Monday, October 8, 2012

No on California Proposition 32

Official Title: Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Contributions to Candidates.
Initiative Statute

Proposition 32 is supposed to look like a good campaign finance reform law, but instead it is an act of class warfare designed to get working-class money, what little there still is of it, out of politics. It pretends to limit corporate money in California elections, but does not.

Proposition 32's main point is banning political contributions using payroll deductions from both unions and corporations. But corporations don't impose payroll deductions for political purposes. Direct corporate contributions would come out of shareholder's profits. Most "corporate" contributions are actually personal contributions by management and shareholders.

Union payroll deductions are actually union dues. Without payroll dues deductions it would be almost impossible to fund unions. Ask the Wobblies, or Industrial Workers of the World, who became largely irrelevant in the 1920's largely because they insisted that workers pay dues voluntarily to the union each month, rather than through payroll deductions. Payroll dues deductions are part of the deal when a business recognizes that its employees have decided to be represented through a union.

This does lead to some problems, ranging from union bureaucrats paying themselves more like CEOs than like the workers they represent, to the problem of some workers paying to finance the campaigns of candidates or issues they disagree with.

I might support a law that prevented rich people from buying elections, and also restricted the use of union dues to directly representing the workers to their employers.

California Proposition 32 is not that law. It places no meaningful restrictions on rich people or corporate management or stockholders. It would kill funding of pro-union and pro-worker candidates.

No on 32, Save Our Right to Organize and Be Represented

Proposition 32 summary, official arguments, and text

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