I had to laugh as I read a breathlessly pro-union article at The Hill by San Fransisco State Professor John Logan because it made me want to eat my head. This is how he starts the article:
Conservative activists in California are promoting a deceptive ballot proposition that would increase the ability of business groups and billionaires to dominate state elections.
Prop. 32 would cripple the ability of unions to participate in politics, but have little or no impact on unlimited spending by corporate executives and other wealthy individuals.
Ugh. You could take all the “conservative activists in California” and they’d fit in a high school gym. Very intimidating. And besides, the premise is deliberately deceptive. The proposition, according to the Legislative Analyst’s Office is much more even-handed than Logan implies. Prop 32:
- prohibits unions, corporations, government contractors, and state and local government employers from spending money deducted from an employee’s paycheck for “political purposes.” Under the measure, this term would include political contributions, independent expenditures, member communications related to campaigns, and other expenditures to influence voters.
- The measure prohibits corporations and unions from making political contributions to candidates. That is, they could not make contributions (1) directly to candidates or (2) to committees that then make contributions to candidates. This prohibition, however, does not affect a corporation or union’s ability to spend money on independent expenditures.
- The measure further limits spending by government contractors.
The measure aims at corporations as much as unions. Neither can use payroll deductions for direct contributions to candidates, just as neither can they make direct contributions to candidates. This is as it should be: If I’m a staunch democrat my union dues shouldn’t go to a republican candidate if I don’t want them to. What so unreasonable? Similarly, if PG&E can’t be allowed to spend their $66 million on a candidate, why should SEIU or the teachers union, who (combined) spent $168 million on political contributions?
But this is where Logan drops his pants in using the language of class warfare by pointing out that corporate executives and rich individuals are exempt. Why no mention of our union executives or the rich union managers, trustees, directors and board members who are also exempt? In fact, why not mention the simple truth: All individuals are exempt? There’s already a cap on individual contributions and they’re already reported. So again I ask, what’s so unreasonable?
Logan’s gambit is that you are too lazy to read the measure or too stupid to understand it. That you’ll accept his shameless deliberate misdirection and outright lies at face value and play your designated role as useful idiot, parroting your outrage to all your friends.
The suggestion that the measure would cripple unions’ ability to participate in politics is insulting histrionics and distraction. As always, the unions’ members are free to contribute as they choose. But there’s the rub: The union bosses, and academic elites like Logan realize it’s not in their best interests to trust members to use their own money to make the right choice.
At the same time, they sure as hell don’t want successful citizens to be able to contribute. If you’re a business group, a billionaire, a corporate executive or other wealthy individual, you should be silenced because Logan says you would:
slash spending in support of funding for public education, health and safety, or to protect working Californians, but encourage massive spending by tobacco, pharmaceutical and real estate giants. And we would soon see an avalanche of ballot measures designed to weaken labor standards, targeting wage and hour laws, paid sick leave, health and safety provisions and other essential protections.
Fear mongering. Seriously. Meanwhile, the benevolent unions diligently:
protect funding for K-12 public education and limit class sizes for California students, not for corporate tax breaks or to block health warnings on tobacco and other carcinogens. Prop. 32’s restrictions against spending through payroll deductions — which is how unions raise money for political campaigns — would virtually eliminate this public interest spending.
Because, Californians, you are just that stupid.
By the way, the “Deceptive Ballot Proposition” has been endorsed by former California Democrat Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero as being “as balanced a measure as we can achieve at this time.” Just sayin’.