Obama in Detroit: Union Denial

by Henry Payne

Detroit — If Obama’s Labor Day speech questioning Republicans’ patriotism was short on civility, it was also long on denial.

In a slap at Republican governors like Michigan’s Rick Snyder (in keeping with the president’s hyper-partisan style, there were no Michigan Republicans on stage with Obama, only Democrats), Obama slammed plans to reform public employees’ generous benefits at a time when taxpayers are tightening their belts and state budgets are under water.

“After all that unions have done to build and protect the middle class, you’ve got people trying to claim that you’re responsible for the problems middle-class folks are facing,” shouted Obama in Detroit. “Unions have always been about shared prosperity.”

This is willful nonsense.

The loud union protests in the past year from Wisconsin to Michigan have been about resisting sharing — whether pay cuts or co-pays for health plans. These are the kinds of sacrifices that taxpayers have been making for years in the private sector — even as unions greedily helped themselves to prosperity at the same taxpayers’ expense.    

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