Misery Loves Company

 Scott Walker Survives the Recall: Get Ready for the Banana Republic

By Jack Quirk/ A Different Perspective/ June 6, 2012

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin has survived the recall effort [1], and it is time to recognize which way the winds are blowing. The recall began as a response to the Governor’s curtailment of collective bargaining rights for state workers. The outcome of the recall election indicates that most voters in Wisconsin are in favor of that.

One apparent reason for this sentiment was exemplified by a 53-year-old legal secretary who opined that in tough times when workers in the private sector are getting their wages or benefits cut, the public employee unions “need to learn about shared sacrifice.” [2] It’s about parity in misery, you see. “They have had everything handed to them on a platter,” she said. “They need to be on a par with the rest of us.”

On these pages your humble servant has asked why so many vote against their own economic interests. It seems that the answer lies in an odd sort of politics of envy, where middle class voters don’t envy the wealthy, who must be more abstract than real to them, but members of their own class who might be getting an advantage not enjoyed by other class members. Wage and benefit cuts aren’t sparking any resentment against those doing the cutting, but against other working people who might not be getting the same cuts as everyone else.

Clearly, this is a dynamic that is easy to exploit. The standard of living can be reduced significantly for the American population as a whole, and as long as this is executed in a manner so that working people see it happening in the same degree to those they deem their social equals, no resentment will emerge. A banana republic can arise out of the consent of the governed.

The moneyed interests in this country can be expected to take advantage of this social phenomenon. The rest of us can be expected to suffer from it.

Jack’s blog, A Different Perspective, can be found on this page’s blogroll.  
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