SEIU Gets One Right (By Accident)

Steven Greenhut: The Service Employees International Union — those purple-shirted bullies who think that average Californians should pay far more in taxes to prop up their huge pensions — has actually taken a reasonable position by supporting marijuana legalization, Prop. 19. The governor blasted SEIU for this in a statement released today.

Here’s Arnold:

I was surprised to read that leaders of the state’s biggest union — the SEIU — had decided to endorse Proposition 19, which would allow Californians to legally grow and possess marijuana. Any patrol officer, judge or district attorney will tell you that Proposition 19 is a flawed initiative that would bring about a host of legal nightmares and risks to public safety. It would also make California a laughingstock.

Leaders of the Service Employees International Union say they support Proposition 19 so the state can avoid cuts to healthcare, home care, education and elderly care programs. Yet even the best-case estimates show Proposition 19 (assuming it would even pass constitutional muster) bringing in only $1.4 billion in annual revenue — a fraction of our current deficit.

The SEIU could embrace a far better and more responsible solution for saving state programs: pension reform.

I admire the governor’s views on pension reform. He has really been sticking to this important issue. And he is right that the purple-shirt-wearing bullhorn-touting folks ought to embrace such reform. But he should also embrace marijuana legalization (indeed all drug legalization) not because it will bring revenue to the state but because it is a freedom issue. It might save money by chance (reducing incarceration rates and allowing police to focus on real crimes). But that’s just a side benefit. The governor should understand this personal freedom issue. I would never expect SEIU to get it about personal freedom, but at least they back the right side on 19.

SEPT. 24, 2010

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