Teachers good. Teachers’ unions bad.

| September 10 2012
Christopher Cook

Since we’re on the subject of teachers’ unions . . .

It’s another one of those third-rail dealies—say a bad word about teachers unions, and it means that you hate teachers, students, children, puppies, and America.

But America—and students and children and teachers—are in an existential crisis because of the perverse relationship between unions and politicians and their parasitic relationship to taxpayers. And this relationship is creating an unsustainable pension and benefits burden that our children will never be able to pay, but that you can’t say a word against because it means you hate children and bunnies and flowers.

Well, people are speaking up. Last year, we produced a video explaining this relationship. Recently, Reason TV made an excellent addition to the growing effort to call attention to this problem.

America’s public education system is failing. We’re spending more money on education but not getting better results for our children.

That’s because the machine that runs the K-12 education system isn’t designed to produce better schools. It’s designed to produce more money for unions and more donations for politicians.

For decades, teachers’ unions have been among our nation’s largest political donors. As Reason Foundation’s Lisa Snell has noted, the National Education Association (NEA) alone spent $40 million on the 2010 election cycle (source: http://reason.org/news/printer/big-education-and-big-labor-electio). As the country’s largest teachers union, the NEA is only one cog in the infernal machine that robs parents of their tax dollars and students of their futures.

Students, teachers, parents, and hardworking Americans are all victims of this political machine–a system that takes money out of taxpayers’ wallets and gives it to union bosses, who put it in the pockets of politicians.

Our kids deserve better.

More from Heritage on Union Money in Elections

This election year, millions of Americans will donate to the political candidates and initiatives of their choice at the local, state, and federal levels. But for unionized workers, union dues come out of their paychecks and go to political causes—and they aren’t consulted on where that money will go.

In July, The Wall Street Journal’s Tom McGinty and Brody Mullins published an eye-opening report that “Organized labor spends about four times as much on politics and lobbying as generally thought.”

They broke down the unions’ political spending from 2005 to 2011: $1.1 billion “supporting federal candidates through their political-action committees, which are funded with voluntary contributions, and lobbying Washington, which is a cost borne by the unions’ own coffers.”

But that was only the beginning. Add to that another $3.3 billion for political activity from “polling fees, to money spent persuading union members to vote a certain way, to bratwursts to feed Wisconsin workers protesting at the state capitol last year.” Who pays for this? The workers, McGinty and Mullins report: “Much of this kind of spending comes not from members’ contributions to a PAC but directly from unions’ dues-funded coffers.”

Despite findings that 60 percent of union members object to their dues being spent on political causes, this practice continues. Why?

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