Democrats thrive on the impoverishment of Michigan, somewhat like maggots on a corpse. At the same time union wage demands are driving businesses to bankruptcy or Mexico, giving Michigan the highest unemployment rate in the nation, union political action committees (PACs) are making generous campaign contributions, almost entirely to Democrats. Data compiled by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network show that statewide, two unions - the UAW and MEA - were among the 10 highest spending political action committees in the 2008 election cycle (January 2007-December 2008):
Unions buy politicians at all levels of government. In campaigns for Lansing mayor and city council, the UAW outspends all others by far. Here are the PACs that spent over $3000 in the years 2005-2008:
The UAW is top contributor to Ingham County commissioner campaigns as well. Here are the PACs that spent over $1000 on campaigns in the years 2006-2008:
Unions and the Michigan Democratic Party have a symbiotic relationship. Union PACs lavish money on the campaigns of Democrats. Democratic politicians enact provisions - such as the project labor agreement (PLA) requirement passed by Ingham county commissioners in June, 2009 - that create more union jobs. Union jobs create more potential "voluntary" contributors to union PACs.
I could be wrong, but Iíve always thought Democrats and liberals spoke for the less fortunate among us - the little guy, the poor. If they ever did, they certainly donít any more. They are too busy pandering to ďmiddle classĒ UAW and MEA members who fund political action committees and show up at the polls. The poor have become invisible. 684,000 workers are unemployed in Michigan so that UAW members can hang on to their $72,000 a year jobs.
Maybe itís the only way the party can hold power. Itís great that Democrats champion progressive social causes such as reproductive rights, gay rights, and universal health care, but that is not enough to make up for the partyís part in the destruction of the economy.
There has to be some Democratic Party politicians who secretly believe that excessive union wages bear a good share of the blame for the bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler and the near-bankruptcy of Ford. They canít all be so stupid as to think otherwise. Can they? Granted, it would be more honorable to plead stupidity, because to admit that you knew that the UAW was destroying the auto industry, yet said nothing and continued to accept UAW campaign contributions would be truly evil. Better to play stupid. So what would be your best guess about these Democrats: stupid or evil?
By the way, I really like Barack Obama, but Iíll be forced to give up on him if his unwavering support of unions doesnít end.
These people are our leaders, for Christís sake! We count on them to be more knowledgeable than the rest of us, especially about stuff like public policy and economics. I really wonder about those in executive positions - like mayor or governor - who have been responsible for balancing a budget. They must be acutely aware of the effect of excessive union wages and benefits.
We expect these politicians to put our welfare above their own need for campaign funds. They have betrayed us.
Although Democrats are the primary villains here, I donít hear Republicans speaking up, either. They might vote against measures favoring organized labor, but I donít hear any strong voices decrying the damage done by unions. And why arenít we hearing from auto executives? They certainly canít claim ignorance. Maybe they knew that the government would come up with the billions necessary to keep them afloat so that UAW members wouldnít lose their inflated wages and benefits. Or maybe it's just tradition. In Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster, author Paul Ingrassia says "Under Detroit's traditional rules of engagement, public criticism of the UAW was corporate suicide." (page 172)