Watching the news in the last 2 weeks we have heard all about the alleged (but unproven and likely false) “secret” contributions from foreign entities to Republican candidates for office this November. The Democrats must love this (which is probably why the media is doing it) because it has completely distracted the American people from the biggest and most devastating scandal of all: The gigantic contributions of public sector unions to Democratic candidates.
In fact, while we are talking about Republican contributors, the number 1 money contributor of all parties is to the Democrats– these public sector unions. $89.5 million so far, more than any other single contributing entity. And while we talk about what must be the “corrupting” contributions of– better sit down for this one– the US Chamber of Commerce, these public sector unions are already seeing the huge benefits of their contributions to the Obama campaign in 2008. Obama and his cohorts in Congress have made huge concessions to these unions, including forcing hundreds of billions of stimulus dollars their way, requiring that federal construction contracts use union labor (adding 40% to the cost of entire projects), and protecting and “saving” public sector jobs.
And the really twisted irony of this is that perhaps the most significant deficit-making issue for our country is public sector pay and benefits. So here we are, running huge deficits with public sector compensation being the leading cause, watching these public sector unions buy more and more influence with their campaign contributions. It is like trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline onto it. Don’t get me wrong. I respect most workers in the public sector and I don’t want to deny them fair pay and good benefits. But their pay, benefits, and retirement programs should be commensurate with those of the taxpayer, not far exceeding those of the taxpayer. It used to be that public sector workers had lower pay but better benefits, which seemed to work. Now they have higher pay, and higher benefits, and can retire on average 10 years earlier than private sector workers!
I listened all weekend to the news, especially the Sunday talk shows, as Democrat after Democrat railed against Republican contributions and Republican financial advantages and the corrupting influence of money in elections, while not a single host (even on Fox!) challenged their guests on whether or not they were being corrupted by all this union money. None even bothered to point out that Democrats still have far more money per candidate than Republicans do. The media, and many American citizens, have taken the head fake.
Read the excerpt below to understand what is happening in our society and how out of whack the public sector has gotten at taxpayer expense. From this you will also see why I am bitterly opposed to any tax increase until such problems are fixed. Tax me more once the house is in order:
San Francisco’s Public Pension Revolt
The city has cut back on almost every service: Summer schools have been shut, potholes deepen, parks close early, and services for the poor have been pared to the quick.
San Francisco, Wall Street Journal, Friday, October 22
The Phoenix and the Guardian, two antique fireboats moored near the San Francisco Bay Bridge, are operated by a six-person crew from the city’s fire department. A few times a week, the vessels putter about to provide a visiting cruise ship with a watery salute. For this, all of the vessels’ captains and engineers are paid $172,253 a year in salary and benefits and are eligible for a city-paid pension after 20 years. Regardless of whether they take a new job, the pension entitles them to 90% of their annual income, plus annual cost of living adjustments, for the rest of their lives.