Analysis and rationality in a nonrational world

May 11, 2017

As a conservative, I can’t be a Republican any more

Filed under: Government — analysis @ 3:09 pm

It’s absurd. I should be a Republican. I believe in law and order, responsibility for your own actions, and fiscal accountability. But those are Republican ideals from a prior age, decades ago. Now the Republican Party pretends to believe in these things, but given the reigns of power, they ignore all of them.

First, let’s talk about law and order. The Republican Party sees a President who is guilty of tax fraud — that much is known — but won’t investigate it; in fact, they’ve slashed the budget of the IRS to reduce the number of tax-cheat investigations. We also know the President is violating the Constitution by taking bribes from foreign governments… and violating the terms of his lease with a building in DC, rented from the government. None of these things matter to the Party, because they are not the party of law and order any more.

The Republicans in Congress are blocking any investigation into wrongdoing by the President. That’s not supporting law and order. (It’s also not really supporting the party; they would still control the White House if the President were to be impeached tomorrow.) It’s time they stop covering up felonies.

How about fiscal accountability? Reagan, both Bushes, and now Trump have proposed budgets that are, in the long term, insane. The Democratic Congress slashed the deficits Reagan wanted, but deficits still skyrocketed. Trump’s budget would be a disaster for the country; the Republican is trimming that, but their own proposals would also increase spending while slashing taxes. That is not fiscal accountability; that’s “borrow and spend” economics that can’t possibly end well. We are following Greece’s lead and we will follow Greece’s fate.

I have a mildly libertarian bent regarding government excess towards individuals. Republicans talk a good libertarian game, but then increase domestic spying, eliminate controls, jail citizens and ship them to other countries, and seek to outlaw birth control and abortions at every opportunity. That is not libertarianism. To be a libertarian does not mean increasing control and surveillance of individuals while giving corporations total freedom of action.
Republican leaders have become theocrats and plutocrats with a good line of libertarian patter. They insist that the IRS allow churches to campaign for individual candidates, in violation of law and regulation alike; a majority of House Republicans voted for a “right to discriminate” law being passed off as “religious freedom.” That’s not rule of order; that’s rule of bigotry. 
 
The Republican Party’s health insurance ideas don’t rely on the free market; they do nothing to increase competition so there can be a free market, which Adam Smith saw as the foremost economic purpose of government. Instead, they punish anyone who gets sick with certain diseases, and then allow companies to deny coverage to their employees based on the company’s official religion. That is not the religion of the majority of employees — it’s the religion of the CEO. I can see CEOs becoming Christian Scientists so the health insurance would only cover prayer. Sure, you can get another job — with 8% structural unemployment, some people can’t.
Freedom of religion is actively opposed by many in Congress, though it’s ensconced in the Constitution. Freedom of the press, too, is being threatened by the Congress’ and FCC’s ideas that net neutrality is not needed. When most people get their news over the Internet, giving cable companies the right to filter as they desire, not based on legal or moral concerns but on who they favor politically — which is what the proposed system would allow — is foolish at best and cunning at worst.
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