Envy is a celebrity deadly sin, many philosophers think it's the worst. Joseph Epstein writes in Envy, "Envy clouds thought, clobbers generosity, precludes any hope of serenity, and ends in shriveling the heart."
Jealous is intensely felt, you are jealous of what someone has. Envy is cold and sneaky, you are envious for who someone is, not just for what they have. Jealousy about the pensions of government workers spurs you to fight for your own pensions. Envy would spur you to spitefully lobby to cut their pensions. A dose of jealousy helps you; envy hurts all.
The envy machine is cranked up.
Illinois State Senator Chris Lauzen says government benefits are unsustainable and unfair to taxpayers who earn less than civil servants. "People will become angrier and angrier when they learn the difference between their pay and benefits and what we give to public employees." Public sector workers are attacked for their generous pensions.
But public employee pensions have not improved as much as private sector pensions have declined. In 1983, before the 401(k) revolution, only 39% of Americans were at risk of not haveing enough retirement income to maintain their standadrd of living after retirement. In 2009 over half are at risk of having inadequate pensions.
Instead of blaming those who have employers who still offer pensions we should blame the employers who stopped providing us with pensions.
Public employees have a couple of choices: Accept pressures for cutbacks in their medical and pensions or help taxpayers get better pensions and medical beenfits. So now is the time for a little jealousy, a lot of solidarity, around the deamdn for everyone to have safe and secure pension income. Envy is destructive.