California provides another example of the destructive Democratic patronage relationship with the unions. Because politicians in the Golden State (an apt name) have long been unable to say no to union demands, California faces a severe public pension crisis. Unfortunately, Gov. Jerry Brown has shown no interest in making substantive reforms. However, there is some light in California. The Democratic mayor of San Jose and the Republican mayor of San Diego recently took the initiative themselves. Faced with residents angered by reduced services and intransigent unions, these mayors introduced major reforms to cut pension costs. They did so via public votes that returned major victories in favor of reform. In these cities, as in Wisconsin and New Jersey, union greed was ultimately stopped by a wall of public anger.
Where does the president stand? Sadly, unlike the Democratic mayor of San Jose, President Obama is firmly behind the unions. As part of his broader economic delusion, the president has happily fought businesses in the service of his union allies. For the president, pleasing big unions is more important than finding jobs for unemployed Americans. In addition, while the president might claim to support the lowest-paid workers, the inflationary pressures (resulting from artificial wage structures) in union-heavy states suggest otherwise. Unions make life expensive for low-income people.
In this election year, the lesson for Republicans is clear. Faced with the president’s accusations that the GOP is the enemy of middle- and low-income Americans, Republican candidates should point to the facts. The facts are clear. Democrats call for “fairness” but continue to reward union blackmail with endless gifts. Democrats claim they are the allies of the private sector, but in endlessly supporting the unions, they limit employment opportunities and are forced to raise taxes on those who do not have access to the union trough. Democrats talk about “empowerment” but unrepentantly block efforts to protect the salaries and basic freedoms of individuals who just want to work.
Mitt Romney should take notice. In both moral and economic terms, this is not a debate that President Obama can win.
Tom Rogan is an American blogger and writer currently living in London, England. He recently completed a law course and holds a BA in War Studies from King’s College London and an MSc in Middle East Politics from SOAS, London. His blog can be found at TomRoganThinks.com. Follow him on Twitter.