Do Republicans Need a Conservative Version of the Welfare State to Win?

My friend Matthew Continetti has an interesting piece in the Weekly Standard explicating the “double bind” that Republicans face in trying to become electorally competitive again. He explains:

The domestic proposals that have the greatest chance of making the Republican party attractive to the “coalition of the ascendant”​—​immigrants, members of the millennial generation, single white women​—​involve far more government intervention in the economy than the GOP coalition​—​married white people, Wall Street, the Tea Party​—​will allow. And we haven’t even mentioned changing the GOP approach to social issues, which would drive the Republican base of religious conservatives out of the party. Pursuing such proposals would break the coalition that puts Republicans close to a majority.

Continetti is not the first conservative to argue -- falsely as I note in an upcoming piece for Reason magazine -- that courting new constituencies such as Hispanics, Asian Americans and other minorities will require the party to give up even its pretense of limited government. Still, Continetti’s basic point that the GOP does not have a coherent ideology that will allow it to court new constituencies while hanging on to its old ones is well taken. After all, how does the party appeal to the “millennial generation” that includes gays, young foodies and indie-music listening hipsters without losing the meat-and-potato social conservatives in, say, Charleston, South Carolina?

Continetti’s answer, dusted off from a 1975 essay by Irving Kristol, is that what the GOP needs is an authentically conservative version of the liberal welfare state. To fashion such a state, Continetti argues, would require:

Republicans to revisit some of the assumptions they have held since the end of the Cold War. Maybe the foremost concern of most Americans is not the top marginal income tax rate. Maybe you can’t seriously lower health care costs without radically overhauling the way we pay for health care. Maybe a political party can’t address adequately such middle-class concerns as school quality and transportation without using the power of government. Maybe the globalization of capital and products and labor hasn’t been an unimpeachable good.

I am all for rethinking post-Cold War assumptions, but do we have to throw globalization and trade liberalization under the bus in the process? After all, hostility to trade has become passé even among Third World anti-trade activists such as Vandana Shiva -- the last ones holding their finger in the dyke to stop globalization. This is in no small part due to the debunking done by economists such as Jagdish Bhagwati who have shown that even the immediate losers of trade liberalization win in the long run. So what is the point of reviving this animus especially since Continetti offers no new (or even old) evidence of trade’s downside?

 The point is to win “taxpaying married adults with families” over to the Republican side and make them the objects of a conservative welfare state (just as presumably liberals have made blue-collar, working class people the objects of a liberal welfare state). These people, Continetti claims, “tend to have been ill-served by the last couple of decades of American government, which has promised them the bounty of a global economy but left them paying the tab for the mistakes of Republican and Democratic elites, bankers, and bobos.”

This is all very elliptical but Continetti’s underlying project seems clear: He wants to coopt legitimate concerns about crony capitalism to craft a special, conservative brand of class warfare in order to pave the way for a conservative welfare state targeted at suburban middle-class families.  “Liberal welfare state could be said to benefit liberals, a conservative welfare state presumably would benefit conservatives.” So much for looking out for the common good!

Setting aside whether the country that is going broke could even afford such a state, what would it look like?

The conservative welfare state of our dreams would be, well, a state. That is, it would be an effective federal government. And it would be a community. Human beings are not faceless monads choosing identities at will from a universal menu of options. Human beings are born into families, faiths, and nations.

The security of all three of these pre-liberal forms of association is important. For families, that means growing incomes while lessening the costs of child-rearing, and giving parents blocking gear against the offenses of a hazardous popular culture. For faiths, that means protecting ministerial exceptions and religious liberty. For the nation, that means borders that are secure, a trade policy that puts the interests of American laborers over the interests of multinational corporations, a sound currency, and a fearsome military.

In short, the ideal conservative welfare state would be a libertarian dystopia of even bigger proportions than the liberal welfare state. There is less welfare and more state in it.

But what is deeply ironic is that a magazine that accuses libertarians of isolationism because they oppose American military interventionism has no qualms about recommending a restrictionist immigration policy to keep foreigners out and a protectionist trade policy to keep foreign goods out. If I had to pick a term for this foreign policy, I’d call it neo-isolationism. And maybe I lack imagination, but it is hard to see how a party that wants to engage the world through its “fearsome military” -- rather than through voluntary exchange and mutual cooperation -- could gain enough moral high ground to craft a winning political message, especially in a war-weary country.

One last point: Continetti deeply opposes comprehensive immigration reform that includes “amnesty” for illegals not only because it would create new Democratic voters --but because it would also allegedly provoke another round of border jumping. That’s what happened after Reagan granted amnesty in 1986, he claims.

This is seriously mistaken, not just on political grounds but factual ones as well. Reagan’s amnesty did not encourage illegal border crossings. His failure to create any options for Mexicans to legally work in the country did. Had Reagan’s amnesty been accompanied with a guest worker program that made it easy for poor Mexicans to come and go as per the availability of jobs in America, the problem of illegal immigration would have long ago disappeared. Instead the issue has become a humanitarian nightmare and an oozing political wound for the GOP. Far from opposing amnesty, Republicans should insist on including a guest worker program as part of a comprehensive immigration reform.

Or we’ll be having the exact same conversation again in 10 years -- with the GOP having become even more of a rump party than it already is.

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  • Libertarius||

    That anyone could ask this question honestly, is a direct indication that you don't know how bad things already are. The welfare state that we already have is bankrupting us, and is completely supported by America's ability to monetize debt and export our inflation all over the world (via the dollar reserve standard).

    The rest of the world is getting hip to our game, and they are already taking steps to dump the dollar. If we don't stop the insane monetization of debt, the dollar is going to collapse--which will take the welfare state and big government down with it, thus rendering this question completely moot.

  • Kathleen87||

    just as Richard explained I am shocked that a mother able to get paid $5694 in four weeks on the internet. have you seen this web site... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diP-o_JxysA

  • ||

    The guy's a lying prick. Richard's mom deals crack out of the trunk of her Eldorado.

  • ||

    She also turns the odd trick.

  • ||

    Now you have me curious....define odd.

  • Richard||

    You're completely wrong! My mother doesn't own an Eldorado.

  • txgypsy||

    Let this be a warning......her cam shows suck.......a waste of $29.95.....and it wasnt a real banana, it was PLASTIC!!!!

  • ||

    Some Republicans' genuine distaste for authoritarianism is what affords the party what little value it possesses. The Republican Party can be made great once more if its rebirth is spurred by the likes of Rand Paul and Justin Amash, but not otherwise, and people who don't give a shit about liberty are assholes anyway. Fuck them.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    All the Republicans would have to do is stop being douchebags. Stop making inane remarks about rape and immigrants, stop opposing women in the military, stop demonizing teh geys, stop fighting the drug war, stop being such negative stone age knee jerk assholes.

    Start caring about real human rights, like reining in police militarization, reining in overseas adventures, and reining in spending. Keep your attitudes about abortions, dumb as they are, because it's a state matter anyway. You don't have to get all lovey dovery about gays; just stop demonizing them, because that's for assholes.

    If Republicans would just stop being such knee jerk assholes, they'd mop the floor with Democrats and they could actually get back to limited government after a decade or two. But they don't really want that, and the demonization of Rand Paul's filibuster shows exactly what is wrong with the Republican party and why they can't have nice things.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    All the Republicans would have to do is stop being douchebags. Stop making inane remarks about rape and immigrants, stop opposing women in the military, stop demonizing teh geys, stop fighting the drug war, stop being such negative stone age knee jerk assholes.

    In order:
    no large organization in the world can avoid one of its members saying something stupid
    who opposed women in the military?
    who "demonized" the gays? kinda drama queenish if you're talking about SSM
    agreed, but the Dems are just as bad if not worse
    ???

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    People hate politicians with a passion, and deservedly so. The only perceived difference between Dems and Repubs is that Dems give away free stuff and Repubs hate everybody and everything.

    If the Republicans stopped being knee jerk haters, people would pay attention to their message, whatever it was.

    As for you, you seem to have that same knee jerk hatred for everybody. Give it a rest. Your pretense of not understanding plain language is boring.

  • Irish||

    Problem is, whenever the Republicans actually do run a moderate, the Dems paint him as an extremist gay hating racist no matter what. And the media goes along with it. These delusional idiots convinced themselves that a pseudoconservative empty suit like Mitt Romney and a statist hack like John McCain were radical right wing extremists.

    The view of Republicans as gay demonizing mean ol' racists is primarily a media construct. Rand Paul just got through explaining his view that the Right to Contract helped African American rights, and progressives STILL claim he's a racist despite all evidence to the contrary. I can't stand many views the Republicans have, but your complaint about them isn't based on what they actually are, it's based on a successful Democratic smear campaign using the legacy media as their party's propaganda wing.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    The Dems do have better propaganda mills, and the mainstream media are on their side much more than they will admit in public. But the Republicans are giving them fresh ammo all the time, with their war on immigrants, war on gays, and other knee jerk reactions.

    I believe that IFFFF the Republicans scaled back their knee jerk conservatism, and actually pushed for federalism, smaller government, privacy, and the heart of the Bill of Rights, the mainstream media would have to pay attention, even if only to sneer at them. It might take a few years to differentiate themselves from the free stuff Dems, but all they are now is the politicians who collect just as much taxes but keep it all to themselves.

    As usual with pendulums, the Dems will eventually self-destruct on one scandal too many and the Republicans will have a revival, but it will only be because the Dems have become too disgusting and don't have any fresh free stuff ideas. Disillusionment with the reality of Obamacare will help.

  • Virginian||

    Dude, I think you've bought into one of the slickest cons the Left has pulled off: the idea that lefties care about that stuff. They really don't. It's posturing, it's signaling.

    When Parker, who has a degree in women's studies from a subsidized university, which led to her current job as a social worker employed in women's issues at a nonprofit which is funded by grants from the taxpayer tells you that she's a fiscal conservative who only votes Democrat because of the GOP's war on women, it's a fucking lie.

    Her vote is bought and paid for, just like any other welfare recipient. It's the blue equivalent of Lockheed Martin or Boeing. Except the sound of a B-1 taking off is a lot more awesome then the sound of Parker complaining about the system which oppressed her right into a nice desk and a comfortable salary for doing nothing of productive value.

    Seriously, the number of Democratic voters who are not clients of the State is a tiny minority of the party. They all vote to keep the graft flowing, and the social issues are just lip service. It's how Parker shows off how principled she is. She totally supports the Democrats because of their tolerance, not because they pay her off.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Keerist you don't think too well.

    Only an idiot would think I'm supportive of any politician or think any of them have any integrity.

    When I agree the Dems have a better propaganda wing, that's where it ends. They won't always. They will make the usual mistake of those drunk in power, and the Repubs will get their turn at controlling the money spigot.

    Who the hell is Parker? Where'd you dredge her up from, in response to what? You're more disoriented that I am, that's for sure.

  • Virginian||

    I'm correcting your mistaken assumption that there is some massive bloc of people who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. When a Democrat says, as so many of them do, "I am a fiscal conservative, but as long as the Republicans blah blah gays blah blah war on women blah blah racist blah blah" they are lying. Because the voters of the Democratic Party are, or at least 80% of them are, dependent on state money. That's what matters to them. Some are professors at state universities. Some are reporters who cover the circus of big government. Some are teachers, or bureaucrats. Some work for companies that are bailed out, or funded by the State. Students with federal loans, and of course the vast hordes of the welfare system. But they all have one thing in common: their rice bowl is poured from the big sack marked US Treasury.

    Always always follow the money. Social issues are bullshit camouflage. For the members of the Democratic coalition, it's all about that sweet sweet federal milk.

  • geekster||

    And the hilarious thing was everyone dumped on Romney-bot for saying it, except it was the most truthful thing he said during his campaign.

    Republicans could run literally Jesus Christ, and the NYT would run a feature about this dangerous radical that hangs out with a bunch of religious fanatics and hookers, and how he's trying to deregulate the money lending industry (accompanying human interest piece on some photogenic money lender with small children who is now on the dole after being run out of the temple).

  • ||

    Well said, Virginian.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Romney could have marched in a gay pride parade every week last summer and Paul Ryan could have performed an abortion on Terri Schiavo's baby, and the GOP would STILL be perceived as hateful of gays and women by lazy thinkers who believe whatever the media tells them.

  • Tonio||

    Tulpa, that's a fine apologia you got going on there. What's it like in that fact-free space which you and Mandy Marcotte inhabit?

  • ||

    LA Times warns of the perils from extremist domestic terrorist Patriot groups. The kicker:

    What can be done to reverse this tide of belligerent ignorance? Not much. The typical patriot acts within his free-speech and 2nd Amendment rights, and in fact most patriot activity consists of venting steam by meeting with like-minded Neanderthals and firing off blog posts threatening civil war. Yet such blather tends to get under the skin of the Timothy McVeighs of the world. These groups should be closely monitored, with resources adequate to the task, even if it means shifting some homeland security money from the hunt for foreign terrorists.

  • Irish||

    It's better for the government to actively spy on people than for groups who never intend to commit a crime to vent their frustrations.

    This is why I tell my friends we don't need to worry about living in a police state. By and large we already do.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    yep

    And the local cops getting their very own tanks and drones should convince anyone with half a brain.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    But all this talk about targeting Americans in America is pure paranoia!

  • Irish||

    Yeah, worrying about the possibility of the government illegally killing Americans in the future is obviously paranoid, despite the fact that the American government is now allowed virtual carte blanche to spy on whoever they want, an obvious intrusion on our rights which would have been unthinkable even 20 years ago. Cops engage in no knock raids on people suspected of having weed in the house, sometimes killing people who have done nothing wrong. Seattle briefly considered using drones to spy on people, an idea that was thankfully struck down but which shows how little value people place on civil liberties when you consider that this shouldn't have even been discussed.

  • Hyperion||

    Sounds like the ranting of a typical progressive to me. They all want a Soviet style police state. It's just that they hid for so long under the 'liberal' banner, but now that they have gained so much power, they are dumping any pretense and coming right out and admitting what they are.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The mask isn't even forgotten anymore. It's just gone.

  • ||

    We Neanderthals have plentiful firearms, and we know how to use them. I'm a steadfast patriot, so does that mean I get a DHS goon squad surveillance team for myself?

    I feel important!

  • ||

    Is it true that once upon a time the Left considered the Feds fascist for spying on and infiltrating left-wing groups like the Black Panthers, Weather Underground, and others that committed actual acts of terrorism?

  • KPres||

    Of course. Their only consistent principle is free shit! Good is what gets you free shit, bad is what takes your free shit away. Civil liberties and such are just pawns in that game.

  • ||

    Wow. Just imagine the panic attacks that could be induced by a conspiracy to flip former members of USSOCOM to antifederalism.

  • robc||

    Which antifederalism?

    Antifederalism an in the modern we want a bigger central government?

    Or antifederalism as in Patrick Henry smells a rat?

  • Killazontherun||

    Not much. The typical patriot acts within his free-speech and 2nd Amendment rights, and in fact most patriot activity consists of venting steam by meeting with like-minded Neanderthals and firing off blog posts threatening civil war. Yet such blather tends to get under the skin of the Timothy McVeighs of the world.

    That is what passes for serious opinion in a serious newspaper of record these days? Lord help us. The only way to distinguish between J-school and kindergarten these days is to measure the height and acne on the faces of the pupils.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I did a double take when I saw the "like minded Neanderthals" epithet. Double checked the link because I couldn't imagine such an obvious bit of puerile discourse could make it into the editorial of a major newspaper. Not because they're not puerile, but because I thought they'd try to make it appear otherwise.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I love this little bit:

    They are convinced that the government is out to seize their weapons, even though most legislation is focused on keeping guns out of the hands of criminals or restricting the types of weapons that can be sold.

    Uh, yeah. MOST legislation doesn't involve confiscation (though one wonders what hipster leftists would consider laws banning future sales of iPads and iPhones), but not SOME of it does, and all it takes is one law to make it happen. Nice trick there.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The Democrats have their 47%, the Republicans will have their 47%, so the battle will be over a mythical six percent of voters who are on neither dole?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Gotta love the creepy pretence in the column that it isn't up to you to choose who you are, because you were born into your 'community'. And that community needs government empowerment! KNEEL

  • juris imprudent||

    I was wondering what kind of conservative Continetti is - apparently an 18th century English Tory.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Not even -- Edmund Burke would be rolling in his grave if he'd heard his name associated with such a proposal.

  • juris imprudent||

    Burke was originally a Whig and broke from them over the French Revolution.

  • Gladstone||

    Of course North, Pitt and his friends were all Whigs too at one point. Harley was a Whig too.

    Gladstone was a Tory turned Peelite turned Liberal. Then there was the Canningites who joined with the Whigs. And the Derby Dilly who left the Whigs and joined the Conservatives.

    English Toryism is not a direct line from the Abhorrers to David Cameron.

  • RightNut||

    Sorta sounds like a review of John Carter.

  • Gladstone||

    Also Pitt called himself an Indepedent Whig.

  • Hyperion||

    The welfare state in America is no longer about helping people who have fallen on hard times, at all. It's a vote buying scheme, that is all.

    But that scheme relies on a very delicate balance between having just enough people on the dole to keep your party in power(team blue) and tipping over into an economic death spiral. We are right at that tipping point now.

    Yes, just what we need, a war between team blue and team purple to see who can outspend the other to buy votes. Nothing bad can happen.

  • ||

    True republicans are so few today. How many do we have in Congress? Four?

  • Hyperion||

    Sounds about right.

  • ||

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    There are plenty of publicans, however.

  • Tony||

    The relative meagerness of the welfare state in the US suggests that it's not particularly good for either providing a safety net or bribing people.

  • ||

    Anybody who considers the American welfare system meager in any sense of the word is either a Eurotroll-grade pinko, viciously delusional, or mentally retarded.

    You're all three.

  • Irish||

    http://www.theblaze.com/storie.....nt-to-see/

    We spend more money per household in poverty than the average American household makes. You going to provide a cite claiming otherwise, or are you just going to amble about screaming mindlessly with no evidence?

  • ||

    So let the "relative meagerness" be abolished.

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 3.9.13 @ 3:27PM |#
    "The relative meagerness of the welfare state in the US..."

    Yeah, shithead, one more penny cut and the poor will be eating Alpo, right?
    "Homeless, poor in Calif. can get free cellphones"
    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/art.....z2N4udH11E
    You're an ignoramus.

  • KPres||

    Tony, if you count the EITC as "spending" (and I know you do!), the US welfare state is more or less comparable to European ones.

  • Irish||

    And when you consider that European countries spend far less money on the military due to living under a U.S. hegemonic military umbrella, the United States actually spends more money per person than virtually every European country. We spend more money per person than Finland, and liberals are convinced the problem is our free market and lack of a safety net. Unbelievable.

  • KPres||

    "the United States actually spends more money per person than virtually every European country"

    This also because we HAVE more money to spend in on them in the first place, because we've traditionally been less antagonistic toward capital. Something Democrats would like to put an end to.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    We're living paycheck to paycheck at this point. Total national assets are less than total national liabilities (not just the govt, but including the private sector).

  • Irish||

    That'll happen when the government tries to force consumption or spend lots of money every time there's an economic downturn. It's funny that progressives bemoan how materialistic our culture is, when their standard solution to economic problems is 'Make people buy more shit.'

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    The relative meagerness of the welfare state in the US suggests that it's not particularly good for either providing a safety net or bribing people.


    Just when I am getting accustomed to your delusions, you keep me surprised, Tony. You're like a living acid trip.

  • Hyperion||

    Let me explain. Once upon a time, Tony graduated with his degree in feminist revision history. Then Tony got a job, with a non-profit that floundered. Poor Tony. Now, his mommies government benefits have been cut because Tony has reached the new government approved age for adulthood, at 40. Poor, Tony. We need more government theft to support Tony, he's a victim.

  • Tony||

    Remind me not to hire you as a psychic.

  • Hyperion||

    We could actually help all of the truly poor in the country if our government wasn't flushing trillions of dollars down the cesspool in DC.

    No one has to be homeless, but our government supports the lavish lifestyles of professional welfare queens who have 5 kids from 5 different fathers, while they sit on their fat asses and collect child support payments and enjoy every type of state assistance available. All the while they are perfectly capable of working, but won't because they don't have to.

    At the same time we have people sleeping on the streets and our politicians care so little for those people that they try to pass laws to prevent others from even trying to feed them.

    This can't last folks, something has to give.

  • Tony||

    Can't we deal with the welfare queens on Wall Street before we start poking into people's childbearing habits before we decide if they're worthy to afford their basic needs?

  • Irish||

    Tony, don't pull that shit. Far more money goes to direct payments to individuals than goes to corporations. Is corporate welfare wrong? More importantly, the vast majority of these subsidies don't go to supporting someone's 'basic needs.' I work for multiple charities, and one of the things you notice immediately is that the very people liberals are claiming can't meet their 'basic needs' have far more stuff than anyone could need.

    I like that liberals can hold these opposing ideas in their minds at the same time:

    1. Poor people eat too much and inner city obesity is a major problem.

    2. Without food stamps, poor people would have no food and would starve.

  • Irish||

    There's supposed to be an 'Undoubtedly' after 'Is Corporate Welfare Wrong' and I swear I had an entire sentence saying 'Far more money goes to direct payments to individuals than goes to corporations' before the 'more importantly' part. Has H&Rs; awful posting scheme ever mauled someone's post, because I swear that I'd written that and now it's just gone.

  • Generic Stranger||

    The server squirrels are cunning little rodents. They must be adopting guerrilla warfare tactics after they were fought back into their cages on Thursday.

  • KPres||

    Best way to do that is not elect Democrats, since they like bailouts more...

    The disgust is bipartisan, with 87 percent of Republicans and Independents opposing future bank bailouts, along with 81 percent of Democrats. There's a bigger split between the parties on the subject of future auto-sector bailouts, with just 54 percent of Democrats opposed, compared with 84 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of independents.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....15647.html

  • Sevo||

    Tony| 3.9.13 @ 4:13PM |#
    ..."their basic needs?"

    Shithead, are you blind? Can you read?
    Read THIS, shithead:
    "Homeless, poor in Calif. can get free cellphones"
    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/art.....z2N4udH11E

  • Fatty Bolger||

    How about we do both?

  • lap83||

    On the one hand, conservatives could work on trying to show how liberal policies hurt the people they are trying to help.

    On the other hand, you don't have to look hard to see the evidence for yourself and many liberals will not be swayed even when they're effectively beaten over the head with it. I remember, once in a US history class, listening to my professor talk about the agricultural adjustment act as an example of how sympathetic FDR was to farmers...even as he admitted that it involved destroying a bunch of food. To him, farmers were more important than starving people.

  • ||

    Shikha, the GOP is no rump yet, and ten years is a long time to wait for it to become one.

  • Sevo||

    Hyperion| 3.9.13 @ 3:25PM |#
    "The welfare state in America is no longer about helping people who have fallen on hard times, at all. It's a vote buying scheme, that is all."

    Do you need more evidence than this?
    "Homeless, poor in Calif. can get free cellphones"

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/art.....z2N4udH11E

  • Hyperion||

    It will help people move forward. It will empower them

    So, making people expect more free stuff, courtesy of the tax payers, is moving them forward?

    *BARF*

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Incidentally, while I haven't watched the whole thing, Alex Jones interviewed the Obamaphone lady.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38nEispWqG8

  • ||

    I am NOT clicking on that. Alex Jones and Obamaphonelady....I am certain it would cause brain damage.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    with the GOP having become even more of a rump party than it already is

    This meme is nothing more than a proglodyte masturbation fantasy.

    The reality is that the republican party is stronger today than it has been at any point since the 1930s. Secure control of the HofR, complete domination of 60% of the state legislatures and significant influence in most of the rest. The next three election cycles includes a number of week D senatorial candidates in republican states.

    The democrats on the other hand are ideologically bankrupt. Their entire platform consists of trying to hold onto century old ideas that are failing everywhere. And number of solid blue states will blow up from pension crises in the near future. And their obsession with gun control is running against the grain of pop culture and will cause them serious damage in '14.

    The R's just need to finish purging assholes like McCain and ignore the religious right.

  • Len Bias||

    "and ignore the religious right."

    The religious right is not going to go quietly. I think they would happily take down the entire party (and hand more victories to the Dems) than allow themselves to be ignored. I wish they would go away, but outside of the coasts, they are too sizeable to be ignored (unfortunately).

    I fear there may never be a strong party for those who support free-markets and small government.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I think there power and importance is overplayed. The hard core 'christ freaks' are a small, though vocal group, that is dying off. The larger group of religious conservatives care as much or more about other issues than they do about abortion litmus tests and the like.

    The trick for the republicans is to pay the hard core religious people enough lip service to keep them on board and then ignore them. In short, make them republican bitches in the same way that democrats have done that to blacks.

  • Len Bias||

    I live in California now, and from here, the religious right seems insignificant and like it is dying. However, whenever I go back to visit Oklahoma, I am reminded how significant it is in certain parts of the country.

    The non-religious right GOP is stuck in a difficult position. If the GOP pays lip-service to the religious-right, then the media/lefties play this up. If the GOP downplays it, the reaction from the religious-right is severe. Remember when Mitch Daniels asked if we can have a truce on social issues? There was plenty of outrage.

    Maybe the best we can hope for is the religious-right joins the progressives in the Democratic party, united in their belief they need to mind other people's business. Then, they can tear apart the party by determining whether or not it's better to first stop people from getting gay married, or stop people from getting fat.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The antipathy of cosmotarians for the "religious right" never ceases to amaze me. When was the last time the religious right attempted to impose their values on everyone else in a coercive way? There's simply no comparison between the cornucopia of statist shit the left advocates and right's reluctance from giving a govt-stamped piece of paper to gay couples.

    The stuff that Akin said is so far out there that even most people on the religious right were scratching their heads over it. He wasn't "playing to the religious right" at all, he was just saying stupid stuff.

  • ||

  • Virginian||

    Crazy man, thinking you need to amend the Constitution.

    Commerce clause! Necessary and proper! General welfare!

    Emanations of penumbras!

  • Len Bias||

    "When was the last time the religious right attempted to impose their values on everyone else in a coercive way?"

    Growing up in suburban Oklahoma, I was surrounded by people who wanted to tear down the wall of separation of church and state and who absolutely wanted to use censorship for anything sexually offensive. My public high school had a daily prayer. Read about the attempts by the Oklahoma City PD to crack down on possession of the Tin Drum, including threatening to arrest people who refused to turn over their copy. This was only the tip of the iceberg for what people wanted to accomplish.

    Honestly, I doubt people of this mindset will have much impact on the national scene anytime soon. (Although, ten years ago I would have doubted we'd have a president who seems to want to collapse the dollar and torpedo our health care system, but here we are). My only point, is people with the above mindset vote, and don't want to be marginalized. Moreover, those I describe above don't really have much affinity for the free-market from my experience.

    To be clear, I have nothing against religious people, or even Christians who are also conservative. And, I don't know if I'm a cosmotarian because I don't know what that is.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Growing up in suburban Oklahoma, I was surrounded by people who wanted to tear down the wall of separation of church and state and who absolutely wanted to use censorship for anything sexually offensive.

    And how long ago was that? Judging by your name I assume you were old enough to be aware of national news events in the mid 1980s, so your childhood was a long flerking time ago.

    My only point, is people with the above mindset vote, and don't want to be marginalized.

    Not calling for coercion != marginalizing religious right

    Look at the issues that religious right people are hot about these days. Gay marriage and public school teaching evolution to their kids. In BOTH cases the idealist libertarian position is on their side; govt shouldn't be involved in marriage or education. I do understand that pragmatic (or at least part-time pragmatic) libertarians contend that since govt isn't getting out of those areas we should do the opposite of what the RR wants, but these are minor, minor, minor issues that have jack to do with coercion. Not even comparable to the issues where the left is imposing their shit on us.

  • Len Bias||

    http://reason.com/blog/2010/11.....-a-fiscal.

    "When asked to comment on Gov. Mitch Daniels’ suggestion that it’s time for détente in the culture war, Demint tells Fox News that one “can’t be a fiscal conservative and not be a social conservative.”"

    Again, the religious right won't be ignored on social issues. Right now, they are focusing on gay marriage and evolution in schools. And two years ago, Obama JUST wanted to raise slightly the marginal tax rate on the rich, and now he wants to go further. Both sides will only go as far as they can get away with.

    However, it's not really the religious right I'm concerned with, it's just that very few conservatives are reliable on economic issues. GWB certainly wasn't. Romney would have no doubt been at least slightly better than Obama, but was hardly trustworthy in that area. So, many on the right are unreliable on economic issues, and many want to use the state to impose their religious values. This combination makes me not trust them.

    However, if a religiously conservative GOP candidate came along who was really, truly, fiscally conservative, and the real extent of his social issues was he wanted to get the gov't out of marriage and schools because he was personally against gay marriage and teaching evolution, I'd vote for him in a second. But, I'll likely never be put to the test on that claim.

  • np||

    When was the last time the religious right attempted to impose their values on everyone else in a coercive way?

    Um.. two obscenity prosecutions just over month ago with (see Morality in Media's advocacy in this case, and the past pushing for Republican candidates to pledge for such laws)? Dry counties/blue/sunday laws? Various state level laws e.g. felonizing unlicensed massage parlors? The WoD? Most "tough on crime" legislation?

    Granted though, lots of this kind of stuff is where socon meats progtard. I'm on the CBLDF mailing list and I see this kind of unintentional unholy alliance a lot at the local level.

    I guess you can say it's not the religious who are necessarily problematic. It's the people who get religion for control.

    There's simply no comparison between the cornucopia of statist shit the left advocates and right's reluctance from giving a govt-stamped piece of paper to gay couples.

    I actually agree with the religious right in terms of priorities and gay marriage.. but it seems right and left disagree with me on how said government license is unimportant and unnecessary.

  • lap83||

    "In short, make them republican bitches in the same way that democrats have done that to blacks."

    That has already happened and it should make anyone with a modicum of compassion for Christians sad. I'm sorry, this country probably wouldn't be the way it was without "christ freaks". Sure, the founding fathers were not that Christian. But religious freedom was very important for most early Americans. It is very important for anyone remotely religious who has tasted true statism, like China...which has the largest Christian population in the world. Face it, Dictators tend to be anti-Christian. Christians like freedom.

  • XM||

    I'm not sure Shikha does a good job addressing this author's points, which is more legitimate than you might think.

    If the GOP did turn full libertarian, they will most likely lose at least some of their traditional voters, and some of these people have supported the party for years. Can they win enough converts to cover such losses and put them over the top? Not likely.

    Many polls show that immigration isn't a priority issue among even immigrants. Young voters, non whites and immigrants support big government in huge numbers. The "demand", as it were, is for big government. If votes were like profit and the GOP was a company, what should they do?

    The nation is no more libertarian for evolving on legal pot than Latinos were "natural constituents" of the GOP because they were Catholics and family oriented. There's a very good chance that Rand Paul will get annihilated by Hillary Clinton in 2016, and this is a woman whose popularity has soared AFTER Benghazi.

    The GOP evolved on immigration because of demographic realities. Is it so strange that they may do the same on the welfare state? Who thought the GOP change their minds ONLY on immigration while dogmatically oppose economic policies favored by Latinos?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    OK, so the Republicans need to support the welfare state. How will they get the money - by shaking the Magic Money Tree? Or these mere details above the pay grade of political consultants?

  • Irish||

    The welfare state is going to come crashing down regardless of how much people are in favor of it. I'm in favor of being able to fly, but if I tried it, there's a good chance I'd crash just as badly as we're going to.

  • XM||

    I'm not in favor of the GOP embracing the welfare state. But many voters do, which include older whites.

    We don't have money for a lot of Obama's policies, but voters reelected him anyways. Drone policies and deficits don't concern a lot of people.

    Change has to come from the voters themselves.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    THIS. Libertarians need to stop whining from the sidelines and refusing to even vote, and start getting their hands dirty in the political process (and no the LP doesn't count, unless you do the possibly infinite amount of work necessary to make it a viable party).

  • Virginian||

    And vote for Mitt Rommney!

    Right?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Better if they start voting for candidates in the general election that they voted for in the primaries -- I know quite a few people who will vote in primary elections and then fail to do so in the general for contested elections when their primary candidate wins or loses out to someone with very similar views.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You know what my opinion is on that, but that's water under the bridge.

    The point is we need to forge alliances with a major party and preferably with both in different ways. While I would be tickled pink to see a libertarian movement within the DP, the Dems are a tough nut to crack since even the supposedly pro-liberty positions are essentially rhetoric at this point and are shed at the first hint of a chance to gain power and loot the treasury.

  • Virginian||

    Here's the issue with that. Say we rate candidates from 0 to 10, with 10 being an ideal libertarian candidate, and one zero being....well, name your least favorite politician.

    Obama is a 1, Romney is a 3. I'm going to need at least a 6 or 7 to hold my nose and vote for him. It's not that I disagree with your position, I just need a politician that I disagree with less then half the time. That's not having impossible standards, sorry. You thought Mitt was a better choice then Obama, and you are absolutely right about that. But that's like choosing between being buried in an anthill and a nice clean shot to the head with a 12 gauge. I know which one I'd pick given only two options, but that doesn't make the Cobain Exit Strategy a good thing.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    I just need a politician that I disagree with less then half the time. That's not having impossible standards, sorry.

    If no candidate who has a chance to win ever meets that standard...it may not be impossible but it might as well be.

  • prolefeed||

    If no candidate who has a chance to win ever meets that standard...it may not be impossible but it might as well be.

    It was pretty clear by election day that Obama was quite likely to win. If the probability had been 100% instead of 90%, then you would have voted for him?

    No? Then STFU about people voting for the candidate that they think has the best policies, because that is what you did.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    So if you totally change the facts and dynamics of the actual election, my strategy makes less sense. No kidding.

    If BO had a 100% chance of winning then it wouldn't matter who you or I or anyone voted for, so yes, I would encourage people to vote their consciences. I do find it odd that people are now convinced that it was obvious that BO would win, when that wasn't the case, you know, before the election.

  • Hyperion||

    Obama is a 1, Romney is a 3

    Fair enough, although I might rate both of them a 2. McCain and Graham are definite 0s, along with a LOT of dems, too numerous to name.

    There are very few 5+, of course with RP leading the pack, with an 8+. Got to give it to the guy, his voting record is stellar, and he's been the voice of liberty since his dad retired.

    I would have to say, keep an eye on Thomas Massie, this guy has a lot of potential to become a leader for the Libertarian cause.

  • juris imprudent||

    the DemsRepubs are a tough nut to crack since even the supposedly pro-liberty positions are essentially rhetoric at this point

    FTFY

  • np||

    OK, so the Republicans need to support the welfare state. How will they get the money - by shaking the Magic Money Tree?

    Yes. It's called the Fed.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The nation is no more libertarian ...

    I disagree.

    A large majority of Americans have a leave me alone philosophy and the republicans could put together a winning coalition around that idea.

  • Virginian||

    As long as "leave me alone" is immediately followed by "pay me my money", then yes.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Those concepts aren't mutually exclusive.

  • np||

    You're way too optimistic.

  • Josua||

    There is no such thing as a conservative welfare state.

    Under a conservative American approach, welfare would be provided voluntarily, by charitable assistance. Most conservatives (voters, not the make-believe types that run for office), believe they have a personal obligation to voluntarily provide assistance to others. They see it as an individual responsibility to society - but not something to be compelled by the state.

    Socialists suppress individual charitable acts by creating the perception that the welfare of people is the role of the state and that therefore individuals bear no responsibility for the condition of their neighbor. The state then distributes in accordance with its desire to amass power through the cultivation of dependency - which exacerbates rather than alleviates need.

  • Virginian||

    Republicans to revisit some of the assumptions they have held since the end of the Cold War.

    True. The Russians are not coming to invade us. So we can probably get by with six aircraft carriers instead of eleven.

    Maybe the foremost concern of most Americans is not the top marginal income tax rate.

    Except the GOP has stood for tax cuts for everybody, across the board, for decades now. Way to keep up.

    Maybe you can’t seriously lower health care costs without radically overhauling the way we pay for health care.

    We've not had a free market in healthcare for decades. 70% of healthcare spending comes from the government. It's the most heavily regulated sector of the economy. Yet the solution is more government?

    Maybe a political party can’t address adequately such middle-class concerns as school quality and transportation without using the power of government.

    Because when I think of things the government has never been involved with, I think of schools and roads.

    This guy is just another David Brooks/Frum type. The idea that maybe things would be better if the government stepped back and let the market work never even occurs to him.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    The idea that maybe things would be better if the government stepped back and let the market work never even occurs to him.

    Perhaps. But that's not going to happen as long as the Democrats are in charge, barring a conversion experience that would put Saul of Tarsus to shame.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    This is seriously mistaken, not just on political grounds but factual ones as well. Reagan’s amnesty did not encourage illegal border crossings. His failure to create any options for Mexicans to legally work in the country did.

    Oh come on. "The thing I like didn't cause the problem, the thing I don't like caused the problem!" This is how partisans think.

    Can't you just admit that the combination of the two caused it? ie, doing the second without the first would have averted the problem.

  • Irish||

    I like the total lack of evidence she gives for this. She just says it and kind of backs out of the room slowly, hoping no one will notice.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    argument from assertion is the partisan's best friend, even third-partisans'.

  • Gladstone||

    The problem is that libertarians are being disingenious when they attack the GOP for being a bunch of hidebound reactionary bigots. Guess what the left attacks the libertarians as being?

    The hysterical reaction to the sequester and to Rand's filibuster show that actual libertarianism is considered reactionary bigotry.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You don't even have to go that far. The stuff that liberals were saying 5 years ago when Bush was president is now considered reactionary bigotry.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    You mean descent isn't patriotic anymore?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    *dissent

    Goddamn it.

  • juris imprudent||

    Descent is very patriotic - as in watching the descent of this country into the cesspool of history.

  • ||

    How exactly does that show libertarians are being disingenuous?

  • Gladstone||

    Because it's disingenious to complain about the GOP's spending habits and support for welfare statism and then argue that the GOP should be more electable and not be seen as reactionaries bigots. Guess what spending cuts are not popular and getting rid of the welfare/warfare/regulatory state is "reactionary."

    So if the GOP wants to win elections and be seen as more tolerant people they logically should be less libertarian not more.

  • np||

    So if the GOP wants to win elections and be seen as more tolerant people they logically should be less libertarian not more.

    Sadly this is true.

  • Gladstone||

    Look at the title of this article:
    Do Republicans Need a Conservative Version of the Welfare State to Win?

    She doesn't answer this question at all. She does point out that the Conservative Welfare State is horrible idea. This is the sort of disingeniousness I'm talking about

  • Marcy G||

    I'm back, Teapublicans!

  • Hyperion||

    Wow, this has to be the deadest Saturday afternoon I have ever seen on H&R. What is it with you people, you have a life outside of internet blogs, or something?

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    We're all prepping against the dangers of DST

  • Hyperion||

    I get it. DST is one of the greatest evils ever to be perpetrated onto mankind. It's plenty reason enough to tar and feather all politicians, now.

  • The Bearded Hobbit||

    Well, it's certain a place to start.

    ... Hobbit

  • Sevo||

    DST is one of those 'who's making money on this stupidity?' issues.
    Now it's obvious. Not only do you change the clocks, you buy new batteries for the various (required) alarms!

  • Hyperion||

    'who's making money on this stupidity?'

    No, it's really one of the few government ideas that they aren't generating revenue from, it's just plain stupid.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    don't forget blaming BOOOOSH

  • Hyperion||

    Booosh? Forget Booosh! Rand Paul, he's Aqua Buddha! He wants to drink the blood of your childins!

  • Sevo||

    "What is it with you people, you have a life outside of internet blogs, or something?"
    Tried to get shithead to see what sort of "basic requirements" welfare is covering (above), but hey, I got a new product that needs some design attention. Saturdays mean no phone distractions.

  • Hyperion||

    Don't waste your time with Tony. He's just another loser living in mommies basement, with a non-stop jealousy for anyone who can do better with their life.

    Entrepreneur? How do you like that big target that's painted on your back? We have an IRS audit coming up. It's a fucking joke, they are desperate for MOAR revenue.

    Murikas new strategy, reward sloth, punish success. No way that this won't turn out well in the end.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

    For decades now, we consumers have been moths, lured by the blue flame of consumerism, pop culture’s beautiful conflagration, a firestorm of lust and greed and wanting, a solipsistic desire to consume that which cannot be consumed, to be fulfilled by that which can never be fulfilling, a vacant proposition, leaving us empty inside, further fueling the blaze of lust and greed and wanting. It’s a vicious cycle.

    We must, however, accept the flame for what it is: necessary and beautiful and, most of all, dangerous. When we do this, when we step back to understand the nature of the fire, we have a chance to survive. This kind of thinking is not easy, though; it takes deliberate thought, repeated questioning of the way we live, a thorough understanding of why we feel comforted by the flame. It’s difficult to do, but this is how we wake up.
  • Sevo||

    "when we step back to understand the nature of the fire, we have a chance to survive."
    At least the simpleton isn't asking the gov't to limit the choices, just admitting he's not real bright.

  • Hyperion||

    Government needs to go full on war against 3D printing and other emerging technologies that could make scarcity a thing of the past.

    What would government do if everyone could survive and even thrive without state assistance?

    Look for another war, coming soon to a neighborhood near you. Because the war on terror, war on drugs, and war on women is not nearly enough.

    People just can't be having whatever they want! They might get things that are bad for them! They need government to help them make choices and decide what is good moral behavior!

    We are going right back to the inquisition, and so called liberals have their head buried so far up their own asses that they can't even see it.

  • Ted S.||

    Tell them the government needs to consume far less, and see what their reaction is.

  • RightNut||

    A libertarian critiquing someone for trying to win elections. Very funny article.

  • Hyperion||

    Wow, that was deep. Please, share more of your great wisdom.

  • Gladstone||

    Well I do think it is pretty silly for libertarians to argue that the GOP should be libertarian by saying they need to win elections and be seen as cool. Don't see much evidence that libertarianism is popular or seen as "progessive."

  • Gladstone||

    I mean she doesn't even answer the question the title poses. She does point out how horrible an idea it is but that doesn't make it an electoral loser.

  • Hyperion||

    Don't see much evidence that libertarianism is popular or seen as "progessive."

    Only a moron would see Libertarianism as progressive, aka old school communism under a new ever changing brand name. WTF are you talking about?

    Libertarians will take the GOP, the same way that leftist mass murderer, Pol Pot cheer leaders, took Team Blue. Get it?

  • Gladstone||

    Only a moron would see Libertarianism as progressive, aka old school communism under a new ever changing brand name. WTF are you talking about?

    All the articles in Reason about how means the Republicans shouldn't be seen as so mean, reactionary, uncool etc. Libertarianism will not address that problem judging by the reactions to the sequester for example.

    Libertarians will take the GOP, the same way that leftist mass murderer, Pol Pot cheer leaders, took Team Blue. Get it?
    So you are admitting that Reason is indeed being disingenious as a part of a plan to take over the GOP? Huh, wonder how that will work out.

  • Gladstone||

    Nothing against that plan if it works by the way.

    However it is sort of like trying to ally with the left by claiming that elminating the warfare state will save the welfare state. It could go very wrong.

  • Hyperion||

    The Ron Paul school of Libertarianism, which you seem to know nothing about, advocates take over of the GOP as the way forward.

    Some do not want anything to do with the GOP, and instead want a viable 3rd party.

    Libertarianism will not address that problem judging by the reactions to the sequester for example.

    Yeah, right, a small reduction in a spending increase when we are already trillions in debt, is mean and heartless.

    You really are not too bright, are you?

  • Gladstone||

    My point is that being serious about the deficit and libertarianism will be seen as "mean" and "heartless." Nothing can be done about it unfortunately.

    With these facts I'm not sure there is much of point in being concerned about "electability" and not being seen as "reactionary."

  • Hyperion||

    There isn't any point at all in it. Right now, free shit is the winner. But like all good things, it has an end.

  • RightNut||

    Pretty much sums it up. I agree that a "conservative welfare state" is a bad idea as far as policy goes. Politically speaking, since I hate the idea, its probably a winner.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Abe Lincoln episode tonight on ST:TOS. He and Kayless really should switch teams.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    OK, so Spock knows Earth history so well that he's able to pinpoint slight divergences from the story of the OK Corral, but Kirk says "who?" when Spock introduces Sirak, the father of all Vulcan philosophy. What a chauvinist Kirk is. It wouldn't hurt him to learn about other cultures.

  • Mickey Rat||

    It is not good for a character to carry the Idiot Ball so as to be the audience stand-in and ask Mr. Exposition the necessary questions.

  • Hyperion||

    Ahh, Lincoln, the much revered, mass murderer, pig.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    charming negress

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    It's a repeat.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Yes.... but this is my first time seeing the digitally enhanced version. Can't say I like the enhanced ones much; one moment you're looking at 21st century image rendering, and the next a redshirt is negligently caving in the foam rocks with his elbow.

  • Archduke Pantsfan||

    are the enhanced ones on Netflix?

  • SumpTump||

    Sometimes man you jsut gotta step mack jack. Wow.

    www.AnonNet.da.bz

  • VG Zaytsev||

    A 'conservative' welfare state would be direct payment of some minimum income to every person in the country and let them spend the money how they saw fit.

    Eliminate all of the thousands of support programs, transfer payments and tax credits (including public education) and replace them with a check for X dollars. Hell, call it social security for ol' times sake.

    Then fund government with a flat tax on all income earned, with no deductions.

  • Hyperion||

    Then fund government with a flat tax on all income earned, with no deductions.

    Income tax is bullshit. Flat consumption tax, now we are talking.

  • Hyperion||

    Also, property tax is one of the greatest attacks on human rights, in all of history.

    We are supposed to live in a country where you can actually own property. How the hell can you own something that the government can steal from you, no matter how much you have already paid for it, because you don't pay them their rent(extortion)?

  • juris imprudent||

    Property tax is one that makes sense - because the fucking govt exists to secure your right to own it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    While I would agree that (unimproved) property tax is the best of a bad lot, it's not quite sensible. You can't opt out and choose to defend your own property, plus the courts have ruled that govt is not obligated to defend anyone's property (and they may take it themselves, of course).

  • VG Zaytsev||

    A consumption tax is just a tax on someone else's income.

    All taxes suck in different ways. I'm skeptical that a consumption tax could fund the government at anything like it's current level and that instead we'd wind up with both a consumption and an income tax.

    My fantasy world would have government spending at a level of 5% of GDP or less and fund that via user fees and seigniorage.

  • Hyperion||

    VG, the reason I am so opposed to property tax, is the potential for someone to escape the system.

    For instance. Say I want to retire, and I have limited income. OK, also say that I have 5 acres of land and I can raise and grow all my own food and maintain myself on my own, with only the money that I was forced to pay into schemes like SS and Medicare, all my life.

    Governments are terrified of that scenario, but it is absolutely what is required for freedom

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I agree with you on that.

    But I can see a rationale for some type of property tax because protecting a person's property is one of the legitimate roles of government. At the same time, the idea that they will steal your property to fund protecting it is repulsive.

  • Hyperion||

    See, it's that, I have paid all my life for that protection, there should come a time when I don't have to keep paying.

    Flat consumption tax will work. We just have to drastically reduce the size of the federal government, this is good on so many levels.

  • juris imprudent||

    there should come a time when I don't have to keep paying.

    That time is called death. Or perhaps prior to that when you don't own the property anymore.

    Or are you willing to forego the govt securing your right to that property when you stop paying tax on it? That should be fun, huh?

  • Virginian||

    Eh, from what I've seen the number one threat to a man's property in this world is the government.

  • Sevo||

    "Eliminate all of the thousands of support programs, transfer payments and tax credits (including public education) and replace them with a check for X dollars."

    Wonderful suggestion that will go nowhere.
    1) Imagine the lefty horror at allowing the poor to spend money at their discretion!

    2) Imagine the number of gov't 'workers' who would be fired if they didn't direct the expenditure of that money.

    Hell, I'd pay a flat $X fee to be handed out to those who are "poor". If that didn't help, why maybe the "poor" chose to be so. Tough shit; not one penny more.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The genius of the idea is that it appeals to the two broad themes of popular culture (which are contradictory, but what the hell) of give me free stuff and don't tell me what to do / leave me alone.

    The crazy thing is that total government spending is already large enough* to fund that idea just by reshuffling the cash flow. The fact that tens of millions of bureaucrats would have to find gainful employment is a plus all the way around.

    *Total federal, state and local government spending this year will be approx $19,000 for every man woman and child in the US. At least 2/3 of that is 'welfare' of one form or another, yielding $13,000 per year per person or $52,000 per year for a family of four.

    And again that is what the government is spending this year. And leaves 1/3 ($1.9Tn) to cover government programs, which is itself bloated by at least 50%.

  • JeremyR||

    Yeah, Milton Freeman's negative income tax for those below a certain threshold.

  • JeremyR||

    Come to think of it, Reason's own staff shows why immigration is a bad policy.

    Apparently rather than keeping that Lucy around, who wrote a lot of interesting articles, we instead have an immigrant from Indian who presumably makes much, much less, constantly writing the same story over and over and over every week or two, how immigration is so wonderful.

    Except the occasional article how about rape in India is bad, which is rather a silly audience, since no one here can do a thing about it. Indeed, that illustrates the other negative side of immigration, she's here trying to work against rape in India, when it would be so much more effective in India.

    To a certain extent, immigration does bring many of the best people over, which is good for the country they are moving to in the short term. But on the flip side, it's bad for the country they moved from, which makes it bad for the country they move to in the long term as well.

    What if all Indians or Mexicans had stayed in their own countries and tried to make them better? They probably would be better, and thus better trading partners for the US. And the US would also have less of a budget problem, since not as much welfare, and less unemployment, and wages would probably be higher. Since you'd have much less competition for jobs, especially on the low skills side.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Dalmia has been writing for the Reason Foundation since before Lucy was here. And as far as I know she's an American citizen, so shove the nativist shit back up your ass where it came from.

  • Sevo||

    Yep

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Thanks. By the way I'm a big fan of your music.

  • David Nieporent||

    After all, hostility to trade has become passé even among Third World anti-trade activists such as Vandana Shiva -- the last ones holding their finger in the dyke to stop globalization.


    Pro tip: putting your finger in a dyke != putting your finger in a dike.

  • np||

    In short, the ideal conservative welfare state would be a libertarian dystopia of even bigger proportions than the liberal welfare state.

    Maybe this proposed conservative welfare state, which should probably be marketed as compassionate conservatism, might be a good thing where it will quicken the reckoning rather than prolong economic agony.

    The bad part is that Republicans will still be blamed, maybe deservedly so if they choose this route. And probably libertarians, somehow.

  • Lee Reynolds||

    Millions of "white" Americans lean to the left. Millions more are conservative. Millions of others subscribe to every political ideology imaginable. No one ever talks about the "white vote" because being white doesn't define a person's politics. A person's politics is a function of their individual character.

    Why then do so many people assume anyone else's politics are defined through their membership in this group or that one?

    Republicans will be successful with the members of various groups to the degree to which they are able to promote good ideas to these groups, AND FOLLOW THROUGH ON THEM ONCE ELECTED.

    Trying to literally buy the votes of this group or that is wrong, and it is ultimately destructive. Such bribes come at a cost to society as a whole and degrade and destroy the defining principle of our nation: e pluribus unum. When identity groups fight with each other for government largesse, people stop working and striving to create that wealth for themselves. Everyone loses.

    If our nation really is a place where group identity trumps all, then we are truly lost.

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  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

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