prev next

Americans for Prosperity-PA

Wolf Employs Alinsky Tactics

by Beth Anne Mumford,
PA State Director, Americans For Prosperity

Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it

If you pay any attention to the tactics of the left, you know this one well. It's one of Saul Alinsky's twelve rules for radicals and it has worked well for President Obama and his allies the last seven years. Criticize the President's policies and you become a hateful monster who despises progress. Ask whether expanding the size and scope of government is wise for the long-term stability of our country and you'll be met with accusations of wanting to throw old people out into the streets and starve children. It's exhausting.

So, it's disappointing to see our own Governor use this tactic as he fights for higher taxes and more spending in Pennsylvania. It's been a long six months since Governor Wolf's unprecedented veto of the entire Pennsylvania budget sent to him by the legislature in June. That budget increased spending but balanced without tax increases for the average Pennsylvanian. It wasn't enough of an increase for Governor Wolf and he was willing to keep funds from schools and organizations that serve those most at need while he demanded more.

By December, schools were begging for relief and rape crisis centers were shutting the doors due to lack of funding. All because the Governor insisted that he wanted a massive blow out of state spending and a broad-based tax increase on every working Pennsylvanian to pay for it. The legislature ultimately sent the Governor another budget bill that increases spending by more than four percent but can be balanced without broad-based tax increases.

And the response from Governor Wolf? He dispatched his staff to call a $400 million education increase a cut. He used his veto pen to cut $6 billion out of that budget before signing it and then said this:

"I'm expressing the outrage that all of us should feel about the garbage the Republican legislative leaders have tried to dump on us."

He then dispatched his allies at the union backed America Works to run television ads mocking the legislature for not giving him the taxes and spending he wants.

The enemy, it seems, are the lawmakers protecting their constituents from more taxes in the service of recklessly expanding the size and cost of our government.

Pennsylvania has the tenth highest tax burden in the country, yet we lag in economic growth and opportunity. Our education spending is at historic levels and above the national average on per students spending, yet we are not above the national average on educational outcomes. Tax more, spend more and then wonder why Pennsylvania ranks near dead last in population, job and income growth.

It may feel good for the Governor to target the lawmakers willing to stand up for taxpayers and refuse to give in to his demands for more spending, but he should know that when he targets them, he is also targeting every Pennsylvanian fighting for the fiscal responsibility that helps us keep more of what we earn and a government that lives within it's means.

Alinsky recommended picking a target and make it the enemy. Governor Wolf has decided his target is the hardworking men and women who think the status quo of taxing and spending is the wrong path forward for Pennsylvania. Don't let him make you the enemy. The future of Pennsylvania is too important.

Call your lawmakers today, and next week and the week after and tell them that more taxes and bigger government is the wrong path forward for Pennsylvania.

I'm Beth Anne Mumford state director of Americans for Prosperity–PA. Join us on our next day of action to fight against higher taxes and for a brighter PA future by signing up at

Share   Share

Featured Columnists
Featured Audio Links