Paul Rahe, in his article entitled, "The Return of John Lindsay" speculated about a political alliance between public sector workers and welfare recipients:
"I could easily imagine a new coalition taking shape – one that unites upscale voters, working stiffs, and small businessmen against public-sector workers and those who live off government patronage."
Can anybody recall another article where a commentator has made similar statements, maybe even offhandedly? Has anyone else posited such an alliance? I feel like a lot of people on the right feel like public sector unions and people on the dole are natural allies, I just want a couple more examples of this kind of thinking.
Answer by Ottoman Umpire
In the April 22, 2012 Wall Street Journal, in an article titled, "Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus," Joel Kotkin observes this:
"(California) is run for the very rich, the very poor, and the public employees."
Answer by John Murdoch
While there has always been a de facto alliance between government workers and their clientele (dating back to Robert Peel's creation of the first police force in London), for purposes of discussion you can start with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, commonly known as the "Motor Voter" law.
"Motor Voter" mandated that people applying for government benefits (such as a driver's license, hence the name) be offered the forms necessary to register to vote. The act was championed by left wing revolutionary Frances Fox Piven and her husband, Richard Cloward, and was enthusiastically championed by government employee unions.
NVRA didn't just increase the number of people registered to vote--it also dramatically changed who and how absentee ballots could be used. It opened the floodgates of vote fraud in America--something that, I'm convinced, Piven and Cloward intended all along. I've commented specifically about that here on Ricochet here.
I've seen this first-hand. My youngest daughter has Down syndrome, and is twenty years old. As she approached her 18th birthday her annual school plan (what is called an Individual Education Plan) explicitly asked whether she was registered to vote. If she was not, there were voter registration materials there to be filled out in the meeting--and the school made it plain that they'd take her to vote. With, of course, a dues-paying member of the teachers' union going into the voting booth with her.
In subsequent annual meetings with county mental health case workers (who, nowadays, are called "developmental progress supports coordinators") the question gets asked every time: is Annie registered to vote? If not, the forms are right there. And they'll be happy to assist Annie in filling out an absentee ballot.
Since we're involved as parents, and we're on committees, we get a steady drumbeat (two today) of emails from government-funded "coalitions" imploring us to plead with our legislators to restore budget cuts or boost special ed funding for schools. At meetings the county employees exhort us to show up at statewide events and "tell our stories"--telling us flatly that if we can't get the legislature to give them more money, more children will lose their funding and more programs will be closed.
I'm not completely without sympathy. As my sister (a special ed supervisor in a surburban Washington county) says, "not every 'poor little handicapped kid' is a 'handicapped little poor kid.'" Some of these kids have substantial means. But for many (if not most) of these families that government support is crucial--and the government employees candidly explain how the game is played, and what role they have to play.
Make no mistake--the employee/recipient nexus is absolutely true, absolutely explicit, and absolutely overt.