And that fiction is... (drum roll, please)... government employees have it better than everyone else, and they're stealing money from YOU.
As someone who served the State of Wisconsin for eleven years (1995-2006), I can tell you that the "golden days" of being a state employee ended about ten minutes after Jim Doyle became governor in January 2003. Doyle had strange ideas about how to make state government more efficient, such as cutting positions in critical areas like information systems (and roadkill removal) and piling up expensive sinecures in affirmative action and human resources. Entire deparments were reorganized and re-reorganized, apparently for no other reason than to please the Reorganization Fairy. You never knew what Doyle was going to do next, except that it wouldn't make any sense to any rational person.
Jim Doyle didn't hate state employees; he just didn't care about them. State government was Doyle's personal Erector set, and he loved nothing more than to assemble and reassemble it just to see what would happen. If a few hundred or thousand people lost their livelihoods in the process, oh well.
Scott Walker was different from the start. He made his abject hatred of ALL state, county, and municipal employees* (from the administrators of the largest state agencies to the folks who drive your snowplows and school buses) his calling card, making screwball statements that government workers were "thugs" and "fat cats" who had to be taught to feel "real pain." He employed the same classic Machiavellian move as Adolf Hitler, devolving power away from a large segment of Wisconsin's working class while finding a scapegoat to blame nearly all of the state's problems on. And thanks to his scores of wealthy out-of-state patrons, he has had access to many, many millions of dollars with which to hammer home his message.
The frightening thing, of course, is how many conservatives (just like Hitler's "ordinary Germans) didn't see through this gambit from the start, and instead are following Walker right over the cliff to embrace a chilling new American totalitarianism.
KUDOS TO THE STORM PREDICTION CENTER: The part of me that is still a meteorologist (man, that was a long time ago! sez the school-bus-drivin', liquid-nitrogen-deliverin' weatherman) was extremely impressed by the dire synopsis for the central plains issued two days in advance. Excerpt:
THESE FACTORS COMBINED WITH SFC DEWPOINTS IN THE LOWER TO MID 60S F AND VERY FAVORABLE LOW-LEVEL SHEAR PROFILES SHOULD PRODUCE AND ENVIRONMENT FAVORABLE FOR A TORNADO OUTBREAK. AFTER COLLABORATION WITH WFOS WICHITA...NORMAN...TOPEKA...TULSA AND DODGE CITY...A HIGH RISK WILL BE ISSUED DUE TO THE POTENTIAL FOR A HIGH-END LIFE THREATENING EVENT ACROSS THE SRN AND CNTRL PLAINS.
God bless Greg Smith. He refused to drink Goldman's kool-aid any longer. It's a big deal for someone to resign their job based on principle and even bigger to do it from as big a name as GS and as public as he has. He has written so eloquently about what I have known was a cancer in American business and tried to say in this blog for a very long time. He says it much better than I ever did. I dare say he will be blackballed from any major American company from this moment on...
Oh, no doubt. And there again, dear reader(s), is what has moved me away from the conservative movement: At some point (speaking of "a cancer in American business"), someone decided that as proper conservatives we had to be beholden to the vultures that almost pushed this country over an economic cliff back in 2007-2008. The Tea Party sprang up and so did Occupy Wall Street... but the Tea Party, disingenuously, claimed not to understand why anyone would be pissed off at the good ol' boys (and girls) on Wall Street. Which all devolved into our current situation where the same conservo-clowns see Scott Walker as a "champion" when he does things like slash funds for mammogram screenings for uninsured women and steal from educators and government employees to pay off his campaign contributors. None of which, by the way, has a damned thing to do with real conservatism. Liking limited government is not the same as stealing from government to pay off your buddies (that used to be called "graft," didn't it?).
Serious food for thought here, and because of the example of businessmen like Greg Smith (and Lew Medlock!), God willing, more people in business will be inspired to rise up and join the good fight.