Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty has a “bone to pick with public workers.”

Pawlenty, who has not announced his candidacy for president of the United States but who is expected run next year, is criticizing the public sector’s benefits system.

Earlier this week while on a speaking tour of Iowa Pawlenty reportedly told a crowd, “Public employees used to be over-benefited and underpaid. Now, in many cases, they’re over-benefitted and overpaid compared to their private sector counterparts.”

In this anti-union environment, fire fighters and other public employees have heard plenty of over the top rhetoric when it comes to their salaries and pensions. It seems like every day some “think tank” releases a study or a politician devises some plan to take what little money you have out of your wallet.

Fire fighters and paramedics are in the fight of their professional lives — taking hits for having the guts to take a stand on protecting their communities and saving lives.

There are others out there who are willing to stand with fire fighters during these perilous times.

And some of these supporters are challenging the merits of BAD public policies like the movement to push legislation through Congress that would allow states to file for bankruptcy to help tame budget deficits. It is just another underhanded effort to get states off the hook out of paying the pensions fire fighters have rightfully earned.

Don’t get lost in the political side show and media chatter.

And for those who are trying to demonize the fire fighter profession should remember “we also have a bone to pick” and will “bite back” in 2012.