Barack Obama learned about politics in Chicago, a city controlled by the Democratic Party machine of the Daley family. In recent weeks, sweetheart deals between Mayor Daley’s office and several union bosses have come to light. Those deals have made the unions bosses enormously wealthy.
Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Americans. Ironically, the Daley machine and Obama are determined to make union leaders part of that 1% as quickly as possible, at the expense of taxpayers and ordinary, rank-and-file union members.
Through loopholes created by Democratic Party lawmakers, union leaders have received six-figure “double dip” pensions from the city while receiving equally huge salaries from their union positions. Meanwhile, governments and pension plans at all levels stumble toward insolvency and default, and ordinary taxpayers and union members struggle with financial hardship. Obama learned about union deals from the Daley machine, and his “jobs bill” is just another way to reward unions for their support.
Between father Richard J. and son Richard M., the Daleys served in the mayor’s office for more than half a century and attracted no less than seven separate federal corruption investigations. The Daleys have always been suspected of “fixing” the 1960 election for John F. Kennedy, delivering the Illinois Electoral College votes by the narrowest of margins.
The younger Daley’s brother, William, was Al Gore’s campaign chairman during the 2000 presidential race, personally traveling to Florida for the recount, and now serves as Obama’s chief of staff. And the newly anointed heir to the Chicago throne is none other than Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s previous chief of staff. Obama’s links to the Daleys and their power are well documented.
What makes the Daleys powerful is their partnership with labor unions. Union bosses provide the campaign contributions, the volunteers, and the votes that are the lifeblood of most Democrats’ political campaigns. In return, like so many other Democratic Party supporters such as Solyndra’s investors, union bosses are given access to huge amounts of money from taxpayers.
At the lower levels of the Chicago machine, faithful operatives of the Democratic machine are rewarded with jobs on the city payroll. The departments of streets and sanitation, code enforcement, and other city services are packed with loyal Daley supporters.
All city workers were of course organized by the unions, paying a portion of their city salaries as union dues. Much of the dues money, in turn, was passed on to Democratic politicians in the form of campaign contributions. The workers walked the precincts to get out the vote for the Democrats and, on Election Day, they often took a day off to maximize the GOTV effort.
As their years of loyal service turned into decades, and tens of thousands of Chicago Republicans sold their homes and moved to the suburbs, Democratic control of the city and county became cast in reinforced concrete. Any disputes became purely intramural in nature: one faction of the Democratic Party against another. And the most loyal Daley supporters moved up through the ranks, in city government and the unions.