This article in the 3/19 edition of the WSJ quotes Democrat Rahm Emanuel as follows: "Both Clinton and Obama have pledged to renegotiate NAFTA if elected president. I share their concern for all who have lost their jobs to global competition. But here is a bigger idea: Let's renegotiate the social contract with America's workers." Then he writes about how this administration has squeezed the middle class; less income??,health insurance, (the private and public sector picks up a great deal of these increases (Peoria County pays 2 out of every 3 dollars of employees health costs), increases in college costs (that is the Republicans fault??), and the national debt has increased by $3.5 trillion." (Guilty as charged but the Democrats in Congress have been in power for the last 14 months)
He continues, "It is true that if we were to negotiate NAFTA today we'd insist on tough labor and environmental standards that didn't matter to the Bush administration. (Why does he think so many companies are out sourcing and so many companies are fleeing Illinois?) Yet NAFTA is not the main reason workers today are hurting. Nor are new and improved trade agreements, and tougher trade enforcement, the whole answer. What we need now is honest discussion about trade and the opportunities the new economy presents." (What's new about "honest" discussion? When we vote, we believe we are voting for honest politicians)
"Most agree that the Bush administration failed by pursuing a partisan, polarizing strategy rather than showing the world a bipartisan, united front on the importance of strong labor and environmental protection of tough-as-nails enforcement. If we don't keep our competitors honest, they won't be."
He wants a new social contract that Americans can count on. He say, "If we don't have a well trained workforce, it won't matter whether we put up walls or hammer out new agreements." He says we must reform health care (why wait for a new president?), giving workers more security or more major employers will shift jobs overseas. "If we don't turn energy from our most expensive habit into our most promising source of new, high-paying jobs, the acronym inscribed on the tombstone of the American Dream won't be NAFTA but OPEC." (So why does he object to the use of nuclear power, the cleanest, cheapest and most efficient energy on the face of our earth? And available and in the U.S. and for decades used to power of fleet of our own submarines.)
He continues "First we must reform the way we educate the the next generation of workers to ensure that our nation stays competitive (we are, we're trying to get them all into college for those high paying white collar jobs, aren't we?), we should require all students to receive one year of training and education after high school be it a community college, technical school or a four year university. And Americans should no longer be allowed to drop out at age 16." (drop out of what? Many of them dropped out of everything but accepting responsibility, show of respect, sex, drugs and drug dealing and laziness long before age 16.) We should make higher education less costly by expanding Hope Scholarships and Lifetime Learning. (I agree and add Peoria Promise) Previous investments (entitlements) have proven that investing in human capital yields large dividends." (No question there)
Then he writes more on workers having quality, affordable health care and the development of new, energy efficient technologies including a new national Energy Institute similar to the National Institute of Health. And finally, he says "we must become a nation of savers with a universal savings plan. Currently 75 million full-time workers don't have a savings or retirement plan. Universal savings accounts would give more workers control over their economic future and their retirement. Like 401(k) plans, these accounts would supplement, not supplant SS. Employers and employees would both contribute 1% of their paychecks on a tax-deductible basis and workers could make additional contributions if they choose.
He says, "With these plans we can forget NAFTA and the best part-the greatest challenge- of renegotiating a new social contract for America's workers: The only government we'll have to negotiate with is our own."
I'll try to help Mr. Emanuel, a Democrat congressman from Illinois and a former senior policy advisor, by asking him to read "David Mamet's Revision" in today's WSJ. Mr. Mamet wrote a piece for the Village Voice last week titled, "Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain Dead Liberal.'" His conversion started while listening to NPR and his facial muscles started to tighten up and the words began to form in his mind to "Shut the (Mamet word) up." He started reading Thomas Sowell, our greatest contemporary philosopher, (I've recommended him in past blogs), Milton Friedman, a great Man among men, active till death at 94, Paul Johnson and Shelby Steele, author of, "A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited about Obama and Why He can't Win, also author of an article in the WSJ March 18, titled "The Obama Bargain", more about this man later, and "found that I agreed with them: a free market understanding of the world meshes more perfectly with my experience than the idealist vision I called liberalism."
Mr. Mamet, in his goodbye to liberalism essay credits the famed newspaper editor William Allen White of Emporia, Kansas fame (I made a sale to the local college when I lived and worked in Topeka, Ks.) with the idea that government should basically stay out of the way of people trying to work out ways to get along and get ahead. He also credits Tom Stoppard, another playwright who just published a piece ripping the student riots in Paris, and elsewhere, in 1968. Mr. Stoppard says he was "dubious of the political left and embarrassed by the slogans and postures of rebellion in a society which in London and Paris...seemed to be the worst system into which one might have been born--the open liberal democracy whose very essence was the toleration of dissent."
Mamet, White and Stoddard all end with the same central point: The autonomy of the individual is echoed all over the place in their writings.
"Most Democrats know that individual autonomy is the moving spirit of our times. The Web is it's relentless, daily metaphor. Left-liberalism breeds many autonomous spirits--but only in their private lives. The party's ethos is as it was in the 1930--dark forces arrayed to thwart the the delivery of benevolence to fragile masses. For the latest standard version, see the end of Obama's speech on "the real culprits of the middle class squeeze".
Unless the Democrats figure out a way to back down big brother, the years ahead will probably bring more Mamet dropouts. Belief in autonomy may even reach Hollywood."
Credit for Mr. Mamet, etc., goes to Daniel Henniger, esteemed writer for the WSJ. Men like Freidman, Sowell, Mamet, Shelby Steele and Tom Stoppard differ considerably from Emanuel and Obama who believe in the government being the force that would bind all of us together. And most evil lies the in the rights of the individual and the seduction of the innocent by the private sector.