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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones’ newsletters.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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