This is the latest wingnut argument, and Ezra Klein does a fine job shredding it:
As David Brooks puts it, the problem with public-sector unions is that they “help choose those they negotiate with. Through gigantic campaign contributions and overall clout, they have enormous influence over who gets elected to bargain with them, especially in state and local races.” Then they negotiate with these same leaders — or representatives of these same leaders — for pay, pensions, etc.
But the same goes for corporations. The income of many corporations — Boeing is a good example — depend on government contracts. Tax policy is also important when it comes to setting take-home pay. Then there are rules, regulations, bailouts, backstops, and all the other ways that the government helps structure and shape the economy. And “through gigantic campaign contributions and overall clout,” corporations “have enormous influence over who gets to bargain with them.” And in the aggregate, of course, the business community spends much more than the unions — in 2010, business groups spent $1.3 billion, while unions spent $93 million.
Given that disparity, it’s not at all clear to me why I should worry more about the money unions spend on elections than the money corporations spend on elections. But more to the point, I’d like to reduce both: The AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Party joined forces against the DISCLOSE Act. But the DISCLOSE Act was a good bill! And the Fair Elections Now Act is a better one. It’s curious that the alarm conservatives feel when they look at the nexus of moneyed interests and government power doesn’t translate into support for the sort of laws that might weaken that link.