In my last post, I gauged the Trump administration has a more robust awareness of the world dangers facing us. It seems more appreciative of the goals of the leaders of China, Russia, and Iran. Nothing in the Obama-Biden administration’s history showed they were genuinely apprehensive of these players’ real motives. Biden may surprise us, but a man with no deeply held principles will probably do as he has always done. He will go where the current wind is blowing. Trump seems closer to the traditionally conservative world view. For this group of pro-Biden conservatives, the reasons for their move must lie with domestic policy.
Conservatives, if they are known for anything, stand for smaller government. A government not invading all facets of our lives. Governments are intrusive by expanding regulations. In the wake of the Great Recession, the Obama-Biden significantly increased rules in most areas. Many conservatives saw these as the main reason for the worst recovery from a recession in history. The regulations made it more difficult and expensive to do business. It showed a particular disdain. The “you didn’t build it” attitude.was hardly welcoming. Remember, business goes and grows where it’s welcome. Many economists give more credit to a better regulatory climate than tax cuts to the high employment pre-COVID-19 economy.
Since the Reagan Era, tax policy has been one of the significant areas of conflict between conservatives and progressives. High taxes in the left’s theory, allows redistribution of income. This allows for a fairer society. Conservatives see excessive levies as punishing success and retarding growth. This makes for a more impoverished nation at every level. Biden has already announced significant tax increases on corporations and individuals. With his hugely inflated spending on a grocery list of programs, taxes have to balloon.
The dirty little secret is there is no way we can raise taxes high enough to pay for all this without crushing the economy. As we all can see, recessions significantly reduce tax revenue. We are already running a deficit at a level well beyond World War II. An aging population promises entitlement spending will continue to swallow more and more of the budget. Big new spending seems like the last thing we need.
Not to worry. The left embraces Modern Economic Theory (MMT). As the world’s primary reserve currency, we borrow in our own money. We can’t default because we can just endlessly create more dollars to make payments. With low-interest rates and inflation, we can borrow whatever we need. Now the present administration doesn’t say it subscribes to MMT, it just spends as it does. Both sides pledged not to touch social security and medicare.
The other issues are about culture and way of life. President Trump has appointed an army of conservative federal judges, including two Supreme Court Justices. One thing the Democrats aren’t going to do is nominate any originalists to the bench. Further, they threaten to pack the supreme court if they gain control.
School choice is generally popular with most people on the right. It also once had a following among some progressives. Beholden to the teacher’s unions Democrats now want to cap the number charter schools and probably will move to neuter the remaining of these successful alternatives. Good schools are a necessity for our future. This is even more essential for our less well off children. Biden indicated where he stands on choice by opposing a high achieving D.C. voucher program for the less fortunate.
Biden wants to extend and pour more money into the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This unwieldy mess would be an expensive struggle until everybody throws up their hands, and we get “Medicare for All.” How extending a Medicare program running out funds for those it presently serves to everyone is a mystery. MMT again? The present administration has never offered anything like a universal plan. I always hoped it would wake up and adopt a Catastrophic Health Insurance and Savings Plan on the Singapore lines. That nation’s program provides world-class care at a reasonable cost. It’s based on the same principles as our Health Savings Accounts (HCA). These are the fastest-growing type of health insurance in the U.S., covering more people than ACA. Conservatives have generally favored their extension but should bite the bullet and move to this manner of insurance universally. “Dave’s Plan” on this site would fit the bill nicely.
Immigration is one place where many conservatives part company with President Trump. Still, even those disagreeing with the President might prefer more extensive migration of high-value immigrants than the large-scale influx of the unskilled. The Democrats generally favor the latter. In any case, Obama-Biden had both houses of Congress and could’ve done an immigration bill. They elected to keep immigration as a wedge issue rather than solving the problem. Why would they change?
I don’t recall hearing any of the anti-Trump conservatives ever campaigning for District of Columbia statehood. If Democrats have a sweep in the election, this will come up. If it succeeds, it will give progressives a considerable edge going forward.
The “Cancel Culture” may be the greatest threat to our freedom to ever come on the scene. Incubated on elite college campuses, it has invaded all facets of our lives. I especially find this frightening. Regularly proposing ideas in opposition to the “accepted norm,” I try to think outside the box, especially counter “expert” conventions. The competition of ideas moves us forward. Where would people like me be welcome? Some people have recognized the problem and are offering actions. Retired Senator Orrin Hatch proposed Universities agree to accept a version of the Chicago Principles, guaranteeing the free exchange of ideas. If schools fail to adhere, they will lose all federal funding. Why should we underwrite work that fails to entertain all possibilities? We’re not in the middle ages. The vision of “Cancel Culture” adherents joined with government power is terrifying.
There is no reason to choose Biden over Trump with little difference between the candidates on trade and spending. On other concerns, real conservatives should be uncomfortable lining up with the Democrats. Are these conservatives for Biden looking forward to more liberal judges? Is a new highly progressive but at present nameless state on your schedule? I say nameless as District of Columbia is bound to be canceled. The only school for most children, mainly the less fortunate, will be the standard union-controlled public school. Is that the future of our young people you can get behind?
I find I can’t consider crossing the aisle to enlist in what I can’t support. My answer to the dilemma of two unappealing candidates was to propose a “Future Party” ( series on this site). The idea of competition giving more and hopefully better candidates was the aim. To my knowledge, none of these Republicans or Conservatives for Biden ever lent any support to widening our options. Wouldn’t that have been the better and more principled action?
Trump is crude, shallow, inconsistent, and even mean, but does that explain people walking entirely away from lifelong principles? I don’t think it does. Do they visualize what a sweeping Democratic victory they are campaigning for would result in? I have, and it’s not the America I want. Up till now, it wasn’t what these people said they wanted either. Picturing a Biden administration as moderate is delusional. The Democrats are hellbent to achieve their progressive agenda. Former President Obama is out campaigning for the elimination of the Senate filibuster. Doing away with any impediments to their aims isn’t moderate. The answer to their defection elsewhere.