How can the GOP presidential candidates claim to be “free market virgins” when:
- They have been drawing government paychecks for years?
- They seek government “largesse” for their constituencies?
- They promise senior citizens never to cut Medicare or Social Security?
- They support large defense contracts that “are an enormous intrusion in the operation of the free market?”
- They support government bailouts?
Read all about it in today’s E.J. Dionne column.
Here is a taste:
Can conservatives finally face the fact that they actually want quite a lot from government, and that they are simply unwilling to raise taxes to pay for it?
This is why our political system is so broken. Conservatives keep pretending that they can keep anti-government promises that they know perfectly well they are destined to break. We won’t have sensible politics again until our friends on the right bring their rhetorical claims into closer alignment with what they do — and what it takes to make government work.
George P. Wood says
Dionne's column makes sense if one assumes that advocacy of free markets entails no government whatsoever. And there are Murray Rothbard-type anarcho-libertarians who advocate something like that. But apart from them, it's not clear why free-market advocates can't (1) work as government employees (surely citizens need protection against force and fraud), (2) advocate defense spending (free societies need to be defended foreign enemies), (3) advocate policies that benefit their constituencies (isn't that what politicians are supposed to do?, or (4) promise to maintain current popular entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare (even Hayek saw a role for such entitlements). Strip away the absurd assumption that underlies Dionne's article, and what you have is a straw man argument.