We Are A Force of History

We are a force of history.

November 9th, 2009 was the official launch of UnplugthePoliticalMachine.org and the Citizen Power Campaign. Citizen Power vs. Union Power is what their campaign is all about. As this organization states, “The public employee unions run this state, and are running it right into the ground. Everyone in politics knows it, and increasingly everyone else is figuring it out. Conventional wisdom is that the unions are too powerful to take on. Remember when people said the same thing about the Soviet Union, another tyrannical power that fell 20 years ago when the Berlin wall came crashing down.”

I remember as well. The Soviet Union was just too powerful, or so it seemed. The day the wall began to fall, the East German military were still officially under orders to shoot anyone who came near the wall. But the world had completely changed, even though no one had yet made it official. But many people were oblivious to fear. All they knew was they wanted pieces of the wall – simple souvenirs. So by the thousands they brought sledgehammers and chisels to hack away at that wall. It worked, the DDR quickly backed down in the face of what even they realized was a force of history.

We have seen firsthand the oppression of tyranny here in California. In fact the citizens of this state of California are suffering a similar tyranny right now. But we also have more power than we realize. This time we are the force of history and it is time to chip away at our wall and take this state back.

Thirty years ago, then Governor Jerry Brown created public employee unions in California, now the most powerful special interest by far in California. How powerful? Ask any politician – nothing happens in Sacramento without their permission. They get their power because the government collects their political war chests right off the top of public employee salaries.
The government collects dues for the unions, and the unions give as much as 1/3 right back to the politicians who gave them that right in the first place. It’s a sweet deal for the politicians and the unions. Jerry Brown himself started all this in California. Ironically, he will most certainly receive tens of millions from the public employee unions next year in his run for governor.
How much money is involved? Let’s look at round numbers for just one union – the California Teachers Association. There are 340,000 teachers, who pay approximately $1000 per year in union dues. $300 per year, per teacher, goes toward politics. That’s $100 million per year, right off the top of teachers’ salaries, collected by the government, given to the CTA and its affiliates, and then funneled right back into the political campaigns of the politicians who do their bidding — which usually means voting for more spending and higher taxes on you and me.
In short – our taxes, being used to make us pay more taxes. As the organizers of Citizen Power put it: It’s a rigged game that is destroying California, and it is well past time we take down that wall to progress and prosperity for all of us, unions and non-unions alike.

I believe the chiseling and hacking has begun. If thousands of us join in, the Citizen Power Initiative can put an end to this travesty in November, 2010.

Tom Blackburn
Blackburn Consulting
ACEC California President

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