Leftists attack Prop. 32 campaign reform

Commentary

July 24, 2012

By John Seiler

Anyone who observes California politics knows that the government-worker unions dominate the state from top to bottom. They forced union pension spiking on the state a decade ago, leading to the spate of bankruptcies by cities here; and to the effective insolvency of the state government itself. The state simply cannot pay the $500 billion unfunded liability for state pension funds, according to a Stanford study.

Union dominance means that union bosses effectively sit on both sides of the negotiating table: as workers, and as employer — because union clout at the polls means the elections make union hacks like Gov. Jerry Brown the employer.

Proposition 32, on the ballot in November, would curb union power. According to the official ballot summary, it “Restricts union political fundraising by prohibiting use of payroll-deducted funds for political purposes.” Union members still could contribute to political causes. But they wouldn’t have their paychecks directly pilfered for union campaigns.

Not surprisingly, the major leftist organizations in the state oppose it, beginning with Common Cause and the supposedly unbiased League of Women Voters.

“It’s not at all what it seems,” said Trudy Schafer, of the state League of Women Voters, as reported in the Mercury News. “It promises political reform but it’s really designed by its special interest backers to help themselves and harm their opponents.” The backers are anti-union activists in Orange County.

But without this reform, the state really will go bankrupt — if it hasn’t already — because of union looting.

Common Cause

“I’m all for campaign finance reform,” said Derek Cressman, western regional director for Common Cause. “I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life working for campaign finance reform. I know campaign finance reform, and, friends, Prop. 32 is not campaign finance reform.”

Actually, Common Cause has worked to suppress free speech. Back in the 1970s, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, at the national level the group was instrumental in the so-called Watergate reforms that severely restricted campaign contributions. Doing so made elections so complicated that only professionals and rich people could run for office — not just for national office, but in many cases even for local offices.

It was a typical liberal “reform” that had the opposite effect of what was intended. Instead of reducing the power of the rich, it increased it. Before, a candidate for the U.S. Congress, for example, could tap a few rich people for campaign contributions. After the “reforms,” the candidate has to be rich himself to fund much of his campaign; or he has to spend most of his time fundraising small amounts. The result was that a good local candidate with ideas and character finds it almost impossible to run for office.

Political vacuum

Another result was that unions filled the political vacuum once they were given collective bargaining rights, which they were in California in 1977 with the Dills Act. It’s the same old story: The Left empowers itself and calls it “reform.”

Reported the Mercury News, “Still, labor groups view the ballot measure as a deadly threat and have far outpaced supporters in the money chase. Since the most recent finance reports on April 30, they’ve added $3.4 million to the $3.9 million cash they had on hand for a total of $7.3 million. The Yes side has $1.9 million.”

So it’s going to be tough the get this reform passed. A similar reform, Proposition 75, was on the ballot in 2005 as one of four initiatives on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s reform platform in that year’s November Special Election. The whole reform plank was badly conceived. And Schwarzenegger gave it his usual half-hearted attempt. He only ever campaigned hard for himself. After his reform plank was defeated, Schwarzenegger turned sharply to the left, passing massive new regulations, such as AB 32 and tax increases, that left the state in ruins similar to those on that island at the end of his movie “Commando.”

But the joke is on the unions, unCommon Cause, the League of Liberal Women Voters and their leftist cohorts. There’s no more money. Business and jobs are fleeing the state. California is going to have to cut union pay, perks and pensions — no matter what.

When you strangle the goose it no longer lays Golden State eggs.



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