This issue's been percolating for awhile. Bear with me.
I work for the government. I have for the last 5 years. I put in a 40 hour week, and I go home to my wife. I'm in IT, so I put up with a fair amount of crap, too.
A fellow IT professional, who is a conservative, thinks that we government workers are being painted poorly in public opinion. I can see what she means. Occassionally my mother brings up my overly cushy job, jibing me about my benefits. In 2010, Bakersfield passed measure D, reducing pension benefits for police and firefighters. When the Tea Party rails against government spending, one of the things they are railing about is my salary.
So, I see what my coworker means. People are out for blood. They need someone to blame in a time of economic crisis. Government workers have good jobs with good benefits. Let's take that away. The difference in my opinion is: I don't see this as a unique thing for government pensions. Let me explain.
My coworker is a conservative government IT pro. She is against wasteful school spending, corporate bailouts, and welfare checks, but doesn't see why we should take away her benefits.
My mother is a conservative corporate office manager. She is against government pensions, wasteful school spending, and welfare checks, but doesn't see why we should take away the money her company needs to stay afloat. (This is a random guess. As previous posts show, my mother will not discuss religion or politics with me)
My sister is a conservative elementary school teacher. She is against government pensions, corporate bailouts, and welfare checks, but doesn't see why we should take away funding for schools.
My mother-in-law is a conservative senior widow taking care of her disabled mother. She is against government pensions, wasteful school spending, and corporate bailouts, but she doesn't see why we should take away her stipend to care for her aged, dying mother.
See, everyone's against the government spending money on other people. When the government spends money on a project that doesn't help you directly, there is a tendency to see that as your money paying for someone else's welfare. But when it comes to your programs, it's a lot easier to see the benefits.
Oh and I forgot about the fifth person in our hypothetical. He's a billionaire CEO. He's against all 4 of these programs (even the bailout; if the company goes under, he still gets paid), because he doesn't want everyone else taking his tax dollars. He earned them fair and square by being born into a wealthy family, using his money and family connections to get into expensive schools, joining elite fraternities with other billionaires, and being offered the CEO job by a frat brother. If everyone else wants money so much, why don't they just work for it?
And the thing about conservative economic policies is that they don't just stop with the other guy. You can start by denying welfare to "lazy" widows, purging "extravagant" retirement plans, and placing restrictions on "greedy" labor unions, but eventually the slope leads to removing that "cushy" 40 hour work week, and cutting those "restrictive" child-labor laws. Eventually, your program will be on the chopping block. Unless you're the billionaire CEO, in which case... carry on, good sir.
They came first for the Communists,- Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.