MERRY: A battle cry against bigness and bailouts

Americans are primed for a populist campaign to cut government down to size

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Many top executives of these enterprises got fabulously rich, then sat back and watched as the federal government bailed out the two irresponsible enterprises. Some new capital requirements were instituted as part of the bailout, but now Mr. Obama’s new top guy at Fannie Mae, Mel Watt, wants to dismantle much of that in the interest of cheaper credit.

Where is the Republican Party on this kind of thing?

The country is being strangled by bigness — big government, big business, big finance, big public-employee and service-sector unions. It’s all intertwined and held together by big lobbying organizations and big campaign-finance entities.

A reckoning is inevitable, but the two parties resist it because they operate in the political culture created by all this bigness.

Meanwhile, ordinary Americans are left feeling more and more like chumps as the elites enjoy the special privileges that go to them through all of this intertwined bigness.

The Republican Party should go populist, becoming the party of ordinary citizens, the people Andrew Jackson called “the humble members of society.”

It could start with Mr. Krauthammer’s insurance-company proposal, then extend to the big banks, which should be broken up and brought under control; then to Fannie and Freddie, which should be forced to operate like other businesses; then on to the public-employee unions in the vein of what Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has done in his state; then extending to the size and scope and intrusiveness of the federal government itself to stop the fiscal irresponsibility that is robbing our grandchildren of their future.

Jackson, incidentally, is a worthy model. He never engaged in the kind of leveling, or wealth distribution, that so beguiles Mr. Obama. He even suggested that government has a positive obligation to protect the wealthy from the assaults often directed against them by civic forces of envy.

At the same time, he hated special privileges engineered by elites to line their own pockets and enhance their own lives. That’s why he also hated bigness, because it always spawns elites eager to exploit bigness for their own benefit.

It’s time for a little Jackson action.

Robert W. Merry, political editor of The National Interest, is the author of books on American history and foreign policy.

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