In his Feb. 25 commentary, “How to make state budget easy to balance,” Gregg J. Cavanagh calls for the slaughter of what he calls “sacred cows.” He suggests privatizing everything the government does and getting rid of laws that mandate union-level wages for some government contractors. Well, it turns out that these so-called sacred cows are actually “good-paying jobs” and have been the target of the radical right for many years.

Cavanagh, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the rest of Rush Limbaugh’s children believe that all would be well if we only lived in a world where everybody (except for themselves and other like-minded thinkers) worked for $7 an hour with no benefits.
Wages that have been, in most segments, stagnant for two decades are exactly what got us into this financial mess. News flash: People making a living wage can afford to pay their mortgages and buy new cars.

What we need are more high-paying jobs. Better wages will get us out of a depression faster than bailouts, and the low-wages experiment has been tried many times around the world — always with the same dismal result.

We call it the Third World, and if Cavanagh and company want a place where everything is privatized and nobody earns union wages, I suggest he move to Haiti or the slums of Sao Paulo. They already have what Cavanagh envisions for Minnesota.

Norman J. Olson, Maplewood