Thursday, December 30, 2010
To: Friends & Supporters
From: Gary L. Bauer
Unions Declare War
Naturally, most media coverage of the 2010 elections focused on the congressional elections and whether Obama would move to the middle in response to the Republican-led House. But the media have largely ignored the major victories Republicans scored at the state level.
As one commentator said on election night, Democrats were wiped out from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and it happened all the way down the ballot. Come January, there will be Republican governors and GOP-controlled legislative chambers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin.
This dynamic has set the stage for state-level battles that will rival any on Capitol Hill: A showdown in 2011 between Republican budget cutters and the public employee unions. State budgets are a mess with bloated payrolls and pensions that are much more generous compared to those in the private sector. Cuts have to be made, but in the past few days we have gotten a glimpse of just how brutal this battle may be.
There are disturbing reports from New York City that some public employee union bosses ordered a “go slow” approach to clearing snow from the city streets in order to protest budget cuts. City plow drivers were reportedly told to keep their plows higher than normal, so that the snow would not get cleared quickly and residents would become frustrated with the lack of services and upset by the budget cuts. The high plow plan had the added benefit of requiring extra passes along the same streets — boosting timesheets and overtime paychecks.
According to a report from the New York Post, “three plow workers from the Sanitation Department and two Department of Transportation supervisors” met with a city councilman yesterday and “confessed the shameless plot.”
New York City’s union bosses are denying the report, but it deserves a thorough investigation. If the report is true, the union leaders responsible for the “go slow” order should be prosecuted. At one point during the storm, nearly a thousand people calling 911 had to be put on hold due to the volume of the calls coming in.
At least one life was lost as a result of ambulances getting stuck in the snow and being unable to reach victims. A newborn baby died in a building lobby because it took emergency workers nine hours to reach her.
Of course, natural disasters will happen, as they always have, and we should not expect public officials to be miracle workers. But we have every right to demand that our public servants, paid with our hard-earned tax dollars, do their jobs and do them well. If they can’t or won’t do their jobs, they should be fired.
The Real Winner Of 2010
I want to end the year on a positive note, and I’ve been thinking long and hard about the year that is about to end. 2010 has been an incredible year to be in Washington, D.C. It began with the improbable victory of a Republican candidate capturing the Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts. The momentum of that victory culminated in the historic November 2nd elections. But in my opinion the real winner of 2010 isn’t Scott Brown or John Boehner. It’s us — “We the people.”
It’s been a long time since I took much inspiration from the pages of the Washington Post, but on today’s front page is a banner story about how the Constitution is taking “a starring role in the GOP-controlled House.” According to the Post’s report, the House will make history next week by beginning the 112th Congress with a reading of the U.S. Constitution.
Moreover, a new rules change “will require that every new bill contain a statement by the lawmaker who wrote it citing the constitutional authority to enact the proposed legislation.” And there’s more. Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Scott Garrett (R-NJ) — both strongly supported by Campaign for Working Families — are calling on members of Congress and Capitol Hill staff to study our founding documents. Justice Antonin Scalia will reportedly teach the first class.
Friends, I’ve been in Washington long enough not to get Pollyannish at the first hint of good news. But even the most cynical skeptic would have to admit that this is good news! Of course, we will do everything we can to hold the politicians accountable, and we will need your help. (Have you signed up for MegaVote yet?)
You may recall that during the ObamaCare debate a number of congressmen were asked to defend the constitutionality of the socialized medicine scheme. Not only could they not do it, but some were even dismissive of the question.
Every day I get emails lamenting the state of our union and asking how we got here. For too long too many politicians arrogantly dismissed the Constitution and the limits it placed on their power. The current occupant of the White House has even faulted the Constitution as a “charter of negative liberties” that doesn’t say what the government must do for you. Evidently to some that includes mandating what products and services we must buy.
Our Founding Fathers understood the dangers of an overbearing government that was big enough to give us everything we wanted and big enough to take everything we have. Ronald Reagan warned us that government was not the solution to our problems, but rather too often the problem.
If there is a genuine desire among many new politicians to rediscover the wisdom of the Constitution, perhaps America may again experience a “new birth of freedom,” and we the people will be the real winners of 2010.
NOTE: Our offices will be closed tomorrow for the New Year’s holiday. The “End of Day” report will resume Monday, January 3rd. Happy New Year!