these numbers, one wonders how much continued caterwauling we’ll hear from Obama and the Democrats with 2012 looming?

Yeah, not much.

~McQ

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Illinois – "let them eat cake"

Illinois seems bound and determined to take the title of "poster child for failed state government" away from basket cases Michigan and California.

Illinois is now billions behind in paying its bills. As Comptroller David Hynes points out:

“This is what the state owes right now to schools, rehabilitation centers, child care, the state university — and it’s getting worse every single day,” he says in his downtown office. Mr. Hynes shakes his head.

“This is not some esoteric budget issue; we are not paying bills for absolutely essential services,” he says. “That is obscene.”

Well not that obscene apparently, to the governor. In the midst of all of this, he’s decided now is a great time to give many on his staff 20% raises.

No, seriously – raises. How freakin’ politically tone deaf can you be?

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has handed out raises—some of more than 20 percent—to his staff while proclaiming a message of "shared sacrifice" and planning spending cuts of $1.4 billion because the state is awash in debt.

The Democrat has given 43 salary increases averaging 11.4 percent to 35 staffers in the past 15 months, according to an Associated Press analysis of records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Remember all the jaw flapping that went on by Democrats about CEOs getting bonuses while their corporations were circling the drain?  Well here’s the governmental equivalent. 

And as if that’s not bad enough, the state is handing out 7% “cost of living” raises to government unions:

On July 1st this year, 40,000 or so AFSCME state employees happily collected a 7% percent “cost of living adjustment”. July 1st next year, they will get another 7%. In short, in 2 years, they will get a 14% raise. Even in good years, 7% is well over inflation.

Almost 6 billion in debt and unable to pay for “absolutely essential services” and yet handing out 7% cost of living raises to government union employees and up to 20% raises to staffers in the governors office?

Given that, how can anyone take Governor Pat Quinn seriously when he yammers on about “shared sacrifice”?  Why should they believe him?  The government aristocracy in Illinois has apparently completely removed itself from any sacrifice whatsoever.  They give new meaning to Marie Antoinette’s famous words – “let them eat cake”.

~McQ

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