"If at age 20 you are a conservative then you have no heart. If at age 30 you are a liberal then you have no brains."
Sir Winston Churchill

Obama obviously knows very little about economics, specifically that "Society stagnates when independent productive achievers begin to be socially demonized and even punished for their accomplishments." This dilemma fogs Obama's reality. To him, accepting this truth is a "false choice", his answer to things he doesn't understand. And by the way... where is John Galt?

Saturday, February 22, 2014


I was born and raised in a union household.  I owe a lot to my fathers union.  I probably would not have gone to college without it.  I have never crossed a picket line in my life and I pray that I never will.  Unions helped create the modern middle class in 20th century America.  Unions did so, by being the champion of middle class values and American patriotism and exceptionalism.

 As an adult I was a member of two unions.  The first was the UFT, the NYC chapter of the AFT.  This union or at least the chapter in one school where I taught Special Education, did not think much of my students and at times even less about their members who taught them.  Both the AFT and the NEA nationally would initially oppose efforts to mainstream students with disabilities.  Today both would probably deny this but they would be lying.
So my personal experience with unions has been mixed as has the experience and perceptions of millions of other Americans which are reflected in the decline of union membership in the work force to 11.3%.  Private sector union membership is now an anemic 6.7% while the public sector union membership is a healthier 35.3%. while growing in controversy as to its effect on the size and cost of government at all levels. 

This past weekend workers at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee voted not to join the UAW despite  the active cooperation of VW management and I G Metall the bargaining agent for Volkswagen  workers in Europe.  The UAW has fallen from a high of 1.5 million members  to less than 400,000 nationally.

The loss was a shock  for both the UAW and its parent body, the AFL-CIO, whose President Richard Trumpka announced that going forward labor would coalesce with progressive forces in the south in order to overcome the distrust of unions. This distrust however stems from organized labor's past unsavory relationship with organized crime,,frequent union thug behavior   and labors new unsavory alliances with so called "progressive" groups many of which are anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, covertly racist, anti-American and either socialist or communist politically.
They include environmental zealots who seek to destroy union jobs by killing the coal industry, preventing the building of the Keystone XL pipeline and limiting the drilling for domestic oil and gas....all which adds insult to injury by dramatically increasing energy costs for middle class Americans in particular. Predictably the loss in Tennessee is now being blamed on racism and Nazis by MSNBC.  A week later threats are still being made toward anti union activists. 

Unions are now also seen as an integral part of the Democratic Party.  In NYC for example it is now hard to distinguish where the unions begin and where the party takes over.  Public sector unions in particular have become heavy handed political players in large cities and heavily unionized states.  The Working Families Party which has as one of its founders, the current Mayor of New York who together with public sector unions and questionable groups like the former ACORN, is in point of fact in total control of all the levers of power in the city and to a lesser degree, in the state legislature.  The WFP has all but eclipsed the Democratic Party in the city even while party enrollment remains overwhelmingly Democratic..the WFP is now the tail that wags the Democratic dog.

This however brings a basic and fundamental question to the forefront that is essential to the social and political compact between the government and the people.  If the foremost objective of political labor is to promote the needs of unions and theoretically their members...what happens to the rest of us, if  the labor movement takes over the reins of government?. 

That question is no longer a theoretical one as the Progressive NYC Mayor emulating his hero the Progressive US  President proceeds to go to war against anything and everything that unions despise.  

The most prominent example of this  are Charter Schools of which NYC has 183,  the largest number of any city in the nation,  On the whole these schools, which are public schools not under the thumb of the UFT  cost approximately half per pupil as regular schools and  have 60% black children, 30% Hispanic children and 96% low income children on their rosters, They do markedly better than their non-charter  counterparts on reading, math and science with the % who goes to college or are college bound  also higher than regular schools.  Currently there are over 70,000 mostly minority children, on waiting lists for these schools and the demand for opening more is overwhelming, particularly in minority areas of the city.

Both FDR and George Meaney thought public sector unions to be a terrible idea and anathema to democracy.  There is an inherent conflict of interest when  people in elective office are politically dependent on the workforce for whom  they will ultimately make decisions  with regard to pay,  benefits and work rules. It is naive at best to believe that  this symbiotic relationship between politicians, union money and union campaign workers  somehow magically also guarantees that the greater needs of the general public will still be front and center in the halls of power.  Instead evidence mounts as the cost and size of government goes through the roof  due mostly to the  increase in the number of union workers along with their pay, pensions and health care...that the people are ignored and invisible.  

Unions, despite all of the above are not obsolete nor should they be.  But if they are to remain relevant they are one huge special interest that needs to be decoupled from politics in the public sector and become  more in synch with  the needs and beliefs of their rank and file in the private sector.  Moreover, if 501 (c) (4) groups can be pushed out of the public square re even non partisan political activity, then 501 (c) (5) entities ( unions) should also be restricted out of simple fairness and in order to level the playing field.  

If unions are to both survive and find comity with the general society, they must return to a state of being about protecting their members and their jobs without aligning themselves with those who would destroy these same jobs out of ignorance malice or an unquenchable thirst for power,  They cannot remain the shock troops of a progressive fairy tale that preaches that wealth must be shared by all, work is optional in achieving success and prosperity and the state will take care of all your needs forever.  This is not the America that working men and women built.  This is instead the fantasy "social justice" American utopia described in the old hobo song the "Big Rock Candy Mountain". 



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