QUOTE OF THE DAY…. I guess the post-Tucson grace period really is over. Here’s House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), appearing on radical TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, reflecting on his party’s anti-union efforts.
“It’s not just Wisconsin. It’s Ohio. It’s Indiana. You’re going to see these types of actions taken in a lot of states because the states are broke and over the last couple of years the Obama administration, the Democrat [sic] controlled Congress bailed out the states where they could avoid making the tough decisions. Well, there are no more bailouts coming from Washington. We’re broke. We’re broke!
“We don’t have money to dish out to the states so all these Governors are trying to find ways to balance their budgets, which they’re required to do. In some of these states you’ve got collective bargaining laws that are so weighted in favor of the public employees that there’s almost no bargaining. We’ve given them a machine gun and put it right at the heads of the local officials and they really have their hands tied.”
The right has been a little too eager to characterize pro-labor activists as violent thugs, but with little success. Leave it to the House Speaker, though, to take this a little further, arguing that unions have “a machine gun” pointed at the heads of local officials.
Substantively, there are also a few relevant angles here. First, we’re not “broke,” and it’s ridiculous for Boehner to keep insisting otherwise.
Second, the Speaker is proud of himself for refusing to assist struggling states, but it’s a policy that drags down the entire economy, just to satisfy Boehner’s ideological preferences. The Ohio Republican may not understand this, but weaker economic growth is the opposite of what we should be aiming for.
And third, states with budget problems will likely have to negotiate with public workers, but stripping employees of their collective bargaining rights doesn’t actually save any money. This is a union-busting crusade, not a response to fiscal challenges.
John Boehner, in other words, isn’t just using language of questionable taste, he’s also demonstrating a striking degree of ignorance. Again.