Union Party vs. Taxpayer Party: PA’s Political Paradigm

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Dear CF Friend,

I imagine you feel disappointed right now, as I do.  A year ago, we had high hopes that by now we would have staved off a tax hike, cut the size of state government, put its spending online, greatly expanded school choice, removed government from the booze business, and protected the Marcellus Shale “golden goose.”

To their credit, Gov. Corbett and the General Assembly delivered on the first three items on that list back in June.  That was a dramatic shift in the Harrisburg paradigm, and the kind of success we still haven’t seen down in D.C.  But since then, our legislators seem to have spent most of their time crafting state legislative and federal congressional districts that protect incumbents – failing to pass a comprehensive education reform package, to privatize the state stores, or to resolve a Marcellus Shale bill.  And with historic Republican majorities in both houses and the most conservative governor in modern Pennsylvania history, it is more than reasonable to expect better.

Many people are rightly asking me why more hasn’t been accomplished.  Here’s why:  The reality is that on virtually every issue, the majority party isn’t the Democrats or the Republicans.  The more accurate division in the legislature is the Union Party versus the Taxpayer Party.  And today it is the former that is dictating to the latter.  Just look at the political giving of the PSEA, SEIU, AFSCME, AFL-CIO and the many other labor unions who gave over $23 million in the 2010 election cycle to both Democrats and Republicans and you’ll understand why reforming public schools and improving our tax and business climate is so difficult.

The next question you might rightly be asking is:  Should we give up, with odds these long and opponents this powerful?  Again, I both understand and share your disappointment.  But my answer is one word:  NO!

Despite hundreds of millions of dollars in compulsory union dues, fees and political action money, we have been able to take on – and beat – the Union Party on some very big issues (like raising your taxes).  Do we need to beat them again?  Sure.  And I’m convinced we can – that we will ultimately win the war for our future and our children’s future.  I’ve been in this fight for 15 years, and I’ve never seen the unholy alliance of union-sympathizing Republicans and Democrats as exposed, and the Taxpayer Party as awakened to the threat from within, as I see today.  There are more of us (taxpayers) than there are of them (tax eaters), and we are waking up.

Indeed, when the history of our time is eventually written, I believe waking up the Taxpayer Party will prove to be President Obama’s main achievement.  You know the old saw about boiling a frog:  If you throw him into a pot of boiling water, he’ll jump out.  But if you heat it slowly, eventually you’ll cook him.   Before President Obama came along, the Union Party – Democrats and Republicans – was boiling us slowly.  He turned the heat up too high, and we jumped out.  We’re still a little disoriented, and he and his allies are still in the policy “kitchen” – including right here in Harrisburg.  But we’re finally awake, and we will not rest until we’ve done what’s right for our kids and their kids – that is, until we ensure they get to live in an America that is still the greatest nation on the face of the earth.

It’s easy to forget, but that’s ultimately what our day-to-day battles here in your State Capitol are all about.  And that’s why I – and the awesome team you’ve given me here at CF – will never, ever give up…

Fighting for Your Freedom,

Matthew J. Brouillette
President & CEO