The financial collapse of 2008 was caused by reckless economic elites who were well-connected enough to take risks and not suffer consequences for them. This led directly to a $900 billion dollar decrease in the value of public pension funds (not to mention the depletion of privately held 401k’s and other middle-class sources of retirement savings). Now well-connected economic elites are blaming public workers for the sorry state of affairs we find ourselves in and want to cripple public labor unions and further deplete these ‘unsustainable’ public pensions in order to restore fiscal sanity, all while extending their own Bush-era tax cuts indefinitely. Money flows up, after all.
The middle class is being pit against itself. Somehow, thousands of laid off workers and the loss of retirement income for countless others is an economic boon, whereas taxing the wealthy is a sure recipe for fiscal insolvency. Wisconsin is just one example of this elaborate con. And it is a con. Robert Reich explains:
The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class — pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don’t believe these programs will be there for them, and the poor against the working middle class.
By splitting working America along these lines, Republicans hope to deflect attention from the big story. That’s the increasing share of total income and wealth going to the richest 1 percent while the jobs and wages of everyone else languish.
Republicans would rather no one notice their campaign to generate further tax cuts for the rich — making the Bush tax cuts permanent, further reducing the estate tax, and allowing the wealthy to shift ever more of their income into capital gains taxed at 15 percent.
And the whole enterprise is, of course, extremely well-funded.
[PS – shameless self-promotion: I am on Twitter here.]