Unbelievably, the LA Times has come out this morning with an endorsement of Prop 75.
This is yet another example of an increasingly disturbing trend that has liberals turning their backs on organized labor – without whom the causes in which liberals believe would be that much worse off: education, health care, the environment.
In their argument, the Times admits that Prop 75 is being pushed by right-wing partisans in an attempt to weaken Democrats, while at the same time asserting that this measure won’t “take public unions out of the political game.”
Take a look at what has happened in other states where right-wingers aligned with Bush have pushed similar initiatives:
“Unions all over the country have an investment in this fight because they know that if they can no longer raise money for Democratic candidates and causes, there is no other group on the left that can amass the kind of political war chests that Republicans raise,” says Elizabeth Garrett, a law professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, who tracks state initiatives.
Such has been the case in the state of Washington, where passage of a similar law in 1992 – by 72 percent of voters – led to a precipitous drop in political contributions from teacher union members in the first year: from 48,000 contributors to 8,000. When Utah passed a similar law in 2001, only 6.8 percent of teacher union members allowed their dues to be spent on politics.
The Times also naively states that they can endorse this measure because it’s public employee unions, and that if the right were going after private unions, as they did in 1998 in California, the Times would oppose that. The obvious reason being that it is ludicrous to say you are going to restrict how unions can raise money but not corporations. But the point here is that once Prop 75 is in effect, those fighting for the public interest will be so weakened that any number of unfair and right-wing initiatives will be able to pass in California with much greater ease.
Make no mistake about it, Prop 75 is dangerous. We must defeat it. We must not buy into the same conservative arguments of “it’s my money.” Those are the same arguments that produced tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans while millions of people suffer in poverty, and millions more struggle to make ends meet.
It’s not *just* your money. It’s your share of the wealth our society has created – wealth that wouldn’t exist if we didn’t all work together.
So while we can often count on the L.A. Times to get things right, there are plenty of occasions in which we can’t. Remember, they also endorsed Pete Wilson in 1994.