On Tuesday September 25 Mitt Romney made an astounding claim on the campaign trail. The former governor called for the end of political donations from teacher’s unions in what he referred to as “an extraordinary conflict of interests.” It is well-known that most unions, and especially teacher’s unions, largely support liberal politicians.
His direct quote is “in case of the Democratic Party, the largest contributors to the Democratic Party are the teachers unions, the federal teachers unions…It’s an extraordinary conflict of interest. That’s something I think is a problem and should be addressed.”
The logic behind Mitt Romney’s claim is essentially flawless. The fact that teachers whose contracts and salaries are determined by politicians are allowed to inject millions of dollars into elections is a clear conflict of interest. Politicians cannot make the best educational decisions while having such strong ties to the interests of teachers.
The unbelievable problem with his comments, however, is that he failed to take that argument to its complete and logical conclusion. Money being plowed into elections by any industry that has special interests creates conflict of interests. Most people would prefer to have clean air and water, but the massive donations to Romney and his peers in the GOP by oil, coal, and gas interests prevents environmental legislation from being passed.
Everyone would prefer to have banks that do not need to be rescued after making obscene amounts of money in schemes that could bring the world economy on the brink of collapse, but the political influence of financial institutions led to massive deregulation and a refusal to regulate derivative markets.
Democrats like to pretend that they are somehow better when it comes to the issues, but they are equally bad. The fact is that a politician is not free to make decisions they believe to have the largest positive effects on society when their ability to keep their job is partially dependant on financial support from any specific interests, regardless of which interests they are.