As we’re less than 100 days from the midterm elections, I think it’s a good time for a little a comparative analysis between constitutional conservatives and progressive socialists on the issue of economics.
First, let me clarify: this is not a comparison between political parties but rather philosophy of governance and the relationship between government and the individual. As I’ve said before, being a progressive has nothing to do with specific party — as Teddy Roosevelt evidenced. The fundamental difference is based on the evaluative criteria of the size and scope of government.
Progressive socialists believe government is the machine for change and is the instrument through which the needs of the individual are achieved. They feel “only government” — as President-elect Barack Hussein Obama stated countless times in a 2009 speech — is the vehicle by which social justice (read social egalitarianism) can be implemented. Let us never forget the words of first term President Obama in 2012 when he angrily proclaimed, “you didn’t build that.” Obama evidently believes if it were not for government building the roads to your door, your business would not exist.
The foolishness of Obama’s statement — and I don’t understand how he can’t know this – is that government doesn’t produce revenue. The revenue enabling construction of those roads — actually the existence of government — comes from those very same businesses you apparently didn’t build!
Going even a step further, Obama now preaches “economic patriotism” as a means to shame businesses who are bristling at his progressive socialist policies and punishing them, since he feels they don’t deserve the profits that they didn’t build anyway. Progressive socialists see the existence of the private sector solely as the fuel for their expansion of a bigger government — a sentiment wholeheartedly embraced by the senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren.
And consider the interesting irony of President Bill Clinton — heralded as the senior Democrat statesman — who said in his 1996 State of the Union address, “the era of big government is over.” Amazingly Bill Clinton did a lot to decrease the size and scope of government. He actually instituted welfare reforms — reversed by Obama — and did indeed benefit from residual Reagan economic effects, but used tax receipts intelligently to balance the budget and create a surplus.
I do however take umbrage with his cuts to defense as a means to increase some domestic spending programs — most laughably, the “midnight basketball” program.
However, in comparison to George W. Bush who embraced tax cuts but increased the size and scope of government – in other words, spending –surpluses went to deficits and debt increased over eight years by some $5 trillion.
Of course everyone loves to jump all over Bush, but Obama has already added $7 trillion to the debt and he still has two-and-a half years to go. And I know everyone wants to blame Bush for the 2008 financial meltdown tied to the mortgage industry, but there were some preceding culprits as well.
President Jimmy Carter expanded government’s role in the mortgage industry believing everyone had a “right” to own a home. He therefore created the Community Reinvestment Act, which made demands on the industry to allow individuals to secure home loans who probably should not have — hence the subprime issue. Government, in its pursuit of social justice in the housing industry, sought more centralized government control — Fannie Mae and later Freddie Mac. And it was under the Clinton administration that the critical financial regulation that separated commercial and investment banking, the Glass-Steagall Act, was repealed, allowing mortgages to be securitized and sold off — creating a financial mess.
So I do support reinstating Glass-Steagall.
Constitutional conservatives see the relationship of government to the individual as one where policies are created to support the growth of opportunity. Government should be there to provide a safety net but not a hammock. Our government must understand – and abide by — its limited scope as articulated in the Constitution, and therefore fiscal responsibility and spending priorities are key.
If the right economic policies exist — tax, regulatory, and monetary — then those folks who “did build that” can build more, expand, hire and grow. And guess what happens? Tax receipts actually increase when the burden of taxation is lower, the growth of government is restricted and policies allow small business entrepreneurship to flourish.
When in Congress I sent a letter to House Appropriations Chairman, Hal Rogers (R-Ky) and asked a simple question. Of the 12 appropriations bills, what has priority and what is the spending precedence? I suggested we develop a three-tier system and appropriately create spending priorities. But I never heard back.
Progressive socialists seek to expand the welfare nanny-state. Constitutional conservatives implement policies that get Americans back to work and spur on economic growth, opportunity, and promise. A simple comparative analysis of GDP growth between Obama and Reagan would pretty much validate that assertion.
So the question is simple for America: will we elect more progressive socialists — party irrelevant — or constitutional conservatives? The former uses fear, intimidation, and coercion with the end result being economic demise and enslavement to bigger government. The latter embraces the indomitable entrepreneurial spirit and individual sovereignty to advance policies leading to economic empowerment.
Progressive socialists don’t believe in the pursuit of happiness, as Jefferson wrote, but constitutional conservatives do. Instead progressives believe in the guarantee of happiness – which only government can provide.
It is the underlying difference in the economic theory of the two as progressive socialists embrace policies that ensure the equality of outcomes, while we constitutional conservatives fight for and defend the American way of advancing equality of opportunity.
We have a big choice this November because we sure as heck blew it in 2012.