Sometimes the truth really hurts. It can hurt more than a smack in the mouth or a remark made during a campaign debate, like Chris Christie’s comment about a prominent teachers union deserving a punch in the face. For a lot of us who live in union-friendly cities and states, a punch in the face would be infinitely more pleasurable than having another bite taken from our incomes. Wounds heal. Income wasted on taxes is lost forever.
Don’t just tax the rich, tax everybody and keep taxing
The refrain from the left may be tax the rich, but the strategy is to tax everybody to the limits of their endurance and then find a way to tax them some more while blaming the burden on those who pay more taxes than anyone else: the wealthy.
You don’t need to look further than the Chicago Public Schools to see how this works. No matter what is claimed in the provocative, threatening public statements that will become more frequent as we get closer to the start of the new school year, the CTU is a model for public employee unions nationwide on how to bully and coerce more money from your paycheck. Democratic presidential candidates will play ball with unions while blaming the tax code, but we have Obama to thank for making America’s war on wealth a cause celebre for anyone unhappy with their financial lot in life.
Teachers union: strike-worthy means tax-worthy
CTU President Karen Lewis pulled out the “strike-worthy” threat as disadvantaged Chicago kids began picking up free school supplies. Paying to help kids is a good use of our money. Paying to appease a teachers union is not.
Setting the number crunching aside, the union has taken an indefensible position. On one hand, Lewis claims that the half billion schools need isn’t there without a bump from downstate.1 On the other, she threatens consequences if she doesn’t get what her union wants: tax money so teachers don’t have to contribute more to their pensions.
This is a tough demand to stomach. There isn’t much public money to be had in Chicago or Illinois that hasn’t already been spent, but consequences are being threatened for even suggesting that teachers make substantial, rather than symbolic contributions to their retirements. What makes the union stance even more offensive is that the CTU, like many other public employee unions, has extended its grasp over dollars from taxpayers who don’t live in Illinois and have nothing to do with the city’s schools. How? By influencing how federal and state funds are used. Just because you live in Idaho doesn’t mean you are not paying for the whims of a union boss many states away.
Government doesn’t need unions. Unions need government.
Government doesn’t need unions. Taxpayers don’t need them, either. We already pay the government to look after its employees.
Teachers unions feed off the needs of children. They feed off of government, too, but only a fool would see this as anything but a symbiotic relationship. Unions provide no value to government, but they provide lots of value to the politicians who support them. Politicians like union money and unions need our money. That’s a marriage made in hell in a rabidly Democratic state like Illinois, where those who extort dollars stay fat and happy while hapless taxpayers beg for relief.
The give and take between unions and government is such a simple dynamic that it’s easy to lose it in the rhetoric. Government taxes the people. Unions skim from the take by forcing higher headcount, wages, and benefits, which means collecting more dues. Officials charged with the public trust not only let it happen, they stand in the way of reform even when the system unions claim to be helping is collapsing from financial stress.
What about public officials who don’t agree to do things big labor’s way?
Bruce Rauner: austerity, fair share, and unions collide
If unions are so good for education and so focused on educating children, why are so many fiscally responsible politicians anti-union?
It should seem incredible to us that a governor has to propose fair share reform so public workers aren’t forced to hand part of their paychecks to unions they don’t belong to. What should be even more incredible is that Bruce Rauner’s fair share reform was shot down (see: Courts Decide What You Pay for Failed Government).
While non-union public workers in Illinois have to shell out fair share payments whether they like it or not, union teachers in Chicago are depending on the CTU to fight tooth and nail so they don’t have to make larger contributions to their pensions.
Instead of teachers paying for their retirements out of their own pockets like those of us who don’t work for taxpayers, the union has to rely on government to find an alternative. That alternative when money is tight, as with all other problems laid at the feet of the Democratic Party, is to tax the rich.
Tax the rich: unions decide a teacher’s fair share
Do you really think that Democrats lay awake at night worrying about the failure of the economy to boost wages for workers? Lower wages means less taxes and less money to pass around, but it also gives them a cause to fight for: tax the rich. Better to let the working class skip a few meals than lose out on the chance to raise the take on April 15.
Obama calls it simplifying the tax code for the middle class.2 Hillary Clinton claims the deck is stacked.3 Bernie Sanders? He’s a socialist. What do you think he wants to do?
Lewis has had some very public disagreements with Mayor Emanuel over his city’s schools, but she has a better target now. Not only is Bruce Rauner a Republican governor, he is fond of the most feared word in the Democratic lexicon: austerity.
Austerity is a scary word when you exist only to take in money or decide how to spend it. If there was no money in education, there would be no teachers unions. When Bruce Rauner uses the word “austerity” and tries to demonstrate what it means, Springfield Democrats and public employee unions don’t like it, especially when a new millionaire’s tax is languishing in the legislature.
The Chicago Teachers Union isn’t shy about what it wants. Hilariously, the union’s tax the rich panel 4 is one response to austerity because raising taxes for more spending solves the lack of money. When you have tax dollars, you don’t need austerity.
Despite the federal dialogue that has tried to twist the school funding debate to civil rights instead of spending (see: Equity in Education is Not What School Taxes Pay For), the problem with education will always be a money problem because kids are the best excuse politicians, unions, and their various enablers will ever have to seize our incomes.
What has been called the White House’s “culture of favoritism”5 benefitting organized labor is much worse than playing favorites. It is a culture of extortion. Taxpayers pay their taxes with an expectation of receiving services in return. When public employee unions want more, they have the power to deny what taxpayers have already paid for. What happens if they don’t get what they want? Karen Lewis has a name for it: strike-worthy.