23 February 2011

Why we must fight back against Divide and Conquer strategy of the Right

To a friend who said he'd get behind the Wisconsin Rebellion when government workers receive the same compensation packages as the sisters and brothers who work in the private sector, I replied: 

...please consider that that's putting the cart before the horse. Most of what public employees receive (which, when compared apples for apples, meaning taking educational and other qualifications into account, is generally in toto  (including value of benefits), on par with or less than private sector equivalents, according to most economists who've studied it).... is what private sector employees used to receive: fixed benefit pensions, employer paid (or mostly paid) health insurance, good holiday and sick leave policies, good disability insurance, dental, vision, etc. Some private employers still do some or even all of this, but most charge their employees a bundle in deductions even if they do. So the issue is restoring to the private sector what has been lost, not taking from the public sector. Pitting private sector against public sector workers is a Rightist strategy (divide and conquer), which has been working up to now.

Now, I'm not saying that there can never be cuts or adjustments, of course there can, and the demonstrators in Wisconsin already agreed to all of the givebacks for the current fiscal period.

What Walker wants to do is permanently eviscerate their collective bargaining rights... which has nothing at all to do with the fiscal problems he largely ginned up anyway, by cutting corporate taxes and sponsoring passage of a bill making any kind of revenue side fixes all but impossible to enact (modeled on The Worst Law Ever in America... Calif.'s Prop. 13). And that is what has been a bridge too far for public employees in Wisconsin. And now a Gallup poll shows 61% of the state's voters agree.

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