Tuesday, July 14, 2015

If Union Dues Are Optional, Shouldn't Taxes Be Optional Too?

I've been giving a lot of thought to the Freidrichs case, which, if we were to lose, would render dues optional for public union members. Basically, if you don't feel like paying your dues, you won't have to. And not only could you keep your precious 1300 bucks, but you could also retain pretty much whatever services the union offers. Why should I pay 1300 bucks for eyeglasses and representation when I could just let some other fool lay out the money?

That, of course, is not the basis of the argument. The argument is that union engages in political activity of which you may not approve. For example, your union might support less work for more pay while you are passionate about more work for less pay. Or maybe they support candidates who don't believe people should work seven days a week. Who knows what awful things the union might support, and how the hell are you supposed to know that your money isn't supporting it? The only fair thing is to let you freeload while everyone else pays.

Well, if that's the rationale, and SCOTUS thinks it's unethical to mix politics with dues, I'm good with it. But they need to be consistent. If, for example, one does not believe in war, one ought not to be compelled to pay for it. I'm not a huge fan of war, and certainly haven't supported the last few I've seen. In fact, there are education programs, like Common Core and Race to the Top, which I oppose fairly vehemently.

One of my biggest issues with the government is taxes. Federal taxes pay for Arne Duncan, and I gotta say, I find him pretty repugnant. For one thing, he's the highest ranking educator in the country, but he isn't even a teacher. For another, though he spends a lot of time imposing policies about public education, he has decided public schools, after years of his stewardship, are no longer good enough for his children.

So, if union dues are optional because I might not believe in what union does, taxes should also be optional.

If I don't have to pay union dues because I don't agree with what the union does, why should I pay taxes when I don't agree with what the government does? It's all about me, isn't it? It's all about persona liberty. If I'm opposed to NCLB, if I'm opposed to Common Core, and if I'm opposed to Arne Duncan representing education, why should I have to support these things?

I'd also like to determine whether or not I support military actions before my tax dollars go to pay for them. As far as I can tell, our last excursion into Iraq was incredibly costly, and not particularly effective in stabilizing the region. Why should I pay for GW's mistakes? In fact, I approved of almost nothing GW did. Can I get a refund?

Because the premise is the same. To tell you the truth, I disagree with a whole lot of things my union leadership does. But I don't see withholding my dues as a solution. This notwithstanding, if the law of the land says I don't have to pay for things I may not support, I don't want to pay federal taxes. And given His Majesty Andrew Cuomo, I don't want to pay state taxes either. I'll continue to pay local taxes because I believe in public education.

Maybe the money I save will make up in some small way for the destruction of my union. Ultimately, though, I doubt it will be enough.
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