What is Conservative, anyhow?

I’ve often wondered how long the tax-cutting as good governance faction of the Republican Party would be able to stay in control of things. My paranoid idea (shared by some) is that this group wants to build such a huge deficit that we’ll have no choice but to get rid of any safety net and drive our society back into the dark ages, thus bringing forth the inevitable beam up of all good persons into heaven. It’s the coalition of the trickle-down reaganites and the social conversatives that will lead to the end of civilization as we have come to know it.

But not all republicans are in this evil cabal; this week in the New York Times, Ben Stein put forth a call for reason – you can read it here. He used Warren (no longer the richest man in the world) Buffet as the cover fire for his attack, but what’s strange is that he even had to make the argument. All he says is that we have to pay our way as we go, and not leave a huge debt to our children. And if we have to raise taxes to do it, so be it.

I don’t believe that government is always good, and certainly it would be nice to get rid of the pork appropriations and run things more efficiently. But there are some programs that should be run by government. If we want the services (whether it medicine, roads, or defense), then we have to pay for them. I don’t agree with a lot of what we spend our money on, and we may well be leveraging our way into bankruptcy as a country, but the least we can do it agree to pay our the bills.

I’m looking forward to seeing an end of the idiotically simplistic “cut taxes and all will be well” form of governance – tax cuts should always be connected to spending cuts. But I’m not hopeful. I’m afraid we are all too tempted by this form of pablum. Ah well, so be it.

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