The New New Left: How American Politics Works Today - Tax Eaters vs. Taxpayers
Recorded on October 3, 2005
Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium
A new dynamic has sprung up in American politics today: the
contest between those who benefit from an ever-expanding public
sector and those who pay for this bigger government - in other
words, it's the tax eaters vs. the taxpayers.
Steven Malanga shows how coalitions of public employee unions,
workers at government-funded social service organizations, and
recipients of government benefits have seized control of the
politics of the big cities that make up the heart of Blue America.
In New York City, this coalition has helped roll back some of the
reforms of the Giuliani years. In California cities and towns, it
is thwarting the expansion of private businesses. In nearly 100
municipalities, it has imposed higher costs on tens of thousands of
firms by passing "living-wage" laws. Whereas the New Left of the
1960s believed - idealistically, if somewhat naively - that
government could solve the biggest problems of our times, this New
New Left is much more narrowly and cynically focused on expanding
government programs to increase its own power, pay, and perks. And,
as Malanga shows, the New New Left is emerging as the most powerful
element of the national Democratic Party coalition.
STEVEN MALANGA is a Contributing Editor of City Journal
and a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He writes about
the intersection of urban economies, business communities, and
public policy. Prior to joining City Journal, Malanga was
Executive Editor of Crain's New York Business for seven
years, serving on the publication's editorial board and writing a
weekly column. He also supervised special projects, including
investigative stories. Before that, Malanga served for seven years
as managing editor of Crain's.