Critics of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker say his proposal to strip unions of collective bargaining rights is more about power than the budget.
They're right, but it's not the governor’s power. It's the all-mighty unions that are rapidly seeing their influence evaporate.
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While there are concerns among them that this anti-union feeling is spreading beyond Wisconsin into places like Ohio, Indiana and California, but as Steve Malanga points out in today’s Wall Street Journal: Wisconsin is not ground zero in the fight against public-sector union power.
Unions have been flexing their muscles across the country for years.
Let's look to Oregon in 2010: the SEIU and the Oregon Education Association spend nearly $3 million to pass tax-raising ballot measures. Ballot measures 66 and 67 raised taxes on Oregonians by $727 million annually.
In Arizona, the sales tax was raised by 1% thanks to lobbying by public safety and teachers unions.
In California back in 2004 the same groups spent nearly $5 million of their dues on a campaign to raise income taxes on those making more than $1 million.
Recently in New York - as the recession was taking hold – then-Governor Paterson tried to make cuts to balance the state’s budget, but the unions were having none of it. The New York State United Teacher’s Union spent close to a million bucks to stop a proposed cap on property taxes.
And it's not just teachers - health care unions spent that much to fight proposed medicaid cuts. So in the end, New Yorkers were forced to pay more in taxes.
It's not just state leaders that are forced to fight unions on practically every budget proposal. They have enormous power when it comes to Washington and they have no plans on relinquishing it.
Three out of the top ten biggest political contributors on the federal level are unions. AFSCME comes in at number three - giving $43 million over the past two decades.
The National Education Association gave $31 million, making it number eight. Rounding out the list—the SEIU donated $22 million over the last 20 years, and 95% of all those donations went to Democrats.
But the times, they are a changing!
The public is fed up with unions being able to dictate how much they make and how little they contribute to their retirement and health care - while the rest of us don't have that option.
A new Pew Research poll shows less than half of Americans have a favorable view of unions, and the majority would side with businesses in their disputes with labor groups.
When unions were created - they were designed to protect the American worker from abuses at the upper level. They were designed to give the American worker a voice.
But those days are long gone. Now they fight to maintain their power - at the detriment to the American taxpayer.
They are unwilling to budge on even the most obvious and simplest of issues.
It's time to put all workers on equal footing and work together to bring back fiscal stability to our states.