Now that Marty Walsh has made the Boston mayoral finals, I suppose we’re in for another round of handwringing about the labor unions — how quickly and how far would a Mayor Walsh, former union leader, capitulate to these despots?
Nearly every Globe columnist has already had foreboding thoughts about a Walsh victory and the apocalypse that would result. Business columnist Shirley Leung, for example, looked into Walsh’s voting record as a State Representative and reported the ominous news that Walsh voted 90 percent of the time with positions endorsed by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, but he voted only 25 percent to 40 percent of the time with positions endorsed by the National Federation of Independent Business, which she described as a “small-business advocacy group.”
Well, yes and no on that description. While the NFIB can be counted on to advocate — in its characteristically feverish way — for some of the interests of small business (an increase in the minimum wage in Massachusetts “would hit the economy like a wrecking ball”), other priorities of theirs seem far afield from what likely matters to Mom and Pop at the corner store. Earlier this month, for example, the NFIB alone testified in support of eliminating the estate tax in Massachusetts — not even the bill’s sponsor spoke up in favor of it. The estate tax is imposed only on estates worth more than one million dollars, and so, not surprisingly, only about 1000 Massachusetts estates owe any estate tax in a given year. I’ll go out on a limb to say that for many corner store owners the elimination of the estate tax is a low priority — many of them might even agree with the opinion of the noted socialist Warren Buffett, that “a progressive and meaningful estate tax is needed to curb the movement of a democracy toward plutocracy.”
And let’s not forget the NFIB’s extensive financial ties to the PAC’s run by the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove or that 98 percent of its campaign contributions in 2012 went to Republicans, or that it was the NFIB that stepped up to challenge to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in the Supreme Court. “Insatiable” might be a more descriptive term for this organization’s commitment to business than “independent.”
For this progressive voter (who, for the record, is not a union member), Marty Walsh owes nobody an apology or explanation for his NFIB voting record.