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.