The Los Angeles Times reports on how California’s budget crisis has opened a rift in the once almost-symbiotic existence between unions and Democrats:
The relationship between Democratic leaders and some of their labor benefactors has turned particularly frosty: Many of the programs union members rely on for paychecks — and the unions rely on for dues — have been slated for deep cuts.
Labor is unhappy that Democrats are openly floating budget cuts as a solution to closing the state’s massive budget deficit. Instead, labor wants the Democrats to consider raising taxes.
The union leaders say they are appalled that Democratic leaders are talking openly now about decimating government programs without first making a stand for bigger, broader tax hikes that could substantially offset budget cuts.
The developing rift between labor and Democrats exposes the dependency of public sector unions and how they ultimately undermine policy, leaving the taxpayer to foot the bill.
The very nature and survival of California’s public sector unions depends on perpetual growth in government spending. Any cuts mean less pay for public sector employees, which means lower amount of dues. This, in turn, diminishes labor’s influence over the policy-making process that funds the unions’ very existence. In short, public sector unions need spending – no matter where the funding is derived from – and will fight to the end for it.
The public sector unions’ frustration with Democrats in the legislature is telling. Their desperation reveals that their relationship isn’t actually symbiotic, but parasitic. It’s not good for the unions if Democratic legislators think that union bosses are “ignoring reality”:
But even some of the most liberal Democrats say some union leaders are ignoring the reality of an angry public, a sour economy and a state government approaching insolvency.