Friday, November 26, 2010

The Unelected Fourth Branch

Any course in American Government will contain the description of the three branches of our system of government: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judicial. These three represent the division of power that was wisely created by the Founders, in recognition of the inherent nature of those in power to aggregate power to themselves. Thus, by dividing the power into three heads, it was a means to restrain that impulse to dominate.

Yet, because the electorate has grown distracted, it has failed to note the growth of a cancer on our government that even now threatens to destroy that division of power and to swamp all our liberties by serving a non elected interest that is funded by taxpayer dollars. I am referring to the Unions, in particular, public sector unions.

The problem might not have ever come to our attention except that the economy has collapsed like a rapidly- receding tide, exposing the few remaining institutions that are still holding their own and prospering – public sector employees most notably. Almost all sectors of our economy are suffering, except the public unions - they are prospering.

The explanation of that fact is not hard to understand when one sees that public sector unions have no competition. Their source of funds is the public treasury and in theory at least, that source cannot fail. A private sector company bankrupted by private sector unionization kills its union parasite also: they both die, thus checking the union. But who checks a public sector union?

They are funded and protected through the government, which is in turn directed by elected officials who in turn are bankrolled and supported in their campaigns by public sector union bosses. These same bosses have a stranglehold on the dues of their members, who have little or no say how their dues are spent. Thus, when the legislators, who are bought and paid for by the unions, vote for wage increases and benefit increases and long term juicy pension benefits, they are passing on the bill to the taxpayers who cannot readily deflect the higher and higher taxes imposed upon them by the public sector unions. Even more perniciously, every dollar extracted from the hapless taxpayers against their will, provides an even larger war chest for union bosses to reward or punish legislators who vote on union issues.

Even the Democrat’s favorite Democrat – Franklin Roosevelt – was against public sector unions. Yet the present day Democrat Party would disappear if it were not the party of public sector unions. What Roosevelt feared has come to pass.

It is the worst sort of incest: paid for by the taxpayers, yet out of their control through the ballot box. It is bribery at the highest levels.

I have seen the union machine in action through several election cycles – from the Democrat United Mine Workers’ machine opposing conservative political candidates in the coal fields to Florida teacher’s unions threatening and then rewarding Governor Charley Crist in the run-up to the November 2010 elections. Crist vetoed an Education reform bill that the Republican-dominated Florida legislature passed in mid-2010. He was elected as a conservative Republican, but jumped parties when it was obvious that he would not prevail in a runoff for Senator in the Republican primary against Marco Rubio. Showing his true colors, he courted the unions, thus stabbing in the back a much-needed reform of the Florida Education system that the union vigorously opposed. While his election effort eventually failed, it demonstrated how seriously public sector union support is regarded by unscrupulous politicians who are willing to sell their souls for political power.

A number of corrective measures have been proposed: term limits is one longer term solution, which I support. Rescinding (at the federal level) of the Union’s right to organize workers. President John Kennedy signed an executive order in 1962 granting such a right. That order began the ruin of the Democrat Party, converting it into a Pimp machine for political power, eroding any basis for fair handedness or principle that it had in the past.

It has been estimated that public sector pay and benefits are as much as 44% higher than that of the private sector and growing daily. There are different ways of viewing this relationship and it is worth reading more about it. It is inconceivable that our government needs to be as large as it is, and to be involved in so much regulation and intrusion. We need to take dramatic action to cut away whole swaths of the government. I suggest that the cabinet level departments of Energy, Education, Labor, Health and Human Services and TSA be eliminated, and whatever remaining functions are necessary be privatized.

Government bailouts in 2010 have largely served to protect the interests of public sector union members at the expense of the taxpayers. The auto sector interventions served to enrich the UAW enormously and defraud the actual owners, the stock holders, constituting a thinly-veiled thug-like takeover of other people’s property and a bypass of the bankruptcy laws by a Socialist government. All public bailouts are bad policy. States and governments, financial institutions and private and public organizations must be allowed to fail and restructure, just like in the real world.

Congress must take back control of the currency and cut the Federal Reserve out of all monetary policy whatsoever. The Fed is no friend of the American government, and is certainly no friend of American Free Markets. The Fed is not even a government institution. It is a concoction of the multinational banks to protect their interests. Our government should have nothing to do with it. The Constitution places the regulation of the money supply squarely in Congress’s lap, yet many protest any move to restoration of that relationship. Why would they think it proper to abdicate that responsibility to an unelected and basically unaccountable organization that has more in common with unconstitutionalists bent on Global control than our own nation’s self interest? Recent revelations of the incestuous relationship between Wall Street and the Fed ought to cause any sensible person to call for the elimination of the Fed. View this humorous short video for a short course on this phenomenon.

One law that should be passed that would require all union elections to be free and open and uncoerced. Perhaps having union elections policed by such democratic stalwarts as Russia or Somalia would be an improvement over what they have now. Union members should have a right to challenge in court the way their dues are used. Right now, members are practically mute and powerless and their dues are in many cases being used to support causes that are at radical variance with the member’s values. The Unions are legally exempt from racketeering laws (RICO) also, thus putting the leadership in a safe position to actually use racketeering to achieve their ends and bully their members. The undemocratic processes in union elections  must be reformed - primarily by the membership, but they need help.

The proposed Card-Check legislation that the Reid-Pelosi-Obama axis are attempting to sneak under the noses of the American People under the radically twisted misnomer of the "Employees Free Choice Act" is an example of exactly the wrong kind of legislation that Congress is considering. The intent of this act - to strip away proposed member’s rights to vote on the unionization of their workforce - is a real tip off to the morals and motives of many in the Democrat Party who are supporting what amounts to thuggery underwritten by the Federal Government on behalf of further unchecked growth of the entire union movement. What Union leaders could never achieve on a level playing field, they propose to ram down the throat of the American public in a lame-duck session of a Congress that been repudiated at the ballot box. This is the Democrat Party in its true colors.

The danger to the Republic shows on many fronts. It is ironic that from its beginnings in the industrial revolution, starting as a movement in which the workers were just pawns in the hands of the industrialists, it has grown so much in power that it now threatens the financial and political viability of the nation that has done more than any other to recognize the right of all citizens to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Unions now want a guarantee of economic happiness at the expense of all else. They must not be allowed to succeed.

Our greatest danger is from the Unelected Fourth Branch of Government - Public Sector Unions.


  1. With the current debate on the role of public sector unions in our country I began a search for an article titled "The Fourth Branch of Government" by Eric Kriss, a former Secretary, Administration and Finance for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts written for the Worcester Regional Research Bureau - Forum on City Finances, February 27, 2004. I printed out a copy at the time of the program but it apparently is not available on line. However, I did find a similar blog, not specifically about Massachusetts where the public sector unions do control the legislature, about the unelected fourth branch of government. It is not a bad read.


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  3. Thanks for the comment Roger. The latest news out of Wisconsin and other states which are fighting the stranglehold that public sector uniions have on their jugular is kind of unexciting. The effective standoff in Wisconsin is not encouraging. See my latest two blogs on the Dem's tactic of absenting themselves to preclude a quorum. I think the governor ought to take decisive and bold action to rid the legislature of no-shows.