Beyond the political posturing over state and federal budgets, there looms an age-old philosophical divide over human nature, perhaps defined as the therapeutic versus the tragic view of our existence. The therapeutic view — thanks to the bounty and affluence brought about by moderntechnology — has largely triumphed. The tragic view is deemed the domain of the embittered, the selfish, and the downright mean.
There are several tenets of the modern therapeutic view. In such a utopian mindset, compensation is and should be based on what the employee considers necessary for the good life. The public employees in Wisconsin reject the three classical requisites for perpetually improved compensation: The employer has plentiful capital; the employee’s productivity creates new wealth or improves the efficiency of services; and the employee has marketvalue and will go elsewhere should the employer be foolish enough to lose him.