April 4, 2011

DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS GOING AFTER UNIONS:

In a March 16, 2010 campaign speech to state union leaders, California Gov. Jerry Brown urged them to “attack” his Republican opponent, warning that their election would spell big trouble for their members. What a difference a year makes: Last week, as he signed a bill that cuts $8.2 billion from the state’s $27 billion deficit, mostly by slashing labor costs, Brown was also, according to the Associated Press, urging his former campaign allies to be open to the pension concessions being pushed by Republican state legislators. Those concessions will cost union members billions. Two weeks before that Brown told six state unions to expect pay cuts of up to 10 percent.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country in an equally blue state, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley faced 15,000 union workers massed a the state capitol in protest of O’Malley’s own budget proposals, which will make only a modest dent in the $19 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and $16 billion in retiree health care. O’Malley plaintive defense at the rally was notable as much for its chutzpah as for its liberal parochialism: “You will not find in Maryland the sort of Midwestern oppression that you find in Ohio and Wisconsin!”, he declared.

Midwestern oppression? How about Maryland and California duplicity?

What, one wonders, would Democratic governors and mayors do if they did not have Republican governors for comparison? In fact, the wage cuts and increased employee pension contributions being proposed in California, Maryland and New York are actually greater, on a per capita basis, greater than those being pressed by Republicans Scott Walker, John Kasich, Rick Scott and Chris Christie.

Needs must, when the devil drives.

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