By J. DeVoy
To the Wisconsinites who have turned out to support public employees over the last two days: You’ve been duped. I don’t wish any ill will on individual public employees in the state of Wisconsin. But if you are not in this favored class, or married to one of them, you’re being manipulated. I pity you.
What the employees and their sympathizers don’t realize is that things are going to be much, much worse down the road. Teacher layoffs will become district closures and county-wide consolidations in a desperate bid to stay solvent and spread costs far enough to provide minimal services. Just wait until the yuppies in Whitefish Bay have to integrate their school district with Milwaukee County — it’s happened in other areas, and will be the only way to get enough money together for the schools to stay operational. The layoffs will be massive.
Also, the concessions – roughly 6% of some employees’ pay – aren’t that dramatic. These complaints fall on deaf ears when raised to people who aren’t suckling on the government teat. And what do the teachers do to show their outrage? Cancel school, harming the people they claim to care about more than anyone else. Formalistically, I understand the consternation about doing away with collective bargaining, or even curtailing those rights. But, this latest state of affairs, the “new normal” for Wisconsin and other states, means public employees will have to learn that they are the servants and not the masters. The longer Wisconsin and other states live in denial of reality, the more likely that someone harsher than even Governor Christie will rise up to make the really painful cuts.
On the topic of politicians, where are they on the issue? Nowhere, in some cases. Wisconsin Senate Democrats fled to Illinois to avoid having to take a stand on the issue: Kowtowing to the new public sector elite and casting a vote for economic suicide, or voting to make necessary cuts that might mean a political career cut short. This would be outrageous if it wasn’t a classical pussy Democrat tactic to avoid difficult situations. In 2003, Texas’ Democrat legislators fled the statehouse and the state itself to avoid a redistricting vote they couldn’t win. Republicans are awful in their own right, but at least they can stand and take a punch.
To see people coming out in favor of this nonsense – smart people I respect, like most of my classmates – churns my stomach. Not them, but their positions. Surely they understand that we live in a world of finite resources, and that some things matter than making other people feel happy. Solvency matters more than ay one individual’s job, as callous as that sounds. You know that in your heart of hearts, some municipal sanitation worker or unionized third-grade teacher isn’t going to lift a finger for you. In fact, they never have. They follow the herd to Wal Mart and undermine domestic manufacturing; they buy the cheapest, shittiest and flashiest cars – wherever they’re made; they do nothing but sit smugly and think about how good they have it with a government job as the private sector deleverages and shrinks the tax base upon which they rely for their jobs and income. Yet now public employees want people to come out and show their willingness to pay unsupportable wages and benefits that the unionized elect won’t concede when asked to do so.
Some say that it’s unhealthy to view life as a zero-sum game. Perhaps it is. But in this situation, the people are being asked to grin and bear yet another knife in their back not from their employers, but from the people their tax dollars employ. The more the average private sector employee supports these public workers, the more power they have over the lives and pocketbooks of people who have to worry about profits — all while the world becomes flatter, more competitive, and turns increasingly against them. Fuck. That. Noise.