Monday, August 16, 2010
The Devil is in the Pantry
Some days ago my husband directed me to an article, “Federal workers earning double their private counterparts, "in USA Today’s online publication. The first link below will take you to the article. The assertion in USA Today’s piece is based upon information gleaned from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a part of the US Department of Commerce. By way of rebuttal Colleen Kelley, National President of the NTEU (National Treasury Employees Union) who is mentioned in the article, stated in a message to her membership that according to “the Bureau of Labor Statistics federal employees are paid an average of 22% less than their private sector counterparts.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics is part of the Department of Labor.
The first question that occurred to me about the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ findings was had they taken into consideration bonuses and stock options in the private sector – if not why not? The author of the article, Dennis Cauchon, seems oblivious to the fact that private sector salaries and other forms of compensation are the exclusive domain of private sector employers. Since greed became the family value of choice in this country those employers have made it a practice to work hard and pay cheap. I can’t see how this is the government’s issue. On a personal note I have been married for twenty years to a government employee. He is an old hippie who, in the manner of old hippies, has spent most of his career handing out food stamps. My husband is not over paid nor are any of his colleagues.
I can’t help but wonder if this assault on government employees with uncertain data isn’t a backdoor attack on the Federal Government itself by the usual government hating wingnuts on the right. They have always been with us, but the modern day hater is disproportionately inspired by the poster child for the bewildered, Ronald Reagan. His famous assertion that government is the problem and not the solution for society’s ills has provided cover for countless megalomaniacs eyeing the institutions of government the way Carrion birds eye a corpse. Reagan never did explain why he spent millions of dollars rising to the top of the government he hated so much. Just as his disciples can’t explain why they resist term limits to suck on the government’s tit year after year hoping to die in office. Odd behavior indeed for people who dislike government on principle.
Regardless of its purpose Cauchon’s article has certainly been well received by the right. It is championed by the Cato Institute and Representative Eric Cantor, Republican from Virginia. The Cato Institute is a Libertarian, often Conservative, think tank. Eric Cantor is a an appendage of the Conservative Right who hates President Obama almost as much as he fears the American people ever taking hold of their power.
Cantor’s yearly salary is $174,000 according to Legistorm (second link below) not including his excellent health care and lavish retirement benefits. This chump is a member of a Congress that as of this writing has a 19% approval rating per Gallup. Exactly who is overpaid?
The dirty little secret here is that this doesn’t have a damn thing to do with salaries. Government haters notwithstanding, this is about dividing and conquering the nearly shattered Middle Class. The public sector is set against the private. The private sector is set against the public, and everybody is beating up on the cops and the firefighters. This is a sadistic circle jerk, a foul experiment in human degradation stemming from a ferocious infection preying upon our social order and body politic. Said another way, many of the people in Congress who swear they love and are sworn to serve the American people do neither.
This Congress and others before it have sold our government to corporations in exchange for campaign contributions. They embezzled our social security and are now trying to take what little is left away from us. They have prostituted, propagandized, politicized, and polluted every sacred thing in this country, up to and including the Constitution. They play fast and loose with the truth then deny responsibility. All of this is the product of a systemic corruption enabled by a corporation controlled and gullible media working methodically to further encumber the prosperity, hopes and dreams of the Middle Class. We are being made expendable in the interests of profit, power and politics.
It is high time to put a stop to all this crap. The Middle Class must organize. We must take a page out of the labor movement’s book, stand together and raise holy hell. Scare the devil out of the pantry, as my wise Celtic grandmother used to say.