Why The Conservative Movement Is Becoming Irrelevant – Part 2

Share Button

Andrew Sullivan has a blog post titled “The GOP’s Talking Points On Poverty“. In it, he notes:

Philip Rucker and Robert Costa report that ”there is deep disagreement among Republican leaders and strategists over whether to embrace an economic-mobility agenda in the 2014 midterm campaigns.” But some prominent Republicans are beginning to address the issue:

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will give a speech Wednesday that aides said will lay out changes to federal programs to help people climb out of poverty permanently. In the weeks to come, Rubio also plans to introduce ideas to make it easier for mid-career adults to go back to college or learn new job skills at vocational schools. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the 2012 vice-presidential nominee, has been traveling to impoverished areas and meeting with community organizers. He plans to address poverty in an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams on Thursday.

A third potential GOP presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), is also putting a renewed emphasis on the poor, traveling to Detroit to pitch a plan to revitalize urban centers through “economic freedom zones.” Paul has given his message on income inequality an ideological edge — mixing lofty, empathetic language with anti-government broadsides. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who has been visiting urban schools, will give a speech Wednesday promoting school choice as a way to address poverty. And Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has proposed increasing the child tax credit as a means of blending social conservatism with anti-poverty policies. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will give a speech Wednesday that aides said will lay out changes to federal programs to help people climb out of poverty permanently. In the weeks to come, Rubio also plans to introduce ideas to make it easier for mid-career adults to go back to college or learn new job skills at vocational schools. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the 2012 vice-presidential nominee, has been traveling to impoverished areas and meeting with community organizers. He plans to address poverty in an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams on Thursday.

A third potential GOP presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), is also putting a renewed emphasis on the poor, traveling to Detroit to pitch a plan to revitalize urban centers through “economic freedom zones.” Paul has given his message on income inequality an ideological edge — mixing lofty, empathetic language with anti-government broadsides. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who has been visiting urban schools, will give a speech Wednesday promoting school choice as a way to address poverty. And Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has proposed increasing the child tax credit as a means of blending social conservatism with anti-poverty policies.

I’m not as hopeful as Mr. Sullivan that things are starting to come around. As I noted in my blog post a couple of days ago, here is what the most powerful in the party are pushing. From TownHall.com:

“The truth is that income inequality is of minimal importance in a nation like America, where so many people already move between classes, where the poor are doing so much better than they used to, and where our poor already do so well compared to the rest of the world.”

As you know, TownHall is in lock-step with the talking-heads wing of the party. The article I quoted says this next:

“Among children from families in the bottom fifth of the income distribution, 84 percent of those who go on to get a college degree will escape the bottom fifth, and 19 percent will make it all the way to the top fifth.”

The problem is, that if you don’t dig into the numbers, this sounds pretty good. If you do dig into the numbers, and realize that being in the second fifth isn’t that great either, then you can’t really take this seriously. Further, if you do not endorse this point of view, you find yourself in really dangerous territory for Conservatives, admitting that Reaganomics and Trickle-Down Supply-side economics has failed over the 30 year period it’s been the economic backbone of the US economy.

Sure, they will try and pin the blame on Obama. But then they will have to explain why that upward mobile trend doesn’t show itself under Presidents who were more favorable to Conservative economic ideals.

So, while there are a few in the GOP who are starting to talk about, say, finding ways to get more people to go to college or get vocational training, neither of those things actually creates jobs. Too often, the type of programs Rubio and others may talk about only create more people in debt. It ignores the bigger problem – the so-called “Jobs Creators”, despite the ever increasing wealth being generated in accord with sipply-side economic policies, simply are not creating jobs. To acknowledge that the “trickle-down” side of the equasion doesn’t work is simply too dangerous for any Republican to admit.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply