I write this just after learning that the Iowa legislature has set the state back about a century as they strip public unions of almost all rights they have in the workplace.
Republicans have their usual BS reasons why it was such a great bill – efficiency, blah, blah, saves money, blah, blah. All of these reasons have been refuted by economists. Iowans called en masse to oppose this bill. But all that means little to nothing to Republicans. They don’t have the 2 million or so Iowa voters to answer to. Nope, they answer to Charles and David Koch and the other members of ALEC.
In what had to be one of the oddest scenes in a whole strange week. Republican legislators went behind closed doors to get a pep talk from Wisconsin’s big union buster and puppet of the Koch Brothers, Scott Walker. This is time that could have been used listening to constituents. I jest of course. They don’t care about constituents. They care about Koch Brother’s money.
Rick Smith at the Iowa Daily Democrat has a great story that lists some of the major donors to Iowa Republicans through a Koch operation. For Republicans these are the people they work for.
Nor do they worry about being re-elected. The next order of business will be to restrict voting. I suspect they will really clamp down on student voting and make it much harder to vote absentee.
Busting the unions will most likely have a very deleterious effect on Iowa’s economy as pointed out in this study by Peter Fisher of the Iowa Policy Project.
Will businesses worry about the loss of business due to the cuts Iowa’s public sector workers will suffer? Well, then it is time for more tax cuts! Sadly these tax cuts may not do a lot of good for small businesses in small town Iowa but then someone has to take one for the team and I guess you were chosen.
And for an extra kick in the teeth, expect congressional Republicans to repeal and not replace the ACA. They have a promise of huge tax cuts for the wealthy and that is one promise they will most likely keep. Without the ACA the cost of health insurance will go up across the board to cover the cost of care for those who are no longer able to get insurance after the ACA is repealed.
So the state workers will get increasingly lousier insurance to “save money.” (remember those tax cuts? That was money.) Therefore the burden of higher copays and deductibles will fall back on union workers who will have no power to bargain.
Since this affects about 15% of Iowa workers, expect it to make a noticeable dent in our economy., especially in the small towns Iowa Republicans claim to love so much.
I frequently heard this fall how union members in Iowa were turning out for Republicans because they were going to shake things up. Well they did, didn’t they? Republicans never really told you what they were going to do.
However, if you are a working person and a union member you should have learned by now to always ask yourself when a Republican says he or she is going to help you out – Just exactly when has a Republican ever helped a working person out? I can’t remember a time, but then I have only been around about seven decades.
Iowa Republicans will probably get a special mention at the summer ALEC meeting in Denver next July 19th – 21st.
Perhaps the worst part of all this is that reversing insanity like this is not as simple as just voting for Democrats. Besides a massive turn in the legislature we also need a new progressive governor. Those have been a rarity in Iowa. Remember, voting will soon be different also. In power grabs like this, one of the most important things to do is to stack the deck in favor of your side.
So sad to see this happen to what was once a wonderful state full of wonderful and thoughtful people.