Columnist Michael Barone, best known for editing The Almanac of American Politics, wrote a piece (Boston Herald, 9/20/11) declaring that Barack Obama’s “Sellout to Unions Staggers Economy.” After noting that “some pro-union moves have a certain ritual quality,” he got down to the really troubling behavior:
Other steps are more important. Fully one-third of the $820 billion stimulus package passed almost entirely with Democratic votes in 2009 was aid to state and local governments. This was intended to keep state and local public employee union members–much more numerous than federal employees–on the job and to keep taxpayer-funded union dues pouring into public employee union treasuries.
Or, maybe, it was intended to stimulate the economy, since transfers to states and local governments are estimated by the Congressional Budget Office (TheAtlantic.com, 3/2/09) to be among the most effective means the federal government has to encourage economic activity.
And, possibly, there might have been some thought that teachers, firefighters, nurses, police officers and other state and local workers have important jobs that need to get done, and it would be better not to fire them.
Nah–that couldn’t be it. It must have been an effort to fill union treasuries, the economy be damned.