Jim covered Congress and The White House during the George W. Bush administration for The Washington Times, and worked as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. He has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, and many local and national talk radio shows to talk politics and policy.
Latest posts by Jim Lakely (see all)
If only Illinois (home of yours truly and The Heartland Institute) were blessed by a government worthy of protest by the mean-spirited union rabble leaving messes of discarded protest signs and pizza boxes in their wake. A man can dream, can’t he?
Anyway, Heartlanders have written extensively about this subject (go here to check it all out.) But what follows is some of the best commentary I’ve found elsewhere on how our ever-more bankrupt republic is getting a taste of the mess an turmoil of Greece.
Charles Krauthammer writes that America’s “allegedly broken politics has yielded a singular clarity.”
Here stand the Democrats, avatars of reactionary liberalism, desperately trying to hang onto the gains of their glory years — from unsustainable federal entitlements for the elderly enacted when life expectancy was 62 to the massive promissory notes issued to government unions when state coffers were full and no one was looking.
Obama’s Democrats have become the party of no. Real cuts to the federal budget? No. Entitlement reform? No. Tax reform? No. Breaking the corrupt and fiscally unsustainable symbiosis between public-sector unions and state governments? Hell no.
We have heard everyone — from Obama’s own debt commission to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — call the looming debt a mortal threat to the nation. We have watched Greece self-immolate. We can see the future. The only question has been: When will the country finally rouse itself?
Amazingly, the answer is now.
The great Mark Steyn writes an important piece that talks about the union uprisings in the context of the MSM and the left casting the Koch Brothers as the latest bogeyman on the right.
Big Business and Big Unions both favor Big Government – and for the same reason: it drives out their competition. Why isn’t SEIU honcho Mary Kay Henry (born in that monument to union muscle, Detroit) as famous as the sinister Koch siblings? … [The] Koch brothers, waging their lonely battle for small government, are being lined up as this decade’s Halliburton.
Steyn continues on a thread that is sure to get the goat of Heartland’s contrarian on this front, Marc Oestreich.
That’s what “collective bargaining” [in the public sector] is about: It enables unions rather than citizens to set the price of government. It is, thus, a direct assault on republican democracy, and it needs to be destroyed. Unlovely as they are, the Greek rioters and the snarling thugs of Madison are the logical end point of the advanced social democratic state: not an oppressed underclass, but a spoiled overclass, rioting in defense of its privileges and insisting on more subsidy, more benefits, more featherbedding, more government.
Big Unions fund Big Government. The union slices off two per cent of the workers’ pay and sluices it to the Democratic Party, which uses it to grow government, which also grows unions, which thereby grows the number of two-per-cent contributions, which thereby grows the Democratic Party, which thereby grows government… Repeat until bankruptcy. Or bailout.
In effect, public employee unions are a mechanism by which every taxpayer is forced to fund the Democratic Party.
The Gay Patriot has his own take on the demonization of the Koch Brothers by the left and the MSM. And he dumps cold water on the left’s “gotcha” moment — the prank call some lefty blogger pulled off by getting on the phone with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and pretending to be Charles Koch.
No matter that Walker didn’t recognize Koch’s voice thus showing as Ann Althouse put it, that “Scott Walker is not close to Koch“. This non-recognition, Walker’s very failure to accede to the imposter’s odd suggestions could not be allowed to wreck the narrative that the call showed Walker, as one of our critics put it, to be “the underling updating his boss.”
Yeah. That’s an inconvenient fact. The Gay Patriot also notes about the MSM/left meme about the Koch Brothers: “Some liberals just can’t even imagine that conservative businessmen would be in it for the principle of the matter.” Heavens, no! Definitely read that whole post to get some great commentary.
Before we leave the topic of the Koch Brothers, we must share the commentary of my old Washington Times colleague Robert Stacy McCain. The Other McCain writes:
For all their ranting about Glenn Beck and conspiracy theories, it’s the Left that has a paranoid obsession with enemies and scapegoats whom they depict as sinister forces conspiring malevolently against them.
Back in the 1990s, the Left blamed everything on the “Religious Right,” the NRA and Rush Limbaugh. Then, during the Bush era, it was Big Oil and “neocons.” Now it’s Fox News and the Koch Brothers.
But it’s always something, you see? The Left can never accept the possibility that their policies don’t work, or that their agenda is genuinely unpopular, and so they require a demonized enemy — a hate-object — to explain their political failures.
Getting back to the public-sector union protestors, at The Denver Post, David Harsanyi notes that “right or wrong, public employee unions can only revolt against the public.” In a piece that must be read in its entirety, Harsanyi writes of the narrative the public-sector unions are pushing:
… when you tax a citizen a bit less to try to generate economic growth, you are not taking less from the taxpayer but “stealing” from a third party who at some point in his life was told he had an indelible right to your wallet, no matter the cost. And if you don’t hand it over? Well, even though Wisconsin is home to some of the nation’s highest taxes, and even though the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that tax cuts were “not even in effect yet, so they cannot be part of the current problem,” you can’t stop unionists from blaming “giveaways” to the rich.
And isn’t it always the rich?
Finally, via Veronique de Rugy at NRO comes a video from Reason TV which explains how Democratic governors cannot for long put off the reality that Republican governors like Scott Walker, Mitch Daniels and John Kasich are meeting head-on.