Mitch McConnell has, from time to time, adopted the conspiracy theory that the IRS was “targeting” right wing political groups for their fundraising and expenditures and touted this as an example of Big Government out of control — because what the IRS was doing is actually fairly reasonable, and what McConnell et al. claim they were doing is actually exactly what Elaine Chao’s Labor Department was doing.
In the instance of the IRS, there’s been a flood of money pouring into outside pressure groups for political activities that they aren’t allowed to partake in — but that they’re partaking in nonetheless. This flood of dark money into independent c4s and 527s and whatnots is very possibly against the law… but the only way one could know if they are running afoul of the law (and you need only look at Wisconsin or at the people behind the Ron Paul bribery scandal in Iowa) is if someone were to look into it. On the other hand, during the early 2000s, Elaine Chao’s Labor Department set up an entire wing run by a political activist to target Labor Groups and document all their illegal activities. In the end, that initiative reported astonishing numbers of criminal acts — but half of the acts were actually duplicates and of the 500 or so remaining, most of those were self-reported by Unions and almost all of them involved wrong-doings by Union Officers, not union members.
But the point of that group was not to root out wrongdoing but rather a concerted effort by Elaine Chao’s Labor Department to undermine labor unions. This is a central mission of the Republican Party under George W. Bush, Mitch McConnell, Scott Walker and so forth and it is carried out on behalf of the corporate executives who believe that without unions they can pay workers less, treat employees worse and make more money for themselves.
The Republican Party loves “Big Government” when that nefarious Big Brother force is used to deny the right to vote to poor and minority voters en masse under the guise of nonexistent “widespread” voter fraud, and in Elaine Chao’s Labor Department, the GOP loved “Big Government” because they could use government assets to achieve their own political aims.
In 2009, Mitch McConnell — who is funded by the anti-worker bosses of corporate America — explained to a Commerce Lexington crowd at Keeneland that union membership has declined because workers don’t want to join unions and because we have “very enlightened management in this country now.”
As ThinkProgress pointed out at the time, the “enlightened” management was actually responsible for the decrease in union membership because of draconian tactics they — and McConnell’s wife in George W. Bush’s Labor Department — were using to suppress and punish their workers and potential workers:
For starters, an AFL-CIO survey found that there are 60 million American workers who say that they would join a union if they could. The reason that they can’t is because employers threaten to close plants in 57 percent of union organizing drives and threaten to cut wages and benefits in 47 percent, while ultimately firing pro-union workers 34 percent of the time.
As Kate Bronfenbrenner, Director of Labor Education Research at the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations pointed out, over the last 20 years “employer opposition [to unionization] has intensified…and the nature of campaigns has changed so that the focus is on more coercive and punitive tactics designed to intensely monitor and punish union activity.”
And in addition to anti-union campaigns, management in this country is engaged in a whole host of other labor violations. Yesterday, a new survey came out in which 68 percent of low-income workers reported being subject to a pay violation in the previous work week alone. This isn’t meant to paint the entire business community with a broad stroke — as there are surely plenty of companies that don’t engage in this sort of behavior — but the problem is far more widespread than McConnell and the rest of the Republican party are evidently willing to concede. And just like with health care reform, the GOP has already decided that it’s not interested in discussing a solution.
Of course, Mitch McConnell doesn’t know any of those facts because Mitch McConnell doesn’t talk to workers or actual everyday citizens. He prefers the company of his friends who calls the “very enlightened management.”
If he did let himself get “enlightened” by people who actually do the jobs instead of just listening to the “enlightened management” who live off them, Mitch McConnell might learn that the “enlightened management” is one reason why wages are down, retirement savings are down, and everything costs more… while corporate profits continue to soar. But that’d take a lot of listening.