Friday, June 23, 2017

A Liberal Tries to Figure It Out

In the aftermath of the GA06 special election Democrats are trying to figure out how to thread the needle to victory. Up until now their tactic seems to have been anti-Trump all the time.

Only, it turns out that Jon Ossoff ran as a moderate not a blazing anti-Trump radical, while Handel ran as an anti-Pelosi fanatic. Go figure.

So here comes Damon Linker in The Week trying to figure it all out. He realizes that full-on Bernie democratic socialism plus full-on immigration-abortion-gender-bending ain't gonna do it.
This would seem to imply that the most electorally formidable leftist candidate would combine Bernie Sanders' economic populism [Medicare-for-all, free college tuition, and sharp tax hikes for the wealthy] with modest immigration restrictions (Socialism for Citizens) and Bill-Clinton-style moderation on social issues (keeping abortion "safe, legal, and rare"). 
He's probably right, since this position represents a slightly lefty version of Trumpism, one that is lighter on the economic populism and heavier on the immigration restrictions. But then, Linker adds, there is the problem of the missing left-leaning voters. Why are these people staying at home?

Well, maybe it's because they got their welfare and they got their Medicaid and they got their EBT so what's not to like?

When you think about it the Democratic agenda assumes that you are either a rich kid wanting some street action or a helpless victim that can't even get out of bed in the morning to go apply for a job. But most Americans are people that want a growing economy with jobs, jobs, jobs, and help from the government if things turn south. Because most Americans are not Millennials in their parents' basement or single-parent welfare recipients. They are trying to navigate the internet economy and raise their kids and maybe save for retirement, and it's hard.

And here's the thing. You liberals are supposed to be the educated evolved ones. Well, in proposing Medicare-for-all you are piling a new program on top of the regulated special-interest mess you already created with 50 years of liberal politics that started with Medicare/Medicaid in 1965. Here's the chart from

So. Government healthcare has gone from one percent GDP to 8 percent GDP and you chaps want more?

The same goes for free college. You guys are already spending a trillion a year on education, and now you want more?

This is the problem of the administrative state. The settled science says that it stinks, because it can't adapt to new situations or fix its existing problems. But liberals want to double down.

There are two problems with this. First is the liberal conceit that "we are the evolved ones." If you chaps don't accept the verdict of science, that the administrative state is a horrible idea that makes things worse, then you are not the evolved elitists you think you are. Second is the crude vote-buying. Surely you liberals have a better idea than merely pandering to the universal human appetite for free stuff?

Because when the administrative state collapses, as in the Soviet Union, Maoist China, Venezuela, it will be the poor that will starve first.

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