I’m not posting this to say Nader is wrong; just highlighting what he predicts will happen when Big Labor feels the bite of state budget cuts in a few months.
“Wait until October,” Ralph Nader said when we spoke this weekend. “That’s when the budget cuts will hit home. It is one thing to have the governors of Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida and the legislators saying we will cut this and that. We don’t know what will actually happen when the guillotines are put in place. You may have a different kind of surge of public resistance and protest.
“There will be more and more people in the streets, homeless and hungry,” he said of the looming cuts. “Babies will be sick. Everything will be overloaded from the free food to the clinics. You never know where the spark will come from. Look at the guy who robbed the bank for a dollar. That was not quite the spark, but that is what I am talking about. This is what you have to do to get health care. Let’s say 50 people did that. There are a lot of dry tinder piles like that.”
Nader predicts this apocalypse will happen in response to states asking their government union workers to kick in a bit more for their own benefits and retirement packages — but only in the states controlled by Republicans (MA and NY are also considering similar rollbacks on the unions). On its face, Nader’s prediction reflects a spoiled mentality in which the left feels aggrieved for having to give back a little bit of what it has wheedled from the public over the past several decades. Again, I’m not saying his prediction is wrong. Big Labor is a dying movement, despite all the help the Obama administration is giving them now. And Big Labor proved in Wisconsin that it’s not above shenanigans including shutting down state governments and threatening violence against opponents when cuts are on the table. GOP wins in Wisconsin’s recall elections may take some of the fight out of Big Labor for a while, but not permanently. I’d say Nader’s prediction probably won’t come true, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
By the way, Nader says he isn’t running for president again in 2012. That’s probably the first good news President Obama has heard in months.