Conservative Thinking is Dead at Its Core
27 June 2017 | Pago Pago, American Samoa
The cornerstones of conservatism (as well as libertarianism) are 1) lower taxes are needed for growth, 2) government should not interfere in the economy and 3) government should be much smaller . Each of these propositions is wrong and fatally flawed as the evidence shows.
First, we are told, reducing taxes on the rich will result in more economic growth and the resulting prosperity will trickle down to the middle and lower classes. We know this is wrong, but conservatives still believe it. In fact, reducing taxes on the rich a) only increases income inequality b) does not result in more growth and c) the benefits of the cuts all pour, if not trickle, up, not down. That is the conclusion of several economic studies, one by the covering the last sixty-five years. See, Congressional Research Service, "Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945. Other studies show the same thing. Cutting taxes does not do squat for GDP growth; it only increase income and wealth inequality.
Second, we are told interference in the economy is bad and should not occur because it creates more problems than it solves. To be sure, sometimes it does create problems. Governments are new at it but getting better. Keynes prescription was interfer as necessary. Markets adjust too poorly and slowly if left alone, he argued. Indeed, the evidence supports Keynes strongly. Since WWII and after his policies have been adopted by many advanced countries worldwide, there have been no economic depressions and recessions have been much minimized. The chart below shows that for the US. This is no small matter because depressions entail much pain and suffering for people.
The third cornerstone of conservatism is 2) smaller government is better because it is less wasteful of tax dollars, more efficient and it better preserves freedom. The stock ploy of conservatives is to show some aspect of some government program is wasteful or inefficient and then to argue all of government is wasteful or inefficient. From there, conservatives leap to the further mistaken conclusion that government must be reduced in size and function, . . . not that any waste be eliminated or any inefficiency deal with, but eliminated by greater reductions in the scope and size of government.
This is also now shown to be quite wrong. The truth is, as the data now show, countries (and even states and provinces) with proportionally larger government sectors tend to have a) greater prosperity, b) more personal freedom and c) higher indicators of education, health, and personal safety. A recent GAO study also showed government waste was less than five percent, contrary to the public's ill-informed belief the figure is around 50 percent (Where did they get that notion?)
A new study by Edwin G. Dolan, a PhD in economics from Yale University, entitled "They Go Together: Freedom, Prosperity, and Big Government," Dolan proves that the data do not support the notion that a proportionally larger government is detrimental to either freedom or prosperity. On the contrary, countries with proportionally larger government sectors tend to have more personal freedom, greater prosperity and higher indicators of education, health, and personal safety than other countries.
American red states which have followed the conservative prescription of lower taxes, smaller government and less interference have found that the prescription is a disaster and they are strong reacting against it and to the contrary. Kansas, after Brownback, is hugely reacting against the prescription after closing many schools and going to four day school weeks. Other red states are finding the same thing. Lower taxes and smaller government is such a disaster, many now call Kansas "Brownbackistan." Other red states drank the kool aid as well.
Worse, conservatives have no data or experiential basis that can point to in support of their position that lower taxes, smaller government and no government interference is better. None. Zip. Nada. It is all just supposition and ideology. Arm chair theorizing. Actually, rationalization, I suggest, to avoid taxes.
The bulwark of conservatism is crushed by these facts, but facts that conservatives, as is their want, all ignore. The core truth of these matters, in light of these facts, is simple: conservatives are greedy and don't want to pay taxes that help all. Their notions are all a ruse for tax avoidance; propaganda bought into by the masses.
Facts and truth do not matter much to conservatives. They simply "know" better and nothing can persuade them. This is almost a litmus test for a conservative. They simply ignore what they don't like and "believe" away. Many if not most are brain washed. But they should not be allowed to screw this country up for the rest of us as they are attempting to do with our present government. The truth must out.