Monday, July 25, 2011

SB5 and the Politics of Envy

Have you ever read an entire newspaper article simply to confirm its title wasn’t a typo? I did yesterday, upon seeing the Thomas Suddes editorial “Ohioans don’t favor SB5, but a campaign of envy could save it” on the Columbus Dispatch website.

A campaign of envy is the reason many Ohioans opposed Senate Bill 5 in the recent Quinnipiac poll. Since the bill's earliest drafts, unions have framed it as an “attack” on “workers’ rights” by corporate lackeys. It’s lame and it’s dishonest, but hey, if you’re paid six figures for conducting class warfare you might as well go whole-hog!

But a couple of other numbers in the poll suggest there may be ways to woo Ohioans to vote yes to uphold SB 5. Example: Under SB 5, public employees must pay at least 15 percent of the cost of their health-care premiums. Of voters Quinnipiac polled, 60 percent said they support that. Likewise, 56 percent of those polled said they support replacing automatic, longevity-based pay increases with merit pay. And 60 percent of those polled believe Ohio’s budget problems are “very serious.”

Spend fifteen seconds reading past the union battle-cry, and it's clear Senate Bill 5 represents commonsense reforms that will empower taxpayers at the expense of union bosses. Surely, a man who resides in Ohio and writes about politics for a living would know that - which is why the editorial's title must have been a mistake...

That is, if the “Yes on SB 5″ campaign can mobilize the politics of envy – say, in attacks on public-employee pensions, notably “double-dipping,” health plans and automatic pay increases – and tie those costs to the local taxes Ohioans have to pay, SB 5 might well survive – though political civility in Ohio, what’s left of it, certainly wouldn’t.

I know it's only Monday, but Ohio's papers would be pressed to publish a more ridiculous sentence this week. Here are a dozen union talking points that make heated, hypocritical (refer to union boss pay) use of the very tactic Suddes projects onto SB 5 supporters. If you can bear it, muddle through the editorial's closing line again. Senate Bill 5, which limits the power of professional agitators whose job is to fight for more expensive government, is a threat to political civility. Tell us another, Professor Suddes!

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart

Cross-posted at that hero.


  1. Did you shower in CLorox after reading Suddes? He makes my skin crawl!

  2. I'm just baffled Suddes would bring up the "politics of envy" as a critique of SB 5 supporters, and not realize it makes him sound like an idiot!

  3. So the same blogger that has been talking about how evil union people make more than the private sector is now angrily decrying someone calling out that tactic?

    I'm baffled that you guys would criticize a guy for calling out your long running tactic here... by denying it's been done.

    But then again, what else should I expect from Kevin DeWine's favorite astroturfing blog? You guys land a contract with the Build a Better Ohio yet? You've got a tradition to maintain, after all.

  4. Modern, observing that "evil union people make more than the private sector" need not be based on envy. It's merely pointing out the facts. The taxpayer/voter will decide if he want's to pay for the compensation of the "evil union people." I think what TBP is doing is providing the facts, so as to make an informed decision. As to TBP being astroturf, if you are interested in astroturf, sign up for Obama's grass roots email list.


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