by Don Feder, GrassTopsUSA.com One of the Left’s more charming conceits is the certitude that it has bonded with the common man, that it has a picture window into his soul. When I was a student at Boston University in the late 1960s, I once attended a meeting of the Progressive Labor Party – the Maoist wing of SDS. Workers at a local G.E. plant were on strike, and the commissar chick running the meeting (we’ll call her Emily, because that was her name) was urging radicals to join strikers on the picket line. (Emily was a delightful creature. When I asked her once what would happen to me after the revolution, she said I would be sent away for reeducation.) An activist who had actually tried to join the picket line responded: “But, Emily, the strikers hate our guts. They spit on us. They call us names. They hit us.” Forty years later, the Left still thinks it can lead a popular uprising – that the people are out there, just waiting for a down-with-capitalism, single-payer-health-care, we-could-be-as-great-as-North-Korea message – hungry to be led to the collectivist Big Rock Candy Mountain by activists who’ve never come closer to blue-collar types than reading the ruminations of Karl Marx, a man who never once set foot on a factory floor. “Progressives Say American Dream Movement Rivals Tea Party,” bruited the headline on a story on a left-wing website. The latest attempt to lead the American people to the sunny shores of a classless society is called the American Dream Movement (described in the story as “burgeoning”), which has issued a Contract for the American Dream, signed by 260,727 on-line supporters – some of whom do not reside in Berkeley, Cambridge, or Manhattan’s Upper West Side. They “want jobs instead of spending cuts.” “People are fighting against Republican attacks on the middle class,” MoveOn.org director Justin Ruben commented. The Dream Movement is led by Van Jones, who claims it’s the real thing, unlike the Tea Party, which was started by “Fox News and the Koch brothers.” Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-IL, who thinks Barney Frank is a compromiser, will push the Dream agenda in Congress. Its “10 Critical Steps to Get Our Economy Back on Track” is the failed policies of the past 40 years metastasized. Step #1. Invest in America’s Infrastructure – “Rebuild our crumbling bridges, dams…roads and public transportation.” They want to rebuild roads and bridges, but they don’t want drivers actually using them – because fossil fuels are polluting and lead to global warming. Their mindset is responsible for the price of gas inching toward $5 a gallon. To them, infrastructure spending means bigger federal budgets and more union jobs, not better transportation for the average American, who soon won’t be able to fill his tank without mortgaging his house. Step #1 is the proverbial bridge to nowhere. Step #2. Create 21st Century Energy Jobs – “Power our country with innovative technologies like wind turbines, solar panels and electric cars.” Alternative energy and so-called green technologies need heavy subsides, because, given their impracticality, no sane businessman would invest in them without a cash conduit to Washington. On August 11, Maximum Leader Barack visited one of his success stories, Johnson Controls, Inc. in Holland, Michigan. Johnson runs an electric car-battery plant which received $300 million in stimulus spending. With this, the company added 150 jobs – for the modest price of $2 million per job (in case you’re a recent product of public education and can’t do the math). At this rate, it will only take another $14 trillion, the current federal debt, to put all Americans back to work. Step # 3. Invest in Public Education – No, really. That means universal pre-school, invest in “high quality teachers (if any can be found) and build safe, well-equipped buildings for our students.” In 2008, we spent $10,259 to warehouse the average student in our public illiteracy system – up 4.5 percent from 2007. For the 10-year period ending in 2005, inflation-adjusted education spending increased 23.5 percent. Federal spending on public education grew 138 percent. For that, we have declining math and reading scores, sixth graders with the vocabulary of someone with Tourette’s Syndrome, and high school grads who can’t place the Civil War within 50 years or aren’t quite sure who fought World War II. But teachers unions are a reliable source of leftist indoctrination and Democratic campaign contributions. (Fully 96 percent of the NEA’s PAC money goes to Democrats.) Yeah, that’s investing in our future. Skipping around a bit. Step #5, Make Work Pay, states, “Americans have a right to fair minimum and living wages, to organize and collectively bargain, and equal pay for equal work.” A fair wage is whatever an employer will pay, based on the supply of and demand for labor. Every time Washington or state legislators artificially raise wages, they eliminate entry-level jobs. Equal pay for equal work is the bizarre notion that bureaucrats can establish equivalency between different types of work and order the same compensation on that basis. If government decides that nursing is the equivalent of accounting, then the wages of nurses must rise and CPAs fall – based not on market forces but ideology. The only type of collective bargaining that the Left would die or kill to defend is the right of public employees to hold a gun to taxpayers’ heads. Frequently, public workers negotiate with the management they’ve put in place. Public employee unions contribute to a candidate for governor or mayor; he wins, and they get to bargain with a politician they own. What could be fairer? This is why, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2006 the average state or municipal worker earned $25,771 more than his counterpart in the private sector. Step # 7. Return to Fairer Tax Rates – “End, once and for all, the Bush-era tax giveaways for the rich, which the rest of us – or our kids – must pay eventually.” This just in from the real world: According to IRS data, in 2009 taxpayers making over $200,000 earned 25 percent of adjusted gross income, but paid 50 percent of all federal income taxes. At the same time, 42 percent of those filing returns that year paid absolutely nothing, but many got money from the Treasury in the form of refundable credits for child care, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the like. This was after Bush’s Cream for Fat Cats. If a system in which those earning 25 percent of income are paying 50 percent of all federal income taxes is rigged for the rich, what exactly would be fair? Top wage earners paying 75 percent of all taxes? 90 percent? 110 percent? There’s the signpost up ahead; you’re about to enter the Class Envy Zone. Step # 10. Strengthen Democracy – “We need clean, fair elections – where one’s right to vote can’t be taken away (i.e., we need to turn a blind eye to voter fraud), and where money doesn’t buy you your own member of Congress.” The Dreamers want publicly financed elections and a “clear path to citizenship” for “immigrants who want to join our democracy.” There already is a clear path to citizenship for immigrants; it’s called naturalization, followed by registration. They want illegal immigrants to vote. They want those who broke the law by coming here to have a hand in shaping our laws in the future. If campaign spending equals buying members of Congress, there’s a buyer’s market on the Left. An article in the New York Times of October 28 , 2010, (headlined “Democrats Retain Edge in Campaign Spending”) reported that “Democratic candidates have outraised their opponents by more than 30 percent in the 109 House races the New York Times identified as in play” – for a total of $119 million to $79 million. In 2008, Obama buried McCain under a mountain of campaign cash, much it from unions and billionaires like George Soros. The Messiah raised a record $1.7 billion (more than the combined fundraising of Bush and Kerry in 2004), compared to $311.8 million (including federal funding) for McCain. Still, the Left whines about the influence of money on politics. A popular movement, comparable to the Tea Parties, led by Van Jones again demonstrates the Left’s tin ear when it tries to appeal to the common man. In the most left-wing administration in history, Jones is so kookythat he lasted six months as Obama’s “Green Jobs Czar.” The Jolly Green Jobs Boss claimed his resignation was due to “a vicious smear campaign.” Critics viciously discussed his record and smeared Jones by quoting him. In 1992, Jones responded to the L.A. riots, which erupted after the Rodney King verdict, by having a hammer and sickle tattooed on his forehead. “I was a rowdy nationalist on April 28. But by August, I was a communist,” Jones revealed. By the late 1990s, Jones was a leader of Standing Together to Organize A Revolutionary Movement (STORM), which some have described as a “Bay-Area Marxist-Maoist Collective.” Jones never told us exactly when he left the ideology responsible for more than 110 million deaths in the 20th century. At some point, the Van decided he could work the system. His newfound moderation was manifested by:
- Signing the so-called 9/11 Truth Statement in 2004, along with other prominent pinkos, demanding an investigation of whether George W. Bush personally recruited the Saudi terrorists and taught them how to turn a Boeing 767 in mid-air. Jones later claimed he didn’t know what he was signing.
- Comparing Bush’s commitment to energy independence via domestic drilling to the addiction of “a crackhead.”
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- Charging that, during the Bush years, “an authoritarian sentiment seized control of the reins of power in our country, burned the Constitution, enshrined torture, launched an unjust war under false premises,” and turned Old Glory into “a war flag, and used it to beat and whip and lynch anybody who didn’t agree that we should be bombing people and torturing people.”
- Claiming that the United States was established on “stolen” land and imperils immigrants working “out in the fields with poison being sprayed on them…because we have the wrong agricultural system.”(Private ownership?)
- At a January 19, 2011, speech at Guilford College in North Carolina, Jones said that in a just society, anyone would be willing to trade his life with any other, confident that he or she would “have a roughly equal chance to a good life.” In other words, the status and compensation of counter help at McDonald’s, who can barely speak English, should be the same as that of the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a brain surgeon, or the conductor of a symphony orchestra. This is a Utopian vision so naive that even Lenin would laugh at it.
In Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Jones has found a worthy congressional counterpart. Described by the Almanac of American Politics as “one of the leftmost members of the Democratic Caucus,” she and Dennis Kucinich co-sponsored a resolution calling for articles of impeachment to be filed against then-Vice President Dick Cheney. Almost 60 percent of her PAC money comes from organized labor – including the Teamsters and public employee unions – and trial lawyers. That’s the Contract to Demolish America, and the Dream team is pushing it. If they represent the hopes and dreams of the middle class, then why (when offered a watered-down version of Van Jonesism) did the electorate send 244 Republicans to Washington in the 2010 election, more than in any election since 1946? According to a CNN poll, taken August 5-7, 48 percent say Congress didn’t cut enough spending in the deal to raise the debt ceiling – more than twice as many as the 21 percent who think Congress went too far. In the same poll, 61 percent of Americans said the nation is overtaxed, compared to 22 percent who believe we are undertaxed. Every opinion poll taken since it passed shows a decisive majority are opposed to ObamaCare (54 percent against, 40 percent in favor in a recent Rasmussen survey), which is less radical than what the Dreamers want. The American Dream Movement represents the American people as well as the politburo of the People’s Republic of China represents those incarcerated in its communist dungeons. But, ultimately, the American Dream Movement is redundant. It should merge with the Committee to Resurrect the President. Maximum Leader shares their dream, and he is better at selling socialism dipped in platitudes. Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political communications consultant. He also maintains his own website, DonFeder.com. This article originally appeared on GrassTopsUSA.com and is reprinted with permission.