Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Prop. 32: It's time to shake off union's yoke (10/27)

A popular aphorism defines insanity as repeating the same action over and over but expecting different results. By this standard, most voters in the Golden State should long ago have been institutionalized.

Again and again majorities vote for the same big government, easy entitlement, union-dominated, hyper-green legislators in Sacramento. And time after time they get a state characterized by high unemployment, bulging budget deficits, fleeing entrepreneurs, and mediocre schools.

Assuming the voting public in California doesn’t actually desire these outcomes, it might be wise to vote for some changes on November 6--changes that transcend political cosmetics.

One major adjustment would be Proposition 32. This initiative allows individuals to decide for themselves if they want to contribute to political causes rather than having such funds automatically deducted from their paychecks.

In addition, the law would prohibit unions and corporations from contributing directly to political candidates. Nothing in the law, however, would (or constitutionally could) prohibit these organizations from promoting whatever general causes they wish to support.

Leading the fight for Proposition 32 is former Democratic Majority Leader in the California Senate, Gloria Romero—an unlikely source of support for a law designed to reign in union domination of Sacramento.

Romero, who earned a doctorate in psychology at UC Riverside and subsequently taught at Cal State, Los Angeles, supports Prop. 32 because, as she discovered during many closed-door legislative meetings, California’s government is currently (and has long been) “owned” by unions.

Chief among these proprietary lords is the California Teachers Association, which according to the Wall Street Journal has already put up more than $24 million to defeat Prop. 32. According to Romero, CTA lobbyists in Sacramento “walk around like they’re god” and regularly squash even modest attempts at educational reform.

There are, after all, more than 300,000 CTA members from whom the union annually collects via automatic payroll deductions about $50 million that can be used to buy political influence. No wonder, as Romero observes, California legislators always want to know where “their sugar daddy” stands on any issue.

It’s revealing that folks who are adamantly “pro-choice” when it comes to abortion are generally determined to put as many obstacles as possible in way of teachers and public employees whose political choices might not coincide with those of their unions. Apparently choice isn’t such an important value when it comes to amassing and exercising political power—even when the results of that power are chronically dysfunctional political and educational systems.

Power and money explain union support for California’s status quo. Other voters who oppose Prop. 32 can only plead ignorance or insanity.

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