Monday, February 21, 2011

Palin and the Unions

For some time now, an inevitable conflict has been brewing between public sector unions and the taxpayers that support them. While unions have always supported Democrats, they have slowly been amassing more and more power since the days of Reagan. Their efforts culminated in the election of Barack Obama.

The racket works like this: the unions stage protests which allow them to implement rules to force workers to join unions. They then collect union dues from their members (which could have gone to healthcare or pensions in the first place) and spend the money getting Democrats elected. Those Democrats then pass laws which give the unions even more control over their members and funnel taxpayer money to the unions. The bosses get rich, the union members get pensions and healthcare, and the rest of America gets sucked dry.

Finally, private sector workers have gotten wise to this scheme and are demanding their tax dollars back. While everyone else has been dealing with cuts in pay and layoffs due to the recent recession, public employees haven't had to sacrifice at all. After all, they can just bill their generous compensation, which far exceeds the average private sector salary, to the government. The Tea Party protests culminated in the election of a Republican congress in 2010, and control of many state legislatures. While unions were pacified for a time with the election of Obama, they are fighting back now that those state legislatures are seeking to balance their budgets by bringing public sector pay and benefits into line with the rest of the nation.

Wisconsin is essentially the Republican version of Colorado: a historically blue state which has flipped to red as a result of massive government deficits and could serve as a model for reforming other state governments. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP legislature have put forth a plan to balance the budget which requires public employees, including teachers, to contribute to their health insurance and pension plans like everyone else. Wisconsin senate Democrats, screaming and crying like two year olds throwing temper tantrums, have fled the state in protest, hiding out in Illinois. (If they were to stay in the state, they could be forced to return to the senate and due their jobs. This would give GOP senators the necessary quorum to proceed with passing the bill.) The unions have flooded the capital with protestors, and the Tea Party held a counter rally on Saturday. Due to the courageous actions of Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP, we are now seeing the final battle between the forces of the left and the forces of the right come to a head. Make no mistake, both sides understand that whoever wins this battle will hold sway for a long, long time.

While other presidential candidates have hemmed and hawed, waiting to see the outcome of these protests before giving comment, Palin has brilliantly demonstrated leadership in a missive to the protesting union members via facebook:

The union-led school closures and demonstrations in Madison have left most ordinary Americans shaking their heads in disbelief. Months ago, I penned a message to my fellow union brothers and sisters when I found myself on the receiving end of union boss Richard Trumka’s wrath. Yesterday’s demonstrations reminded me of the full-page ads taken out against me when I put my foot down in dealing with union demands while I served as governor. My message then and now to good union brothers and sisters is that you have another option. You don’t have to kowtow to the union bosses who are not looking out for you, but instead are using you. You can join millions of other union members in a commonsense movement to help fight for the right causes in our great country – for budgets that share the burden in a truly fair way and for commonsense reforms that take power away from vested interests like union bosses and big business lobby groups, and put it back where it belongs – with “We the People.”

Here we are still struggling to get out of a deep recession and coping with high unemployment, record deficits, rapidly rising food prices, and a host of other economic problems; and Wisconsin union bosses want union members out in the streets demanding that taxpayers foot the bill for unsustainable benefits packages. I am a friend to hard working union members and to teachers. I come from a family of teachers; my grandparents, parents, brother, sister, aunt, and other relatives worked, or still work, in education. My own children attend public schools. I greatly admire good teachers and will always speak up in defense of the teaching profession. But Wisconsin teacher unions do themselves no favor by closing down classrooms and abandoning children’s needs in protest against the sort of belt-tightening that people everywhere are going through. Union brothers and sisters: this is the wrong fight at the wrong time. Solidarity doesn’t mean making Wisconsin taxpayers pay for benefits that are not sustainable and affordable at a time when many of these taxpayers struggle to hold on to their own jobs and homes. Real solidarity means everyone being willing to sacrifice and carry our share of the burden. It does no one any favors to dismiss the sacrifices others have already had to make—in wage cuts, unpaid vacations, and even job losses—to weather our economic storm.

Hard working, patriotic, and selfless union brothers and sisters: please don’t be taken in by the union bosses. At the end of the day, they’re not fighting for your pension or health care plan or even for the sustainability of Wisconsin’s education budget. They’re fighting to protect their own powerful privileges and their own political clout. The agenda for too many union bosses is a big government agenda that only serves the union bosses themselves – not union members, not union families, and certainly not the larger community. Everybody else is just there to foot the bill; and if that bill eventually takes the form of thousands of teachers and other public sector workers losing their jobs because the state of Wisconsin can no longer afford to keep them on the payroll, that’s a risk the union bosses are willing to take as long as their positions are secure. Union brothers and sisters: you are better than this and you deserve better. Don’t be led astray.

One final word of warning to my fellow Americans: back in 2009, I warned about what would happen if states accepted short-term unsustainable debt-ridden “Stimulus Package” funds. Accepting those funds allowed states to grow government, increase already unsustainable levels of spending, kick the can down the road on reforming entitlements, and create public expectations that they would continue financing these new mandates once the federal funds ran out. States were not in a position to grow government and take on new financial commitments then, and now the chickens have come home to roost. As goes Wisconsin today, so goes the country tomorrow.

- Sarah Palin

This letter illustrates why Palin is the only candidate that can win over Reagan Democrats, many of whom are blue collar union members. She not only demonstrates solidarity with union members, but explains why the actions of their greedy leaders are not in their best interests or the best interests of the nation. She also points out the folly of the stimulus, and how it has just kicked the can down the road, causing the turmoil we see today as a result of the lies our government has been feeding us about the state of the budget. There is one word that can only be applied to her out of all the candidates, and that word is leadership.

No comments:

Post a Comment