Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
The trouble with Republicans
Posted by: McQ on Monday, January 23, 2006

When we did our podcast yesterday (which I'm sure Dale will be posting sometime today) we talked about the fact that on a national level we line up much more to the right of center than we may at a state or local level (for various reasons). Some of the reasons we end up on the right of center have to do with fiscal concerns. Spending. Taxes. Budget. There's also the issue of smaller and less intrusive government (but that also relates to spending) and national security.

So the natural alliance at a national level for neolibertarians would be the Republican party which claims as its ideals "less spending, lower taxes and smaller government".

If only that were true. In fact the present Republican Congress and administration have done more for the leftist redistributionists among us than has the left itself. Patrick Chisholm of the Christian Science Monitor fills us in:
During the first five years of President Bush's presidency, nondefense discretionary spending (i.e., spending decided on an annual basis) rose 27.9 percent, far more than the 1.9 percent growth during President Clinton's first five years, according to the libertarian Reason Foundation. And according to Citizens Against Government Waste, the number of congressional "pork barrel" projects under Republican leadership during fiscal 2005 was 13,997, more than 10 times that of 1994.

Discretionary spending is dwarfed by mandatory spending - spending that cannot be changed without changing the laws. Shifting demographics combined with an inability to change those laws virtually ensures that, through programs such as Social Security and Medicare, America's workers will be forced to redistribute a larger and larger portion of their income to other Americans in the coming decades.
Obviously the increase in discretionary spending is an indication of an attitude. And that attitude is further reflected in the reluctance to do what is necessary to bring mandatory spending under control. Namely change the law.

As we saw with the failure of Social Security reform, there is no stomach to do the hard work necessary to live up to their stated ideals by the Republican party ... none. In fact, I was interested in the answers of a couple of those running for the Majority Leader's spot concerning Social Security. Instead of fundamental and enduring changes in the law, they spoke about means testing. Means testing isn't the answer. Changing the law is. The fact that they were focused on means testing tells you alot about the attitude of which I'm speaking.

Then add this abomination to the pile:
The prescription drug benefit was another victory for the redistributionists. While it is true that the left wants even more spent on that program, Republican efforts have netted an additional $1.2 trillion being redistributed over the next 10 years.
That's $1.2 trillion more out of our pockets courtesy of the "less spending, less taxes and smaller government" party.

It's rather hard to accept tax cuts as beneficial when they're given on one hand and taken away by the other through programs suchs as the prescription drug benefit.

The result? A 50% increase in the average amount of the GDP going to government by 2040:
Currently the federal government consumes about 20 percent of the GDP, which is another way of saying that about 20 percent of Americans' income, on average, is paid in taxes to the federal government. According to the Government Accountability Office, that is on course to rise to 30 percent by 2040. Most of that 30 percent would be redistributed as payments to other Americans, rather than spent on standard government services like law enforcement, transportation, defense, national parks, orspace exploration.
And for those on the left who would like to pretend it's things like the Department of Defense which is responsible, a word to the wise — that dog won't hunt:
The left should be pleased that defense spending as a percentage of the federal budget has steadily declined during the past decades. In the early 1960s the Department of Defense constituted 45 percent of federal spending, whereas this year it will constitute an estimated 17 percent, according to the Office of Management and Budget. At the same time that percentage shrank, the percentage devoted to entitlements rose. This is reflected in money allocated to the Department of Health and Human Services: It skyrocketed from just over 3 percent of federal expenditures four decades ago to an estimated 25 percent this year. With the impending retirement of the baby-boom generation in addition to the new prescription drug plan, this crowding-out of defense and other government programs, such as homeland security, will accelerate.
For the left, life is good. Why worry when your idelogical opponents are advancing your agenda for you?

I heard George Will once say (and I paraphrase) "any political enterprise which is not ideologicially conservative will become operationally liberal".

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you today's Republican Party.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
McQ, it’s a little simplistic - using a single datum, like increased federal spending, to judge a political party in a dynamic democracy like ours.

Having said that though, the best way to rein-in both parties’ spending is to drain the federal treasury.

Make the tax-cuts permanent, and keep chopping. And force the states to finance more of their own social programs, while at the same time giving them more freedom to experiment with their education, medical and legal systems.

Then get on board with any politician, from any party, who sincerely wants to shrink the Federal government. We’ve got to get the Federal-monkey off our back!
-Steve


 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
Kinda makes you wonder, though, why they’re screaming that Bush is Hitler.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
I heard George Will once say (and I paraphrase) "any political enterprise which is not ideologicially conservative will become operationally liberal".
I read the article this post is based on last night. What is to be done when an overwhleming majority of the electorate supports these programs to redistribute wealth, and they will not be educated otherwise?

Why they are screaming that
Bush is Hitler.
Is that he wants to have an effective and appropriately funded military and use it for constitutionally valid purposes, such as destroying Al Qaeda and the ground it breeds in, and that he wants to grow the redistribution programs more slowly than they do.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Steve ... the point is not to get excessively complex in attempting to relate a fairly simple point — spending is out of control and the Republicans are doing nothing to help that. In fact, as should be obvious by the data, they’re actually adding fuel to the fire.

Tax cuts: without commensurate spending cuts, they’re not "tax cuts" at all, permanent or otherwise. They can make any tax cut you wish "permanent", but when they then pass another mandatory spending bill, such as the perscription drug bill, it has to be paid for, by law, in some manner, doesn’t it? While they may call it a "fee" instead of a "tax", in reality the effect is the same on your monetary bottom line, isn’t it?

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy collapses over loose fiscal policy ... always followed by a dictatorship."

De Tocqueville.

McQ, there is nothing the Republicans can do about the nondiscretionary spending which is the real issue. I am certain the prescription drug program was undertaken solely to give the Bush administration purchase on reforming/reducing Socialist Insecurity.

It got him nowhere.

The Republicans cannot do what the public does not want them to do.

Address the root of the problem, that we are falling into de Tocquville’s succinctly described hell.

You want to be productive? A pragmatic "NeoLibertarian"?

Then stop making nonsense posts about how the Republicans won’t do what in fact the people will not stand for.

Talk about the root cause of the problem, and how to change the people’s minds.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Address the root of the problem, that we are falling into de Tocquville’s succinctly described hell.

And Pogue, make no mistake you ignorant @!#@$!@#, the DEMOCRATIC PARTY under FDR put us there.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
McQ, there is nothing the Republicans can do about the nondiscretionary spending which is the real issue. I am certain the prescription drug program was undertaken solely to give the Bush administration purchase on reforming/reducing Socialist Insecurity.
Tom .. there’s a difference between "can’t do" and "won’t do".

The Republicans always run on their ideals (less government, less spending, etc) and get elected.

They then fall back on the canard that the people don’t want this so they ’can’t’ do it? That doesn’t square with how they ran and why they were elected.

But since they’ve never seriously tired to do so (won’t do it), claiming that’s the case isn’t the most credible of arguments, is it?

If you state that reform of that sort is your aim and you get elected based on your statments, one might assume the people are for such reform. But when you never do what you promised, it’s rather hard to say it "can’t" be done or that the people don’t really want it done, isn’t it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
I’m sympathetic, as you know, McQ, but the fact remains that the numbers of R’s and D’s adding up to a slight majority of R’s isn’t enough to turn that tide; the votes simply are not there.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
The GOP has replaced the Democrats of 1970-1994. They are the new party of big government. The really frustrating thing is that they think we are so dumb we will believe it when they lie and say "I’m conservative". The government has grown 57% the last 5 years with the GOP controling the President and the House the whole time and the Senate for a year. Yet the liberal liars look us in the eye and tell us how conservative they are - *not*! Do they think we are all too stupid to be able to do grammar school arithmetic? They insult all Americans with their lies.
Liberal liars of the "Read my lips!" GOP usually get their comeuppance in less than 2 election cycles. If the House does not change course the voters will change the House. If we have to have liberals we want democrats; they are much better at it than Republicans.
 
Written By: Rodney A Stanton
URL: http://
Point taken, McQ.

And it’s a fact that most politicians are driven by careerism and self-preservation.
They then fall back on the canard that the people don’t want this so they ’can’t’ do it? That doesn’t square with how they ran and why they were elected.
Sadly, you’re right, and I think this applies to most "centrist" politicians from both parties.

I say welcome to the "Cynics’ Camp," McQ - It’s not warm here, but the view is good.

I wonder if Republicans aren’t willing to "take-on" taxes instead of spending because it is far safer for a politician to be "against taxes" than it is to be against a "Senior Drug Plan" or a "School-lunch Program." Generally people like to be seen as for Grandma’s, and kids with full tummies.

Problem is, barring any seismic shifts in the American electorate, any majoritarian Libertarian (ie. a democrat) would flock to this same, fudgy "center" in order to assert influence over our nation’s budget.
-Steve


 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
I say welcome to the "Cynics’ Camp," McQ - It’s not warm here, but the view is good.
I try to stay out of the Cynics’ Camp and instead hang out in the Skeptics’ Camp. Cynics are a little to jaded for me.
I wonder if Republicans aren’t willing to "take-on" taxes instead of spending because it is far safer for a politician to be "against taxes" than it is to be against a "Senior Drug Plan" or a "School-lunch Program."
I see it as simply political cover. Everytime you bring up the new spending their answer is ’but we cut taxes’. It’s a political charade that they are able to pull of quite handily among a great number of economic illiterates. That’s a shame.

But whenever they’re attacked about spending the first thing they do is point to the tax cuts they passed and how it spurred the economy. As we’re very used too here, that’s a red herring of the magnatude normally seen from MKUltra.
Problem is, barring any seismic shifts in the American electorate, any majoritarian Libertarian (ie. a democrat) would flock to this same, fudgy "center" in order to assert influence over our nation’s budget.
Well sometimes I think the electorate is characterized as politicians wish them to be characterized according to what they do and don’t want to do. I’m not sure anyone really has an good handle on that.

But again, when I observe Republicans run for office, they don’t run to the center. They run on traditional Republican ideals (the Republican brand if you will) and win.

To me the fact that they win on the conservative platform says that ’the electorate’ buys into what they’re selling. That they do a bait-and-switch isn’t the fault of the electorate - except when they reelect them after they’ve done that.

For once in my lifetime I’d like to see a party attempt to do what it campaigns on. The closest we’ve ever gotten to that is the 1994 Republican revolution, and even that, in some regards, was a half-hearted attempt at best.

Boldness. Audacity. Making the American people actually say "no" instead of assuming it. It would damn sure get alot more of those who can’t tell you who their representatives are involved in the process, wouldn’t it?

Of course I’m not sure that’s a partularly good idea on all fronts either.

Cynic or skeptic? ;)
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
If only that were true. In fact the present Republican Congress and administration have done more for the leftist redistributionists among us than has the left itself.
Sort of the point I have been making all along. When McQ says that the left has new ideas, my reply has been that the left has already won the war of ideas. You don’t need new ideas if you have won. You need only fend off those who would seek to dismantle your win. In some respects, the right is not doing that.

What the right is doing, however, is seeking to eliminate social (i.e., non-economic) freedoms and rights. They seek to eliminate the freedom to get an abortion, to medicate with marijuana, to have a doctor’s assistance in committing suicide, and on and on and on. When Ashcroft could not eliminate doctor assisted suicide as a member of Congress, he just waited until 2001, when he was able to use the courts.

In other words, the GOP is the party of big economic government and big social government. Which makes it all the more fascinating that self-styled libertarians would side with the GOP.

As for his point about redistribution, the author is simply out to lunch. Borrowing and spending don’t redistribute wealth downward. If the rich are getting tax cuts, how in the world can one say that their wealth is being redistributed? You can’t.

Indeed, Bush economics is about redistribution of money upward. The more we borrow, the higher the cost of borrowing. And who is hurt by the higher cost of borrowing? Those who borrow, of course, i.e., those at the lower end of the economic scale.

Current economic and fiscal policies hurt the young the most. They tend to borrow more, and they will be the ones responsible for paying back the incurred debt.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
McQ:
You’ll recall we had a discussion on this blog recently as regards Soruthern ultre and sensibility, and the Stars and Bars being a symbol of that. Cross that conversation and this, and we end up with an interesting concept that I find over at href="http://www.southernappeal.org/index.php/archives/181" target="new">Southern Appeal today:

...I was reminded of a paper that a college Constitutional Law professor of mine had written. The paper compared and contrasted the U.S. Constitution with the Constitution of the Confederate States. He wrote that while the degree of similarity between the two documents was remarkable there were a few very significant differences. One of these differences was the prohibition against omnibus bills. This prohibition is contained in Article I, Section 9 of the Confederate Constitution, which states “Every law, or regulation having the force of law shall relate to but one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title.”
It strikes me that if our Constitution had a similar provision we would not have scandals involving earmarking and other pork-barrel spending practices.

It strikes me that if our Constitution had a similar provision we would not have scandals involving earmarking and other pork-barrel spending practices. By requiring that every bill, especially spending bills, deal with only one subject we could curtail the amount of government spending while simultaneously increasing government accountability.
Hmmm. It’s an idea that has some merit, I think. And I wonder how the Democrats would react to such ideas, particularly coming from the Confederate Constitution as it does. But here again, we come to the idea that one big problem the north had with the Confederacy, was it’s concept of limited government, as expressed in the cited passage from it’s constitution....

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Skeptic on Wednesday, Cynic on Thursday? It’s a mood thing for me.

You’re right about that red herring. I’ve stepped in it before, it stinks and I purposefully avoided it.

I think an argument that deficits actually help to discourage the growth of new Federal spending makes the better case for cutting Federal spending. If a nation can’t tighten it’s belt at a time of deficits - and of war - when can it?
-Steve
 
Written By: Steve
URL: http://
the left has already won the war of ideas.
Which, of course, explains why the Democrats have control of all three branches of government.

Eh?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
In other words, the GOP is the party of big economic government and big social government. Which makes it all the more fascinating that self-styled libertarians would side with the GOP.
Well you have to be deaf, dumb and blind, and not the sharpest knife in the drawer not to understand what we "self-styled libertarians" support as concerns the GOP.

And seeing as you obviously have missed all of that I rest my case.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
If the rich are getting tax cuts, how in the world can one say that their wealth is being redistributed? You can’t.
What if they still pay a higher rate in taxes? What if they use fewer tax-funded services?
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
in 1992 we had another left wing, big government liberal Republican in the White House. Americans chose a "small government" Democrat in the election; and by a big margin. If the Republicans do not get rid of their liberal leaders the Americans will show them to the door in 06. Why do so many Republicans turn left after getting elected? Can they not remember what happened less than 20 years ago? More importantly have they fortog the two landslide elections Ronnie won!@#$?!
 
Written By: Jo macDougal
URL: http://
And Pogue, make no mistake you ignorant @!#@$!@#, the DEMOCRATIC PARTY under FDR put us there.

Don’t you see, McQ? We’ve fallen and we can’t get up.

The Republican’s should spend like Democrats to stay in power.
And there’s nothing you, or anyone else, can, or should, do about it.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Well you have to be deaf, dumb and blind, and not the sharpest knife in the drawer
Did you forget who you were talking to, McQ? Not only is that a perfect description of mkultra, it’s probably the first bullet on his resume.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com
"As for his point about redistribution, the author is simply out to lunch. Borrowing and spending don’t redistribute wealth downward. If the rich are getting tax cuts, how in the world can one say that their wealth is being redistributed? You can’t."
Perhaps one of the most ill-informed statements you’ve yet written.
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
to have a doctor’s assistance in committing suicide

Frankly, MK, I’d really prefer to have a doctor that wants to keep me alive. If you really must have someone to help you die, it shouldn’t be a doctor.

 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
If the rich are getting tax cuts, how in the world can one say that their wealth is being redistributed? You can’t.
They’re called "tax cuts" for a reason.

A) they don’t mean tax elimination

B) they go to "taxpayers"

And that which remains of the collected tax revenues is redistributed through government programs. That usually means going to a majority of non-taxpayers who aren’t eligible for tax-cuts in the first place.

Starting to understand how this works now and why, even with tax-cuts, the redistribution continues?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
fuck you but i love you
 
Written By: mike
URL: http://
I’d like to remind people that a tax rate cut does not always mean a tax revenue cut. Under the current system, a rate cut in one area can make the rate increase in another area. Pols will spend every dime in tax revenue and then some. "Deficits" are not the problem. Overall spending and the way the tax system is implemented is the problem.

Would folks whine if the income tax was a flat 7%, no deductions and could never be raised without a Constitutional amendment? I know I wouldn’t whine a whit. We need to limit the states as well. Total taxes come to about 40% of income. Plus, businesses don’t pay taxes. Business taxes are simply personal consumer taxes that are hidden and paid for by higher prices, unemployment, or both.
 
Written By: Charles D. Quarles
URL: http://spaces.msn.com/members/cdquarles/

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider