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.