Richard Wolff and Max Fraad Wolff push back by explaining who public employees are, what they earn in comparison to private sector workers, and what the implications are of balancing state budgets by decreasing services instead of raising revenues.
public-sector employees tend to stay at jobs longer and tend to be older than private-sector workers. Our at-risk state and local workers are disproportionately likely to be people of colour, in unions, older and veterans.
Most importantly, state and local employees provide vital services to all. Our education, transport, protection, courts and civic participation, rely on public sector workers. Over 85% of Americans are educated in public institutions, from first grade through university. Our police, fire, courts, social workers and clerks keep all of us and our property secure. Our roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, trains, buses and security are public-sector work. Our diversity and our veterans are well represented among our public-sector workers. Cutting the public sector will worsen the economic crisis, while deepening many social problems. No discussion about real and serious budget adjustments should proceed from ignorance about what public-sector workers do, who they are and what they are paid.
No society moves wisely without acknowledging and factoring the real lives at stake and the real effects of budget decisions.
Meanwhile, Dave Johnson has been busy unraveling the threads of the network of conservative-corporate organizations that have been issuing the “reports” and “studies” attacking public sector workers and services in the United States.
As you follow these threads you discover layer upon layer of corporate/conservative front groups, masking their activities and funders with more layers of front groups. They all have similar mission statements, have similar people on their Boards with similar backgrounds, cover the same issues the same way, and even use remarkably similar language. They seem to be not just connected but interconnected. The sheer number of these similar “think tanks” make it appear that there must be a machine somewhere that stamps these things from a template. That machine is named “Scaife/Coors/Koch…”
These corporate/conservative organizations are very good at manipulating the media and public opinion — it is their purpose. Their “experts” are well paid and always available to talk to reporters, appear on TV and radio shows and write articles and opinion pieces for newspapers, blogs and for their network of similar organizations. Their “reports’ and “studies” reach the conclusions that fit the strategy, and are crafted to sound just right. And there are so many of them! The result is development of “conventional wisdom” about what is going on in our society. This is why that conventional wisdom more and more reflects the corporate/conservative line. And right now the corporate conservative line is that we should think that public employees and their unions are responsible for state and local budget shortfalls.
Unmasking the campaign to demonize public sector workers and demonstrating who those workers are and what they do are two important steps in challenging the new austerity that is being imposed at the local, state, and federal levels in the United States.
Gov. Scott Walker of Milwaukee, Wisconsin has announced he’s prepared to bring in the National Guard if state workers refuse to go along with his proposed emergency budget plan.
His plan calls for workers to lose nearly all their collective bargaining rights. This of course would mean they would be a union without any union rights. For if unions cannot collectively bargain then they have no say in the authoritarian vice grip that binds them. Walker also has insured that State employees also would be required to pay more for pension and health care benefits. . .
The governor says he’s briefed the National Guard and other state agencies, to prepare them for any problems with workers, as they learn of Walker’s emergency budget plan.