February 22, 2011
Soak the rich! (government workers)
If a pretentious Northeastern newspaper editorial turned its "soak-the-rich" political rhetoric on the Wisconsin public worker strikes, we might see something like this:
There is a class of Americans who are situated so as to ignore the tragedies wrought by the financial and unemployment crises of the last three years, and whose buffer extends into the foreseeable future. This group is insulated from all economic shocks, immune to the vagaries that befall the common man. Behind their walls of privilege, they manipulate the system in their favor, through sweetheart arrangements with pet politicians paid for with millions upon millions in steady campaign contributions.
And the results of their machinations are in: While the American economy has shed millions of jobs, the ranks of these privileged Brahmins have swelled by hundreds of thousands. Although over three-quarters of Americans slave in the general economy and millions remain unemployed, the government's database shows that four out of five jobs "created or saved" were precisely on behalf of these sons and daughters of privilege. And not only that, their incomes often went up, while most everyone else's went down, or at least stagnated.
As legislatures finally make voter-inspired moves to deal with looming deficit shortfalls, these privileged few are being asked to do their patriotic duty. Politicians finally muster the backbone to cross their masters. Rising income, utter financial security -- aren't these people the epitome of the category of citizen we're told should be sacrificing for the common good? By all means; these "fat-cats" should contribute their fair share, feel a little pain. Targeting them would help make up the state and federal shortfalls; and after all, the system is stacked in their favor. Let's spread their wealth. Raising their taxes could rescue the jobs of hundreds of thousand of teachers and administrators. But we can expect a fight on that score - they won't submit quietly, as we have seen. For you see, come to think of it, they are the teachers and administrators, along with their public sector cronies.
Shame on you, you privileged few, for your lack of democratic civic-mindedness!
Jim McAlister is a sales executive and part-time economics teacher.