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(National Review)   NYT's Paul Krugman: "we need some counterweight to the political power of big money" NR's Kevin Williamson: So you want to end public-sector unions' undue influence on the political process, too?   (nationalreview.com) divider line 263
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1157 clicks; posted to Politics » on 28 Feb 2011 at 3:07 PM (4 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2011-02-28 11:26:25 AM  
Only if you agree to slice off the corporate teat as well.
 
2011-02-28 11:29:28 AM  
www.queue.to

Nyuk nyuk nyuk
 
2011-02-28 11:29:59 AM  
'Cause when I think 'big money' I think unions.
 
2011-02-28 11:30:35 AM  
It's funny how Republicans claim unions give orders of magnitude more money to Democrats than corporations ever did, yet balk when asked to reverse Citizens United, which opened up the spigots for both.
 
2011-02-28 11:31:22 AM  
A public corporation's legal obligation is to turn a profit. A CEO has fiduciary duty to the company's stock. In contrast, a union is entrusted with ensuring the rights of people are protected.

If you can't see a difference between that, you're a moron.
 
2011-02-28 11:34:51 AM  
A unionized public employee, a member of the Tea Party, and a Big Corp CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table there is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the tea partier and says, "Look out for that union guy, he wants a piece of your cookie."
 
2011-02-28 11:51:45 AM  

vygramul: It's funny how Republicans claim unions give orders of magnitude more money to Democrats than corporations ever did, yet balk when asked to reverse Citizens United, which opened up the spigots for both.


They continually argue for uneven playing fields on every topic.

Take Freedom of Religion. Inclusivity of all beliefs is somehow exclusive of Christians.

Opening up influence peddling for all organizations somehow infringes on corporations' ability to peddle influence.

Sickening and obvious, and disgusting that people buy into it.
 
2011-02-28 11:58:52 AM  
If corporations were similarly restricted, I would have no problem restricting the unions. Since that will never happen, the unions serve as a crucial counterweight to corporate influence.
 
2011-02-28 12:04:26 PM  
I don't think corporations care nearly as much about unions comprised of government employees as much as they care about unions in the private sector, but that's just me.
 
2011-02-28 12:13:43 PM  
I'd suggest complete public financing of elections, with a set amount for each level of office, free radio/tv time (as part of station licensure in the public interest) and 3 debates for all registered candidates, and no extra donations at all, whether corporate or union or self or otherwise. All primaries take place by mail-in/drop off ballot over the same one week period nationwide. But I'm sure both sides will yowl about all this, so vote Green.
 
2011-02-28 12:17:34 PM  

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: A public corporation's legal obligation is to turn a profit. A CEO has fiduciary duty to the company's stock. In contrast, a union is entrusted with ensuring the rights of people are protected.


To be fair, a union is a non-profit organization, which simply means a different kind of tax assessment and standard. They too must generate a fund surplus from which to draw upon to pay salaries, negotiators, continuance and legal counsel. A union president has fiduciary duty to her dues-paying members to look out for their interests, just as public corporations look out for their shareholders' interest.
 
2011-02-28 12:28:31 PM  

Somacandra: A union president has fiduciary duty to her dues-paying members to look out for their interests, just as public corporations look out for their shareholders' interest.


Right. But lets so I go buy stock in Target. I'm not contributing anything to the company, making it a better company. I'm trading around a pieces of paper for other pieces of paper. Yet the CEO's responsibility is now legally to me, *not to his employees* except to the extend that an employee owns stock. That's fundamentally different from a union whose responsibility is to the dues-paying members that make it up.
 
2011-02-28 12:31:51 PM  

Somacandra: But I'm sure both sides will yowl about all this...


The only flaw I see are the "issue" advertisements from outside parties.

/We're not saying "don't vote for John Smith", we're just saying that "John Smith supports killing your children and eating them with some kind of foreign (possibly Muslim) mustard."
 
2011-02-28 12:36:46 PM  
It's amusing when these corporate tools think they have said something clever.
 
2011-02-28 12:52:14 PM  

Somacandra: I'd suggest complete public financing of elections, with a set amount for each level of office, free radio/tv time (as part of station licensure in the public interest) and 3 debates for all registered candidates, and no extra donations at all, whether corporate or union or self or otherwise.


I've always thought this was a good way to curb the undue influence that the big-money players have over American politics. Personally, I would like to see the elimination and outlawing of political parties as well. Make our elected officials and our voting public decide on issues based upon their merit, not on who paid you the most to vote for or against something or on what your party leadership wants. I realize that would require critical thinking skills for all involved and would force people to form their own opinions, which is clearly too hard. It seems like we're just too intellectually lazy for anything other than the cliffs notes version of democracy.
 
2011-02-28 01:09:35 PM  

Angry Drunk Bureaucrat: The only flaw I see are the "issue" advertisements from outside parties.


While I share your concern, frankly I'm not sure how to address that in the scenario I'm envisioning--other than legally requiring such ads to be "downright hilarious."
 
2011-02-28 01:16:38 PM  

Diogenes: 'Cause when I think 'big money' I think unions.


You would think that if you research the matter.

Try going to Google and typing in "largest political donors" and then check out the most relevant link.

Nine out of the top 15 largest organizational donors of all time are unions.
 
2011-02-28 01:37:04 PM  

BullBearMS: Nine out of the top 15 largest organizational donors of all time are unions.


Well, at least since 1989... and lobbying expenditures alone have gone up 140.97% from 1999 to 2009.
 
2011-02-28 01:52:41 PM  
There seems to be a lot of people who don't understand a basic principle of economics:

When you increase the cost to a company to produce a good or provide a service, they pass that cost along to the consumer!

Raise tax rates on companies - you will pay more for their products.

Give workers a raise (union or not) - you will pay more for their products.

Why do you want to increase your cost of living?
 
2011-02-28 01:58:50 PM  

vygramul: It's funny how Republicans claim unions give orders of magnitude more money to Democrats than corporations ever did, yet balk when asked to reverse Citizens United, which opened up the spigots for both.


Exactly.

Then they whine about oh, but if we can't have contributions, then it means only rich people who can pay millions of dollars out of their own pockets can afford to run for office (as IF this isn't already a problem now anyway).

Answer to that? Fine. Fark limiting contributions - limit overall campaign SPENDING, regardless of source. What, you can't afford to buy 1409410341298543019 negative TV ads? Oh, such a PITY.

Let everyone put up their equally sized campaign posters on the official campaign billboards like they do elsewhere.
 
2011-02-28 01:59:25 PM  

Somacandra: I'd suggest complete public financing of elections, with a set amount for each level of office, free radio/tv time (as part of station licensure in the public interest) and 3 debates for all registered candidates, and no extra donations at all, whether corporate or union or self or otherwise. All primaries take place by mail-in/drop off ballot over the same one week period nationwide. But I'm sure both sides will yowl about all this, so vote Green.


HELL yeah.
 
2011-02-28 02:00:32 PM  

BillCo: Raise tax rates on companies - you will pay more for their products.


No. Their CUSTOMERS will pay more for their products, which is as it should be.
 
2011-02-28 02:06:34 PM  

BillCo: There seems to be a lot of people who don't understand a basic principle of economics:

When you increase the cost to a company to produce a good or provide a service, they pass that cost along to the consumer!

Raise tax rates on companies - you will pay more for their products.

Give workers a raise (union or not) - you will pay more for their products.

Why do you want to increase your cost of living?


Is this a troll?

The percentage of a tax that is passed on to the consumer by a corporation is determined by relative supply and demand elasticities in the market for that particular good. If you're interested, start here (new window).

As for workers, an increase in their wages will cause a short-term increase in the 'price' of the good they produce. However, the medium-long term picture may be quite different, depending on the higher wage's ability to attract more productive employees.

And that's not even touching the fact that there may be good reasons to tax corporations or raise wages, even if prices increase. You might be motivated by a sense of fairness, concern for rights (the right to free association, say, in the context of unions), you might desire a more equitable distribution of resources, or the increase in "costs" might have non-financial benefits (environmental regulations, for example).
 
2011-02-28 02:12:25 PM  
hitchking: you might desire a more equitable distribution of resources

Thank you Comrade.
 
2011-02-28 02:17:41 PM  

BillCo: hitchking: you might desire a more equitable distribution of resources

Thank you Comrade.


Oh. So you are a troll, then. Lesson learned!
 
2011-02-28 02:38:25 PM  

Somacandra: I'd suggest complete public financing of elections, with a set amount for each level of office, free radio/tv time (as part of station licensure in the public interest) and 3 debates for all registered candidates, and no extra donations at all, whether corporate or union or self or otherwise.


Why? If you want to level the playing field, you don't have to truck dirt in from outside. You can spread around what's already there.

Here's a two-step process that doesn't require taxpayers' footing the bill:

1. All donations go to the Federal Election Commission, where the donor and amount are recorded and posted in real time. This includes donations candidates give to themselves (no fair buying the election through a loophole).

2. A set percentage of each donation is deposited in the candidate's account, with the remainder spread evenly among all candidates for the office and the FEC. (I'm throwing in the Federal Election Commission into the mix, because this way they have an incentive to aggressively monitor things, and can be largely self-funded.) This is the only money that can be used for election-related expenses, and any funds that remain after the election are prorated and given back to donors.

For example, if Candidate A and B are running for Senator, and someone cuts a check for $1000 to Candidate A, the Federal Election Commission cashes the check, puts a portion of the money into Candidate A's account, and then divides the remainder evenly between A, B, and itself. Just set the percentage to be split by law before the election.

That way, taxpayer's aren't required to cough up money if they hate everyone in the race. Plus, you can throw the donations wide open -- it doesn't matter if a foreign corporation dumps ten million dollars into a race, because everyone knows who is giving how much as soon as the check hits, and you can set the division very aggressively (say, 50% goes directly to a candidate, with the remaining 50% spread evenly among all candidates and the FEC).
 
2011-02-28 02:40:14 PM  
Per Open Secrets: Labor was the source of 5% of all contributions in 2010. Business interests contributed 71.6%.

Can we stop listening to Republicans and pretending that unions are some massive spending source?
 
2011-02-28 02:55:49 PM  

GAT_00: Per Open Secrets: Labor was the source of 5% of all contributions in 2010. Business interests contributed 71.6%.

Can we stop listening to Republicans and pretending that unions are some massive spending source?


Funny how you left this out even though it's on the page you cite: Business contributions tend to be overstated. Because CRP uses employer/occupation information to categorize donors, and because just about everyone works for a business, contributions from members of labor unions and ideological groups are often classified under business.

Now look at open secrets list of the largest donors of all time and notice how it's dominated by Unions.
 
2011-02-28 03:00:46 PM  

BullBearMS: GAT_00: Per Open Secrets: Labor was the source of 5% of all contributions in 2010. Business interests contributed 71.6%.

Can we stop listening to Republicans and pretending that unions are some massive spending source?

Funny how you left this out even though it's on the page you cite: Business contributions tend to be overstated. Because CRP uses employer/occupation information to categorize donors, and because just about everyone works for a business, contributions from members of labor unions and ideological groups are often classified under business.

Now look at open secrets list of the largest donors of all time and notice how it's dominated by Unions.


So donations from individuals outweigh the donations of companies as a whole? I didn't know that a single person, who is limited to $2400, I think, can massively outspend the corporation that has no limit and regularly donate on the order of 6 figures.
 
2011-02-28 03:07:55 PM  
Here's what Open Secrets had to say on the matter in their mailbag Q&A feature.

QUESTION: How do you explain the power the corporations have, yet as a whole donate less than the labor unions? In other words, who is more politically powerful -- labor unions or corporations? -- Mary from Phoenix, Ariz.

ANSWER: "There is a common misconception in the money-in-politics world that big corporations -- famous for their large profits and sprawling operations -- are generally more politically powerful than unions when it comes to campaign contributions," explains OpenSecrets.org reporter Evan Mackinder.

"While there are indeed some corporations that rank higher than even the mightiest union, corporations and unions actually share several traits that lead to a fairly balanced comparison of the two.


"As you can see from OpenSecrets.org's Heavy Hitters list, many big unions and big corporations are ranked side-by-side," Evan continues. "That's because both are limited to working the same channels of political influence: No corporation or union group can directly contribute campaign cash -- be it to politicians, political parties or outside political groups -- directly from their treasuries. They may only contribute directly to politicians and political committees through individual employees or an established political action committee.

"Overall, though, corporations spend more money through their PACs and employees because of sheer numbers -- there are just a heck of a lot more corporations in the United States than there are unions.

"Both corporations and unions also lobby the federal government to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars annually," Evan also notes. "This measurement is more difficult to gauge, because unlike campaign contributions, both groups are free to spend on federal lobbying at will, without fear of limitations. To that degree, you will see primarily large corporations out-spending unions, as you can see in our top-spenders list."
 
2011-02-28 03:09:44 PM  
NR's Kevin Williamson: So you want to end public-sector unions' undue influence on the political process, too?

If you support the Citizen's United ruling, you support this "undue influence". For some reason though, the people that do support it only want one particular player to be removed from the game.
 
2011-02-28 03:11:09 PM  

BillCo: Raise tax rates on companies - you will pay more for their products.

Give workers a raise (union or not) - you will pay more for their products.


"what the market will bear" is not a term you are familiar with?
 
2011-02-28 03:16:17 PM  

TenaciousP: A unionized public employee, a member of the Tea Party, and a Big Corp CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table there is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, looks at the tea partier and says, "Look out for that union guy, he wants a piece of your cookie."


Good analogy. Sad that this works so often. (You can switch tea partier out for just about any group that can be convinced that the people on his level are more of a threat than the cookie snatchers.)
 
2011-02-28 03:19:30 PM  
The pendulum will swing..
 
2011-02-28 03:19:50 PM  
Per Open Secrets: Labor was the source of 5% of all contributions in 2010. Business interests contributed 71.6%.

Can we stop listening to Republicans and pretending that unions are some massive spending source?


DERP.

Interesting how you didn't even read the page you cited.

Unions ARE big business. You think the Union cares about WI? What it cares about is it's membership and how much those members are paying...
 
2011-02-28 03:20:30 PM  
What, was the ironic tag out protesting in Wisconsin?
 
2011-02-28 03:22:48 PM  

Diogenes: 'Cause when I think 'big money' I think unions.


If you don't think unions when you think "big money" in a conversation on campaign contributions, then I'm kind of curious how you remember to breathe at any given moment.

And yeah, in my own opinion, ban anything but contributions from individuals. Banding together for group protection is all well and good, but allowing people to directly buy politicians with other people's money is bullshiat and our current USSC is a bunch of assholes for encouraging it. Unions, corporations, whatever, cut that nonsense off.
 
2011-02-28 03:23:22 PM  
I'm fine with barring union contributions if corporate ones are barred too. Repealing Citizens' United via constitutional amendment would be a great step forward for this country.

But since the right supports it, I'll support unions, so that at least there's a counterweight to corporate power.
 
2011-02-28 03:23:46 PM  

Diogenes: 'Cause when I think 'big money' I think unions.


Yeah, 'cause when AFSCME drops a mere $87,500,000 on an election cycle (over $50 per member), that doesn't have any effect on anything. Or anyone. Certainly not like the $34,000 the Koch brothers threw at Gov. Walker, which pretty much bought him off completely.

Not thinking "big money" when you think "union" makes you a foolish rube who cannot possibly fathom what's at stake in Wisconsin. It's not even the collective bargaining. It's the forced dues. That threatens the lifeblood of the unions and, in turn, the Democrats they buy vote for.
 
2011-02-28 03:25:48 PM  
Professor Moe found that in the school-board races he researched, incumbency boosted a candidate's reelection chances by 47 percent. Union support boosted the odds by 56 percent. The combination of union support and incumbency boosted the odds by 76 percent

School boards? Your using a study of local school board elections to prove that unions are destroying state economies? Did you not do a study into mayoral elections or dogcatchers?

In many school-board races, the raw number of union members' votes was significantly greater than the margin of electoral victory, meaning that a union-disciplined bureaucrats' bloc could have, by itself, determined the outcome (and in many elections probably did).
At the state and local levels, unions run the show. They run it financially, and run it by turning out at the polls.


Again with the local school boards. Guess you didn't do that dogcatcher study. Also, how dare those damn unions convince large numbers of their members to vote. Isn't union members voting illegal or something?

Teachers and school employees voting and working in the same district have a very strong interest in seeing particular candidates elected and policies enacted - and in seeing reformers and reform initiatives stopped.

My mom's a teacher. She has never voted becuase of some person's reform initiatives. The simple reason is that the same initiatives keep coming up every 5 or ten years. She primarily votes for the guy who's less of an asshole.
 
2011-02-28 03:26:35 PM  
In this thread: Losers whining.

Like most libs, it won't be pretty, smart, entertaining or original.

I will put this as simply as possible so the libbo creeps can wrap their drug-addled brains around it:

Can someone tell me why we NEED collective bargaining rights? Only about 13% of gov't workers and ~7% of private sector employees are covered by unions. If Unions are so great why are they becoming extinct?

If Unions "protect the middle class" how do they do it? Why do we need to protect this small segment of working society when the overwhelming majority of us aren't a part of it?

This is my fifth time asking you libs what ought to be a very, very simple question. Why do we have unions? Why DON'T we follow the trend and erase them completely?
 
2011-02-28 03:29:08 PM  

birdboy2000: I'm fine with barring union contributions if corporate ones are barred too. Repealing Citizens' United via constitutional amendment would be a great step forward for this country.

But since the right supports it, I'll support unions, so that at least there's a counterweight to corporate power.


Public employee unions are not a counterweight to corporate power. UMW? Yeah, I'll give you that. UAW? Certainly used to be, though its current status is a little murky. But public sector unions are only a "counterweight" to your ability to act collectively with your neighbor. Which doesn't exist. Here's the thing you need to understand: they've won because they're organized and you (the one they're negotiating with) are not. Remember, you bargain with them through appointed (sometimes, elected) intermediaries whose interests are more aligned with them than with you.

Eliminating collective bargaining doesn't level the playing field, but it's a step in the right direction.
 
2011-02-28 03:29:11 PM  
I doubt you'd find too many liberals that think big money in politics is a good idea. But you aren't going to get us to agree that only unions should not be able to give big money, sorry.
 
2011-02-28 03:30:21 PM  

dwrash: The pendulum will swing..


And when it does you can create the Unions system again. If you think the electorate will let you get away with it. But I don't think you do. That's why you can't bear to see them shiat-canned like yesterday's newspaper.

You KNOW once they're gone no libbo creep will ever be able to elucidate a compelling public policy argument for their resurrection. Gone for good like your pride.
 
2011-02-28 03:30:30 PM  

Karac: She has never voted becuase of some person's reform initiatives.


But her dues have damn well been used to attack those people. She's financing it.
 
2011-02-28 03:31:38 PM  

GAT_00: Per Open Secrets: Labor was the source of 5% of all contributions in 2010. Business interests contributed 71.6%.

Can we stop listening to Republicans and pretending that unions are some massive spending source?


LRN2READ GAT. TOP ALL-TIME DONORS 89 THROUGH NOW, WITH DEMOCRAT LEANING ORGS BOLDED FOR YOUR BRAINLESS ASS

Rank Organization Total '89-'10 Dem % Repub % Tilt
1 ActBlue $51,124,846 99% 0%
2 AT&T Inc $46,292,670 44% 55%
3 American Fedn of State, County & Municipal Employees $43,477,361 98% 1%
4 National Assn of Realtors $38,721,441 49% 50%
5 Goldman Sachs $33,387,252 61% 37%
6 American Assn for Justice $33,143,279 90% 8%
7 Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $33,056,216 97% 2%
8 National Education Assn $32,024,610 93% 6%
9 Laborers Union $30,292,050 92% 7%
10 Teamsters Union $29,319,982 93% 6%
11 Carpenters & Joiners Union $29,265,808 89% 10%
12 Service Employees International Union $29,140,232 95% 3%
13 American Federation of Teachers $28,733,991 98% 0%
14 Communications Workers of America $28,376,306 98% 0%
15 Citigroup Inc $28,065,874 50% 49%
16 American Medical Assn $27,597,820 40% 59%
17 United Auto Workers $27,134,252 98% 0%

Shall I summareize? Okay:

Of the top 17 all-time politic donors, 13 are pro-Democrat party by a massive margin, 2 are pro-GOP by a minor margin, and over TEN ARE LABOR UNIONS.
 
2011-02-28 03:31:40 PM  

BillCo: When you increase the cost to a company to produce a good or provide a service, they pass that cost along to the consumer!


i.imgur.com
 
2011-02-28 03:32:04 PM  

vygramul: It's funny how Republicans claim unions give orders of magnitude more money to Democrats than corporations ever did, yet balk when asked to reverse Citizens United, which opened up the spigots for both.


Because those poor corporations never get a break. The real power is in the hands of middle class public employees.
 
2011-02-28 03:33:03 PM  

BullBearMS: Nine out of the top 15 largest organizational donors of all time are unions.


And? Here's the outside spending data from the 2010 election. (new window)
 
2011-02-28 03:33:44 PM  
Unions aren't so much big money as they are a powerful voting bloc, if for nothing else sheer numbers. And those are the two things that matter in politics - money and votes.
 
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