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Succor punch (Populism, parties and inequality)
Economist ^ | Aug. 1, 2013

Posted on 08/03/2013 7:36:13 AM PDT by 1rudeboy

JONATHAN CHAIT of New York asks if conservatives can be economic populists, too, and concludes that they can't because Republicans hate helping poor people with taxpayer money, and Democrats don't. "[T]he right-wing populist analysis is...a magic trick," he writes, "a way of transmuting the party that taxes the rich to provide health insurance to the sick and poor into the party of the rich and powerful." There's definitely something to the idea that conservative populism is hampered by the conservative antipathy to progressive redistribution. However, there is a further idea, threaded throughout Mr Chait's column, that there is simply no room for conservatives on the populist high ground because the unimpeachably honest, impartial and humane Democratic Party already does everything worth doing to persecute the powerful and comfort the powerless. This is too full of benighted partisan self-love to credit.

In response to the idea that conservatives might profitably position themselves against the cronyism of government under Barack Obama, Mr Chait asserts that Mr Obama has "easily surpassed the normal presidential standard of good governance" and that the "stimulus, which conservatives predicted would devolve into a slush fund, was carried off almost spotlessly". It is the overreach of these claims that alerts us to Mr Chait's partiality. Mr Obama's administration may well have surpassed the typical presidency in even-handed, non-cronyist governance. I'm willing to entertain the idea that Mr Obama did not do more than a Republican would have done to enrich the principals of Goldman Sachs and Citibank. And it's plausible there's nothing particularly unusual in Mr Obama's green industrial-policy initiatives or the special help afforded the unions in the auto bail-out. But if the administration has "easily" exceeded the normal low standards for non-cronyism, one or two commentators other than those thoroughly in the bag for the Democratic Party might have noticed it. And if an emergency stimulus is ever deployed "almost spotlessly" in a bustling, competitive democracy, the apotheosis of humanity is nigh. The possibility of an "almost spotless" stimulus is a touching fancy, but it has no place in a clear-eyed analysis of politics.


Many Democratic partisans are even less interested in anti-cronyism than many Republicans, unless they think it will hurt Republican fund-raising, and that just goes to show that Democratic egalitarianism is as opportunistic and superficial as the Republican love of liberty. The Democratic Party is as bound up with corporate interests no less, or not much less, than the GOP. Yet Mr Chait says that "Pretending Democrats are actually succoring elites is a handy way for [advocates of conservative populism] to avoid grappling with the central issue", which is that Republicans don't like downward redistribution. Mr Chait apparently cannot see that Democrats do succor elites, that our political system is finely tuned so that the succoring will continue no matter who is in power. Moreover, all the deeper mechanisms that generate and reproduce America's peculiar patterns of income and wealth—the definition of intellectual-property rights, the structure and governance of corporations, the marginalisation and persecution of undocumented workers, the de facto apartheid of America's systems of criminal justice and public education, the evolution of family structure—seems to lack reality in Mr Chait's mind, perhaps because none affords an obvious angle for partisan electoral advantage. Rather than get bogged down in all this tricky stuff, Mr Chait prefers to reduce the whole question of inequality, of economic populism—of American politics altogether!—to a single issue, progressive redistribution, on which Democratic electoral interest and moral self-satisfaction happen to comfortably intersect. Democrats most certainly do succor elites, and this sort of glib self-righteousness about inequality is one of the ways they do it.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Philosophy; Politics/Elections

1 posted on 08/03/2013 7:36:13 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy
“Republicans hate helping poor people with taxpayer money, and Democrats don't”

Democrats don't “help poor people” they encourage them to take drugs, lie and commit fraud, steal, commit violent crime, not support their own children and become parasites on society. For every dollar of taxpayer money Democrats claim is earmarked for the “poor”, the “poor” receive between 20 and 30 cents. The rest is wasted and stolen.

The Democrats destroy the middle class. Whenever Democrats take over the self-reliant middle class is diminished and turned into lazy, taxpayer dependent criminals.

The fact that conservatives are not willing to aggressively refute the lies about how liberals are “compassionate”, “care about people” and “help people” is the reason why liberals control our government and ruin our country.

2 posted on 08/03/2013 7:47:21 AM PDT by detective
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To: detective

We can figure that out in the animal world, why can’t we figure that out in the people world?

3 posted on 08/03/2013 7:59:57 AM PDT by Yogafist
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To: 1rudeboy; detective
The idea that it is somehow compassionate, legal or wise, for the State, which is supposed to treat all equably, to redistribute the fruits of anyone's labor to anyone else, is at the heart of the Communist/Socialist concept of Government. Unfortunately for the writer's credibility, is is one of the very injustices that the Federal Constitution was written to prevent.

No one is saying that the wealthy should not find ways (charity) to help genuinely needy & deserving folks. That is not what is involved, when the focus of Government is diverted to favor one class at the expense of any citizen. To understand the difference between Charity & abuse of trust by those in Government, consider this Sockdologer.

For a direct challenge to the collectivist/egalitarian war on success, see Compassion Or Compulsion?

What passes for analysis in the journalistic world, today, would have been laughed out of print in earlier times.

William Flax

4 posted on 08/03/2013 9:56:04 AM PDT by Ohioan
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To: Yogafist

I am observing that to a large extent out modern liberals have taken what actually began as classic Christian ideas and pulled them out of the realm that they were intended to operate in. Government was in this model is not purposed to be a nanny, only a custodian with limited scope. The same people who (for good reason) in this fallen world don’t want a church to be a state, are now building the state into a church. That won’t ever end well. The “priests” stink, for one thing... and there is no competent God giving a wise bible, only works by the like of Marx.

5 posted on 08/04/2013 2:01:45 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (Whatever promise that God has made, in Jesus it is yes. See my page.)
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