March 13, 2006


Budget Restraint Emerges as G.O.P. Theme for 2008 (ADAM NAGOURNEY, 3/13/06, NY Times)

As prospective Republican presidential candidates search for themes to distinguish their prospective campaigns, and distance themselves from the embattled incumbent in the White House, they appear to be in agreement on what one central issue should be in 2008: Curbing the federal spending that has soared under President Bush.

For two days before an audience of Southern Republicans here, the party's potential candidates for 2008 called for cutting or slowing federal spending across the board and retooling bedrock entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — that have become a drain on the federal treasury.

Since the only way to achieve meaningful long term spending reductions is by Third Way entitlement reforms, the contest is just to see who continues the implementation Ownership Society.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 13, 2006 9:44 AM

Entitlement reform. Doesn't compute.

Posted by: erp at March 13, 2006 10:14 AM

Having people think that we're going to have them out selling apples on streetcorners doesn't conpute either.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 13, 2006 12:52 PM

I'm not against entitlement reform, I just think it's an impossible dream.

Most people aren't old enough to even understand the allusion to selling apples on street corners.

Posted by: erp at March 13, 2006 1:42 PM

Except that Welfare Reform and HSAs already passed Congress.

Posted by: oj at March 13, 2006 1:57 PM

No of course we don't want em selling apples but entitlement reform does not make sense. You can not reform the way you give out free taxpayer money. Its like reforming burglary.

I am not sure why there has not been more of a critique of the democrat's welfare efforts over the years. The republicans looked at, decided quite rightly that it was unholy and promptly abolished it. Well done. They never looked closely at why welfare existed and what would fill the need that existed in the first place.

Abolishing welfare is like abolishing prostitution. It doesn't mean it actually ceases to exist. The reps are discovering ( way too late imho) that government has an obligation to buisness interestes to do something about poverty.

Capitalism creates poverty. It always has. But in balance, as the USA is I would say a remarkable example, capitalism can be regulated to have greater good than bad. The bad of capitalism is very bad. But the good can be even better. Poverty is bad and as far as society goes it is very very expensive. I would posit the notion that it may be more expensive than dishonesty. But maybe not. It is in fact part of the job of government to eleviate the cost of poverty. One way to do this is to reduce poverty. That might have been done by the democrats by a concerted agenda of empowerment and education. But in the end they gave up the painstaking work of rationalizing and just started giving the money away. Obviously, they never spent the way a republican does. Who can? But they sure blew through a lot of cash to no good effect.

The fact is that the government is going to have to do some work on poverty because no one else is going to and thats its job. It would be better if we had a party which came up with a plan. But I suppose that would pointless hope. The republicans think capitalism is beyond reprouch. And the democrats don't think anything anymore.

Posted by: exclab at March 13, 2006 7:20 PM


To the contrary, W has a comprehensive plan for reforming the welfare system, one that's in line with what has been done or is being done in Chile, N.Z., Australia, & Britain. It's pretty easy and will be completed regardless of who succeeds him.

Posted by: oj at March 13, 2006 7:25 PM

One way to do this is to reduce poverty. That might have been done by the democrats by a concerted agenda of empowerment and education.

exclab, Perhaps you are too young to remember that LBJ waged a very expensive, trillion dollar war on poverty and accomplished nothing more than to create a huge bureaucracy that is with us still and to prove that Jesus was right when he said, "The poor you shall always have among you."

I wonder if you would kindly share with us what system of government you favor over capitalism, you know, the one that doesn't create poverty?

Posted by: erp at March 13, 2006 7:48 PM

Well, I wouldn't say that the "war on poverty" accomplished nothing, just that it didn't eliminate poverty.

According the the U.S. Census Bureau, 12% of Americans have a poverty-level income, but only 8% actually live in poverty.

While we might overpay for that benefit, it's still worthwhile.

Posted by: Noam Chomsky at March 13, 2006 10:18 PM

It created incentives to stay in poverty and created the social structures that guarantee it (single parent households).

Posted by: oj at March 13, 2006 10:24 PM

How do you mitigate poverty without providing incentives to stay in poverty ?

We could just let the blighters die in the streets, but doing that eventually led to the "Third Way", no ?

We're a very rich nation, and we'll probably always have parasites living off of the productivity of upstanding citizens, but it's an irritant, nothing more.
That was true even before welfare reform.

Posted by: Noam Chomsky at March 14, 2006 3:23 AM


The Paul O'Neill plan.

Posted by: oj at March 14, 2006 7:46 AM

Noam, My point in replying to exclab is that what he/she proposed for eliminating poverty had already been implemented and, sorry to disagree with you, failed utterly.

To eliminate poverty, remove all federal and state welfare. Able-bodied people must be responsible for supporting themselves and their families. Real need must be administered at the local level where the appropriate intervention is more easily determined and administrative costs can be kept at the absolute minimum.

Charities like the Salvation Army, local churches, etc. can be counted on to continue their good works at rock bottom prices and deserve our support.

The unfortunates among us who are currently among the "homeless" because of mental or physical deficiencies must be provided for appropriately, whether in institutions, shelters or the like. They cannot be allowed to live like animals foraging for food and shelter.

Like a lot of simple solutions, this would be virtually impossible to implement due to the myriad vested interests in the status quo.

Posted by: erp at March 14, 2006 9:40 AM


Actually, there are many systems that eliminate poverty if you define poverty for person B as person A having more wealth. This turns out to be a common definition in the Modern American Left, which is why they consider Cuba a successful experiment in reducing poverty.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at March 14, 2006 10:05 AM