While the furor over the ACA and the Koch-conspired government shutdown goes on, there are a few important pieces missing from this crazy quilt. Campaign donations and unions.
Now in its ninth day, the shutdown originally furloughed over 800,000 federal employees. These are civilian workers from agencies all over the nation. They represent retired veterans, career bureaucrats, high-tech innovators, administrative pen pushers and all varieties of occupations.
The House GOP followed their Rafael Cruz script (via Tea Party via Heritage Foundation via the Koch Brothers), and harped about a slimmer government, overspending and of course, the evil Affordable Care Act. But behind the veil, a more nefarious motivation was in play.
The shutdown is actually a partisan ploy meant to punish or demolish the largest campaign contributor to the Democratic party.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), was the second largest contributor to the Democratic Party in 2012, falling just behind ActBlue, the Democratic Super PAC.
AFSCME bills itself as “the nation’s largest and fastest growing public service employees union.” It boasts a membership of 1.6 million workers, represented by 3500 local unions. The organization’s primary missions include “raising the minimum wage, battling efforts to privatize public sector jobs and fighting efforts to substitute vacation time for overtime pay for millions of workers,” according to its profile at opensecrets.org.
In the 2012 campaign, AFSCME was a designated “heavy hitter” according to opensecrets.org, and gave generously to the Democratic cause. In fact, AFSCME ranked number with a total contribution tally of $64,764,312. (See the complete breakdown of contributions here.)
Tea Party Republicans and libertarians have signalled their collective dismissal of federal employees. They are driven to privatize the workforce and governmental agencies, and they hope to dismantle unions.
Who is suffering? First and foremost, it is the public service worker. Who represents 1.6 million of these workers? AFSCME. And, who does AFSCME overwhelmingly support through mega contributions? President Barack Obama.
The shutdown that began nine days ago is the first vivid demonstration of the GOP/Tea Party/Libertarian aim to shatter the current federal infrastructure.
And, just this evening, Gov. Paul LaPage of Maine declared a state of civil emergency. His declaration gives him free rein to override existing state laws and regulations. LePage rationalized that his declaration is to lower the impact of the government shutdown on state and federal employees. LePage, a Republican, may be laying the groundwork to replace some 2700 public employees and run roughshod over their employment protection if they are union members.
Put the pieces together. The puzzle is easy to assemble. This comes down to a union-busting move from parties that want Obama out, unions de-legitimized and the hugely generous Democratic Super PAC in tatters.