A hot new movement called reform conservatism powered by some of the most thoughtful conservatives in the
country has for some years now been pushing Republicans to embrace a middle-class populist agenda. That's all good.
The problem, however, I note in my column at The Week is that although reformicons, as these folks are called, start from very different philosophical principles from liberals, their policy prescriptions ultimately are a mix of old and new liberal ideas. Their whole framework thoroughly scales back the right's long-standing commitment (at least in words if not always deeds) to limited government and free market in favor of a more activist government that actively promotes middle-class interests even when this means vastly expanding the redistributive state. And it has basically declared Reaganomics and its emphasis on growth-oriented tax policies passe.
There is much to like in this movement (including its fight against crony capitalism and corporate welfare) — but also much to be genuinely concerned about.
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