How American Politics Works Today
Tax Eaters vs. Taxpayers
Ivan R. Dee, 2005
By Steven Malanga
A new dynamic has sprung up in American politics today:
the contest between those who benefit from an ever-expanding public sector
and those who pay for this bigger governmentin other words, its
the tax eaters vs. the taxpayers.
Steven Malanga shows how coalitions of public employee unions, workers
at government-funded social service organizations, and recipients of government
benefits have seized control of the politics of the big cities that make
up the heart of Blue America. In New York City, this coalition has helped
roll back some of the reforms of the Giuliani years. In California cities
and towns, it is thwarting the expansion of private businesses. In nearly
100 municipalities, it has imposed higher costs on tens of thousands of
firms by passing "living-wage" laws. Whereas the New Left of
the 1960s believedidealistically, if somewhat naivelythat
government could solve the biggest problems of our times, this New New
Left is much more narrowly and cynically focused on expanding government
programs to increase its own power, pay, and perks. And, as Malanga shows,
the New New Left is emerging as the most powerful element of the national
Democratic Party coalition.
Malanga is a contributing editor of City Journal
and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He writes about the intersection
of urban economies, business communities, and public policy. Prior to
joining City Journal, Malanga was executive editor of Crains
New York Business for seven years, serving on the publications
editorial board and writing a weekly column. He also supervised special
projects, including investigative stories. Before that, Malanga served
for seven years as managing editor of Crains.
distinctive combination of original reportage and analysis reveals
the extent to which crucial philosophical struggles are occurring…"
- Howard Husock
"Politics isn't about Right versus Left. It's about interest group versus interest group-especially in cities. Steven Malanga understands that and exposes it. He guides us through America's emerging political reality."
- Amity Shlaes,