Thursday, November 10, 2005

Big Government Conservatism?

Well just one day after I noticed and commented on the Progressive take on individual choices, the Weekly Standard published an article by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam with a conservative take on where to go after confronting the realities of entitlement reform. Douthat’s and Salam’s realization is that:

This is the Republican party of today--an increasingly working-class party, dependent for its power on supermajorities of the white working class vote, and a party whose constituents are surprisingly comfortable with bad-but-popular liberal ideas like raising the minimum wage, expanding clumsy environmental regulations, or hiking taxes on the wealthy to fund a health care entitlement. To borrow a phrase from Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, Republicans are now "the party of Sam's Club, not just the country club."
Given these political realities, the authors recommend fleshing out the Big Government Conservatism that President Bush seems to have adopted as the new Conservatism. Douthat and Salam would seem to agree with Paul Glastris’ vision of reality in which Americans cannot succeed by themselves but actually need the government to help them. Then they do exactly what Glastris accuses them of doing, by putting forth proposal that enshrine small government ideals in big government programs.

The jist of most of these proposals is, well if we have to spend so much money on the poor we might as well spend it on wage supports instead of just giving it to welfare recipients. I guess that this stuff is a step in the right direction…

As a side note the article mentions a really interesting study by the Pew Research Center for People and the Press that breaks down the American citizenry into nine political segments. They also have an online quiz so that you can categorize yourself. I turned out to be an Enterpriser. Interestingly enough, much of the commentary published in political magazines and blogging on the internet seems to be a contest between educated enterprisers and educated liberals, but of course both of these groups combined represent less than 30% of the electorate.

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