Cloward Piven Comes Undone

I am reluctant to accept conspiracy theories.  In 1966 sociologists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven proposed to overwhelm the political and economic system with welfare recipients forcing the government to guarantee a minimal national income. It has been interpreted as a desire to push a greater degree of socialism, forcing a collapse that would require central government control. It may have been a grand socialist strategy, but that does not necessarily translate into a conspiracy meant to overthrow the capitalist system.

Regardless, it seems that although the system has become clearly overwhelmed with public pensions, unsustainable deficits, and reckless cronyism the result is quite the opposite of what they expected.

The first result of the Democrat's majority and the ensuing reckless legislation was for them to lose the House in an overwhelming defeat. But this only applied the breaks a little so far. The real revolution is at the state level.

Mitch Daniels decertified the state unions in his first days as governor of Indiana. Chris Christie is receiving wide respect for standing up to the various unions in New Jersey and cutting their benefits. And Governor Walker in Wisconsin is standing up to the teachers in his state.

Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal Where the Leaders Are  (2/17/11) quoted Chris Christie addressing a convention of firefighters about cuts in pension benefits,

Here's the deal: I understand you're angry, and I understand you're frustrated, and I understand you feel deceived and betrayed.  For 20 years, governors have come into this room and lied to you, promised you benefits that they had no way of paying for, making promises they knew they couldn't keep, and just hoping that they wouldn't be the man or women left holding the bag. I understand why you feel angry and betrayed and deceived by those people. Here's what I don't understand. Why are you booing the first guy who came in here and told you the truth?

By recklessly bestowing such overgenerous benefits to so many in the public sector, statists have awoken a vein of leaders that will surely undo the reckless spending of the past decades.  Many voters who generally remain disinterested in politics have become fierce advocates, and will likely remain so until some sense of fiscal sanity is restored.

Rather than push us into the statist arms, government's overindulgence has destroyed public support for the very programs Cloward and Piven sought to support.

The voters will have little patience and sympathy for public workers who receive better pay and benefits than private employers can afford.  Dick Armey had an axiom that you should not waste time killing someone who is busy committing suicide.  Those public employees and their political allies who scream and protest to protect unsustainable benefits in states teetering in bankruptcy are doing just that.

Henry Oliner