Just in case there was any doubt that the Democratic Party was but the political arm of the various labor unions in Maryland and the rest of the republic, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) decided yesterday to remove it. The union of public employees not otherwise represented in collective bargaining against their friends and neighbors (otherwise known as taxpayers) has issued orders to its employees in the General Assembly and in the Governor's Mansion to raise taxes so that the government may continue to pay its members' bloated salaries.
What's even more interesting is that the union has dropped all the pretenses normally used to cloak such moves as "investments in our future." The Kapital paper quotes union boss Patrick Moran as saying that Democrats need "to show that their true priority is to make the tough decisions necessary to keep our state running." Apparently the union bosses don't like the tough decisions pretty much made for them by the state's projected $2 billion FY 2011 budget deficit. A series of rolling furloughs has been keeping the state and county governments from being forced to make the even tougher decisions on the budget.
"We cannot cut our way out of this" budget crisis said Moran. Well, we can't tax our way out of it, either. We've tried that. But that's exactly what the union wants its politicians to do. They came right out and said it, too. Raise fees and taxes on everything, even income taxes (on the rich of course). And create new taxes where none yet exist. Curiously missing is any mention of property taxes. Do you think that's because property taxes are dedicated to local schools, the employees of which are represented by another union? Hmmmm. Yeah, let the teachers unions fight for their own tax increases!
But Kapital ace reporter Liam Farrell is nobody's fool. He hits the unions with the ol quid pro quo questions, too. The governor will keep taking the union's calls despite the easy decisions made to furlough the rank and file. And of course Boss Moran "would not speculate" on how the budget cuts will affect the union's political support during the next election cycle. I guess it could go either way. There may be some Republicans that the unionistas would consider financing...and there may even be Republicans out there who will take blood money, that is unless the money comes from fellow Republicans who put "Hitler" and "Obama" in the same e-mail message. I'm sure it would be OK taking money with long strings attached that Boss Moran can use to jerk you around.