With just over 50 days until the 2012 presidential election, Americans are searching for the truth behind both candidates. While everyone seems to have an opinion, facts often seem to be lacking.
Much of what is lacking can be found in a newly published book titled "Shadowbosses: Government Unions Control America and Rob Taxpayers Blind," by Mallory Factor. He is a professor of international politics and American government at the Citadel and co-founder of the Monday Meeting, a gathering of intellectuals, journalists and politicians who discuss current events.
The book has the feel of an organized crime novel where the not-so-good guys are winning. Unfortunately, the book isn't a novel, just the ugly truth that the American people are no longer in charge of their government. Shadowbosses documents how Democrats shoulder the bulk of the blame for the stripping away of the electorate's control over its own government.
"Behind taxpayers' backs, our country is controlled by a group of movers and shakers who manipulate the system for their own advantage," Factor writes. "These are the heads of the government employee unions: the Shadowbosses."
Factor documents how unions collect an estimated $14 billion in dues every year, more than half of which comes from unionized government workers. They make that sum by taking money from the paycheck of every represented worker, whether they belong to a union or not. This is known as "forced-dues," which is permitted in 27 states and is practiced in at least 22 others. But while forced-dues are extracted in many states, the practice is concentrated in a handful of states. "Over half the unions' total dues income comes from just six states: California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey," he writes.
Legally, these citizens have a choice: they don't have to join the union, they just have to fund it. Most people, Factor says, end up joining to get at least something out of what they're paying for.
"There is nothing wrong with individual workers deciding that they want to be members of a labor union," Factor writes. "Free association is the essence of American republicanism."
Although Factor admits many government employees go into public service hoping to make a difference, often public servants' good intentions dissolve when union bosses fund their campaigns and inherit a stake in the politicians' success. He explains that much of the collected dues are used to essentially manipulate political legislation to increase favorable regulation and the union bosses' power over their members.
"The unions use political spending to help pro-union politicians get elected to office," Shadowbosses writes. "These politicians become government officials who make decisions about union contracts and legislators who pass laws important to unions."
Simply put, it's the unions' way or no way at all -- and politicians are content to let them have their way; when it comes to negotiations, the unions are represented on one side of the table and the union-bought politicians on the other -- only everyday American taxpayers are left out of the equation.
Factor then applies his insights and research to the very imminent task of picking between presidential candidates. Shadowbosses exposes the ties between President Barack Obama and unions, concluding that Obama is the "most union-connected president in the history of the United States."
Factor details how Obamacare is one giant scheme to fill union treasure chests with billions of dollars in dues that will be funneled to left-wing politicians. The book also addresses just how little choice voters have when teachers unions are involved in education.
If you want to be startled at what Americans have let the powers that be get away with, "Shadowbosses" is the book to read -- before Nov. 6.
Elisha Maldonado is the editorial page editor for the International Business Times.
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