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Gavin Shulman Headshot

Screw the Middle Class!

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If there's any lesson to learn from the labor-attacking fall-out following the Wisconsin recall effort failure last week it's that we, the people, are really stupid. Have we honestly been tricked into going after workers? That's who were attacking now? That's who were blaming? The working class and labor? We're over the whole everyone has to do their part, shared sacrifice and maybe the super wealthy should even do a little more thing and have moved on to workers are the real problem. How do we fall for this stuff -- over and over again?

Do you know what the definition of labor is? 1) Productive activity, especially for the sake of economic gain. 2) The body of persons engaged in such activity, especially those working for wages. Now that sure sounds scary, doesn't it? That sounds like a description of people who need to be brought down a peg. For too long they've believed they deserve to be a force. Now it's time to make them a slave.

Well, we got to blame someone. And since jobs and the economy are the two biggest problems we face, why not blame workers? After all, they've got all the jobs. It's their fault for being employed and not leaving any positions for the rest of us. The job creators are doing their absolute best, but the job fillers are just doing all their jobs. It's not fair.

Yes, job creators must be coddled. While job workers must be throttled. Have you ever seen the parking lot of a suburban school? Every 16-year-old student drives a better car than every sophomore year history teacher. Every soccer mom picks up her children in a brand new SUV, while ever soccer coach has a bag of balls in the back of his 1997 Sonata. Yet our teachers are the ones that need to be taught a lesson?

Show me the wealthy workers we must crush. Who has ever met a park employee and thought man I wish I could live like him? I wish I could have what he has. A modest home, a mid-sized sedan, and a constant migraine about how he's going to pay for college for his two kids. Man, what an asshole that guy is. He needs to be crushed.

Corporations are sitting on two trillion dollars worth of cash. The middle class teaches your children, puts out fires, and takes away your trash. But this is who we've decided to go after? The middle class? The very name implies a middling lifestyle and the existence of an upper class. Yet they are apparently off-limits.

But the middle class is in unions! And unions are ruining America! Here's a riddle for you: Why aren't rich people in unions? Because they don't need to be. Because they're fucking rich. Middle class people unfortunately do have to be in unions. Because if they're not, rich people rip them off. Sadly, it really is that simple.

They've convinced us to turn on our own. This is the real zombie apocalypse. No, it's not your nefarious corporate overlord who's holding this economy hostage; it's your neighbor. The one who pays his dues. The one who works nine to five and gets two weeks of paid vacation. The one who has decent health insurance. He's the real enemy here. He's the one who must be consumed.

Here's a collective bargain. With so many people out of work, labor is officially on sale. So think of the amazing deal you can get with two trillion dollars. And then guess what? All those newly working people can buy your products. Oh my god, it's like an economy that works. Who would've thought that people working could be good for everyone, corporations included?

Listen, I'm no economist. I'm not going to try and pretend like I can figure out pension plans and balancing a budget and all the parts that go in a bratwurst. But I do feel comfortable lending my support to talk of compromise over talk of crushing. I'm willing to acknowledge that in a weak economy public sector unions may need to dial it down a little, not be destroyed. I prefer a more perfect union to a civil war.

So I don't want to beat a dead gaffe (though I'd definitely aim for the neck) but when Mitt Romney mocked President Obama saying, "[Obama claims] we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did," he got it completely right. We got the message loud and clear. That we, the people, are so gullible that we can be convinced that it is "workers" who are the problem when there's not enough work. Apparently corporations are not only people too, they're a lot smarter than us.