Monday, June 03, 2013

A (very) hypothetical conservative party not biased in favor of the rich over everyone else

I've wondered how the Republican Party or conservative parties elsewhere could avoid being the party that favors the rich over everyone else, especially the poor. As long as we have progressive taxation, or even a flat income tax that is not a poll tax, then the whole "smaller government versus larger government" dimension biases the conservative party towards the rich, whose economic interest at a simplistic level favors smaller government. So the libertarian angle that's being pushed now isn't one that's going to change the class favoritism.

Fighting and slowing social transformation, the other side of conservatism, doesn't map immediately to class issues. You might even expect the radically-increasing economic inequality today compared to past generations to disturb some social conservatives. I think the rare and usually-unsuccessful efforts by some conservatives to alter anti-tax positions at state levels might stem in part from social conservative viewpoints. On the other hand, social transformation has generally involved acceptance of outsider groups that experience economic discrimination among other harms, so fighting attempts to fix this often aligns with being biased in favor of the rich over others.

A dimension that doesn't divide parties right now in the US is opportunity versus compassion. One party could favor spending government money, whatever the total amount may be, on funding sufficient equality of opportunity for the vast majority of citizens to achieve what they want with their lives. The other party could favor spending government money, whatever the total amount may be, on compassionate assistance to people regardless of whether they share some of the responsibility for their problems. The first party seems to me to be logically right of center, and the second to be left of center. The Opportunity Party would also tend to be the party of the young and the Compassion Party that of the older demographics. This is the opposite of the actual situation in the US where younger people are more Democratic-leaning relative to older people.

So that's the first and biggest problem - Republicans aren't very willing or able to switch generational sides in a conflict over resources. The other issue is that Republicans aren't really competing for either the Opportunity or Compassion label. Instead they hug tightly to the Small Government label, leaving both of the other two to the Democrats. The recent noise from the right about achieving equality of opportunity through the destruction of the liberal welfare state is just that - noise. If they start putting more resources behind achieving equality of opportunity than Democrats are willing to do, only then will things start getting interesting. Unlikely.


Anonymous said...

Young people like free stuff and the educational system is dominated by liberal educators. And we have recently seen what happens within an organization when the liberals get to practice their supposed tolernace and equality of opportunity. I give you the IRS.

You are right in one thing, the Democrats are winning the political game, unfortunately that is not good for the country as a whole.

As is the case with the Global Warming 'debate' anyone that is not 100% in line is a 'denier', anyone that is Republican or conservative wants no government and only does the rich's bidding.

I also agree with you that politicians should be accountable for things they say and do or choose not to do. That is why I will participate in your 2014 reelection campaign.


EliRabett said...

Oooo wants no government, another candidate for emigration to Somalia:)

Anonymous said...

The "small government" mantra is a historic sham.

The GOP means "small government" for others so that THEIR take is not diminished.

Following is a list of societal groups publicly attacked by GOP members at one time or another during the 2012 campaign.

In so doing the GOP has not only competed for but easily won the Miserable Fool "label." The question is by what conditions does the GOP continue as a political force in the US. (Besides the uniform spineless of its opposition party.)

The list:

1. women
2. veterans
3. poor
4. homeless
5. labor
6. union members
7. teachers
8. firefighters
9. nurses
10. police
11. government workers
12. youth
13. elderly, infirm & disabled
14. immigrants
15. people of color
16. Natve Americans
17. smart people
18. professors/intellectuals
19. the educated, trial lawyer,s scientists
20. girl scouts
21. media (non-FOX)
22. Hollywood
23. Protestants (Santorum)
24. Catholic Church (Cuccinelli)
25. non-Christians, atheists, agnostics
26. hippies
27. community organizers
28. middle class
29 LGBT folks
30 47% off-the-top
31. US auto industry (and its admirers)

The progressive review has its own list:

John Puma

Anonymous said...

With liberals in charge of government all of your above groups are also being attacked, simply for their political beliefs. I leave it up to the other readers to search back through history of other governments that persecuted its citizens based upon political ideology.

It is funny how liberals only want to eliminate the possiblity of the middle class becoming "rich" (hence the persecution of the $250k+ earners) so they can be the only rich ones around. Divide and dependency are the pillars of the modern Democrat party.


Brian said...

Anon 1's first sentence in first comment responds, vaguely, to the post. The second sentence references the post. Everything else from Anon 1 is standard diatribe.

John P - yes, a lot of the small government stuff is a sham, but they do seem to be turning away from Big Military a tiny bit, and conservative adoption of prison reform also tends to shrink government.

Martin said...

Now, as a Yurpean I am quite used to our slippery slope towards Hitlerstalinism here (as Hayekn prophecied), whereas rich and free Muricans are rich and free. But it still happens that people surprise me by mentioning just HOW rich Murica ist: 250+k dollars ist rich middle class ?? My envy right now knows no limits!

Of course, the logic is perfectly sound: if you eliminate the 250+k dollars middle class, those lesser ones become rich. You can illustrate the point with the Congo (chose one), for example: basically everyone there says they are rich since they slashed the one-person middle class Mobutu some 15 years or so ago. That's why they are so happy. Ask them, if you don't believe me! Also, too, in the Kinshasa one the east does not have to suffer under the government's clout, and they are very happy about that, too. Happy and rich.

ligne said...

you can just see the gears churning: "to prevent the middle classes becoming rich like us, we'll introduce punitive taxes to persecute everyone who is rich like us!"

it's like a plan hatched by Dr Evil. (if Dr Evil had just suffered near-fatal cranial trauma.)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

An histogram of US incomes is at this link:

Incomes of $250k and above comprise 2% of households.

The Bush II tax cuts, which played such a large role in exploding the national debt (now effin' important to the GOP), have been made permanent for couples/singles making below $450k/$400k.

John Puma