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Sunday, October 19, 2008
The Reality Party
When you start with the wrong assumption, you can then proceed to draw the wrong conclusions.
Modern "conservatism" has this assumption at its core:
People want small government
Once you have that assumption, the next steps are logical:
Cut spending and taxes to deliver the small government that people want. Step by step, make the government smaller and smaller.
Here's the problem:
In reality, people love big government
People don't like the always ill-defined "government waste" and for the most part, people have no idea where the large percentages of government spending go. But once you name a specific program, people are generally all for it.
Government is bad... oh except for social security, and the military, and building roads, and...
This contradiction between the assumption of small government and the desire for big government is the fundamental flaw at the heart of this movement.
So what actually happens in a "conservative" government is:
Cut taxes. Discover to your shock that no one wants you to cut spending so...
cut taxes again. Pile up gigantic deficit.
People like low taxes (particularly the suburban/exurban/rural fantasists who think they shouldn't have to pay for anything).
People like big government.
If you were the Reality Party, you would deal with this by
MATCHING TAX REVENUES TO EXPENDITURES
But since you're not
YOU WILL RUN DEFICITS FOREVER
above quoted from Huffington Post
McCain, you've been in government 26 years and you don't know that's what government already does? Have you never heard of social security? Medicare? The military?
Worst of all, this is not even some new insight.
In 1986, David Stockman wrote The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed. The Reaganites got in power, and started to dictate to Congress: away with rural electrification, cut program this and program that.
And Congress said: no.
This entire philosophy of governance fails when it hits reality.
Adding the extra supply-side fantasy that you will increase tax revenues by cutting taxes, and you just make it worse, but the main problem is the inability to accept that people want the government to spend, so you either behave like adults and pay for the spending,
or you encourage a selfish, childish, fantasy economics where you don't have to pay for what you get.
They shouldn't call modern "conservatives" the party of small government, they should say
Modern conservatism is the fantasy of small government
I'm a fiscal conservative. It's a tragedy that modern conservatism has so tarnished this concept that I almost prefer to say fiscally responsible, since "conservative" doesn't mean anything any more.
Being fiscally responsible means I believe
1. You never run a deficit because
2. YOU ALWAYS TAKE ENOUGH MONEY IN TAXES TO COVER YOUR SPENDING
Hey "conservatives", you might want to try that.