Conservatives haven’t given up trying to kill the remnants of the New Deal and the Great Society–i.e., Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfare (what’s left of it), Food Stamps, and maybe even unemployment compensation.
In the coming 20 or so years, as the baby boomers (one of whom I am) age and die, Conservatives can be expected to step up that struggle, since only people boomer age and older remember the kinder world America was before the Reagan Age.
And when we consider that everyone who turned, say, 15, in 1980 when Regan was elected is 44 now, those conservatives might succeed handily. I believe that most people absorb their basic political assumptions around the time they develop favorite songs — and then remain loyal to them for a lifetime.
The best way to kill all those New Deal and Great Society programs, of course, is to pretend to be a pragmatist and declare that we can’t afford them. Here’s one of the first such shots over the New Deal’s bow:
And here are the three liberal arguments in response (which ought to work but may not, given the aforementioned loyalty humans have to stuff imbibed as teenagers):
1. It’s Republicans — largely that last, most inept President — who have been the most wasteful:
2. Hey, why don’t we cut that huge military budget first?
(The US military budget is now about 1/2 of all the military spending in the world combined.)
and, finally, liberals should make the following point, which would be unanswerable but for the existence of the strange doctrine of American exceptionalism:
3. How come all the major European countries can have lots more benefits for their people then the USA does, and they don’t build up huge deficits?
See my earlier post, “Is it True What They Say About Sweden”, here:
The answer to liberals’ question number 3 is implied in question number 2, about our mad continuation of the military spending that our government, and especially conservatives, justified during the Cold War as necessary to deter the Evil Empire…
…and then just kept up, unabated, for some strange reason, indefinitely.
Even if we need a strong army to fight in Afghanistan and future similar places full of Muslims who hate us, we don’t need all those super weapons we bought to deter the Soviet Union from launching a nuclear war or a conventional State v. State war. These are two very different kinds of war, requiring different approaches. Fighting irregular troops like the Taliban requires boots on the ground, and only enough air power to maintain control of the air, which is pretty easy when dealing with folks who don’t have an airforce. We don’t need a new line up of super-duper and super-expensive airplanes, missiles, etc., every few years.
But hey, we need to keep those defense contractors fat and happy, right?