As I watched Fox News Sunday this past weekend, I almost fell off my chair during the “Is labor losing its clout?” segment, wherein Chris Wallace interviewed two representatives of public workers unions, Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association, and Thea Lee, Deputy Chief of Staff of the AFL-CIO.
If you listen to the linked segment (be sure to seat yourself), after a comparison of public vs. private worker benefit access, showing the huge advantage the public sector enjoys, Ms. Lee says the following:
Wallace: “Why should people in the private sector be paying their taxes so that government workers get more than they do?”
Lee: “Well I think we have to turn the question around. It’s not so much why do some people have a pension and others do not, but how do we take away the pensions of those that have it? That’s unAmerican. I think we need to figure out how everyone can have a decent pension. This is a wealthy country.” (emphasis mine)
Pardon me? So, according to proud union apparatchik Lee, to take away from those who have is “unAmerican”? Change the word pension for personal wealth or inheritance, and isn’t this precisely the argument that the conservatives have been making against the left’s war on the rich for, well, forever?? For the record, it should be noted that at about the 10:15 mark, Lee hypocritically (but not unexpectedly) goes back to the “tax the wealthy” meme, and Van Roekel piled on after that.
Given the demonstrable disparity in benefits, should we now include the well compensated public worker as one of the “1%ers”, i.e. those purported to be taking more than their fair share, and from whom more should be extracted/confiscated/taxed? Or just not given in the first place?
Further along in the clip, Van Roekel states that “public sector workers have paid into their pensions, but, like in California, where they want to take away from people that are already retired, the government didn’t live up to their end. Poor management on the part of government for managing their pension funds and now denying the benefits.” Wallace pointed out that it was Democrats, not conservatives, including the Democrat mayor of San Jose and other cities, who voted to cut the public sector pensions.
Say what? Isn’t California the liberal utopia of America, the bluest of the blue states? Hasn’t it been run (into the ground) by Democrat majorities for decades? And don’t forget how Connecticut has not been able to fund their public employee pension fund and are about $50 BILLION dollars in the red. In a deep blue state.
They can’t stop attacking the “rich” for their salaries etc. though, while completely ignoring the fact that to the private sector worker, the public sector workers (with benefits the private sector workers can only dream about) are, in fact, “the rich” in their view. Apparently, they want to eat their cake and have it too.
Class warfare is a sword that cuts both ways. Play that card, and you have to worry what the other player has in his/her hand…