But the big losers in the 2010 elections were private sector workers who enthusiastically followed their lead.
You have to hand it to the Public Service Unions in California. They got everyone and everything they wanted in the 2010 elections except perhaps for Prop. 19 (legalizing marijuana) which might have been a dilemma for some of them. Had it passed, they would possibly lose some law enforcement employment but on the other hand the state would have gained a lot of revenue with which to grow government and pay the unions even more lavish salaries and benefits. They have to be feeling pretty good about themselves and their collective political might on this fine California morning (Sunny, 78 degrees and the ocean sparkling in the distance from where I sit).
Like Monday morning quarterbacks discussing a lopsided Superbowl, we can all shake our heads in amazement at how thoroughly and utterly the Public Service Unions dominate politics in California. They fight for every little thing with a disdain for the other team and in this case, with utter disregard for the welfare of their tax paying brethren in the private sector. But here is where it gets a little puzzling; a high percentage of their victims help them to pull this off by voting with them. Since Public Service employees total only around 2.5 million out of 17 million registered voters, there is no other way to explain the election results we just witnessed. Let’s look at some of their most significant wins:
Jerry Brown as governor can be counted on to perpetuate public service union dominance of state politics - he practically invented the concept in the first place and believes beyond all reasonable evidence that government has the answer to everything.
Ms. Boxer, that’s “Senator Boxer” to you sir, is an easily bought, unabashed supporter of all things that grow government and advance the Progressive agenda. As is the custom in their unholy alliance with Progressives, the Public Service unions know they will get her voice and vote for everything they want and at least "a taste” (with apologies to the Sopranos) of everything else she supports.
Other statewide races for Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner were all won by candidates heavily supported by Public Service Unions. They even got a dead person elected apparently. Democrat Jenny Oropeza who passed away on October 20th was leading Republican challenger John Stammreich, 58.4 percent to 35.7 percent, in Senate District 28 deep into the vote count. There is some evidence that the Democratic Party and the sitting Secretary of State conspired to keep voters from knowing of her actual unavailability for office so that the seat could be filled later by a Democrat in a special election rather than falling by default to the Republican or Libertarian candidate. They needn’t have worried with automatic Democrat-voting union members on the job.
Proposition 23 was soundly defeated based on a union supported disinformation campaign that convinced 61% of Californians that it was backed by two evil oil companies conspiring to pollute the state and induce asthma in our children. All it proposed was that we suspend the boneheaded and arrogantly named Global Warming Solutions Act passed in 2006 until runaway unemployment in the private sector abated. Instead, as numerous independent studies predict, it will scrub away a million or more California jobs by forcing all employers to spend billions in fees, penalties and equipment upgrades to dramatically reduce their CO2 emissions in vain pursuit of a questionable and tiny impact on future temperatures elsewhere in the world. Proponents claim also that this money will launch California into prominence in the “green” industry – as if government has the knowledge, skills or the requirement to even understand what this means, let alone execute such a questionable scheme effectively. Just ask Spain who blames much of their current abysmal economic state of affairs on their self inflicted and misguided “green” programs over the last decade. However, for the California Public Unions, Prop 23 rejection means tens of thousands of new members and plenty of money rolling into the coffers that will be redirected if needed from the quixotic “green” programs into union pensions and salaries.
Proposition 25 was passed when the state needed badly for it to fail. We have watched Sacramento squabble and dither horribly over budgets because it takes a 2/3rds majority to pass and so far, the Democrats have not achieved this level of majority with which to rubber stamp everything that they want. Well now it takes only 50% and clearly the skids are greased for adoption of every program and every increase in government and every pension bailout that the unions want. Yes it still takes a 2/3rds majority to raise taxes and property taxes are capped by the stalwart (so far) Prop 13 from a bygone era. But you can see what will happen. An irresponsible and ideologically driven budget will be passed and the state will begin spending based upon it. Then when reality intrudes and they run out of money, they will brow beat the minority into going along with tax increases and try to place blame for the mess on (pick one or more) Republicans, big business, big oil, tea partiers or the rich. Oh, and these tax increases will certainly be necessary to “save the parks and the children” as all other monies will have gone to public union salaries, benefits and pensions.
Based on tea party movements in other states and on the crushing unemployment here that could be as high as 20%, many people in the California private sector are awakening to the fundamental problem behind it all – the power of Public Service Unions in politics. But is it even possible to change things now? Have we reached some tipping point where every election outcome is predetermined?
The following table represents only rough estimates in categorizations of my own creation. However, it is one way to try to understand the various voting factions in California. It suggests that proponents of limited government and private sector freedom still have a chance to influence the future course of political events – even in a state with 12% unemployment where 61% vote to kill more jobs.
|| Number of potential voters (in millions)
| Percent of total voters
At first look, it seems hopeless since only 33% would seem to have any potential to be against the continued growth of government or sympathetic to the plight of the private sector. But 8 million is greater than the total votes cast for any individual office or proposition this past week. If there were a column in this table showing the percentage likely to vote within each category, the public service unions would surely outpace all others. In fairness to the rest of us, we lack the motivation afforded by the sure and direct linkage between our voting and a lifetime of security, great pay and generous pensions. If the rest of us could make such arrangements for ourselves by making a half hour trip to the poles every two years, voter turnout would reach new highs across the board. In any case, the productive class in private sector - those most hurt by the current Democrat/Progressive/Union hegemony - does have superior potential voting power if only it could become sufficiently organized and motivated. If only it could be made to understand how our standard of living derives from a healthy and relatively unencumbered private sector and how this is threatened by government overreach, over spending, over regulation and over borrowing brought on in large part by public service unions' self-serving domination of our political processes
Let us hope that the words of Mark Steyn in his Election Day blog do not turn out to be true: “I think we’re seeing in California the limits of the democratic process in a Big Government state. The statist workforce and the dependency class can outvote the productive class. And, given the number of California small businesses that will be ordering the U-haul in the morning, that electoral gap will only widen in 2012 and beyond. California is Greece: the arithmetic does not allow for meaningful correction. The question is whether Texas and other non-insane states will volunteer to play Germany to Sacramento’s ouzo-swiggers”