To hear President Barack Obama, liberal mainstream media outlets and congressional Democratic leaders tell it, Washington is “still” in the grip of evil special interests like Big Oil, Wall Street and the pharmaceutical drug industry.
It’s a familiar line, but when the actual numbers for campaign donations by the top 100 special interest donors are toted up, it becomes quite clear which is the biggest one of them all — Big Labor. The union bosses spent more than $500 billion on campaign donations between 1989 and 2009, with well over 90 percent of the total going to Democratic presidential and congressional candidates.
That’s more than 10 times what Big Oil spent during the same period, according to federal campaign finance data compiled by Prof. Anthony Davies of Duquesne University. In fact, Big Labor gave twice as much as the combined totals for Big Oil, telecommunications, insurance, pharmaceuticals and real estate industries combined.
Probe a little deeper, as blogger Doug Ross did recently, and something else becomes clear: More than half of all union members are also public employees. In the federal government alone, three unions represent nearly half of the 2 million civil servants. Overall, more than one-third of all government workers at all levels are union members, compared to only 11 percent in the private sector.
That’s why it is no coincidence that for the third consecutive year, the federal government will spend more than a trillion dollars it doesn’t have. That money will be borrowed, much of it from China and other foreign powers that don’t necessarily have the best interests of America in mind.
Federal spending under President George W. Bush and the Republican congressional majority greatly increased, to be sure, more so than it did under Democrat President Bill Clinton during the prior decade. But Bush and the congressional GOP hiked federal outlays nowhere near as much as Obama and the Democratic-led 111th Congress.
In fact, as Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., recently pointed out, in a mere two years, Obama and the 111th Congress ran up more debt than the previous 43 chief executives. That’s more in 24 months than President Abraham Lincoln spent prosecuting the Civil War, President Woodrow Wilson spent “over there” in World War I, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt spent defeating the Germans and the Japanese in World War II. Keep all this in mind as the debate over Obama’s 2012 federal budget proposal really starts heating up.