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Friday, July 27, 2012

Pennsylvania's Capitalist Revolt

Jeffrey Lord
Citizens Alliance for Pennsylvania turns Keystone State politics upside down.

"Place before the eyes of men a position of POWER that shall at the same time be a place of PROFIT, and they will move heaven and earth to RETAIN it."
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1787

The former Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is in jail.

He shares a cell with -- a former Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

One is a Democrat. One is a Republican.

Nothing like a bipartisan jail cell. And these two -- Democrat Bill DeWeese and Republican John Perzel -- are not the only Pennsylvania legislators to be either now in the hoosegow or on their way, fresh convictions in hand.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is in trouble. And Pennsylvania's capitalists are in open revolt.

Specifically, they are banding together under the banner of a group they are calling the Citizen's Alliance for Pennsylvania -- CAP. (CAP's website can be found here.) And CAP is now roaming the state with all the subtlety of Allied forces storming the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.

Their target?

What CAP calls the "bi-partisan collusion of career politicians, labor unions and trial lawyers that has mired the Commonwealth in corruption and economic stagnation."

Ouch.

Can you say "Wisconsin"?

The labor unions in question are, but of course, precisely the same as they were in the Wisconsin showdown. Public employee unions. All of which were given collective bargaining rights in Pennsylvania in the way back of 1968 -- under a Republican governor. (You know -- that old moderate GOP shamble kinda thing.)

What really fries the shorts of CAP members is the aforementioned "collusion" they see between both parties, the kind of thing that can end up with two Speakers of the House -- one from each party -- sharing a cell in the Big House.

How in the world did a state where a citizen legislature created in 1776 -- as CAP says "replete with term-limits, part-time work status, and modest compensation" -- work its way into a situation where there are not only no term limits but where a former Senate Democratic Leader (yes, he too now in the hoosegow) can get a $330,000 a year pension? With that ex-senator not being alone in the pension goods department?

Answer: Pennsylvania has been driven to this point because of what CAP calls the "Iron Triangle" of career politicians, bureaucrats, and lobbyists. Lobbyists in particular for those public employee unions and the trial lawyers bar.

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