Saturday, June 23, 2007

Russ Douthat explains why Conservatives are unfit to govern.

Well not directly. Here he writes "there’s something slightly perverse about pursuing humanitarian ends through policies that lower the incomes of your poorest citizens and raise the incomes of your richest citizens. If I proposed a new AIDS-in-Africa initiative and advocated funding it through a regressive tax that included a tax credit for families making over $75,000, I doubt that many liberals would line up behind the proposal."

Hey let's try out Ross Douthat's analogy. How about universal health care funded by an extremely regressive tax ? Why low and behold, (most) liberals are wildly enthusiastic about employer mandates which are just that. It seems liberals want the post tax US income distribution to be more equal but liberals are not monomaniacs. Hmmm how about the reverse Douthat -- would conservatives support a tax increase for the rich to fund, say, a war in Iraq (or more defence spending or incentives to pregnant women to not abort or well anything ?). The question is answered. Conservatives do not accept trade offs. They want everything now. I would not have imagined that an intelligent conservative like Douthat would have chosen to draw attention to this fact.

Conservatives, according to Douthat, are consistent, in that they refuse to compromise on any of their aims even, it seems, if compromise is necessary for budgetary, political or logical reasons. I think he is on to something. A refusal to admit that trade offs must be made is infantile thinking and handing government over to spoiled brats would tend to lead to massive disaster. The evidence supports Douthat's theory of Conservative unfitness.


Also, by the way, I would support an AIDS in Africa program funded by a regressive tax with a tax credit for the rich (unless I hoped to get a big anti-aids program financed by a progressive tax). This is exactly the logic of my support for immigration and free trade. I would like to help low wage US workers but, if forced the choose (and I am not forced to choose in the real world) I care even more about lower wage non US workers. It's called egalitarianism.


Via Ezra Klein who points out the obvious -- if we want immigration and high wages for low skilled native workers we can just allow immigration and finance an increase in the EITC by increasing taxes on rich people.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

An important post, through the metaphor, but I need to consider this carefully. Nice.

anne

Anonymous said...

Ezra Klein becomes more of a dope every time I find a note about him. (I found him not worth the reading time a long time ago.) Paying and treating workers decently is the need, not the idiocy of the earned income tax credit which suddenly is the answer to any worker indignity.

anne

Anonymous said...

Last I noticed Klein referred to, actually this day, it was to defend John Edwards for setting up a phony charity to help the poor by way of helping himself. I am astonished and furious at Edwards, and will support Barack Obama from here as friends are doing.

anne

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, as I complain, Klein was clear enough to me when playing the warrior prince before the Iraq war. Enough chances to grow up, already.

anne

Anonymous said...

Ah, and now I understand the post properly, and a fine post but tricky for me.

Ross Douthat is a twerp and long has been, and I do not expect the twerpness will ever be shed since to much time has passed. Probably, he should have studied at Harvard but was to twerpy for that. I get it.

anne

Anonymous said...

Robert Waldmann:

"Also, by the way, I would support an AIDS in Africa program funded by a regressive tax with a tax credit for the rich (unless I hoped to get a big anti-aids program financed by a progressive tax). This is exactly the logic of my support for immigration and free trade. I would like to help low wage US workers but, if forced the choose (and I am not forced to choose in the real world) I care even more about lower wage non US workers. It's called egalitarianism."

Agreed, and important.

anne

Anonymous said...

Notice by the way, that somehow or other or the "al-s" we were after at whatever expense to the local populace evidently were gone when we came, especially after our strategy was explained of making sure al-s could not leave by the back door while we entered through the front, or something since I am not much adept at military talk.

So, we surged after al-s and the al-s were gone, and that I suppose will bring us round to the Iranians who were responsible anyway.

anne

Anonymous said...

There are by the way lots of Als living in Cambridge, at least one of whom I had dinner with last night, so I think the problem really is surging in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why not go after the Als in Cambridge? I will even name names.

anne

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong, the dinner was fine, but an Al is an Al, and I am nothing if not suitably patriotic.

anne

Anonymous said...

The lunacy of course is that within 24 hours after describing how we had learned to trap the Iraqi al-s by closing the back door, we were told there had been a slight mistake and the problem was when we went in through the bakc door the al-s perversely left through the front paying no attention to our manual of trapping.

anne

Anonymous said...

The problem is too many doors. Surge on.

We must of course leave Iraq immediately, but of course we will not leave Iraq immediately. The tragedy unfolds.

anne

Robert said...

I have read all the comments above.