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The Rise of the Republicrats
The American Prospect ^ | 02 Sep 2006 | Ezra Klein

Posted on 09/02/2006 5:09:31 AM PDT by Marius3188

Conservatives swore that they’d shrink the government once they got power. Well, they have it -- and the government is bigger than ever. Now, some on the right have a surprising response: Embrace the welfare state.

Taking its name from a series of antityranny pamphlets published in the early 18th century, the libertarian Cato Institute is the foremost advocate for small-government principles in American life. Its 95 full-time employees, 70 adjunct scholars, 20 fellows, and army of interns work out of an eye-catching cube of glass and steel on Massachusetts Avenue and generated more than $22.4 million in revenues in 2005. And while Cato’s millions haven’t been enough to elect Atlas Shrugged’s John Galt president, they’ve at least made him heard: The media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting ranks Cato as the fourth most cited think tank in American media, racking up more citations than all its progressive competitors combined.

But despite its media presence -- and, more importantly, despite six years of every branch of government being controlled by the putatively free-market GOP -- all is not well within libertarian land. The state, even under George W. Bush and a Republican Congress, grows ever larger, the entitlement programs ever stronger. And so, in May 2006, Cato Unbound, the think tank’s vibrant online journal, solicited essays asking whether “the GOP and limited government have a future together.” The lead respondent, conservative intellectual and former Bush speechwriter David Frum, delivered an answer unnerving to the anxious free-market apostles: No.

Frum is certainly no enemy of small-government conservatism, which, in his book Dead Right, he identified as one of two animating impulses for conservatives (the other being anti-communism). In his essay, however, Frum minced no words about small-government conservatism’s record of failure. “Sometimes,” he wrote, “intellectual movements are called to life to save their countries at a time of challenge -- and then gradually fade away as their work is done, as the Whigs faded away in the 1850s or the Progressives after the First World War. It may be that the future of conservatism is to recognize that it belongs to the past.” Today, Frum sighed, “[t]he state is growing again -- and it is pre-programmed to carry on growing. Health spending will rise, pension spending will rise, and taxes will rise. … [T]he day in which we could look to the GOP to have an affirmative small-government vision of its own has I think definitively passed.”

Frum’s essay ignited a furor on conservative blogs. Dozens sought desperately to wriggle away from its dispiriting conclusion. Jon Henke, proprietor of the libertarian QandO, admitted that “on the question of the size of government, the Left has indisputably won.” Will Wilkinson, a Cato scholar and the managing editor of Cato Unbound, termed Frum’s piece “depressingly convincing.”

I’d go a step farther and call it irresistible. Small-government conservatism is anachronistic, but not because of Newt Gingrich’s failures. Rather, three longer-term factors have deprived the ideology of both intellectual legitimacy and popular support: structural changes in the GOP’s coalition, accelerating economic insecurity, and the empirical failure of supply-side economics.

Of these factors, the first is the most noteworthy. Through its use of cultural and “values” issues -- and, since September 11, security concerns -- the Republican Party has captured the allegiance of working-class, socially conservative whites and seen its coalition’s center of gravity shift from West to South. But recent research shows that these voters, whatever their views on gay marriage, are quite fond of the stability and protection of the entitlement state.

The dilemma for conservatism is obvious: How can a pro-business, pro-tax cut, and anti-entitlement creed such as today’s conservatism cater to this constituency without abandoning everything it has believed for 40 years? For much of the old guard, such a radical re-imagining of conservatism may prove impossible. But some younger, less tradition-bound conservative thinkers are sketching out a pro-government philosophy that supports conventionally progressive proposals like wage subsidies and child-tax credits but places them in a new context -- as rear-guard protective actions in defense of the nuclear family. That is, whereas progressives argue for economic justice for a class or classes, these conservatives are arguing for economic favoritism for families, buttressed by government policies that encourage and advantage them as the central structure of American life. It isn’t hard to see the potential appeal of that approach, and it could corner Democrats and liberals into being the party of the poor, while the GOP becomes the party of parents.

Evidence for this change in the republican coalition came with the release of the 2005 Pew Typology Survey, a comprehensive polling project conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Pew’s political typology studies, conducted in 1987, 1994, 1999, and 2005, sort the electorate into homogenous groups based on values, political beliefs, and party affiliation. The trends are telling: In 1987 and 1994, the Republican Party relied on two groups, Moralists and Enterprisers, the former emphasizing social conservatism, the latter small-government conservatism.

But the 1999 study noticed the emergence of a surprising third group: Populist Republicans. These are low-income and economically insecure Republicans who favor strong government regulation, entitlement aid, and moral enforcement; are largely centered in the South; and attend church regularly. By 2005, this group had solidified into Pro-Government Conservatives, and proven itself more than a momentary statistical artifact. Fully 80 percent of Pro-Government Conservatives believe the government must do more to help the needy, even if it means going into debt. More than 60 percent believe that environmental regulations are worth the cost, 83 percent fear the power corporations have amassed, and 66 percent believe government regulation is necessary to protect the public interest. Most tellingly, only 29 percent report that “paying the bills is not generally a problem,” as opposed to 88 percent of the Social Conservatives (the updated name the study gave the Moralists) and Enterprisers. That financial insecurity, more so than anything else, may explain their unwillingness to see the safety net shredded.

Scott Keeter, director of survey research at Pew, notes “this group really diverges from other [conservative] groups in how government should use its power.” Nevertheless, in 2004, Pro-Government Conservatives remained in the Republican coalition, held there by social conservatism and, more importantly, national security. “When it came down to it,” Keeter says, “people’s economic anxieties were not as severe as their security anxieties.”

But with the GOP’s national security bona fides lying tattered in Iraq and the American people tiring of war, small-government conservatism represents a sort of ticking time bomb for the right. “If [national security] concerns recede or are replaced by concerns about the endless nature of the Iraq War,” Keeter says, “then these individuals are available to the Democratic Party.”

The Democrats may also gain from the shifting interests of a second group: Social Conservatives. While distinct for the typology’s purposes, these voters share the Pro-Government Conservatives’ beliefs about regulation and corporate power, with 88 percent fearing Big Business’s influence and 58 percent agreeing that regulation is necessary to safeguard the public interest. And large majorities of both Pro-Government Conservatives and Social Conservatives support the government guaranteeing health care (even if it requires raising taxes), raising the minimum wage, and repealing either all or some of the Bush tax cuts. Many of these voters are recent recruits to the GOP, absorbed during the Southern realignment of the past 40 years, during which once-monolithic Democratic control of all levels of government has ceded to a reality in which more than 50 percent of state houses, 60 percent of governor’s mansions, 90 percent of the South’s senators, and more than 60 percent of their counterparts in the House.

Meanwhile, the traditionally Republican, libertarian interior West is trending blue. Ryan Sager, author of the forthcoming book The Elephant in the Room, has been tracking the cobalt creep. “In 2004,” he writes, “Democrats took over both chambers of the Colorado legislature and sent the Democrat Ken Salazar to the U.S. Senate to replace a retiring Republican, Ben Nighthorse Campbell. … That same year, Montana elected its first Democratic governor in two decades. … Democrats won four out of five statewide offices in that election and also took control of Montana’s house and senate. Counting Schweitzer, Democrats now hold the governorships of four of the eight states that make up the interior West; in 2000, they held none.”

Sager, who got the researchers at Pew to break their polling data down by region, found that “the West was the least likely to believe that corporations were keeping you down or people don’t have ultimate control over their own destiny. They stand out on all issues as more traditionally libertarian and self-reliant.” Yet this Republican tilt is being overwhelmed by Hispanic immigration into the region and California exiles. These migrant populations have eroded the GOP’s hold on this region, and as they wrest the West from the conservative coalition, the territory’s libertarian pull on the Republican Party weakens.

At the same time the electoral ground has shifted beneath small-government conservatism, its intellectual and empirical foundations have collapsed. To some degree, this was predicted by the political scientists Lloyd Free and Hadley Cantril in the 1960s. They found that the country is rhetorically conservative and operationally liberal, and so they foresaw that conservative rhetoric would prove potent in campaigns but suicidal in office, leading to a dysfunctional political system in which voters support candidates whose policies they would later reject.

The small-government movement’s attempt to square that circle was supply-side economics -- the argument that by cutting taxes the government would spur investment, grow the economy, and thus see an absolute increase in government revenues. But when Ronald Reagan tested the stratagem in office, deficits and not revenues skyrocketed, and inequality shot up. Still, tax cuts remained politically popular, and the small-government crowd devised the so-called “starve-the-beast” strategy -- continue to fight for lower taxes while forcing spending cuts in order to balance the budget.

But a funny thing happened on the way to a small government: Government grew. William Niskanen, Cato’s chairman, recently crunched the numbers. He found that over the period 1981 through 2000, “there was a strong negative correlation between the relative level of federal spending and tax revenues. … [F]ederal spending increased by about one-half percent of GDP for each one percentage point decline in the relative level of federal tax revenues.” When taxes are low, voters are happy to green light further spending. And because Congress can deficit spend, legislators focused on the next election -- as opposed to the next generation -- found that they could have their cake and eat it, too. Is it any wonder the government grew fat?

In the states -- 49 of which are statutorily forced to balance their budgets -- deficit spending wasn’t an option. So small-government extremist Grover Norquist sought to starve the beast in a more direct manner, extracting antitax pledges from 1,200 of the nation’s state office holders and targeting tax raisers for electoral execution. But, as reported in the March 2005 Washington Monthly, Norquist’s strategy has begun to implode, with his former allies in the governors’ mansions breaking their oaths. Mitch Daniels, Bush’s first budget director, was the recipient of Norquist’s 2002 “Hero of the American Taxpayer” award. Two years later, he became governor of Indiana, and proposed a 29 percent hike in the income tax for the highest bracket to close a $600 million budget gap. Norquist raged against the betrayal, warning that “Governor Daniels [was] closing Indiana for business” and counseling Americans to “turn to people like [Texas] Governor Rick Perry ... for alternative solutions.” Days later, Perry offered up a tax increase of his own. It had turned out that starving the beast sounded good to voters, but starving the schools didn’t.

Speaking to Norquist, I glimpsed the pathological inflexibility aiding his movement’s deterioration. After listening to his astute explanation of the challenges faced by an emergent philosophy, I asked whether, in this period of rising economic insecurity, stagnating middle-class incomes, and increased inequality, the conservative movement wouldn’t need to evolve. Suddenly, the incisive analyst I’d been speaking to a moment before disappeared, and Norquist collapsed into a robotic recitation of conservative talking points. Asked about risk, he promised growth and “the guarantee that if you earn a dollar, you’ll keep a dollar. A guarantee the left won’t give you.” But they will guarantee that if you lose a dollar, you won’t lose your health care, and that’s what the broadest swath of the electorate is actually worried about.

Jared Bernstein, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, best summarized Norquist’s bind: “There’s no small-government solution for globalization. There’s no small-government solution for force 5 hurricanes. There’s no small-government solution to the health care crisis. There’s no small-government solution to economic inequality.”

But if small-government conservatism lacks solutions, conservatives who want to keep controlling the government need to find some. And among the movement’s intellectual elite, there are stirrings of a search for a somewhat pro-government outlook that counters the liberal prescriptions for economic justice and redistribution with a platform advantaging and protecting the traditional family from the forces that seek to rip it asunder. It’s the putative pro-family goals of social conservatism transposed onto the economic realm, and, as Democrats have been telling us for years, they make a lot more sense there. The ideological argument over stay-at-home parenting, after all, is hardly worth having if the mortgage has already decided in favor of double shifts for both parents.

An early template came last November in The Weekly Standard, which featured an article by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam arguing that the GOP is “an increasingly working-class party, dependent for its power on supermajorities of the white working-class vote, and a party whose constituents are surprisingly comfortable with bad-but-popular liberal ideas like raising the minimum wage, expanding clumsy environmental regulations, or hiking taxes on the wealthy to fund a health-care entitlement.” They identified a new breed of “Sam’s Club Republicans” and urged GOP politicians to take the economic fears and anxieties of their constituents seriously. Doing so “would mean matching the culture-war rhetoric of family values with an economic policy that places the two-parent family … at the heart of the GOP agenda.” They even admitted that such a program would “begin with the recognition of a frequent left-wing talking point -- that over the past few decades, returns to capital have escalated while returns to labor have declined, and that the result has been increasing economic insecurity for members of the working and middle classes.”

Imagining a “virtuous cycle in which increased working-class economic security shores up familial stability,” Douthat and Salam suggest a policy platform that sounds more progressive than anything mainstream Democrats are willing to support: Subsidies to stay-at-home parents, pension rules that count child-rearing as labor, serious wage subsidies to low-income single men (who are currently frozen out of many welfare programs), and a tax code that does more to reward work than wealth.

Elsewhere, in the November 7, 2005, issue of The National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru offered a tax plan in the same spirit. Blasting the current tax code for “punish[ing] investment in children,” he proposed a replacement -- a “pro-family” tax code that, among other things, triples the child tax credit while lowering the burden on households with children and raising it on those without. “Some conservatives,” Ponnuru frets, “will say this plan is too progressive.” Having read it, I have trouble seeing how. What Ponnuru actually fears is that some conservatives will notice the plan has a point beyond the relentless lowering of tax rates and shrinking of government -- helping the traditional family survive the current economic moment. It’s conservatism with a pro-family, rather than antigovernment, goal.

A shift to a pro-family economic policy would create a more intellectually coherent, and dangerous, opponent than progressivism has faced in decades -- one that could obviate liberal claims to best represent the economic interests of the middle and working class.

Bernstein described a series of focus groups he attended where the apparently antigovernment conservatives in the room revealed a more complex critique of the state, complaining that “when Democrats are in charge, the poor rip the government off, and when Republicans control it, the rich do the thievery, and either way, middle-class folks are left holding the bag. They want a level playing field and the opportunity to achieve their goals.”

That’s a more dangerous sentiment than it may first appear. While the Democratic Party has lost elections, its economic vision has continued to triumph, ensuring the preservation of the entitlement state and the continuation of the government’s role as guarantor of the safety net. For all their caterwauling to the contrary, Republicans have in practice caved in to a basically progressive conception of the state, preferring instead to take their stands on culture and foreign policy.

Social conservatism, during this period, has acted on its own -- a set of popular moral ideals with no corresponding economic vision. Were the ruin of small-government conservatism to yield to the emergence of pro-family economic conservatism, however, the traditional Democratic critique that moral values are a poor substitute for economic concerns would slam ineffectually into an ideology that fully agreed, and that had in fact united the two. What would be progressivism’s rejoinder?

Of course, the intellectual elegance of magazine articles and demographic data will have to face down the demands of big business, the bluster of ideologues, and the vagaries of American politics. As demographic analyst Ruy Teixeira points out, the GOP is not just an empty vessel awaiting the strongest possible ideology, but a collection of special interests and demanding constituencies out to get theirs. So wondering about a progressive change may be “somewhat far-fetched in light of how the current Republican Party is configured,” Teixeira says. “This coalition would have to be really convinced that they had no choice.”

As any Democrat knows, though, even a mild electoral loss can send a party into a deep spiral of self-loathing. If the 2006 elections and the 2008 presidential race don’t break well for the GOP, the search for answers will be on. But this isn’t about the next election, or even the election after that. Politics is more structural than commonly understood, and parties really see their agendas and directions shaped by the demands of the moment. If the electoral “market” exhibits untapped demand, a savvy politician or desperate party will move to capitalize.

In that way, politics is a game of follow the leader, and among the leaders in coming years will be rising health costs, stagnating wages, and rampant insecurity. The GOP will have to adapt to these realities or it will perish. As of now, their responses have been scattershot, like John McCain’s anticorporate populism or Mitt Romney’s universal health care plan. Eventually, the impulse for integration and coherence will overwhelm, and the isolated instances of Republican progressivism will be rolled into a whole that can be relabeled “conservative.”

For Democrats, being boxed in as the Party of the Poor while the GOP assumes the mantle of the family is an electoral nightmare. A conservative progressivism primarily for the middle class and discriminating against the underclass, while less just, will be politically potent, promising downscale whites all the benefits of redistribution without all the subsidization of urban blacks. Call it the rise of the Republicrats. Call it a disaster.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; Miscellaneous; Unclassified
KEYWORDS: biggovernment; culturalmarxism; government; homosexualagenda; liberals; liberaltarians; welfarestate

1 posted on 09/02/2006 5:09:34 AM PDT by Marius3188
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To: Marius3188
Call it a disaster.


"nuff said

Though it would explain the agonizing sharp pain I have been feeling in  my back

2 posted on 09/02/2006 5:16:58 AM PDT by grjr21
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To: Marius3188
He needn't worry. The Iranians will take care of our epic welfare state shortsightedness.
3 posted on 09/02/2006 5:18:58 AM PDT by JasonC
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To: Marius3188

They can be removed.


4 posted on 09/02/2006 5:23:01 AM PDT by cripplecreek (If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?)
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To: Marius3188

While I disagree with many Frum's particulars, I think that Republicans and conservatives generally MUST face up to certain plain demographic and economic realities:

(1) American workers will continue to become less competitive globally, as low wage countries continue to ramp up their productivity, capacity, and sophistication far faster than they are ramping up their workers' wages. The equilibrium point -- of real, taxable income derived from productivity -- is probably somewhere around HALF of the real, taxable income received by an average worker in America now.

(2) the burden of Baby Boomer's Medicare, Medicaid for end of life, Social Security, and state and local public worker pensions is ENORMOUS now, and it will become even larger when technology figures how to extend the typical retiree's life by 10 or more years from where the actuaries now figure it. And if the actuaries are TOO optimistic about birth rates and net immigration, as they may well be, then there will be even fewer workers to support the retirees than now modeled.

What this means is that before very long, the majority of Americans will be DIRECTLY dependent upon government intervention to maintain the decent lifestyle they see as their right. Retirees and the soon-to-be-retired need the government to support them. Workers will need the government to subsidize (in one way or another) their lack of productivity vs. global competition AND offset the burden of supporting the retirees. And when you factor in everyone who makes a living from selling goods and services to that vast group of people, well, there's another source of support for intervention.

Republicans will need to have good, timely and sensible answers to these challenges. Some of those answers WILL be strategic retreats, but others of them need to be strong, principled defenses of the market, which are nevertheless sensitive to realities. Choice in education can be victorious, choice in healthcare can be preserved and even grow, incentives for innovation and entrepreneurship can be maintained, etc.

The one thing that is quite certain is that more appeals to social conservativism will NOT be the solution. A lot of people may dislike abortion and gay marriage; very few of those people are going to be willing to SACRIFICE to vindicate those views. When a Democrat, without capable Republican refutation, puts the choice to people that they can either start to live like the working class in Shanghai or Bangalore, or just decide to live and let live regarding gay marriage, but not both, don't have any doubt which may most people will go.


5 posted on 09/02/2006 6:21:44 AM PDT by only1percent
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To: only1percent
When a Democrat, without capable Republican refutation, puts the choice to people that they can either start to live like the working class in Shanghai or Bangalore, or just decide to live and let live regarding gay marriage,... The only way the Left can win is to undermine conservatives in the Republican party...

Nice try...

6 posted on 09/02/2006 6:56:47 AM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (LET'S ROLL!)
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To: only1percent
When a Democrat, without capable Republican refutation, puts the choice to people that they can either start to live like the working class in Shanghai or Bangalore, or just decide to live and let live regarding gay marriage,...

The only way the Left can win is to undermine conservatives in the Republican party...

Nice try...

7 posted on 09/02/2006 6:57:26 AM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (LET'S ROLL!)
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To: Marius3188

CATO is Trojan Horse for Cultural Marxism...

The only way the Left can win is to undermine conservatives in the Republican party...


8 posted on 09/02/2006 6:59:53 AM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (LET'S ROLL!)
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To: Marius3188

seems like typical divide and conquer.

Someone is trying to recreate the balcanized party of consensus democrats. (compared to republicans party of principle, in theory)

Democrats have been trying to split social policy from fiscal policy.

This is all nutty and nitpicking. Democrats bring the democrat hangers on. Democrats brought the Gorlick Wall, Friend of Hitlary Janet Reno, Nancy Communist Peolosi.

Instead we need to increase the number of republicans so the RINOs become expendible.


9 posted on 09/02/2006 7:15:57 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: only1percent

Well said - I'd only add that there are a lot of paradoxes that it's currently impossible for either conventional “liberal” or “conservative” approaches to resolve.

One example is immigration. Substantial immigration is the only way we can archive sufficient demographic balance to support the large demographic bulge of older Americans over the next 40 years - just asking (or forcing) people to “save more for retirement” without sufficient available younger workers during their retirement years does not solve the problem as it will bid up the price of services being provided by a too small number of working age Americans to too large a number of retries – those who save more will be relatively better off, but retirees as a group will be worse off in absolute terms.

But meanwhile, immigration almost certainly depresses the wages of native-born workers, possibly creates a short-term net-cost (it appears that the jury is still out on the accounting) and certainly creates social and political friction between recent immigrants, earlier immigrants, and native-born Americans – which in turn is mostly exploited by politicians in both major parties for short-term political advantage rather than long-term economic and political stability.


10 posted on 09/02/2006 7:23:27 AM PDT by M. Dodge Thomas (More of the same, only with more zeros at the end.)
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood

your are right:

Reverend Walis saying religion is for the Democrat Party
"Log" Cabin Republicans (homosexual group pretending to be republican)
Republicans for Abortion

We can go on and on
It points out that Demcrats have no more power and need to pull power from Republicans. Just look at the DNC talking points.


11 posted on 09/02/2006 7:29:26 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: M. Dodge Thomas

I think the immigration debate is being spun with little common sense involved.While it's a no brainer that there will be more younger working people required to support the aging boomer generation as well as supporting the rest of the financial requirements of the country,the answer of essentually letting the bars down and allowing anybody who can get here to come in is counter productive.The notion that bringing huge amounts of people to an economic\education\social level in the near future to make a positive difference I believe is a pipe dream.The truth of the matter is that it's going to take a large amount of the nations capital to get many of these people to the point needed to make a positive difference !!!


12 posted on 09/02/2006 8:05:44 AM PDT by Obie Wan
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To: only1percent
When a Democrat, without capable Republican refutation, puts the choice to people that they can either start to live like the working class in Shanghai or Bangalore, or just decide to live and let live regarding gay marriage, but not both, don't have any doubt which may most people will go.
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

This scenario is only possible if you take as a given that the government in question has the ability to provide it's citizens with these choices. It will always be the conservative position that the people are the only agent that can provide these services to themselves. Government has a very limited role in peoples lives if it is to be successful.

America is now a debtor nation. We are paying bills on credit. We have mortgaged the equity on our homes and real property with the assumption that prosperity will always bless America. We have deluded ourselves into thinking that America controls its own destiny and the destiny of the entire world. We are now a service orientated economy that imports what it needs from nations that produce. Consequently our government can no longer guarantee that it will be able to provide for our well being into the future. Entitlements will come due and government won't be able to pay. Oil is no longer in our control. Basic goods are imported and depend on exporting countries being willing to take our notes as payment for their goods.

America is like the drug addict who, when first using the drug, finds a euphoria and excitement never experienced before. As he continues to seek that euphoria he demands increasing amounts of the drug until finally he is past his ability to pay, and experiences the inevitable breakdown in which his euphoria is turned into a nightmare of constant craving of that which he can never have.

We are heading for that breakdown, after years of euphoria. The Iranian-muslim threat will be the catalyst. Oil will be the weapon, and depression and possible chaos will be the result.

The things that the government should be doing, defeating our enemy, defending our borders. It is failing to do. The things that it has no business doing, public education, health care, social security, welfare, food stamps, environmental protection, affirmative action, and on and on, it is doing to excess. This is the formula for disaster. There can be no compromise on our basic founding principles. We will suffer the consequences of the road we are going down, and soon. The difference between republicans and conservatives is that republicans must get elected. It is the duty of the people, conservatives included, to demand that elected officials act in our best interests. In the end we will get for better or worse, the government we deserve.
13 posted on 09/02/2006 8:21:38 AM PDT by photodawg
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To: Obie Wan
The truth of the matter is that it's going to take a large amount of the nations capital to get many of these people to the point needed to make a positive difference !!!

I don't know about "a large amount" but certainly it's a "substantial" amount.

But the reverse is also true – it's an impolitic truth that a lot of the labor that is going to be needed is relatively low-grade “social capital”.

For example visit a typical “retirement home”, the majority of the labor that keeps it running does not require anything beyond a seventh-grade education, and much of it does not even require literacy.

And in fact, it would probably be difficult to staff it - in anything like it's current form and function anyway - with better educated and more sophisticated workers.

14 posted on 09/02/2006 8:33:09 AM PDT by M. Dodge Thomas (More of the same, only with more zeros at the end.)
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To: M. Dodge Thomas

I don't think we've got a shortage now or in the future of uneducated poor people to fill nursing home jobs.As a matter of fact I personally know a number of people who would fit nicely into these jobs but you see they're on welfare or disability,(for what exactly I can't figure out) so their not interested in these jobs or any others for that fact !!!


15 posted on 09/02/2006 8:48:07 AM PDT by Obie Wan
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To: photodawg
It has always been the position of American voters that government can solve their problems. The only politically-viable debate is "how." Conservatives have done moderately well by saying "government will, in the main, facilitate the market, and encourage traditional family structure." When problems change, the answers that liberals AND conservatives will change. Our challenge is to anticipate those problems, and think through what the right (politically viable) answers to this are. I agree that in a certain sense we're headed for a breakdown, but you don't seem to want to address the consequences: what are the solutions that we will have to offer? In the last serious delocation (the Great Depression) conservatives had no palatable solutions to offer, and this led to a 50-year abeyyance of conservative thought in political influence.
16 posted on 09/02/2006 8:51:56 AM PDT by only1percent
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To: Marius3188
Conservatives swore that they’d shrink the government once they got power.

Problem with this article starts at the beginning. Conservatives aren't in power. There's nary a one in the republican parth these days.
17 posted on 09/02/2006 8:55:59 AM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: M. Dodge Thomas

You clearly don't understand the purpose of the government.

Your solution is very 'command economy' style sovietism.


18 posted on 09/02/2006 8:58:35 AM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: Marius3188

3200 words to say the obvious. Everything is growing long.


19 posted on 09/02/2006 9:11:45 AM PDT by RGSpincich
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To: Marius3188; Everybody
"-- antigovernment conservatives in the room revealed a more complex critique of the state, complaining that "when Democrats are in charge, the poor rip the government off, and when Republicans control it, the rich do the thievery, and either way, middle-class folks are left holding the bag.
They want a level playing field and the opportunity to achieve their goals."
That's a more dangerous sentiment than it may first appear.

--- For all their caterwauling to the contrary, Republicans have in practice caved in to a basically progressive conception of the state, preferring instead to take their stands on culture and foreign policy. --"

Wise words. -- The 'welfare state' as it is presently set up has middle-class folks left "holding the bag."
--- Either we "level the playing field", or the system will collapse.

Blaming the messenger [the Cato Institute] for this political fact is useless.

20 posted on 09/02/2006 9:13:55 AM PDT by tpaine
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To: RGSpincich
Heh. Well said. I posted this because even from the Liberal side they think the Gov't is getting bigger.

As for the Republicrat scenario, I think it has comes down to Fabianism as a whole by both parties. And as a result, we are stuck in the potential of being a big brother Gov't for the future. Not a pleasant sight.
21 posted on 09/02/2006 11:38:16 AM PDT by Marius3188 ( I have not told half of what I saw - Marco Polo)
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To: only1percent
It has always been the position of American voters that government can solve their problems
''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Always! I think not. Conservatives had the same answers for the great depression as they do now. there are no easy answers. Hard work and initiative and freedom will always work,as Rush says, whenever its tried. desperate people who were unwilling to take the medicine that didn't taste good, jumped at the Democrat "quick fix" chicken in every pot solution. This was nothing more than a delay of the inevitable. If things had been fixed back in the thirties we wouldn't be at the breaking point now.

Solutions: Energy independence whatever it takes. Individuals and businesses spending to cut the dependence on oil. The free market is ready for this as the price and scarcity of oil escalates. Defeat islam, let the military do its job. Close the boarders for defense reasons. Back the dollar with adequate fractional reserves of gold so the government can't just print money. Abolish government social security and privatize it. We are at the point that these things must be done for the nation to survive. The grass roots Americans are still the majority. If honest leadership surfaces we will galvanize the effort and prevail. Every generation has responded to the need to preserve freedom, so will this one.
22 posted on 09/02/2006 1:33:57 PM PDT by photodawg
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To: hedgetrimmer
You clearly don't understand the purpose of the government. Your solution is very 'command economy' style sovietism.

Uh... I didn't offer a solution.

23 posted on 09/02/2006 1:50:03 PM PDT by M. Dodge Thomas (More of the same, only with more zeros at the end.)
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood

Gay "marriage" is of course a bad joke, but it makes a lot of sense to ultraleft lunatics whose goal (apparently) is extinction of homo sapiens. Gay sex leads to disease and exactly zero babies.


24 posted on 09/02/2006 1:56:54 PM PDT by pleikumud
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To: M. Dodge Thomas
You said:

Substantial immigration is the only way we can archive sufficient demographic balance to support the large demographic bulge of older Americans over the next 40 years
25 posted on 09/02/2006 2:04:25 PM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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Bookmark for later reading.


26 posted on 09/02/2006 2:36:56 PM PDT by surely_you_jest
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To: Marius3188

With "70 adjuct scholars" I'd say the Cato Institute is a flop.

They are disappointed in Republicans, who they expect will do as they please on the economy.

Why doesn't the article state similar disappointment that the Republicans have not legalized drugs, prostitution, and various other Libertarian causes?

Not to mention their spokesperson from afore, Harry Browne, who scolded America for being the cause of 9/11/2001.


27 posted on 09/02/2006 3:12:49 PM PDT by truth_seeker
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To: longtermmemmory

"Instead we need to increase the number of republicans so the RINOs become expendible."

Clue. Your odds of persuading people to join your side, your beliefs, your causes are inversely proportional with the extend to which you call them names.


28 posted on 09/02/2006 3:22:01 PM PDT by truth_seeker
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To: hedgetrimmer
(You said) "Substantial immigration is the only way we can archive sufficient demographic balance to support the large demographic bulge of older Americans over the next 40 years"

That's not a solution - or a program - it's a demographic fact.

29 posted on 09/02/2006 3:31:22 PM PDT by M. Dodge Thomas (More of the same, only with more zeros at the end.)
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To: longtermmemmory

This particular story in the thread shows just how obsessed the Left is with this issue, it is their Holy Grail... they will use all manner of lies (in this case, some imagined extortion) to achieve it.

The CATO Institute, who claims to be a "libertarian" think tank and supposedly advocates lower taxes is a 501(c) tax-exempt corporation - - THEY ARE ON NON-PROFIT CORPORATE WELFARE... look at how much money they pulled in... Grover Norquist gets quite a cushy salary from government largesse... what a phony...


30 posted on 09/02/2006 5:01:12 PM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (LET'S ROLL!)
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To: longtermmemmory
Oh, by the way... the article also claims they are the heirs of the Ayn Rand philosophy... that is a lie. The Ayn Rand Lexicon (edited by Harry Binswanger), tells how the Marxists will always base their arguments in economics... something that has absolutely nothing to do with homosexuals...

CATO is a phony Marxist front group...

Any of these so-called "libertarians" had better know Ayn Rand upside down and inside out before they present any Objectivist argument... I have read all of her books.

Their trouble is that they just parrot what they hear and have never read any them and it exposes their intellectual laziness...

Anything contrary to Genesis is what drives these people... It is ironic that Ayn Rand was a Russian Jew, because a lot of these folks have built up a cult around her dead body like the Marxists did with Lenin's dead body...

31 posted on 09/02/2006 5:13:15 PM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (LET'S ROLL!)
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To: Marius3188
One phrase from the forward of the Constitution of the United States is at the heart of both the Democratic and Republican Parties, "promote the general Welfare". They differ in how they set about achieving this.

The Democrats promotes direct government involvement through government bureauracray that creates jobs.

The Republican Party promotes indirect government involvement by sourcing out government jobs to the private sector. Make a note here: These jobs are still government funded jobs.

Both the Democrats and Republicans embrace economic policies that put money in a state of constant movement within the economy. A cornerstone of this policy was changing our nation from a nation of savers to borrowers.

Both the Democrats and Republicans recognize the economic disaster that would befall the nation if direct, or indirect government jobs were dramatically curtailed. Both parties played major roles in dispatching our precise industrial base out of our nation. Neither can claim a high ground on this fundamental issue. It was the loss of the private sector jobs associated with the industries that forced both the Democratic and Republican Party into further government involvement in the economy with the creation of direct and indirect government job creation.

Neither the direct or indirect creation of government jobs would be possible with deficit spending. There are but two ways to curb the expansion of growth in direct and indirect government job growth. Both are difficult to achieve. Balancing the budget is one. The other is restoring our industrial base.

Balancing the budget would create hardships on millions as there would be few good paying jobs available in the private sector for those laid off from direct and indirect government jobs.

Restoring our industrial base would allow the private sector to create new jobs. Restoring the industrial base would also create an economic climate where direct and indirect government jobs can be eliminated over a period of time.

Since the days of the Nixon Administration the Republican Party has cleverly disguised their smaller government policy by shifting direct government paid jobs to indirect government paid jobs. Both are ultimately paid for by the government, but by outsourcing the government jobs the Republican Party has often laid claim to shrinking the number of people working for the government and claiming growth in private sector job creation. What the Republicans cannot lay claim to is shrinking the cost of government as often the cost of privatizing government jobs is more costly than the direct government paid positions they eliminated. They did after-all move these government jobs into the private sector where companies must have a profit to survive, unlike the federal government.

There is no easy solution that can save our nation from great domestic pain. The longer a good solution is delayed, the more painful it will be upon a larger portion of our population. If delayed until economic calamity comes, neither the Democratic or Republican Parties will survive.
32 posted on 09/02/2006 5:31:11 PM PDT by backtothestreets
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To: M. Dodge Thomas

Oh its a program alright, and one that has not been endorsed by the American people. The complete lack of enforcemen of our border has broken our republic and undermined the rule of law. All this so 'economists' can plan our economy? A free country no more, if you prescribe this disasterous medicine.


33 posted on 09/02/2006 6:14:14 PM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: backtothestreets
Since the days of the Nixon Administration the Republican Party has cleverly disguised their smaller government policy by shifting direct government paid jobs to indirect government paid jobs. Both are ultimately paid for by the government, but by outsourcing the government jobs the Republican Party has often laid claim to shrinking the number of people working for the government and claiming growth in private sector job creation

So true. This technique has made NGOs arms of the government and private companies, through public-private partnerships also unconstitutional arms of the government. The danger to the freedom of the American people is now pronounced and endemic.
34 posted on 09/02/2006 6:16:34 PM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: little jeremiah

Here is one to add to your ping-list... read it carefully and see the tortured anti-logic they use to justify homosexual monogamy...


35 posted on 09/02/2006 6:58:35 PM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood (LET'S ROLL!)
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To: hedgetrimmer
Well, what's your proposal, for example, for elder care?

Who's going to change your diapers when you get dementia?

This a highly labor intensive activity – you can't easily “productivity increase” your way out of the problem, nor do there appear to be viable alternatives to shift this responsibly back onto individual families – if you think your kids are gonna' do it, ask yourself if they are going to be able to afford to leave the workforce for 5 or 10 or 15 years to take care of you – remember there's going to be a severe labor shortage, and they can't hire someone else to do it even if they want to.

Nor does it seem likely there are “technological” solutions, unless you are optimistic that robotics will soon have advanced to the point where they can perform such tasks satisfactorily.

Or, maybe we could “export" the problem by sending Grandma to Central America, to be cared for by abundent low-wage workers there, instead of importing Central American workers to care for her here? "Out of sight, out of mind”, as they say"?

This is just one example of the sorts of practical problems you encounter when you get the sort of ratios of employed to retired citizens we will be seeing in the nest 30 years, and to every one of them the the practical answer is that we are going to have to do something to change that ratio.

And if you have some suggestion other than rather large scale immigration, I'd like to hear it.

Now, these is noting in this view that supposes that we have to operate as we do at present , with any damn person who choses swimming the river.

But I just don't see how we can avoid large scale immigration if we want to keep this economy running over the next thirty years - in anything like it's present form anyway - without ruinous taxation of a relatively ever shrinking proportion of still employed workers.

36 posted on 09/02/2006 7:59:39 PM PDT by M. Dodge Thomas (More of the same, only with more zeros at the end.)
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To: Sir Francis Dashwood

Thanks, Sir!


37 posted on 09/02/2006 8:36:08 PM PDT by little jeremiah
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To: M. Dodge Thomas
But I just don't see how we can avoid large scale immigration if we want to keep this economy running over the next thirty years - in anything like it's present form anyway - without ruinous taxation of a relatively ever shrinking proportion of still employed workers

If we stop thinking like socialists trying to run a centrally planned economy, we will be much more successful.
38 posted on 09/03/2006 6:41:25 AM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: truth_seeker

RINOs never admit they are rinos or believe they are rinos. (see specter, mccain, christinetoddwhitman,guiliani)

Taking the specter example, we want to have as many true conservatives in the republican wings so when specter does retire, the odds of another (self denied) rino are very low.


39 posted on 09/03/2006 12:03:35 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: hedgetrimmer
If we stop thinking like socialists trying to run a centrally planned economy, we will be much more successful.

I'm taking about classic market economics - the demand for such services is going to go up, the relative supply is going to go down, the services are going to become (much) more expensive - what's “Socialism” got to do with it?

And for that matter, it's more often “conservatives” - not “liberals” - who want more government interference in the international labor flows - if your boss would rather hire Pedro for $10.00 an hour to do the job you are doing for $25, classic neoliberal economics says he should be allowed to do, and it makes no distinction between importing Pedro to work here or exporting the work to Pedro – it does not recognize the legitimacy of creating “national” borders to control labor flows.

So it's the people who favor admitting as many low wage immigrants as the economy will absorb who are practicing “free market economics”, and the people who want the government to limit immegration to below market demand who want Federal enforced “central planning” of the labor market.

That the thing about “free markets”: they can be a real bitch if it's your ox that's getting gored.

40 posted on 09/03/2006 3:48:54 PM PDT by M. Dodge Thomas (More of the same, only with more zeros at the end.)
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