We Could All Be Next

At Balloon Juice, Kay has an update on the Ohio referendum to kill the union-busting law. She thinks that some of the firemen who have joined the effort probably are Republican voters, because they don’t complain about “Republicans” or “Kasich,” just “politicians.”

Too, the fireman spoke with what sounded to me like a real sense of betrayal and that’s another common theme I’m hearing. He said he never imagined that teachers, police officers and firefighters would somehow end up as “the problem” because everyone, at one time or another, has relied on a teacher, a police officer or a firefighter. He said “I didn’t know I was next”. At that point, a UAW member in the crowd shouted “I always know I’m next!” and everyone laughed.

I’d say the one thing American voters had better get through their heads is that they are expendable. The right-wing machine will turn all of us into a “problem” sooner or later. If the Right continues to control Congress, sooner or later they’ll find a way around the 13th Amendment’s ban on indentured servitude.

Elsewhere — Bobo wants the people to know that the government cannot protect them from “their” sins, meaning that government has limited power to cushion them from things like financial crises.

Over the past decades, Americans have developed an absurd view of the power of government. Many voters seem to think that government has the power to protect them from the consequences of their sins. Then they get angry and cynical when it turns out that it can’t.

Matt Yglesias says,

That something along these lines has become something like the conventional wisdom in Washington is, to me, maddening. Here’s a story about bus drivers in Clark County, Nevada getting laid off as a result of state/local budget woes. Are those soon-to-be-unemployed bus drivers really suffering for their sins? …

…Governments around the world have immense power to protect people from negative consequences. And they’re using that power. Nobody, thank god, is starving to death in the United States of America. But the government has done immensely more to protect creditors, shareholders, and managers of major banks from the negative consequences of their sins than it’s done to protect bus drivers.


18 thoughts on “We Could All Be Next

  1. I wonder what people like Dumbo Bobo think it was that kept the American economy from the mid-30’s to the early/mid-00’s from huge downward spikes, where recessions never made it to full-blown depressions? And what it is that we now have, or don’t have, that caused today’s virtual depression?
    How about regulations? Nah, can’t be that. ‘Government can’t protect us,’ so it just have been Jesus. And now, I guess we ain’t prayin’ hard enough to him.

    Here Dumbo Bobo, let me reword this for you:
    ‘Over the past decades, Americans had developed an EXPECTATION of the government.
    Many voters seemed to think that government HAD the power to protect them from the consequences of OTHERS sins.
    NOW they get angry and cynical when it turns out, NOT THAT IT COULDN’T AND CAN’T, BUT THAT IT WOULDN’T AND WON’T!’

    How Paul Krugman keeps from bringing in a ‘Dick Cheney Do-it-Yourself Home/Office-based Waterboarding Kit’ and enhanced interrogating Brooks is a testament to the mans infinite patience.
    I’d be tasering the stupid SOB every minute until it looked it looked like he was trying to win ‘Dancing With the Pundits” by performing a tacky imitation of a coked-up St. Vitas’ Dance victim “tripping the light fantastic” to a Talking Heads song.

  2. What the hell is up with Brooks? Nice broad statement echoing repugs or liberbots ideas that everyone in America that doesn’t vote republican expects the gov’t to bail them out. That we are always looking for a handout. That we are always victims. And that public servants are somehow the same types of leeches. Believe me here in WI, teachers are only one rung up from the welfare queens. I say, OK Brooks, find me someone, anyone, who thinks gov’t should bail them out. You’ll find them on Wall Street and inside banks; after they’ve royally fucked everything up. I know many people who have been foreclosed on and not one of them thinks the gov’t should have been there to make it stop. The only reason Obama is even talking about helping out home owners is becuase a) everyone’s house’s value goes down when there’s a foreclosure and b) the banks probably gotta take a loss on it. So again, it’s not trying to help out the guy on Main Street, it’s helping out the bankers on Main Street. Those that gave the $400K mortgage to the house that is now worth $200K and the bank has to try and sell.

    I’m going to start a new “Be a Teacher for a Day” program. So that the public can see what it takes to do my job. They will have to start tomorrow as I spend about 8 hours grading tests and getting ready for the week. They then get to show up at 5am on Monday and grade some more, we’ll quick shower, and then run to school and teach 30 teenages in a room all at once (which is what terrifies most people but is my favorite part of the job), then after 3pm spend another couple of hours grading or getting ready to do it all over again on Tuesday. Some where in there you get to call parents and explain what a little shit their kid is, and you get to understand why the kid is such a shit. Then on the drive home we’ll turn on some right-wing troglodyte and listen to them scream about how lazy teachers are.

    What amazes me isn’t that most teachers are angry and cynical, it’s that some aren’t. GEEZ.

    Sorry for the long comment, I think I was channeling Gulag.

  3. Gulag — I think Krugman probably e-mails in his columns and does his blog on-line and thus doesn’t have to actually go into an office and possibly meet Bobo or the Mustache in a NY Times hallway. Otherwise I do think he’d be tempted to do them some bodily harm. (I know I would. Also, it’s possible that Bobo lives outside D.C. and does not come to NYC all that often.)

  4. What’s with Bobo and the sins ?.. A sin is a transgression against god.. The word has no relatationship to government.

  5. There’s an ad on a local radio station urging people to call their congress critters to stop handouts to the unions, the ad is funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
    Once again, it’s chickens for Col. Sanders……….
    “I think i was channeling Gulag,”
    Yeah Bucky, I think we all are.

  6. “I’d say the one thing American voters had better get through their heads is that they are expendable. The right-wing machine will turn all of us into a “problem” sooner”

    Cranky old white Republican guys are a declining demographic. Thus, vast swaths of the population WILL be “the problem” at an increasing rate.

  7. “Cranky old white republicans are a declining demographic.”
    Damned tootin’!
    Here in “Kowtown”, the Crackers have bailed out, replaced by Borenquen, for the most part. Sonny’s BBQ has been replaced by rice ‘n beans and mofongo (which I thought was a swear word, at first).
    The times, they are a changing…..

  8. Probably since Reagan, there has been a move on to privatize what are, or were, government jobs – privatize the military, privatize prisons are already happening. Privatizing education has long been on the docket of Republicans’ ‘do’ list. Fire-fighters, police next?

    It should be noted that privatizing a government job will cost tax payers 87% more than it now does as a government job. (Our present deficit/debt will pale in comparison.)

    The private sector, the corporate sector to be accurate, has long realized the possible profit in owning a ‘business’ (police, fire-fighters, military, education…) vital to the individual and society. To put it impolitely, the consumer will find himself between a rock and a hard place – pay, or don’t bother to call the fire department when your house is on fire.

    There’s got to be a concerted effort by Democrats to educate the public away from Reagan’s “The government is the problem, not the solution” by throwing out some costs (and concomitant unavailability), directly to the consumer, of, say, a privatized fire-department.

  9. Brooks was being particularly cabbage-y in that column. He read some book where a psychologist argues that people tend to overestimate their abilities, which a reasonable person might say, ‘yes, that makes planning hard, because you need to factor for that’ and Brooks’ response is something along the lines of “planning is impossible” and therefore nothing can be done, and how silly people are to imagine their government could do something!

    Only in a Brooks column could writing get that bad. Seriously, I’ve read more sophisticated reasoning in 3rd grade book reports.

    I also liked the throwaway line about “The Democrats, besotted by the myth that the New Deal ended the Great Depression, have consistently overestimated their ability to turn the economy around.” Except, of course, I don’t know a single Democrat who thinks the New Deal did anything but ameliorate the pain of the Great Depression and set the framework for preventing it from happening again, since they, like most non-Republicans credit the massive infusion of Govt. spending called WWII with turning the economy around.

    You know, sometimes, calling Brooks a cabbage is an vile insult to all Brassicas.

  10. Who is next? Me. I’m a postal worker. Let me tell you how I sinned.

    In 2006, the USPS went to Congress for help. The answer of the GOP Congress? They laid a 59 BILLION dollar additional burden in 10 annual installments. This is an obligation which no other agency has. We are required to prefund the anticipated medical retirement costs for employees who have not been born! That’s right- we are required to prefund 75 years out. Nobody will ever convince me the GOP Congress wasn’t actively trying to drive the USPS into insolvency.

    Mine is yet another example of a manufactured crisis. The problem of declining revenue is real but was/is manageable. The CRISIS is a fabrication. And nobody in the media will report anything but the sound bite.

  11. Too, the fireman spoke with what sounded to me like a real sense of betrayal…he never imagined that teachers, police officers and firefighters would somehow end up as “the problem”

    Too many working-class Repukes think they’re in on the big scam, only to find themselves being scammed as well.

  12. OT: watched Leno on Friday night interviewing Bachman. I never watch him anymore so just happened to catch it. I sat there wondering why our press doesn’t do what he was doing. Ask hard questions, with some follow-up. Granted, he wasn’t as hard as I wanted him to be, asking her why she’s such a bat-shit-crazy broad would have been my first question, but at least he pinned her down. My son was with me and I kept saying to him, “watch how she doesn’t ever actually answer the question”. And for the most part, I was right. But Leno would come back to the same question again.

  13. Digby had a good post yesterday about the United Steelworkers and how they act in their rallies. It was awesome! Let a few of those burly SOBs get in Eric Cantor’s face and watch him cry like a baby! People need to get angry and get active! Cantor and his cronies are gutless little weenies. Punch him in the nose a few times and watch him back down real quick!

  14. I live in Ohio, and I will be off to the polling place November 8 to vote no on Issue 2! Don’t put it past the neo-Confederates in the Republican party to do all they can to undermine the constitutional ban on involuntary servitude.

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