Setting Neighbors Against Each Other
The Wisconsin recall rejection has signaled that the politics of envy are at work across this nation. Precisely because our elected leaders have failed to deal with the many problems which assail us, desperate people are turning on their neighbors who still have jobs on the public dole. Never mind that the public employee living beside you and driving a new car while you can’t afford one might be a firefighter or policeman. Or worse, he is retired and receiving a fat pension.
Forget about the war on the .01%. They have put themselves in an invulnerable position and trying to get their sympathy is a waste of time. But electing Tea Party candidates to local and state governments who will slash public payrolls, benefits and pensions is something of which the average voter is quite capable and likely to do. So, since no other solution is available, we are about to eat our own.
This is a social disaster as much as an economic one. This will not only pit neighbors against each other, but also family members. Those working for the government, whomever they may be, are now the enemy of the disadvantaged. Sadly, this cruel notion also includes those benefiting from public largesse, mainly the poor and the disabled. Often the unintended victims of this witch hunt will be the caregivers, but the targets will be those who receive a government check for whatever reason.
As this process continues, the perpetrators will lose self-respect and begin to act like animals, especially as the fruits of their evil labor become evident. It will not matter that fires go unfought, criminals unapprehended and children untaught. All that will matter is that some sort of perceived fairness is achieved.
In a properly working government, compromises would have been made, with modest cuts to appease a suffering electorate. But responsible leaders were not on hand to make that happen, so now everyone must suffer. And when the fires of austerity subside, we can look to Europe for evidence that extremist political elements will step into the vacuum and vie for control. Whereas austerity was imposed on European citizens by their governments, here it will be the will of the citizens. But the effect will be the same.