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Thursday, February 24, 2011

General Electric - "the for-profit arm of the Obama Administration"


The Democrats have become the “stupid party.” Like the Bourbons - French royalty - they have forgotten nothing and learned nothing. They live in a world where the rich are wealthy plutocrats living off the toil of the working man. But the economic landscape has changed. The rich industrialists are no more. Today the filthy rich are the politically correct Hollywood moguls and the politically connected financiers at Goldman Sachs and industrialists like GE’s Jeff Immelt. They are the political operatives who get appointed to board positions at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so they can get wealthy while creating the housing bubble that resulted in millions of American losing their homes. Some of those names are familiar, like Rahm Emanuel who collected a mere $320,000 in 14 months for no known work. Others are not household names but built personal fortunes, $90 million for Franklin Raines before he was fired for cooking the books and $26 million for Jamie Gorelick whose name is more closely associated with the “wall” the prevented to FBI and the CIA from sharing information that could have prevented 9/11.

But I digress. Timothy Carney has written an insightful article in the Washington Examiner which examines the real rage within the new populism.

The top donor to House and Senate campaigns in the 2010 elections -- the Service Employees International Union -- is otherwise known as "Obama's Union." The company that spent the most on lobbying in 2010 -- General Electric -- is also known as "the for-profit arm of the Obama Administration."  [Side note: notice how GE's advertising has become more patriotic as the company attempts to counter Immelt's image as Obama's bed-mate.]

In the retrograde liberal way of thinking, though, populism is about class warfare, in which the wealthy and corporations are the "special interests" arrayed against the poor working man. But in today's Wisconsin skirmish, the "working man" is implausibly the Wisconsin Education Association, the third-largest political donor in the state last election cycle.

Union-funded lawmakers take money from taxpayers and give it the government unions, who kick some of it back to union-funded lawmakers. It's not too different from banks or defense contractors donating to politicians who bail them out or give them no-bid contracts.

As long as Democrats think they're on the side of "the people" because the unions agree with them, they're politically lost.

It isn’t the poor and middle class resentment of the rich; it’s the resentment of most Americans against an apparent conspiracy of the political class to rip off the American people using the powers of government to amass personal wealth with no perceptible improvement in society. I can’t resent the extraordinary wealth of a Bill Gates because he created Microsoft which runs most the world’s computers. Ditto for Steven Jobs and his ability to create and market technological toys. Or the people who run Norfolk Southern who make the trains run, shipping goods from here to there. But Emanuel, Gorelick, Raines and the folks who collected billions at Goldman for near-criminal misdeeds cost the American people much more than their undeserved salaries. They destroyed millions of hopes and dreams all with the power of political appointment. What is the difference between these rent-seekers and the “court favorites” in the days of kings who received titles and lands for sucking up to the reigning monarch?

I can feel the beginning of a second American revolution; a repeat of the first. When we rebelled against George III we rebelled not just against a king, but against his royal governors and his royal bureaucrats who arrived here to enrich themselves on the backs of the settlers and pioneers. Like today’s political class they received political power as well as grants to vast estates because they had found favor at court.

Americans may not have the historical perspective to see it in that particular light, but they sense that something’s wrong in a Republic when political power gets your wealth and a political class is formed that includes public workers who are compensated with benefits that vastly outstrip those that are earned but the private sector workers. The combination of a relatively rich and unlovely protected political class at a time when most Americans are seeing a decline in their living standard has ignited a spark. It’s what the Tea Party is about. That’s what the rebellion in Wisconsin’s about. The Royalists may be having a tantrum at the Capital to protect their dominance. But they’ll lose because that’s not what this country’s about. In this country you can get rich by providing a good or service that people will gladly pay for. But the people resent wealth acquired at their expense by grants of political largesse.

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