Labor Day marks the end of summer and the return of many special American traditions...children return to school, the football season begins, leaves change color...and Sutton's Place returns from an extended summer hiatus.
The political season is upon us as well. Rather than an occasional commentary every week or two, Sutton's Place will be very active during the next several weeks. So expect to see more frequent observations and opinions (at least through Election Day).
Let's start with a discussion of the relatively obscure Democrat primary for Governor in Rhode Island. Who thought RI's Dem primary would hold a valuable lesson for conservatives?
Check out this op-ed from the Washington Post. It details the candidacy (and victory) of Gina Raimondo who championed an aggressive restructuring of public sector employee union pensions in RI.
You may recall the attempt to recall Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin, an important campaign which drew our attention. But on the same day that recall attempt failed, there were two very important referendums in California that deserved our attention as well.
On the ballot for voter approval in two different California cities were initiatives to trim public sector employee union pensions...one in San Diego and another in San Jose. The ballot initiatives passed easily in both cities.
San Jose voted overwhelmingly (more than 2/3rds, I believe) for President Obama and has a Democrat mayor (also an Obama supporter). But San Jose voters voted 2/3rds FOR the limits on union pensions. The mayor strongly supported the initiative as well.
There are two important reasons that voters support trimming public sector union pensions. One is that public services are being limited/curtailed/cut to pay for generous pensions. Parks are closing, libraries are reducing their hours, and even police and fire protection is being limited. This is why many Democrats/liberals (who believe strongly in greater government services) are voting to limit public sector employee union pensions.
The other reason is that in order to continue paying the generous pensions, voters/taxpayers are being asked to raise taxes on people making $45,000 a year to pay for more generous benefits for people making $65,000 a year. In addition to better pension plans (i.e. lifetime defined benefit retirement pensions with COLAs), government union workers also get better health care plans, greater job protections, and higher salaries than non-government workers. That is simply not acceptable to middle America.
This is a solid issue to blunt talk of "income inequality". This is income inequality created by government and liberal politicians who pick winners and losers and favor special interests. It puts conservatives (and rational liberals) on the common sense side of fighting for middle America, and reveals the most extreme big-gov't liberals for what they are.
It's a great issue to champion. Just be prepared...the unions will hate you. But they already do, don't they?