The armies form in the fiscal civil war

It’s the battle that will begin again in earnest the day after election day. Are we, as a state and nation, finally going to get serious about paring down government? Two recent books do a very good job outlining one of the larger contingents within the pro-tax increase, pro-government growth side of the fiscal battle.

Both books have great titles. The first is “Obama and America’s Public Sector Plague” by E.J. McMahon. Here is the promotional description from the publisher’s page:

Public-sector employees enjoy much more generous pay and benefit packages than private-sector workers, including guaranteed pensions and retiree health benefits whose long-term costs threaten to break the backs of state and local taxpayers.

In this provocative Broadside, E.J. McMahon explains how the policies of the Obama administration have shielded most state and local government employees from the worst effects of the Great Recession. President Obama’s stimulus bill helped most states and local governments continue raising average employee pay even at the depths of the downturn.

In the name of promoting ‘economic recovery,’ the president wants to spend tens of billions more to prop up government payrolls and preserve cushy employee benefits. Meanwhile, public-sector labor unions are exploiting their influence in Washington in a bid to expand and strengthen their power throughout the country. The president’s push for more federal spending to preserve the status quo in state and local government is a wasted opportunity to promote much-needed structural reform.

The other book is called “Shakedown: The Continuing Conspiracy Against the American Taxpayer” by Steven Malanga. This column has referenced Malanga’s previous book “The New, New Left” several times.

Here are a few excerpts from the Manhattan Institute’s promotional page for the book Shakedown:

‘The new, new left has brilliantly exploited a vulnerability of democratic politics: Politicos respond to organized pressure groups that have the clout to either help or harm them. Steve Malanga tells the grim story of how such unions and their allies have financially undermined New Jersey, New York and other political entities.’ — Steve Forbes in the Foreword to Shakedown

The mainstream media is not interested in exposing the powerful machinations of public sector unions and social service advocacy groups, and their increasingly strong grip on politics. Why? For that you have to turn to writers like Steve Malanga and books like Shakedown.’ — Andrew Breitbart

As their infatuation with President Obama fades, millions of Americans anxiously ask, Is this the change we were waiting for? The current administration represents change, for sure, Steven Malanga argues a momentous transformation of the fundamental structure of American politics. A self-interested coalition of public-sector unions and government-financed community activists (like the young Barack Obama) has become our era’s characteristic political machine.

In Shakedown, Mr. Malanga shows how this machine’s single-minded goal is always bigger government and more public spending. The bill, he says, is now coming due for the relentless rise of this new political powerhouse.

Tea Partiers and 9/12 Patriot groups know much of this instinctively, but to learn what they need to about the specifics these two books are a great resource.