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The traditional union approach to budget politics is to accept the limits of what’s possible-typically defined by politicians and lobbyists-and push for the best deal we can within those fiscal constraints.

Labor leans heavily on its inside game, and builds outside pressure in the form of anti-cuts coalitions that highlight the vital services public employees provide, and the harm that cuts will cause to the poor and vulnerable.

Unions may organize lobby days, but they don’t do sustained member education, much less community outreach, pressure, or more militant tactics.

Raising taxes is painted as the political kiss of death, so politicians-and most unions-aim low. They avoid engaging with the deeper question of what a fair economy would look like and what role budgets play in getting us there.