October 22, 2010
POLITICS: Pretending The Union Money Doesn't Exist
Desperate Democrats have been hyperventilating for the past month over money being spent by corporate and other groups, notably the Chamber of Commerce and Americans for Prosperity, to run campaign commercials. To conservatives, running commercials to attempt to persuade voters in advance of an election is known as "free speech," and turnabout is fair play after corporate money went heavily for Obama in 2008, but let's play along here; how much of an advantage does the GOP have here?
Well, according to Greg Sargent, the Washington Post's in-house left-wing activist, it's huge: "The total on the right: $74,733,356. On the left: $9,868,057. And the groups on the left, unlike on the right, consist of well-known names like the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife." This is the standard spin from the Democrats, and Sargent is nothing if not a reliable source for whatever the standard spin from the Democrats happens to be on a particular day. But conspicuously absent from Sargent's list are the largest unions, led by unions of public employees whose taxpayer-funded salaries are funneled into compulsory union dues and then passed on to the people who set those taxpayer-funded salaries. The lead article on the front page of this morning's Wall Street Journal tells the story - check out the Journal's telling graphic:
That's right, three of the five largest campaign spenders this year are not business or pro-business groups but unions afffiliated with the Democrats and dominated by public employees.
The largest spender is AFSCME (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), which is spending $87.5 million, more than any business group and nearly ten times what Sargent claims is the entire spending budget for outside groups on the left (maybe he doesn't get the Journal, but somebody at the Post should have been embarrassed by how misleading his figures are in light of the Journal's report, which has been online since last night). The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which consists heavily of public employees, and the National Education Association (NEA), which consists of public school teachers, round out the top five at $44 and $40 million, respectively. It's not hard to see why they're running scared: as the WSJ notes, all three benefitted significantly from the funnelling of stimulus money to state and local governments (private sector unions have their own reasons to fear a change in control of Congress in 2010). This is government by the government, of the government, for the government. And it shows the absurd hypocrisy of Democrats complaining about pro-business groups trying to rally a beleaguered private sector to defend itself against the government when the government's own employees' unions are outspending the biggest business groups.
The Democrats aren't against big outside spending in elections. They just don't like it when the other side gets to fight back.
Yes, I've been saying this for a while. I always see Democrats and the mainstream media hammer on how much more special interest money is being spent by Republicans, and they throw out numbers like $20 Million or $10 Million for the left. Huh? The amount of special interest spending is several hundred million dollars every election cycle. Anybody whose numbers don't add up that high is clearly leaving information out.
It's startlingly dishonest. And it's also galling that they're assuming we don't remember that Barack Obama's Presidential campaign was the only Presidential campaign that actively solicited donations not just from foreign-based Americans, but from foreign non-citizens. They were the only campaign for President that turned off credit card checks that required donations to come from Americans. There were plenty of reports from Europe of social pressure in those countries to donate to Obama, because he was the candidate the chattering classes preferred.
It's probably the most merit-less attack I've ever seen a national political party use, and that's saying something with all of the crap that gets said near Elections every cycle.
Dems relying on made up facts and ignoring facts that undercut their arguments is not really news.
somebody at the Post should have been embarrassed...
I suspect his editor is no less shameless than Sargent himself. Anybody with a semblance of intellectual honesty would, at a minimum, address the discrepency, leave alone a retraction. These people laugh at how little they are held to account.
I've come to the conclusion that public employee unions are nothing more than a vehicle for paying kickbacks to politicians. There is simply no other theoretical or practical justification for their existence.
More it shows the continuing (it never ended to start again)corruption of the election process. Public unions support the Democrats, corporations support the Republicans. Mainly anyway. Since we will probably never get public financing, and we have the first amendment, then the only solution I would think is to have a limit on campaign finance raising, limited to a maximum amount per person over the age of 18. Say $5. Maybe $10. Will that grossly limit what anyone can then spend? Sure. But it's an equal amount across the board. And you can't spend over that in anyone's name either.
This would exclude corporations and unions, since, law be damned, they aren't people. And no, you can't stop someone from paying for an outside publication or ad, since that's prior restraint. But then, you CAN fine someone for breaking the law, subject to a fine DOUBLE what they spent.
Nor will that stop someone like Bloomberg, who can pay his own way. Which is fine, life isn't totally fair after all, is it? Just think, elections without having to actually attend the rubber chicken circuit. Maybe we'll get some thinner politicians that way also.
Off topic, but I saw Tea Party candidate, Joe Miller, sided with authoritarianism over "liberty and freedom".
And the Tea Party is different than the Republican Party in which way again?
The Tea Party: formerly known as Bush's base.