The myth of shared sacrifice. Two tens for a five.

NY Times columnist Paul Krugman almost gets it right this morning.

He shows how the Battle in Mad Town is not really about state budgets, but about power.

For what’s happening in Wisconsin isn’t about the state budget, despite Mr. Walker’s pretense that he’s just trying to be fiscally responsible. It is, instead, about power. What Mr. Walker and his backers are trying to do is to make Wisconsin — and eventually, America — less of a functioning democracy and more of a third-world-style oligarchy. And that’s why anyone who believes that we need some counterweight to the political power of big money should be on the demonstrators’ side.

Yet, with all due respect to the Nobel Prize winning economist, I’m afraid that even Dr. Krugman seems to buy into the myth of “shared sacrifice.”

In this situation, it makes sense to call for shared sacrifice, including monetary concessions from state workers. And union leaders have signaled that they are, in fact, willing to make such concessions.

Indeed they are. And that is a problem.

When the economy was booming, did those doing public service jobs share in the spoils? ‘Fraid not.

Are those doing public service jobs responsible for the current crisis? Did we fail to meet our obligations?

A thief breaks into your home and steals all you own. The police catch the thief and find all your belongings in the thief’s garage. The police split the items between you and the thief.

“Shared sacrifice,” they explain.

3 Replies to “The myth of shared sacrifice. Two tens for a five.”

  1. Good point. When the market was booming on tech, NYC workers were experiencing double zeros, courtesy of Rudy Giuliani. Teachers first rejected this piece of crap, despite then-UFT Prez Sandy Feldman’s assurances that anyone thought we’d do better must be “smoking something.” Actually, as a direct result of our having rejected that contract, many teachers hit maximum pay three years earlier than they would have if they’d OKd the first version.

    Also, the first union to vote up the double zeros was DC37, in a fraudulent election that sent its leaders to the hoosegow. I don’t recall law and order Rudy making much of a fuss over that.

    Of course, if the governor hadn’t given Walmart that sweet tax break, there would be no need to ask working people to remedy the deficit.

  2. I’ve heard that the workers have already conceded this or that, but I wouldn’t concede anything. That’s the media suggesting a way out by their dim lights. They got scooped. All bets are off in America’s Frozen Dairyland. If the Republicans have no desire to negotiate, I would reciprocate. Since there is no glint of a settlement in sight, I’d reserve the right to remain silent until cooler heads prevail. Dissolve the Wisconsin legislature and send them all home without pay until they can get up a quorum. It’ll hurt a little, at first, but they’ll survive.

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