In our Liberty Update this week, we highlight the latest illegal leak of thousands of supposedly confidential…
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ProPublica/IRS Leak: There's No Underlying "There" There

In our Liberty Update this week, we highlight the latest illegal leak of thousands of supposedly confidential Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxpayer returns spanning over 15 years, confirming that the partisan and power-hungry IRS simply cannot be trusted to safeguard our sensitive records, let alone to begin collecting sensitive private information from nonprofit organizations on donors who contribute to them in violation of the First Amendment.

Getting to the substance of the ProPublica/IRS leaked documents themselves, former Senator Phil Gramm and U.S. Policy Metrics partner Mike Solon explain in The Wall Street Journal how there's nothing scandalous in the least in what they reveal:

ProPublica’s 'blockbuster' story showing that the wealthy 'pay income taxes that are only…[more]

June 18, 2021 • 04:40 PM

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When Finally Given Choice, Workers Abandon Unions Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, December 05 2019
According to the four leftist justices on the Supreme Court, however, that newfound freedom should never have arrived. In their view, it’s perfectly fine and constitutional to compel people to belong to or subsidize partisan organizations that they don’t wish to join, First Amendment be damned.

Leftists delight in labeling themselves "pro-choice," but experience betrays the perversity of that claim. 

Across the broad spectrum of modern life, they’re far more often pro-compulsion, not pro-choice. 

Many of them can’t seem to run their own lives well, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to run yours.  The political left’s raison d’etre remains controlling other people in more and more realms of modern life. 

As obvious examples, leftists want to dictate what firearms you can possess, if you can possess them at all.  They want to dictate where your children can attend school.  They want to dictate what ever-higher levels of your income must be taxed to feed larger and larger government.  They want to dictate what speech is acceptable, whether on college campuses or during political campaigns.  They want to dictate what car you can drive.  They want to dictate what doctor you can visit, and which health insurance you can choose. 

In the case of so-called “moderate” new Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, they want to dictate the soft drink size you can choose. 

And until the United States Supreme Court finally intervened, they wanted to dictate whether you must belong to a labor union, or share a portion of your earnings even if you weren’t a member, so that those unions can support leftist candidates and causes you steadfastly oppose. 

Last year in Janus v. AFSCME, Illinois government employee Mark Janus had declined to join his workplace union because he opposed its political activities and collective bargaining demands.  Illinois law at the time, however, required even non-members to pay what are known as “agency fees” to the subject union, under the false rationale that they compensated the union for collective bargaining activities on behalf of all employees.  In Mr. Janus’s case, those non-member agency fees amounted to fully 80% of regular union members’ dues. 

As bizarre and indefensible as that sounds, the 1977 Supreme Court ruling in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education upheld that scenario.  Consequently, Mr. Janus’s lawsuit was dismissed by the lower courts. 

In Janus last year, however, the Supreme Court rightfully overruled Abood on First Amendment freedom of speech and freedom of association grounds: 

Abood’s holding is inconsistent with standard First Amendment principles.  Forcing free and independent individuals to endorse ideas they find objectionable raises serious First Amendment concerns.  That includes compelling a person to subsidize the speech of other private speakers. 

In the wake of Janus, public-sector unions can no longer compel non-member workers to continue paying fees from their paychecks that the unions in turn spend on leftist political activities and candidates.  In essence, that introduces right-to-work freedom for public-sector employees across nearly half of all U.S. states that aren’t already right-to-work by statute, as workers can now opt out of paying union dues or fees. 

Just one year later, The Wall Street Journal reports that the consequences for labor unions has already proven dire: 

Some public-workers unions are experiencing steep losses of members and fees, declines largely triggered by a 2018 Supreme Court ruling that gave members an out…  The American Federation of Teachers reported that it added 6,800 new members but lost 83,000 fee payers in the year ended in June, compared with the prior year.  The union, which has 1.7 million members, received $18 million less in dues, a 9% decline, compared with the prior year. 

Ouch.  And that’s just the first year post-Janus

The story details similar declines in other public-sector unions across the nation, with thousands of workers and millions of dollars suddenly not subsidizing those unions’ political activities. 

According to the four leftist justices on the Supreme Court, however, that newfound freedom should never have arrived.  In their view, it’s perfectly fine and constitutional to compel people to belong to or subsidize partisan organizations that they don’t wish to join, First Amendment be damned. 

That highlights once again the critical role of judicial appointments, and the precariousness of many freedoms that seem straightforward by any fair reading of the Constitution’s text. 

It also serves to highlight how the self-proclaimed “pro-choice” political left is typically anything but. 

Quiz Question   
What was the highest year-over-year inflation rate since the consumer price index has been used to calculate it?
More Questions
Notable Quote   
 
"For the past year, liberals unleashed on the nation an avalanche of ideological nonsense, coupled with brutal pressure to conform. Those who bucked the party line found themselves canceled and unpersoned and had their opinions subjected to mockery and claims of delusion and 'anti-science' prejudices.Until now. Because the tide is turning. And sometimes the break from the party line comes from surprising…[more]
 
 
—Glenn Harlan Reynolds, InstaPundit.com Founder and Univ. of Tennessee Professor of Law
— Glenn Harlan Reynolds, InstaPundit.com Founder and Univ. of Tennessee Professor of Law
 
Liberty Poll   

Are your local schools currently facing open debate with parents regarding the introduction of radical leftist ideological positions into the curricula?