Public Employee Unions and ObamaCare

Much has been written lately about why the Democrat Party is trying to force the ObamaCare disaster-in-waiting on an unwilling nation. Some have said the Democrats have a suicide wish. Others believe the Democrats want to force as many people as possible to become dependent on the government and, therefore on themselves as the party of government. And there is another faction that believes the Democrats really believe socialism works, despite all the evidence to the contrary history has provided us. While all of these explanations have merit, another one should be considered as well.

The Democrat Party is owned by the public employee unions. Those who are in a position to gain the most by a government takeover of the U.S. healthcare system are, not coincidentally, the public employee unions who will gain thousands of jobs. Government spending, although authorized by politicians, is carried out by bureaucracies whose first, second, and third priorities is to perpetuate their existence. The public employee union members who actually waste spend the taxpayer’s money have no incentive to spend it efficiently since they are effectively spending other people’s money on other people. Indeed, their only incentive is to spend as much as they can so that they can justify a larger and larger budget every year.

I live near a large Amish community. The Amish are famous for their self-sufficiency. The state of Ohio, in an effort to justify more federal welfare funds for their food stamp program, actually advertised in the local Amish community in an attempt to sign them up for food stamps, thus increasing their welfare rolls. This is a perfect example of the perverse incentives which exist for the public sector employee unions. The more taxpayer money they spend, the larger increase they can expect in next year’s budget, and the better their job security.

This is exactly what happened in France and other European social democracies, and why their economic growth and living standards have consistently lagged behind the United States during the past several decades. Their governments are effectively run by, and for the benefit of, the public employee unions. Closer to home, the economic disaster that has become California is a direct result of the state’s plundering by their public employee unions, made possible by decades of liberal leadership in the state. The government is the only employer who never downsizes. Steven Greenhut of the Orange County Register recently wrote that California’s public employees are actually campaigning for higher taxes:

With California teetering on insolvency, government union activists and liberal legislators are trying to whip the public into a “please tax us more” frenzy by scaring people about the consequences of spending cuts. At a union rally in Sacramento recently, one protester hoisted a “Raise Our Taxes” sign, which typifies the sentiment widely held among the state’s public employees.

Such nonsense makes sense only from the perspective of public employees. Higher taxes are an enormous burden for the productive sector but are the life blood for public employees who staff the unproductive government sector. If ObamaCare passes, taxes will rise dramatically to fund all these new government jobs. Governor Palin, in yesterday’s Facebook Note, linked to this piece by Greg Sargent in which he discussed the extent to which the SEIU and other powerful unions will go to ensure that ObamaCare becomes law:

In what seems intended as a shot across the bow of House Dems wavering on health reform, top officials with the labor powerhouse SEIU have bluntly told a Democratic member that they will pull their support for him — and will likely field a challenger against him — if he votes No on the Senate bill.

Dem Rep Mike McMahon of New York met yesterday with a top SEIU official and told him he’s likely to vote No, the official tells me. The official: Mike Fishman, president of SEIU 32bj, the largest property workers union in the country, with 120,000 members in eight states.

Fishman told McMahon that the union would not support him if he voted No — and suggested the hunt for a primary or third-party challenger would follow.

“He let us know he’s not supportive of the health care plan,” Fishman says. “We’ve let him know that we can’t support somebody who doesn’t support it.”

“We are going to begin talking to other unions about finding someone else for that seat,” Fishman continued.

That’s hope and change Chicago style. Either pass ObamaCare and create thousands of new government union jobs, or we’ll get rid of you and find someone else we can control. Unfortunately for us, Obama is interested in pleasing his good buddy, SEIU president Andy Stern, by leading us down this dangerous path. His attempt to take over 1/6 of the U.S. economy under the guise of “health care reform” is more about increasing the membership of the public employee unions like the SEIU than it is about health care. These new union members will then reward the party of government, the Democrats, with their votes ad infinitum. All of these new government jobs will be financed by us taxpayers. If you want to see our fiscal future if Obama and his union boss friends get their way, look no further than the economic disaster that is California.

Related: There is an excellent article in today’s American Thinker by Steve Bartin which discusses how warped the relationship has become between taxpayers and public sector employees, whom Barton calls “tax-consumers”. Here are a few excerpts:

Lately, there’s been much talk about the generous compensation of government workers. This is understandable after a long recession in which many private-sector workers got laid off or took cuts in compensation levels. As USA Today reminds us, federal pay has surpassed private-sector wages. Since private-sector workers pay the taxes that fund government workers’ wages, conflict exists.

Marxists have long stated that class conflict exists between workers and the owners of capital. Marx and his followers were wrong about that. Class conflict exists between taxpayers and tax-consumers.


The public sector earn their compensation through theft by majority-rule democracy, the political means. Theft through majority voting is highly effective when government workers are given the right to vote.

The results have been rather lucrative. Why else would public schoolteachers be so involved in America’s political process? But teachers aren’t the only rent-seekers. Ten percent of Massachusetts state troopers make more than their governor. Over 3,600 California prison guards make over $100,000 a year. Madison, Wisconsin’s highest-paid government worker is a bus driver making $159,258 a year.


The state constitutions of New York and Illinois clearly state that government workers’ pensions can’t be diminished. Thus, taxpayers are responsible for generous compensation that they will not get but are coerced into paying. Historically, the purpose of a constitution is to enumerate and limit the power of government, not to enshrine special privileges for a special class of individuals.

In the coming years, the war between those who pay taxes and those who receive them will only increase. It could be college students who feel they are entitled to pay tuitions cheaper than grammar school tuitions or government workers who can retire at 42 instead of 65. Taxation without representation has long been a powerful rallying cry in America. In the near future, we may be hearing a derivative of that famous slogan: no representation without taxation. Many are beginning to question whether low taxes are possible with government workers allowed to vote.

Read Bartin’s entire piece here. It’s eye-opening.

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