According to an emerging line of argument primarily advanced by Republicans, our current economic problems are caused in large part because government workers, especially those in unions, are doing too well. Ordinary workers and their unions, of course, had nothing to do with causing the housing and financial crisis that sparked the Great Recession. And claims about bloated salaries and overly powerful unions are mostly inaccurate and almost always heavily distorted.
But merely rebutting the claims would be a fundamental mistake. Sadly, and dangerously, these canards are being pushed with renewed vigor because of what they do for the politicians who advance them, not for the benefit of the American economy. The newly empowered GOP is seeking to divert the public’s anger from their responsibility for the Great Recession while continuing the conservative economic policies that caused it in the first place, and so undermined the middle class they need to appeal to for votes.
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Senior Fellow; Senior Adviser, American Worker Project