Palin Addresses Her Union Brothers and Sisters


Sarah Palin was swift to denounce what she called the “thuggery” of union boss James Hoffa, but she didn’t settle for a sound bite.  She wrote a long and impassioned appeal to her “union brothers and sisters” and posted it on her Facebook page in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

Palin gets Hoffa’s ugly rhetoric, and President Obama’s absolutely appalling silence, out of the way in her first two paragraphs:

In my speech on Saturday in Iowa, I said: “Between bailouts for Wall Street cronies and stimulus projects for union bosses’ security and ‘green energy’ giveaways, [Barack Obama] took care of his friends. And now they’re on course to raise a billion dollars for his re-election bid so that they can do it all over again.” This was shamefully on display yesterday at President Obama’s taxpayer-funded campaign rally in Detroit. In introducing the President, Teamsters President James Hoffa represented precisely what I was talking about as he declared war on concerned independent Americans and on the freshman members we sent to Congress last November by saying, “Let’s take these son-of-a-bitches out!”

What I say now, I say as a proud former union member and the wife, daughter, and sister of union members. So, as a former card-carrying IBEW sister married to a proud former Laborers, IBEW, and later USW member, please hear me out. What I have to say is for the hard working, patriotic, selfless union brothers and sisters in Michigan and throughout our country: Please don’t be taken in by union bosses’ thuggery like Jim Hoffa represented yesterday. Union bosses like this do not have your best interests at heart. What they care about is their own power and re-electing their friend Barack Obama so he will take care of them to the detriment of everyone else.

The moral and practical failures of crony capitalism have always been a strong theme for Palin.  She uses that theme to do much more than just criticize Hoffa for the ugly rhetoric Obama is clearly so comfortable with:

To see where this leads, look at what’s happening to the working class in our industrialized cities. These cities are going to hell in a hand basket thanks to corruption, crony capitalism, and the union bosses’ greed. The union bosses derive their power from your union dues and their promise to deliver your votes to whichever politician they’re in bed with. They get their power from you, and yet their actions ultimately hurt you. They’re chasing American industry offshore by making outrageous, economically illogical demands that they know will never work. And now that they’ve chased jobs out of union states, they’re trying to chase them out of right-to-work states like South Carolina, so eventually the jobs will leave America altogether. But these union bosses will still figure out a way to keep their gig, and so will their politically aligned corporate friends. As long as these big corporations have a good crony capitalist in the White House, they can rely on DC to bail them out until the whole system goes bankrupt, which, I am afraid, is not very far off. When big government, big business, and big union bosses collude together, they get government to maximize their own interests against those of the rest of the country.

When someone like Hoffa talks about “bringing jobs back” from overseas, he’s talking about using government force to create an economic situation that will benefit his group, which is essentially a mega-corporation that profits by selling labor to other corporations.  Hoffa’s brand of unionism can’t hold labor markets through competition, because union bosses have so dramatically inflated the cost of the labor they sell.  Instead, they use government power to create monopolies, and punish businesses who try to escape from them… which is precisely the kind of thing anti-business liberals howl about, when Big Business does it.

The adversary middle-class Americans should fear is not Big Business, or Big Labor, but rather the “partnerships” they form with Big Government.  Big Government is the force that dissolves competition, and seeks to replace its hard-won treasures with the shabby “benefits” of compulsion.  Palin sees where this ultimately leads:

This collusion is at the heart of Obama’s economic vision for America. In practice it is socialism for the very rich and the very poor, but a brutal form of capitalism for the rest of us. It is socialism for the very poor who are reduced to a degrading perpetual dependence on a near-bankrupt centralized government to provide their every need, while at the same time robbing them of that which brings fulfillment and success – the life-affirming pride that comes from taking responsibility for your own destiny and building a better life through self-initiative and work ethic. And Obama’s vision is socialism via crony capitalism for the very rich who continue to get bailouts, debt-ridden “stimulus” funds, and special favors that allow them to waive off or help draft the burdensome regulations that act as a boot on the neck to small business owners who don’t have the same friends in high places. And where does this collusion leave working class Americans and the small business owners who create 70% of the jobs in this country? Out in the cold. It’s you and your children who are left paying for the cronyism of Obama and our permanent political class in DC.

When there is true economic freedom, your neighbors become partners, clients, and competitors.  Under the failed system Hoffa and Obama want to enforce, they become enemies.  Your path to success lies in joining a disciplined collective organization with lots of money and political clout… and as Hoffa explained, such organizations rely upon their discipline for power, just like any other “army.”  Lots of union members disagree with Hoffa’s politics, and have no desire to see Barack Obama re-elected… but their opinions simply do not matter, when union bosses control piles of political cash, harvested from their compulsory union dues, and control the collective political influence of the union.

Forward-looking union members should realize we’re reaching the point where the Hoffa-Obama approach will leave them stranded in the ruins of an economy where the value of their wages and benefits is greatly reduced.  Even collectively-bargained job security doesn’t help much when there’s no one left to employ you.  Pulling down better-than-average compensation loses its allure when “average” gets low enough.  Wealth dissipates quickly when the options for spending your money vanish in a sea of “Going Out of Business” signs.

Palin concludes with a zinger that reminds us how narrowly people like Hoffa and Obama use the term “working Americans:”

In the meantime, good union brothers and sisters, don’t let Hoffa tell you what to do. He doesn’t represent the real interests of working men and women. He’s not doing you any favors. He’s just living off your paychecks.

Union members should ultimately be looking for the same thing non-union workers desire: opportunity.  Opportunity flourishes only in an atmosphere of competition, where risk is taken in the pursuit of reward.  That means nobody gets shackled to the table during “collective bargaining.”  It means unions should entice employers with the superior value and skill of their employees, not terrorize them with superior political connections.  That’s a lot more difficult than showing up at rallies and receiving a list of sons-of-bitches to vote for, and against.  In the long term, it’s also far more rewarding.  The “long term” can now be measured in months.