(A response to the much misaligned mailer from Citizen’s Alliance of Pennsylvania)
CAP (Citizen’s Alliance of Pennsylvania), recently sent out a mailer exposing the Republicans who voted against ensuring that taxpayers would no longer be able to be forced to pay for the collection of Public Sector Union Dues. That money is then often used to fund elections that work against the policies that the majority of the Republican’s in this Commonwealth want.
The press and party establishment then jumped on the bandwagon to go after CAP for doing so. They then made attempts to tie this directly to Scott Wagner.
Let’s clear up some of these points. James Kennedy holds the title of Chairman Emeritus of CAP. He is also chairing Scott Wagner’s Governor’s bid. The title of Chairman Emeritus is a special honorary title for an individual who played a critical role in the establishment and advancement of an organization. That doesn’t mean he’s calling all the shots at CAP anymore. It also doesn’t mean that he is not without influence with CAP. However, to blame Kennedy directly for these mailers without proof is irresponsible. To then attempt to directly tie that to Scott Wagner takes that irresponsibility to new levels.
The mailer sent out by CAP specifically addresses a vote by Republican legislators. You can see that mailer in the first source link below.
That is the only relevant topic here, in my opinion. Does the mailer accurately reflect a specific vote on a specific issue and the answer to that is a resounding YES!
That vote results in the rest of us still having to pay to collect the union dues of public sector employees. That vote promotes the legal plunder of taxpayer dollars to provide special protections to public sector unions.
To be clear, I don’t blindly stand with CAP in all of their positions any more than I stand with any organization in blindly supporting their positions 100%. On this issue; in this matter; I stand with CAP.
Senator Rafferty uses the excuse that he couldn’t vote for the bill because he couldn’t get an exemption for first responders.
So let me understand that…Not supporting the legal plunder that forces taxpayers to pay for the collection of union dues, which will then largely be spent on getting Democrats elected to office, means we don’t support the individual police and firefighters. Pardon me if I disagree.
Let’s turn to Bastiat for a minute:
Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.
We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.
Taxpayer dollars should not be used to pay for the collection of dues to any organization formed by the public sector. They voted to unionize. Let them then pay for the collection of their own dues. How they spend those dues then becomes irrelevant. It is not our responsibility to pay for the collection of any organizations dues. End of story.
In other words, let’s not allow for the legal plunder of the taxpayers to provide for a choice of association.
Forcing me to pay for the collection of those dues through legal plunder is a violation of the principles of association.
By the way, Senator Rafferty has no problem stonewalling a bill that would allow a special group of veterans in this state who restore military vehicles from having their own custom license plates. He’s perfectly fine with forcing us to pay for for the collection of public sector union dues, but not okay with allowing a group of veterans who are performing a role in preserving the history of this country. Using his own logic: is he opposed to veterans?
Party establishment comes out of the woodwork to attack CAP for exposing this vote. They say that CAP’s drawing attention to this is destroying the unity of the Party. Val Digiorgio went so far as to claim that CAP, and groups like them, would “ensure the liberals like (Gov.) Tom Wolf and (U.S. Sen.) Bob Casey call the shots in government.”
The question given to Val Digiorgio avoids questioning if the party agreed with the vote of these legislators. The only thing journalists seem to care about was whether or not the party played a role in it.
The journalists are avoiding the real issue here and that is the vote itself.
We are just supposed to ignore the fact that these Republicans voted against something the majority of the Republican’s in this state want; that they voted against party unity and then blame the messenger who informed us all of the vote.
If you want to make it easier for the liberal agenda in Pennsylvania, continue to allow the special protections to the public sector unions; continue to allow them to use our hard earned dollars to increase our tax burden to pay for the legal plunder of the collection of the union dues which will then be diverted in supporting candidates and issues many of us have opposed.
Republicans have the majority but we still can’t get critical legislation passed because of Republican Legislators who vote against the things many Republicans. We have a super majority in the Senate but what good is it when we have these Republicans who vote with the other side more than they do our own party. It’s not CAP who is ensuring the victory of the Liberal majority, it is the actual votes by legislators that is making this happen.
That can’t be, ignored.
And let’s understand something right now. Party affiliation is not the issue here. The particular bill and the issue of that bill is what matters to me. I believe it is wrong to force me, or anyone for that matter, to pay, through taxation, for the causes which I, or they, do not support. Those calling out CAP based on party unity have made that the issue and I’m simply pointing out their hypocrisy in doing so.
While screaming about preserving Party Unity, the same Republicans then push the blame to Scott Wagner because James Kennedy is chairing his re-election bid because an organization where Kennedy is CHAIR EMERITUS, put out a mailer asking us not to support the Republicans who aren’t supporting the will of the Republican Voter.
Who’s really guilty of violating Party Unity? The legislators who vote against the Party or the activist organizations who expose that vote.
The implication is made that Scott Wagner was personally responsible for that mailer by connecting dots that do not necessarily lead to Scott Wagner. Forget that, just buy the party’s rhetoric for the sake of party unity.
That should come as no surprise to us. Wagner has often challenged the party establishment. He’s been a thorn of contention with those who vote against principled party platforms. In this case, however, making that connection directly to Wagner takes a stretch of the imagination not proven by facts which are made irrelevant through deflection.
This is an election season, and connecting dots that do not necessarily connect and then demanding those dots connect is typical opposition talking points. Lying about the opponent so you don’t have to defend your candidates positions: redirecting and deflecting criticism from the one you support by attacking and even outright lying about the one you oppose is standard campaign fair. Just because it exists, however, doesn’t make it right.
Are we not supposed to question our own when they vote against the things we want to see happen in this state? Are we supposed to be silent when they betray us?
Most important, is it moral to call out the other side on their votes when we are pressured not to call out our own?
True investigative journalism should be covering all aspects of this vote, not just concerned with attacking the messenger. It is the vote itself that matters and this vote concerned perpetuating the legal plunder of our income to provide for the protections of the public sector union’s ability to fund elections and, in my opinion, buy candidates.
That’s what this should be about: not merely who exposed it, but the actual vote and what that vote means.
The Commonwealth Foundation told us in April of 2017:
Though union dues cannot be given directly to candidates, dues can fund radio and TV ads, lobbying expenditures, get out the vote efforts, candidate endorsements, and PAC fundraising. Dues can also be funneled to SuperPACs, which in turn spend unlimited amounts of money supporting or opposing candidates.
Since 2010, government unions have diverted more than $46.7 million of members’ dues to political purposes. PSEA alone spent $23.2 million.
Several unions are not required to disclose political dues-spending details, while others wait until months after elections conclude to disclose expenditures. These practices obscure where unions leaders send their members’ hard-earned money.
The Republicans named in CAP’s mailer voted to make sure that continues to happen and they are upset that they were exposed for doing so. To then have party leadership trash the messenger seems hypocritical to me.
A defense is made of this vote because some of the legislators are retiring or some of them have no opponents in the upcoming primary. So what..that doesn’t change how they voted! That doesn’t change the issue behind the vote!
If we are expected to stand down when Republicans vote against Republican positions because the Party Leadership says so, how will we ever see the reforms we need.
Let me create an example. A playground is divided into two groups. 33% of the playground wants to steal the lunch money one particular kid to make their own lunches less expensive. 67% say no as a group but when it comes time to vote, enough of that 67% vote with the 33% to allow that one kid’s lunch money to be plundered. Calling out those voted to allow such plunder is, according to this party unity logic, not okay because it doesn’t promote party unity. We’ll just then pretend the one kid who has been plundered didn’t happen for the sake of party unity.
We’ll then deflect from the result of the vote to attack that one other kid who stands up and says that what just happened wasn’t right.
The right of peaceably assembling for the purpose of redressing our grievances against government, regardless of party, is a treasured right beautifully expressed in our Declaration of Independence. Apparently, when it comes to party unity, that truth is no longer relevant.
There has been criticism of the timing of this release. We didn’t time the vote on this legislation. We didn’t vote. They did. The vote was then made public so the timing is not the question here in my opinion. Was CAP supposed to wait until some later time when the release of this information would have been more convenient and just when would that be?
The arguments being made against the mailer implies that the information should not have been released at all. They seem to prefer that we remain uninformed about how those we elect to office vote, especially when they vote against a reform measure that the majority of us want to see. I guess unity means submission even when the vote is to legally plunder us.
Informed voters create better government. The truth is that many of the reforms we want to see happen in this state do not happen because of the votes of Southeast Republicans who spend more time voting against the Party than with it. Sure, we can blame the Democrats, but the reality is that when an important reform bill fails in the General Assembly, we don’t have to look to hard to find out why.
I don’t believe that the issue of not allowing unions to take taxpayer money to collect the dues of public sector employees is a far right issue. Painting it as such is disengenuous. It is a betrayal of founding principles of both our State and Federal Government.
I believe the issue is one of the violation of my 1st amendment rights and a principle in violation of the inherent rights of all people especially regarding the right of association. Forcing me to fund an organization through taxation that I would otherwise not choose to fund violates that most basic right. I do not want, nor do I expect, others to pay for the groups I choose to align myself with or to fund the advancement of the issues that matter the most to me.
That’s not a right wing position and its not a Republican position. It is a principled position. I simply believe that nobody should have to endure plunder when the government steps in and forces us to financially support the issues, cause or organizations we disagree with.
Frédéric Bastiat warned:
Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame, danger, and scruple which their acts would otherwise involve. Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons, and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim — when he defends himself — as a criminal…
But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime…
When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it — without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud — to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed…
I say that this act is exactly what the law is supposed to suppress, always and everywhere. When the law itself commits this act that it is supposed to suppress, I say that plunder is still committed, and I add that from the point of view of society and welfare, this aggression against rights is even worse. In this case of legal plunder, however, the person who receives the benefits is not responsible for the act of plundering. The responsibility for this legal plunder rests with the law, the legislator, and society itself.
On this I am in full agreement with Frédéric Bastiat. It is a violation of our right to property, a violation of our inherent rights of association by choice and an abuse of the power of government is legislating the legal plunder of our property (income) to provide a benefit to a protected class of citizens.
Bad timing on not: I stand with Bastiat and with CAP in the release of this mailer.
Those highly critical of this mailer are basing their positions on two aspects: 1) Party Unity, which this vote betrayed and 2) Blind support of legislators based solely on party name. The issue at hand is ignored to attack what they perceive as right-wingers while deflecting from the issue at hand…the legislation and the principles of that legislation.
That seems to be the general discourse of dialogue today. It doesn’t seem to matter what that issue is. Deflect, misrepresent, attack the messenger but God forbid we actually discuss the issue especially when the issue is the protection of our individual rights to Life, liberty and Property!
The following sources were used for this posting: