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October 14, 2011

Deconstructing the “Rebuild the Dream” Project

Joe Charlebois

Last Wednesday, Frederick was descended upon by scores – meaning little more than forty – local progressive protestors. They stood in unison with their idea of saving the American Dream.


In August, I pointed out some of the problems with’s new progressive constitution, entitled the “Contract for the American Dream,” which is actually an attack on the American Dream and I wrote that it would take America in the wrong direction.


The entire contract can be summarized as “we need more government control to make all equal.” The last time I looked, forced equality at the hand of a powerful government can best be described as Marxist. Even if many of the protestors would never consider themselves Marxist, let alone socialist, they are in fact arguing for those principles.


“Creating 21st Century Energy Jobs,” which is one of the 10 points of the progressive charter, is a prime example of ideas not matching reality. The contract calls for government investment in solar and wind energy companies. The contract sources Pew when referencing that every “$1 million invested in clean energy produces 16.7 jobs.”


Even if this were true, that would cost the American taxpayer nearly $60,000 per job. The Obama Administration, according to the same source, has already created or saved one million jobs in the green energy sector. I doubt that includes the nearly 1,100 workers let go by solar panel manufacturer Solyndra at the end of August.


Solyndra, which filed for bankruptcy September 6th, was the recipient of an extremely questionable $535 million loan guarantee from President Barack Obama’s Energy Department. This failed loan represents the spending of the equivalent of $486,000 per employee job lost, not saved or created! The irony of the American Dream protestors pushing subsidies for the green agenda is the fact that they are the same ones who are speaking out against crony capitalism. This is not something that should be overlooked. Crony capitalism is okay as long as it supports their goals, even if ends up wasting over a half-a-billion of taxpayer dollars.


Turning the page, the contract also addresses “Investing in Public Education,” which, according to the contract, means children would be able to enter preschool as early as three years of age through government funding; teacher salaries should be more on par with attorneys; the school day or school year should be extended to compare with Finland or Japan which require 197 days of instruction per year and the government would give educational grants instead of loans to working and middle income families for those attending colleges or universities.


What the folks at realize, but ignore, is that the federal government has no constitutional obligation or responsibility to fund even one dollar of education. That is under the purview of each individual state. The federal government getting involved in local issues creates an ever-increasing federal influence and control that means more and more tax dollars leave the local school districts and the less power they have to control their own educational system.


The federal government should get out of the education business and return those funds to the states. As it stands now, funds go to support the Department of Education bureaucracy which, after skimming off a large percentage for administration, returns it to the local governments with more strings attached than those that kept Lemuel Gulliver bound and imprisoned after washing up on the shores of Lilliput.


It is a shortsighted solution to ever put any federal funds toward funding for public service jobs with the goal of creating long lasting solutions. These payments are limited; they provide funds for salaries for a finite period of time. Once the federal funding ends, the local community must either find funding to pay the salary or eliminate the position altogether. This does nothing to promote permanent job growth.


Another point that is conveniently overlooked is that government positions, by nature, do not directly add to the economy as they don’t produce goods or services.


The Occupy Wall Street crowd and its spawn have an honest gripe with their disdain for crony capitalism. But they are way off base if they think that increased government control is the answer to bringing about reform.


This week’s protest in downtown Frederick was a part of this week’s Occupy Wall Street efforts. As the Frederick group occupied the Square Corner (the corner of Market and Patrick Streets) making their voices heard, it rained. It may have dampened their spirits, but it did nothing to damage their beautiful commercial quality “SAVE THE AMERICAN DREAM” signs.


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