Welcome to Working the Commons.com.
The public worker and his/her work. This space is dedicated to public workers and their work–the public service. Working the Commons is committed to defending them and their work, both of which seems to be under attack “like never before” in the words of the public servant in chief.
Defending standards as old as the state itself. This blog is committed to defending professionalism, competence and ethical integrity in the public service.
Professionalism in public service means that public workers at every level from nursing assistant to the director of the Veteran’s Administration, dog catcher to mayor, social worker to governor are expected to meet minimum standards of academic preparation, job experience and performance on the job.
These standards may come from academia, professional associations or licensing boards; but they do exist and should absolutely be enforced. Professional standards matter because they ensure basic competence in government regardless of who is elected by voters every two, four or six years to lead or legislate.
Competence inspires the public’s confidence in our government at every level. Where incompetence is tolerated, public confidence in government declines. Our multi-layered, wide-ranging reaches of government directly or indirectly provide products and services we have come to see as essential to a civilized, fair, and successful society. Americans want competent government. Professionally trained, experienced public workers provide that competence.
In our democratic electoral system, however, competence at any aspect of day-to-day governance is not a requirement of candidates before or after an election. Competence at all the aspects of governance is impossible for any person to achieve. Americans do not rely on elected officials to display such competence at all the essential functions of government.
The here to share the stories of those hard-working public servants, the elected, appointed, and particularly those hired to do professional work at every level of government service from laborer to leader.
My commentary in Working the Commons categorically refutes the nonsensical bumper sticker that launched the modern conservative movement that has become the destroyer of functional governments everywhere: “Government is the problem.”
Reagan was wrong. Bears repeating, Reagan was wrong. But he was also well-financed. With billions of dollars from libertarian zealous billionaires who are playing the long game, Reagan’s his simple-minded mantra has morphed into an entire misguided movement determined to take down every institution of our democratically elected governments and loot the public treasury in the process.
This blog is one small voice to applaud public service at every level of government and in every level of the bureaucracy from laborer to leader. This blogger also believes in the rights of working people to organize and negotiate their rates of compensation and working conditions even when they work for government.
This blogger seeks to cut through the deceptive messaging of the “anti-establishment” minions on either wing tip of the political spectrum. I want to calls us back to a facts-based assessments of where we really are in our continued pursuit of the American ideal. It is long past time to refute the big lie that boosted Ronald Reagan to national prominence.
Government is not the problem. In fact, as oligarchs, preaching free market capitalism from Moscow to New York soak up 80% of the wealth the real workers of the world create, professional government may be the last, best hope of working people. Government at every level is the American people’s expression of their hopes and desires for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Government can be and should be the respected protector of our civil liberties and the fair-minded arbitrator of our competing civil rights. Government is the protector and maintainer of the public square, the Commons, where millions of highly qualified, hard-working people still work. Hence the name of this blog.
With a unhinged billionaire brat in the White House, a fervent acolyte of Ayn Rand leading the House of Representatives, an anti-labor conservative leading the Senate, and a Supreme Court majority of corporate lawyers, we are seeing what comes of financing Reagan’s lame bumper sticker philosophy with billions of corrupting corporate dollars over a generation or two.
In this blog, I will tilt at this civic dragon with my little cyber lance of facts, and hope that I am not tilting at windmills. I will seek to bring some much needed balance into the analysis of America’s accelerating slide from first world status to banana republic.
In the wake of World War II, the U.S. created the largest middle class the world has ever seen. It spread the hope of economic recovery for every worker everywhere through the Marshall Plan and other government-sponsored programs.
In America, generations of immigrants worked hard in private sector and government jobs and built futures better than their own lives for their children . They did this with the help and support of governments they elected and populated with professionals from their hard earned tax dollars.
In this blog, I hope to remind readers of that long American tradition of professional government with the consent of the governed.
Feel free to send your thoughts, reactions, ideas for more stories and links to other informative resources to me at firstname.lastname@example.org