Labor The Big Government Conspiracy—Q&A with Steve Malanga


Today's tea party movement germinated from local taxpayer groups focused on issues like school spending and property taxes, according to Steve Malanga, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and author of the new book, Shakedown: The Continuing Conspiracy Against the American Taxpayer.

Malanga's work often focuses on how the national grows out of the local. In his last book, The New New Left, he looked at how a coalition of public-sector unions and government-backed social activists came to control the machinery of local governments. In Shakedown, he shows how this coalition continued its march all the way to the White House.'s June Arunga sat down with Malanga to talk about how this big government coalition has pushed government at all levels to the brink of bankruptcy, and what reforms are needed to combat its vast influence.

Approximately seven minutes. Shot by Jim Epstein and Meredith Bragg. Edited by Josh Swain.

Go to for download-able HD, iPod and audio versions of this video and subscribe to's Youtube channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live.

NEXT: Just Because Kids Have Bad Parents or Bad Luck Doesn't Mean They Should Be Stuck With Bad Teachers Too

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  1. June is leading the witness!

    Good interview. I like the “turning the ship” analogy (I suppose it’s been used before) in conjunction with public union and advocacy group influence. I guess not everyone yet sees that iceberg right ahead.

  2. wow, people or groups of people acting in their own self-interest, wives nagging their husbands, winter being cold, summer being hot, favre throwing interceptions, puppies being cute, barney frank having marbles in his mouth. this is all fine but what i want to see is an interview with somebody describing the complete social mayhem about to be unleashed when the newly elected repubs fail to change the ever increasing size and power of the fed government. get celente on here and have him drink some espresso right before the interview.

  3. I don’t normally read NYTimes op-eds because they are so stupid, but for some reason I just read Frank Rich’s latest piece and I am now astounded at how much stupid can fit into one article.…..f=homepage

    1. How did you keep going after 4 counterfactuals in the first sentence?? You’re amazing!

    2. Jesus. The shilling is so thick that I can’t think. Opening with the lies of the administration does what for his credibility?

    3. Why? It’s Frank Rich!

    4. My boss, and his boss, too, both went home early today, virtually guaranteeing that I wasn’t going to be doing anymore work for the rest of the day. I got so bored, I surfed on over to the NYT and read Krugnuts’ latest tard-splosion, and then managed to wade my way through the first couple of pages of comments. Ladies and gentlemen, the Republic, as we have known and loved, is well and truly fucked. I had to come straight home and wash my brain out with rum. Jesus Christ, it was horrible.

    5. I don’t read Rich much, for obvious reasons.

      but when you get past the DEMS=good, GOP=bad stuff, I agree with a lot of what he’s written here.

      At the very least there should be serious investigations to determine how this all came about, and I’ve no doubt there was a lot of unethical, and probably a lot of flat out illegal things going on here.

      His comparison to Enron seems apt to me, just that this was on a much larger scale.

      I’m no financial expert, so I’d welcome someone who points out to me why Richs’ points were stupid.

  4. These social activists and public employee unions are basically societal parasites. The host organism is starting to run out of spare material to support them.

    Unfortunately, I have my doubts this can be fixed through the democratic process. These people aren’t going to give up their cushy sinecures without a fight. The current troubles in France provide a good example of this.

  5. Corporate federal funding is also bullshit along with most federal funding.

    1. I should add state and local funding for special interests.

    2. Crony capitalism isn’t really capitalism.

      1. No. It’s National Bapitalism.

  6. “City Journal” is one of the GREAT publications.

  7. Seconded. Good job June!

  8. Nice interview. I didn’t know Arunga worked with Reason. Nice to see her working with reason. She did a nice job on this interview.

    I’d also like to say whoever you hired or inspired to do a better job with the video segments has done an awesome job. The one year difference of going from giant red chairs eating people filmed from 100 feet away with face shots cutting of people’s awesome stylish hair to the interview above is huge. Nice work.

  9. Yay, new interviewer. Was getting tired of the Jacket + June is way easier on the eye.

  10. She’s actually really pretty.

    Nonetheless, I disagree with him on the ‘War on Poverty’ didn’t get rid of poverty. Extreme poverty is gone in america. Many americans r 2 young 2 remember and don’t themselves believe extreme poverty existed.

    As ugly as the PROJECTs in NYC look, they do have A.C.

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