On Political Machines, and the Chicagoization of America

Daniel Greenfield has to be one of the best writers around today. He writes about politics and religion, and the generally bankrupt social condition of America and world today, and does it really well. In today’s post at Sultan Knish, he examines the urban political machines of New York, and other big cities run by Democrats today, and posits that the whole of America has become the new political machine. It’s pretty accurate-sounding to me, and a bit depressing. Machine politics is exactly how Barack Obama got re-elected: despite the the country circling the crapper, his ward bosses are able to assemble enough voting blocs -by hook or by crook, with the promise to “fight” against whatever evil is holding those blocs down- to safely maintain power. That’s what it’s really all about: not fixing things, or bringing the American dream to the downtrodden masses, but maintaining and exercising power.

In 2012, tribal politics became national politics. The country was divided and conquered. A campaign run on convincing a dozen separate groups to be afraid of each other and of the majority made all the difference, not in some urban slum, but from sea to shining sea. The country had at last become the city. And considering the state of the city… the state of the union does not look good.

Amnesty for illegal aliens is the natural next step for the machine. The urban machines always wanted their cities to be big. They never cared if the people could feed themselves or if they could feed them. More people meant more votes. More votes meant more money. The bigger the big cities get, the more micro-districts can be carved out, gerrymandered by race, divided by language, and capable of carrying more and more of the treasury back home to the machine. And if the cities can get big enough, fast enough, then they can outrace their own inevitable bankruptcies to seize control of the wealth of a nation. It’s the only hope of municipalities bulging with unfunded pensions, unfundable social welfare and a next generation of workers that doesn’t exist.

Money is not the issue. Urban political machines have always spent money like water counting on their cities being too big to fail. Right off City Hall in New York City sits the Tweed Courthouse, named after one of the most infamous bosses of the Tammany Hall political machine. Despite being a modest building, it cost more four times more to build than London’s Houses of Parliament. Today it houses the headquarters of the Department of Education which is spending the city deep into debt. That just goes to show you that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Obama’s crazed spending spree is nothing new in big cities where the debt is sky high and there is no way to cover it. Detroit is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. Chicago is facing a frightening pile of debt. California’s municipalities are taking the entire state down with them and Bloomberg doubled New York’s debt during his time as mayor.

The urban political machines don’t fear bankruptcy. They embrace it. Crises create more opportunities. When people are hungry, it’s childishly easy to get them to march round demanding this and that and then using this and that as cover for even bigger thefts. Bailouts and recovery programs are rich wells full of money that can be plundered.

The score was never as big and rich as it was during the first heady days of Hope and Change. The machine operators are no longer playing around with a few billion here or there for urban recovery programs. Instead they’re juggling trillions. The amount of money at their disposal is mind boggling and so is their thievery.

Paying it back is not their problem. America, like Chicago, is too big to fail.

You should read the whole thing at Sultan Knish.

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