Family lured Jerrianne and her husband to South Milwaukee in 2002 from Southern California where she worked as, first, a journalist, then, as a court information officer. She now stays busy with media-relations consulting, playing with her three grandchildren (part of the lure), writing, discovering her new environs, and hoping her garden will produce before the first fall frost.
... and it is us.
I used the term "starve the beast" in a recent blog post and, in an epiphany a day or so ago, understood regressives' shift in it's starve-the-beast strategy to demonizing public employees.
The term "starve the beast" has been around for a long time, first attributed to an unnamed President Ronald Reagan staffer in a 1985 Wall Street Journal article.
Wikipedia gives this description: "Starving the beast" is a fiscal-political strategy of some American conservatives to create or increase existing budget deficits via tax cuts to force future reductions in the size of government. The term "beast" refers to the government and the programs it funds, particularly social programs such as welfare, Social Security, Medicare and public schools. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starve_the_beast.
That certainly does appear to have been the strategy for the past decade! Until now,thought, that strategy didn't actually threaten any particular group or person. The government has no "face." It isn't personal.
Nothing and no one ever got starved because the government represented programs. (Nevermind people who benefited from those programs. Heck, they should have known better than to get themselves in a fix so they wouldn't be self-reliant, and either forgot how or never learned to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Why should we want the government to give our money to those people?)
Things have changed, though. Regressives have upped the ante and put a face on their beast.
Enter my epiphany.
They're now going after people. The most vulnerable seem to be government workers. Government workers sound so damned bureaucratic. Why would anyone want to stick up for bureaucrats? They're so -- well, so bureaucratic and just so not worthwhile, especially federal government workers. Just so vile, right?
So, to further starve the beast, the workers have to go.
With a lot of regular voters staying home and sitting out the 2010 midterm election because they felt demoralized, or like their vote wouldn't count, or whatever, tea partiers prevailed and the "smaller government" crowd won.
So how to shrink the government further the relentless budgets cuts and elimination of programs that the smaller-government crowd hate paying for? (You know, anything they don't use or that they don't benefit from. Shades of last summer's anti-socialized medicine, but "Don't touch my Medicare" tea party protesters.)
The answer? Attack state government workers. They're doubly vulnerable because not only are they government workers, they belong to labor unions. Big, bad labor unions. Corrupt labor unions with big, bad corrupt labor bosses. (Nevermind that those who revile labor unions benefit from labor negotiations such as workplace conditions like a 40-hour, five-day work week, overtime compensation, to name a couple.
Regressives' attack on these public-employee drags on society actually has a two-pronged objective.
(1) Is to deflect people's attention -- and ire -- from the real culprits (the increasingly richer of the richest, who can never, ever have enough and who generally preside over huge and hugely profitable corporations) -- to those who can't easliy fight back , and
(2) Defang and defund the last line of defense between between the general populace and their final takeover of American democracy.
So who are these public-sector workers who are sucking the blood out of government budgets?
They are us.
Teachers, nurses, firefighters, police officers, paramedics, sanitation workers, road crews, librarians, court staff -- our friends, our neighbors, our relatives. People we know. People we care about. People who take care of us.
They are the government. They are people. By starving them, we are starving us.