I had to double-check to make sure the author of this Washington Post op-ed was, in fact, the Richard Cohen and not someone with the same name who works at the Heritage Foundation. It is indeed the proud liberal who is fed up with those fat-cat pensions at taxpayers' expense.
In New York City, the No. 2 guy in the fire department retired on a pension worth $242,000 a year. In New York State, a single official holding two jobs and one pension took in $641,000. A lieutenant with the Port Authority police retired with an annual pension of $196,767, and 738 of the city's teachers, principals and such have pensions worth more than $100,000 a year. Their former employer, it goes almost without saying, is steamed. Their former employer is me.
Citing one outrage after another, Cohen then reassures his readers of his union "bona fides." But, he goes on, "enough is enough."
[Governor Scott] Walker is personifying the feeling of resentment and anger toward government workers who have so gamed the system that some of them retire on larger stipends than the average American makes in salary - and with health care, too. Like Reagan, Walker has tapped into a feeling of disgust - the always-dangerous sense that you and I have played by the rules and saved for our modest retirements, while government workers, on our dime, have run off with pensions they do not deserve. We feel we have been played for a fool.
As for the Obama White House, "It needs labor's political muscle, but it must also recognize that it cannot appear on the wrong side of greed. It was one thing when unions went after giant corporations run by guys who played golf at restricted clubs. But when it comes to government workers, we are the boss and we pay the bill."
If you've lost Richard Cohen...