Increasingly, the central conflict in American politics is between the cash-strapped private sector and lavishly compensated public employees. With government workers now out-earning those in the private sector by something like two to one, many taxpayers are saying “enough.” But President Obama, with his usual tone-deafness, is pressing ahead with plans to widen the gap between the lush public sector and the hard-hit private sector even more:
President Obama urged reluctant lawmakers Saturday to quickly approve nearly $50 billion in emergency aid to state and local governments, saying the money is needed to avoid “massive layoffs of teachers, police and firefighters” and to support the still-fragile economic recovery.
In a letter to congressional leaders, Obama defended last year’s huge economic stimulus package, saying it helped break the economy’s free fall, but argued that more spending is urgent and unavoidable. “We must take these emergency measures,” he wrote in an appeal aimed primarily at members of his own party.
The original “stimulus” bill was all about keeping state and local government spending, and the salaries it supports, sky-high. It doesn’t appear that President Obama has a game plan to help the economy, other than continuing to feed the already-bloated public sector. This is consistent with his apparently complete ignorance of basic principles of economics. Democrats in Congress, however, can see the writing on the wall. It will be interesting to see whether they are willing to brave voter wrath by stimulating the public sector still further.