By Patrick J. Buchanan
Where a man’s purse is, there his heart will be also.
If you would know where the heart of the Obama party is today, consider. In the dog days of August, with temperatures in D.C. rising above 100, Nancy Pelosi called the House back to Washington to enact legislation that could not wait until September.
Purpose: Vote $26 billion to prevent layoffs of state, municipal and county employees whose own governments had decided they had to be let go if they were to meet their constitutional duty to balance their books.
Workers their own governments thought expendable, Congress decided were so essential, it borrowed another 26 thousand million dollars from China to keep them on state and local payrolls.
A nation whose national debt is approaching the size of its gross national product, that goes abroad to borrow money to keep non-essential workers on government payroll is a nation on the way down and out.
And anyone who thinks this Obama party is ever going to cull the armies of tens of millions of government workers or scores of millions of government beneficiaries to put America’s house in order is deluding himself.
As long as this Congress and White House remain in power, a U.S. default on its national debt is inevitable. The only question is when.
Nor is this the first time the Obama administration has rushed to save workers whom their own state, city and county governments were prepared to let go. Among the reasons the $800 billion stimulus failed is that so little of it was directed to firing up the locomotive of the economy, the private sector, and so much of it was spent to ensure that government workers did not have to share in the national sacrifice.
Why Pelosi & Co felt compelled to return to D.C., to ensure that state and local government payrolls were not pared, is not hard to understand.
Which party does the American Federation of Teachers; the National Education Association; and the American Federation of State, Municipal and County Employees usually contribute to, work for, vote for? At which of the two party conventions are teachers and government employees hugely over-represented?
Consider, too, the states deepest in debt and facing the largest cuts in employee ranks, pay and benefits: California, Illinois, New York.
In these states, public employees earn at least $10,000 per year more in pay and benefits than the average America worker, who is bailing them out.
Hence, we have a situation where private sector workers in Middle America are being taxed, their children being driven ever deeper into debt to China, so government employees who have greater job security than they do, and earn more in pay and benefits than they will ever earn, can stay in Fat City.
And folks wonder why so many Americans detest government.
In the same week Congress came back to prevent AFSCME from taking a haircut, the Wall Street Journal reported that, in 2009, only three of 52 metro areas with over 1 million in population saw “net earnings and the broader measure of personal income both rise.”
Are you surprised to learn Washington, D.C., was among the three?
That same day, USA Today had a startling report on how, during the last decade, U.S. Government workers, like Wall Street bankers, left their fellow Americans in the dust.
“Federal workers have been awarded bigger average pay and benefit increases than private employees for nine years in a row. The compensation gap between federal and private workers has doubled in the past decade.
“Federal civil servants earned average pay and benefits of $123,049 in 2009 while private workers made $61,051 in total compensation. … The Federal compensation advantage has grown from $30,415 in 2000 to $61,998 last year.”
Remarkable. U.S. government workers, who enjoy the greatest job security of any Americans, now earn twice as much in pay and benefits as the average American. This is not the D.C. some of us grew up in.
Nor is this all Obama’s doing. For most of the fat years of the federal work force came while Washington was being run by a Congress of Big-Government Conservatives and a White House of Bush-Cheney Republicans.
No wonder the tea party is targeting both parties.
Nevertheless, it is impossible to believe that the Obamaites, who intervened twice and massively with bailouts to prevent minor layoffs of local and state government employees, have the stomach to do the major surgery needed to cut the federal monolith down to size.
For the vast majority of the tens of millions of government workers vote Democratic, as do the vast majority of the scores of millions of beneficiaries of federal, state and local programs.
What Pelosi & Co. were saying with that $26 billion bailout this week is, “We are going to protect our own.”
Which is why either Obama, Pelosi, Reid & Co. go, or we are gone.