The above leads me to cite a second important article, which appeared in this weekend’s edition of the Wall Street Journal. It is a remarkable interview with conservative analyst and historian Fred Siegel, perhaps the scholar most familiar with the plight of our cities and of how the fiscal crisis has led to collapse for both state and city economies. Siegel says in the very first sentence:
What has the country so angry is the sense that crony capitalism has produced a population that lives off the rest of us without contributing. They’re right. It’s not paranoid.
Again, Siegel notes that we are in this situation as the result of both policies taken during both the Bush administration and the Obama administration. Both bailed out large banks and industries, and the near-zero interest rates worked to keep the economy flush. Siegel points out:
Wall Street makes money off the bonds that have to be floated to pay the public sector workers in New York.
Spending is not connected to productivity, and all city workers outgain the private sector in our sluggish economy. Siegel praises the much despised (by liberals) Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, whom he argues pushed “straight up, unambiguous structural reform,” the most important being ending the requirement that state workers pay union dues automatically. Gov. Mitch Daniels did the same in Indiana. Not surprisingly, once policy was changed, most state workers opted not to pay union dues.
But, say the pro-union activists and the OWS crowd, unions helped move people into the middle-class in the 1940s and 50s, and today they continue to defend this large middle class. Siegel has an answer, as he notes that it is true that they defend their interests:
That’s because the costs that they’ve imposed have driven out the private-sector middle class. They are the disease of which they proclaim themselves the cure.
Today in New York City, a little known party named the Working Families Party — in essence the political arm of ACORN and the government unions — has gained a large influence in terms of local political power. It’s easier for a mayor to give into their demands, as Mayor Bloomberg has consistently done, rather than to confront the teacher unions head on.
New York, says Siegel, has become “what the tea party fears for the rest of the country. Crony capitalism, and low-end work, and the loss of mobility, and no place to do business if you’re a small business.”
On the national scene, what the Obama administration has produced is not the social-democracy or socialism it might have meant to move the nation towards, but rather a state-employment dependency sector that now dominates the economic structure of the nation. A nation in which 17 percent of the employed work force depends on direct government employment — state and national — or government contracts, and entitlements ranging from retirement to housing allowances, education loans, welfare programs, food stamps, and the like.
A great summation of what Obama wrought has been mailed to me by my historian friend Martin J. Sklar, who is writing a book about the Obama administration. Sklar puts it this way:
In place of the basic principles of the constitutional-republic, viz the sovereignty of the people, the supremacy of society over the state, the state the servant of society, the Obama politics and policies are installing, and seeking to institutionalize, the sovereignty of the state. … The party is the effective state-power, standing over the people (society) and over the government itself … in asserting the supremacy of the “public sector” over the “private sector,” and of the state over the people and society represents a fundamental departure from the American constitutional-republic order … moving toward a lst State-Comand order … Obama’s “transformation.” Van Jones’ “Top Down, Bottom Up, Inside out.” Valerie Jarrett’s “we love Van Jones.”
Hence Sklar, who considers himself on the Left, concludes that the Republican Party and the tea party represent a movement against “reactionary anti-constitutional rupture,” and hence Republicans, not Democrats and liberals, serve “the cause of development, progress and freedom.”
So, as we again ponder what our president meant about seeking a “fundamental transformation” of our country, we can look and find evidence — as the authors I discussed have — that gives us a clue as to what the current administration seeks to accomplish.
The issue is clear. Americans who care about liberty and freedom must do everything possible to prevent Barack Obama from having a second term in office. Without having to worry about obtaining another third term in office, the damage another four years of Obama could do to our nation might be irreparable. That is not an outcome we can afford.