Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday rapped the scandal-plagued IRS for planning to pay union workers $70 million in bonuses, calling it a taxpayer “fleecing” from public sector unions he’d like to rein in.
In an address to the American Enterprise Institute where he assailed liberal groups like Media Matters for trying to squelch the First Amendment rights of conservatives, he called public employee unions a “50-year mistake,” claiming they’ve teamed with bureaucrats to divvy up the “taxpayer pie.”
McConnell said, “They’re a major problem, and today I’m calling for a serious national debate about them. On the federal level, the first thing we should do is stop the automatic transfer of union dues from employee salaries at the taxpayer’s expense. If the unions want their dues, it should be incumbent on them, not us, to pay for it.”
In the speech provided in advance to Secrets, he added that the $70 million in planned IRS bonuses is the latest example of unions and bureaucrats fleecing taxpayers.
“There’s no better illustration of this than the news this week that in the midst of congressional hearings into their activities, unionized employees at the IRS are about to get $70 million in bonuses. The IRS union is thumbing its nose at the American people. It’s telling them in the clearest terms possible that it doesn’t care about this scandal, or how well government works, or how well it’s serving the public. All it cares about is helping union workers get theirs. It’s pure arrogance, and it reflects a sense of entitlement better suited to an aristocracy than to a nation of constitutional self-government.”
McConnell quoted FDR’s concern about the creation of public employee unions in his call for a debate on their existence.
“FDR himself was horrified at the idea of public workers conspiring with lawmakers over how to divide up the taxpayer pie. To him, it was completely incompatible with public service for the public to be cut out of a negotiation in which the two sides are bartering over their money,” said the Kentucky senator.
“Over the past several decades,” he added, “the same public employees who’ve arrogated vast powers to themselves have conspired with their patrons in Congress to expand those powers even more, and to endlessly increase the budgets that finance them. This isn’t done in the interest of serving taxpayers; it’s done in the interest of fleecing them. Because that’s what happens when politicians start competing for the support of public-sector unions – they stop serving the interests of the people who elected them and start serving the interests of a government they’re supposed to be keeping in check.”