New New Left: How American Politics Works Today / Edition 1

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Politics in America today is more than just a contest between left and right, liberal and conservative, argues Steven Malanga in The New New Left. He describes an emerging new political dynamic: the contest between those who benefit from an ever-expanding public sector and those who pay for this bigger government—in other words, between tax consumers and taxpayers. Mr. Malanga traces the rise of the tax consumers' movement to two sources. One is the growth of public-sector employee unions beginning in the 1950s, which produced an increasingly powerful and influential lineup of organizations that are essentially political. The second is the War on Poverty, whose funding of grassroots social service groups in the 1960s created a new type of neighborhood "political club," sustained by and organized around public funding. Unlike the original New Left, which evolved from a naive but genuine effort to create a better society, these new groups, in Malanga's view, pursue an agenda based on their own narrow economic interests. The leading edge of this new movement has engulfed New York City, but it has begun to emerge forcefully in other American cities too, especially in California. In all these locales the New New Left concentrates its political energies toward larger government and higher taxes—to benefit the public sector. And the ideas behind the movement have effectively infiltrated American college campuses. Understanding how American politics works today is incomplete without Mr. Malanga's important book.

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Editorial Reviews

Financial Times
Politics isn’t about Right versus Left. It’s about interest group versus interest group—especially in cities. Steve Malanga understands that and exposes it. He guides us through America’s emerging new political reality.
— Amity Shlaes
Claremont Review Of Books
If you like Wal-Mart, you might just love Steven Malanga's The New New Left.
— R Shep Melnick
Part shotgun and part's a great read, and it'll likely provoke much more careful attention to local elections.
— Matthew Dysart
Matthew Dysart
"Part shotgun and part's a great read, and it'll likely provoke much more careful attention to local elections."
Amity Shlaes
"Steve Malanga...guides us through America's emerging new political reality."
Financial Times
Shep R. Melnick
"If you like Wal-Mart, you might just love Steven Malanga’s The New New Left."
Claremont Book Review
Kirkus Reviews
Social Security? Racism? Inflation? There's nothing wrong with the American system that a trip to Wal-Mart won't cure. So goes this right-wing nostrum by journalist Malanga, who seems not to have heard that the Republicans are in charge. No, for Malanga, a shadowy world of academics, laborites, students, environmentalists and minorities opposes all that is good and just in American life, and it is thanks to them that we have such communist-front agitations as the broad demand for a living wage, a campaign that owes all "to the backing of leftist foundations"-the pinko counterparts, that is, to the neoconservative Manhattan Institute, which bankrolls Malanga. And what's wrong with a living wage? Well, Malanga asserts, "the free market provides far greater economic opportunity and a decent standard of living for far more people than government-controlled markets." Witness Wal-Mart, which un-Americans love to hate: Wal-Mart takes care of its minions, who are of course free to sell their services elsewhere and who, in any case, will rise far within the system if only they believe and serve it faithfully ("While employment at unionized food stores tends to be static . . . Wal-Mart promotes heavily from within"). As for naysayers such as Barbara Ehrenreich, well, she's "a longtime rebel with an anti-authoritarian streak a mile wide, who can't stomach the basic boundaries that most people easily accept in the workplace." And as for strayers from the true path like Richard Florida, who has argued that livable cities with diverse populations are incubators of talent and growth-well, Malanga notes, thanks to him Austin recently put up a statue to the late rock guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan, not JimBowie. Do we need another foretoken of the decline and fall of America? The usual tongue-clucking about the egghead conspiracy, on about the same intellectual level as the "annoy a liberal" bumper stickers that have been popping up lately. Caveat emptor.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566636445
  • Publisher: Ivan R Dee
  • Publication date: 6/15/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Malanga is a contributing editor of City Journal and a senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute. He lives in West Orange, New Jersey.

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Table of Contents

Introduction : tax eaters versus taxpayers 9
1 Round one : the "living wage" 21
2 Union U. 38
3 Why Wal-Mart is the enemy 51
4 The prophets of victimology 70
5 The curse of the creative class 90
6 Who really runs New York? 107
7 A council of dunces 118
8 The antidote : a free market at work 133
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