McConnell: Let’s Use COVID-19 to Crush Public Sector Unions

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You’ve probably heard that Mitch McConnell wants states to declare bankruptcy instead of getting rescue funds from the federal government. However, this is not due to some kind of generalized fear of running up the deficit. It’s because, like most Republicans, he hates public sector unions:

McConnell pressed his idea during an interview on Hugh Hewitt’s syndicated radio show, arguing that much of the financial strain faced by some states is the result of runaway pension obligations — and that several U.S. cities have used bankruptcy protections to restructure their finances.

Republicans have been targeting the pensions of state workers forever. For the most part, these pensions are protected because they’re part of union contracts, but that just makes them even more attractive targets: If you can gut pensions, then not only will you reduce state spending, but you can crush the unions at the same time. Legally, though, the only way to do this is as part of a bankruptcy restructuring.

So as far as McConnell is concerned, COVID-19 has an upside: by wrecking state finances, it will force them into bankruptcy. And that means Republicans can get their revenge on public sector unions, who are big supporters of Democrats. What’s not to like?

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And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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