Book Review: We Have Seen the Future and It Looks Like Baltimore, By Craig Smith & Lowell Ponte

By Jay Lehr

Smith and Ponte have co-authored a number of books on economics, all dealing with serious problems as they see them. While they are very insightful and this is a revealing book it is poorly titled as Baltimore is but a single case study in a cautionary tale of matters going on in our government that are not transparent to most of the population. They tell of Baltimore's history as a beautiful town on the sea welcoming immigrants and onto the birthplace of corrupt politicians including Nancy Pelosi's family and the Freddy Gray riots. They soon get onto the crux of the book which is clearly a treatise of how progressives are successfully perverting all that our founding fathers hoped for our nation.

In the new Progressive Dream individuality is sacrificed to the group interests of the collective which in practice means the state. In Europe the progressive philosophy became communism, nazism, fascism and today's socialist welfare states. The authors go back to President Woodrow Wilson. as the table setter for Progressivism in America. Ironically Princeton University where he served as President has recently downgraded his esteem on campus having uncovered evidence of racism, not for his Progressive philosophy which has largely been adopted by the school.

The authors make a detailed case for Obama's successful Progressive Social Engineering and showing how his control of banking caused the housing bubble., His student loan program has been a way to advance his ideology and increase dependence on government by redistributing wealth from taxpayers to America's colleges and universities. It has resulted in huge unpaid federal debt and a devalued college degree for many institutions. Perhaps worse yet is the near total leftist bent of faculty members where diversity means only the type of Marxism and sexual orientation practiced.

If you wonder why there are about 90 million working age Americans out of the work force voluntarily, wonder no more as the authors document how 35 states pay more for welfare programs than any minimum wage job while the stigma once connected to not working has been removed by programs such as food stamps where there are no longer actual stamps but rather a credit card that appears like any other credit card.

Leading the way in the Why Work hit parade are New York State which will pay you $43,700 for not working followed by Connecticut $44,370, Washington DC $50,820 and the best place of all to drop out is Hawaii where annual welfare income reaches $60,590. Hey it is expensive to live in Hawaii.

At times the authors lean toward a bit of conspiracy theory such as their chapter on the War on Cash which aims to have greater control over all financial transactions, but of course they may be correct. After all the book is darkly honest with some bits of optimism such as its belief that Texas economic leadership could bring the nation back to fiscal responsibility .

The authors have nothing good to say about the The Federal Reserve and spend many pages documenting the insanity of the Zero Interest Rate Policy we have lived with these many years.

One of the most instructive portions of the book is the manner in which they slay the idea that the combination of socialism and capitalism in the Nordic countries such as Sweden, Denmark and Norway is as good as some believe or at all exportable to our nation, and regardless they are dramatically declining as a result of Moslem immigration.

I was delighted to see them skewer the European Union for all its untenable positions and the countries which have declined at its hands from Greece at the bottom to Germany at the top.

If it was Smith and Ponte's goal to uncover every inequity in the management of our government, I think they have succeeded. When you hear President Obama attempting to take control of America's health care system, energy sector, auto industry, television, banking and higher education in his effort to turn us into a feudal monarchy which the founding fathers fought a revolution to escape, the authors tell us to "remember who the Progressives really are and the total control over the rest of us that they really want".



Jay Lehr is a Senior Fellow and Science Director of the Heartland Institute.  

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