Democrats have been soiling themselves over Citizens United ever since the January 2010 decision opened corporate America’s coffers to election spending. Pushing for the failed Disclose Act to nullify the decision (see: Our President Fails to Disclose), the president claimed Citizens United would ruin our system of government:
A vote to oppose these reforms is nothing less than a vote to allow corporate and special interest takeovers of our elections. It is damaging to our democracy.¹
Ignoring their rampant union favoritism during the 2009-2010 glory years on Capitol Hill, Congressional Democrats greeted the second anniversary of Citizens United with moaning and hand-wringing. Nancy Pelosi stuck to the party line on class warfare:
Its [Supreme Court’s] crushing decision in Citizens United undermined a fundamental American value: that the voices of the people determine the outcome of our elections, not the bankroll of the privileged few.²
Avowed Socialist Bernie Sanders’ tone was grave:
While corporations already are funneling untold millions in secret cash into Super PACS to sway this year’s elections, real people all across America are speaking out today against this horrendous ruling.³
Citizens United also applied to union election spending, a detail Democrats can ignore because they have already empowered big labor far beyond anything our democracy can justify. Working in sync with the Obama White House, Democrats time and again let unions call the shots:
Unions almost pulled off an exemption on health care reform’s Cadillac Tax, and implementation is now delayed until 2018.
Under Arne Duncan’s rule the Department of Education has shamelessly collaborated with unions, ensuring their role in determining the future of our children’s education (see: Union Stance Ridicules Duncan’s Collaboration Efforts).
Davis-Bacon pro-union wage laws were applied to Recovery Act projects, forcing taxpayers to shell out top dollar for labor (see: The Recovery Act Fraud You Don’t Know About).
The teacher jobs bill paid the salaries of unionized public sector employees while nearly ten percent of Americans were out of work.
The General Motors bailout protected union pensions while Sanders’ “real people” who had invested their retirement savings in the automaker lost out (see: Special Interests: Are Obama’s Bigger?).
The National Labor Relations Board has become a cudgel that ensures corporate America will adhere to Democrats’ union-friendly stance. In the wake of Boeing’s NLRB victory, three of the president’s recent recess appointments were to the board.
Democrats and the White House relentlessly harangued Americans in an effort to shame Republicans into approving tens of billions in additional union infrastructure projects, and to continue paying the salaries of public sector workers with the failed American Jobs Act.
Hazy warnings from the left about sinister special interests and massive, disguised corporate election spending persist. As unions push for the recall of Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker and try to keep the fizzling Occupy movement alive, we can be thankful that there are no shadowy machinations from big labor, or the politicians the unions support. Union favoritism is loud, blatant, and impossible to mistake. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky let us know where her sympathies lie while promoting her wealth-punishing Fairness in Taxation Act. Her congressional website features a piece headlined AFL-CIO: Bill Would Ensure Very Wealthy Pay Fair Share of Taxes, which links to an AFL-CIO site.4
Citizens United has become a left-wing excuse to cry wolf over what could happen, distracting attention from what shameless union favoritism made happen. Democrats like to stump about the damage done by corporate America and the politics of exclusion, but exclusion cuts both ways. Their threats to business owners and corporate America shut down the job market, but one thing unions cannot do is create jobs. Like politicians they can only coerce, and live off of the hard work and investments made by others.