In our nation’s capital, Mead writes, organizations like the Progressive Policy Institute have been pushed aside by “a new wave of more left-wing think tanks and organizations.” Mead does not name them, but he is referring to ones like the Center for American Progress and the Institute for Policy Studies, both of which have released position papers urging Obama to bypass Congress and to rule by executive fiat.
As Mead explains, the “Clintonian, retreat and conserve Democrats have become almost invisible in Washington.” In state and city governments, fleeing businesses, budget deficits, and a shrinking tax base are forcing even Democratic governors and mayors to institute budget cuts, take on fights with once-strong public sector unions, and to “embrace the causes of retrenchment and reform.”
Therefore, states like California and New York have seen once “liberal” political leaders fight institutions that form the core of their own party’s base, namely public sector unions like the two teachers’ unions: the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.
No wonder some Democrats — like their leadership in the coal-mining state of West Virginia — have announced they will not attend the Democratic convention. The Obama policies have produced loss of jobs and a dismal outlook for the electorate in that state. Mead thinks that while “the dominance of the left at the national level looks impressive today,” it may indeed be on its last legs — unless our leaders decide we may as well be the next Greece, with only China left to bail us out.
Returning to Steven Erlanger’s article: the perceptive bureau chief is correct that socialism succeeded even in the United States — in the sense that Sklar means. Erlanger notes that the working class has already in fact been emancipated in the United States, without the kind of “revolution” the sectarian Left thinks it needs to change the world. Workers have entered the middle class, and our tax system has already “largely done its job.”
Unfortunately, the socialists in Europe and the Obamacrats in the United States think it has not worked — that they need to turn to authoritarian rule in order to implement redistribution of wealth by taking it from those they call the wealthy, with policies that will make everyone poorer. Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the French socialists are implementing new taxes on the rich — of course — as the way to deal with budget deficits.