Politics: May 2005 Archives

Immigration Reform for Oklahoma Now (I.R.O.N.), a group pushing for stricter enforcement of immigration laws, is having its monthly meeting this Thursday, June 2, 6:30 p.m., at Hardesty Library in the Oak Room. Undersheriff Edwards will be the speaker. You can learn more about the organization at its website, www.okiron.org.

It was interesting to read Karol Sheinin's comments today on illegal immigration on her blog, Alarming News. Karol is a legal immigrant to the US from Russia. About the illegal immigration summit in Las Vegas and the protesters who called the summitteers racist, she writes:

What is racist about thinking that illegal immigration is wrong? What is racist about worrying about the security of your nation's borders, at a time when your country is at war with a shadowy enemy who is trying to infiltrate your country to destroy it from within? Minuteman organizer Chris Simcox spoke at the conference and, mentioning recent deaths along the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, said 'There is no reason human beings, regardless of where they come from, should die horrible deaths.' What's racist about that?

The tax eaters' party


Scott Sala of Slant Point links to a City Journal article by Stephen Malanga about the political engine that drives politics in America's "bluest" cities. Malanga calls it the "New New Left," or "the tax eaters' party," a coalition of government-employee unions, social service agencies funded by government, and workers in the health care industry, which is increasingly funded and controlled by government. He sketches the history and growth of each component of the New New Left and its influence over municipal politics in many cities:

Increasingly in U.S. cities, the road to electoral success passes through the public- employee/health-care/social-services sector. In New York, for instance, more than two-thirds of city council members are former government employees or ex-workers in health care or social services....

One reason that these politicians have succeeded electorally is that those who work in the public sector have different voting priorities from private-sector workers or business owners. An exit poll conducted by City Journal of the 2001 New York mayoral election found that private-sector workers heavily backed Michael Bloomberg, the businessman candidate who had been endorsed by Rudy Giuliani and had run on a pledge of no new taxes (which he broke after his first year in office), while those who worked in the public/health-care/social-services sectors favored his Democratic opponent, who ran on a promise of raising taxes to fund further services. In the race, Bloomberg won among private-sector voters by 17 percentage points, while the Democrat won by 15 points among those who worked in the public/nonprofit sectors.

And of course public-sector workers, who know they are going to the polls to elect their bosses, make sure to remember to vote. Though they make up about one-third of New York City’s workforce, public/nonprofit-sector voters made up 37 percent of the electorate in the 2001 mayoral race.

His analysis is interesting, but maybe a bit alarmist. 37% of the electorate vs. 33% of the workforce doesn't seem terribly disproportionate, and if the Democrat had only a 15 point win among public-sector voters, it suggests that not all public-sector voters vote for whoever promises to increase public funding. It would be interesting to know what motivated the public-sector voters who picked Mike Bloomberg over Mark Green four years ago.

Still public employee unions have become very influential, especially in Democratic politics -- you won't get far without their endorsements and the help of their footsoldiers. I've heard that it's the only growing sector of the labor union movement. While I appreciate the complaints of Tulsa's city workers, who have borne most of the city's belt-tightening, I think it was a mistake for the City Council to approve unionization, even in a limited way. It will be difficult to say no to the next department that seeks unionization. A unionized city workforce will make it more difficult for the city's elected officials to make adjustments in order to cope with tight finances, and a city employee union would be an organized political force always pushing for expansion of city government.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from May 2005.

Politics: April 2005 is the previous archive.

Politics: June 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]