Your Lying Eyes

Dedicated to uncovering the truth that stands naked before your lying eyes.

E-mail Me

Twitter: yourlyingeyes

10 January 2012

The Fourth Way

The start of the presidential election season - when a bevy of opponents battle in undignified jostling for their party's nomination and a hapless chief executive transitions the White House from executive mansion to re-electioncampaign headquarters - is often cause for lament that there isn't an alternative to this partisan bickering. But the alternative that everyone seems to want - a Third Way - a centrist course - is probably the worst. Studies have shown that the average conservative is dumber than the average liberal (it's an average, not you - calm down - think of all the left wing college professors) - but the dumbest of all are moderates. Being a moderate often means you lack the imagination and knowledge to take a real position on the issues.

But since both parties are messed up, what alternative is there? The best way is to pick and choose from the more extreme positions of each party - not too blend them together. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are always right and always wrong - but splitting each issue down-the-middle Solomon-like is no solution. Taking the best ideas from each optimizes policy. But that is really hard to do, since the result is alienating others on your side while failing to win over the side on the issues where you remain in disagreement.

Take an issue where the Democrats are clearly right - raising taxes. I would argue that taxes need to be raised on everybody - but especially the wealthy. Unfortunately, Republican ideologues will not hear of it. On O'Reilly a couple months back, both Ben Stein and Wayne Rogers - two conservative money guys - both assured O'Reilly that raising taxes on the wealthy will not cause any economic dislocation. Stein even pointed out that there is no correlation between higher economic growth and low taxes. [In fact, the opposite is probably true. Our finest growth occurred from 1947 thru the late sixties, when marginal tax rates were in the 77 - 90% range, and tax shelters were the norm - allegedly the most inefficient tax policy of all. And the 90's had overall higher growth than the 80's or (obviously) the 00's, despite higher taxes that decade.] But O'Reilly wouldn't hear of it - he prefers his ideological certainty that higher taxes just have to restrict growth over any facts that might contradict it.

The concept of a "living wage" is also a Democrat idea that should be our policy. How to implement that is not entirely clear - but certainly U.S. corporation ought to be sacrificing some level of profit and/or executive compensation so that American workers can afford to raise a family is a decent dwelling in a decent neighborhood. I'm not sure that I'm in favor of how Democrats would like to accomplish this - i.e., heavy unionization, as I feel labor unions are political animals unto themselves that ultimately harm the very communities and industries they infiltrate. But the main benefits of unionization - decent pay and fair and safe working conditions - ought to be national policy. Yet such a simple concept immediately runs afoul of modern Republican dogma that in order to compete in a global economy firms must operate unfettered by any considerations other than profit maximization.

Suppose a new kind of Republican candidate bargained with Democrats - offering a Living Wage policy for an end to the Diversity Regime? Tax increases on the wealthy in exchange for a big rollback in the Federal bureaucracy? Big investments in Green technology in exchange for rolling back restrictions on oil, gas and nuclear technology? Dramatic reductions in defense spending in exchange for a dramatic cutback on immigration, a border fence, and large-scale deportations?

I don't know if such deals could ever be pulled off, but I contend that exchanging policies like that would be far better than attempting to split the difference on any one issue.

Labels: , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's hard to disagree with your entry. At the end of the day, most Americans are merely concerned with "the pebble in their shoe". I'm sure most people would overlook a few undesirable policies in exchange for a stable job, a decent home, and an overall environment where one can comfortably support a family.

Under this system of policy trade-offs, I could; however, envision an even more aggitated division between party lines. Would the explanation behind the institution of specific policies sound something like... "based on the current social/economic issues we face, POLICY X will be enacted in an attempt to address CONCERN Y", or will it sound like, "since the current administration has considerably lenient with the institution of POLICY X, we should face any opposition when instituting POLICY Y"?

I like the idea of sacrificing ground on some policies in order to maximize the beneficial effects of other policies, but could this trade-off system wind up leading to even more "politics as usual"?

January 10, 2012 4:07 PM  
Anonymous VRWC said...

Conservatives don't resist taxes solely because of ideology. We also do so because of experience.

Pols on both sides have been promising spending cuts in return for tax hikes forever, especially in 1982 and 1991. In reality, tax rates go up and down, but the size of government and the debt never stop growing.

It's the same with immigration.... in 1965 and 1986 we were promised a closed border in return for amnesty.... we gave the amnesty but the border remained wide open, so when the 2007 offer came along we said no thanks.... shut the border FIRST.

I like your trade off ideas and agree with most of them.... just don't fall for the propaganda that reluctance to raise tax rates is based solely upon blind ideology and remember to cut spending FIRST.

January 10, 2012 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's true that the debt never goes down, but we should be honest about why that happens. The budget surpluses under Clinton were not the result of brilliant governance, but of easy money from a bubble-based economy. The hard decisions are almost never made, no matter who is in office. Raising taxes can be done in one bill; cutting the millions of pages of government regulations will be a never ending battle between special interests, regulators, unions, corporations, consumer advocacy groups, etc. Sorry, but your opponents are not stupid as you would like to believe.

January 10, 2012 4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I applaud the effort and agree with the framework for rejecting middle way-ism. But the rest of this is gloriously naive. The "left-wing" positions wouldn't be in place ten minutes before the "right wing" ones gained in returned would be under attack. The reverse could never happen for the same reason entitlements and government jobs don't ever go away. It's the fundamental truth and insight of public choice theory.

January 10, 2012 5:41 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

I think the charges of naivety are understandable - I don't think I presented my thoughts very well. I'm not so much thinking of getting into grand deals with the Democrat establishment, but more co-opting Democrat issues and marginal Democrats to build a ruling majority as it were. Mountain-state Democrats, some Southern Democrats and of course working-class Democrats. But even some upper-middle class Democrats could be pried away. Many of these might be put off by the inevitable charges of racism and xenophobia, but I'd say there'd be enough that would be drawn in by the promise of greater fiscally-responsible government.

The idea of the "Fourth Way" is to build a governing coalition dedicated to fiscally sound domestic policies while also shoring up the financial situation of the working class.

January 10, 2012 6:06 PM  
Anonymous tacticalchrstn said...

I wrote the following to Lawrence Auster before the 2008 election. I still think it is relevant. We need a conservative party that can reach out to working class whites. Some people blame unions for our economic problems. Public sector unions are out of control imo, but there are not enough people left who work for unions in the private sector to make them useful scapegoats. As Steve Sailer has said, “Germany never got the memo” by which he meant that it is possible to have unions and an industrial economy without outsourcing all labor to the third world.

Anyway… here’s the old bit from 2008:

A conservative and traditionalist viewpoint seems to be lost in the noise this election season as both political parties pander to big money, big welfare, and bigger entitlement political constituencies. The hidden agenda of both the Republicans and Democrats might be summed up by the mantra “privatize profits and socialize costs.” While the most glaring example of this thinking might be the new taxpayer funded football stadium in Indianapolis, a more subtle example is Wal-Mart the world’s largest employer. Could Wal-Mart exist in its present form without the coexistence of a welfare state to provide food stamps and Medicaid? If it were not for the welfare state would the employees of many retailers have thought about unionizing a long time ago?

I submit that the corporate takeover of retailing is not simply a matter of economies of scale dictating that the largest companies will provide most goods and services to the public. The expansion of large corporations into endeavors that were traditionally held by small family businesses is due in large part to a symbiotic relationship between big business and the big government welfare state. Illegal immigration plays a role in all of this by continuing to drive wages downward (when adjusted for inflation), and providing compliant workers who are more likely to look to government to take up the slack for whatever is missing in their paychecks.

Wouldn’t Cornelius Vanderbilt have wished for government programs to provide food, healthcare, and education to the workers of his railroads and shipyards? Unions have been favoring the Democrat party for so long that it is hard to imagine union support for a conservative agenda, but I dare to dream. If union leadership cannot see that the immigration tidal wave threatens to swamp them, their rank and file seem to understand this quite well. The rift between the the typical white, working class, skilled trade, Hilary Clinton voter, and the pseudo-overeducated white or underclass minority Barack Obama voter has been exposed in this election cycle. This conflict is an opportunity for conservatives to forge a new working class populism based on the ideas of Locke, Jefferson, and Dr. Milton Friedman.

This new populism must differ from the populism of the early twentieth century by having a solid, workable economic basis. The success of such a movement will depend on whether large corporate business has really been more efficient over the last forty years or if the success of big business has been because of government distortion of the marketplace. There are large numbers of people who would in earlier time have been bricklayers, druggists, masons, carpenters, barbers, opticians, etc. These people are the Reagan Democrats and they hold the key to the future of the conservative movement imo. Your thoughts?

January 14, 2012 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would be like negotiating with an African warlord to establish a trans-friendly diversity campaign.

January 15, 2012 5:34 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home