June 29, 2008
HMMMM, TOTALLY NEW IDEAS TO HELP MAKE THE WORKING CLASSES INDEPENDENT...:
The Sam's Club agenda of the GOP (David Brooks, June 28, 2008, NY Times)
Ross Douthat and my former assistant, Reihan Salam] open the book with a working-class view of recent American history. Douthat and Salam write admiringly about the New Deal. They mention Roosevelt's economic policies, but they also emphasize the New Deal's intense social conservatism. Self-conscious maternalists such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Frances Perkins ensured that New Deal programs were biased in favor of traditional two-parent families.
Liberals write about economic inequality and conservatives about social disruption, but Douthat and Salam write about the interplay between values and economics, and the way virtue and economic security can reinforce each other.
In the 1950s, divorce rates were low and jobs were plentiful, but over the next few decades that broke down. The social revolutions of the 1960s and the economic revolution of the information age have emancipated the well-educated but left the Sam's Club voters feeling insecure.
Gaps are opening between the educated and less educated. Working-class divorce rates remain high, while the mostly upper-middle-class parents of Ivy Leaguers have divorce rates of only 10 percent. Working-class kids are unlikely to complete college, affluent kids usually do.
Liberals have a way to address these inequalities – the creation of a Denmark-style welfare state. Conservatives have offered almost nothing. The GOP has lost contact with its own working-class base. This is the intellectual vacuum that “Grand New Party” seeks to fill.
The heart of the book is the last third, where Douthat and Salam lay out a series of policy ideas to help working-class families cope with economic, health care, neighborhood and family insecurity.
“What all these ideas, from the sober to the speculative, have in common is a vision of working-class independence – from bosses, from bureaucracy, from entrenched interests of all kinds,” Douthat and Salam write. This is not compassionate conservatism (which flattered the mind of the compassionate donor), it's hard-work conservatism, which uses government to increase the odds that self-discipline and effort will pay off.
...we can call it the Ownership Society!
Posted by Orrin Judd at June 29, 2008 8:05 AM