At 1.3 million employees and retirees, The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal employees is the largest trade union of public sector employees in America. They cover a whole slew of More »
Many are criticizing the knowledge of Gary Johnson after his Aleppo and Vincente Fox gaffes. Yes, Gary Johnson may not be as knowledgeable as we would all like on hard facts re: More »
Libertarian Principles Before I express my opinions, let me first articulate libertarian principles for those who may read this and not be fully aware. Many people start with the non-aggression principle, or More »
At 1.3 million employees and retirees, The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal employees is the largest trade union of public sector employees in America. They cover a whole slew of professions including correctional officers, physicians, teachers, sanitation engineers and many more. They’ve been around since 1932, but people in Illinois have really been hearing the name a lot more than usual lately.
In June of 2015, AFSCME’s contract with the State of Illinois expired. As of today, there is still no contract. Negotiations have been ongoing for some time now but Governor Bruce Rauner and AFSCME have yet to come to an agreement. AFSCME is pushing for salary hikes and lower individual costs for platinum level health insurance costing Illinois taxpayers $3 billion a year, while Rauner has proposed a temporary four year raise freeze, and state employee insurance that is more in line with what taxpayers can afford.
Illinois is projected to hit a record-setting $14 billion in unpaid bills by next summer, as a result, Illinois also has the lowest credit score of any of the 50 states. How could one justify another 3 billion in spending when the state is in such poor financial shape? Is it because AFSCME’s employees are underpaid and have poor benefits? This is simply not the case.
Adjusting for the cost of living, Illinois has the highest paid public employees in the nation. In addition, AFSCME in particular grants it’s members amazing benefits including overtime pay after 37.5 hours, 15 types of leave, and platinum level health insurance that is mostly paid for by Illinois taxpayers.
Despite these facts, AFSCME remains vigilant in its conquest for more taxpayer money. Their answer to the dilemma? Raise taxes. Nevermind the fact that Illinois is the fifth most heavily taxed state in the country, and people are leaving the state in droves for this very reason.
AFSCME seems to have a contingency plan, possibly due in part to the fact that an impartial judge recently declared the state and the union at a partial impasse which takes some of the bargaining power out of ASCME’s hands. This strategy is to elect enough union-friendly legislators to the General Assembly in order to create a veto-proof majority.
According to the State Board of Elections the AFSCME has donated $1.4 million to campaigns in Illinois this year. A likely reason for this is so that union-backed bills could be pushed through without worrying about a veto from Governor Rauner.
Take, for instance, Senate Bill 1229. This bill, should it have passed, would have essentially disallowed public employers from negotiating job contracts, freeze existing benefits in place (including ongoing raises), and would even allowed unelected arbitrators and bureaucrats to force taxpayers to fund new contracts. The only way these contracts could vanish is through a three-fifths majority vote in the General Assembly.
Also consider House Bill 580. This bill, also backed by the AFSCME, would have taken the bargaining power out of the hands of the voters by allowing appointed arbitrators to draft contracts between the state and the union.
Thankfully, both of these bills were vetoed, and the two legislative houses in Illinois didn’t muster enough votes to override these vetos. If the AFSCME can get enough of it’s cronies elected to shift the balance, however, then bills such as (or worse) than these can slide through without any interference from our state’s executive branch.
To be a libertarian is not necessarily to be anti-union. This libertarian feels that workers should be able to organize however they see fit, and feels that unions are a fine deterrent to exploitation which is just as much an imposition to liberty when carried out by a corporation as it is when carried out by the state. That being said, it is an assault on our freedoms if an organization demands that the state should take money from our pockets to line theirs. It is an assault on our freedoms if an organization writes legislation that takes bargaining power away from officials that can be voted out of office and puts that power into the hands of their cronies.
In short, there is no logical or moral justification to raise taxes on the already taxed-to-death citizens of Illinois to provide an additional $3 billion in wages and benefits to 35,000 employees. Keep in mind that the AFSCME is a union for government employees. It’s bills are sponsored by leftists and seek to increase government without increasing accountability to elected officials. As a libertarian I find it easy to reject these strategies and their intent. As a taxpayer I find it both logically and morally justified to take this position.
Illinois is a deep blue state. Electors from the Democratic Party have picked our president every four years since Reagan. We’ve had the same Democratic Speaker of the House all but two years since 1978, and Democrats hold a majority over Republicans in the General Assembly.
While Republicans can be, and are, successful in the lower part of the state, Chicagoland’s vast population far outweighs the sparsely populated rural areas in Illinois.
In short, Hillary Clinton will win in Illinois. Therefore, a vote for Trump OR a vote for Clinton will change nothing. Clinton wins either way. A vote to change nothing is a wasted vote.
Don’t want to waste your vote? Consider a third party candidate. Third parties in Illinois have a terrible time getting onto the ballot. They have to get between 5-10 times as many signatures on their ballot access petitions, which are usually challenged by a major party in an effort to block their ballot access.
During this election cycle one of the Libertarian Party’s candidates for State Representative was unable to come anywhere close to the signature requirements, although he was able to get more signatures than both of his major party opponents. Another candidate for State Representative exceeded his required number of signatures, but lost hundreds of them due to technicalities. Even after loosing these signatures, he wound up with almost three times as many valid signatures as either of his major party opponents.
Illinois also has a “full slate” law. This law prevents any candidate from running for election unless their party has a candidate in each other race in that jurisdiction. I, for instance, couldn’t run for Circuit Clerk as a Libertarian, unless there were a Libertarian candidate for Sheriff, State’s Attorney, Coroner, etc. This law works at all levels of government in Illinois, from local to presidential elections. While a judge did rule this law to be unconstitutional, there has been no action in Springfield to change or remove it from the books. Time will tell how everything plays out.
What does all of this have to do with our Presidential election? Everything. For third parties to gain equal footing in regards to ballot access in Illinois, the candidate at the top of the ticket has the ability to make these laws partially go away. For instance, if Gary Johnson receives as little as 5 percent of the vote, all of Illinois’ congressional districts become “established” and candidates running for Congress as Libertarians will not have to worry as much about gathering petition signatures and can focus on campaigning.
The same will hold true in 2018 for our the gubernatorial race, and all of the down ticket candidates in 2018. Should the candidate for Governor get 5 percent of the vote, then all of Illinois’ Representative and Senatorial districts become “established” as well.
The people of Illinois are largely fed up with their state government. The state is over $160 million in debt. We’ve gone over a year without a budget, which is something that hasn’t happened in any state since the great depression, and the closest thing to a balanced budget (required by our state constitution) had a $7.4 billion dollar deficit. Why hasn’t Illinois voted the politicians causing these problems out of office? Because they can’t. Almost two-thirds of elections in Illinois run unopposed. If people in Illinois had actual choice, they could vote the career politicians out and new blood with new ideas in.
The path to fixing Illinois begins in the voting booth this November. The only way we can effect real change in Illinois is by not voting for either major party candidate for president. There are two other options, but I suggest you look into Gary Johnson.
Enough is Enough!
There is a reason everyone should consider voting Gary Johnson and Bill Weld this election year. The reason is that many are sick and tired of hearing the same political arguments year after year. We have to look to some type of change in Washington to break up the Trillion dollar, two party election monopoly. Is it now time for a major shakeup in Washington that will send a chill up every elected official’s spine? What about two former governors? Gary Johnson and Bill Weld did not and do not reside in the Washington cesspool and have not claimed they have bribed people so they know how to, “Beat or game the system.” Does anyone in Washington care about the issues they supposedly fight for?
We have all been told over and over again by every candidate since the Kennedy administration, “That if you elect me I will do more to better race relations.” Since the Lyndon Johnson administration, “That if you elect me I will fight to end poverty” and “that if you elect me I will fix the issues we have with the schools and schools systems in America.” Since the Carter administration, “If we do not deal with entitlement programs they will go broke” and, “That if you elect me I will fix the destabilization in the Middle East and end the wars.” Since the Reagan administration, “That if you elect me I will fix the immigration system.” Since the Clinton administration, “That if you elect me I will do more for the LGBTQ community and marriage equality.” With regard to all these issues the government has thrown billions of dollars at them and where has that gotten us?
These issues are debated and fought over year after year. More government agencies, committees, and departments are created to try and deal with these issues, growing government more and more while none of these agencies, committees, or departments ever seem to move the needle on any of these issues in the slightest bit.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have stuff about these issues on their web pages but never seem to address them on the campaign trail or even in the debates. Although Donald Trump says he is an outsider and can fix these problems, in the same breath he states he can fix it because he has been inside Washington dealing with (paying off) politicians for favors. Hillary Clinton has been in or around Washington and “dealing” with many of these issues for years and yet all the issues continue to exist.
As two term governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld did miraculous things in their states, following through on campaign promises, things that could be emulated at the federal level. Consolidating government departments and agencies, balancing the budget, building new roads, schools, and hospitals all while leaving their states with massive budget surpluses. It is up to you, Voting for the two party system, we are destined with the same results, increasing the debt, continued loss of freedoms and divisiveness of our beloved nation.
After 60 years of promises that have gone unfulfilled, isn’t it about time to try something new?
Vote Gary Johnson / Bill Weld 2016
By Robert and Barbara Healey
Many are criticizing the knowledge of Gary Johnson after his Aleppo and Vincente Fox gaffes. Yes, Gary Johnson may not be as knowledgeable as we would all like on hard facts re: geography and world leaders but is intelligence truly the key trait of a successful leader or is it judgement.
I’ve met intelligent people who make one bad decision after another and I’ve met some not as intelligent individuals just make one successful decision after another. One trait I do find in common with people who have good judgement is humility, an acknowledgement of what you don’t know that makes the person better at listening to advice and seeking it. Johnson is by far a more humble candidate than Trump or Clinton, and his judgement in life reflects that.
Gary Johnson’s good judgement has allowed him to run a small business during high school and grow it to one of the biggest businesses in New Mexico. Gary’s judgement allowed him to be a successful two term republican governor of a blue state and achieve growing popularity during his two terms. Gary’s judgement allowed him to climb the highest peak on all seven continents, a feat where bad judgement can easily get you killed.
Hillary Clinton on the other hand has shown poor judgement and a lack of humility constantly that has resulted in people being killed. Voting for the Iraq war (why did Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders have the good judgement to vote nay while people like Chuck Schumer and Clinton did not? Judgement matters). Despite Iraq, Clinton also supported and oversaw regime change in Libya which has created a new hotbed for terrorism. Why has she not learned from Guatemala, Iran, Iraq, etc. in how US led regime change often leads to instability and unintended consequences over and over again.
Also of course there is the use of her private email server, the dishonest responses to its discovery, and the underhanded ways her circle has handled the Bernie Sanders Campaign. These are all continuous signs of a lack of humility and judgement.
Walk & Talk
While in a ideal world you’d have intelligence and judgement, that’s rarely the case.
What’s more important to you when it comes to handling the lives of your children and your prosperity?
Do you want someone who is intelligent who can talk the talk but hasn’t been able to walk the walk
Do you want someone who sometimes fails to talk the talk but has always excelled in Walking the walk.
I know what I choose, Gary Johnson.