The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has spent more than any other outside group to re-elect President Obama. The union has spent $74 million to return Obama to the Oval Office, exceeding President Obama’s own super PAC spending by a third.
Other unions are also going all out for the President. Lee Saunders, the recently elected president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), told union delegates that they “must work our hearts out to re-elect President Obama.” And they have. AFSCME has spent about $100 million to elect liberal candidates at the federal, state, and local levels. Over a fifth of those funds have gone to help the President.
Why have these unions spent so much to re-elect the President? They represent government employees. Most union members now work in government. Government unions have a direct interest in bigger government. Higher taxes and more spending means more money for their members.
President Obama has campaigned for tax increases and fought congressional efforts to cut spending. Given these platforms, it is no surprise that government unions lined up behind the President. As Saunders put it, “We’re going to work like h*** for his campaign.”
Higher taxes and bigger government hurt the private sector. Excessive regulation and taxes make running a business more costly. As the number of federal regulatory jobs has soared, employment growth at start-up companies has hit record lows.
Bigger and more expensive government serves the interest of government unions; it does not serve the public good.
Ashley Shelton is a former member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm.