A pernicious argument

There's a pernicious argument being made by supporters of S.B.5. It's quite vile in its attempts to pit middle class against middle class. It was on full display in the Plain Dealer over the weekend in an op-ed article written by Brent Larkin

Supporters of Senate Bill 5 own a convincing argument in the staggering cost borne by taxpayers for sweetheart health care and pension benefits now enjoyed by public-sector employees. That's especially true when those perks are contrasted with sacrifices made by private-sector employees.

Lest you think this is an isolated case, the Buckeye Institute leads with the same nasty rhetoric

government workers continue to prosper at the expense of their private sector neighbors. As our State of the State report details, the average government salary (not even to mention the entire compensation package) increased at all levels. Local government increased by nearly $1,000, state government by over $1,500, and federal government by almost $800.

You would think they had talked to each other before writing these screeds.

But these are the same failed tactics to divide that were made by people who opposed increasing the minimum wage, which Ohioans recently voted in favor of overwhelmingly. The same failed tactics used by the chamber of commerce pushing union busting "right to work", that in 1958 went down to massive defeat 2,001,512 to 1,106,324.

These forces against progress have always had the same prescription - the middle class boat should not be raised for everyone, it should be lowered in persuit of lower taxes for the wealthy, only then can everyone prosper. It used to be an insultaing argument, that has since been proven to be demonstrably false, now it's just craven and damaging to the fabric of our communities.

The Washington Post has an article today which reveals the true effects of this kind of rhetoric

It had never occurred to the Embrees that firefighters and nurses could be unnecessary. They thought of themselves as linchpins of the community — and one of the biggest rewards of their jobs was knowing that the rest of the world thought so, too.

“Kids go trick or treating in firemen’s costumes,” Jim Embree, 48, said. “Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts come and take tours and sit in the truck and blow the horn. People talk to you in the grocery store. I’m used to positive interactions with people. So it shocked me. To hear people speak in a public venue like I’m a Rockefeller . . . it shocked me.”
One of those was Heather Baugess, 44, a librarian married to a firefighter. Baugess said she was less upset about proposals that would require her to work longer and receive less when she retires than she is about how people view her and her husband.

“It’s not the money,” said Baugess, who earns about $60,000 and whose husband, Larry, earns a bit more. “We’re comfortable. It’s the teacher-bashing. It’s the negativity. I guess I live in my own perfect would where everybody supports teachers and everybody supports firefighters. I don’t want that to change.”

The whole WaPo article is worth a read. We need to stand together, to oppose these forces that seek to divide, we need to stand together and defeat S.B.5 to send yet another reminder that Ohioans will not be divided and pitted against each other.