Friday, February 25, 2011

Read It

The post below on the Inverse Square blog is required reading. The Inverse Square blog is a creation of Thomas Levenson, MIT professor and author of highly readable and erudite historical fiction.

The blog quotes his MIT colleague John Kochan, who shared his analysis on
Wisconsin public employees are actually paid about 4.2% less than comparable private sector employees after taking into account fringe benefits. On pay, alone, the public sector is about 8% behind the private sector. And this was before the governor made it his mission to lower public employee compensation.
Reality Has A Well-Known Liberal Bias, Wisconsin Edition

The attacks also are likely to seriously harm Wisconsin's already weak economy.

Hmm, it's not about saving money and it's not about helping the economy, so what's behind the Walker Idea?


Levenson heads up the MIT Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies:

Professor Thomas Levenson is the winner of Walter P. Kistler Science Documentary Film Award, Peabody Award (shared), New York Chapter Emmy, and the AAAS/Westinghouse award. His articles and reviews have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Boston Globe, Discover, The Sciences. Winner of the 2005 National Academies Communications Award for Origins. 

1 comment:

  1. This a great blog, Doug. Thanks for finding and sharing it. The battle in Wisconsin, thankfully, has laid bare the battle that conservatives have been waging against the middle class and the New Deal since Reagan.

    Do we want to provide enough quality public services and progressive tax policies to raise all boats, and grow the middle class? Or do we allow the wealthy to have more at the expense of the rest of us, slowly eroding the middle class (or in Walker's case, rapidly eliminating the middle class)?

    The economic impact of Walkers policies have been immediately negative for me as a small business owner. Two clients have decided to cancel plans for remodeling, since their income is in limbo, with steep cuts likely to every teacher or public servant. (That's why they are called "public servants?!?") The middle class is the engine of economic growth, but Walker has canceled yet another train, which ELIMINATES JOBS rather than creating any. Expect deeper cuts in the budget, which will negatively impact many middle class and working people.

    And what have the wealthy had to sacrifice? Without all of the TAX CUTS for the well-heeled, we would not be constantly cutting vital programs, or ignoring the many problems that we face as a society. The US has become a debtor nation thanks to these giveaways to the wealthy, while falling behind the rest of the industrial world in so many critical ways.

    What does the US lead the world in, other than health care expenditures and homicides? So many nations are now wealthier, happier, smarter, and technologically ahead of us.

    But at least the Koch Brothers are doing well!! Thanks Scott!

    I recommend Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine. She explains the strategy that Walker is employing, to exaggerate a crisis, and use it to destroy or weaken the middle class and the democratic process, in order to further empower the powerful.

    How any of the 95% of the population who work for a living could benefit from this remains to be seen, but time will tell if Walker is an evil genius, or just a fool who is helping the vast majority of the electorate rediscover what is real, and who is defending their interests.