The Los Angeles times published an OpEd by Novelist Diana Wagman, titled “Liberals vs conservatives.” In it she describes neighbors who, before she learned their political views were…
…the best neighbors in the world. Always ready with a tool, an ingredient, or a jump-start for the car. Whatever you need, if they have it, they will give it. They are a lovely family: husband, wife and four smart, funny, polite children. I was sure they were Democrats.
But, when a friendly evening of scotch drinking and poker playing drifted into politics she was horrified at what she learned about these fine folks:
He is white and his wife is African American. And they belong to the tea party. They don’t care who becomes our next president as long as it isn’t Barack Obama.
After heated political debate her opinion of her neighbors changed:
I don’t want to be friends with someone who is a member of the tea party or is a Gingrich Republican. We are not the same. I equate their political views with thoughtlessness, intolerance and narcissism. I think they are not kind or empathetic.
Not kind or empathetic? These are the same people of whom she just said: “whatever you need, if they have it they will give it.” To summarize her position she says:
My views…seem so logical to me. Of course we need to take care of those less fortunate; of course we want everybody to have the joy and legal benefits of a life partner; of course we want every baby to be wanted and every person to be safe, healthy, informed and looking forward to a better future. These things are no-brainers to me, and it kills me that my neighbor disagrees.
But her neighbor doesn’t disagree with those lofty goals with the probable exception of “legal benefits of a life partner,” code for gay marriage. What they don’t agree with is the liberal notion that government can, given enough power and financial resources, achieve those outcomes. Consider the data in this chart: [article continued below the chart]
Every federal program included in the cost of entitlements was sold to the voters in the form an outcome like those Ms. Wagman finds “no-brainers.” Politicians never say “We’re going to increase spending on entitlements by x%.” They always say something like “This program will ensure that no child goes without…” or “we’re making sure all Americans can look forward to a better future.”
But the actual outcomes, after a half century of steady increase are disappointing to say the least.
- In 1970, when the government took 6.4% of GDP for entitlements the official poverty rate was 12.6%.
- Forty years and $31 trillion later the 2010 poverty rate was 15.1%.
- In 2007, the last year before the recession it was 12.5%.
We Conservative, tea party types disagree with political programs that are sold as “no-brainer” help for people but in fact infringe on liberty and diminish economic opportunity without delivering the promised Utopian results. These government programs and have had the added negative effect of eroding the moral character of the population, resulting in even more of the behaviors that generate poverty and despair. The CDC just released a report showing that 40% of American births are to teenage girls and unmarried women, up from 18% in 1980. This is a national tragedy that followed the expansion of entitlements, not the justification for starting them.
The taxing and borrowing necessary to fund the welfare state diminishes economic opportunity in the private sector resulting in higher unemployment and lower wages for those who are employed. The very people most in need of help, the unskilled and under-educated are those most likely to be denied economic opportunity.
Ms Wagman says “we want every baby to be wanted,” which is code, not for a hope that all babies receive love, but for terminating the lives of of more babies before they are born. But abortion is a barbaric practice that kills the potential victim, not a cure for the societal forces that result in lack of love. And that unwed birth rate screams the truth that legalized abortion has not made America a better society.
The greatest anti-poverty program ever devised was the US Constitution that chartered a government of limited powers, leaving care for the needy to the states or to the people themselves. Even today, with federal and state governments spending around $4 Trillion per year it is still churches and private charities that are most successful at lifting people out of poverty, and transforming them into confident, productive citizens.
Conservatives and tea party folks believe the people themselves, using their own resources, and limitless ideas, innovations and strategies can, without government regulation and interference, best deal with poverty, suffering and lack of love.