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Are The French Toast Yet? Baby-Boomers Break the Budget

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The Boxed-in Democrats

by Christopher Chantrill
November 29, 2006 at 4:23 pm

WHEN THEY WERE in opposition in Congress the Democrats opposed, ferociously. Now they are the majority, committed to increase subsidies for the already subsidized in education and health care, as provided in their New Direction for America.

But will their instinct to increase the welfare state be possible? Michael Barone has his doubts.

In their hearts, most elected Democrats would like to move us some distance closer to a European-style welfare state -- slouching toward Scandinavia, some conservatives might call it.

But they probably won’t be able to do so, at least not very much.

They want to increase the minimum wage, but very few people work at the minimum wage. They could increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, but they have kinda boxed themselves in with a “pay-go” rule that prevents tax cuts unless they are balanced by spending cuts.

Then there’s the Alternative Minimum Tax that is unindexed for inflation and deliciously hurts the rich, but hurts the liberal rich in blue states more than the conservative rich in red states.

Former Clinton aides like Gene Sperling are concerned about the insecurity felt by many workers. Yet the security offered by mid-twentieth century corporations isn’t likely to be on offer. Instead Sperling

is for a "universal 401(k)," which would give all workers tax-sheltered savings accounts, funded by employers and employees.

That sounds rather like President Bush’s reform of Social Security, that “Democrats scorned.”

Republicans may be downhearted at their mid-term losses, but more important than Republican positive self-esteem is national hygiene.

And national hygiene demands that Democrats stop opposing and start proposing. The problem is that first of all they have to break out of the box they have put themselves in.

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Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.


 TAGS


Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures


German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Knowledge

Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital


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©2007 Christopher Chantrill