The Special Interest Driving Federal Spending? Big Labor.

Originally posted in the Washington Examiner By: Examiner Editorial 02/13/11 8:05 PM

To hear President Obama, liberal mainstream media outlets and congressional Democratic leaders tell it, Washington is “still” in the grip of evil special interests like Big Oil, Wall Street and the pharmaceutical drug industry. It’s a familiar line, but when the actual numbers for campaign donations by the top 100 special interest donors are toted up, it becomes quite clear which is the biggest one of them all — Big Labor. The union bosses spent more than $500 billion on campaigns between 1989 and 2009, with well over 90 percent of the total going to Democratic presidential and congressional candidates.

That’s more than 10 times as much as was spent by Big Oil during the same period, according to federal campaign finance data compiled by professor Antony Davies of Duquesne University. In fact, Big Labor gave twice as much as the totals for the Big Oil, telecommunications, insurance, pharmaceuticals and real estate industries combined.

Probe a little deeper, as blogger Doug Ross did recently, and something else becomes clear: More than half of all union members are also public employees. In the federal government alone, three unions represent nearly half of the 2 million civil servants. Overall, more than a third of all government workers at all levels are union members, compared with only 11 percent in the private sector. That’s why it is no coincidence that for the third consecutive year, the federal government will spend more than a trillion dollars it doesn’t have. That money will be borrowed, much of it from China and other foreign powers that don’t necessarily have the best interests of America in mind.

Federal spending under President George W. Bush and the Republican congressional majority greatly increased, to be sure, more so than it did under Democrat President Clinton during the prior decade. But Bush and the congressional GOP increased federal outlays nowhere near as much as Obama and the Democratic-led 111th Congress. In fact, as Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., recently pointed out, in a mere two years, Obama and the 111th Congress ran up more debt than the previous 43 chief executives. That’s more in 24 months than President Lincoln spent prosecuting the Civil War, President Wilson spent “over there” in World War I, and President Roosevelt spent defeating the Germans and the Japanese in World War II. Keep all this in mind this week when Obama unveils his 2012 federal budget proposal and claims to have reduced federal spending as much as possible.

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