Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column: Quasi-Government Workers

Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
From The Wall Street Journal Microtrends Column
Published December 24, 2008

Just as more people in China are working for firms that are privately owned, more workers in America are waking up to find themselves working for companies that are — at least for now — state-owned.

This new class of workers and executives in newly state-owned businesses is getting a crash course in what and what not to do as a quasi-government worker. Risk is out. Bonuses out. Off-site conferences out. Job security in. Paperwork in. Accountability in. Political limelight in.

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Politico: Bailout vote is proof: The center holds


Published October 7, 2008

My polling over the years has found that about two-thirds of Democrats define themselves as moderate, while two-thirds of Republicans see themselves as conservative. That polling trend was mirrored in the initial unsuccessful Sept. 29 House vote on the financial bailout proposal: Democrats were divided, with 60 percent of members in favor, while Republicans opposed the measure 2-to-1.

The 228-205 defeat saw the left and right team up against the center, revealing the fundamental unfulfilled divide in American politics today. Centrists viewed it as common sense to shore up the credit markets to stabilize America’s economic condition, which the president and others saw as on the verge of collapse. Yet to the right, it was an unacceptable intrusion by the federal government into the marketplace. And to the left, it was an unacceptable bailout of the rich on Wall Street. Together, they were successful in holding back the winds of change, if only temporarily, as a modified version of the bailout proposal was enacted four days later.

The two-party system works against moderates in Congress: Each side is a fusion of moderate and either left or right elements. So even though voters have repeatedly rejected politics too far to the right or left, the vital center often gets lost in the debate.

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