The Middle-Class and Government
Wisconsin, it seems, is on fire and those on both the left and the right are rushing to defend their respective interest groups. There’s a lot to be said about the Wisconsin situation (and a lot that has already been said multiple times over…often by the same people), and I’ve been doing some reading on it to get a good perspective. At some point in the next week I may have something to say about it all.
Anyways, while doing some reading I came across an article at the American Prospect which can be read here. The article is forebodingly titled, “The 30-Year War Against Middle-Class America,” and is full of a number of interesting graphs and statistics supposedly proving the point. Here is one of them:
Now, a lot could be said about the accuracy and honesty of this picture, but my point here is simpler than that. I am quite curious to know why the American Prospect defines middle-class America as a bunch of public-sector workers? Seriously, aren’t there middle-class Americans in the private sector, too? And if these graphs are to be believed, isn’t the compensation they’re earning a good thing? I don’t see why this is evidence of a war on the middle-class. At the very least it would seem accurate to say it is a war on one part of the middle-class.
Seems to me that if we moved more public-sector workers into the private-sector everyone would be better off and we’d all be a lot richer. Of course, public-sector workers will resist moving to the private-sector not because they are so devoted to the public good, but because there are great benefits to being in a public-sector union that graphs like these simply don’t capture.
It is important to remember that public-sector compensation can only come from the private-sector in the form of taxes. One can argue that public employees provide a great benefit to our society, but one cannot deny they live off the private-sector. They’re either living off those in the upper-income levels (doubtful, since the author of this article fervently argues that we need more taxes on the rich), or they’re living off those in the middle-class (in which case it would be correct to say that the middle-class is at war with the middle-class).
Either way, middle-class America is far more than a group of public employees. It is made up of hardworking private sector workers who are entirely forgotten by the American Prospect.