Obama officials praise those who support them
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Monday finally had enough of President Obama's hectoring. (Obama at the National Governors' Association meeting on Monday pronounced, "I don't think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified or their rights are infringed upon.")
In a statement, Walker reminded Obama -- and the country -- of some key facts:
"I'm sure the President knows that most federal employees do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits while our plan allows it for base pay. And I'm sure the President knows that the average federal worker pays twice as much for health insurance as what we are asking for in Wisconsin. At least I would hope he knows these facts.
Furthermore, I'm sure the President knows that we have repeatedly praised the more than 300,000 government workers who come to work every day in Wisconsin.
I'm sure that President Obama simply misunderstands the issues in Wisconsin, and isn't acting like the union bosses in saying one thing and doing another."
It's odd how the left and the mainstream media speak of public employee unions' "rights." These "rights" are a function of statue in some but not all states. Do taxpayers in Texas have a "right" -- unassailable and unamendable -- not to pay state income tax? It would be nice for Texans to have that assurance, but Texans know full well that elections and new elected officials can change the tax structure. (I suspect that is one reason why they keep voting Republican.) By pronouncing something a "right," the implication is that those seeking to change the system are doing something untoward. Poppycock. For an ideological group that constantly wants to change existing laws and arrangements, liberals should be wary of defending the status quo with such vigor.
Now, Obama's comments were not the only indication of the degree to which this administration is beholden to and biased in favor of Big Labor. Byron York of the Washington Examiner reports on the cheerleading by the secretary of labor, Hilda Solis:
"The fight is on!" Solis told a cheering crowd at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting over the weekend in Washington. Giving her support to "our brothers and sisters in public employee unions," Solis pledged aid to unionized workers who are "under assault" in Wisconsin and elsewhere.
This is appalling. She is not the secretary of unions. She is the secretary of a department that is, theoretically, supposed to be a neutral umpire between labor and management and promote employment. No wonder her outburst made her subordinates nervous:
In response to an e-mail inquiry, department spokeswoman Evangelina Garcia directed any questions about Solis's speech to the DNC. When asked whether Solis was speaking in her role as labor secretary -- after all, she began the relevant part of her DNC speech by saying, "As your secretary of labor, I've been following the developments in Wisconsin ..." -- Garcia did not respond.
Asked whether Solis supported the actions of Wisconsin Democratic state senators, who have fled the state to prevent a debate and vote on Walker's proposal, Garcia again did not respond. Later, another spokeswoman also directed inquiries to the DNC. Reached by phone, a DNC official said, "I'm going to let the speech speak for itself." In other words, no comment all around.
During Solis's confirmation hearings, Republicans raised strong concerns about her ability to enforce the law in a neutral fashion. She assured the Senate -- under oath -- that her days as a union advocate were over. They plainly are not. She should, accordingly, resign. That's not going to happen, but an oversight hearing would be illuminating.
The degree to which the Democratic Party, including the president, has become dependent on organized labor has been apparent for some time. Despite the caterwauling in 2010 from Democrats about undisclosed campaign donors, a large public employee union (American Federation of State and Municipal Employees) was the top third party donor. Also in the top 10 were the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of Teachers. These unions give almost exclusively to Democratic politicians.There is little wonder then that Democratic legislators and governors have shoveled rich benefits into the laps of public employee unions.To be blunt, you get what you pay for.
Perhaps there should be a choice: Public employee unions can retain their bargaining rights OR their ability to make campaign donations. But not both. Really, the current system by which unions provide tens of millions of dollars to Democratic politicians who in turn "negotiate" uber-generous contracts with those same unions would be, in any other context, called bribery.
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