January 19, 2014


At Last, Conservative Reform (Ross Douthat, JAN. 18, 2014, NY Times)

The conservative policy larder was genuinely bare by the end of the Bush presidency. But that changed, reasonably swiftly, across President Obama's first term. A new journal, National Affairs, edited by Yuval Levin, began incubating alternatives to a re-ascendant liberalism. The older magazines and think tanks were reinvigorated, and played host to increasingly lively policy debates. And a new generation of conservative thinkers coalesced: James Capretta and Avik Roy on health care, Brad Wilcox and Kay Hymowitz on social policy, Ramesh Ponnuru on taxes and monetary policy, James Pethokoukis on financial regulation, Reihan Salam on all of the above, and many others.

By 2012, it was possible to discern the outlines of a plausible right-of-center agenda on domestic polity -- a new "reform conservatism," if you will.

But the Republican Party simply wasn't interested.

Of course, the entirety of conservative reform is just a return to the politics of Clinton and  W. It consists of: personal investment accounts for education, health care, unemployment and retirement; neoconomics (taxing consumption instead of income to encourage those savings/investments); free trade; home ownership; and immigration reform.

It is compassionate conservatism.

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Posted by at January 19, 2014 10:15 AM

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