Saturday, August 13, 2005

Where can I sign up for the Sam's Club party?

Reihan Salam discusses the difference between the "Country Club" Republicans and the "Sam's Club" Republicans, and how the second Bush administration is pushing things too much to the first.His hook is the Sullivan vs. Pawlenty primary fight. What's your take on that, Theresa?Here's a few key paragraphs:

Consider this from the perspective of a not atypical GOP voter — say, a young married woman with three small children living in Ohio. She voted for Bush because he promised to vigorously defend her family against terrorists and because he shares her values. But she has material interests too. She would like to raise her kids full time, but the money isn't there. Her husband is working long hours, but it's not nearly enough, and the tax cuts barely made a dent in their debts. At some point, she has to wonder, what has President Bush done for me lately?

Precious little is the right answer, and GOP politicians would do well to take note. Liberals like Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter With Kansas, have long argued that populist conservatism is nothing more than a con. Conservatives sell values to the working class, but they deliver economic ruin. It's a view that is overheated, under-informed and more than a little condescending. Unfortunately, it contains a grain of truth.

As far as Social Security privatization, I am so not on board with that. I think we ought to honestly acknowledge that Social Security is a pay as you go system, in which kids pay to give their parents and grandparents a few good years of retirement before they die. A percentage of every working children's income would go directly to that child's retired parents or grandparents. My mother would get each month a check, routed through the government, sure, but stating that this her share from my paycheck this month. There are other plans that incorporate other features, but this is the basic idea. As Allan Carlsom points out, the original Social Security system was intended to protect the traditional family, and did so until changes in the 1960s and 1970s distorted it. Bringing back income splitting wouldn't be a bad idea either.

I like Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's slogan running for president of the Philippines: "Pro-God, pro-family, pro-poor." Too bad she got filmed trying to fix her next election.

Originally posted at Here We Stand