The president is working hard to reward his most loyal constituency, union bosses. The TSA is voting on which union it will join. Afterward, the nation’s transportation safety officers will be unionized and, like their border control counterparts, flanked by armies of lawyers looking to put union member benefits ahead of national safety.
This is probably not the change you were voting for in November of 2008. How well do you think the union will work in a time of national crisis? The unions in Wisconsin haven’t given any ground in the fiscal crisis that state is facing, why would the TSA give ground?
In an insightful column by Kimberley A. Strassel, she writes:
On Sept. 11, 2001, more than 3,000 Americans died after terrorists turned airplanes into missiles. It was a colossal security failure. Congress responded by creating the TSA. The merits of federalizing airport screening were always questionable, though at least the public priority was clear.
Back then, a bipartisan majority of Congress agreed that a crack airport security service was incompatible with rigid unionization rules. Yet by 2008, Democratic presidential candidates were betting that security worries had receded enough that they could again pander for union votes. Candidate Barack Obama sent a letter to American Federation of Government Employees boss John Gage, vowing that his “priority” was giving Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) “collective bargaining rights and workplace protections.”
If the president’s priorities are collective bargaining for federal employees, how can any of his rhetoric on cutting the budget be taken seriously?