Your Trillion-Dollar Bailout For Union Bosses

For years, many Big Labor state and local politicians have been digging deep fiscal holes for their taxpaying constituents. Nancy Pelosi’s phony “coronavirus relief” bill would leave such taxpayers even deeper underground. Credit: Michael Ramirez/Las Vegas Review-Journal, Creators

Pelosi Scheme Rewards Tax & Spend & Borrow State Politicians

Using the coronavirus pandemic and the economic shock resulting from political efforts to contain it as cover, Big Labor U.S. House members in Washington, D.C., have rubber-stamped a $3 trillion, federal taxpayer-funded bailout package that rewards America’s most fiscally irresponsible state politicians.

On May 15, the House briefly returned to Capitol Hill, in the middle of an extended recess that began back in March, to ram through, 208-199, bailout legislation (H.R.6800) cynically mislabeled as the “HEROES” Act.

Powerful government union bosses like Randi Weingarten, chief of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, and Lee Saunders, kingpin of the 1.4 million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, heartily applauded.

Big Labor PR Blitz Pushes For No-Strings-Attached Bailouts, Politicians Nod

As Politico has reported, in early May, Mr. Saunders and his lieutenants began “hitting the national airwaves” with TV and Internet ads in key 2020 presidential and Senate battleground states, demanding that Congress adopt a new, no-strings-attached “relief” package for states and localities.

The Big Labor ads began running just weeks after Congress had okayed more than $200 billion in direct aid, plus up to $500 billion in loans, for state and local governments.

National Right to Work Committee President Mark Mix commented:

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s [D-Calif.] obvious aim is, in the words of Stanford University finance professor Joshua Rauh, to turn ‘coronavirus relief into a ‘federal bailout of states and municipalities that have mismanaged their funds for decades . . . .’

“She and House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer [D-Md.] acted with incredible speed to fulfill union bosses’ wishes.

“On May 12, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Hoyer unveiled H.R.6800, which includes nearly $1.1 trillion in funds for state and local governments.”

Forced-Dues States Have Long Been Bilking Taxpayers At Big Labor’s Behest

“This enormous sum of money,” Mr. Mix continued, “would supposedly go to help public officials close temporary budget gaps that are direct results of coronavirus shutdowns.

“The reality is that the catastrophic deficits and soaring long-term debts now being reported by Big Labor-dominated states like New York, Illinois and California are primarily the result of chronic out-of-control spending and other poor budgetary decisions by union label-politicians.

“Of course, all 50 states are now hurting fiscally as a consequence of plummeting sales, personal income, and other tax revenues.

“But the enormous budget problems now faced by the Empire State, for example, obviously are rooted in longstanding policies that authorize the firing of employees for refusal to pay firing of employees for refusal to pay union dues or fees as a job condition and grant monopoly privileges to government union bosses.

“As a May 18 Wall Street Journal editorial explained, New York politicians spend nearly twice as much per Medicaid beneficiary and six times as much on nursing homes as do their counterparts in Right to Work Florida.

“Union bosses who wield ‘exclusive’ bargaining power over employees at many nursing homes and hospitals in New York have exploited their political clout to make such facilities extraordinarily expensive.”

As costly as New York’s health care system is, its K-12 public education system may be even more wasteful.

In 2017, according to Cato Institute tax policy specialist Chris Edwards, New York spent $69 billion on primary and secondary schools, nearly two-and-a-half times as much as Florida’s $28 billion, even though more children are enrolled in Florida’s public schools than in New York’s.

If Enacted, Bailout Would ‘Inevitably Fuel Even More Wasteful Spending’

Meanwhile, a 2018 analysis by economist Stan Liebowitz and researcher Matthew Kelly, which adjusts for key demographic differences among public school students in different states, found that Florida’s educational outcomes are the third best in the nation, while New York comes in 31st.

Federal taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (N.Y.) costly deals with Big Labor bosses. Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images

“If H.R.6800 were to be enacted,” emphasized Mr. Mix, “it would inevitably fuel even more wasteful spending by states like New York, Illinois and California.

“Using FY 2020 projected revenues as a baseline, Moody’s Investor’s Service projects that state and local governments will lose a combined $482 billion over the rest of this fiscal year and next year.

“The Pelosi scheme would make state and local governments, no matter how atrociously they have managed their money in the past, eligible for up to $1.09 trillion in additional, ‘flexible’ aid during that time.

“That’s more than double their total anticipated coronavirus-related financial losses. And it’s on top of the hundreds of billions of dollars in federal aid they are already eligible to receive!”

Committee Leaders on Guard Against a Possible Phony ‘Compromise’

Just before the House roll-call on H.R.6800, during which Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Hoyer gave free passes to vote “no” to a handful of especially politically vulnerable Democrat members, while herding the rest into line, Mr. Mix contacted every member of the chamber to express the Committee’s strong opposition.

The so-called “HEROES” Act, wrote Mr. Mix, “would force American taxpayers to foot the bill for decades of government mismanagement caused by union monopoly bargaining.”

The COVID crisis, he added, should not be used “as an excuse to paper over decades of recklessness with a massive taxpayer-funded bailout.”

The subsequent House passage of H.R.6800 was a setback for Right to Work members and leaders.

However, this special-interest bill is such a transparent handout to Big Labor governors like Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.), J.B. Pritzker (D-Ill.), and Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) that it is unlikely to pass the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has expressed his strong opposition, in its current form.

“The greatest danger at this time,” said Mr. Mix, “is a phony ‘compromise’ bailout that is less outrageous than H.R.6800, but still hands out billions and billions of dollars that Big Labor state and local politicians can use to cover expenses that did not arise from the COVID pandemic.

“The Committee is now preparing, as we must, to launch a full-scale lobbying campaign, involving Internet, phone and mail communications with hundreds of thousands of Right to Work supporters, as well as media ads, should any ‘unrestricted’ state government bailout legislation hit the Senate.

“Federal taxpayers, especially those who live in relatively fiscally responsible states, shouldn’t have to pay for Andrew Cuomo’s, J.B. Pritzker’s, or Gavin Newsom’s costly deals with union bosses.

“The Right to Work Committee will do everything necessary to make sure that never happens.”