When I tell people about the father of the modern GOP, Irving Kristol’s book, Neo-Conservatism: The Autobiography of an Idea, about his successful efforts over the years to transform the Republican party into a “truly political party” that did not worry so much about balancing the budget as controlling it, they are often shocked. But it’s true and he lays it all out in his book (which I summarize here.)
Well friends, as the “conservative” Heritage Foundation first envisioned, and Republican Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney first implemented, President-elect Trump’s choice for Health and Human Services, Tom Price, is ready to bring home the crown jewel of the “conservative welfare state” laid out with crystal clarity by Irving himself:
The basic principle behind a conservative welfare state ought to be a simple one: Wherever possible, people should be allowed to keep their own money—rather than having it transferred (via taxes) to the state—on condition that they put it to certain defined uses.
My whole review of Kristol’s plan is a must-read, but the above passage is on point for today’s reveal. The Wall Street Journal today reported that Donald Trump put up Georgia Congressman Tom Price to head the Department of Human Services. I found this an interesting choice because if he actually effects an end to federal funding of abortion, as he says he wants, I will be amazed. The Malthusian overpopulation theory is the cornerstone of the globalist justification for a world government and I don’t see that concept losing ground anytime soon, especially given the massive funding increase coming down the pipe for all that and more, which Price would oversee.
As I read more, however, I saw immediately that Price (and perhaps Trump himself) are here to finally implement the vaunted “conservative welfare state.” Compare the above quote with this one from Price:
Mr. Price has championed his own legislation, the Empowering Patients First Act, since 2009, taking a position on a number of hot-button issues for conservative health policy thinkers. In its latest iteration, the proposal includes refundable, age-adjusted tax credits for people to buy insurance if they don’t have access to coverage through an employer or government program. People in a government program, such as Medicare, Medicaid or Tricare, would also be allowed to opt out of it and get tax credits toward the cost of private coverage instead.
This is my whole problem with “repeal and replace” rather than “repeal” – it serves the neoconservative big government agenda all too well. Mandate social spending, just force the taxpayers to do it and make sure it funnels through your cronies‘ coffers. Nice.
It’s an insidious trap for libertarians to embrace “privatized” government programs. If government requires taxpayers to spend money a certain way or if government itself is the only customer, it’s a government program that now folds in profits and privileges bestowed to private cronies–it is not free market.
More from Kristol:
If the Republican party were capable of thinking politically–i.e., thinking in terms of shaping the future–it would realize that its first priority is to shape the budget, not to balance it. Then it could go to the electorate with the proper political questions: How do you want the budget balanced? By more taxes for more governmental services? Or by lower taxes, lower governmental expenditures and incentives for the citizen to provide for his own welfare.
The conservative welfare state may be the flipside of President Peace Prize’s humanitarian wars, or like a caller once said to me, “The Democrats will never get our guns. It’ll take a Republican to do that.” The parties are best at giving their constituents the opposite of what they want because only they can keep the rabble on their side quiet.
All this time I had been worried about Killary silencing the anti-war left in service of the Endless War, but what I should have been worried about was a President Trump getting right-cover for even Bigger Government and paradigm-shifting debt. As yesterday’s Journal foretold–it’ll take a Republican to lead us into the coming debt-to-GDP no-man’s land:
Republican lawmakers may stomach larger deficits from a Republican president, but signs of tension are emerging as President-elect Donald Trump looks poised to stand by promises to slash taxes while spending more on big-ticket items, such as infrastructure and the military.
Bank stocks are already rallying at the prospect of ever-increasing national debt and rising interest rates…funny how it always ends up that way.
5 thoughts on “At Last! The "Conservative Welfare State" We Always Wanted!”
After Trump’s Tweet about flag burning, people on the left are screaming about the first amendment, some of them anyway, while some on the right are asking the government to step in and do something about it. This goes with what you were saying about the Conservative Welfare state a few weeks ago.
This is really a big yet hidden and rarely spoken about freely theme for the elite. I think without a doubt that they see the writing on the wall in terms of automation replacing most service sector, many blue collar, and many lower-skill white collar jobs. There’s already been a tremendous loss of jobs in the financial sector as a result of computerized portfolio adjusting and trading technologies. Patterns are recognized and exploited in microseconds now, which means that trading in individual stocks is effectively a zero sum game at this point. No mutual funds ever consistently beat the market now because of this.
Now, it is true that whenever jobs are destroyed are automation and/or technological advances, just as many if not more jobs are eventually created (in addition to increased productivity and consumer savings), but it’s not guaranteed that at the rate at which automation is expanding that can happen quickly enough not to create systemic problems in the job market. Also, most of this job growth will occur in highly technical and specialized professions (engineers of all sorts, consultants/law, statisticians, management, etc.) which most of the people who’ve lost their jobs or will lose their jobs due to automation are simply not capable of breaking into (be it because of age, education, intelligence level, etc.). And this is why the right-wing is now pushing for a welfare state and some prominent intellectuals on the right like Charles Murray are pushing a basic income/stipend (an unconditional deposit from the government of around $10-15k/year/person) to counteract this. I think the basic income is the real prize for them, and potentially an eventual elimination of the income tax and the imposition of high consumption taxes. The whole basic income is already a mainstreamed kind of idea in Europe.
Believe it or not, Thomas Paine was in favor of the idea, as were the Georgists in a way–they thought land was a common good…the idea makes a certain kind of sense–NOT from a libertarian or moral perspective or even strictly economic, but from a welfare state perspective in that allocating income rather than goods and services doesn’t distort efficient decision-making (except for maybe to engage in subsistence level work, but as you say, this is a response to that being eliminated)–it allows the impacts of pricing and utility to be reflected in the allocation of resources because it doesn’t subsidize education or healthcare or housing or food or whathaveyou the way school loan subsidies and obamacare and fannie/freddie and food stamps do…and it would be more honest: Hey, we’re gonna take your money and give it to your neighbor and there’s nothing you can do about it. (Taxation Is Theft!)
I recall seeing Tom Price at the GA state capital for one of the first big Tea Party rallies, which was broadcast on Hannity’s TV show, back in 2009 (or thereabouts). At the time I liked what I heard from him. He was very much against an Obamacare type health law and seemed very “free market” in what he had to say on the budget and balancing it. I’ve heard several quotes about Mr. Price’s revamping of Obamacare as his repeal and replace idea. I probably didnt see it clearly then and my instincts have always been suspicious of the wording of “replace” in Replublican rhetoric, but this article really puts it in perspective for me. Your link to Kristol’s book really ties the topic together well too. Love the new site…. been a lurker for sometime on your radio show and site. Good stuff 🙂
Awesome! I love the feedback–thank you 🙂 That Kristol thing blows my mind. I just want everyone to read it!! Seeing all the neo-cons come marching home with their Big Government plans makes me think we were really and truly had.