George Noel is the director of the Massachusetts Department of Labor. The Boston Herald reports that he addressed a union rally over the weekend, in the company of such illustrious organizations as Code Pink and MoveOn.org. Peering across the fruited plain to Wisconsin, Noel declared:
“Make no mistake about it. We are at war. This war is about everyone in the middle class… If [Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his supporters] claim to love this country, why do they hate democracy?”
This was too much for the editors of the Herald, who reminded Noel, “It’s the taxpayers of this state who pay your salary, fella, not just the public employee union members.” They recounted some of the wonders public unions have brought to Massachusetts through collective bargaining, such as parking attendants who pull down six-figure salaries.
Noel clearly sees himself as a commander in the union army, with taxpayers on the other side. Once again we are treated to the notion that public unions are a force that transcends democracy, their entitlements untouchable by the people or their elected representatives. When the people of Wisconsin elected Governor Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans, and those worthies proceeded to do exactly what they campaigned upon, the voters were perpetrating a hate crime against democracy. Even the Constitution includes a mechanism for making amendments. The demands of public employee unions are far less malleable.
It’s a controversial position for a bureaucrat who theoretically serves both union and non-union workers, along with the businesses who hire them. There’s a “For Businesses” tab on the Massachusetts Department of Labor website, but I wouldn’t blame Bay State businessmen for being a little reluctant to click it.
George Noel’s declaration of war should also have been his letter of resignation, but it probably won’t work out that way. In the War on Taxpayers, American citizens are compelled to pay the salaries of the enemy, who set the rules of engagement by deciding where the rights of voters end, and the “hatred of democracy” begins.