Monday, February 7, 2011

AFSCME's Very Own Truth

Guest post by j.hart.

In their fight to raise Ohio’s taxes, Council 8 and Local 11 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) enjoy the backing of a national union. Facing criticism from conservatives around the country, the AFSCME has built an adorable little website that features videos produced by the far-left BraveNew Foundation (a Media Matters partner presumably unfamiliar with the work of Aldous Huxley) and aims to highlight the misery caused by a shortage of government spending. This should be fun.

Change in Ohio General Revenue Fund expenditures. Guess Which Line is Inflation!

If there’s one fact you’ll never hear from the AFSCME, it’s that government spending growth routinely outpaces the Consumer Price Index. In Ohio, the differences have been dramatic (view chart source) – but eons of huge spending increases don’t prevent the union from shrieking about a year or two of minimal cuts. Another fact the AFSCME considers a lie? Government agencies fared awfully well during the past recession:

Overall, the public sector shrank by 118,000 jobs (0.5 percent of the January 2008 workforce). As a reminder, the private sector lost 7.2 million jobs (over 6 percent of its January workforce) during that time.
The AFSCME site features several “fact sheets” rife with the sort of dubious logic I’m learning to expect. As with most talking points, there are great laugh lines among the sparsely-cited figures and bald assertions. From The Truth About State and Local Budgets:

With expiration of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which pumped billions of much-needed stimulus dollars into the economy [...]
Much-needed stimulus dollars! From The Truth About Public Service Workers’ Pensions, a document which includes exactly zero citations:
Pension funds, unlike 401(k) plans, may be rebuilt over a period of decades because they cover a wide range of employees in terms of age and years of service.
“Sure it’s a Ponzi scheme, but we’ve got all kinds of time!” Priceless. From The Truth About Collective Bargaining for Public Service Workers:
The public is best served by public employees whose first loyalty is to their job, not to a political party. In the public sector, collective bargaining insulates employees from politics and patronage.
Insulates, indeed: the AFSCME gave over eighty million dollars to Democrats in the last campaign cycle. In the public sector, collective bargaining funnels taxpayer dollars to Democrats and gives politicians every incentive to patronize union bosses. Concluding that this best serves the public requires tortured logic, even by AFSCME standards!

There are really only three facts these fact sheets establish:

  1. The AFSCME thinks government should be bigger
  2. The AFSCME wants more of your money to make government bigger
  3. The AFSCME is happy to demonize anyone who suggests government should be smaller
Cross-posted at that hero.

1 comment:

  1. Buckeye Institute has a good video about the absurdity of public sector unions. Pretty funny, and sad at the same time.


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