Via Stephen Gutowski, a peek inside the attitude of one of the largest government-employee unions towards the people who ultimately pay their salaries. Dare to question the size of government or the growing disparity in compensation between the public and private sectors, and you’re apparently a “tea bagger.” Using the vulgar term in response to demands for accountability puts the issue of the size, reach, and accountability of government into its proper perspective:
The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) released this “teabagger” election ad this week. They hope that by smearing all of those limited government protesters with an offensive sexual innuendo these patriots will stay home on election day.
And, of course, they don’t care that these vile ads are playing on the internet and are heard on the radio so your children can learn how to be mean and rude, too.
Who are the “tea baggers”, according to AFGE?
The American Federation of Government Employees has launched a new ad targeting Republicans, or ‘teabaggers’, depicted in a cheering crowd with the faces of House Minority Leader John Boehner, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle, and RNC Chairman Michael Steele- with a sign that reads “Tea Baggers Section.
Contra Fox, I’m not terribly concerned about children finding this video. First, it’s likely to be seen more on this website and Fox’s than on the AFGE website, which seems to be hiding it (and for good reason). I’m much more concerned about the cause in which this ad was created:
For the restoration of the civil service protections and collective bargaining rights of federal employees who work in the Department of Defense and the Transportation Security Administration–and against any new and continuing attempts by radical conservatives to dismantle the civil service system.
For the proper funding and staffing of federal government agencies–and against any new and continuing attempts by radical conservatives to strangle those agencies under the guise of fiscal prudence.
For legislation to increase federal employee pay, lower federal employee health insurance premiums, and protect federal employee retirement benefits–and against any new and continuing attempts by radical conservatives to slash federal employee pay and benefits.
“Under the guise of fiscal prudence”? Why is it imprudent to ask whether we need federal agencies, or what the proper staffing level and responsibilities should be? Government serves the people — the people are not supposed to serve the unions. This is a union with a very disturbing and ultimately antidemocratic view of government, which is making the argument on its website as to why it’s dangerous to allow unionization of civil servants in the first place. There should be no vested interests in government staffing except those represented by the people in the people’s branch of government, Congress.
The naked disdain for the people who pay their salaries just underscores how urgent this issue has become, as the coming explosion in pensions in states and municipalities shows:
The nation’s largest municipal pension plans are carrying a total unfunded liability of $574 billion, which comes on top of as much as $3 trillion in unfunded pension promises made by the states, according to a report released Tuesday.
The report calls the unfunded pension obligations “off-the-balance-sheet debt” that threatens to starve services such as police protection, recreation centers, parks and libraries. …
The report is based on an analysis of pension funds in 50 major cities and counties that together account for two-thirds of the nation’s 3 million local government employees. It argues that cities routinely cling to unrealistic projected investment earnings to understate their pension liabilities, a strategy that has been exposed by the financial crisis and recession, which severely diminished investment returns.
We will need to make deep changes in pension plans and in the structure of government at all levels in order to restore fiscal “prudence” to American self-government. The unions have declared themselves an obstacle to that effort, and voters should respond accordingly.