Thursday, March 31, 2011

There are taxpayers - and there are taxpayers

THE FLAWS IN the terribly restrictive anti-public workers union bill that fumbled through the Ohio General Assembly were best illustrated - unintentionally - by Rep. Bill Batchelder, the Republican House Speaker. Describing the massive protests against the bill, Batchelder insisted the workers had been stirred up by "lies" by a"bunch of labor leaders." Oh? You mean the GOP lawmakers didn't, among other things, strip these public unions of their right to strike?

He went on in a Plain Dealer article to defend his party's summary union-busting effort as a necessary tactic to protect the interests of everybody else. Let the speaker speak:
"Today, this House has taken an unprecedented step toward public policy that respects all Ohioans, especially our taxpayers and our hardworking middle class," the Speaker said in a prepared statement.
I find his explanation ludicrous and dishonest in itself. Is he suggesting that the 350,000 public union workers - teachers, firefighters, police et al - are not taxpayers? Nor hardworking? Nor the middle class that evolved from the unions in, say, Akron?

Batchelder's shuffling words are, of course, perfectly attuned to the Republican mantra that only in a union-less country can we comfortably expect workers to, eh, work harder and happily pay taxes. These ideas have permeated the GOP bible for so long that even veteran pols like Batchelder robotically continue to mouth its verses as holy writ. Indeed, the House version of the bill was even stronger than the Senate's. (Scientists who study fat whales say they reach their food sources through something called "echo location", which works for me as a description of the GOP scavengers in the Ohio legislature.)

Still, as it did the first time around , the Republican-controlled Senate passed the House version 17-16. And despite widespread objections to youthful Akron Sen. Frank LaRose's earlier flipflop on collective bargaining, he again voted with his flock for its one-vote victory. He's a rookie in the fickle ways of the electorate, and in a district steeped in labor tradition, he may find himself having to defend himself many times over. If the economy finally improves, he won't even have Summit County Republican boss Alex Arshinkoff at his side to defend him.


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Anonymous said...

Arshinkoff through his "Voice of Sanity/Reason" will defend young LaRose against the evil unions because he bowed down before him and kissed his ring.

JLM said...

Young Frank should give serious consideration to returning to the family beer distributing business. I doubt if even Big Al can save him from being a one term representative after what is perceived as his betrayal regarding SB5. Not to worry, there'll be a cushy position waiting for him at House of LaRose.

Mencken said...

A LaRose beer truck driver with some seniority can make a six figure annual salary. Teachers, cops, firemen, nurses.... not quite that much.

David Hess said...

Batchelder's remarks simply underscore the GOP's strategy of pitting one group of middle class voters (non-union) against another group (union members) in the hope of dividing them on Election Day, while permitting the party's wealthy backers to prevail in many contests and thus continue their control of legislatures and Congress in opening the widening income gap between rich and mid-income taxpayers. The pity is, this disingenuous tactic has been in play for nearly two decades now and too few voters appear to have figured it out.

JLM said...

Mr. Hess hits the target again. Divide and conquer and the working stiffs of Ohio (and elsewhere) can't see it happening right under their noses

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else heard that Guv KaySICK is raising secret money to fight the referendum?? I thought he had register all money raised with the Secretary of State. Is his political staff allowed to raise money without reporting it? Abe, do you know?

Anonymous said...

It's a long way off, and LaRose will not lose. Democrats couldn't even defeat Coughlin in the landslide of 2006. Additionally, LaRose will potentially have a more GOP leaning district after redistricting.