DAVID BROOKS: SCOTT WALKER FOUGHT THE 1%!
Gail Collins tries to discuss the Wisconsin recall with David Brooks, but it's a dialogue with the deaf:
Gail: You see the recall as a test case on whether the public will make the hard choices when it comes to reducing our debt. I saw it as a test of the current Republican strategy of putting all the sacrifice on the backs of the un-wealthy. Announcing that public employees have to get fewer benefits and lose their power to negotiate isn't a hard choice if you happen to be the party that does not benefit from much union support.
David: I'm not sure what you mean by less wealthy. These particular public employees were receiving benefits and pensions far above those received by the median earner in Wisconsin. But this is a national problem. In state after state, from New York to Illinois to California, the lavish over-promises made to public employees are squeezing budgets, making it harder to fund schools and social programs and all the rest.
These promises weren't a Robin Hood venture. Quite the reverse.
Collins tries to talk about rich people, specifically the fact that they've made zero sacrifice in this downturn, but in Brooks's world there simply are no rich people -- or at least we're not supposed to include them in the universe of those we ask to sacrifice when we decide sacrifice is needed. We're supposed to exempt the real 1%, then grade the remaining members of the middle class on a curve. Voila -- the ones with decent benefits aren't just doing somewhat better than others in their social class, they're literally (in the Robin Hood sense) "the rich." They're "the wealthy." Implicitly, they take their place alongside Prius drivers and the denizens of Hollyweird as the elitists we're supposed to hate, while ignoring America's real elitits.