Yeah, it’s pretty astounding. Instead of demanding that other jobs have good pay and benefits, people are clamoring to get rid of the jobs that do!

Republicans are building support for draconian cuts to the size and compensation of the public sector workforce – Those goddamn greedy teachers! – based on a very simple, natural reaction to tough economic times. Chris Christie, for example, isn’t doing anything more complicated than pointing at public employees’ benefits and telling the rest of the state, “Look! They have much better benefits than you. Doesn’t that make you mad?” Boy does it.

And of course voters react the only way American voters know how. Demand better benefits and working conditions for themselves? Heavens no. Demand that Christie reconsider the state millionaire tax he vetoed over the summer so the state can meet its contractual obligations? Oh hell no. They demand the dismantling of public sector benefits. If I can’t have ’em, nobody can.

It’s yet another of the fantastic tricks our political elites have engineered since the 1970s. Cut private sector benefits, let real wages stagnate, and then tell the former middle class, “Now that you’re struggling, doesn’t it piss you off to have to pay for the pension of some cop who retires at 53?” It really is brilliant. Historically, plutocrats have had to force race-to-the-bottom capitalism on working people over tooth and nail opposition. Now they’ve found a way to make the serfs practically demand it.

It’s amazing how they can get people to think so counter-intuitively. You could even say I’m jealous.

5 thoughts on “Jealous

  1. I can’t figure this one out either. Seems like your first reaction would be “gee, maybe if we had a union we’d get treated better too…”

    Seems like they won’t be happy til nobody has a pension, health care, overtime pay, seniority rules, etc.

    My favorite is my pal at the brewery who works at PATCO and is no longer allowed to ride the trains for free…

    But note, they ALWAYS boost their own bennies and even Christie hired a ton of senior people at higher salaries…

  2. Actually, the whole pension Ponzi scam only really worked for a couple of generations. Jimmy Carter opened the floodgates for money to pour into Wall Street (401k plans were suddenly a money-saving way for businesses to get out from under the growing pension burden that the smart ones among them knew would crush them eventually) on Jan. 1, 1980 and nobody has looked back since. I wonder what Mister Carter got in return for that sell-out, the Panama Canal Treaty passed? No matter. That was the beginning of the end. The spigots from the bank accounts of working Americans were opened so that the money could be collected efficiently like the sap from maple trees and a whole new industry was created, that of playing at the bankers’ tables with other peoples’ money. Link:
    The unions will be the last dinosaurs to die and the golden goose will be dead while the bankers and brokers swim in money.

  3. Pat, all capitalism is a ponzi scheme. Exponential growth is a necessity and as we are seeing, exponential growth in a finite environment leads to the degradation of that environment. The plutocrats are now and always will be the enemy. When you have all the money, it’s easy to manipulate its value. Pensions are just one aspect of this problem. It NEVER means austerity for the rich, only for everyone else.

  4. A guy whose writing I read for awhile was working in Bosnia (I think), and came back with a joke from the region. A supernatural being offers a wish to an Englishman, a German, etc., and a local.

    The Englishman says, my neighbor has a nice apartment and I don’t … I want a mansion! Wish granted.

    The German says that his neighbor has a car and he has none, and wishes for a top-end MBZ or something like that. And so on through the build-up, to the local guy:

    “My neighbor has a cow and I don’t. Kill that cow.”

    Way back when, Anne Herbert retold the story of Jonah and asked, can you live without hatred?

    I honestly hope so. And I honestly don’t know.

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